When cult fan favorite Micheal Haley was allowed to walk last summer by the New York Islanders, there was much speculation in these corners that the Isles weren't abandoning "the grits," but rather looking elsewhere in the endless pursuit of hockey's elusive toughness-with-skill package.
Sunday afternoon captured that scenario nicely. Returning to Bridgeport with the Connecticut Whale -- the AHL affiliate of the hated Rangers, no less -- Haley lined up at center and scored 28 seconds into the game. He'd add another later in the first period to make it 3-1, creating his first two goals in 12 games this season.
Much happened between that opening period deflation and the Sound Tigers' comeback win, but if Haley's two goals were poetry, the game-winner from Mike Halmo was metaphor: In this position, there are always more job candidates than job openings.
Halmo is one of several more physical-minded additions to the Sound Tigers/Isles organization over the past year -- guys who "bring the crazy" but also, like Brandon DeFazio and even Colin McDonald, have decent offensive pedigrees.
Nino Niederreiter set Travis Hamonic up for the tying goal on a 5-on-3 powerplay. Brock Nelson also scored yet again, a reminder that the Islanders will soon be filling out their forward ranks with adept two-way players, while rotating physical role players in as needed.
- Box score and game sheet. Ty Wishart was back in, Jordan Hill and Marc Cantin the scratches.
- The Sound Tigers official recap has thoughts from Scott Pellerin on what went wrong early.
- Michael Fornabaio has plenty in the blog, including a note on Colin McDonald receiving a match penalty (automatic suspension, pending review) for a scary hit on ex-Isles prospect Jyri Niemi. Niemi is expected to be okay.
- More on that, and how the Sound Tigers responded, in the Post.
- From the Whale's view
- Play-by-play man Phil Giubileo has audio clips, and also makes the Haley-Halmo parallel.
The Sound Tigers next play Friday in Wilkes-Barre. They are 8-3, second place in the Northeast Division and tied for second in the Eastern Conference.
Oh, also: The NHL lockout continues (good column from Bob McKenzie).
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UPDATED: Weekend Highlights from Both Wins
Highlights from Friday's win in Manchester are now on the team's YouTube channel, and posted here: