Let us go back to the 2012 NHL Draft. The Islanders fan base buzzed when news spread that you were traded to solidify a blue line that could benefit from your experience and impressive play.
A lot of fans moved to YouTube to find out more about a player that spent his whole career in the Western Conference. They didn't know much more than how cool your last name would look on an Islanders sweater. (Photo Credit: Daralee's Web World Photos)
It was hard for the fans to hide their excitement when they saw this addition that could help immediately. It was a breath of fresh air that someone added to the roster could help right away. Not in 2 years. Not in 1 year. But now. Garth Snow had done a great job in executing this trade.
That ended almost immediately when you filed a grievance with the NHL, trying to void the trade. This wasn't a great way to endear yourself to a fan base. They were willing to put that aside once the case was settled and the trade was indeed valid.
There was a sense that you did not want to be in Uniondale. You are not alone in this. You are not the first player, nor will you be the last player to claw in the doorway on the way to Long Island. But the actions of your peers do not excuse your behavior.
The Sound Tigers have moved rapidly to reload their roster in anticipation of the much too long delayed start of the NHL’s 2012-2013 season. Jack Combs and Chad Costello have shredded their try-out offer sheets and replaced them with AHL deals locking them in place for the season.
With the NHL in a lockout that important part of the AHL experience was gone and it was missed. Hockey wasn’t the same. But the NHL is back and hockey is once again whole. Some five or six Sound Tigers will be called-up in the next few days to begin the abbreviated 2012 -2013 season, others will be called as needed over the next few months.
My friends are now asking me “How are the Sound Tigers going to be after they lose all those players to the Islanders?” My honest response is “They are a better team now than the club that started the season.”
There might not be any NHL hockey to watch this season, but the Islanders have some young and talented skaters that are developing nicely with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.; Brock Nelson is one of them.
Nelson was selected by the Islanders 30th overall in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and spent two years playing with the University of North Dakota. In his sophomore season, Nelson scored 47 points in 42 games, earning him a brief stint with the Sound Tigers at the end of the 2012 season.
He did not put up any points in the four games he dressed in for the Sound Tigers. This year, however, has been an entirely different story.
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.