Was mumbling to myself going downstairs after this one. With a roster like this, even with some of the youth, this wasn’t what we expected at this point of the season, especially after they won 10 of 14 to start. They’ve won five of 19 since, 13 points of 38, to sit in 12th place in the Eastern Conference after Game 33.
What is it? It seems to be different little things every night, but what binds this together into a .342 hockey team over the past seven weeks or so?
“We’re looking for answers right now,” Aaron Ness said. “I think the answer is pointing thumbs. ‘What can I do better.'”
And sure, you want accountability. They’ve talked about not taking penalties. They’ve talked about turnovers (Thompson said he thought they weren’t as big an issue tonight as last night, that the puck support was better, that they’d talked about playing as a unit of five and the forwards did a better job of that tonight). David Leggio has had better nights, though that early save on David Wohlberg was something else.
“Guys played pretty hard,” Thompson said. “You look at how they competed, (Johan) Sundstrom competed — I can go through the list, and just about everybody played hard.
“(Albany) got some breaks, some bounces here and there, and we’re playing catch-up.”
There were differences along the way, in makeup, in an awful lot of things, but the way this felt walking downstairs reminded me a little of New Year’s Eve, 2011, in Wilkes-Barre, the bottoming-out before things turned around hard. And I laughed when I checked Bridgeport’s record as of that night, because that team had gone 4-11-2-1 in its previous 18 games to fall to 12-17-3-1.
That was Game 33.
Best wishes to CapGeek founder Matthew Wuest, who has taken down the site to focus on his health.
Apparent good news for Bridgeport off the ice: Thompson said the initial evaluation on Ryan Pulock’s injury looked like it wouldn’t be a long-term thing. He will be reevaluated to make sure. Possible bad news on the ice: Griffin Reinhart blocked a couple of shots late, limped to the bench and didn’t play the last few shifts. Thompson wasn’t sure how bad that was. Pulock won’t play tomorrow, but I guess we’ll be asking about Reinhart, then.
With Reinhart already sitting and Scooter Vaughan off for fighting, Bridgeport went with four forwards on both power-play units in the final minutes. C.J. Stretch moved onto Reinhart’s unit with Alan Quine, Harry Zolnierczyk, Cory Conacher and Jesse Graham. John Persson was in Vaughan’s (which is Pulock’s) spot with Ness, Colin McDonald, Sebastian Collberg and Kael Mouillierat. Didn’t get to ask about that; see if it reappears.
Tweeted about this, but it blows me away: old friend Mike Keenan got a delay-of-game minor at 3:31 of the third for flipping a puck into Section 106. It went over the head of a man in about the fourth row, and at least as it looked from here, I think it skimmed the top of his head, knocking his baseball cap into the vestibule. But he himself appeared unscathed. Incredible.
More from last year’s defense corps: The AHL transactions say Dallas Jackson has signed an AHL deal with Hartford. He’d been on a PTO.
Larry Brooks pitches a Winter Classic on the pitch.
Jaromir Jagr can play a little.
And RIP, Donna Douglas.
Back at it in a few hours.