Garth Snow - Finally Legal
(Anders Nilsson/Pope Steve XXLVII)
It has taken almost 15 years, but the Islanders General manager, Garth Snow, may have finally found the answer. In the 1997 series between the Sabers and Flyers, then Philly goaltender, Garth Snow donned a set of shoulder pads so large a pundit asked if Snow “had Jimmy Hoffa buried under there.” He had not broken any rules, there were none. Fifteen-inch pads were commonplace and his imaginative way to level the playing field was totally legal. It also started the puck rolling towards the regulation of today’s goalie equipment by the NHL.
Always searching for a competitive advantage, Garth went out and drafted a tender who required no Michelin man equipment. Anders Nilsson at 6’5 and 220 lbs. fills the net in his long johns. Last night the 21 year old from Lulea, Sweden recorded his first NHL win, a 1-0 shutout over the New Jersey Devils. It is not just his dominating size but also his cobra quick reflexes which brought one clever fan to post on Twitter “ Anders Nillson, I dub thee 'Thor' the god of goaltenders.” The Islanders may need the help of a god to make the playoffs, but the Bridgeport Sound Tigers are in a push for the playoffs as well and could use Nillson’s earthly powers.
With 20 games left in the season here is where Bridgeport stands in the push for the playoffs.
Norfolk 60 81
St John’s 56 75
WBS 58 73
Hershey 59 73
BST 56 68
Whale 58 68
Albany 58 63
Worcester 56 61
Manchester 60 61
Portland 58 60
Adirondack 58 59
Springfield 59 59
Providence 60 58
On Sunday the Sound Tigers defeated the Providence Bruins 6-3 in a game they should have won. Bridgeport had enjoyed an NHL like game every other day scheduled while Providence was playing the third game of a typical AHL three-in-three weekend and they were missing key players due to injury. Bridgeport was healthy ( Mark Katic returned for his first game since Sept. surgery) and hungry for another win. If you are going to contend you have to win the games you should win and with just 20 remaining there are few ‘should wins’ left. A lot of teams have playoff dreams.
The Sound Tigers have been the hottest team on ice in 2012 going 19-2-0-2. They are the healthiest they have been in years (the only player missing last night was Aaron Ness who spent Sunday waiting in line to pay tolls on his call-up, practice, send down Sunday). They are the most prepared team, and every player will attest they have never known harder practices. They might get out scored on any night, but they will not be out hustled or out muscled. I have never seen a Sound Tiger team play better hockey than I have seen this year.
The scheduling gods were kind to Bridgeport this year, nine of the last eleven games of the season will be played at The Webster Bank Arena. Anything can happen in 20 games (it took Bridgeport 21 games to go from last place to first) but I think we can start looking for a Division Championship and then we will talk Calder.