Tip of the hat to frequent commenter John, who noticed that Jeff Hamilton and AK Bars Kazan have parted ways. I haven’t heard word yet on where he’ll land. As noted in the news item on Kazan’s site, Hamilton went eight games without a point but racked up 16 penalty minutes. (He also, according to the translation you can get for yourself at Babelfish, played one game in the second division, collecting one washer and three transfers. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Translating stuff with Babelfish is some of the most fun you can have on the Interweb thingy.)
Would it be stunning to see Hamilton back in Bridgeport? No. I’m pretty sure there are convoluted waivers rules involved, and if he comes up with another European offer, maybe that works best for him. But maybe he finds a way to play for fellow Yalie Dave Baseggio. Them Yalies stick together. Darn Yalies.*
Meanwhile, tonight, what a night. A long shift, a failed clear, a double-deflection that Wade Dubielewicz stops, and the puck pops free to the open man. Hartford leads 1-0. A failed clear, three of the sickest moves you’ll ever see from one man on successive players (Petr Prucha is right on the verge of sticking in the NHL, and he proved it on this play), and it’s 2-0.
And that’s all Hartford got. That’s it. You can’t blame Dubielewicz for the goals against. He played pretty darn well. Alvaro Montoya was just out-of-his-skull good for the first 56 minutes. He could do no wrong. Pucks hit him, he got to pucks, he knocked ‘em down with his pads and his arms and his chest and probably everything but his mask (though he might have had one hit there, too). For 56 minutes at least, it’s easy to understand why the Rangers used a high first-rounder on him despite having Henrik Lundqvist already in line.
And then Ryan Caldwell popped one through him, setting off four crazy minutes. Empty-netter at the other end becomes the game-winner, and Bruno Gervais scores at the other end… fun and games. Bridgeport was all set, even with just 8.4 seconds to play with, to fight for the equalizer; the players lined up quickly for the draw, and Dubielewicz was at the bench even before the celebrating players got there for the high-fives. Hey, if all 10 games are like this, it’ll be fun.
And you know what? Don’t forget that the fourth-place team in the East can be knocked out by the fifth-place team in the Atlantic. It’s not inconceivable that these 10 games could mean everything.
Justin Papineau took a hard pop from Ryan Hollweg in the second period; he looked more or less OK afterward and said he’d be fine, but he had some headaches and was held out of the third period as a precaution.
Meanwhile, placard at my seat on press row welcomed “Mark Fornabio.” This has got to be someone’s perfect inside joke. See, in the AHL’s Guide ‘n’ Record Book, each team has a listing of media that cover the team regularly/semi-regularly/whenever we feel like it. Back in the day (1997), the Connecticut Post was in there twice, with me as the contact both times. The Beast of New Haven had us, obviously, because we were about to cover about 50 of their games. We also landed under Hartford, with a contact named “Mark Fornabino.”
Unfortunately, whenever the league mailed something to me at the paper that year, they used the Hartford version. To this day, Post music guru Sean Spillane will (affectionately, I think) call me some permutation of “Mark Fornabino.” Fornibinko, Fernabeo…
Church Street Garage is now $10 for Wolf Pack games. Wish I’d known in advance so I could get the bank loan in order.**
*-Gee, can’t imagine why I’ve got a grudge against Yale today.
**-I know, I know: I’ve got some nerve, when I’m not paying for tickets and concessions and programs and…