Everybody who’d been here before the break apparently made it back travel-wise; some had dicey connections, but they made it. The only absence noted: Justin Johnson, who’ll be out about 10 days, lower-body, said Scott Pellerin.
There’s another player expected tomorrow, though, who would’ve been in today if not for the weather: Joe Finley, out since October with the circulation issue in his hand. He’s cleared to skate, earlier than they expected, Pellerin said; no immediate timetable, but they’ll get him back on the ice and see how things go. Chris Bruton, meanwhile, has made some progress and has been working out.
So Marc Cantin serves the last two games of his suspension this weekend. Finley nears a return. And Jake Newton’s in town. Andrey Pedan remains in Stockton. Pellerin said he’s mostly traded texts with Thunder coach Rich Kromm, with Stockton up in Alaska the past week, so he’ll look forward to more information about Pedan’s progress (his state line in four games, for what it’s worth: no points, minus-4, 4 PIM, six shots). “Right now, after being out so long, he has to play hockey games,” Pellerin said. “For a guy to go to Stockton is not a negative thing.” Pedan can play there, build up confidence, play in a lot of situations: “I couldn’t guarantee he was going to do that here after that injury,” Pellerin said. “It’s a great league. There’s no hesitation. We’re taking it day by day, obviously, but it’s a great situation for him to play an important role.”
Newton brings offense, a big shot and some size, not to mention a decent amount of AHL experience. “Those two years didn’t go the way I wanted,” Newton said. But he’ll use that experience here. He beat the weather across the country Wednesday, leaving his wife and baby daughter, who turns a month old today. (They’ll be visiting his wife’s family.)
Springfield is home to Hartford tonight before Bridgeport gets up there tomorrow. (When it’ll snow again.)