Sound Tiger Hamonic says he's ready to play
Updated 12:03 am, Friday, January 11, 2013
BRIDGEPORT -- Right to the wire, it looks as if the Bridgeport Sound Tigers have no plans to defer to the start of the NHL season.
In fact, they may be stronger Friday at Providence than they were Tuesday in their last game. If they'll have him, NHL-bound defenseman Travis Hamonic says he's ready to play for the first time since Dec. 2.
"I'm as cleared as you can get," Hamonic said after practice Thursday at the Wonderland of Ice. "It's the coach's decision if I'm going to play, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm ready to play."
Hamonic, who had a concussion, and centerman Brock Nelson, back from a broken jaw that kept him out since Dec. 14, both skated all week and took the full practice the past two days.
"We've got big decisions to make regarding who's playing," Bridgeport coach Scott Pellerin said.
NHL training camps are likely to open Sunday, assuming the players approve the new collective bargaining agreement that ended the owners' lockout.
The Providence Journal reported that the Bruins aren't sure six players ticketed for Boston's camp would play Friday.
If they sit out, Providence wouldn't be the only ones. Edmonton pulled its young standouts from Oklahoma City immediately after the two sides reached a tentative agreement last Sunday. Other teams followed, some only a player or two at a time. Hershey, for instance, had lost standout goalie Braden Holtby by the time it got to Bridgeport for Tuesday's game.
Bridgeport practiced Thursday with 16 eligible forwards (Kirill Kabanov and Max MacKay would make 18 forwards; they skated with the team but didn't take contact). It also has eight defensemen, including Hamonic and Aaron Ness, who lost a couple of teeth to an errant stick Tuesday but said he was feeling good Thursday.
"This is what we have, so I'm excited," Pellerin said. "It puts a lot of competition in our team, battling for positions."
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Sound Tigers at Providence Bruins
WHEN: Friday, 7:05 p.m.
WHERE: Dunkin' Donuts Center, Providence, R.I.
RECORDS: Bridgeport 17-14-2-2; Providence 17-13-0-2
SEASON SERIES: Bridgeport leads 2-0.
LAST MEETING: The Sound Tigers won 6-2 Nov. 18.
ABOUT THE SOUND TIGERS: Bridgeport, awaiting word who'll join the New York Islanders when they open camp this weekend, has lost three in a row after a 7-1-1-1 streak. ... C Brock Nelson (jaw) and D Travis Hamonic (concussion) practiced this week. ... LW Nino Niederreiter is 17-17-34. ... Bridgeport signed F's Chad Costello (1-3-4 in four games) and Jack Combs (1-0-1 in three) to AHL contracts. ... Bridgeport signed D Daniel Maggio to a pro tryout.
ABOUT THE BRUINS: LW Chris Bourque leads the team at 8-20-28, though he's one of six players the Providence Journal reported will go up from the P-Bruins to Boston's training camp at some point this weekend. ... Providence signed former Bridgeport LW Tyler McNeely to a pro tryout Wednesday. McNeely was 9-25-34 for South Carolina (ECHL).
UP NEXT: Saturday vs. Portland, 7 p.m.
-- MICHAEL FORNABAIO