"The Boys Are Buzzin"
(Kevin Poulin/Casey Cizikas-Photos: Pope Steve XXLVII)
With all the good things that I, John Madonia and others have written about the Bridgeport Sound Tigers you might think that post season play is a given. Nothing could be further from the truth. While Bridgeport’s outlook might be better than our parent club the Islanders it is only marginally better.
A goalie of the month award to Kevin Poulin, a player of the month award to Casey Cizikas and a 13-1-1 record since I replaced Miss December with Miss January and still no guarantees. While writing this post, Edwin Starr’s rock classic ‘WAR’ starts playing and I start singing ‘One-Month . . . What is it good for? Absolutely Nothing.’
The AHL and NHL are identical in structure. Two conferences, three divisions per conference and five teams per division. Eight teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs: the three division winners are seeded first through third based on points, and the next five in order of points are seeded fourth through eighth. And then there are the tie- breakers … YAWN!
Going into Friday nights AHL action the Sound Tigers are tied with the Worcester Sharks for the eighth and final play-off spot (games in hand not withstanding). The next five weeks will be a gut check for this young team.
Four of the next five weekends are 3 in 3’s (3 games in 3 nights). A schedule that can wear down the best of teams, I remain optimistic. This is the best Sound Tiger team I have seen in years playing some awesome hockey. As David Ullstrom put it the other day, “ the boys are buzzin”.
The Shawshank Redemption is one of my favorite movies. An early scene in the movie shows a busload of ‘fresh meat’ being delivered to the prison while inmates make wagers on who will crack first. With ‘fresh meat' joining the Sound Tigers on a regular basis, I will use future Shawshank Moments to introduce new talent.
There is only one revolving door at the Webster Bank Arena and it leads to the Sound Tigers locker room. With Ty Wishart’s well-deserved call up and Rhett Rakhshani’s return from loan, the Tigers were a man heavy at forward and light one on defense. Exit Barry Goers enter Dallas Jackson.
Dallas Jackson comes to Bridgeport for his first AHL assignment from the ECHL’s Gwinnet Gladiators. When Mike Fornabaio of the CT Post first tweeted the name of our newest acquisition, I could not help but picture a rodeo cowboy in my minds eye.
Jackson’s numbers through 47 games in his first complete ECHL season with the Gladiators impress. Six goals and thirteen assists while playing to a plus nine are solid for any blue-liner. His 106 shots on goal during that time is an eye opener.
After viewing some of his fights on You-Tube, it is clear that this 6 foot 2, 198 pound 23 year old from Alberta could do ‘two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu’. Lace ‘em up cowboy and welcome to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Dallas Jackson (Amanda Hertel/Flickr)