The Islanders and their fans will need to shake off Thursday's heart breaking loss to the NY Rangers in OT. The two points that a victory would have brought meant so much. The team would have been in an 8th place playoff spot, but that was not to be.
The penalty called against Michael Grabner only 21 seconds into OT put the nail in the coffin for the Isles. The team was so incensed, and the players and coaching staff really let the ice officials know it, in no uncertain terms..well maybe some certain terms...(photo credit:THFANBLOG/flickr)
The New York Islanders opened their abbreviated 48-game season tonight with a 2-1 regulation loss at home to the defending Eastern Conference champs, the New Jersey Devils.
A sold out crowd was introduced to the 2012-2013 roster before puck drop. However, head coach Jack Capuano was missing, forcing assistant coach Doug Weight to take over along with Brent Thompson. Capuano missed the game due to a medical reason that was not disclosed to the media. It had been mentioned in the locker room that it is not life threatening, and that an update will likely be provided tomorrow.
But for the Isles, playing without their head coach behind the bench might have thrown the team for a bit of loop by the time the first period was underway. The Isles provided a lot of sloppy play in their end of the ice which resulted in poorly executed break outs and many mistakes in the neutral zone.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers will open their home season as defending conference champions against the Providence Bruins at 7pm on Saturday October 13. Missing from the lineup that night will be former ‘tough-guys’ Micheal Haley (now in the Rangers organization) and Trevor Gillies (who has signed to play in the KHL).
To help fill the void left by the departure of these two enforcers, the Islanders have signed former Providence Bruin defenseman Nathan McIver to a one year, two-way contract.
On July 8, Brian Compton – Deputy Managing Editor for NHL.com – sent a message via twitter to Matt Moulson stating , ‘Manchester assistant coach Scott Pellerin could be in the mix for Bridgeport job.’ Moulson’s response was ‘If it’s true-great coach taught me a lot.’
On Wednesday July 18, the Sound Tigers made it official. Scott Jacque-Frederick Pellerin (Pelly) will become the eighth head coach of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
This afternoon the New York Islanders announced that Bridgeport Sound Tigers head coach, Brent Thompson, would become the Islanders new assistant coach. Coach Thompson, like many others, began his coaching career after years of playing the game himself. Selected 34th overall by the LA Kings in the 1989 entry-level draft, Thompson (‘Tommer’, his ice name) played 121 games in the NHL with the Kings and Winnipeg Jets organizations. He also played for six different AHL teams in his 14 years as a player before beginning his career as a coach.
While Islanders fans become increasingly impatient with the teams’ rebuilding, Sound Tigers fans await the annual summer, team reconstruction.
233 goals were scored by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers last season. Not a team record and not even close to an AHL record, but enough to win the Northeast Division title. Of the 49 skaters that laced them up last year, six of them accounted for 104 (or roughly 45%) of that total. None of them will return for next year.
Winning a title obviously requires good goaltending, and the tender tandem of Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson was exceptional. Each of them earned Goaltender Of The Month recognition from the AHL during the year. One of them will not return next season.
Today Blair Riley signed his first NHL contract with the New York Islanders. One hundred days after he signed an AHL contract with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Riley one of the first call-ups made by coach Thompson’s first last season. Blair got his call (a PTO – Professional Try-Out) while playing for the Chicago Express in the ECHL on Nov. 25 when BST forward Trevor Frischmon was out injured. He had already impressed coach ‘Tommer’ with his play while with the Las Vegas Wranglers, particularly in the 2010-11 Kelly Cup playoffs with his 4 goals and an assist in five games played.
He made an immediate impression on the fans at the Webster Bank Arena when he dropped his gloves early in his first home game (and the Tigers first in their new third jerseys) at a point in the season where the team just could not buy a win. Riley did not do much in the way of putting points on the board for a while, in fact none of the Tigers did in late 2011, and the team ended the year in last place. The year ended and the teams’ fortunes changed.
The release of assistant coaches Scott Allen and Dean Chynoweth by the Islanders has led to speculation that Bridgeport Sound Tigers head coach Brent Thompson will be joining Jack Capuano and Doug Weight behind the teams bench. I hope this is not the case for three very good reasons. First, I think that coach Capuano should be allowed to select his own assistants and can’t think of any successful organization that doesn’t allow their head coach to do the same. Secondly, as remarkable a job as coach Thompson has done in Bridgeport, he has not finished his work here. Lastly, I am a selfish Sound Tigers fan and don’t want to lose him. (Okay, maybe that’s only two good reasons.)
On Friday the 13th, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers defeated the Providence Bruins 4 to 1 clinching the teams first Division Championship in ten years. Steve Oleksy posted a tweet minutes later that captures it all.
“Teammates come and go but banners last forever. @TheSoundTigers clinched the division tonight. It’s only a step!! #longwaytogo “.
Of the many perks offered to season ticket holders, my favorite is the end-of-season, Port Jeff Ferry cruise with the players. It also seems to be an event equally enjoyed by the players as well, and what’s not to enjoy? Free food and drink provided by the Sound Tigers organization and their sponsors and 3 hours of relaxed mingling of players and fans, priceless. This years’ cruise took place Monday evening and was once again a huge success. I was fortunate to spend a good bit of time talking to goalie Anders Nilsson, still on the mend from an ankle injury he sustained in the March 18 game against the Worcester Sharks.