Well, Snakes fans, hope you enjoyed seeing Steve Mele in a Snakes sweater. Nobody's sure when...or if...you will again.
It's with a jumble of emotions that I tell you that Steve has been loaned to the South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL). For how long? Nobody knows. Jerome said it will undoubtedly be through this weekend. Steve told me that he signed a contract today, will start playing and see what happens. Pretty simple philosophy, huh? haha
We shouldn't be surprised that Steve raised eyebrows as he's played so well since he's been here. He scored in 7 of his 10 games, 4 of which were multi-point games. He came in with a bang, scoring 4 goals and an assist in just his second game, a big road win in Louisiana. He's contributed 17 point in 10 games, well over the benchmark of a point per game.
I'm so happy for Steve to get this opportunity. The SPHL is a developmental league, designed to groom players for bigger and better things. Playing at a higher level is the goal of any athlete, so I'm glad that Steve is getting to showcase his skills in the ECHL.
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My concerns are two-fold. First of all, selfishly...I know!, he gave the Snakes offense a shot in the arm. Loved, loved, loved Matt Gingera, Dan Bremner and Steve on a line together. It was (is?) destined for great things.
The other things my cynical self worries about is that this is a genuine opportunity for Steve. I can't count the number of times players have gone up to either the CHL or ECHL but end up riding the bench. I hate that. Guys want to PLAY hockey, not watch it. My guess is that the timing of this call-up involves SC either losing something to injury or dealing with a call-up of their own. Steve should get plenty of playing time.
I'll keep an eye on Steve and let ya'all know how he's doing.
This, of course, will leave the Snakes shorthanded up front. Alex Gallant, who fortunately has skills other than fighting, will step in and the team will play with 9 forwards instead of 10. The tricky part, from Jerome's perspective, is whether or not to replace Steve on the roster. If this is going to be just a short-term move, he probably won't. If he hears from Steve or the SC coach that it could be a while, then he may. Either way, it's not a great thing to start juggling the lines again...sorry, make that still! It's Jerome's hobby, I believe...lol
This was supposed to be a nice, quiet Monday. Went to the rink to interview Dan and Mike Switzer for a story running on Friday. I ended up having a nice chat with Chris Bailer's and Kyle Johnson's dads. Both are visiting from snowy Canada and are enjoying our balmy 53-degree weather. It's -33 at home. You do the math. :)
Will keep ya'all informed about the Steve Mele situation.