The Rockford IceHogs and the Peoria Rivermen were the opponents in town this weekend to meet the Chicago Wolves. Derek Nesbitt has been with Rockford most of this year, having been called up from the Gwinnett Gladiators. Joe Grimaldi is a rookie defenseman who the Gladiators acquired at the trade deadline. He was parked in Peoria for a week so that the Glads could have veteran Jimmy Jackson back. Good circumstance for him though, since he gets to play at a higher level.
First, Derek Nesbitt.
He had the generosity to park just to my left to stretch during warmups. Good for photo-taking.
Nezy lives in Gwinnett in the offseason and I remember seeing him around during the Thrashers prospect camp last July. He came to watch, to try to pick things up. Now he's playing against a lot of guys who were at the camp.
He matched up against big Brian Sipotz several times. Above they are on a faceoff. Another time, they were along the wall near the blue line and Nezy actually won the battle.
With linemate Petri Kontiola. Jack Skille was the other one on that line. Nezy plays on the power play and sees a good amount of ice time.
He played wing, but above he takes a faceoff.
The next day we had Grimaldi in with Peoria, in their final game of the year.
Here he's matched up against Joe Motzko. Earlier in the game, he and Valabik tangled up. It was worlds colliding, in my mind anyway, because just a few weeks ago, both were in Atlanta -- Valabik as a Thrasher and Grimmer as a Gladiator. Grimaldi went off for hooking, but I think Valabik sold it a little bit too.
Grimaldi was paired with Ryan Glenn. And he played some PK. Later on he was in a scrum.
Grimaldi deciding whether to hold in or back up. On the Wolves bench, that's Sterling and LaVallee.
I talked to Tom Callahan, Peoria's radio guy who used to work for the Augusta Lynx, about how Grimaldi was doing there. He said good -- the first game he kind of overplayed, trying to impress. But has calmed down. And he talks a lot. His teammates tell him to stop the chirping, imitating his Long Island accent.
On the bench, with the coach right behind.
Anyone remember this face? It's Marty St. Pierre, who used to play for the Greenville Grrrowl.
The 5'9 (on paper only) St. Pierre standing next to the 6'4 Ryan Stokes. And he brought his dog.
The Wolves chased Corey Crawford out of the net, and we got another familiar face in goal -- Mike Brodeur. He played for the Grrrowl a few years back and Pensacola this year too. Great guy.