Friday, December 20, 2013

Bridgeport Sound Tigers @ Albany Devils 11/11/13

The Islanders' affiliate in the American Hockey League, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, have played in Albany agains the Devils a few times this season. I went to two of those games. Here is the story of the first one of those.

The first time the Sound Tigers were in Albany, it was early November. After the game, a 5-2 Devils win, I went to my usual spot outside near where the bus leaves. Very quickly, players started coming out. I didn't take many pictures of the Sound Tigers, they were leaving as quickly as they could and didn't wast time.

One of the few people I recognized walking out was the now recently called up Ryan Strome. He signed my team photo, a 4x6 I took of him at Islanders training camp this past January, then walked onto the bus after signing for other people. I realized that I forgot to ask him to sign the Islanders puck I brought with me. Fortunately, he went out to make a phone call, and he signed the puck for me before he walked onto the bus.

Some of the players thanked me for being an Islanders fan, while others just wanted to get on the bus as soon as possible. One of the people I've seen many times in an Isles jersey is Jon Sim. Sim agreed to a 25 game tryout contract with Bridgeport. I met Sim a few years ago at an Islanders charity event, and I had a picture taken with him. I printed it out, and Sim signed it for me on his way to the bus, as well as my team photo. 

That same day a few years ago, I met Calvin de Haan. He was recently called up, but he was in Bridgeport back in early November. As he walked out to the bus, he signed the photo I took with him and Andy Hilbert. Unfourtunately, he signed it in blue right on top of his blue jersey. Oh well, it still looks fine. He also signed another 4x6 photo that I found online. The pictures is of him and current Devil Tim Sestito battling during the 2009 preseason. Sestito also signed it for me after the game.

One of the other players I was able to recognize was 6'5'' goaltender Anders Nilsson. When he came out, other people had him sign, then he signed my 4x6 photo and team photo. He looks taller in person than he does when watching on TV. Shortly after Nilsson went on the bus, I asked another player walking out what his name was. He responded by saying, "Anders Lee." He  signed a 4x6 photo from his first NHL goal and my team photo before boarding the bus.

While all of this was going on, most of the other players signed my team photo before boarding the bus. The last person to sign it was Sound Tigers head coach Scott Pellerin, a former NHL player. Here is a picture of him right before he got on the bus.

Here is the team photo I got signed that day, along with a list of everyone that signed it in no particular order.

11-Jon Sim 21-Dallas Jackson 18-Ryan Strome 3-Andrey Pedan
10-Scott Mayfield 26-Mike Halmo 17-Nick Larson 14-Greg Miller
39-Joe Diamond 2-Mike Dalhuisen 12- Calvin de Haan
72-Jason Clark 45-Anders Nilsson 5-Mike Keenan 22-Alan Quine
19-Riley Wetmore 9-Anders Lee 49-Justin Johnson
Scott Pellerin's signature is right under Anders Nilsson's.
Assistant coach Eric Boguniecki signed on the Islanders logo on the top.

That same day, I got some Albany Devils autographs as well.

At the time, Rostislav Olesz was recently sent down to Albany. Since then, he has went back to Europe to play there for at least the rest of this season. Olesz signed a 4x6 photo for me and also signed my Albany Devils team photo. Probably one of the few Albany Devils items Olesz signed in his time in the AHL.

Devils assistant coach Sergei Brylin signed a puck for me in gold.

Stefan Matteau, son of Rangers great Stephan Matteau signed an autograph card for me, as well as my team photo.

I was also able to add to the Albany Devils team photo I started getting signed on 10/25. Now it is signed by the following players in no order:
26-Mike Hoeffel 28-Dan Kelly 9-Joe Whitney 32-Riley Boychuk
29-Raman Hrabarenka 14-Reid Boucher 12-Tim Sestito 20-Rostislav Olesz
19-Mike Sislo 18-Stefan Matteau 2-Seth Helgeson 15-Harri Pesonen 10-Rod Pelley
34-Reece Scarlett 17-Scott Timmins 31-Scott Wedgewood 1-Keith Kinkaid
16-Corbin McPherson. Sergei Brylin signed it under the word Devils in the photo.

I went to another Sound Tigers game in Albany, and should have another blog entry on that shortly. Thanks for reading. Happy Holidays!

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