Now That’s What I Call Bison – Banners On The Wall 2011/2012 player review disc 2Posted: 03/04/2012
So we’re back at the BOTW brand jukebox as we use music to review the 2011/12 Bison melody. Disc 1 warmed us up with a look at a couple of the imports and one of this season’s stars. Disc 2 starts with a classic in more ways than one.
#19 Steve Moria; The Beatles – When I’m 64
OK, OK yes it’s a bit too easy but who would bet against Mo trying to play at 64 if he could? It’s been an odd year for the team and Moria in general has split opinions. People have criticised the tactics the team have employed at times (which as coach is his cross to bear), people have criticised how the team has been put together, people have criticised his performances on the ice saying he’s too slow, off the pace and fit to be put out to pasture. That said, Steve Moria has scored 63 points in 52 games and he’s 51 years old. It’s tough to know what some would want from him. I struggle to criticise Moria’s play because ultimately a 60 point season is great when you’re 25 let alone twice that age. I do feel he deserves some criticism for the tactics employed by the team, especially when they’ve been 2 or 3 goals down and resorted to mindless dump and chasing. I won’t say I think Moria should retire as he’s enough of a legend where I won’t argue with him. If he wants to call it a day and be able to walk away with his head held high I’d say now is a good time to do it. The decision is ultimately his and I’m sure we’ll all respect it. If he does bow out, that penalty shot against Guildford was a hell of a way to say goodbye.
#20 Tony Redmond; Dropkick Murphys – Fields of Athenry
Anyone who knows anything about football and Mr Redmond’s love of Celtic knows why I chose this song for him. Rather than the version by The Dubliners which is a bit too serene, I chose the version by the Dropkick Murphys because I think it suits Tony’s style of play more. It’s raw, it’s energetic and it embodies passion, fury and effort against your foe all in one fell swoop. Redmond’s season on defence has been an interesting one. Some argue that he’s better on forward than defence and I sort of lean that way but one of the advantages to Redmond is his flexibility and the fact that at this level he can do both roles well. The thing that Redmond really brings to the team though is just his sheer energy and desire to do well. I doubt even he’ll deny that he’s not as fast as he once was and he may get beaten for pace but the mind is still there and you’ll struggle to find any player that will care more about the Bison jersey than Tony Redmond. I’d love to ask him how he felt he’s done this season. I don’t think he’ll claim to be our best player this season but I think he’s done admirably on the ice. If Moria doesn’t return as coach, Redmond will be one of the favourites to take over, at least amongst the fans.
#21 Sam Oakford; Tsunami Bomb – 20 going on…
This song is a personal favourite of mine. The actual lyrics are about not growing old before your time but it works in a slightly different way for Oakford. I’m a big fan of Oakford’s work and I’ve said for a while that he plays beyond his years. I don’t think that this season will go down as Oakford’s best due to his injury problems and aforementioned defensive issues but I still think Oakford’s a good defenceman. Where Reynolds is the is the more dynamic, Oakford is (traditionally) the more solid, quiet defenceman. If you notice him it’s because something is wrong. Sadly that’s happened more this year but I don’t think it detracts from the fact that Oakford is very good at what he does. The issue for Oakford is where does he go from here? He’s at the end of his 2 year contract with the Bison. There are rumblings of interest from Elite League and maybe it is time for Oakford to test the waters at the higher level to see if he can make it there.
#23 Joe Miller; AC/DC – High Voltage
I said it at the time and I’ll say it now, this was a cracking signing. Miller is the team’s top point scorer, not just British points scorer but overall points scorer. OK we’re not exactly staring down the barrel of a title winning season but this puts to rest some of the things that Phoenix fans when we signed about “what Joe Miller would we get?” Miller is a high voltage player; he excites in a variety of ways. He can score, he can hit, he can mix it up in the corners. His link up play with Volrab essentially made the top line Miller, Volrab and A.N. Other for most of the season. I personally thought that Bronnimann added the right chemistry to that line but it didn’t really matter who Miller played with, he was consistently our best forward. If Reynolds hadn’t been so stellar we’d likely all be singing Miller’s praises a lot more.
#24 Craig Tribe; The Animals – Please don’t let me be misunderstood
I very rarely criticise peoples’ opinions of a player but I think a lot of people have been very unfair on Craig Tribe. What exactly were some of you expecting from him? Now lets get this straight, Tribe wasn’t our best player either and at times due to the trademark Moria line shuffling ended up playing way outside of his comfort zone. At times he, like many of the players looked a bit lost at sea but I’ll tell you what, he didn’t do that badly. Some people complained to me that Tribe looked like he was doing nothing and didn’t contribute which is wrong on both counts. Tribe was a capable 3rd line forward and has scored more points than Chong, Heron and Wiggins. He got stuck in, he did what he was meant to do. I admit his press release probably didn’t help where it was made to seem that Tribe would be dropping the gloves a lot more than he has but Tribe isn’t paid to fight, he’s paid to grind on the 3rd line. As I said, he’s by no means stood out and he’s not going to win many awards but I can’t help but feel he’s got the short end of the wedge from some people.
#27 Nicky Chinn; Ringo Starr – Heart on my sleeve
For anyone who follows the captain on Twitter, you’ll know why I chose this song. Chinn is brutally honest about the team, his own performances, the refs, the ice and pretty much anything else on Twitter so it’s hard to argue with him. If he thinks he’s done badly, he’ll say it. The season as well from a point production perspective was altered when the injury crisis forced him onto the blueline. Despite the odd positional hiccup (the game in March vs Slough as a prime example of that) I think Chinn gave a good account of himself on defence. Also in spite of playing the last 10 games on the blueline, Chinn’s still 4th top scorer in the team. Perhaps Chinn has found a way to elongate his career by dropping to the defence and if he feels he can go on he likely will. Chinn has his critics but I really don’t think any of them can be harder on him than he is on himself.
#28 Chris Wiggins; Black Lace – Wig Wam Bam
As daft as it may seem, it was an uneventful year for the master of the Wig Wam Bam in many ways. Injuries meant that games played, points and penalty minutes are down. This doesn’t mean Wiggy didn’t mix it up and watching him make Joe Greener play “eat the knuckles” wins the “Cathartic Moment of 2011/12” award. Wiggins was more controlled this season If anything. He had his moments of the red mist but seemed to have reigned in some of the urges to just cut loose and kick the snot out of people. Wiggins didn’t get as many chances to play the 2nd line power forward role that I saw of him but had a decent year on the third line. Rumours are circulating of a move to the EIHL with Coventry which, if it makes sense, Wiggins should take as he could do well at EIHL level if used properly. That said Wiggins is a very popular player in Basingstoke and I wouldn’t argue with him coming back. What can I say, I like the fights.
With a crash and a bash, disc 2 has come to an end. Everybody take 5 and we’ll be back before you know it with the 3rd and final disc of our hockey based, musical medley.