WHALE WEEKLY: February 6 – 12, 2012

Bob CrawfordBY: Bob Crawford, Voice of the Connecticut Whale

The Whale finished the first week of February with their best stretch of 2012 to date, snapping an eleven-game winless streak with back-to-back wins over Albany and Hershey. Connecticut knocked off the Albany Devils, 3-2, at the XL Center on Friday night, before besting the Hershey Bears, 4-1, on the road Saturday before nearly 11,000 fans. Tommy Grant and Kris Newbury both had two-goal weekends, and Mats Zuccarello had three assists, to highlight the Whale’s offense. Chad Johnson made 39 saves in Saturday night’s win, his second of two victories to begin the month.

This week:

The Whale will look to keep it rolling Tuesday, when they host the Syracuse Crunch at the XL Center (7:00 PM faceoff), before heading on the road for three road games this weekend. The Whale will face the Falcons in Springfield on Friday (7:30) before heading to Manchester for the first time this season to take on the Monarchs (7:00). Connecticut will finish the week on Sunday, when they face GEICO Connecticut Cup rival Bridgeport (3:00).

Tuesday, February 7 vs. Syracuse Crunch at XL Center, 7:00 PM

· This is the Whale’s first of two meetings on the season between the Whale and Crunch, and Syracuse’s only trip of the season to Hartford.

· The Crunch have dropped three straight games, all three losses coming on home ice.

· Syracuse leading point-getter Patrick Maroon sits seventh in the league in scoring with 48 points on the season (22-26-48), after notching three points this past week (1-2-3).

· Syracuse is currently in fourth place in the East Division with 45 points, 12 points behind the third-place Norfolk Admirals.

· Maroon had a goal and an assist, and Kyle Palmieri had two assists, in the Crunch’s 5-4 overtime loss to Rochester on Saturday.

· 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 CTWhale.com.

Friday, February 10 at Springfield Falcons (MassMutual Center), 7:30 PM

· The Whale meet their I-91 rivals for the ninth time this season on Friday night, their fifth trip of the year to Springfield.

· Connecticut began the season series with five straight wins over the Falcons, but have since dropped three straight, the latest coming on January 28, a 2-1 defeat at the XL Center.

· Jonathan Audy-Marchessault has tallied 15 points in action against the Falcons (5-10-15), with Kris Newbury gathering seven points (5-2-7) in just four games. Cam Atkinson (3-3-6) and Alexandre Giroux (1-5-6) have both notched six points in action against the Whale.

· Springfield salvaged their weekend with a 4-2 win over the Norfolk Admirals on Sunday, giving them a split of a two-game set with Norfolk after a loss to Providence.

· The Falcons trail the Whale by four points in the Northeast Division heading into this week’s action.

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

Saturday, February 11 at Manchester Monarchs (Verizon Wireless Arena), 7:00 PM

· This is the second of six tilts on the season between the Whale and Monarchs, and the Whale’s first of three visits to New Hampshire.

· Connecticut handled the Monarchs easily in their first meeting of the campaign, blanking Manchester, 5-0, at the XL Center on Oct. 21.

· Mats Zuccarello scored twice and added an assist in that Whale win, with Blake Parlett contributing a pair of helpers. Cam Talbot recorded the shutout in goal with 23 saves.

· The Monarchs have won three straight games, posting wins over Worcester, Binghamton and Bridgeport in the past week. Manchester has moved to within six points of first-place St. John’s in the Atlantic Division.

· Manchester’s leading scorer, Marc-Andre Cliché (16-17-33), gathered a goal and an assist in the Monarchs’ 3-2 win over Bridgeport on Saturday.

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

Sunday, February 12 at Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Webster Bank Arena), 3:00 PM

· The Whale travel to their GEICO Connecticut Cup rivals for their seventh head-to-head tilt of the campaign. The Whale have dropped four of the first six meetings with the Sound Tigers, although two of their losses have gone beyond regulation.

· Jonathan Audy-Marchessault has notched nine points against the Sound Tigers this season (5-4-9), with Kris Newbury close behind with eight (1-7-8). Several Sound Tigers have gathered five points against the Whale, including David Ullstrom (4-1-5 in three games).

· The Sound Tigers have been one of the hottest teams in the league over the past month, going 10-0-0-1 in January to catch the Whale for the top spot in the Northeast Division.

· Bridgeport was edged at home, 3-2, by the Monarchs on Sunday to snap a streak that saw Bridgeport post at least a standings point in 12 straight games (11-0-0-1).

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

“Whale TV”:

· The following special new “Whale TV” selections will be available this week to Comcast Xfinity on Demand customers throughout New England, in the “Get Local” folder of Comcast’s On Demand Service:

o Mats Zuccarello Interview (Whale Special Events folder) – Bob Crawford, the voice of the Whale, sits down with Whale forward Mats Zuccarello, discussing his trip to the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic with teammate Jonathan Audy-Marchessault.

o Game Highlights (Game of the Week folder) – highlights of both of this past Friday’s nail-biting battle with the division-rival Albany Devils..

· Every week, CPTV Sports will air an edited re-broadcast of a Whale game, on “Whale TV Replay”.

o This Friday night, February 10 at 7:00 PM, Whale TV Replay will feature a re-broadcast of Tuesday’s game versus the Syracuse Crunch.

· The third of five live Whale TV broadcasts on WCCT-TV, Connecticut’s CW affiliate, presented by Webster Bank, is coming up Saturday, February 18, when the Whale host the Worcester Sharks at 7:00 PM.

Recent Transactions:

Randy McNaught – loaned by the Whale to Greenville (ECHL) February 2

Aaron Voros – released by the Whale from a Professional Tryout (PTO) agreement February 2

Wojtek Wolski – assigned to the Whale by the NY Rangers on a conditioning loan February 2

Jeff Woywitka – assigned to the Whale by the NY Rangers on a conditioning loan February 2

Casey Wellman – loaned to the Whale by the NY Rangers February 3

Whale Tales:

Whale season seat-holders who reserve their full-season 2012-13 Whale tickets by April 13 will receive access for four people to the luxurious CT Whale Director’s Suite at the XL Center, for one Whale 2012-13 home game.  This allows the opportunity to watch the game alongside Whale executive personnel and special guests, and to enjoy all of the high-end amenities of the Director’s Suite.  Additionally, all Whale full-season 2012-13 subscribers who purchase by April 13 will receive a custom-made, high-quality season ticket-holder jersey fleece sweatshirt.  The jersey fleece sweatshirt will be exclusive to Whale full-season ticket-holders, and will feature a “Season Ticket Holder 2012-13” patch that designates it as a unique item.  For more information on purchasing Whale season tickets, call (860) 728-3366, visit the Season Ticket Holder table behind Section 101 at a Whale home game or log on to CTWhale.com.

The Connecticut Whale and the CT Hockey Hall of Fame will partner to hold a CT Hockey Hall of Fame night at the Whale’s home game at the XL Center Saturday, March 10 vs. the Norfolk Admirals.  That night will mark the enshrinement of a new class of 2012 inductees into the CT Hockey Hall of Fame, which has adopted eight members from the storied Hartford Whalers Hall of Fame.  The new inductees are: Connecticut-bred Hockey Hall of Famer Brian Leetch, ex-Hartford Whalers 56-goal scorer Blaine Stoughton, former Whalers goaltender Mike Liut, former Whalers captain Pat Verbeek, Connecticut Whale/Hartford Wolf Pack franchise icon, long-time captain and current head coach Ken Gernander, three-time Olympic medalist for Team USA and all-time NCAA women’s leading scorer Julie Chu, and one of the founders of the New England Whalers, William E. Barnes.  There will be an induction ceremony before the game, which faces off at 7:00 PM on March 10, and the new inductees will also be recognized on the ice during the first intermission.  Fans can take home a special souvenir of the March 10 night, as 5,000 Hall of Fame posters will be given away, courtesy of SuperCuts.  There will also be a special meet-and-greet event on March 10, details of which will be announced soon.  This will be the first class of inductees since 1990, and further details are available at cthockeyHOF.org.

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 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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