Now That’s What I Call Bison – Banners On The Wall 2011/2012 player review disc 3Posted: 04/04/2012
Welcome back to the 3rd and final disc of our 2011/12 run down of the Basingstoke Bison. Now That’s What I Call Bison will be rocking all the way till the end but in the tradition of all good school discos, lets get a slower jam on for a moment.
#30 Dean Skinns; Righteous Brothers – You’ve lost that loving feeling
I won’t go into some large essay about Dean but, needless to say, it was the right decision to let him go. 85.22 save percentage is not good enough from your starting netminder in the EPL. Dean Skinns can perform at this level, we’ve seen it before and he’s shown it at Swindon but the fact he was released shocked few. It was the best call for both parties and all the best to him.
#39 Stephen Wall; Styx – Mr Roboto
Song choice for Wall was based on some of his unusual warmup movements and the fact that he’s so huge he does, in kit, look a bit like a Transformer. Wall was highly touted when he signed because of his pedigree but has he lived up to it. Yes and no is my response to it. He’s had some games where he’s not looked as good as we know he is (Sheffield at home recently) but other games where he’s in the zone and pretty much can win the team the game (Sheffield away recently). Wall won’t be happy with his stats since he joined having left Peterborough but at the same time his average looking stats aren’t all of his own making as we’ve discussed. He’s been hung out to dry on a fair few occasions. From my perspective I want Wall back next season along with his netminding counterpart because it would be interesting to see how the Bison would do the defence not having to get used to a new goalie mid way through the season and vice versa. With top quality British netminders at a premium in the EPL, Wall who has form and experience should at least be talked to come the end of the season.
#62 Jacob Heron; Diggy Simmons – Point to prove
The song for Jacob was chosen because of something he said to the blog 5 months ago. “I felt like I wasn’t going to get my chance in Milton Keynes” was how Heron partially described why he signed in Basingstoke and he came into the side and has seen the ice time that he wasn’t getting with his home town team. As the season progressed, Heron settled more into a roll on the 3rd line but did see time on the powerplay and penalty kill over the season. His size does mean that he’s easily rubbed out of the play but his speed will always be an asset whoever he plays for. Sadly nobody keeps ice time statistics but I don’t think Heron will be disappointed with how much ice time he’s seen even if he’s not achieved his target of 15 goals that he set himself. I think he’s earned at least a bottle of Fanta for his efforts.
#65 Marek Dubec; The Beach Boys – I just wasn’t made for these times
I thought that was one of my better efforts on the song title front. My friend Ray and I disagree a bit on Dubec. Ray, despite being a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers is one of the smartest hockey people I know and he bemoaned the release of Dubec as he felt the Bison had released their best defensive forward. Whilst Ray is right, Dubec was arguably out best defensive forward, I do disagree slightly. You need your imports in the EPL to score points, Dubec didn’t look comfortable out there and wasn’t really scoring points when they were needed. He is a very good hockey player, his stats since he moved to France show that in the right place he’s a real asset to the team. He’s a good guy but he was the wrong guy at the wrong time. He played on, played hard despite knowing he was off and left with class.
#91 Ollie Bronnimann; Sleeping Sirens – The left side of everywhere
It’s not really a game of Bison hockey without Bronnimann coming off the left wing and firing a blistering wrist shot towards net. OK they don’t always go in but you can guarantee you’ll see it at least once, hence the song choice. It’s not been a good year for Bronnimann; poor form at the start of the season, decent in the middle and a groin injury at the end sees #91 looking at statistically his worst EPL season one year after his best ever season. He’s got less than half the points total of last season and from 34 goals which saw him top the Brit goal scoring charts to 10 goals this term. He played across all three lines in the great line shuffling extravaganza which likely didn’t help him either. Bronnimann’s a finesse player and that’s fine, not every player can go out and crash and bang like Chris Wiggins. To his credit on a line with Miller and Volrab he got stuck in and threw the occasional hit. I think, when it fired on all cylinders that was a decent first line. Me, being me am always likely to give people the benefit of the doubt and say this season is a blip for Bronnimann. You can’t, unless you’re super human, hit 100% all day every day. How Ollie bounces back may be a change of playing style or maybe even a change of team, I don’t know. Whatever happens, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him topping the scoring charts.
#92 Liam Chong; Bad Religion – Supersonic
Another song where you get no prizes for guessing why I picked it. The title is rather apt given the speed with which Chong blasts down the wing. (The lyrics don’t really apply but it is one of my favourite songs so do give this one a listen). Sitting down to write this meant trawling through the stats and I was shocked that Chong only had 12 points at the time of writing this. It seems crazy to think that when you consider the work ethic, speed and skill of the guy. His link up work with a variety of players, be it Heron or Kubenko or even Moria on occasions is good. Like Petran, I find Chong really entertaining to watch. I don’t think he had his best games guesting on defence though he obviously deserves praise for taking one for the team and playing back there when his skills are clearly go forward. Like Heron, his size does see him rubbed out of the play as well but what he doesn’t have in size he has in other areas. I’d happily see Chong back because I think this was his season of acclimatising to the EPL and I want to see what he does in 2012/13.
#93 Matt Colclough; The Gaslight Anthem – Great Expectations
Last one and possibly the most apt song title choice. I watched Colclough in the ENL last season with Wightlink and thought “he’d be useful at EPL level”. I don’t get many right but I got this one. Colclough found himself thrust into net more often than he might have expected when Skinns’ form started to fail. He’s not there yet but after Wall joined I felt a bit more confident because we seemed to have a good 1-2 punch in net. In Wall’s “Building the Herd” piece I talked about Milton Keynes and the Hollyhead/Mettam partnership that has worked so well for them and part of me wants to see that next season too. Whether Wall comes back or not remains to be seen but I think Colclough should be one of the first people we bring back because he has the potential to be superb in this league in the next year or two. He’s not had it all his own way and has looked shaky on occasions but that’s inexperience and that will go with time. I’d venture not many 21 year old British netminders will beat Guildford in their rookie EPL season. I expect to see a fair few #93 jerseys in the arena for 2012/13 if we can entice the young man to stay.
So folks that’s it, this rocking ride of musical fury is at an end. What will Banners On The Wall do? Well as with last year, once the season ends we shall be doing the annual “Curtain Down” review of the season where we’ll look at the whole 6 months. Hopefully I’m not writing this review on Monday. I can’t be there sadly due to family commitments but that’s not a big thing. Be loud and proud, wherever you are! See you in Coventry.