Jon Landry

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#Sandy - And The Sound Tigers

When the Bridgeport Sound Tigers left home for this seasons first three-in-three, 3 games in 3 nights, last Friday the weather forecast was front-page news. Hurricane Sandy was heading for the New York City metro area and was promising to be the most recent ‘Storm Of The Century’.

Alternately called ‘The Perfect Storm’ or ‘Frankenmonster’ by the media, it was obvious that Sandy would wreak havoc along the Milford beaches where many of the Sound Tigers take residence during the hockey season.

Rather than change hotels each night for a Worcester-Springfield-Worcester series, the team checked into a hotel in Springfield for three nights, opting to bus the 50 miles between venues. Three nights became five nights of concern for the players, few of which have ever seen a hurricane.

NHL Lockout 2013

There is less than 12 hours until the third lockout begins under Commissioner Gary Bettman's watch. The last occurred back in 2004, canceling the 2004-2005 season and resulted in a new salary cap system. However, that system has been failing the smaller market teams, forcing them to keep up with the other clubs who earn more revenue and can afford higher salaries.

The owners and the NHLPA are fine with a salary cap system; they are not trying to reinvent the wheel all over again. But both sides are trying to structure an agreement on how the revenue is shared between the owners and players.

In recent discussions, several different proposals have been thrown on the table but none have come close to settling the disagreement. Bettman has been prepared to lockout his players if a new deal is not reached by the end of today. Although each side is likely to meet with each other before the day is over, it seems very unlikely that an 11th hour deal will be made.

Prepare yourselves for NHL lockout 2013.

Matt Martin - Bigger, Faster, Stronger

It is rare when a player stays for more than three seasons with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The team exists for one purpose and one purpose only … develop talent for their NHL affiliate, the New York Islanders.

Each September, a half-dozen or so twenty-year olds arrive in Bridgeport to begin their careers as professional hockey players against bigger, faster, stronger competition.

This years arrivals could include forwards Brock Nelson, Kirill Kabanov, Johan Sundstrom, John Persson, Mike Halmo and perhaps Nino Niederreiter, each, an investment by the Islanders in the future of the franchise.

A True Underdog Story: Jon Landry

This offseason has seen the Islanders organization bring in new faces to the club and has seen old faces leave the organization. Not every move the Islanders have made, Lubomir Visnovsky, or chose not to make, P.A Parenteau, have been as publicized as those two moves.

But the most, underrated move the Islanders made this off season was re-signing defenseman Jon Landry to a one-year, two-way contract. This is Landry’s first NHL contract, after playing with on a PTO contract last season, and he deserved it.

'#notreadytobedone'

This was a season like no other. From its quick start to its abrupt ending it was unique. In season’s past, after mini-camp, the team would form early in September and begin getting ready for the upcoming year. Practice, photo-shoots, training, find lodging, practice, training, media day, practice, training, meet and greet, practice, training. After two weeks, a pre-season game or two and the season is at the doorstep. Not this year.

The team stayed on Long Island until the last minute, perhaps to give the new coaching staff the training and practice that they needed with the Islanders systems. Whatever the reason, the normal two plus weeks was compressed to a few days. The routine remained the same, but with little time on hand the players were getting up at six in the morning to look for housing before heading to practice, training, etc. Condos and houses rented, friendships that will last for years were made and the season began. And a great season it would be, a banner season by all standards.

Masters Of Their Destiny

Watching the Masters today, we all saw 5-foot putts missed that we could have made. Bubba Watson’s 10-inch winner, a ‘gimme’ on most public links, earned him his first major and the coveted ‘Green Jacket.’ I started to think of other sports where in my prime (forty plus years ago) I could have been a difference maker or game winner.

I have little doubt that I could kick the extra point to win a Super Bowl. I would imagine you feel the same. I am also certain that I could sink the game winning free-throw in an NCAA or NBA Championship game. We see evidence of this every year when somebody wins a scholarship or cash for tossing one in from half-court. Could I score the winning run in the 7th game of baseballs World Series? Most definitely. As the designated runner coming in to score from third base after a sacrifice fly, I could probably do that today. Could I score the ‘gamer’ in the Stanley Cup Finals?

Not on your life. Scoring a goal in hockey is the most difficult accomplishment in sports.

Season Over In Twelve Hours

There are just 12 hours left in the Bridgeport Sound Tigers regular season. Twelve hours where each twenty-minute period will be played with intensity. In my most recent post, I stated that I did not expect the team to return to the arena on Monday March 25th in first place, and they won’t. Did I expect them to lose each of the last five games? I did not, but it happened. Is the team out of the hunt for a divisional title? Not by a long shot.

In a late night tweet following Wednesday’s shut out loss to the Binghamton Senators, Rhett Rakhshani posted “Tough stretch for the tigers. Sometimes you learn and grow the most from the tough times. We will turn this ship around!”. While the ‘boat’ reference brings to mind Captain Ahab’s Peqoud sunk by a Connecticut Whale, the Titanic destroyed by the St. Johns Ice Caps or Captain Quint’s boat Orca devoured by a Worcester Shark in the movie ’Jaws’, I share his optimism.

The team is missing some weapons at the moment. Call-ups, injuries and a suspension will keep David Ullstrom, Casey Cizikas, Jeremy Colliton and Michael Haley from lighting the goal light for a bit longer. Led by Rakhshani and a net crashing Justin DiBenedetto (pictured/Photo by Pope Steve XXLIV) there are plenty of weapons left in the arsenal and new ones arriving almost daily.

Blue Line Pipe Line

The recent rash of injuries (an annual occurrence of late) and an unexpected ‘defection’ to Russia has diminished but not drained the pool of talented blue liners available in Bridgeport. The return of Mark Katic (perhaps within 2 weeks) and Calvin DeHaan shortly thereafter bring the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to full strength for our playoff run.

The Islanders with 40 points needed in their remaining 29 games to reach 92 points are in a playoff run as well. The Isles might well be looking for some help on D before the Feb. 27 deadline, but given the talent already in the pipeline I thin that would prove money ill spent. Secondary scoring has been missing, not defensive.

The recent rash of injuries (an annual occurrence of late) and an unexpected ‘defection’ to Russia has diminished but not drained the pool of talented blue liners available in Bridgeport. The return of Mark Katic (perhaps within 2 weeks) and Calvin DeHaan shortly thereafter bring the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to full strength for our playoff run.

The Islanders with 40 points needed in their remaining 29 games to reach 92 points are in a playoff run as well. The Isles might well be looking for some help on D before the Feb. 27 deadline, but given the talent already in the pipeline I thin that would prove money ill spent. Secondary scoring has been missing, not defense.

And the Lombardi Trophy goes to....

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers had their franchise record 8th consecutive road game win Friday night. Their streak was extended with the defeat of the Portland Pirates by the final score of 6-2.

Out scoring their opponents 34 to 13 during their time away from Webster Bank Arena, they now have 13 road wins for the season. That gives them one more road win than they had all of last year. With 2 away games left on this years calendar this club has earned the title ”Road Warriors”.