Bison 2010/11 End of Season Yearbook Part 2Posted: 30/03/2011
OK folks, you’ve been left hanging for 4 days, it’s time to continue our look back at the Bison class of 2010/11, starting with a personal favourite of mine.
#21 Sam Oakford – “Mr Solid”
I sometimes wonder if Sam Oakford is what people call “an old soul”. The reason being is that he doesn’t play like a 20 year old. Having been a 20 year old, you’re young, impetuous, you make mistakes; Oakford’s play seems to include none of those traits. The lowest number of PIMs amongst defencemen on the team, rarely makes costly errors and like all good defensive defencemen you barely notice him because he’s not doing those things. Arguably one of the best shut down men in the league, a bright future in the game awaits Mr Oakford.
#26 Daniel Lackey – “Mr More to Come”
Dan suffered a lot with injury and was committed to Buffalo games so only saw action when Bison and Buffalo didn’t clash. Hopefully Dan returns on a similar contract next season as what I’ve seen of him I like and feel that an injury free season to get some ice time under his belt should see another new British defenceman full-time in the ranks before too long. That can only be a good thing.
#27 Nicky Chinn – “Mr Entertainer”
His words not mine when asked by Manchester Phoenix TV to comment on the banter thrown his way by the Altrincham faithful. Chinny’s season has been an interesting one made more interesting by reading his Twitter (@chinndros) as the season has gone on. Critics of Captain Chinn say he turns the puck over too easily and looks slow but ultimately the largest critic of Chinn appears, if you read his tweets, to be Chinn himself. His experience and ability to lift the team do not go unnoticed even by his critics and when he is on his game, he is really on his game. The familiar 91-27-67 line when it fires on all cylinders is a frightening sight and averaging close to an assist a game, perhaps Chinny isn’t done yet. We’ll have to see.
#28 Chris Wiggins – “Mr Wallop”
Wiggy takes some daft penalties, occasionally the red mist descends and he plays a similar style to Brad Cruikshank. It’s probably why we like the guy so much. After a first season where he shocked everyone (including himself) Chris returned and whilst his points total hasn’t increased from last year, the physicality and hitting has. His PIMs have leapt up but that’s an occupational hazard of being the team tough guy. The great myth of course is that Wiggy is all muscle and nothing else. He was labelled a “pantomime villain” by the Manchester Phoenix website (an ironic comment considering 2 days after that Andrew Sharpe was announced) but it does him an injustice because he does have decent hands. As I said, if he could cut out some of the silly penalties so he’s on the ice more he could be outright scary.
#30 Dean Skinns – “Mr Complex
When he was signed it was essentially on the proviso that he’d start the season as backup. When he took the starting job in net by force he has proven to be an interesting if perplexing netminder to watch. At his worst his 5’6” frame is made smaller by sometimes appearing to duck when shots come towards him. At his best he looked like he could have stopped the tide and seemed to be able to catch any puck and divert any rebound to any point on the ice he choose. As we’ve come to the business end of this season though Dean has been stellar and with Coventry in sight, it’s a hell of a time to be switching on.
#33 Mindaugas Kieras – “Mr Kaboom”
A criticism of the Bison powerplay this season has been that the first pp unit is too predictable as to what they’re going to do; pass it around till Mindy’s open and then let him fire the puck. Well yeah, obviously that’s what they do, the guy has a slapshot that could dent a tank.
I actually think Mindy’s played better this season than he did in 09/10; his positioning seems better, he’s made fewer mistakes, he’s even scored more goals (though tallied less assists). Whilst people will say there’s better import defenders, Mindy is fun to watch. Giving him the “A” when Tom Long left last summer was a great decision as well as everyone’s favourite Lithuanian proved that good leadership accompanies that demon shot of his.
#55 Rick Skene – “Captain Caveman”
Seriously the most hairy man in hockey, I am convinced that he actually steals facial hair from the faces of his team mates by osmosis. At times he can get caught out of position and he’s not the quickest man out there so gets beaten for pace to the puck but when we signed Rick we knew we weren’t getting Mike Green. He is what he is, a middle of the order, stay at home guy who takes the body and really puts his body on the line for his team. Rick is steady and not flashy which is sometimes just what you need.
That does it for part 2. Check back on Saturday ahead of the trip to Milton Keynes for the final 5 members of the roster and my lowlight and highlight of the regular season.