Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Early in camp, the focus is on who plays center, which forwards bring versatility, and whether the ELC line of Kabanov, Nelson and Niederreiter can stick together.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers training camp is now fully underway, and with an NHL lockout and so many better-be-hop-to-be future New York Islanders in the group, we'll be paying closer attention than normal.
One of the storylines is what Scott Pellerin will bring to the helm as new head coach after Brent Thompson's division championship year in 2011-12. When Pellerin was hired, I believe I referred to his versatility as a player. So when Conn. Post Sound Tigers beatwriter Michael Fornabaio cites Pellerin telling his players that versatility is a big benefit, I immediately picture a lot of Pellerin clones running around, playing wing or center as long as they mind the store in their own zone.
So John Persson was one of the centers over the weekend (Casey Cizikas had a malady), and Brock Nelson is indeed getting work at the pivot too. (On that note, if you missed it in yesterday's links post, prospect Anders Lee is being moved back to center at Notre Dame.) And not for nothing, Matt Watkins, thy name (or purpose) is versatility.
Meanwhile, it's early but another storyline is Nelson playing between Kirill Kabanov and Nino Niederreiter. While Watkins is fast becoming a career minor pro, those other three represent a fair bit of investment and hope for the Islanders future. They're all on lucrative NHL ELCs. If they stick together, it will mean good things.
The official site has several video interviews from camp, including:
Scott Pellerin, head coach
Kirill Kabanov, man of tattoos
Lighthouse Hockey: We don't always focus on AHL training camp, but when we do, it's probably because of a stupid lockout.
The Sound Tigers season begins Friday, Oct. 12, at the Connecticut Whale.