(Really should have gotten some coffee this morning. Short rest after the drive.)
Break-up day. Trevor Gillies, toughest player rep alive, got the players to fill out insurance information before shaving the mustache. (Moment of silence, please.) Jake Gannon packed up in the morning and caught a flight to Utah for do-or-die Game 4 tomorrow night. Robin Figren had his 11:45 a.m. exit interview at 2:30 p.m. Justin DiBenedetto had his 3 p.m. meeting at 2:45. Greg Mauldin and Trevor Smith… well, the two unrestricted free agents didn’t have sit-down appointments with the brass. Mauldin, packing up his old Ottawa Senators bag, wasn’t quite sure what to take out of that, though those were two disturbing signs. Smith didn’t want to read anything into it prematurely; “I’d love to come back and play here,” he said.
Garth Snow said no one has been ruled out yet. They’ll have meetings, evaluate their needs, talk about how to fill them. As we noted in a live chat several weeks ago, you won’t go broke betting against the returns of unrestricted NHL free agents. But we’ll see.
Chatted with several players about the year. What doesn’t get used in the wrap package (scheduled for Sunday), maybe I’ll toss up here.
Smith admitted that the upper-body injury that kept him out in late March was a separated right shoulder. It hampered him after that. Jesse Joensuu said he will probably have surgery on his wrist, which has been bothering him since last year.
Only player who didn’t seem to pop his head in: Mark Wotton. We’ll try to catch up to the captain.
The Perreault high-stick came up (so to speak) a couple of times today, as it might come up a time or two from now on. There’s one thing that still gets me about that play, and I kind of wish I’d asked Alex Giroux about it. If you watch the replay (about 3:55 into the Game 1 highlights on the Sound Tigers’ site), Giroux comes back up the right-wing boards, from the half-wall to the point, and tries to make a pass to the left. Sean Bentivoglio’s stick gets a piece of the pass, and it deflects deeper into the zone. In a flash, Giroux has turned and taken the puck back and is stepping up for the shot that caromed up in the air and turned into Bridgeport’s all-time Nygel Pelletier highlight.
Giroux pounced on that broken play so quickly, turned it back into offense in a heartbeat. It plays as if it were a set play: “Perry, I’m gonna bank it off their left-winger’s stick and shoot it while they’re looking for it. Their right-side Dman’s gonna come across and tip it up in the air. You just get to the front and make something happen.”
I don’t wanna say “that’s why they’re the Hershey Bears.” But the thought crossed my mind.
(That was also the least-violent Bentivoglio-Giroux interaction of the series.)
Meanwhile, as best we have them, signed (years remaining in parentheses) and unsigned (with some help from CapGeek.com, and corrections are welcome):
(V – Veteran)
G — Mikko Koskinen (2)
D — Mark Katic (2), Anton Klementyev (3), Brendan Witt (V) (1)
F — Justin DiBenedetto (2), Robin Figren (1), Micheal Haley (1), Jesse Joensuu (1), Tomas Marcinko (1), Matt Martin (2), Rhett Rakhshani (2), Joel Rechlicz (1), Tony Romano (2)
Group II (RFA): Sean Bentivoglio, Dustin Kohn, Nathan Lawson, Dylan Reese
Group III (UFA): Greg Mauldin (V), Scott Munroe, Jeremy Reich (V)
Group VI (UFA): Mark Flood, Trevor Smith
AHL (UFA): Victor Bartley, Jake Gannon, Jon Gleed, Tyler Haskins, Pascal Morency, Mike Radja, Mark Wotton (V)
Unsigned amateur (UFA): Michael Davies
G — Rick DiPietro (11), Dwayne Roloson (1)
D — Bruno Gervais (1), Jack Hillen (1), Andrew MacDonald (4), Radek Martinek (1), Mark Streit (3)
F — Josh Bailey (1), Blake Comeau (1), Trevor Gillies (1), Trent Hunter (3), Frans Nielsen (2), Kyle Okposo (1), John Tavares (2)
Group II (RFA): Sean Bergenheim, Matt Moulson, Rob Schremp, Jeff Tambellini
Group III (UFA): Martin Biron, Tim Jackman, Freddy Meyer, Richard Park, Jon Sim, Doug Weight
So, what, like, 170 days till opening night?