Not only was it a Sound Tigers-heavy lineup, but it was a Sound Tigers-heavy penalty kill (and penalty ledger). One minute into the game, and there were Connor Jones, Colin Markison, and ol’ reliables Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield.
“I liked the way some of them stepped up and competed against NHL players,” Brent Thompson said. “It was an opportunity to see how they measure up, show where they’re at, and where they need to stay. It was a good measuring stick for the staff.”
Speaking of which, the Sound Tigers’ coaching staff got the game. Thompson in charge, Eric Boguniecki over the defense, and Matt Carkner over the forwards. “It was fun having the staff together on the bench, feeling the new chemistry we have,” Thompson said. “At the end of the day, it’s early in the season. We’ll take this as a starting point.”
Considering the comparative lineups (for you-know-whats and giggles: The Islanders’ 20 men tonight combine for 1,608 NHL regular-season games and another 136 in the playoffs, 1,744 in all. The three guys who combined on both Capitals goals, Nate Schmidt, Justin Williams and Lars Eller, combine for 1,582 and 174, 1,756 in all), the Sound Tigers were under the gun a bit. But guys like Jones and Markison and Tanner Fritz used their speed to their advantage at times. Josh Ho-Sang drew a couple of penalties early and had some moments where you saw the potential.
And they beat Braden Holtby only once, and they gave up a couple of power-play goals (on nine chances).
“We’re disappointed about the loss, but I thought there were some positives for us,” Thompson said. “There were some great individual plays. As far as compete level, we ask them to compete every day. … I thought they did that.”
Patrick Cullity is starting his seventh professional season, and this was his first NHL game of any sort. “It was fun. I was a little bit nervous until I got my first shift out of the way,” he said. “There were a couple of mistakes … but I’ll learn from it going forward. It was a cool atmosphere.”
It was, actually. There were huge swaths of the corners empty not long before faceoff, but they filled in fairly well. Announced crowd of 6,432, substantially better than that Devils crowd from 2006 and only a little off the Boston crowd of 2003.
(And with a little fan-friendlier schedule than last year, and the uncertainty of what comes next year, attendance and its associated revenue could be important this year.)
In the run-back-and-forth, managed to miss Aaron Ness aside from a nod. Ah well. Lane Lambert was on the phone on the way out, so wasn’t interrupting him, but think that’s his first return here since he was an assistant in 2006. A triumphant one, then.
I laughed that two different people tweeted me to mention that I was in a different seat than usual. Fun.
Big Club didn’t announce any further transactions. Thompson wasn’t spilling more on any tryouts. Guess we’ll see tomorrow. More then.
And RIP, Jack Garman.