SOUND TIGERS Eansor closer to return to Sound Tigers
BRIDGEPORT — He lost out on the end of his rookie season last year, and Scott Eansor didn’t want to lose out on the beginning of his second season, too.
He has missed the past two weeks with a hip flexor injury, but he rejoined his Bridgeport Sound Tigers teammates on Tuesday for his first full practice since leaving Bridgeport’s Oct. 19 game.
“It should be fine. It was kind of tough,” Eansor said. “I didn’t really want to come out of the lineup so early in the season, so I kind of pushed through it at first, so maybe made it a little bit worse.”
He won’t be in the Bridgeport lineup on Wednesday morning against Binghamton, when Webster Bank Arena hosts the Sound Tigers’ annual “Cool Fun 101” game targeted toward school groups.
“We want to see him practice and get his conditioning up, go through some battle drills,” Bridgeport coach Brent Thompson said. “Today was kind of an easy day. For me, I want to see him get a couple of more days of practice before we make any decisions.”
Bridgeport has home games Saturday and Sunday. It also has 15 other healthy forwards on the roster, though at least one a game has to sit because of the AHL’s veteran rule.
Eansor was supposed to be a healthy scratch on opening night a year ago but was a late addition. He scored seven goals in the first six games, winding up with 16 while playing on an AHL contract.
He got rewarded for his rookie year on March 15, when he signed an entry-level contract with Bridgeport’s parent New York Islanders for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. Two days later, he took a retaliatory punch to the head, and he didn’t play again.
“Injuries are tough. I wanted to finish strong there and start strong here,” Eansor said, “but it doesn’t mean I can’t have a good season and still feel really good on the ice, and good in practice.
“I feel like I had a really strong camp. Things just go how they go. You can’t control that. Aside from that, we have a really deep team. It’s just exciting to be a part of.”
Though it’s a small sample size to evaluate Eansor this year, Thompson said, the 22-year-old’s work ethic and intensity level remain constant.
“He’s a pro,” Thompson said. “We’re happy to have him back in the mix. He’s going to have responsibility. He’s a good centerman. He can also play wing. He’s another guy who’s good in faceoffs and can help our (penalty) kill, which is something we want to continue to improve.”
COACH COLLITON: News hit before Bridgeport went onto the ice that Jeremy Colliton, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, had become head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks after the team fired two-time Stanley Cup champion Joel Quenneville.
Colliton played at least part of six seasons in Bridgeport. The last was 2011-12, Thompson’s first season, and Colliton served as team captain.
“It’s awesome. I’m so happy for him,” Thompson said. “He was a great captain for us here. I got to be good friends with him, talked with him through the course of his coaching career. I’m really happy he got this opportunity in the NHL.”
Colliton’s playing career was cut short by concussions. Retiring after three games with Mora IK in Sweden in 2013-14, he took over as the team’s coach soon after and took them back to Sweden’s top division in 2016-17. He became coach of Rockford, Chicago’s AHL affiliate, last year.
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