Have the Wheels Come Off for the Manchester Phoenix

Is there something going on at the EPL champions Manchester Phoenix this summer or is it just silly season? Looking the rumours it appears that many of its players are leaving and some of their top stars from last season have still not been spoken too.
The free scoring top line of Kristofferson, Huppe and Hand looks to be on the verge of breaking up with Kristofferson looking set to join the French Ligue Magnus after expressing his dissapointment that club hadn’t spoken to him about the new season. Worse still for the Manchester outfit top scorer Curtis Huppe looks to be joining main rivals the Guildford Flames. Other names such as second line center Greg Wood and assistant captain Pavel Gomenyuk are being linked to the Sheffield Steeldogs.
What is more worrying for the Phoenix faithful is that Greg Chambers who had been linked with the club since January seems set to join Huppe in Guildford.
There is potentially more bad news on the way as well as Elite League clubs are scrambling for British talent as their import quota drops to 10 for the forth coming season.
Head coach Tony Hand, who just penned a four year contract extension that should have stablised the club, is so far the only player to be confirmed for next season. Whilst Hand may not be worried saying that the best talent only comes available later on in the summer.
This is not any ordinary summer. With a lower import quota in the Elite League and the difficult financial enviroment players are wanting to sign up early. As last seasons top scorer swede Marcus Kristerofferson said with his second child due and wants to be sure where he is playing before then.
Hand may also be falling into his usual trap of not building on the team that he has. A look at any top side in the world will tell you that they are at the top because of stability throughout the side. The same players return year after year with a few additions. Yet Hand seems content to change most of his squad year on year not allowing for the team to connect. Even Sir Tony Hand surely has to admit that signing the leagues top scorer and best goalie is a no brainer at anytime of the summer.
There could of course be another explanation. Are the Manchester Phoenix about to take the place of Newcastle in the Elite League? Whilst very doubtful it does explain the fact they havent signed anyone yet. What is more likely is that Hand is playing the waiting game and this could cost the Manchester Phoenix their title.





Neil Tucker

Neil has written on ice hockey for many websites concentrating on British ice hockey mostly. Neil also covers ice hockey in other countries and organises his Blueliner Hockey Tour. A graduate of the Manchester Metropolitan University Neil turned his hand to hockey writing in 2009. As well as contributing on Blueliner Hockey Neil has contributed to Get Real Hockey and Slapshot Magasine.

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