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Hashimoto- the odd man out in Nikko?

11.14.04-Lost of hockey news to talk about so let's get straight to it. First, Yutaka Fukufuji has finally started playing for Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL. Yutaka has lost some ground on the team because he had to miss the start of the season to go to Canada to work out some work visa business. Also, the team picked up an AHL goalie and he has had the hot hand starting the first 5 games of the season going 5-0. That said just last week Yutaka finally got the nod and he did not disappoint winning his first start allowing 1 goal and keeping the Condors in a recent game with 41 saves before losing in a shootout.

Back in the Asia League Kokudo is up to their old tricks again starting to run away with 1st place with a record of 14-2-2. It's alos great to see Chris Yule back to his old self with 18 points in only 10 games since coming back from an injury. Ryan Fujita is also have to his best start in a couple seasons with 25 points. This team has way to much depth though. Recently Chris Bright, last year's MVP, missed 5 games due to a suspension and the team still didn't miss a beat. Consider this, Tomohiko Uchiyama has 16 goals. 5 more than the entire last place team Qiqihar!

How about Anyang Halla Winnia beating Golden Amur twice at home?! Even though Esa Tikkanen hasn't scored as much as hoped the team is greatly improved from last year and is solidly in the 4th and final spot for the playoffs.

Jiro Nihei has regained the form he had when with Kokudo with a 2.05 GAA with the Cranes, improving their chances as a darkhorse for the title.

What is going on with Oji Seishi and their goalies? The teams performance has been so disappointing that their coach Takagi was let go in mid-season, a rarity for hockey teams in Japan. they have much more talent than their record of 7-7-2 indicates.

It looks like GK Hashimoto might be the odd man out in Nikko with Masahito Haruna returning after spending last season with the Quad City Mallards of the CHL. I for one don't think that Nikko needed him. Hashimoto was doing a good job. Perhaps he is running out of gas or is injured (injures aren't publisized as much in Japan). Still, having Haruna would be better than counting on back-up Kiyokawa.

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