“And now, in response to a diminishing number of requests…”*

*-Dave Guard, 10/19/34-3/22/91

So the monthly mailbag idea didn’t draw any e-mails. (Well, it drew one, asking to be added to my mailing list. The problem is, the monthly mailbag idea is kind of the reverse of that. Nice to be remembered, though.)

So for the heck of it, a one-off: commenting on the comments.

“Kate and Charley” (I’m guessing a little more toward the “Kate” side) wrote, in response to Trivia Time:

I enjoy reading your blog, Mike. My husband is a diehard hockey fan, but since we’re not from the area we still enjoy reading your blog. Being from the Jesey area it would be kind of a trek to drive all the way to bridgeport for a tigers game. Maybe we will one of these days. But keep us posted on all the latest. Wish the tigers games were televised somehow.

Thanks much. Jersey is indeed a haul, especially on a weeknight. As for television, if you have a high-speed internet connection, you might want to check out a new addition to the AHL’s arsenal, the B2 Network. For $6 a night, fans can watch AHL games. I can’t tell you much about picture quality or any bugs they’re having, but it might be worth the look.

“Jared” wrote, in response to Bronx paean Ne Cede Malis:

mike i don’t know if you’re trying to be witty or an outright bigot – but i gotta give it to you man you sound like you’re saying all the right things at the wrong time. not pissed, but why did you have to drop your two cents on the islanders. stay where you are i see a second coming! i still don’t get that whole latin mumbo jumbo. i have trouble with english as it is. good read though.

I might have some English trouble, too, as I’m not really sure where you’re going here. Am I a bigot for loving the view from the Throgs Neck Bridge? Fair enough. I’m not sure what I wrote about the Islanders in here that would upset you; you don’t like renovated dressing rooms maybe? Fair enough again. Clever and witty? Neither, usually, so what I really don’t get is that “good read though.”

Just for Jared, here’s my favorite Latin poem:

O sibili, si emgo
Fortibus es in ero
O nobili, demis trux
Vatis inem? Caus an dux

(Try it out loud)

“Jared” follows up on Sims to be hockey season with:

please don’t speak highly of chris madden, i think he needs to go. like, now!

Since you provided so much evidence to back that up, I guess we’ll just leave it at this: Round 1 went to him Saturday night.

“John” wrote on Even if nobody else sings along:

I know this might be a case of be careful what you wish for because both CT teams have been built on defense the past 2 years but I really am looking forward to seeing some goals scored this year. I couldn’t make to the game last night but I get the feeling there may be a lot of 6-5 games this year.

Good call at the start. It’ll obviously evolve over the course of the year, but this league just might have that delicate non-balance: enough skill players to take advantage of power plays and open ice against players who aren’t as skilled or experienced. And if every game features 18 to 25 power plays, like Bridgeport’s first four games, it could get crazy.

By the way, pushing the blue lines out a couple of feet has created an endangered species in Binghamton: the BCVMA neutral zone. Sean Bergenheim and Bruno Gervais were tossing the puck back and forth across the Bridgeport side of the NZ at the tail end of warmup Saturday night, and it almost looked like they couldn’t miss each other or the puck would skitter off into either the offensive zone or the Senators’ side of the ice. Bingo lists the BCVMA rink as just 197 feet long to begin with, three feet short; some say it’s even shorter. I’m told the neutral zone is even shorter in Syracuse, so that’ll be interesting to see next month.

“William,” in response to Trivia answer, writes:

Mr Fornabaio, why not tell it the way it is with the brutal local hockey coverage in New York, why your work was not featured in Newsday last season
(even though some Wolfpack coverage was featured from the Hartford Coutant and why Alan Hahn does not do player features (you do) and seems to have a huge agenda against Alexei Yashin. I leared more from one week of player features in the Yarmouth papers than I did from six years of articles from Alan Hahn, you go to San Antonio on a road trip and do four articles in one day where we learn about the Sound Tigers, but Hamrlik, Aucoin, Jonsson are considered underated because of Mr Hahn’s poor effort to bring us their story.

Also why not a good verbal beating of the local editor of Newsday who are giving equal time to the Rangers while the Times is not covering hockey and the Daily News barely covered the exhibition game at Msg on Thursday.

Was this the NHL’s idea of making the sport more popular?

Anyway keep up the great work on the Sound Tigers.

Er… comment deleted! (Buzz)

Oh. That only works for Strong Bad.

OK, let’s try this. First of all, simply, Connecticut Post stuff wouldn’t run in Newsday; we’re two different companies. Hartford is, like Newsday, a Tribune paper, so they share content. (Similarly, I’ve had a story run in MediaNews papers on the other side of the country.)

Beyond that, it would be inappropriate for me to say much more than this:

1) I remain very thankful to the likes of Gary Rogo, Dave Wells, Aviv Blasbalg and Bill Paxton at the Post for giving me space to write about hockey, and so, if you enjoy what I do at all, I hope you by extension would be thankful as well; 2) The best way to get a message across to newspaper people is — really — to write to them and let them know you’re reading/looking for something in particular/suspecting xenophobia/confounded by editorial decisions; and 3) You underestimate and underrate Alan Hahn. Seriously.

And most importantly, none of this has anything to do with Jim Cummins, who now (at least for now) is joined by Chris Thompson… and I suppose technically Wyatt Smith and Travis Brigley, too, for now.

(Oh, and if you do go with the suspecting-xenophobia bit, do it a little more tactfully than I did up there.)

“DaveBrz” wrote, in response to The obstruction boogie:

Interesting stats, only 20:26 of 5 on 5. Would like to see a breakdown off all AHL and NHL games to see what the averages are league wide.

I would as well, Dave, but unless someone can come up with a way to automate the process off a box score, it’ll be tough to do. Grinding out this and the other one took me about 45 minutes each. Not fun. But I’ll free-lance these charts for $20 a game… 🙂

Actually, Saturday’s game at Binghamton was relatively clean overlapping-penalties-wise; it looks like the teams spent 29:17 at five-on-five and 30:43 on the power play, 16:58 of that Bridgeport’s. I thought Bob Langdon was pretty good Saturday night, BTW. One call on Vince Macri was kind of weird, unless Langdon could see something we couldn’t up in the box, but all in all, pretty consistent.

Incidentally, though nobody asked: The obstruction boogie and the restraining boogie differ only in the possessions of the partner. Both have been banned throughout much of North America, because you grab the guy next to you, then sit for two minutes.

Last, and certainly not least, we turn the column over to a certain prolific “Goal Judge,” who wrote in response to Dot Dot Dot:

Was there a lot fans at the FanFest? Hey, if Hartford puts Puriton on waivers we should get him. We need some muscle, or me & you will have to suit up! that is a funny thought! good luck in Wilkes Barrre. If you every need a story you can always use ME….

There was a very good crowd at the FanFest… once we found it upstairs. A nice turnout. The upper level stands were just about filled: fans watching practice, kids playing the video games and table hockey game (hey, anyone ready, I’m dying to play a little bubble hockey again), the Baseggio youngsters skating with their dad afterward… Looked like a nice time.

As for the rest of it… I know I’m crazy, but my first thought on reading your comment was, what would Dale Purinton do as an off-ice official? Would he keep the lines for plus/minus? I suppose he could be a fill-in penalty box attendant; he’s spent enough time there.

Seriously — and coincidentally, story coming in the morning — we’ll see if the lack of one “nuclear weapon” tough guy (to steal Kevin McCarthy’s old line about Peter Worrell) hurts this team. There’s a lot of guys who can take care of themselves — Kevin Colley stepped up on opening night, and Jody Robinson did it Saturday — and the more-open hockey might take away some of the rough stuff.

And the off-ice officials story… I’ve been meaning to do it for a while. (“Road to hell: paving ahead.”) But if you sign a contract first, maybe I’ll do that feature instead.

Our friendly neighborhood “Goal Judge” more recently wrote in response to Simpsons-quoting “I would think that He would want to limit my power”:

michael!! have you offered your brain to NASA or something! WOW! you are a walking calculator! nice job. See ya this weekend. PS. Is there now orange on the home uniforms?

All calculations, except for some very light adding, come courtesy of the good folks at Microsoft: the basic Windows calc for some, but the spreadsheet that comes (er, came) with trusty ol’ Microsoft Works 2.0 (vintage 1991) does most of the heavy lifting, summing and averaging.

The home whites (as referenced elsewhere: d’oh), I’ve not yet seen. As long as the numbers aren’t white or an incredibly pale yellow (vintage 1997), I’ll be thrilled.

(The black numbers on the road blues are a little easier to read when you’re closer and not looking through a screen, so I think it’ll work out everywhere except Wilkes-Barre, but…)

Actually, I’d be a smidge disappointed if the whites changed much. From June 27, 2001, the day Roy Boe and Mike Milbury introduced both Gordie Clark and the sweaters (and then the power went out at our office; no causal relationship is assumed), I’ve always liked the white sweaters, which is odd for me because — as seen above, stark-ravin’ traditionalist — I tend to prefer teams’ darks, especially when they’re blue. Ah well.

Hey, thanks for all your comments, folks! Hope you’re enjoying the experiment.

Michael Fornabaio