Tag Archives: Devin DiDiomete


BY: Bruce Berlet

Phyllis and Barry Gordon thoroughly enjoyed the fourth edition of the Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale game to benefit the Ryan Gordon/Connecticut Whale Community Scholars Fund, constantly smiling and sharing tales with friends and supporters.

Donations were accepted at the door of the Koeppel Community Sports Center on the campus of Trinity College in Hartford in lieu of an admission charge, and the Wallingford couple again rooted hard for a Whale victory. It ended with a 3-1 loss to the more experienced Albany Devils, but it was fitting that former Hartford Wolf Pack left wing Chad Wiseman scored the first goal, converting his own rebound on a power play, and assisted on the last tally by Darcy Zajac.

Regardless of the outcome, Phyllis and Barry had a special underlying thought Tuesday night.

“If only Ryan could have been here,” Phyllis said. “He would just love that the Whale was back.” Continue reading



bruce mug shot 1BY: Bruce Berlet

Dale Purinton and Richard Scott early on and Justin Soryal and Devin DiDiomete lately have been energetic instigators/enforcers who earned the respect of teammates and love from fans in the 14-year history of the Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale.

Jason Wilson might soon join those ranks.

“Wilson is a baby gorilla,” The Prospect Park’s Jess Rubenstein, a highly regarded follower and analyst of junior and college player, said of the 6-foot-3, 208-pound left wing. “Niagara played him with Ryan Strome, the fifth pick by the New York Islanders (on June 24), using him as a power forward/enforcer. He’s a real likeable person who wants to improve his game. He should do well with the Whale.”

Wilson chuckled when told of Rubenstein’s “baby gorilla” description but didn’t mince words about his style.

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bruce mug shot 1BY: Bruce Berlet

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – There was a passing of the veteran center guard in New York Rangers camp on Thursday.

A day after buying out the final year of Trumbull native/captain Chris Drury’s five-year, $35.35-million contract, the Rangers signed veteran John Mitchell, the Connecticut Whale’s best player in the playoffs in April.

Mitchell, 26, was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 28 for a seventh-round pick in 2012 to help compensate for the loss of Tim Kennedy, who was part of a deal with the Florida Panthers that helped the Rangers land defenseman Bryan McCabe. Mitchell signed a two-way deal for $650,000 in the NHL and $105,000 in the AHL after having a one-way deal at $725,000 last season, according to capgeek.com.

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Connecticut WhaleFor young restricted free agents, whether their parent teams qualify them or not is one of the most stressful times of their career.

Get qualified and the dream continues. Don’t be qualified and you’re hitting the unemployment line looking for work.

For the New York Rangers that time has come and gone and all of their restricted free agents have found out what’s in the envelope.


bruce mug shot 1BY: Bruce Berlet

The Connecticut Whale has made the offseason a lot more pleasant and relaxing for Jared Nightingale.

The Whale exercised their 2011-12 option on the AHL contract of the unrestricted defenseman six weeks before the parent New York Rangers had to make an offer by the July 1 deadline.

So instead of wondering his status for next season, Nightingale is free to work out and practice with close friend Zak McClellan while working odd jobs for the business of Zak’s dad in Frankenmuth, Mich.

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bruce mug shot 1By Bruce Berlet

Connecticut Whale rookie defenseman Tomas Kundratek now fully understands the adage that it’s sometimes better to be lucky than good.

Despite admittedly knowing little about men’s college basketball, Kundratek was the Whale’s top dog when he won the team’s NCAA pool on his first try.


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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FROM THE CREASE with Bruce Berlet

bruce mug shot 1By Bruce Berlet

Connecticut Whale rookie goalie Cam Talbot paid defenseman Pavel Valentenko quite the compliment Sunday.

“He blocks shots so well it’s like having three goalies,” Talbot said after watching Valentenko doing plenty of just such dirty work in a 3-1 victory over the Springfield Falcons.

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Connecticut-Whale_thumb4_thumb_thumb VERSUS Springfield

“That was what  we call in hockey, ‘a greasy win,’” Connecticut Whale Assistant Coach J.J. Daigneault said his team gutted one out and defeated the Springfield Falcons 3-1 Sunday afternoon in front of 4, 985 at the XL Center. “But we’ll take it,” He said with a smile.

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Connecticut-Whale_thumb4_thumb_thumb VERSUS Providence

Playing on ice that more closely resembled a Coney Island sno-cone than an American League hockey rink, the Connecticut Whale overcame a two goal deficit and came back to beat the Providence Bruins 4-3 in a shootout at the XL Center in front of 9,103 Saturday night.

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