Goodnight and Good Luck – Alex SymondsPosted: 27/04/2013
With Joe Miller’s announcement on Thursday, it was greeted with the news this morning that his fellow countryman Alex Symonds will not be returning for the 2013/14 campaign with the Bison.
What have we lost?:
In Symonds, the Bison had a top end British defenceman. He wasn’t a high scoring player but he was a high quality, defensively solid player who played a vital role in the Bison’s success. The good thing with Symonds was his consistency. He was a 60 minute player in games and, whilst not error free because nobody is error free, could be relied upon to give very good performances night in and night out. This only improved at the tail end of the season and especially in the playoffs where his play earned him 2 out of the 3 man of the match awards from the Bison’s games in a rare example of them being done correctly. Whilst rarely used on the powerplay due to the five forward strategy that Sheppard used, he was a player that could play in all situations and appeared on the second powerplay unit, the PK and pretty much everywhere.
Where has he gone?:
Alex has “done a Lyle” and moved closer to home by joining the Swindon Wildcats who also announced the departure of former Bison defenceman, Joe Baird.
Symonds iced for the Wildcats in the 2006/07 season.
Who replaces him?:
As we’ve signed no defenceman yet, then technically nobody but Coach Sheppard will have something up his sleeve, including recent rumours that he’s tapping some of his old Elite League contacts in a quest to coax players to come to the EPL.
Whilst the article in the Swindon Advertiser (http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/sport/icehockey/10384097.Symonds_in_at_Wildcats_as_Baird_exits/) makes it look like that Symonds is a replacement for Baird, he’s more a replacement for the Dundee bound Paul Swindlehurst in my opinion. Given his performances over the last couple of seasons Symonds has, at least at EPL level, earned the right to be a team’s number one British defenceman and that’s what I think he becomes at Swindon unless they have massively upped their budget.
Whilst many point to the injury to Reynolds as the incident that cost Bison the EPL title, it was the injury that Symonds suffered that proved just as costly because it depleted the defence so much the depth the Bison had on defence vanished. When Fojtik went, Symonds stepped up his game and his icetime. When Reynolds went down injured, he responded again to carry more of the load but when he went down injured, it cost us.
I like Symonds as a player and would have had him back in a heartbeat but, as with Lyle the chance to play closer to home has proven a big lure along with whatever plans Ryan Aldridge has up his sleeve at the Link Centre. Such is hockey, such is life sometimes. Some people will see this as a bad sign that the Bison have lost such a high quality defenceman but Sheppard has pulled aces from up his sleeve before and he can do so again.
Thanks for your efforts Alex and all the best at Swindon, just not against us.