Now That’s What I Call Bison – Banners On The Wall 2011/2012 player review Disc 1

Hey there boppers! Another EPL season is fast drawing to a close and it’s been a season of highs and lows for the Bison; winning runs coupled with inconsistency, some great individual and team performances mixed in with frustration when the team didn’t live up to their potential and a bucket load of injuries at the business end of the season.

Last season, as the EPL came to a close we gave you The Bison Yearbook and a run down of who took home what class award in the Bison team of 2010/11. This time around we’re putting together the ultimate Bison mixtape as we go back at the players we’ve seen wear the white and black.

Each Bison player I’ve watched this season has been allocated a song; sometimes it’s because of the title, sometimes because of a certain lyric in the song and some because they sounded funny. I’ll try to explain the logic for why I’ve picked each song as well.

This does leave out some of the great work from under 18s players who have guested this season, especially at the game in Sheffield in February but the rule is I have to have seen them play for them to make the charts.

As with all good compilation albums, this is a two disc set crammed full of top tunes. I thoroughly recommend checking out most of the music on here if you get a chance.

Anyway, the time for talking is done. Lets get to the music!

#1 Connor Standing; Frank Sinatra – The Best Is Yet To Come

We’ve obviously not seen a great deal of time from young Mr Standing in EPL action, only dressing the once before Stephen Wall signed on permanently but what we saw of him in the 4×4 tournament gave Bison fans hope. His stats in under 18s show signs of improvement and that’s why the title of this song seemed appropriate. From what I understand of it, Connor’s got a bright future.

#3 Viktor Kubenko; Pink Floyd – Welcome to the Machine

No prizes for guessing why I chose this song. It’s been an unusual year for Kubenko but that’s possibly because of the season the team’s had overall. Still over a point per game since his return from Slovakia, Kubenko has not looked the dominant force he was last season but the standard of the league has undoubtedly improved. The ghost in the machine still lives and he tries to do too much on his own at times but this doesn’t detract from the fact that at EPL level, Kubenko is a fantastic player to watch. When everything fires on all cylinders he is great value for money. Whether he returned for a 3rd outing in Bison colours remains to be seen.

#4 Dan Harris; MC5 – I can only give you everything

Dan Harris seems to split opinions amongst Bison fans; some think he’s not cut out for EPL hockey, others think the opposite. I fall into the later of those categories. I seem to have a thing for gutsy Northern defenders who wear #4 as I spent a lot of time fighting Sam Zajac’s corner when others said he didn’t cut the mustard. I like to think I was right about Sam. This song by MC5 sums up what I like most about Harris’ game. He’s a young man (still only 22) and yes he makes mistakes but at times when we’ve had games when some players haven’t looked at the races, Harris comes off sweating like it’s going out of style. When you see that shot’s about to come in, who is diving in front of the puck? Harris needs time at EPL level and his recent concussion won’t have helped matters much but when he’s on the ice he gives everything. You can’t ask for more than that from a 5th defenceman. If he fixes some of the positional errors he’s made, he could be outstanding.

#7 Kurt Reynolds; Smash Mouth – All Star

#BeastMode activated. This is one where the song title and the chorus match the player well I think. Reynolds should off the back of some of his performances be an EPL all star but won’t be because of the season the Bison have had. Hockey is a team sport, we all know that and we can’t ignore the fact that team defence this season has been a huge problem but you can’t ignore the individual performances that Reynolds has consistently given over the course of the campaign. Points production is down and at times the team have defended terribly but Reynolds’ seems to escape most of the criticism from fans unless he really makes a howler. Aside from his usual positioning talents, his stickhandling and ability to turn on a sixpence the thing that Reynolds has added to his game is a mean streak. This a career year in penalties for Reynolds who has fought more than he has for a while but is also playing the body superbly and that added physicality has rounded out his game nicely. Reynolds is an absolute must keep player for the Bison next season though we can’t expect his performances to have gone unnoticed in the EIHL.

#11 Daniel Volrab; Black Country Communion – Man in the Middle

Even now as the season is ending, Volrab remains a bit of a mystery to me. Man in the Middle is a good song title for him obviously, he’s one of the most natural centres in the league and the former Dallas draft pick’s link up play with Joe Miller has been great to watch. That said there’s something that continues to niggle at me about Volrab. I think I was hoping that Volrab would dominate games more than he has done. What I mean is that whilst I didn’t think we’d signed a Lauko clone (Ondrej was an abnormally high goalscorer for a centre) I thought that maybe Volrab would be putting the team on his back and carrying them along a bit more in the way Kubenko tries to do. That’s not to say Volrab’s not played decently, he is over a point per game but then again a player of his pedigree should be over a point per game in the EPL. His previously mentioned partnership with Miller has proved fruitful though and if nobody else wants him back, I’m sure Joe won’t argue with a return.

#16 Marcel Petran; Thea Gilmore – Jazz Hands

Despite nearly everyone thinking I’d go for the painful “All that Jazz” from Chicago, I found a song with a more apt title for Marcel. The giant Slovak with his canon like blueline shot has become a fan favourite in Basingstoke this season. Let me say this first off, I find Marcel a really entertaining player to watch. One thing that I always want to see in hockey players is that they’re having fun out there and most of the time he looks like he’s having a whale of a time. At times though Petran has frustrated me; for every asset he has, be it the shot or the fact he is openly more physical than who he replaced in Mindy Kieras he gets caught out of position a lot and even gets muscled off the puck on occasions. A 6’5”, 205lbs defenceman getting muscled off the puck is a bit of a bitter pill to swallow. OK it’s not like we’re seeing Wes Jarvis back in a Bison jersey but you get my point. I think if Moria returns as coach then we likely see Petran back and I’m not adverse to it, as I said I do find him entertaining and when all’s going well he’s a great player. However there is room for improvement.

#18 Cameron Wynn; Tinchy Stryder – Breathe

Whilst it obviously took an unfortunate turn of fate/luck/coincidence (delete according to beliefs) to get him onto the roster, it’s Wynn’s ability level and work ethic that have kept him with the big club. I chose this song for a line I noticed whilst reading the lyrics; “This ain’t one of them perfect paintings/I’ve fallen close to breaking. They say I’m a star in the making/Me I say I’m paper chasing.” Whilst it is slightly out of context I think this sums up what we’ve seen from Wynn rather well. He is by far not the finished product, he lacks size and experience but the plaudits are already out for the young man who doesn’t seem afraid to get stuck in. The recent home game with the Steeldogs where he got run over in the neutral zone, got up and proceeded to crash the net on the same shift are a good example of why he’s so liked and why he earned his name on the back of his jersey. I think we have one to keep an eye on.

So we’ve reached the end of disc 1 of our musical journey through the 2011/12 Bison. Turn the volume down for now and join us back here shortly for disc 2.

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