For Ryan Strome and Griffin Rheinhart, it is an unusual site for them to be a part of: Training Camp in January.
Usually at this point of the calendar year, 18 and 19 year old players are in passing the midpoint of their season, getting into the heavy divisional games that will define the end of their season, as well as their chances for seeing playoff and potential Memorial Cup glory.
Instead, they will spend a week in Syosset.
Both of these young players are going to have solid chances in making the club for this abbreviated season. Although management may not be to thrilled with the fact that these players first years may be as a result of a shortened season, the potential exceptional talent of these young men will outweigh the thought of leaving them in junior hockey.
Brock Nelson, who I have been gushing over all season in Bridgeport, may also get his chance to make the team as well. Although his size and strength will be a major plus in his development, I feel that he may need the rest of this season to gain the professional experience. He may get lost in the system. I just do not see him as a Top 6 with the big club now.
For Strome, he may have a chance. He was currently leading the OHL in scoring before he left for the Junior Championships in Ufa last week (I love saying that city name, UFA!). He played well in the tournament, but Team Canada had no luck after the preliminaries. Rheinhart got a ridiculous 4 game suspension for something that he would not get disciplined in the NHL, in my opinion. Both of these kids can make it here; depending on what the rest of the team plays like in camp. With the uncertainty of Lubo, and what Bridgeport backliners do at camp, it could be tough decision for Garth and the Gang.
Off to Europe for the Lead Writer
As for me, I will be leaving on Monday for a week for business and pleasure. I get on a plane Monday night for Dublin, Ireland. I have four days of meetings concerning a project for the company that I work for. I have been to this beautiful city before, and I am looking forward to meeting my comrades in arms.
Then on Friday, I get on a plane and head east to Manchester, England. (No – I am not going to see a Red Devils game) I will meet my good friend Peter, and stay at his place for the weekend in a town called Doncaster. Oh yea, and get to see a HOCKEY game too. For years, I have been gushing about a hockey team called the Sheffield Steelers. They are having their big rivalry match (a derby – actually prounounced like the word darby) against the Nottingham Panthers. When I thought the lockout would all and all kill the season, I was resigned to think the only NHL’er I would see play this year, is a guy by the name of Tom Sestito who is a Philadelphia Flyer. But of course, we know what happened to our season. As you folks may be heading to the Coliseum for Opening night, or heading in front of your big screen to watch the game, I will be 3500 miles away, listening on my computer (hopefully Chris King says Hi to me on the air...)
I also missed the start of the 1995 shortened season too, due to plans made to watch hockey elsewhere. Spot a trend?
Anyway – I will be writing from Europe, and I am sure that Toby, John, Paul and Ben will be holding the fort here. Get ready folks, Islanders hockey is coming up…..