Getting Angry With Greg Mitchell 13th June

It’s the 13th of June which means two things. 1) I’m a few days late to talk about what I want to say and 2) it’s way too early to be one player away from having a full roster.

If you listen to most Panthers fans (and I’m not sure if I’d recommend that or not) they’ll tell you that it’s all about the league. We haven’t won it since 1956 blah, blah, blah and I’ll put my money where my mouth is and buy Jono not one but two pints if we win it this year. I’m not worried about losing the money because I’m almost certain that I won’t. As far as I’m concerned that money is a safe as any of the charity money Jim Bowen put in his back pocket on Bullseye. The reason we won’t win the league is that we’re making it too easy for teams to get an advantage over us before a puck has even been dropped.

If you look at the various team’s announced rosters you can’t help but notice that we’re miles ahead in announcing our players. We’re showing our hand too early, we’re basically saying to the whole league “look what we’ve got” and they must all be rubbing their hands with glee knowing what calibre of players they need to sign to beat us. Paul Thompson must be wetting himself with delight at the way Panthers do this. You wouldn’t do it in the middle of a game of poker so why do we do it? OK, sign the players but keep it quiet if you can (more later). I know the fans want news throughout the summer but so what? Keep your powder dry.

I do wonder why Corey Neilson feels the need to sign all these players this early. OK some will get snapped up but there’ll be plenty who will be asking a lot less later in the summer for fear that they won’t get anything at all. If, as it’s claimed, he wants to get all the players signed before he runs his summer camp then I would suggest that he looks at his priorities because if doing one is having a detrimental effect on the other we have got a problem – a problem that should be of great concern to our owner and general manager and, last but not least, us.

Another concern is that players are simply going to use us as a safety net. Sign up early with the Panthers and you know you’ve got a job for next season to fall back on if you can’t get a job somewhere better or closer to home. To my mind that’s what happened with Brock Wilson last year, I just wish Zion had done the same.

Of course it’s not as simple as all this. British ice hockey is an incestuous place and the chances are that most teams will have a pretty good idea of who is going where anyway. This doesn’t mean we have to confirm it to them with such eagerness. The other problem is that there are sources out there that delight in telling the world that they know something –it’s what Twitter was invented for seemingly. They seem to think that they’ve got the right to announce a team’s new signing whether the team themselves are ready to or not. The league seriously needs to look at these self-serving statements and crack down on them. If a team has signed a player they should be the ones announcing it, not some trumped-up announcer who loves the sound of his own voice who is desperate to show that they know more than you. These people need to learn, or be told, that just because you can do something it doesn’t mean that you should. Of course, I’m not talking about the British Ice Hockey feed on Facebook & Twitter as they’re about as reliable as a Nottingham City Transport bus and seem to think that the scattergun method is best. They put so much out there that they must be right eventually.

The signing of Scott Champagne (an apt name for the Panthers if ever there was one – we’ve had the champagne sat on ice for years waiting for that elusive league title) means that Jade Galbraith won’t be coming back and like many I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. Brilliant and infuriating by almost equal turn he could turn a game on his own if he wanted to. I think that’s the problem. His lack of application is why he was here and probably why he never stayed anywhere else for more than a season. Last season will be one Jade should want to forget, OK we won two trophies but he was largely anonymous for the whole play-off weekend and the whole Belfast fiasco left a taste in the mouth that has been hard to get rid of. I think for that reason alone it’s probably best for him that he moves on, some hockey fans are like goldfish and forget a bad performance practically before the next game, but some are like elephants and never forget and like the four-kneed pachyderm they make a lot of noise.

There is one thing that I won’t miss about him though – his dress sense!

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4 Responses to “Getting Angry With Greg Mitchell 13th June”


  1. 1 Howeaboutthat June 14, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Sorry but this is one article that I have to disagree with.

    Teams don’t sign their players to beat one team in the league, they sign player to beat all the teams. No coach in their right mind is casting an eye on the Panthers roster thinking “right, who do I need to beat them?” because focusing on beating just one team when there is 8 or 9 others to beat (what is hapening with the Flyers?) just wouldn’t work. Coaches design their teams around what they believe will work, based on previous experience, not “work in progress”.

    Another fact that seems to have been missed is that whilst Panthers may have almost completed their roster the majority of other EIHL teams have the Lion’s share of their players signed too and their rosters would no doubt have been built with one eye on the pennies if the alleged wag-cap is actually happening this season. Shoe-horning in a few ‘Panthers beating’ players in the remaining cap space may not be an option.

    Panthers having signed so early isn’t a negative other than possibly the remote chance that a really top notch player who doesn’t find a NA contract could have been picked up for cheap but then again, that just plays in the the oh-so-often-repeated trap of Panthers signing individuals rather than teams, individuals who fail to deliver.

    Neilson seems to have an idea about what he wants from his team this season and given the turn-around he oversaw at the end of the last season I’m willing to give him the benefit-of the-doubt over a punter with an outlet for his comments any day. Looking at the team he has signed very few of them are ‘marquee players’ and that in itself is a good sign to me.

    What I am hoping is that the early signing of the team will allow them to assemble earlier than rival teams and get some pre-season games and training in, so that when the first buzzer sounds they hit the ice at full speed. Of course if the team was left to late to be signed that may not have been an option at all.

    • 2 Robbo2306 June 15, 2011 at 8:46 am

      Interesting opinions. Speaking as a Sheffield fan, we’ve done it both ways and still managed to win the league. So I don’t think it really matters whether a team is signed early or late. It’s more about how they gel on the ice and whether they play as a team or a set of individuals.

  2. 3 Quiffster June 20, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Greg, perhaps check before you publish, but i think you’ll find that Corey isn’t running a camp this summer……….

    Fwiw, when he did, a handful of our brit prospects would spend most of summer at camp with him. Surely beneficial?

  3. 4 Dan June 23, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    I have to agree with you on this, the stand out player last season was Rob Bellamy who we signed very late on. He was an AHL’er and had to wait till the first of July too see if he was gonna be picked up, now I dont see the harm in waiting and grabbing a few of these guys if we get the chance


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