We've talked so much about New York Islanders 2010 picks Nino Niederreiter and Brock Nelson's strong starts to the AHL season. The linemates top the Bridgeport Sound Tigers leaderboard, with Niederreiter riding a nine-game points streak to reach 18 points in 15 games.
But just below them is a trio of defensemen, including one name you might not have expected before the season began and certainly wouldn't have expected before last winter: Matt Donovan, Aaron Ness and undrafted feel-good story Jon Landry, each with nine points entering tonight's action.
Landry, whose circuitous route to an NHL contract came through places like Bowdoin College, the CHL, Germany, the British league and the ECHL, has simply kept it up this season. Signed from the ECHL during last season's injury plague, earned a two-way NHL contract with the Islanders this past summer.
Now "the MBA defenseman" has nine points in 15 games, including two powerplay goals, to put his name right behind Niederreiter and Nelson on the scoring table.
Not that we should crown anyone, particularly defensemen, based on points compiled in under a quarter of a season, but the Landry story has continued to impress, and his importance has only increased since Calvin de Haan was lost for the season.
Weekend: Whale, Senators
Bridgeport tries to bounce back from Wednesday's stinker to Adirondack with a good ol' tonic: The rival Whale visit. Last meeting, Micheal Haley scored his only two goals of the season, but the Sound Tigers stormed back and got the last laugh.
The Whale are 6-7-1, seven points back of Bridgeport. They've been off since Saturday's 2-1 win over Worcester.
Saturday night, they travel to Binghamton to take on the Senators, who are 8-4-1-1 for second place in the East Division. The Senators are on a bit of a roll, with four wins in a row including a (U.S.) Thanksgiving victory over Toronto where giant Ben Bishop stopped 45 shots.
No word of lineup changes as of mid-day, but it would be surprising to have zero tweaks after the mid-week loss.
Meanwhile, in lockout theater:
Oh, happy holidays then.