Seven in, eight out: Providence postgame I

Not enough chances, not enough traffic, not enough goals against the guy I voted as the top goalie in the AHL this year, taking nothing away from Troy Grosenick.

Eamon McAdam matched him for 27 shots. The 28th, like the goal the other day, took an unexpected bounce off the ice. That made the 29th a goal. They got another when Austin Czarnik got to play pretty much by himself for a shift.

So they go home down in one count but up in another. Their magic number stays at 8; Hershey‘s drops to 8. (Added some magic numbers to the top of EastWatch for the heck of it. I’ll regret it when I’ve got to update them.)

Seven defensemen, mostly, let the two newcomers split time: Except for some shifts after special teams, Parker Wotherspoon and Jake Bischoff were rarely on the ice with anyone but Pat Cullity (and I think just once on the ice together); the regular top two pairs generally stuck together. In that, it accomplished what they wanted, Brent Thompson said, which was weaning the kids in a bit.

“At the end of the day, I thought our guys responded well with seven D,” Thompson said. “If you ask the defensemen, I’m sure they don’t like it. I was one of them. I thought they all responded and played pretty well. The forwards, too. It’s tough when you’re juggling lines.”

So do they stick with it?

“Wait and see,” Thompson said. “We’ll talk about it. It’s a day-to-day thing. We have great bodies rested and ready to go.”


Bridgeport can no longer win the division, in case you were holding your breath for that one. Wilkes-Barre shut out Lehigh Valley.

Haven’t had a good time to ask Thompson about his philosophy when he’s short up front. Remember in the olden days of 17 skaters in the AHL, the rough norm used to be that you’d keep three lines together, have a pair that stuck together and double-shifted a guy from two shifts ago? Rotate the roll, then, every so often to double-shift a different guy? This is not what Thompson does, which makes it a kind of Symphony of the Line Combos: Theme and variation, and when they resolve back to the originals after a time out or after a while, you get that neat kind of moment of recognition.

Devon Toews’ last goal before tonight tied this debacle at 5. He’d played 46 games since, racking up 24 of his 37 assists.

Taylor Beck and Cory Conacher are the postseason AHL All-Star right wingers. Beck got called up to the Rangers on Friday. And in the least-surprising thing ever, Craig Cunningham won the Fred T. Hunt Award for dedication to the game, which, I mean, come on. Syracuse’s Matt Taormina was named the top defenseman.

Good news on Kyle Okposo, reportedly.

Hate when NHL teams don’t think about the AHL implications of their call-ups.

The U.S. women are World Champions on Hilary Knight’s overtime goal.

Denver’s Will Butcher wins the Hobey Baker.

RIP, Dave Gove. The former longtime AHLer was found dead earlier this week. He played with Brent Thompson here in 2004-05, and he played with Tim Wallace in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He was one of Carolina’s Black Aces when they won the Stanley Cup in 2006, and Luke DeCock wrote a column about him for the News and Observer.

Prayers for Stockholm. Prayers for Peterburg. It never ends, does it?

And RIP, TSO’s Paul O’Neill, and Don Rickles.

Michael Fornabaio