Well, this weekend certainly didn't turn out as planned or hoped for the Snakes. One point out of a possible six was not the goal, especially after a sweep in Bloomington the weekend before.
The D is struggling mightily right now and it now has to deal with depleted numbers. I knew something was up when Alex Gallant came to town and Chris Bailer was on the sidelines. Alex is a forward and Chris a defenseman, so I figured it was an unhealthy while Alex got a look.
Brad Prefontaine told me that Chris should be back soon, that the concussion is mild, but that they were being conservative in his treatment. I told them as a parent, I appreciated that. Not that I'm a parent of one of the players, but you know as well as I do that once you have a child of your own, you're doomed to think like a parent in any and all circumstances...haha.
I also told Brad that I'm glad that the coaches are on top of things because...and don't be offended by this...they all LIE when it comes to injuries!! It's a universal response. Coach/trainer/wife/girlfriend/fan: How are you doing? Player: "FINE!". So it's the coaches' ultimate responsibility to protect the players from themselves and try to assure that they won't be 50 years old and having a brain that's turning to mush.
So, Chris could be back sooner rather than later. Hoping this doesn't turn into a Hergott-Pallardy concussion, but thinking positive thoughts.
Already one d-man down, Mike Switzer leaves the ice after the midpoint of the first period. I'm hoping I didn't doze off for a second, but couldn't remember Mike hitting the ice, boards, another player or anything hazardous. Then, near the end of the game, I glanced down by the ice and saw Mike...with crutches nearby. Never a good sign.
I know others fuss about Sunday games but they're my favorites!! The Falcons were getting smacked around by a terrible Tampa team, so I was happy to come to the rink. But the real reason is that I have NO deadline problems on a Sunday! They could do little kids skating, wiener dogs, Zooperstars and anything else they can think of and I'd still have time to write!
The locker room is eerily quiet as Jerome heads in there...and shuts the door. Also not a good sign. While I'm waiting patiently (I can afford patience on Sundays) and chatting with my pal Paul Ezell, here comes Mike on the crutches with a brace on his knee. He said the play was completely harmless, a mild collision behind the net. He finished that shift and another before the knee started to bother him. He was headed to get an MRI possibly as soon as today.
Expect a suspension for Alex, in addition to the one game he sat out yesterday. Could get a couple more. I didn't see the hit on the web, but heard it was pretty significant.
So, while they're trying to get back on track, the Snakes will be shorthanded. Mike, Alex and Chris all on the shelf puts the team short two skaters. Now before we get all up in the air about this, it doesn't bother the guys that much. They love the extra ice time!
But my thought is that they need to get their timing down and get used to playing with the same defensive pairings. Tough to do with only four D. I imagine Daniel Amesbury will continue to play on the blue line for a while.
When was the first or last time you saw both coaches actually use their timeouts? Sometimes the coach who's about to pull his goalie calls timeout near the end of the game. Sometimes, as Jerome did last night, when the wheels are coming off, it's used to calm the guys down. But last night, the Snakes used theirs only 6:03 into the game and the Havoc in the second after the Cottonmouths cut the lead to 3-2.
When Huntsville coach Glenn Detulleo called timeout, I bet he was thinking...no way are they going to do this to me again! You remember when the Snakes were down 4-0 and roared back to win 6-5. Pretty sure Glenn remembered it too. :)
Didn't get a chance to speak to Corey Bellamy, now in a Huntsville sweater, but got to say a brief hello to Pete MacDougall, who was wearing the orange armbands last night.
You may have heard that Kevin Kessler was picked up by Fayetteville, so he'll be reunited with all of his friends next weekend when the Antz and Snakes meet for a home-and-home series. Hope I get to say hello to Kevin, a really good guy. Wishing him all the best in Fayetteville.
As I said, a forgettable weekend, one during which little went right. I keep coming back to what Kyle Johnson said to me after the game:
"It is not because of lack of effort or heart."
I believe this because I see the players' faces when they come off the ice. They are beyond frustrated. They'll be hard at work tomorrow morning at practice.
Next weekend will be better. I'm sure of it.