Tag Archives: Gordie Howe

SPOTLIGHT: MELROSE PICKS

Bruce BerletBy Bruce Berlet

Former NHL player and coach Barry Melrose has always been an entertaining personality and a straight shooter as an ESPN hockey analyst.

Not surprisingly, Melrose picked two former Hartford Whalers as the greatest power forwards in NHL history. Melrose’s criteria was the candidate has to be a frontline player, very physical and has to fight. He’s not just a big guy who is a very good player who scores but is a big, mean, nasty, physical, tough guy to play against. Melrose’s picks have a lot of goals and penalty minutes and are the type of guy the other team didn’t like to play against.

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SPOTLIGHT: MARK HOWE

Bruce Berlet 7BY: Bruce Berlet

Though three of the four inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night played with the hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, it was former New England and Hartford Whalers left wing/defenseman Mark Howe who stole the show.

Leading a quartet of greats to the podium that also included goalie Ed Belfour and forwards Joe Nieuwendyk and Doug Gilmour, Howe ended his five-minute speech by fulfilling a request of his Hall of Fame father, Gordie “Mr. Hockey” Howe. Not long after Mark retired in 1995 following a 21-year pro career that ended with the Detroit Red Wings, for whom his dad started his record 32-year run, Gordie told his son he had had just one unfulfilled wish.

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FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

bruce mug shot 1BY: Bruce Berlet

HOWE TO THE HALL

Mark Howe was making the one-hour drive from his beach house in Beach Haven, N.J., to his home in Jackson, N.J., on Tuesday afternoon when his cell phone rang.

Howe said reception in the area isn’t always good, but the connection lasted long enough for him to hear the news that he wasn’t sure would ever come.

In his lucky 13th year of eligibility, Howe was one of four new members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, joining father Gordie and former teammates Ron Francis, Dave Keon, and Bobby Hull, as well as Paul Coffey as Hartford Whalers to earn the honor.

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WHALE WEEKLY: March 28-April 3, 2011

Connecticut WhaleThe Whale (38-28-2-6, 84 pts.) split four games over the past week, winning two out of three home games before falling in the weekend’s finale at Providence. Connecticut came from behind to defeat Springfield, 3-2, on Wednesday in Hartford, before rallying late to beat Charlotte, in a shootout, in an instant-classic on Friday, also 3-2. The Whale were then defeated by the Sound Tigers, 5-1, in Saturday’s GEICO Connecticut Cup action at the XL Center, later dropping a 4-2 road decision to the Bruins to close out the week on Sunday. Derek Couture scored four times during the week’s action, while winger Tommy Grant recorded his first two professional points with a pair of assists on Sunday, his pro debut.

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HUMPTY-DUMPTY

Connecticut-Whale_thumb4_thumb_thumb VERSUS    

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again

The Connecticut Whale had been, to paraphrase Annie Savoy (New York Rangers’ fan, Susan Sarandon) in the film Bull Durham,  “for whatever reason, were playing hockey with joy and verve and poetry.”

9,276 witnesses at the XL Center on Saturday, on a night that the franchise honored Gordie Howe and his family no less, watched the Connecticut Whale come crashing off the wall like Humpty Dumpty and put forth one of their  worst efforts of the season in a fight filled, undisciplined and very sloppy 5-1 loss to the visiting Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

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TOMMY GRANT SIGNS ATO

Connecticut WhaleWHALE SIGN FORWARD TOMMY GRANT TO ATO

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Leading Scorer from University of Alaska-Anchorage

HARTFORD, CT: Connecticut Whale general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the team has signed forward Tommy Grant to an Amateur Tryout (ATO) agreement.   Grant, a 6-2, 195-pound native of North Vancouver, B.C., comes to the Whale after four seasons at the University of Alaska-Anchorage (WCHA).  Grant, 24, led the Seawolves in points and goals this year, with 16-16-32 in 37 games, and his 57 penalty minutes were the second-most on the team.  Five of Grant’s 16 goals were game-winners, which was good for a tie for fourth in the WCHA in that category. In 134 career games with Alaska-Anchorage, Grant struck for 45 goals and 45 assists for 90 points and served 179 minutes in penalties.

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FROM THE CREASE with Bruce Berlet

bruce mug shot 1By Bruce Berlet

With the gala “Howe Family Night” rapidly approaching Saturday night, Connecticut hockey fans again owe a major dose of gratitude to the Big Bad Boston Bruins for “The First Family of Hockey” returning to Connecticut.

The uppity Bruins helped drive the upstart World Hockey Association’s New England Whalers to Hartford in 1973, a year after winning the Stanley Cup for the second time in three years. The Bruins haven’t won hockey’s Holy Grail since then, so consider it The Curse of the Whale.

Then in 1977, legendary Gordie Howe and his hockey-playing sons, Mark and Marty, were looking to continue to play together after four seasons with the WHA’s Houston Aeros. They wanted to stay with the Aeros because of their close ties with the Houston community and the quality of the team, which had won a fourth consecutive Western Division title before being eliminated in the AVCO Cup semifinals by the Winnipeg Jets, led by the famed line of Hall of Famer Bobby Hull, Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg.

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FROM THE CREASE with Bruce Berlet

bruce mug shot 1By Bruce Berlet

As the pressure mounts as the playoffs approach, players and teams can buckle or get stronger late in games.

The latter has been the Connecticut Whale’s MO the past few weeks.

Despite still having five players injured and two on recall to the New York Rangers, the Whale has won eight of 10 games, including three in a row, to seize the upper hand in their quest to return to the postseason after missing for the first time in the franchise’s 14-year history.

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WHALE WEEKLY: March 21-27, 2011

Connecticut Whale

The Whale (36-26-2-6, 80 pts.) improved to a season-best ten games over .500 by sweeping last week’s action with a perfect three-game slate.  The Whale defeated the Manchester Monarchs, 1-0, on the road Friday night, before returning to the XL Center for a pair of weekend games with Providence and Springfield. Connecticut defeated the Bruins in an epic eight-round shootout Saturday for a 4-3 victory, before finishing their week with a rousing 3-1 win over the Falcons on Sunday afternoon. Dov Grumet-Morris earned two wins on the weekend, including his first Whale shutout on Friday, with Kris Newbury netting the only goal of the game. Francis Lemieux recorded the shootout-winning goal Saturday, and Dale Weise also contributed a game-winning tally in Sunday’s triumph over Springfield.

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“HOWE FAMILY NIGHT” – MARCH 26

Connecticut WhaleMARCH 26 WHALE HOME GAME TO BE “HOWE FAMILY NIGHT”

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Entire Howe Family to be Saluted with Banner-raising;

First 2,000 Fans to Receive Commemorative Howe Program

HARTFORD, March 3, 2011: Whalers Sports and Entertainment president and COO Howard Baldwin Jr. announced today that the Connecticut Whale’s home game Saturday, March 26 at the XL Center will feature a “Howe Family Night” celebration, honoring the great Gordie Howe, his sons, Marty and Mark, and late wife, Colleen.  The Whale take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers that night in a 7:00 PM GEICO Connecticut Cup game.

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