Sound Tigers Weekend: Heavy hearts and a double-header in Norfolk

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You know that go-to phrasing about "who can think of __ at a time like this?" Well, yeah. Who can think of hockey after this?

Mindful that there are other places and corners of the Internet to discuss unfolding tragedies and horrific violence by worthless pieces of animate matter -- and hey, there are even off-line forums to discuss things with your loved ones -- we can't really introduce this weekend's Bridgeport Sound Tigers series without thinking of the detestable mass murder that happened Friday.

(If you're unfamiliar with the geography, Newtown, Conn. -- where Friday's school shooting took place -- is under 70 miles from New York City and roughly 20 miles north of Bridgeport.)

I simply can't imagine being one of those parents. There's a good chance some of our readership will be affected by this, and a certainty that it hits close to home for Sound Tigers fans. Thoughts, prayers and reflection on the meaning of life go out to all of them.

Hockey. Distraction? Maybe. When You're Ready.

The Sound Tigers visit the Norfolk "Other" Admirals for a fuel-economy-friendly two-game set Friday and Saturday.

Last time they met, it was hoped that the struggling Norfolk would be the slumpbuster. Instead, Norfolk won 4-1 in Bridgeport and Travis Hamonic left the game early. Norfolk's won three of four in the interim, and while they are still last in the Eastern Conference, they are just a point away from escaping the basement.

Over in Norfolk, one credit for the turnaround goes to goalie Frederik Andersen. That link also notes these are Norfolk's first home games in December, so they'll be eager to continue the reversal in front of home fans. (Fans who, it must be recalled, took the whole switcharoo of last year's juggernaut for this year's Anaheim prospects quite well.)

Now it's the Sound Tigers turn for a long, long (by mileage) road trip.

The Admirals will be without Hampus Lindholm, who is with Team Sweden's WJC camp, but other Ducks prospects you may have heard of include Kyle Palmieri, Devante Smith-Pelly and Emerson Etem.

The good news for the Sound Tigers is David Ullstrom is back and likely to reconstitute the line of Swedish chefs who just beg for so many nicknames. The other interesting angle will be when (assuming if) Kevin Poulin plays and how he'll do after Anders Nilsson has taken all the starts recently.

Try to enjoy the hockey when you can. And have a conversation with a child.