Ever closer (to something)

The Sound Tigers welcomed a group of youngsters from St. Vincent’s Special Needs Services today, which is always neat. As they did last year, a bunch of players stayed afterward to take a bunch of the kids around the ice. The kids got to see 24 players practice, including Johan Sundstrom, back in a full-contact jersey today, which was a bit of a surprise even to his coach. “The doctors, (the way) he’s progressing with his symptoms, they wanted to see where he’s at with full contact,” Scott Pellerin said. Sundstrom seemed to get through it OK, staying out a little later. “He looked happy,” Pellerin said. Even if he’s in good shape, it’s not clear that, after almost six weeks on the shelf, they’d toss him right in. “He hasn’t been able to do a lot of conditioning,” Pellerin said.

Sundstrom and newcomer Adam Huxley were the extras today, taking some reps with Pellerin. On Huxley: “Looking at the numbers we had, we were looking to add some physical presence,” Pellerin said. “All the reports we got on him were very good. He’s somebody we’d watched over the last little bit. He’s an older guy. He has experience.” Pellerin said Gallant will miss the weekend at least; they hope to know more about his injury next week.

Pellerin on Max MacKay to Wheeling: “He’s had a tough year with regards to getting ice time, at the beginning of the year with the numbers we had, and then being hurt, then being sick. He’s got to (play) some games. He’s been a solid part of our group, of our team, but he’s got to play.”

Appears we won’t get official word on tomorrow’s starting goalie until the skate. Rick DiPietro was, familiarly, in the home net. Not that he needs confirming, but confirmed Arthur Staple’s report that DiPietro is expected to start Friday and Sunday. Meanwhile, via Lighthouse Hockey, here’s the video from the interview that caused today’s DiPietro kerfuffle.

Dallas Jackson had his first practice on a full AHL deal. Been a good fit both ways, apparently. “I was here last year, and I like it here,” Jackson said, adding that with good relationships with the players and the staff, “they’re good people to be surrounded with.”

Lines, pairs, everything looked reasonably familiar otherwise.

Across the way, the Whale got Chris Kreider from the Rangers today.

Michael Fornabaio