@7thWoman: #askPelly did u ever think u would be tasked with coaching such a high NHL draft pick as @thelnino25?
Scott Pellerin: Dee, for me I don’t look at them and coach them any different if they’re a first overall draft pick or somebody else. They’re part of this team. My job is to help coach them and max out their ability, whatever that is. I don’t try to change my coaching style for any particular player.
@jamesjoseph123: I saw online Coach tracked down his Devils rookie jersey. How special is it to have that? #AskPelly
SP: James, last season we had a team dinner event where our players were the waiters. A couple of great fans, the Greens, from Manchester were able to track my rookie jersey. It was one of the ones I didn’t have, my NHL rookie jersey from the NJ Devils from 92-93. They called my name and brought me up on stage in a chair and I thought the players were going to pull a prank on me. But the Greens came up and they had found my rookie jersey and they gave it to me. So it’s part of my collection now and it’s a real special thing.
Sampuckdrop13: #AskPelly Who do you think will be the most influential guy in the locker room this season?
SP: Sam, right now, I look at the leadership group that we have and I’m really impressed with the maturity level of our guys and how they’ve really pushed our group. I wouldn’t be able to pick one particular guy because I haven’t been in the room during those battle times. I think a guy like Ty Wishart has really stepped up. McDonald has really stepped up. Travis is a guy that has tremendous leadership ability in the AHL and the NHL. I think we have a good handle on our leaders and our team. Casey’s a hard worker. McIver is a veteran guy who has a really strong presence in our locker room. Jon Landry has a good strong presence in the locker room, as does Matt Watkins. To me, that’s our leadership group that I’m looking at. There’s tons of other guys too but for me, those are more of our veteran guys.
@ C_sacICE: Coach Pellerin what is the biggest difference between coaching the Monarchs and Sound Tigers? #AskPelly
SP: Corey, well I’m in change here, or at least that’s what they tell me. The biggest difference is controlling the schedule and pace of practice. That to me is a big challenge and it’s something that I love to do. I had a great opportunity in Manchester to coach with Mark Morris. He helped me to develop into the coach I am today. I owe him so much for helping me in my own personal development as a coach. I learned so much from Manchester when I was there with that staff.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers wrapped up Training Camp at Iceworks on Thursday, focusing on special teams before making the trip to Connecticut for the start of the regular season. The Sound Tigers open 2012-13 in Hartford against the rival Connecticut Whale on Friday, Oct. 12, before coming home to face the Providence Bruins the following night.
Friday’s game is the first of 10 against the in-state rival. Last season, the Sound Tigers won 6-of-10 regular season matchups against Connecticut, but bowed out to their foes in the first round of the playoffs, something that defenseman Aaron Ness hasn’t forgotten about.
“There’s some history there, especially after last year,” Ness said. “It’s obviously fresh in our minds, so it should be a good test for us right away.”
Head Coach Scott Pellerin believes that Friday’s combination of Opening Night and the rivalry is the best way for players to get past their early jitters.
“I think everybody’s going to be ramped up and the energy level is going to be high,” Pellerin said. “I think it’s going to be a great way to start and set a mark on our season and challenge ourselves as a team.”
The first-year head coach has had just two weeks and two exhibition games since the beginning of Training Camp to implement his system and get the team up to speed. After those two weeks of evaluation, he is excited about this year’s squad.
If it seems like Sound Tigers defenseman Travis Hamonic and goaltender Kevin Poulin are on the same page out on the ice, it’s because they share a unique history. The 22-year-olds met as junior prospects in 2009 at the Draft Combine in Toronto, where a common bond immediately made the two into friends.
“He was rooming with one of my buddies from Quebec at the combine and we just started talking,” Poulin said. “He was speaking French.”
It’s no surprise that Poulin, who hails from Montreal, QC, speaks fluent French. It may seem a bit more unusual, however, for someone from Western Canada like Hamonic to be fluent in both French and English. But as Hamonic explains, in the pocket of Southern Manitoba he calls home, it’s the standard.
“I’m from probably the best small town in the world,” Hamonic said. “It’s about an hour south of Winnipeg – a town called St. Malo. Probably a thousand people live there. It’s a French-farming-hockey-playing town. Those are probably the three terms to describe it. In Southern Manitoba there’s quite a bit of French heritage. It dates back a couple hundred years.”
Here's a fun video from Wednesday. The three Swedish forwards -- John Persson, David Ullstrom and Johan Sundstrom -- were on the same line during practice. Here's what they, as well as fellow countryman Anders Nilsson, had to say afterward.
Two years ago, Mike Halmo wasn’t on most NHL teams’ radars, going undrafted after a pair of pedestrian junior hockey campaigns. Today, the late-bloomer is carving out a home in the Islanders organization following a breakout junior season with the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League that saw him post 40 goals, 45 assists and 162 penalty minutes in 66 games.
“I think it just took me awhile to understand the game a bit more,” Halmo said. “Each year I just kept getting more and more time to play and during my overage year I got the chance to play in every situation and really put points up.”
In his first two seasons with Owen Sound, the Waterloo, ON native totaled 16 goals and 21 assists in 122 games. Following his uneventful draft year, Halmo erupted for 128 points (60 goals, 68 assists) in 125 contests over his final two junior seasons.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers defense could be one of the strongest in the American Hockey League this season. The team posted a plus-14 goal differential in 2011-12, good for fifth in the Eastern Conference, despite relying heavily on rookies like Calvin de Haan, Matt Donovan and Aaron Ness.
Part of the glue that held the young defensive corps together was none other than Ty Wishart, who has played a season-and-a-half in the Islanders organization. The 2006 first-round draft pick is in the midst of his seventh professional Training Camp, and now, as one of the most experienced players on a young team at age 24, has taken charge as a leader on the Sound Tigers blue line.
“I just try to bring as much energy as I can to the dressing room and on the ice,” Wishart said. “I do lots of talking out there to help the young guys when they need it. I’ve been around longer than most of these guys so leading just comes with the territory.”
Wishart came to the Islanders organization through a trade from Tampa Bay on January 2, 2011, and split the second half of the 2011-12 season between New York and Bridgeport, playing 20 games in each location. Last season, he appeared in 71 games for the Sound Tigers, scoring 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) while also helping younger defensemen transition into their professional careers.
Here's some highlights from Saturday's practice, open to season ticket holders. CLICK HERE for the full photo gallery.
On Saturday, Oct. 6, Islanders season ticket holders were treated to an open Bridgeport Sound Tigers practice at Iceworks in Syosset. After the on-ice session, defenseman Travis Hamonic and forward Nino Niederreiter signed autographs and took pictures with fans in the pro shop.
Hamonic, 22, was all smiles following the meet-and-greet with the fans who filled the stands during practice to watch the Sound Tigers.
“It’s awesome,” Hamonic said. “It’s no secret that I enjoy spending time getting to know our fans. I enjoy interacting with the kids. Every time I see a young kid I remember what it felt like to be at that age, and how in awe, in shock, nervous and shy that I was when I’d meet a pro athlete. It’s really important as players that we go out of our way and try to interact with fans and be there for them.”
MANCHESTER, NH - Jordan Nolan and Andrei Loktionov lit the lamp for Manchester, and the Sound Tigers were unable to answer, losing 2-0 to the Monarchs at Sullivan Arena to conclude the preseason schedule. With the loss, Bridgeport drops to 1-1-0-0 in exhibition play, while the win gives Manchester a 1-0-0-0 preseason record.
The first period ended in a scoreless tie, despite several opportunities on the man advantage for each team. Three times during the opening frame, a Manchester power play ended when one of its players went to the penalty box, creating a 4-on-4 situation.
The Monarchs best opportunity of the opening frame came at even strength when Andrei Loktionov made a cross-ice pass to Brandon Kozun in the circle to Kevin Poulin’s right. Kozun fired a one-timer but Poulin was equal to the task, dropping down low to make one of his 39 saves and end the threat.
Friday, Oct. 5: Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Manchester Monarchs
6 p.m., Sullivan Arena, Manchester, NH
(Streaming live on NewYorkIslanders.com)
The defending Northeast Division Champion Bridgeport Sound Tigers (41-26-3-6, 91 points in 2011-12) conclude their preseason schedule Friday on the road against the Manchester Monarchs. The puck drops at 6 p.m., and fans can watch the live stream on NewYorkIslanders.com.
Last season, the Monarchs finished second in the Atlantic Division with a 39-32-2-3 record (83 points), losing in the first round of the playoffs to the eventual Calder Cup Champion Norfolk Admirals.
Last game: Sound Tigers 3, Bruins 1
The Sound Tigers defeated the Providence Bruins 3-1 Thursday at the New England Sports Center behind goals from Johan Sundstrom, Mike Halmo and Nino Niederreiter. Goaltender Anders Nilsson stopped 34-of-35 shots. The Sound Tigers went 1-for-8 on the man advantage while killing all four Bruin power plays.
Expect tonight’s lineup to change as Head Coach Scott Pellerin continues to evaluate his roster. This was the lineup Thursday:
Niederreiter – Nelson – Kabanov
Halmo – Sundstrom – Backman
DeFazio – Watkins – Riley
Gallant – Clark – MacKay
Ness – Landry
de Haan – Wishart
McIver – Cantin
Scratches: Casey Cizikas, Travis Hamonic, Colin McDonald, Aaron Ness, John Persson, David Ullstrom, Ken Reiter
What they’re saying:
|Matt Donovan led Sound Tigers defensemen with 45 points (10 goals, 35 assists) in 2011-12 (Photo: New York Islanders)|
“I’m just looking for consistency,” Pellerin said. “I think as a coach that’s all you can ask for. We’ve gone through all our systems, everything that we need to do. The guys’ attention to detail and work ethic and conditioning is there. I just want to see them play. I want them to have fun and play to their max. I want them to play the best hockey that they can play because I’m going to have some real tough decisions.”
Pellerin added that even though this week’s contests won’t go down in the standings, he wants his team to get off on the right foot.
“We want to win,” Pellerin said. “We want to set a standard and it started the first day of Training Camp. We’ve been pushing that standard every day.”
Sound Tigers defenseman Matt Donovan knows what the players will be trying to accomplish come 7:05 Thursday.
“We’re just trying to get back into game form,” Donovan said. “None of us have played a game since last season. I think it’s just about getting ready as a team and getting in the flow of things as a team and learning about guys and seeing which guys can play where. I think everyone’s going to play a lot and show the coaches what they have.”
Donovan said that even though the players have been getting acquainted with one another during the first few practices, nothing compares to building chemistry with teammates during real games.
“They’ll probably switch it up in the exhibition games and put us with different guys so we can learn about everyone else on the team,” Donovan said. “I think in the end that will make us a better, closer team and we can learn about each other.”
Watch Friday’s live stream
Fans can watch Friday’s game at Manchester live on NewYorkIslanders.com starting at 5:45 p.m.