Can’t tell your players without a scorecard, ATO edition: They had a special-teams-heavy practice this morning, which meant two colors (white on the power play, blue on everyone else) as opposed to the usual rainbow of colors on the forwards*. So it took a little scribbling to catch a few things: One was that Mike Sislo sat out; maintenance, Brent Thompson said. They might as well, with the bodies they have, which is now 17 forwards: One of the other things was finding Bobo Carpenter (in No. 42, and doing some penalty killing, and doing it with some obvious enthusiasm) and Oliver Wahlstrom (in 38). Talked with the both of them and Brent Thompson for the paper. Thompson said nothing’s promised to anyone, but there’s a chance they could play.
Thompson sounded hopeful that John Stevens and Kyle Burroughs will be available. Both were out there on the PK.
As mentioned the other night, Grant Hutton’s pro debut got a bit lost in the loss, so followed up today. He said he felt some early nerves. “But I was able to get through that and get down to playing my game,” Hutton said. “I started feeling better, more comfortable with my teammates, the speed, the pace of the game.” How about getting thrown in against a team like Charlotte? “It lets you know where you’re at right away,” he said. “They’re a tough team to play against. They’re at the top of the league for a reason. It was a good opportunity to gauge where I’m at.”
Thompson was happy with him, too. “Obviously the game wasn’t what we wanted. To throw him in against arguably the best team in the league was — I thought he did really well. I thought he handled the speed well. He’s a big body that moves extremely well, and he’s poised with the puck and physical. I was really happy with his first impression, and we knew, even watching in practice, that he has the skill set, the mobility and the grit factor.”
Bridgeport sent Mike Cornell back to Worcester. The Railers play Brampton this weekend and could use some points.
Scoreboard watching: Charlotte at Hartford (Checkers can drop magic number to two; either way, it’ll take a win tomorrow to clinch here); Lehigh Valley at Cleveland (Bridgeport magic number vs. the Phantoms is six); Providence at Syracuse (magic number vs. the Bruins is 10). The absence of Wilkes-Barre from today’s and Sunday’s schedules means the Sound Tigers can’t clinch a playoff spot until Tuesday at earliest. (Two non-shootout wins for Bridgeport and a regulation loss for the Pens this weekend would actually clinch a tie, but for that tie actually come to pass, the Pens would necessarily win the season series and the playoff spot.)
And Quinnipiac gets practicing in Allentown today. Follow our bud Jim Fuller for all your Bobcats needs.
*-The usual practice colors this year are white, the light-blue that we’ll always call “Argentina“, red, gray and yellow. And when the lines are mixed up and I write down the first letter of the colors to get myself organized, I always mumble “WARGY”**
**-Yes, I am troubled.