The Rampage Report: February 11, 2013

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The San Antonio Rampage  kicked off their annual Rodeo Road Trip early this week with the American Hockey League’s first non-holiday Monday game of the season. Scoring began in Houston a little over seven minutes in to the opening period when Greg Rallo and Andre Deveaux set up Zach Hamill on the power play, for his first goal with San Antonio. The Rampage added to their lead early in the second when Hamill and Jonathan Hazen assisted on San Antonio’s second goal of the evening by Brendon Nash. Minutes later, the Aeros recorded a power play goal of their own to bring themselves within one. Back-to-back goals by Jed Ortmeyer early in the third gave the Rampage a 4-1 lead with just under 15 minutes to play. Chad Rau made the score 4-2 shortly after Ortmeyer’s second goal, but Mike Santorelli scored his first goal for the silver and black which was a short-handed.  The team flew out of Houston with a 5-2 victory under their belts and headed to Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Rampage faced off against the Charlotte Checkers Saturday night for the first round of a two game series. Jared Staal got the puck past Jacob Markström midway through the first to kick off the scoring for the contest. Minutes later, Scott Timmins picked up his first point since coming back from injury when he assisted on Rallo‘s shorthanded goal at the 13 minute mark. The score remained tied at 1 after a scoreless second period, but San Antonio built up a 2 goal lead in the third courtesy of Deveaux and Garrett WilsonZac Dalpe brought the Checkers within one, but Markström and the rest of the Rampage were able to maintain their lead and win the team’s third straight game.

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The Bittersweet Cost Of Trading A Fan Favorite

I have had the pleasure of living in two cites that have NHL hockey teams.  Growing up in Chicago with the Blackhawks, and of course living here in South Florida with the Florida Panthers, has made my hockey life extremely pleasant.  Except when they lose of course, which goes without saying.  With that comes however a loyalty to not only the team that you cheer for, but for players that you come to enjoy and appreciate.  Whether it’s watching these players develop and mature, or discovering how much you appreciate the newest addition that’s been added to your teams’ roster, the bottom line is, developing an affection for a player is common among all of us.

Over the past few days there has been some intensified discussion among Florida Panther fans about the future of Stephen Weiss, who has played his entire career with the Panthers, and who last season finally appeared in his first set of playoff games.  Weiss who has been under a six year contract that is set to expire at the end of this season, will  become a free agent if the Florida Panthers don’t come to terms with the lifelong Panther.  The discussion seems to be split amongst the fan base about what to do and why.  The NHL trade deadline is April 3rd of this season, coincidentally Weiss’s 30th birthday, and there’s a good amount of people who believe that he’ll be traded either before, or on deadline day.  There’s also a number of fans who can’t believe the Panthers existing without Weiss.  The Panthers have been known in the past under different leadership to hold on to players too long, and either get nothing or very little in return, such as in the Jay Bouwmeester situation.  There are also those who feel that because of Weiss’s loyalty and longevity, he deserves to finish his career here.  Or at least be signed to another long term deal.  It is some of those same people who also felt that Weiss should have been named the Captain of the team instead of Ed Jovanovski. 

I have learned in my life as an astute follower of this sport, just as in any other, that it’s a business.  It’s about winning and money.  Sometimes it’s only about money.  It appears many times that you can’t get one without the other, and in almost every case if you don’t have the cash, you aren’t going to get the wins.  It’s a vicious cycle at times, but what appears to be at the heart of this discussion (Weiss) is in relation to what the fans will think or feel if and when he’s traded.  Weiss is no stranger to rumors, as his name has been brought up in conversations in at least each of the past three trade deadlines.  He has survived those for various reasons.  This year, I’m not so sure he will.  Which gets us to the reaction of the fan base, and how it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.  It can’t matter because if a GM or owner worried about what the fans would think and feel before every trade was made, the Green Men from Vancouver would be running the Canucks.

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