Hi, Snakes fans. Sorry for the delay in clarifying the suspension news and telling you about Orrin's retirement ceremony. Gremlins got into my blog and I couldn't log on. UGH. Thanks to Nick Blair at the L-E, all is well. Thanks, Nick!
I begin with an excuse...haha. I was already down by the glass when the final horn sounded last Saturday night. The worst angle possible to see what went on in front of the bench. When I realized that I wasn't seeing only the celebration of the Snakes' losing streak ending and moved into a better position, the part I needed to see was over!
I talked to Jerome and emailed Doug Price for an explanation. So you don't think I'm completely nuts, I know it's an automatic suspension for leaving the bench to fight. It's a lengthy one (5 games) and it should be!! Big no-no. But what puzzled me is the timing of this particular fight. As I told Doug, at the 20:00 mark of the third period, doesn't EVERYBODY leave the bench? haha
Apparently, here's what happened. Corey Bellamy got a game because his sucker punch started the whole mess. Jerome tried to argue that Will Aide left the bench in jubilation. No dice. He came off to fight...so he got 5 games.
Though Corey was waived right away, the Snakes still have to skate 2 men short tonight and 1 for the rest of the season. This, as we all know, is not a novel situation. They've skated 1 or 2 men short for what seems like forever. UGH.
He hasn't been signed yet, but Tommy Fitzpatrick should be available for tonight's game. Good thing because Tom Maldonado and Chris Bailer are still on the shelf. Not sure if soldier/Snake Marcel Alvarez can make the trip to Knoxville, but it sure would be great if he could! As far as I know, everybody else is (relatively) healthy.
Don't know who will start in net tonight. Andrew Loewen, the league's top goaltender (sorry...just like writing that phrase...haha) will probably not play all 5 of the remaining regular season games, but not sure how many Ian Vigier will play. Ian is battling injuries, which, to his credit he is trying to play through. At this point, Jerome wants and needs both goalies as healthy as possible for the playoffs.
Speaking of the playoffs, I didn't make a big deal of the Snakes clinching because, to me, it's not a big deal. It was certain a while ago that the Snakes wouldn't be the odd men out. Only Augusta (or Huntsville?) will miss the big dance.
Now the Cottonmouths are battling for playoff seeding. Mathematically, they could still catch Knoxville, but I don't see that happening. The six-game losing streak pretty much killed that opportunity. Getting zero points out of a possible 12 ended the hope of achieving home ice.
If the season ended today, the Snakes would finish in fifth. Slots 2-4 are day-to-day...haha. At this moment, Fayetteville and Pensacola (65) are tied for second with Knoxville (63) right behind. Then a considerable drop to the Snakes in fifth (54).
I'm happy to report that the Snakes will retire number 11 in pregame ceremonies on the last night of the regular season. No details yet except the raising of the banner alongside 16, 30 and 32. Now, that's a group...:)
I know this isn't the way Orrin Hergott wanted his career to end, but all true Snakes fans will remember the first 8 years and erase this one. Orrin flying down the ice shift in and shift out will be one of my fondest Cottonmouths memories. Because of his size, he took a beating, but always popped up to go out for more.
It'll be a proud, emotional night for Orrin and his fans as we say good-bye to number 11. But seeing it hanging from the Civic Center rafters along with Jerome, Frankie and Craig will be an honor few achieve. Congrats, Orrin!! Don't be a stranger.