It's that time of year again, Snakes fans!! FINALLY!!
The guys hit the ice for the first time this morning. I have to tell you, it was great to see them again. A few of the guys I saw over the summer, but most I hadn't. It was a great time to get caught up.
In no particular order, Paxton Vigier is now a climber and providing a brand new workout experience for his dad. Nixon Hergott turned a year old last week. Where does time go?
Oh, their dads are doing great too. I told Ian Vigier he owed me $1 for every time his photo appeared in the L-E. He smiled and said "you'd be rich!". True. Guess that's what being the playoff MVP and goalie of the year gets you...haha.
Orrin Hergott protested when I called him "Grandpa" saying he's not THAT old. I told Orrin that every time I write the phrase "longest tenured player in the SPHL, he gets a little older". :)
I'd met a few of the guys during free agent camp. It's nice to put names and faces together. If helps if I get the right name, though. Inexplicably I called Tom FITZPATRICK Fitzgerald in this morning's story. I've now apologized via blog, facebook and twitter and still feel terrible. :( To his credit, Tom was very gracious and even laughed about it. I didn't laugh. UGH.
Jordan Braid enjoyed his brief visit to the SC Stingrays camp. As I feared, Jordan was caught in the numbers crunch as the players trickle down all the way from the NHL to us. Jordan got a look as a defenseman and told me he did well. Good for Jordan, though that success means he could leave here. I've already told the SC coach, when I interviewed him earlier, to not bother calling to get our players back. No refunds, no exchanges. :)
A player-to-be-named-sooner, rather than later, is Jonathan Redlick. Somehow Jerome left Jonathan off the list. Anyway, he's here! Welcome, Jonathan.
I got a chance to speak to Nik Poliokov (I can handle that name and not Fitzpatrick???). His English is great, thankfully, which I already knew from our communication this summer. Very nice guy.
A couple of guys I didn't get to meet yet are Adam Kuhn, the former Ice Flyer, Ivan Lyaskevich and Jonathan. On my to-do list for tomorrow morning.
Now the all-important lines for this morning, including defensive pairs. I know it's only day 1, but I couldn't wait to see who got to play Greg Beller first. :) To me, one of the key questions in camp, is who's placed on the line with Orrin and Derek Pallardy. Well....today it was Sam Bowles. That's a pretty powerful line. Expect it to change tomorrow...haha.
In addition to Bowles-Pallardy-Hergott, we had Braid-John Sullivan-Poliakov, Brett Hammond-Jason Yuel-Kuhn, Levi Lind-Jim Dunham-Redlick. The free agents were all on one line: Evan MacIntosh-Andrew Adams-Liam Tully.
Defensively, Tom Maldonado was paired with Chris Bailer, Kevin Kessler with Fitzpatrick, Bret Tyler with Kyle Johnson, Daniel Amesbury with Lyaskevich.
Yes, Daniel played up front last year, but Jerome told me this afternoon that his natural position is on D. Right now, though, it's on the training table, as Daniel twisted an ankle late this morning.
This year's day 1 was similar to last year's in its intensity, competitiveness and focus. Lots of big hits and some crisp passes. Pretty good considering the number of new guys on board.
Already looking forward to Day 2!!