Physical challenge: Albany postgame

Justin Vaive had a hit on each of his first three shifts. There were a few others along the way. He’s a big kid, obviously, but still, I wondered if this was something he was looking for, or an opportunity that presented itself.

“More just presenting itself,” Vaive said. “Obviously there are going to be games through the year that are more physical than others. Albany’s a big team, especially on defense. The only way you’re going to get to them is to get a hit, move them, create some turnovers.”

So maybe a little of both, then, but still, the Devils were able to score early and block lots of shots in this 4-1 Albany win.

Especially considering the low shots-on-goal total, I wanted to ask Brent Thompson whether he thought that was more a function of passing up shots they should’ve taken (because he always wants them taking shots), or whether it was the Devils’ shot-blocking. It’s in the gamer, but spoiler: getting shots through.

So not enough shots, team coming off two emotional games against a team that had Saturday off: Recipe for disaster. Bridgeport still hit the post a bunch of times and had other chances not go. (In fairness, so did Albany. Could’ve been like 6-5.)

Big one Wednesday. With 20 games left, they’re all big ones.


Kyle Burroughs took a hit up high from Stefan Matteau a minute and a half into the second period and didn’t return. Burroughs was following a Devil into the corner to the right of Stephon Williams, and it appeared Matteau cut across from Burroughs’ right and got him in the head. Sure Burroughs will be seeing the doctors tomorrow.

Ken Morrow in the house today. Deadline’s in under 18 hours as I write (as Ryan Pulock gets set for his debut). Team’s off Monday.

Bridgeport has, in essence, a five-point lead for a playoff spot (it’s fourth in the North). It’s five up on Hartford (see you Wednesday), six up on Allentown with a game in hand, five up on St. John’s with a game in hand, and eight up on Rochester, which has a game in hand and a new cast of characters. To avoid Toronto, it’s two points behind Portland but now giving up two games in hand, and one behind Providence, which still has a game in hand.

(Yes, a month and a half left, but still.)

Speaking of Providence: Your routine 29-shot period for Providence (minus Alex Khokhlachev).

Prescout, for what it’s worth. Deadline tomorrow.

Speaking of which, to try to summarize some of the important points about tomorrow, because it’s been a while:

Guys in the NHL at 3 p.m. Monday can’t be sent down. That’s why the infamous “paper transactions” happen every year. Given that waivers remain in effect, the only guy up top, at least as the roster currently stands, who’s eligible to be sent down is Ryan Pulock; assume he will be at least papered down.

This CBA allows an exception to that (The Eric Tangradi Rule is how I think about it) for players who are injured at the deadline but spent less than 25 percent of the season, before their injury, on the NHL roster. They can be sent down with their consent. Adam Pelech, were he cleared sometime this spring, would appear to be eligible in that way. Edit: I take it back: Pelech was up too long to qualify for the exception.

After the deadline until the playoffs, the salary cap remains in force, but not the 23-man limit. Guys on injured reserve can come off without needing to clear room for them.

Emergency recalls remain unlimited, but regular recalls are limited. Between the deadline and the end of the regular season, teams can use just four regular recalls. (That includes your paper-transaction guys, typically.) In the playoffs, if a team has used four regular recalls on different players, it can keep them all up; if not, it’s only allowed to have three players on regular recall at any one time, except…

After an AHL team’s season ends (including playoffs), there are no limits to recalls for its parent club. We saw that taxi squad go up in previous Islanders playoff years (and some of them got in last year).

Here, it ain’t over tomorrow. The AHL trade deadline is next Monday. Players on AHL contracts can still be traded, and players in the AHL on NHL contracts can be reassigned to other AHL teams over the next week.

And then it’s 40 days to the wire.

Michael Fornabaio