Runs, Hits and Errors

 

There are 126 derivatives of the word run. You might have a run in your hose, a runny nose or an unfortunate case of the runs. You could also enjoy a four-year run as Stanley Cup Champions, run your banner up the flagpole and then run and hide for the next several years.

Hits are similar. You may score the game winning hit, lead the NHL in hits for a season, hit it off with a member of the opposite sex (or whatever is politically acceptable this year) or relax and enjoy a hit on the controlled substance of your choice after a run of good luck.

Errors, however, enjoy fewer distinctions. Whether in performance (Bill Buckner) or judgment (the O. J. Simpson verdict), an error is an error and some have long memories. In a few short weeks hockey fans will watch the smartest, most informed hockey minds on this planet make their teams’ first round selection(s) in the 2012 NHL Entry Level Draft, and errors will be made. Fans, pundits and ‘experts’ with less than 2% of the background info available to those making the selections, will ingest, second-guess and spew out their opinions on who should have been selected, and more errors will be made. As a hockey fan, I will follow the first round with interest. It is the later rounds that prove most interesting because this is where the errors of omission occur and form the talent pool that forms the rosters of the teams in the AHL.

In the ninth round of the 2003 ELD the 263rd selection was Matt Moulson who was taken by the Pittsburgh Penguins’. After completing his four years at Cornell Univ., Matt joined the LA Kings’ organization and was assigned to their AHL affiliate the Manchester Monarchs. During his three years, 2006-09, Matt played many games against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He also made it to the NHL for a total of 29 games where he posted 6 goals and 4 assists during that time. Now an Islander he is a consistent 30+ goal-scorer who has been an iron man on the team. A team-mate of his from the Monarchs was also over-looked by many before being selected as well.

Jonathan Quick was the goaltender for the Monarchs the last two seasons that Moulson played there. Quick was the Kings’ 3rd round selection in the 2005 draft. He was the eighth goalie selected and the 73rd player overall. Another ‘error of omission’, who frustrated the Bridgeport Sound Tigers many times at the Webster Bank Arena. The brother of Jonathan Quick’s wife, who also happens to be the brother of Matt Moulson’s wife (confused yet?), may prove to be another ‘error of omission’.

Sean Backman, like his friend and brother-in-law Matt Moulson, played four years of college hockey in the Ivy League. Sean, however, attended Yale University and averaged better than a point per game with the Bulldogs in his junior and senior years. He spent his first professional season with the Texas Stars before coming home to CT and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers last season. When you watch Sean play you immediately think of Michael Grabner. Sean has an amazingly quick first two strides and is almost always the one leading a break-away. Backman, like the 2011-12 Grabner, had some difficulty finding the back of the net when left alone with the goalie. If Backman and Grabner can regain the ability to finish on the many break-aways their speed gives them, we could see some very nice numbers from both of them.

I can't wait for the second and third days of this years draft to see what other players might be showing of their skills in Bridgeport in the near future. The undrafted, the late rounders and the late bloomers that make up the AHL's various rosters often make it in the NHL. So send us your errors of omission, we love watching them prove you wrong.

(The photo at the beginning of this post was taken by good friend and booster club member Valerie Sielert. It shows me and Matt Moulson - he's the younger one with the flow - at a Sound Tigers game in Bridgeport. Matt comes to watch his brother-in-law play when ever his schedule permits. I would think that Sean's other brother-in-law, Jon Quick would do the same.)

 

- Mike Flannery

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