Unbelievable. Only 34 days remain until the preseason opens for the new NHL season. Clearly this is one of the few advantages of having a lock out; the summer has seemed shorter and hockey is right around the corner.
Speaking of shorter, today's countdown number, 34, is brought to you by one Andy Miele. Born in the USA, this Hobey Baker Memorial award winner posted an impressive number of assists last season with the Phoenix Coyotes' AHL affiliate, Portland Pirates. Thirty-four assists allowed Miele to be dubbed the "Mr. Congeniality" of the locker room, as helpfulness is an essential ingredient in making a team…a team.
Miele’s helpfulness extended to the main roster two seasons ago, when they had almost daily call ups of minor players to bolster an ailing roster. Appearing in seven games, Miele gave it the old college try in the big show and had some success. I distinctly remember his quickness and his eagerness to make his mark. Unfortunately, I also remember yelling at my TV when a few rookie mistakes begat a few bone headed penalties and just like that, Miele’s time in the NHL was cut short and he was back on a long flight back to Maine. He completed the rest of the season with the Pirates, finishing out 69 games with an impressive 16 goals and 38 assists.
Over the summer of 2013, due in part to his team leading number of assists and points in the AHL, Miele was signed to a one-year contract extension to remain with the team. "I’m glad to be back with the Coyotes organization," Miele said at the time, "I will continue to work hard and keep pursuing my dream of becoming an NHL player."
So that’s the skinny…and short…of the number 34.