Soundin' Off -- the lifeboat

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

New defenseman

Not that it fills in all the gaps that need filling -- late word that Rick Berry is probably out Friday -- but Bridgeport is bringing in defenseman Dustin VanBallegooie* from Fresno on a pro tryout. Teammate of Jamie Johnson and Brandon Nolan with Oshawa. And good gravy, as the Fresno release reveals: He's a righty.

*-"VAN-BELL-uh-GOO-ee," says Fresno's Web site.

See you Friday (not you)

Which way to lead this one. Let's go future first:

--Jamie Fraser's X-rays apparently came back clean. He'll miss another week or two, but that's a lot better than was initially feared.

--Robert Nilsson has been assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Well, see you Friday...

When does the traded set come out?

Jeff Tambellini and Blake Comeau join some guy named Nilsson in the AHL's Top Prospects card set.


It had occurred to me a couple of times this year to try to come up with a nickname for 7-51-9, knowing full well that such things are lightning in a bottle and I'd probably used up my luck for a long while with last year's 15-24-58. I had the thought again Sunday but put it aside for the future.

Well, if ever, it'll be the distant future now.

I got Robert not long after the deal happened, and at that point he wasn't sure where Edmonton wanted him to report; he hadn't even talked to them yet. We didn't catch up again. WBS hadn't heard whether he might go there, but imagine walking in there Friday and seeing him on the other side?

A bit surprised to hear how far O'Marra had slipped in the Islanders' feelings. When I asked around last weekend about whether he'd show up if Saginaw finished before Bridgeport, there wasn't a lot of exuberance. Could have been a tip.

Here's the Oilers release on the Isles-Oilers trade. It read to me as something like, "Oh my goodness, we just did what?" Greg Logan comments on that tone in a piece on how it happened. Gare Joyce also comments on his blog. And I'm an idiot (that's not news): the story has Smyth as Edmonton's captain. Duh: That's Jason Smith.

Liked this from Damien Cox on his Toronto Star blog: "The new collective bargaining agreement, after all, was supposed to allow teams like the Oilers to keep their stars after losing them for years." Nope -- just make 'em work cheaper.

So now we'll wait on Clear Day. Early indications are that Bridgeport isn't looking to do anything. But there's a few hours left.

ATL: Hershey net-swapped Jonas Johansson to Grand Rapids for Scott Barney (all AHL assignments, no real trade). And Lindsay Kramer's blog has gotten more blog-like at blog.syracuse.com/crunch/.

(A little late after pinch-hitting on a desk shift. With Dave Agostino covering Kolbe Cathedral and yours truly on the phone, we were an Ian Powers away from making it 1999 again...)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

As a consolation prize...

... the Isles did assign Chris Campoli and Bruno Gervais to Bridgeport before 3, then recalled them. They'll be eligible for the Clear Day list.


Greg Logan breaks Nilsson, O'Marra and a pick for Ryan Smyth.

Early deadline

So there's apparently little recognition of the Deadline in Denver, because I've been summoned to some kind of workshop today at 2.

There's no word of anything from the Isles yet today.

The Thrashers took Jason Krog back from the Rangers and lost Denis Hamel to Philly and Niko Kapanen to Phoenix, says the AJC. WBS lost Noah Welch in the Gary Roberts trade and Daniel Carcillo in the Georges Laraque trade. And we'll see what happens from here.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Three games

That's what Fata got. The first two were served at Lowell and against Hartford, so he'll sit Friday at WBS and be eligible to return a week later at home against WBS.

Depth or domino?

Richard Zednik to the Isles for a second-rounder.


While we wait on all fronts... One of those once-every-coupla-years things from yesterday. In Purinton's seven minutes of penalties, which comes first, the minor or the major?

Turns out (Rule 20.1, second paragraph):

When one player or goalkeeper receives a major penalty and a minor penalty at the same time, the major penalty shall be served first by the penalized player (or substitute for the goalkeeper), except under Rule 19.2 where coincidental major penalties are in effect, in which case the minor penalty shall be recorded and served first."

Since Rule 19.2 was not in effect: Had Bridgeport scored 30 seconds in, the power play would continue with 6:30 on the penalty clock. Had it scored 5:01 in, the whole thing would be over.

(Thanks to Jason Chaimovitch at the league office for confirmation. I'm pretty sure this has happened and we've looked this up once before in a BST game, but I couldn't find it...)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

It's over (the 8-in-10 part)

There's at least one player who played today who would have sat and rested an injury under better circumstances. Jeff Tambellini wasn't here for most of this, but he even called 8-in-10 "ridiculous." And after all of this, they had to go with five defensemen. So I'm not the only one happy to see this stretch end.

Still... Nothing got done in the first; Brad Isbister outshot them. The Islanders dropped a couple of pointmen in their laps, but they still only scored once on a seven-minute power play, needing a five-on-three to do that. They hit three posts in the third period, but that still wouldn't have been enough.

From the infirmary, where even John Sullo's sick: Brandon Nolan has a broken rib and will miss anywhere from two to six weeks. Jamie Fraser has an appointment tomorrow to get X-rays on his thumb. (Drew Fata has a different kind of appointment tomorrow.) Jeremy Colliton's shoulder just couldn't take eight in 10. Blake Comeau may skate toward the end of the week.

The lead's down to five, and Albany has three games in hand. Yep, this is a darn good time to reset.

So a couple of things we think we know coming up to the magic deadlines, Tuesday up top (Keith Tkachuk's a Thrasher) and Thursday down here:

Greg Logan says Robert Nilsson would be called up if Jason Blake gets traded, so it's nice to hear that people down there are listening to the people down here. Obviously a move like that could affect the Clear Day list in other ways.

Sergei Ogorodnikov, who's on a point-a-game pace in the Coast, will be back by the end of the year, possibly even in the Clear Day mix; Mike Mole will be back, too.

Whether they go right back up or not, Tambellini and Frans Nielsen are just about Clear Day list locks. It looks very unlikely that Chris Campoli or Bruno Gervais would get shipped down.

Defensemen Dustin Kohn and Andrew MacDonald are the most likely draft picks to land in BST sweaters when their junior seasons end. Ryan O'Marra is possible, too. I threw out the Kyle Okposo pipe dream -- c'mon, kid, who needs an education? -- but was told that wouldn't happen.


Now back to your regularly scheduled Sunday.

F: Tambellini-Nielsen-Nilsson
Regier-G. Johnson-Boguniecki
Marjamaki-J. Johnson-Nokelainen
D: Malec-Berry ('A')
Martens-Wotton (C)
Rourke (A)

F: Dawes-Helminen-Moore
(Bahensky-scratch)-Isbister (A)-Lessard
D: Liffiton (A)-Potter
Purinton (A)-Taylor

Hey, how about this unit: Comeau-Colliton-Nolan, Fraser-Fata? That's what was in the suites today. Wanna toss Cullen or Ferraro in there instead? Go ahead, though you'll have to scratch a veteran with the latter.

Berry had a phantom A.

Maybe I'm getting old and prudish, but what's with the "Everybody, Wolf Pack s......" thing they broke out today? (I've got no problem with fans chanting it, but it's another thing for the team to encourage it, if you get my meaning...)

Fire Department defeated the Police Department 10-4.

Best wishes to Fredrik Olausson, who needs a liver transplant, the AP reports.

When the Rangers game faded out on me Saturday night on the way down the Wilbur Cross (y'know, 1050, you can't get it if you get too close to NYC), I flipped over to FM... and found Psychotic Reaction and Double Shot (of My Baby's Love back to back. It's not only an accidental meta-reference, but it was like radio as programmed from above by Andrew Rogers. (But then it went to "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell, not by Gloria Jones, and the seek button didn't find me "Louie Louie." Oh well.)

Had the Rangers kept playing the way they had been playing before the game faded out on me, incidentally, they'd have won 15-0.

Dumb thought that passed through the head on the way home, passing the shut-down Showcase Cinemas in Milford: Wouldn't it be funny if somebody put a drive-in there?

BTW, one great misspeak: The Lowell PA announcer accidentally called Bridgeport's captain "Mark Whiten" before quickly correcting himself. We always knew he was hard-hittin', but...

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Is it over yet?

Quick one, 'cause I wanna get out of the UMass-Lowell peoples' way...

This team is banged up. It needs to find ways to score, yeah (goal-scorer Frans Nielsen will help with that eventually, perhaps), but it played all right defensively except for, really, the goals. They broke down, and the puck ended up in their net. This may be a case of the breaks evening out from those 50-shot nights?

Fraser left with an apparent thumb injury, and the way he threw his head back in pain when John Sullo touched it on the bench didn't look good. Brandon Nolan's going to be evaluated. And of course Fata's out.

We'll see if they can fill in tomorrow. And then it'll be a nice few days off.

F: Nilsson-Regier-Boguniecki
Marjamaki-Colliton (A)-J. Johnson
Pitton-G. Johnson-Nokelainen
D: Malec-Berry
Wotton (C)-Fraser
Rourke (A)-Martens

F: Ryznar-Pihlman (A)-Marshall
Murphy (A)-Foster-Tallackson
D: Greene-Harant
McGillis (C)-(Miller-scratch)

Lowell did "Deal or No Deal" with prizes written under pucks on the ice in the first intermission. Offers included autographed sticks, flex packs; there was a season-ticket package among the pucks on the ice. Guy walked away with four tickets to a future game.

Short version: Yes indeed, this was the longest Sound Tigers streak in which neither team has scored a power-play goal. (Previous: four games, Jan. 22-29, 2003.) Six games without a PPG tied Bridgeport's longest streak in games, though not in chances, without a power-play goal. This is seven games without allowing a PPG; Bridgeport went eight games to end the 2003-04 season without allowing a PPG, 36 chances.

Apologies for typos. Maybe more after the drive.

Selling short

So Drew Fata is out pending league review*, which probably won't come until Monday. And Brandon Nolan is out with an injury he suffered in the third period Friday. Jamie Johnson and Tomas Malec will be back in, but Peter Ferraro is the likely veterans scratch: Bridgeport will be one short today.

But the coaches were quite interested to see the scoring on the first Islanders goal today: Tambellini 2 (Nielsen, Park), 2:43. Edit after two periods there: That box score just got more BST related... Frans Nielsen's first in the Show.

*-Here's today's Times Union story. Couldn't find the other two.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Capital punishment

Well, at least it's a rivalry.

This thing right now runs from the hospitality room (where Bridgeport's staff was kept out tonight after Albany's was turned away Tuesday from Bridgeport's, but that's a longer story than we'll deal with now) to the ice, where Drew Fata might well be suspended by tomorrow afternoon.

Things got so ugly that security told the Albany equipment guys to keep me out of the Bridgeport room, thinking I was Albany media, thinking even THAT might stir the pot. Funny.

But anyway.

Like the other night, this didn't really seem all that different from the past few games -- turnovers, odd-man rushes, what, these are new? -- but the puck's going in now. Wade Dubielewicz said he feels like teams are going to the back door a lot more. He's square to the shooter, he said, but the guy is passing instead of shooting. "It's tough on a goalie. You don't want to second-guess yourself."

Uninspired first 34 minutes, then a crazy next six, then Albany takes its first lead on a second-effort by Matt Murley to get it to Keith Aucoin down low. And then there's a three-on-two 99 seconds later, and everybody's a step slow, and Pat Dwyer tucks it in.

And then Fata hit Aucoin at the buzzer. Jamie Koharski gave him a match penalty, which means automatic fine, automatic review and usually automatic suspension. I squeezed in a little of what Tom Rowe told the Albany reporters, but seek out their reports in the morning, 'cause it went on and on.

Anyway, things were over by then.

"We're moving in the right direction," Steve Regier said. "I don't think -- there's just little things. There's not one giant thing everyone can see why we're losing. It's just little things: turnovers, relying on the goaltender. Those are the two big things. Little things, and correctable things."

Dubielewicz: "We've got to start playing a better, more-simple game, or else it's going to continue."

F: Nilsson-Regier-Boguniecki
Marjamaki-Colliton (A)-Nolan
Pitton-G. Johnson-Nokelainen
D: Fata-Berry
Wotton (C)-Fraser
Rourke (A)-Martens

F: Murley-Aucoin (C)-Laaksonen
McLeod-Gove (A)-McCormick (A)
D: Cumiskey-Babchuk

Fraser's PTO was up after tonight, but word is he's getting an NHL deal to stay here.

Here's an oddity, and I'd look up previous highs if I wasn't on the Incredible Crashing Work Computer (three times so far): Neither the Sound Tigers nor their opponents have scored a power-play goal in the past six games. The only special-teams goal in that span -- which includes 41 power-play chances -- is Matt Davis' short-handed goal for Philadelphia on Wednesday. Shoot the puck, Regier said, too fancy. Sounds familiar.

'Tis indeed Bingo next year for the All-Star Game, dates TBA.

Nice story on the morning skate from Lindsay Kramer up in Syracuse. (Tip o'cap to Patrick Williams)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

All-, three-stars picks?

There's a press conference scheduled for tomorrow night in Binghamton for a major AHL announcement. Hmm... (Though the last time I "hmm"ed, it was an affiliation extension in Milwaukee. But that one is already done in Bingo...)

And Edit: Carolina and Albany have extended their agreement through 2009.

Now then... Just a little curiosity poll. Unscientifically, there seems to be a trend toward the home team sweeping the three stars after a win. Seems like the Rangers and Islanders have both been on that bandwagon awhile. Lately, the same thing has happened with the Sound Tigers; Bill Ballou notes it from afar today in his weekly column (near the end).

At Harbor Yard, we (usually) vote for the three stars. At least, the media does; I'm pretty sure the radio broadcasters do, too. My experience is often rather like the one Sam Weinman related in his blog back in November, though I try to have a little thought process going by the start of the third, just because I've got to have three stars and an unsung hero picked for print by the time I send my first story.

There are times I've got three names picked with with full confidence. There are times I've got little idea, pick three likely names and let the vote influence what I end up picking for print. Other times I've got four names for three spots and agonize as long as I can over that last spot. I try to avoid the goalie/goalie/game-winner trap, though sometimes it works out that way. Deadlines play a role in how long I agonize, too, because if I've got to send right after the game, then the gamer takes priority.

It's a big deal to me --in that hockey-tradition sense -- and I want to get it as "right" as possible, while giving sentimentality its due. To me that includes giving the visiting team a fair shake, and if it's a close game, there has to be a compelling reason to exclude one team from the three stars.

So it feels weird in 2-1 and 1-0 games to see one team sweeping. Here, I guess, is my question: Does it feel weird to you, or is even this little wonderment an overreaction?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Well, that was ugly.

This was Game 5 in six nights, let's not forget, part of a lovely eight-in-10 and 15-in-24; it comes after a big Albany game and before a big Albany game and has "letdown" written in big, shiny letters...

Or not.

But even so, if just one of those five ridiculous scoring chances on the first power play goes in, this one might have been a different story.

Now, this one can become a concern Friday or Saturday. If this begins a trend, if the breaks have all evened out and it's tipping the other direction, it's petrifying. But let that happen first.

It's not like this one was all that different from some other recent ones, with the possible exception that the power play looked really good for a minute-24 but didn't score. Couple of turnovers. Shots against in bunches. They just happened to lose this one.

They'll take a day to regroup -- it's picture day -- and then come back Friday for another big Albany tilt. And with 25 to go, they start all getting big.

F: Nilsson-Colliton (A)-Boguniecki
Pitton-J. Johnson-Nolan
G. Johnson/Magowan
D: Fata-Berry
Wotton (C)-Fraser
Malec-Rourke (A)

F: Kane (A)-Potulny-Dimitrakos
D: Slaney (C)-Guenin
Grenier-Baumgartner (A)

Philly has a point in all four games of this series.

Wilkes-Barre came from behind in the third to tie Hershey, so the Penguins are 11 points up on Bridgeport with a game in hand. Albany has two games in hand on Bridgeport, and the Sound Tigers' lead is still nine. Philly is 12 back of Bridgeport and three back of Albany but has played a game more than Bridgeport. And Hershey coughed up a lead in the third but still beat Wilkes-Barre, so the Bears are four ahead of the Penguins and 15 ahead of the Sound Tigers.

Neat to have to go through the Notre Dame-Fairfield coaching staff to get to the dressing rooms tonight. Zingoni has himself 12 goals and an AHL deal, keeps getting better. "Me personally, I'm just playing with a lot more confidence," he said. He looks it.

And Hugh Jessiman's back in Hartford, restoring one more southern-Connecticut player to the AHL. You know the motto: Taking over the AHL one player at a time.

Kjell Samuelsson apparently picked up a bug along the way, so Joey Mullen ran the show tonight for Philly.

Rockford seems to be getting closer.

Saving grace

(breaking out a comment)

Justin F asked back on Yep:

Hey I was thinking about how many games this year Dubie has been making alot of saves and was wondering who holds the franchise record for most saves in a season and if there is any chance of Dubie breaking that record this season?

Interesting thought... the number itself is 1,407, by Rick DiPietro in 2001-02; Dubielewicz comes into tonight's start with 1,011, so he needs 396; at a conservative 30 saves a game, that's possible in 13-plus games.

But DiPietro did that in 59 games. If you break it down like goals-against average (saves per 60 minutes played), that DiPietro season is in the bottom third. Here's what the Top 5 in that fake "SA" stat looks like, coincidentally the only ones so far over 30 (apologies in advance, 'cause I'm sure this table won't work right):

St. Germain02-03329:3216631.08

(Sixth is Madden last year, 29.71.)

Where do this year's goalies stand? Thompson 33.05; Dubielewicz 32.23.

Yep --

Nielsen's back up top. Looks like Jamie Johnson's back in tonight.


For a while, this felt like an old Albany game.

The way the Devils play the matchup game, lines hopping off at the opening draw to avoid a checking line or a certain set of defensemen? Even with new affiliates, that was the beginning of this one, when Tom Rowe tried to keep Keith Aucoin away from Drew Fata and Rick Berry.

Bridgeport kept getting them on, though, every shift, all night. And except for one Fata turnover on a change, it worked just fine.

"You look at New Jersey, look at the Islanders, all the top teams now, they have to have goaltending and defense," Dan Marshall said. "We haven't given up an on-ice goal, a real five-on-five goal, in two games. Hats off to those guys. They were ready to go."

It looked like Frans Nielsen might be going back up. He left a nice present behind, that own-rebound goal after the initial shot hit a stick.

Eric Boguniecki made a goal-scorer's play to give the Sound Tigers the lead.

And Bridgeport kept some pressure on, and Dubielewicz stopped everything.

The lead's nine points, minus a game in hand. Since the New Year's Eve Massacre, that's a 17-point swing.

F: Nilsson-Nielsen-Boguniecki
Pitton-Colliton (A)-Nokelainen
G. Johnson/Magowan
D: Fata-Berry
Wotton (C)-Fraser
Malec-Rourke (A)

F: Murley-Aucoin (C)-Laaksonen
McLeod-Gove-McCormick (A)
D: Cumiskey-Babchuk

Might put that first Albany line against any in the league.

There was a bit of Magowan-Johnson-doubleshiftingforward against Aucoin's line, no fewer than three times, plus two other instances where Magowan joined other forwards. They performed admirably.

Good Marshall line: "I'm just managing rest. I'm not managing ice time."

Heads-up play by Brandon Nolan... before the game started. As you can see, the Sound Tigers tweaked their lineup a bit. Didn't ask who filled out the lineup card, but whoever did, probably out of force of habit, circled the numbers of Marjamaki, Regier and... Nokelainen. When Nolan heard Adam Goodman (also back from the NHL) announce Nokelainen's name instead of his, he skated over to the bench to check with Jack Capuano. Capuano checked the card, saw the circle, and sent Nokelainen on. Nokelainen hopped off right after the draw (as did Aucoin's line), but they had saved a two-minute penalty.

Bridgeport wore the thirds, but one sweater was unique: Tomas Malec's No. 12 sweater was from the first set of the season and had black numbers on his sleeves, while everyone else's was from the second and had white numbers on the sleeves.

Dubielewicz had been 4-for-4 on penalty shots for Bridgeport; the Sound Tigers had been 8-for-8 (Mole 1/1, Valiquette 1/1, Kochan 2/2).

The Sound Tigers are 5-2 at home on Tuesdays*. Tuesdays on the road? 0-4. What do those numbers mean? Nothing.

Edit: Kevin Mitchell ist da! (As always, Babelfish it for translating fun. "Fishing rods and bowling must line up first in the back," indeed.

*-Almost forgot Dec. 26.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Double Dip

This was a good game to have on a Sunday, with a Monday off and a Tuesday game. There was enough in there for a couple of stories, and then it's just a matter of which one do you go with first?

Went with Thompson this time and his picking up the shutout, especially once Rick Berry basically handed me the quote. We'll talk penalty kill in the Tuesday advance.

Both teams had played three in three, both had to come from a couple of hours away Saturday night, so there wasn't a whole lot of crackle, but there was enough at the right times, like a PK that punished the Penguins physically and limited them to an insignificant amount of offensive chances.

And that left Thompson, who not only made the regular ones but has started to make the big ones routinely. Yes, if Carcillo elevates the puck, it's probably a goal; yes, if Jacques doesn't shoot back toward him, it's probably a goal, and earlier on that play, if Noah Welch doesn't only get partial wood on the initial shot there on the low three-on-one, that could be a goal, too. The difference: While you could never fault Thompson's effort, he's making those saves. And that's only good for the Sound Tigers.

F: Nilsson-Colliton (A)-Magowan
Pitton-J. Johnson-Nolan
G. Johnson/Ferraro
D: Malec-Berry
Wotton (C)-Fraser
Rourke (A)-Martens

F: Carcillo-Spurgeon-Filewich
Brookbank-Schremp-Bonvie (A)
D: Lannon-Carkner (A)
Welch-DuPont (A)

No idea why there wasn't a penalty when Wotton got hit touching up an icing, especially when he was cut. A similar play drew a boarding major on Blake Comeau in the game after Christmas.

On the other hand, didn't see the Regier play that turned into the cross-checking major. His disbelief makes me wonder. And the funny part was, after DuPont supposedly suffered an injury on the cross-check, the Penguins tried to start him on the power play.

Official word on Ferraro from Saturday night was an elbow acting up. The talk was that he was a game-time decision today, too.

So the Isles improved their defensive depth without swiping from the Sound Tigers, picking up Marc-Andre Bergeron and a draft pick from Edmonton for the rights to Denis Grebeshkov. In a little more than a month, that's two guys who had basically become unpersons around here for Tomas Malec and MAB. Not bad.

I think of Bergeron, I think of May 20, 2002, and Raffi Torres scoring the third-period goal that was going to put the Sound Tigers into the Calder Cup Final, sneaking away from Bergeron to beat Marc Lamothe. Only itsy-bitsy problem was that Peter Sarno scored 43 seconds later, and Louie DeBrusk -- Louie DeBrusk? -- scored in overtime. (Raffi recovered, though.)

Fraser didn't play the first. It sounds like a minor thing, nothing to worry about.

The line to see Bruno Gervais was pretty darn long.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Time keeps on slippin'

No idea about lineups or injuries or anything, really. Long story. Which I'll tell shortly.

Boguniecki I'd guess is arm of some sort. It looked like it got jammed in the first period Friday, not long after Comeau left. Honestly, even though he was icing it, I thought he looked well enough after he got hurt that I didn't even think to ask Friday night.

I remember Ken Magowan as quite well-regarded out of training camp. It sounded like he and Jamie Johnson were the two guys closest to sticking, if there had been room. He's the fourth BST player to wear 18. Since there's almost no other content in here, who can name the other three?

As for taking Fata, the interest in the kid among the brass goes beyond just Ted Nolan. Couldn't tell you a thing about the Islanders game tonight, either, except that Greg Logan's blog before the game had them shopping hard for a defenseman, and it had a good bit with Fata.

So the six-game winning streak is over, as is the 12-game winning streak against the City of Lowell, but the seven-game home winning streak remains going into Sunday. If Boguniecki can go, his six-game scoring streak will also be intact.


Was granted the day today to attend a special occasion. Sunday is my grandfather's 95th birthday. The family put together a big party for him that turned into a family reunion. Cousins flew in from Florida and from Minnesota, drove up from Maryland. The Little Punk in Illinois even flew home. It was quite a special day for a guy who grew up watching the Americans. (That's the New York Americans. Ask him about Ching Johnson.)

So all I know about the BST game tonight, I learned from the box score at about 2:30 a.m. But from the realm of "I can't get away from BST even when I'm away from BST," I was chatting with my second cousin, typical stuff, talking about the jobs. And he mentioned that, back in college, the hockey team had won a championship but had it taken away, and how his buddy the sports editor needed someone to take the beat, and this guy talked him into it. And the team was pretty good that year, too, and some other things happened at the end of that year...

It clicked in my mind. I asked him where'd he go to college, again?


I nodded. Remember Dan Marshall and Joe Ferras?

Can't get away.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Bandaged up right

Absence creates opportunity, blah blah blah, we've heard it all before, right?

Well, get your Johnson and Johnson lines in. If I was a better writer, the gamer would have been either more focused on what I led with, or more focused on the Johnson boys.

Blake Comeau went down with what's apparently a sprained ankle ("upper-body injury," Colliton prodded him to say, but Comeau walked out under his own power, albeit with one well-protected foot), and he'll be evaluated today. That opened up room for Gregg, usually, in Comeau's spot in the middle, with Jamie filling in at times; they got a couple of shifts together, as usual.

Including the last minute of the game, defending against six attackers.

Jack Capuano's quote about it is in the paper, but it worked out nicely there. They got the puck deep, Gregg Johnson forced the defender to turn it over to Brandon Nolan, and Nolan gave it to Jamie Johnson for his first as a Sound Tiger.

Jamie had earlier drawn a man on a three-on-two, giving Brandon Nolan a two-on-one that he turned into a goal.

Drew Fata went up after the game. That would have created opportunity for Kevin Mitchell, but he's off to Germany to play the rest of the season with Alan Letang and Shooter Smyth in Hamburg. Absence creates opportunity. Just not, unluckily, for Mitchell.

F: Nilsson-Colliton (A)-Boguniecki
G. Johnson/J. Johnson
D: Fata-Berry
Wotton (C)-Fraser
Malec-Rourke (A)

F: Minard-Pelley (A)-Clarkson
Murphy (A)-Davis-Tallackson
D: Greene-Miller
Magnan-Mottau (A)

Grant Marshall immediately slid up to Gionta's spot and started with the other two.

Wilkes-Barre, Albany and Philadelphia all got two points tonight, so hey, Bridgeport gained ground on Hershey. (17 points, if you're keeping score.) Norfolk 81, Hershey 74, WBS 71, Bridgeport 57, Albany 50, Philly 45, Binghamton 37. With, yes, two months to go. A lot can happen in two months. Just ask Bridgeport.

Fine piece by Chad Finn over at The Baseball Analysts about Strat-O-Matic Baseball.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

He's an artist

As seen over on the Uni Watch blog, check out what Alex Ovechkin has on the tape of his sticks.

From practice, two lines were different: Marjamaki-Regier-Nokelainen and Pitton-Comeau-Nolan. From the Midwest, Milwaukee and Nashville have extended their affiliation until 2010. And from Virginia, Mike Jarmuth signed a PTO with Norfolk and played Wednesday night.

And while I haven't heard anything about a rebroadcast, the next best thing to watching Ed Campbell on The Price Is Right is reading Bill Ballou's story about Eddie on the show. (Spoilers, obviously)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Darned axis of evil

The President's news conference pre-empted Cap'n Eddie's episode of The Price Is Right, at least on Ch. 2. Got an e-mail in to see if it'll air at another time. Meanwhile, we should all write Kim Jong Il a letter, telling him how angry we are.*

All was status quo at practice; same lines and everything.

Couple of ATL notes: Stephen Valiquette got the call to the Rangers with Weekes on IR. WBS-Syracuse is off for tonight because of the weather. Edit: And as I post, Hartford-Lowell has been called. And you've gotta check out Newsday's gamer and read Frans Nielsen's quote. Further edit while I still have the page up: Jason Goulet was reassigned to Cincinnati as part, it appears, of a larger ECHL trade.

*-Team America: World Police. Would link to the quotes, but y'know, this is a family blog.

Monday, February 12, 2007

One note per save

Once again, I hope this post goes home shortly. Thanks for your patience.

Billy Thompson stopped 33 Binghamton shots -- a game's worth, one might say -- before the Senators finally solved him. Here's one random thought per stop:

1) Bridgeport's out of last place on the power play. Yeah, really: All the way up to 25th. The percentage jumped from 13.8 to 14.4 today.

2) The power play has scored in six games in a row, a decent accomplishment for a unit that has had long stretches without results. Jack Capuano talked today about putting Mark Wotton on that top unit with Nilsson and Boguniecki and Regier, because he gets the puck to the net. He did it on two of the three power-play goals.

3) Naturally, we had to go to Capuano because Wotton wasn't going to talk about himself in anything close to positive terms, even indirectly. It's an admirable trait that, y'know, aggravates a writer.

4) Thompson said he did have it on his mind that Binghamton had beaten him twice, and he wanted to get one. He seemed more concerned about his own teammates than his old teammates, and the gamer leads with that.

5) This is the ninth time Bridgeport has scored a power-play goal in as many as six consecutive games. The 2003-04 team scored a PPG in nine in a row early in the season; the first two teams both made it to eight once.

6) That nine-game streak -- Nov. 9-29, 2003 -- included 11 goals on 49 chances, but they were 0-for-5 at five-on-three, with all five chances at least 29 seconds. It would never have become a streak if Brandon Smith hadn't scored in overtime in the second game after Burke Henry cross-checked Blaine Down in the nose.

7) The weird stat continues: Bridgeport is 16-1-2 (old calendar) when the crowd is announced above 6,700. Today's 6,884 added a win.

8) As mentioned yesterday, this was Bridgeport's first five-game winning streak since Feb. 4-15, 2006. The last six-game winning streak was Nov. 5-16, 2005.

9) That Nilsson-to-Boguniecki back-door play almost worked again, same as Saturday night except at the opposite goal. Do those two guys belong here?

10) Well, that first goal came off a Nilsson turnover to ol' buddy Matt Koalska that set up Arttu Luttinen's goal. But that looked at first glance more like just something missing than a giveaway.

11) This is the 10th time in six seasons that Bridgeport has swept a three-in-three; this is the 61st time Bridgeport has played a three-in-three. It's the first time of those 10 that a shootout win was involved. They had three times collected five points in a three-in-three.

12-25) LINEUPS
F: Nilsson-Colliton (A)-Boguniecki
G. Johnson/J. Johnson
D: Fata-Berry
Wotton (C)-Fraser
Malec-Rourke (A)

F: Saurette-Ebbett (A)-Heerema (A)
Vesce (A)-Hennessy-Robins
D: David-Hedlund

26) Things degenerated late, kind of out of nowhere. Fata got nicked for spearing as the empty netter went in. Rourke got smacked around, got a penalty himself and wound up getting tossed "talking" about it. And Bingo apparently wasn't happy with Berry's mixing it up with Ebbett, after the fight he had with Luttinen earlier in the season.

27) Heard 27 stitches for linesman Glen Cooke last night. Ouch.

28) Binghamton and Bridgeport are the second-to-last teams to reach 50 games played. Peoria is the only team with fewer games so far.

29) The Sound Tigers have a seven-point lead on Albany with an even number of games played. Binghamton is 18 points back: nine and a half games, for all intents and purposes, with 30 to play and only one head-to-head.

30) Mike Pignataro has a nice piece on Mark Arcobello today. The former Fairfield Prep star has stood out for Yale, too.

31) Adam Goodman -- think it was Adam, anyway -- asked one of the youth-hockey-shootout kids what he called the move he made. If the kid had said "Arthur," I'd have been the happiest man alive. (The odds were, obviously, heavily against it.)

32) Good Simpsons episode tonight. A couple of nice callbacks, one gut-busting self-parody, the voice of Natalie Portman.... You can't go wrong. Nice job by writer Don Payne.

33) The Tigers have a couple of days off to regroup here. I hope our blog site recovers, too.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Turned around

This post will hopefully move back home shortly. Thanks for your patience.

Where to start? At first, my game story was basically about overtime and the second period. That wasn't fair to a third period that turned the night around (and scrapped my first gamer, which written after the second period, and the DNA of which is all over the final story).

But where is this team? Is it the tenacious team of the last 15 minutes, or is it the one that sleepwalked through another Cy Young-winning period? (19-3? 21-4?) The same things keep showing up, the same chain reaction that has buried this team since November: no forecheck, quick rush, lax coverage, with a heaping helping of turnovers.

The goals on back-to-back shots let them weather the first period, and then Dubielewicz going 18-for-19 let them weather the second period. And then two power plays later, they woke up. That extended shift -- Boguniecki nails two guys trying to hit him, Berry rocks a guy with a hip check, and the crowd all of a sudden feels like chanting -- that might have been the shift of the year, just because it woke everyone up. It's been a while since that barn had life to it, a real energy, and T-shirts weren't involved.

The overtime was crazy, too, with the post at one end, then the near three-on-one the other way. It took a shootout, and it took Brandon Nolan to finish it*, but it finished with Bridgeport winning its fourth in a row for the first time in a year.**

Gave Dubielewicz a rest tonight. He asked me a question, actually, as he walked out of the room. "What'd Albany do?" LeagueStat had been pretty slow, stuck with about four minutes left, but I told him Hershey was up 4-0 late. He gave a long nod and let slip a little smile and said something upbeat and kept walking.

It's a long walk to go, but every point is gonna mean something.

F: Nilsson-Colliton (A)-Boguniecki
G. Johnson/J. Johnson
D: Fata-Berry
Wotton (C)-Fraser
Malec-Rourke (A)

F: Ryznar-Pihlman-Marshall
Minard-Pelley (A)-Clarkson
D: McGillis (C)-Fahey
Mottau (A)-Greene

I had five of the 19 Lowell second-period shots coming on the power play, and 12 of the 41 overall. Several more, like Friday, blocked.

Only just now caught that Nicklas Bergfors had 10 shots. Guess that's why I kept noticing the guy.

Got downstairs, and the boys were huddled around the TV as Jeff Tambellini prepared to take his shootout attempt. It didn't register immediately how deep they were into the thing. Thank goodness that didn't happen in Bridgeport. We got deadlines, ya know.

Didn't catch exactly how bad linesman Glen Cooke got hurt -- a puck deflected up and caught him, it appeared, in the side of the head, perhaps around the right ear -- but it was nice to see him back for the shootout. (Best part of the shootout, in fact. But you knew I was gonna say that.)

Friday's game got Bridgeport back to Real .500, 9-9-5, at home, so Saturday's keeps the Tigers there at 9-9-6; overall, they're 18-21-10. And by the way, just in case the Sound Tigers make up 21 points by the end of the year and the first couple of tiebreakers don't work out, Bridgeport clinched the season series with Hershey.

Courtesy of Tim Leone, Harrisburg Patriot-News: Dubielewicz was 2-3 with a 3.58 GAA, .890 SP against Hershey last year. This year, by my math: 3-0, 2.27, .953 with two 50-save games.

Ken Wiebe up in Winnipeg writes a bit on ol' buddy Ryan Caldwell. Looking forward to seeing Koalska tomorrow.

Finally, Roy Sommer on Jamie Koharski.

*-Neat little note from Nolan in the gamer, BTW, and it was an afterthought question that got it.
**-Five in a row, actually, Feb. 4-Feb. 15, 2006.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Technomalogical update

Update? Actually, no, no idea. They appeared to be upgrading something back home this morning, and now I can't log in or post a comment. Eerily familiar, of course.

I'll post something either later tonight or before Sunday's game.