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.)
The final home game of a disappointing 2011-12 season for the Trenton Titans saw the Titans lose by a score of 4-1 in front 4,213 fans at Sun National Bank Center in Trenton.
Trenton gave up the first goal yet again in the first period as Matt Schepke beat Dave Caruso on a wrist shot in the slot late in the first period. Just over a minute later, Paul Crowder made it 2-0 on a power play with Steve Silva in the box for tripping.
The final clash of season between the Elmira Jackals and Trenton Titans ended by a familiar score, 2-1. The Titans earned a point by virtue of an overtime loss.
The Trenton Titans were bolstered by the return of defenseman Mitch Versteeg to the lineup after he was out for several weeks with a shoulder injury. Versteeg’s return settled down a blue line that has been very weak since January.
Being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, the Trenton Titans have had only two goals; play spoiler to other teams in the playoff race, and try to catch the Bakersfield Condors and not be the worst team in the entire ECHL.
Sadly, they would do neither as the Reading Royals beat Trenton 7-0.
Coach Vince Williams has noted that the team is looking ahead to next season saying.
“You’re seeing what guys are made of,” he said. “You gotta earn what you’re gonna get. That’s how it should be.”
Former New York Islanders goaltender Joey MacDonald had to make a difficult career decision. At 31 years old, should he continue in the National Hockey League (NHL) with the Detroit Red Wings as, essentially a career backup to Jimmy Howard, or take an offer to play in Russia?
On July 11, 2011, MacDonald chose to re-sign with the Red Wings and was assigned to their AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins.
On September 7, 2011 a plane carrying the Russian hockey team; Lokomtiv Yaroslavi crashed just after take-off. The crash killed nearly the entire roster (only four players survived, all not on the plane) and the entire coaching staff.
Rick Nash won't be donning an Islanders jersey tomorrow night; the Islanders didn't get a first round pick for Evgeni Nabokov and/or P.A. Parenteau; Al Montoya will still be on the bench to back up the Islanders number one goaltender; and the defensive play of Mark Eaton, Milan Jurcina and Steve Staios will still be seen for the rest of the season.
Staios, despite popular reports from a fake twitter account, was not dealt to the Vancouver Canucks for a 6th round draft pick.
BUT Garth Snow did manage to rid himself of the putrid play of Brian Rolston and the defensive relapses of Mike Mottau. Both were sent packing to the Boston Bruins for a couple of prospects; Yanick Riendeau and Marc Cantin.
It was a new day and a new goalie in Trenton. Adam Dekker and Peter Dudonovich were the goalies the Titans dressed for the contest as the Elmira Jackals came to town. They were the sixth and seventh goalies respectively to dress for a Titans game in the last two weeks alone.
An announced crowd of 3464 witnessed a solid first period by the hometown team. Titans Captain Randy Rowe, helped the team gain the lead when he tapped home a rebound off a point shot from Tyler Hostetter at the 16:23 mark.
Dekker made nine saves during the period and looked comfortable in net. He admitted to being unsure of what the ECHL was going to bring.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “It was kind of a deep breath, just go up and see what happens.”
When a player gets injured in the NHL, teams are forced to call up players from their minor league systems to fill the void. Of course, this process then becomes a vicious circle where each subsequent team calls up players from the team below it.
That was the case on Friday night for the Trenton Titans.
Due to losing Eric Baier, Corey Syvret and Dave Caruso to the AHL, in addition to the loss of Mitch Versteeg to injured reserve, things did not look promising for the depleted ECHL club.
Considering all the roster moves, the team was forced to add replacement players in order to fill out the lineup.