WHALE WEEKLY: December 19-27, 2011

Bob CrawfordBY: Bob Crawford, Voice of the Connecticut Whale

The Whale (16-8-1-3, 36 pts.) gained three out of a possible four points in a pair of home games this past weekend, remaining ahead of the Adirondack Phantoms by four points for first place in the Northeast Division.  The Whale hosted Bridgeport at the XL Center on Friday night, defeating their GEICO Connecticut Cup rivals handily, 6-3, before the arch-rival Providence Bruins came to town on Saturday. Connecticut was edged by Providence, 2-1 in a shootout, in that contest. Kris Newbury recorded five points on the weekend for the Whale with a goal Saturday and four assists Friday, the Whale’s first four-point game of the season.

This week:

The Whale’s last game before the Christmas holiday is this Wednesday night, December 21, as they host the Adirondack Phantoms for the first time this season at the XL Center, with faceoff at 7:00 PM.  The Whale then return to action Monday night, the night after Christmas, December 26, visiting Bridgeport for a GEICO Connecticut Cup tilt (7:00).  Connecticut is back home Tuesday night, December 27, for a 7:00 Northeast Division game against the Albany Devils.

Monday, December 19 – Cigna/CT Whale “Hockey in the Streets” Kickoff Event – Wilson-Gray YMCA Youth and Family Center, 5:00 PM

Cigna and Whale are teaming up in a new program to bring hockey to the streets of Hartford and area towns for boys and girls ages 6 to 12 years. Sponsored by The Cigna Foundation, the “Cigna Hockey in the Streets” outreach will involve a series of Connecticut Whale street-hockey clinics hosted by Whale players.  The kickoff for the program is tonight, at the Wilson-Gray YMCA Youth and Family Center, 444 Albany Avenue in Hartford, starting at 5:00 PM.   Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra will join selected Whale players, Whalers Sports & Entertainment chairman/CEO Howard Baldwin, Cigna chief information officer Mark Boxer and Jim Scherer, Senior VP and CEO of YMCA of Greater Hartford, in celebrating the kickoff of Hockey in the Streets, as Whale players trade shots, passes and saves with area youngsters.

Wednesday, December 21 vs. Adirondack Phantoms at the XL Center, 7:00 PM

· This is “Ugly Holiday Sweater Night”.  Fans who wear an ugly holiday sweater to the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center can get a 50% discount on upper-level seats and lower-level end-zone seats.

· The Whale take on the Phantoms for the third time this season Wednesday night, Connecticut has split the first two meetings with Adirondack.

· Adirondack defeated the Whale, 6-3, on opening night October 8, before falling to Connecticut, 4-2, in the rematch October 28, both at Adirondack.

· The Phantoms lost two out of three games this past weekend, dropping both decisions against the Binghamton Senators. Adirondack triumphed Saturday, 4-3, in a road tilt against in-state opponents the Syracuse Crunch.

· Ben Holmstrom tallied four points in the week’s action, with three goals and an assist. Denis Hamel leads the Phantoms in overall scoring with 23 points on the season (11-12-23).

· The Phantoms (15-11-1-1, 32 pts.) trail the Whale by four points in the Northeast Division entering the week.

· Radio – CT Whale “Rockin’ Hockey” live, with Bob Crawford, Garry Swain and Mark Bailey, on “The Rock”, 106.9 WCCC-FM, and on-line at www.ctwhale.com.

Monday, December 26 at Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Webster Bank Arena), 7:05 PM

· This is the sixth GEICO Connecticut Cup meeting of the year between the Whale and Sound Tigers.  The Whale are 2-1-1-1 through the first half of the ten-game series, but have only a regulation loss and an overtime loss to show for two previous visits to Bridgeport.

· Former Hartford Wolf Pack Brent Thompson’s Sound Tigers have lost six straight games in regulation, and are 1-7-1-1 in their last 10.  That slide has dropped them to 11-14-3-1 for 26 points and into the basement of the Northeast Division.

· Bridgeport point-scoring leader Tim Wallace (9-11-20 in 24 GP) and leading goal-scorer David Ullstrom (12-2-14 in 17 GP) both remain on recall to the parent New York Islanders.

· Radio – CT Whale “Rockin’ Hockey” live, with Bob Crawford on “The Rock”, 106.9 WCCC-FM, and on-line at www.ctwhale.com.

Tuesday, December 27 vs. Albany Devils at the XL Center, 7:00 PM

· This game is “Student Rush Night” at the XL Center.  College and high school students presenting a valid student ID at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center will receive 50% off upper-level seats and lower-level end-zone seats.

· The Devils (12-11-3-2, 29 pts.) currently stand third in the Northeast Division, three points behind Adirondack and seven points behind the first-place Whale.

· Steve Zalewski leads the Devils in points and goals, with 8-9-17 in 28 games.

· This is the third meeting of the year between the Whale and Devils, and Albany’s first of two visits to the XL Center.  The Whale lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Devils October 14, before registering their first win over Albany in the two-year history of the Devils franchise November 5, also a 3-2 shootout verdict.

· Radio – CT Whale “Rockin’ Hockey” live, with Bob Crawford, Garry Swain and Mark Bailey, on “The Rock”, 106.9 WCCC-FM, and on-line at www.ctwhale.com.

Recent Transactions:

Tim ErixonRecalled from the Whale by the New York Rangers December 14 and returned December 16

Jeff ProughRecalled by the Whale from the Greenville Road Warriors (ECHL) Dec. 14

Brendan ConnollySigned by the Whale to a Professional Tryout (PTO) agreement Dec. 15 and released December 17

Stu BickelRecalled from the Whale by the New York Rangers Dec. 18

Whale Tales:

To celebrate the Holiday season, the Whale are offering a “Holiday Hat Trick” package.  A package of four Upper Level tickets, four Whale winter hats and four Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards is only $80, with upgrades available.  Purchase your Holiday Hat Trick package through the Whale ticket office at (860) 728-3366.

Fans who purchase Whale season tickets, or a mini-plan, before December 31 will be entered to win a round-trip excursion via limousine to a New York Rangers regular-season home game at Madison Square Garden.  Current season seat-holders and mini-plan-holders are also automatically entered.

College students can get discounted tickets to Whale weekday games with the Whale’s “Ditch the Dorms” deal.  For Monday through Friday home games, students who show a valid student ID at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center can get $2 off Upper Level tickets and $5 off Lower Level seats.

Save on your tickets, and get the best seats, with a ticket plan for the Whale’s 2011-12 AHL campaign, which are on sale now. For information on season seats, mini plans and great group discounts, visit www.ctwhale.com, or call the CT Whale ticket office at (860) 728-3366 to talk with an account executive today.

The AHL’s Connecticut Whale is operated by Whalers Sports and Entertainment, a Hartford-based sports marketing and event firm founded by Howard Baldwin and Howard Baldwin, Jr.. The team is the top player-development affiliate of the NHL’s New York Rangers.

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