Lotsa driving now complete this weekend, and I’m feeling it.
(If you’re just joining us, where have you been? I don’t want to hear any “holiday” excuses, either, there, Madonna. Catch up: Happy Thanksgiving is about Thursday, Travel fun: Syracuse edition is the early notes from Friday, and Right Smack-Dab Out of Date quotes the Reflections and talks about Friday night.)
The game tonight was just insane, just microcosmic of the season. Penalties both earned and otherwise sabotage any chance at a consistent result, and the result is a loss. Another loss, No. 5 in a row.
And it started so… well, maybe not “well,” but auspiciously. After a dull first 14 minutes, Bridgeport scored twice in 17 seconds. There was a beautiful tic-tac-toe play from Matt Koalska in the right corner to Wyatt Smith behind the net to Travis Brigley in the right circle for a one-timer back inside the left post. Can’t be drawn better.
And then Jeremy Colliton, back again — they liked him, but Pettinen was going to go today — rushes up the right and snaps one over the glove for a 2-0 lead. The Phantoms got one back in the second, but then Bruno Gervais gets one through off the draw as Smith backs over Jamie Storr… It got into the first-edition gamer, and I had it played up heavily in my original draft*, but it looked for all the world like karmic payback for that charging call against the Penguins last Sunday.
And then it all went wrong. “They kept coming,” Dave Baseggio said. The Phantoms outshot Bridgeport pretty consistently most of the night. Chris Madden made some good saves but couldn’t control every rebound. Pat Kavanagh (10 goals already) punched one through him to make it 3-2, and Freddy Meyer slapped one home at 1:11 of overtime. Game gone. Stunning.
Someone’s going to have to go up, if not Colliton himself, now that Oleg Kvasha has a sprained ankle. The Islanders, like Bridgeport, are off Sunday, so it didn’t have to be immediate. Actually, the Isles don’t play till Tuesday, and Bridgeport doesn’t play till Wednesday, and then the Islanders don’t travel till Friday, so someone could conceivably go up, come back and then go up again.
It snuck through because of the holiday (there’s that excuse again), but Colliton was actually assigned to Bridgeport on Thanksgiving, then recalled Friday. It’s a salary cap thing; his few thousand dollars don’t count if he’s not on the NHL roster, but he actually does have to travel to Bridgeport for it to work. Hey, aren’t we all thrilled about this new CBA? (I can’t wait to read it.)
An interesting day all around, with the NHL game in the early afternoon. I got to talk to Chris Campoli in the morning and put together a feature on his transition to the NHL. Postgame, Brad Lukowich gave me some money quotes, and Steve Stirling was clutch as ever. I think it worked out. It was funny doing a feature at a game. Normally, postgame is pretty much reserved for stuff about the game; I kind of snuck in at the end to pick some stuff up. Of course, I gave the Islanders’ beat writers their space to get Lukowich and Stirling first. Been on the other side of that on much tighter deadlines, and I always appreciate it when the non-deadline guys let the deadline guys go first, get in and get out.
It had been a while since I’ve been in a barn with 20,000 people yelling “oooooooOOHHHHH!!” as a puck goes through the crease. It’s a great feeling.
Had a fan-like feeling of disappointment when I watched warmup and didn’t see Peter Forsberg. (And what’s with warmup being only 15 minutes long in the NHL? It’s like high school. They’re doing line rushes before you know it.)
Was briefly disappointed to hear some fans chanting “Let’s Go Flyers” to the tune that here is more associated with “Let’s Go Rangers” or “Let’s Go Yankees.” It’s supposed to be more akin to the tune that accompanies “Let’s Go Islanders” down on the Island. Fortunately, the Flyers’ gamenight folks play the “real” version on the “organ,” and in the third period, a group of fans started up the “real” version on their own.
What a great game for Eric Godard. Tomi Pettinen got his first chance in a month, too.
After the AHL warmup, went downstairs to try to grab something to eat. I couldn’t afford it. (So I’m actually tired AND hungry right now.)
The organization was three minutes away from an NHL/AHL sweep, but it wasn’t to be.
There’s a New Christy Minstrels song in which the lead singer — I’m not sure who — strums a few chords on his instrument, tries a few more, and says, “Aw, darn, it’s in tune. And I had such a great joke.”
If Bridgeport had won Saturday night, I was going to pull out an old Harry Neale quote I found in an issue of Inside Hockey about 15 years ago: ““We’re losing at home. We can’t win on the road. My failure is a coach is that I can’t think of anyplace else to play.”
“The Bridgeport Sound Tigers have beaten the Philadelphia Phantoms at the Spectrum,” I’d have written. “They’ve knocked off the Phantoms at the Arena at Harbor Yard. And now they’ve won at the Wachovia Or Any
Successor Bank Center.
“Next up is the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees.”
But Messrs. Kavanagh, Eager and Meyer messed it up for me. Oh well.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS
F: Blake-Yashin (C)-Asham
D: Niinimaa-Lukowich (A)
F: Brigley-Smith (A)-Collins
D: Picard-Slaney (C)
*-The one about a win, which is why first-edition readers also will note a brutal ghost-typo, in which I note that Bridgeport is 9-10-1 instead of 8-10-2….