Twice is coincidence. This sure seems like a trend.
Two of the Kalamazoo Wings' top players, Florian Iberer and Dan Tessier, have bolted for Europe. Iberer led all International Hockey League defensemen in scoring with 30 points in 33 games.
This comes after the Bloomington Prairie Thunder lost Sam Ftorek and Cory Laylin to Europe.
So what gives?
It's nothing new for European teams to give lucrative contract offers to players from North America -- although, many end up coming back after their paychecks bounce or don't even arrive -- but maybe the recent departures are just magnified because the IHL has only six teams.
Or, one could argue not everyone is sold on the caliber of play or their safety in a league that's promoting toughness and not appropriately punishing dirty hits like the one Justin Rohr dished out to Kevin Hansen a couple weeks back.
Or, maybe these have been cases of players not happy on league's two worst teams. After all, players aren't jumping ship in Fort Wayne or Flint.
Only time will tell, but it's certainly a situation to be monitored.
- Can't say I'm disappointed the IHL didn't have an All-Star Game this year. Nothing like seeing tight defensive hockey like this gem from the Central Hockey League.
- I hope Kalamazoo is going to sue for pink-eye infringement.
- I wonder what this guy would have thought about the United Hockey League's old month-to-month jersey switcheroos. Great line from writer Greg Wyshynski: "... it flies in the face of the most basic tenets of classic drama: The good guys wear white, the villains wear the dark colors. Well, that was until 'Return of the Jedi' ..."
- As a Red Wings fan, all hail writer George James Malik. See the last line: "If suffocating trap hockey and organizational arrogance equal the formula to capture 'Hockeytown's' title, the boring Wild can keep it. The Wings just keep on winning instead."
- Finally, I need your help. Who do you feel the best fighters in the IHL are and I don't mean guys who have only fought once this season, although you can include Brent Henley. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or put it in the comments section.
-- By Justin A. Cohn, The Journal Gazette