Hi, again, Snakes fans...
Sam Bowles...five years. Hard to believe this will be Sammy's fifth Snakes season. Try to picture what it'll be like for the Snakes to have a healthy Sam for 56 games. That's certainly what Sammy's planning and hoping for.
I talked to Sam for today's L-E story, but played phone tag with Chris-the-new-guy. We finally talked late this afternoon.
Chris Bailer may or may not ever wear a Cottonmouths sweater. He's headed to camp with Quad City in the CHL. He's taking a healthy dose of confidence with him that he'll make their roster. I hope Chris does his homework and realizes what Sam, Levi Lind and other Snakes have learned: the grass isn't always greener in the Central League.
Reduced playing time due to the numbers game can be a huge problem. When Levi first went up last season, he got to play a lot. Fast forward to his being a healthy scratch for a couple of games.
These guys make horrible spectators. They play this game because they love it. Becoming a fourth line player or giving way to a contract guy or a prospect at a higher level can be a terrible experience. They love being here, being part of a first-class organization and getting tons of playing time in all situations. Regular shifts, in addition to power play and PK.
If Chris has the talent and is a good fit for the Quad City organization, I wish him all the best as I'm sure you do. But if numbers or politics or any other reason see him cut from camp there, the Snakes will be waiting.
Chris has an idea of what the professional game is like compared to what he was used to at Sacred Heart.
"I know the pro game will be a lot more physical, a rougher style. That fits into my game well. I worry about my own zone and I love to hit. I'll drop them if necessary."
Chris already has a Columbus connection. "I know Ian Vigier. He had an awesome season especially in the playoffs."
Chris is from Brad Prefontaine's home town. Brad watched him play as a kid and has already told Chris about the solid defensive corps he's trying to enter.
"I know I'd be going to a great team, trying to work my way on to the team. I love a challenge."
Whether Chris faces challenges in Quad City or Columbus remains to be seen.