Farewell, Tom: Penguins pregame

Perhaps he doesn’t have the history with both franchises that Alain Nasreddine has; he’s not quite intertwined with what was once the Sound Tigers’ greatest rivalry, with lingering anger from his earlier stops, like Dennis Bonvie was.

But Tom Kostopoulos plays his last game at Harbor Yard this afternoon. The captain plays his 720th AHL game today, his 656th as a Penguin. He’s played another 97 AHL playoff games, including seven against the Sound Tigers in 2004. Konstantin Koltsov might be the late-season send-down that sticks most in your mind, coming down after playing all 82 in the Show that year and three in the regular season for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before scoring in overtime that Sunday afternoon, April 25, in Game 7. But Kostopoulos was the other big name, the captain then, too, coming back after 60 NHL games. He had three goals — including the first goal that Sunday afternon — and six assists in that series.

He probably would’ve stuck in the NHL the next year, but there was no NHL that year; he played for Manchester. Most of his next eight years were spent in the NHL. And then he came back to Wilkes-Barre. They sent him off in style last night in his regular-season home finale.

Michel Therrien griped in 2004 about the Sound Tigers’ tactics. (It worked; they got the calls.) The sound bite that always sticks in my mind was that someone had “two arms around Kostopoulos.” Lovely to see that community do that to him virtually the past couple of nights.

For Bridgeport, Michael Dal Colle returns after losing the first five games to injury of his pro career. Tyler Mueller and Andre Benoit return as the third pair. And it looks like Tanner Fritz will play after coming down earlier in the day, with Kellen Jones, Kane Lafranchise and Ryan MacKinnon and apparently Kyle Schempp coming out. Eamon McAdam gets the start in net. David Quenneville’s ATO became official earlier.

F: St. Denis-Fritz-Bailey
Bourque-Stevens-Bernier (A)
Hitchcock – C.Jones – Ho-Sang
Dal Colle-Kubiak-B.Holmstrom (C)
D: Helgeson (A)-Vande Sompel
G: McAdam

F: Wilson (A)-Dea-Sprong
Cramarossa-Blueger-Kostopoulos (C)
D: Pedan-Bengtsson
Summers (A)-Czuczman
G: Peters

R: Ciamaga, Gouin. L: Galvin, Hejna.

This should be the box.

Bridgeport scratches (believed healthy unless noted): Gibson, Cullity, Lafranchise, MacKinnon, Quenneville, Toews (shoulder), Wotherspoon (lower), Eansor (upper), Gionta (upper), J.Holmstrom, K.Jones, apparently Schempp.

Chris Ciamaga’s first Sound Tigers game in over four years; his first appearance in Bridgeport in just shy of five.

Scoreboard Watching: Ehh, who cares. No, positioning still up for grabs. Hershey at Charlotte, well underway; Springfield at Hartford, 5 p.m.; Lehigh Valley at Providence, 5 p.m.

I’ll be on with Mike O’Brien during the first intermission.

Michael Fornabaio