No. 18 lined up with Brock Nelson and Nino Niederreiter on a first-rounder line this morning, his first AHL practice a day before what should be his first pro game. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to play with these guys,” he said; he knows a bunch of them from camps and the scrimmage in January, where he played with those two.
That shuffled up the lines, moving Joey Diamond to a spot with Matt Watkins and Kirill Kabanov, and Sean Backman as an honorary Swede. Jordan Hill was practicing on defense.
Had been in Providence and otherwise occupied — Quinnipiac alum Jamie Palatini was, predictably, pretty pumped — so it was my first chance to ask Scott Pellerin about Saturday. He looked away and didn’t say anything for a while. Yeah. “It was very disappointing because we — everybody knows how important every game is,” he said. “We knew they were going to bounce back, because they didn’t play well the night before. We got outworked at times. We didn’t execute. Our breakdowns cost us. We just didn’t play well as a team.”
It’s a long climb, but they’ve got three games in eight nights with the team immediately in front of them. It’s a chance to put the Sharks behind them. Of course, it could go the other way, too. Looks like Thomas Greiss won’t be waiting for Bridgeport tomorrow. It’s been a while since these teams played. (Though the blizzard had something to do with it, which is why they’ll meet next Tuesday, too.)
The Big Club signed Anders Lee, avoiding the Justin Schultz/Jason Gregoire/Blake Kessel free-agency scenario. He joined the Islanders this morning; 49 contracts, I believe, if Strome doesn’t get called up (and 29 for next year). Pellerin said he hadn’t been told anything about an Andrey Pedan arrival.
Alumni West: Tyler McNeely signed an AHL deal with Lake Erie; Joel Martin signed a PTO with Milwaukee.
Gordie Howe at 85.
Ken Levine with a Fractious Friday signoff script from The Real Don Steele. Fantastic.
And RIP, booster club member Barbara Wargo.