Some stuff from a long trip, ’cause all that time in the car gives you time to think:
Evgeny Tunik is a Bridgeport Sound Tiger. The big Russian prospect has arrived, skated with the team this morning at Scope and is on an AHL contract. Probably won’t play this weekend, is the early word.
But a pretty good night for them Friday. Everything that went wrong Wednesday really didn’t tonight. Just about everyone did something good.
Interesting thing about the two nights: I thought Chris Ciamaga reffed an OK game Wednesday, but I thought he let some things go that were supposed to be called this year: some of the ticky-tack, stick-on-the-waist, bump-a-guy-away-from-the-puck stuff. Fine. Tonight, though, Jeff Smith blew the whistle on everything. And again, fine. Eventually, though, you’d like consistency in that. It’ll come. And one of several things will happen: The league will cave as usual on the crackdown; the players will adjust and won’t interfere; or we’ll watch a season full of 25-power-play nights. (The 2-hour, 40-minute game times will kill me on deadline, though.)
Is it wrong that, when the lights go out, my first thought is of Bob Nardella?
The black numbers are painful to try to read on the blue road sweaters. (Whites at home again? Come on. At least the NHL is still doing it right.). At least I know most of these guys on sight by now. Picked Justin Papineau out from a distance at the mall today just by the walk. It’s kinda scary. But to be expected, I suppose.
After watching Mats Sundin take a puck in the eye Wednesday night and fearing the worst, it might be worth a mention that six Bridgeport guys wear the shield: Bergenheim, Papineau, Colliton, Bouchard (injury update tomorrow, but don’t expect him back for a while), Gervais, Aquino. I did my visors story in 2003 after Eric Manlow took a stick in the eye and did a mini-follow-up in 2004 when Jeff Hamilton took a stick in the eye. Maybe it’s time for another one. Like ‘em or hate ‘em, it’s an interesting issue.
So after Wednesday’s game, I shot down I-81 to Hagerstown, Md., to set myself up for Thursday’s off-day adventure: a trip to Antietam, site of the bloodiest day in American history. It’s a striking place to visit, to see where men lined up on opposite sides of a road and shot at each other, where they came out of cornfields shooting at each other, where they shot at each other from opposite sides of a bridge. There were more than 23,000 casualties, including about 5,000 dead, by the end of the day. As the Ranger pointed out, compare the 1860 census to the 2000 census, and that’s the equivalent of 184,000 casualties today, all in about 12 hours. In the morning, one soldier fell, on average, every second. Just incredible. I’ve never been a real Civil War buff — despite the history major, I feel like a dilettante sometimes — but I’ve hit this and Gettysburg in the past three years, and both are worth the trip. You’ll get an appreciation for what it was like for these guys.
Seen on Main St. in Sharpsburg: “Cap’n Bender’s Tavern.” No sign of Wiggles (of course not; he’s frozen in NYC for the next 995 years) or the toboggan with one eye. But hey: It’s Route 34, and it’s in a valley! Felt like home. Except, you know, Marylandish.
(On the way to Hagerstown/Antietam, Wednesday night/Thursday morning, I passed a sign on I-81 that said James Buchanan’s birthplace was off Exit 4 in Pennsylvania. Fill in the punchline…)
Welcome centers are an underrated source of free stuff. On this trip alone I’ve picked up official highway maps of West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia. (I’m a map freak, though. I go to AAA for no reason. “Yeah, lemme have… whaddaya got in a Kentucky?”)
It hasn’t rained all summer, but it rained on my Antietam drivearound, and now it’s torrential down here, with the remnants of tropical-whatever-it-reached Tammy blowing through. I got in around 8:30 Thursday night, unpacked, was just about ready to go out, and suddenly heard torrents of rain smacking the window. Oh well.
Much like New York City, Norfolk is a town better wound around on foot than by car. One-way streets that don’t lead where you think, y’know? I remember last time I came here, following the block I thought led to my hotel but which really led to the tunnel to Portsmouth. This year, driving because of driving rain, I followed a block that I thought led to the block on which the Scope parking garage entrance sits, but which really led to busy St. Paul’s Boulevard. So I took the first right, hoping to go around the block. That instead led into the MacArthur Center mall parking garage. Oops. A sympathetic attendant didn’t make me pay the $1 parking fee for my 55 seconds in the garage.
The walk in the morning was a little nicer, though nearly as humid. I strolled up that same busy boulevard, passing St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. The tourism book in my hotel room notes that St. Paul’s was the only structure left standing in Norfolk when the British bombarded the city in 1776. The book also notes that a cannonball remains embedded in the outer wall; it’s neatly visible from the road, cemented in place, halfway into the brick wall.
History comes alive.