Swede linemen just 'three serious guys' for Sound Tigers
Updated 7:31 pm, Thursday, November 29, 2012
BRIDGEPORT -- Let's say they weren't all born in Sweden.
Besides, the point isn't that they're the Bridgeport Sound Tigers' three skaters from Sweden. The point is that, Swedish or Spanish or Scottish, they're a pretty good line combination.
"We're all very different players," said Ullstrom, who's really from Jonkoping.
Persson, from Ostersund, is strong down low and in front of the net. Sundstrom, at 20, has already shown he has the tools to be a two-way centerman. Ullstrom brings the speed and skill that scored 24 goals in half an AHL season last year.
More InformationBridgeport Sound Tigers at Hershey Bears WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m. WHERE: Giant Center, Hershey, Pa. WEBCAST: www.soundtigers.com RECORDS: Bridgeport 10-7-0-0; Hershey 8-10-1-0 SEASON SERIES: Bridgeport leads 1-0. LAST MEETING: The Sound Tigers won 3-2 at home Nov. 3. ABOUT THE SOUND TIGERS: Bridgeport has lost three in a row, allowing 18 goals. ... LW Nino Niederreiter leads the team at 9-9-18 but hasn't scored in two games after a nine-game scoring streak. ... C Casey Cizikas may return after missing six games (upper-body). ... D Jordan Hill, who had been on a tryout, signed an AHL contract. ABOUT THE BEARS: Hershey has won two in a row. ... C Jeff Taffe leads the team at 5-12-17, with D Garrett Stafford at 1-13-14. ... Former Bridgeport D Steve Oleksy is a plus-4 with 65 PIM. ... South Windsor's Jon DiSalvatore scored his 500th AHL point last weekend. ... Hall of Famer Adam Oates, the coach of the Washington Capitals, spent the first month and a half as the Bears' co-coach but has since returned to Washington. UP NEXT: Saturday vs. Worcester, 7 p.m., Military Appreciation Night (active and reserve military admitted free with ID). -- MICHAEL FORNABAIO
"First of all, we're three serious guys," Gothenburg's Sundstrom said. "We want to be professional hockey players."
They were put together as a line in training camp, which drew attention right away. (Wearing yellow, one of their national colors, didn't hurt.) Broadcaster Phil Giubileo took their surname initials and dubbed them the "UPS Line," as they delivered. A few other ideas presented themselves; one team press release indirectly mentioned "Swedish Meatballs."
On the ice, they're speaking mostly English (except in the corners, Ullstrom said, though "hey" translates pretty well anywhere on the ice). They have to communicate with their defensemen, all of whom are North America-born.
"I don't think (the shared heritage) makes a difference," Ullstrom said.
"It just helps, maybe, to explain some drills and breakouts for Sunny," who's the most-recent North American arrival.
They were together for the first four games, then were split up, and then Ullstrom was injured for a couple of weeks.
A shift here and there reunited them, but they were put back together last Friday, early in a 7-5 loss to the Connecticut Whale in which they combined for four goals.
"At the start of the year, I felt we played a little too European," Persson said. "We've got to get to the dirty areas and score goals."
From camp, coach Scott Pellerin has preached consistency to his young players, and the Tre Kronor are no exception.
"They're going to have good games; they're going to have bad games," Pellerin said. "They have a little bit more of an offensive mentality. They've got to continue to work to get pucks deep, get in on the forecheck and win battles."
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