Hockey, Day (KC1): A visit to an Island

Called up the blog template on this computer for the first time since the last day of the year. Deleted out all the templates for penalty minutes, top-scoring defensemen, Alan Quine with the most assists since…. Ah well.

But hey, kiddie camp, rebirth, new hope and whatnot. Arrived at the gleaming, if bankrupt, Twin Rinks in the middle of Team White’s practice. Team Blue’s followed. A detailed scouting report follows.

Scouting report deleted. It’s July 7.

A few fans whooped for nice shots from Anthony Beauvillier or Joshua Ho-Sang. Brent Thompson was leading the drills, for the most part, and the volume was obviously not what we’re accustomed to from him. All good: Hockey on a day when your glasses fog up when you go outside is fine.

First chance to talk to Thompson about free agency. Knew he wasn’t going to want to talk about people specifically — they could, as every coach from Steve Stirling on has stressed here, make the Big Club in October — so I asked about the group of signees as a whole. “I think the organization has made an effort to improve the character and leadership, top to bottom,” Thompson said. “I love the fact we have those character guys, however they play and wherever they play.” They have, most of them, been leaders, wearing letters, on former teams.

Wrote something for the paper on Adam Pelech (proof of interview). A young defense corps could be even younger, and guys have to step up the way he stepped up last year. Another piece of that could be Jesse Graham; got to talk to him for the first time since he was sent to Florida, where he and the Everblades made it to the conference semifinals. “It was good to get some playoff games down there, get some pro experience and play in the playoffs,” Graham said. “It was a good group of guys down there. We got in some good, tough situations there in the playoffs. I think I learned some things.

“Obviously I want to be up there in Bridgeport or with the Islanders, but I went down there and got a ton of playing time, and I think I got better as a player.”

Caught up also with Victor Crus-Rydberg, who said he signed back home for the obvious reason: The Islanders didn’t sign him. “I felt like I want to play senior hockey,” he said. Make some money; who’d blame him? (The Islanders drafted him out of Sweden so have his rights for four years.) But he’s here for camp again, enjoying a week here, before getting back training there before his season starts in Sweden.

The kids scrimmage Wednesday night in Brooklyn. (As noted, I’m otherwise occupied, for good or ill. If someone wants to pick up the #scrimmagejokes banner, we’re all for it.)

Former Sound Tigers defenseman Jay Leach becomes an assistant in Wilkes-Barre. A good week for Greg Cronin’s defense corps.

Halle-flippin’-lujah. (Or, as the story suggests, Excellent.) (Thanks for the heads up, Hank.)

And the Big Town’s hosting a parade for the US Women’s National Team after it won the FIFA World Cup. Cool.

Michael Fornabaio