Imagine opening your copy of Newsday one day this summer and reading an article by Arthur Staple reporting that Charles Wang and Colorado Avalanche owner Stan Kroenke had agreed to a swap. All players and coaches associated with the Isles’ would become Avs’, and the Avs’ would wear the Isles orange and blue on Long Island.
As strange as it sounds these changes happen with some regularity in the AHL. This years’ change was a bit unique in that it involved the AHL’s Calder Cup winning Norfolk Admirals.
The Anaheim Ducks and the Tampa Bay Lightning swapped their AHL affiliations in Norfolk (Admirals) and Syracuse (Crunch) respectively. So while the Calder Cup sits in Norfolk, the names of the Admirals’ players engraved on the championship trophy now play their home games in Syracuse.
What began as a normal weekend for Bridgeport’s Nino Niederreiter, turned into one of the strangest in recent memory for the team. Niederreiter made is usual call to Pete’s Deli & News for a ‘to-go’ order on his way to the arena for the Sound Tigers morning skate before the team left for Providence for the first of three games in three days.
The game in Providence started like any other before getting out of hand with the Bruins scoring the opener after two minutes of play and Matt Donovan answering four minutes later with his eighth of the season. With two minutes and thirty seconds left in the opening period, Matt Watkins was given the whistle on a very questionable hooking call, and the game changed.
The Sound Tigers would fall behind again with 26 seconds left in the middle period when the Whale scored a power play goal with Nino Niederreiter on the bench serving the teams ‘too many men on the ice’ penalty. John Persson would tie the game in the final period scoring his fifteenth of the season on Bridgeport’s second and final power play opportunity of the night, setting the stage for Sean Backman’s late game heroics.
Backman’s game has improved noticeably over the last month or so. In the past his time was spent between the hashmarks waiting for an outlet pass and avoiding the dirty areas of the ice, but no longer.
NHL rosters aren't due until tomorrow at 5:00 pm, but after stating the team that practices on Friday will be the opening night squad, Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher has made up his mind on his 2013 team.
At noon today, Mike Angelidis, JT Wyman, Matt Taorminaand Kyle Wilson were placed on waivers with the intent of being sent to Syracuse. This means that defenseman Keith Aulie and forwards Cory Conacher and Pierre-Cedric Labrie have made the team. (Labrie Photo/Linda Hamilton)
Tyler Johnson, Radko Gudas and Mark Barberio will be returned to the Syracuse Crunch...
You would think that the transition from the NHL to the AHL would be an easy one for a player, especially one with previous AHL experience. This has not been the case for Islanders D-man Travis Hamonic who has often appeared frustrated with the game.
Hamonic’s numbers from his brief 19 games with the Sound Tigers in 2010 (2 goals and 5 assists) nearly match his 19 game total this year (3 goals and 6 assists) but his 135 games played in the NHL in the interim gave him a taste of the game he is more comfortable playing. ‘Hammer’ needs more speed and pace to the game and you can sense his frustration nightly.
Here are some Hockey Bay tidbits to hold you over until training camp opens…hopefully.
An NHL work stoppage is nearing reality as the September 15 deadline is fast approaching. A group of Lightning players continue to work towards the scheduled September 21 training camp opening, assembling most mornings at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon, Florida for informal practice. Martin St. Louis, Ryan Malone, Adam Hall, Eric Brewer, Marc-Andre Bergeron, BJ Crombeen, Sami Salo, Mathieu Garon, Dmitri Korobov and free agent Brett Clark are regulars at the morning skates.
These union members are upset that the basis of the league's proposal cuts the players' share of hockey-...
The final three games played at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport were shutouts. The Sound Tigers were losers in two of those games and didn’t win the third. A scheduling conflict at the XL Center in Hartford, forced the Whale to play host to the visiting Norfolk Admirals in Bridgeport, on neutral ice, in an unfriendly environment. The only player that might have felt at ‘home’ Wednesday night was Admirals’ forward Trevor Smith, who had played over 100 games here as a popular member of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Admirals won the contest with a 4-0 shutout besting the Whale and their goalie Cam ‘Tiger Killer’ Talbot, the Whale tender that got hot, and abruptly ended the season for the Sound Tigers.
A neutral site far from Norfolk, lousy weather and a Rangers vs. Capitals playoff game on TV resulted in a very small crowd. Just over 1,100 of the heartiest of fans turned out and were joined in the cheap seats by Gordie Howe, Ray Bourque and Mark Messier. The game meant nothing to the Bridgeport team, whose season had ended, but celebrations were being held by Sound Tigers from Oklahoma to Ontario, and though not nearly a Guinness record, sixty-six candles were blown out.
It is an exciting and anxious time of the hockey season when talk turns to division championships, playoff scenarios and magic numbers. This afternoon, in a matinee game against the Springfield Falcons, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers clinched a spot in the playoffs. Nice accomplishment for a very good team and well deserved but only the first step.
In mid-January each year I have to select which weeks I would like to take for my vacations. Ever the optimist, I chose the week following the end of the AHL’s regular season this year. The team was just too damned good not to make the post season and I did not want to miss a game. Today the team got the ‘W’. The asterisk next to their name indicating the division leader will be replaced with an ‘X’ – made the playoffs. Next step is to replace that coveted ‘X’ with a ‘Y’ – Division Champion and the team has five hours of hockey remaining to earn it.
The players have not been allowed on the ice at the Webster Bank Arena since their loss to the Norfolk Admirals on Sunday, March 11. They have been allowed to remove equipment and personal belongings from the locker room but they are not permitted to use the ice, whether for practice or conditioning. Still in contention to win the divisional title and thus a third seed in the playoffs, the Sound Tigers need their ice time.
Fortunately two excellent local facilities (Bridgeport’s ‘Wonderland Of Ice’ and Shelton’s ‘Sports Center of Connecticut’) are available to satisfy the need for ice time but something else will be missing. When finally allowed to return to home ice at the arena on the 25th of March, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers logo will not be at center ice.