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Deutsche Eishockey Liga in full swing

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I haven't paid much attention to the goings on in Germany's top league, the DEL, so here's a bit of a catch up so far.  The season started before everyone else, on September 3, and 37 games have already been played to date.  The league is definitely a popular one in Germany, drawing more fans to its games than any other European hockey league on average, save for Sweden's Elitserien.  It's easy to see why.  As was on display at this past year's IIHF World Championships, German fans bring a party atmosphere to the games, and can fill larger arenas with songs, chanting, disapproving whistling, and just pure joy.  Here's a very long form highlight reel from Friday's Eisbären Berlin home game against league leading Alder Mannheim, which was won by Berlin 3-2 in a shootout.

The spectacle is as much the show in Germany as the game itself.  The schedule had to undergo some late changes, partly due to Berlin unexpectedly walking away with the pre-season European Trophy, but also due to the late suspension of play by the Kassel Huskies, who filed for bankrputcy on August 27.  Financial uncertainty still plauges this league, but the top teams do very well for themselves.  Read up on the DEL on my European Hockey For Dummies entry from July. 

Perhaps the most recognizable name appeared in the video posted above, former NHL goaltender Fred Brathwaite, who plays for Mannheim.  He currently leads the league statistically in minutes played (438), wins (5), GAA (1.51) and save percentage (95.4%).  Goaltending is probably the most familiar position to the hockey fan, with names like Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Dmitiri Pätzold, Dennis Endras, Marc Lamothe, and Travis Scott all being at least moderately known around the hockey world.  The players are lesser known:  defensemen like Derrick Walser, Patrick Traverse, Sasha Goc, and Mario Scalzo are at least somewhat familiar to NHL fans, while leading scorers like Brad Leeb, Norm Milley, and Barry Tallackson definitely give off the smell that this is a league that is more than likely AHL caliber.  There aren't many hidden gems in the DEL, unfortunately, as the top German players rarely stand out from their more seasoned imports.

Join me after the break for a breakdown of the action to date (stats AND analysis this time).

Date
Home
Score
Away
Attendance
Sept 3/10
Alder Mannheim
4 : 3 (OT)
EHC München
9280
Sept 3/10
ERC Ingolstadt
1 : 2
Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers
4079
Sept 3/10
Straubing Tigers
1 : 2
Krefeld Penguins
4013
Sept 3/10
Hamburg Freezers
0 : 3
Kölner Haie
10873
Sept 3/10
Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg
1 : 3
Hannover Scorpions
3343
Sept 3/10
Iserlohn Roosters
5 : 2
DEG Metro Stars
4097
Sept 5/10
Alder Mannheim
2 : 1
Straubing Tigers
7680
Sept 5/10
Krefeld Penguins
2 : 5
Augsburger Panther
4025
Sept 5/10
Kölner Haie
3 : 5
ERC Ingolstadt
10098
Sept 5/10
Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers
5 : 2
Hamburg Freezers
4302
Sept 5/10
EHC München
5 : 3
Iserlohn Roosters
3133
Sept 5/10
Hannover Scorpions
3 : 2
DEG Metro Stars
3687
Sept 10/10
Eisbären Berlin
2 : 1 (OT)
Hannover Scorpions
14000
Sept 10/10
Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers
1 : 2
Straubing Tigers
4460
Sept 10/10
Kölner Haie
1 : 4
Augsburger Panther
9842
Sept 10/10
EHC München
4 : 1
Krefeld Penguins
2610
Sept 10/10
Iserlohn Roosters
6 : 2
ERC Ingolstadt
3081
Sept 10/10
DEG Metro Stars
3 : 0
Alder Mannheim
4508
Sept 12/10
Hamburg Freezers
4 : 1
EHC München
8477
Sept 12/10
Hannover Scorpions
4 : 3
Augsburger Panther
4107
Sept 12/10
Krefeld Penguins
4 : 5 (OT)
DEG Metro Stars
6011
Sept 12/10
Alder Mannheim
2 : 1
Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers
7635
Sept 12/10
Straubing Tigers
8 : 3
Iserlohn Roosters
3917
Sept 12/10
Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg
7 : 2
Kölner Haie
1881
Sept 12/10
ERC Ingolstadt
7 : 4
Eisbären Berlin
3295
Sept 17/10
Eisbären Berlin
3 : 2 (SO)
Alder Mannheim
13500
Sept 17/10
ERC Ingolstadt
7 : 2
Hannover Scorpions
3076
Sept 17/10
Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg
5 : 3
Hamburg Freezers
2327
Sept 17/10
Iserlohn Roosters
2 : 3
Krefeld Penguins
3391
Sept 17/10
DEG Metro Stars
3 : 7
Augsburger Panther
3802
Sept 17/10
Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers
2 : 1
Kölner Haie
3741
Sept 19/10
Eisbären Berlin
3 : 2
Iserlohn Roosters
13900
Sept 19/10
Hannover Scorpions
3 : 5
Hamburg Freezers
3738
Sept 19/10
EHC München
2 : 4
Thomas Sabo Ice TIgers
3438
Sept 19/10
Krefeld Penguins
4 : 1
ERC Ingolstadt
2730
Sept 19/10
Straubing Tigers
2 : 5
Augsburger Panther
4289
Sept 19/10
Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg
1 : 2 (SO)
Alder Mannheim
1922

 

I failed to make room for the latest result on my chart...  Alder Mannheim won yesterday's home game against Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg by the identical score of 2-1 in a shootout in the rematch of Sunday's game in front of 6021 fans. 

You may notice that Augsburger Panther has only played road games to date, and yet has been highly successful so far.  This strong start (a goal differential of +12 in 5 road games), coupled with the fact that they narrowly lost in the Finals last year to the Hannover Scorpions leads me to believe they're the best team out there.  It's a great omen for a club that has never won a national championship despite being the oldest club team in the country.  They boast some of the league's best players:  Tallackson, Darin Olver, Grant Stevenson, Noah Clarke, and Kyle Wanvig lead the attack, and they have the 2010 IIHF World Championship All-Star goaltender Dennis Endras making the saves.  That being said, they have 5 shooters with over 30% shooting percentage, so it'll be interesting to see how it goes long term for them.

Alder Mannheim leads the league, but only have won once in regulation so far, and are relying on an incredible performance from Brathwaite to help them win low scoring games (and the shootout, too).  Expect them to slip in the standings a bit, while teams like the Ice Tigers, Hannover, and Berlin step up.

Hat Tricks:  Barry Tallackson, Augsburger Panther; Marvin Tepper, Krefeld Penguins.

OT Winners:  Yannic Seidenberg, Alder Mannheim; Jens Baxmann, Eisbären Berlin; Andrew Hedlund, DEG Metro Stars.

Leading Scorers:  Darin Olver, Augsburger Panther (5 goals, 9 points); Norm Milley, Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg (2 goals, 9 points); Brad Leeb, Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers (1 goal, 9 points); Brett Engelhardt, Hamburg Freezers (5 goals).

Shutouts:  Adam Dennis, Kölner Haie; Jean-Sebastien Aubin, DEG Metro Stars.

First Goals:  Matthias Plachta, Alder Mannheim.