2010 KILLINGWORTH GUPPIES SEASON PREVIEW

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By John Buccigross
Special to Killingworth-guppies.com

The Starting Line

2009 was a year to forget in Killingworth. Fans watched their beloved Guppies miss the playoffs in back to back seasons. A first for this storied franchise! There seems to be a lot more losing than winning in Guppies Nation the past few seasons. The "Blue Mile", the scene of many Guppie Championship celebrations in the past, seems like a ghost town these days! So, the big question for 2010 is: Can the Guppies turn things around and swim upstream again? A look at their roster and it's easy to see there's talent. However, it's old and in many cases out of shape! The hope in Killingworth is this team full of veterans can bounce back and lift this team back up to where it belongs. The front office seems to think the guys in the locker room can get it done, based on the fact that there were no off season moves. Let's hope they are right. Here is a breakdown of the 2010 Killingworth Guppies:

OFFENSE
Two players will be call upon to carry the offensive load for the 2010 Guppies. Tim Poulin (27 goals/35 points) and Keith Millen (28/45) will have carry the load for the Gupps. Their production was strong in 2009 but, they may need to do more if the Guppies are to change their fortunes. However, they can't do it alone! The supporting cast needs to chip in their fair share as well. Marc Crayton (5/17) needs to recapture that scoring magic he had in 2007 when he scored 17 goals. Secondary scoring will determine how far the Guppies swim this season.  Brian Mulcahy (2/13) is expected to move up from Defense this season and bring more offensive output with him. Meanwhile, Dave Armenai (2/6) will be asked to bring his physical presence this season.  If Crayton, Mulcahy, and Armenai can increase their goal production you can bet it will lead to the Guppies returning to the Playoffs.

DEFENSE
There will be some shake-ups on Defense this season. Rob Murphy (11goals/31points) will still be the Quarterback of the defensive corps and should provide strong defense while being an offensive threat. However, Brian Kelly (20/42) looks to be heading back to defense  after spending most of 2009 on the Guppies front line. Kelly can provide offense but, can be a liability in his own end. Just ask any Guppie's netminder! Jason Zito (8/25) is another forward converted into a defenseman for the Guppies. Zito plays the game much like Murphy. He has the ability to QB the play in either the offensive and defensive zone. Jon Stevenson (10/17) plays with a lot of fire in his game and can deliver the big time goal or the physical presence when it's most needed. The Youngest Guppie at age 30, Stevenson still has some speed in his legs and is capable to make a few end to end rushes! Dan Pequita (10/31) and Brian Blair (yes, that Brian Blair!) will be subs on the 2010 team. When they get the call they will most likely be on the Blue line. Pequita has a huge offensive upside while Blair is more of a defensive defenseman. The key for the Guppies defense will be to help out the offense while not selling out the defense. Its a tight rope act that they really haven't mastered in the past but, may be the difference between a playoff berth and another tshirtless season.

GOALTENDING
This has been a problem position for the Guppies for the past few years! There has been a rotating door in the Guppies net lately do to either injuries, schedules, and business trips. The Guppie's front office hopes to find this stability in net with Andy Pettola and Joe Linskey splitting time between the pipes. It's a rotation  they have hoped to have for a few season now but, it hasn't worked out. Is 2010 the year when the Guppies don't have six different goalies playing net? Having Linskey and Pettola between the pipes seems  to settle the Guppies bench, not that some of their replacements haven't done a great job. If Linskey and Pettola are unable to play, look for Guppie's netminder of the future Greg Marshall to get some playing time. Marshall is a solid netminder but, is still looking for his first Win with the Guppies.

KILLINWORTH GUPPIES

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LAST-SEASON REVIEW

2009 Record: 8-12-0
Division: The Spring 2009 Guppies finished in 7th place (3-7-0). Tied the team record for fewest wins and most games lost in a season. Summer 09 was a little better for the fish as they recorded 5 wins and finished in 5th place.
Playoffs:There were no Playoffs for Killingworth in 2009.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Goalie: Joe Linskey
Linskey posted a 4-6-0 record for the Guppies during the 2009 campaigns. His combined 6.60 GAA it the worst of his 14year career with the Fish. Linskey seems to finally be healthy which is good news to for everyone in "Guppie Nation"

Defenseman: Jon Stevenson

Stevenson can be a game changer! He's capable of scoring the "Big" goal or delivering the "Big" hit. His game is a throw back to 1970's hockey, which I love. Playing with a chip on his shoulder makes Stevenson a dangerous player.

Forward: Tim Poulin

TPo is arguably the Guppies purest goal scorer. At one point Poulin went 5 straight season's score more than 20 goals per. Twice he reached the 29goal mark. Poulin's issue is attendance! With him in the lineup the Guppies are by far a stronger team. If Tim can get at least 9 games per season then he should be able to top that 20 goal mark again.

MORE FROM BUCCI

The key to Guppies success is the ability to do the little things. To many times last season we saw a team that was unwilling to forecheck and backcheck. To many odd man rushes put to much pressure on Guppie netminders. The need to do more of the little things to win games.

Where They Will Finish

There's too much talent on this roster for the Guppies not to make the playoffs in 2010. I believe the Gupps might struggle in the Spring season, as they adjust to playing again, but they will make the playoffs. A more confident team will make a championship run during the 2010 Summer season.    -JB