Tag Archives: Head Coach


Danbury Whalers

The Danbury Whalers of the Federal Hockey League have a new Head Coach for 2011-2012.

While his name is very familiar, it’s not the same guy… although after spending some time talking to him, you get to see that he has the same energy level and demands on those who want to be on the team’s roster.

Howlings spoke to the energetic coach after a 6-2 exhibition split squad game Saturday night at Danbury Arena.



Danbury Whalers 2On Thursday, June 9th at 8 pm, the Danbury Whalers Hockey Club will be holding a press conference at 1st & 10 Sports Bar & Grill located on 507 Danbury Road (Route 7) in New Milford.

At this announcement, the Danbury Whalers will be announcing their new Head Coach.

This event is open to the public and fans are encouraged to attend for what should be an exciting evening.

1st and 10 in Sports Bar & Grill in New Milford is a great place to watch all your favorite teams.  There’s Trivia Night, Wing Night, DJ‘ing, and Country Line Dancing on their schedule.  Check out www.1stand10sportsbarandgrill.com


Hartford Wolf Pack Logo VERSUS     Toronto

The players on the Hartford Wolf Pack talked about not getting too high or too low after dismantling the injury depleted Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Sunday, but that it was something they could build on. Well, so much for that.

“I didn’t like tonight’s game one bit,” a visibly angry Wolf Pack head coach Ken Gernander said in his post game press conference. “It’s not the type of hockey that the Wolf Pack is supposed to be playing.”

“It’s tough to swallow,” Wolf Pack captain Dane Byers said. “We did a lot of good things the other night (beating Bridgeport 7-1), and it’s disappointing when we come out and have the effort we had tonight. It’s unacceptable.”

Both comments come following Toronto’s 4-0 shutout win over the “No-Show” performance that Hartford Wolf Pack put out in front of the 2,216 Tuesday night at the XL Center.

“I can’t put my finger on what happened (over the last two days),” Gernander said sternly. “If we had quick, easy answers obviously we would rectify the situation. To me, it’s inexcusable. I didn’t like most of what transpired, and it has got to change.”

The game started like so many Wolf Pack games do. They came out hard and pushed their visitors around while controlling the puck in the offensive zone for an extended period. But as they have done so many times already this season, a light switch flipped off and the team just stopped pressing the attack and when it did, the momentum just changed.

After finishing a rather non-descript first period leading in shots 12-8, the Wolf Pack once again go themselves in early penalty trouble when referee Jean Hebert called Tim Kennedy for Interference at 1:53 and it cost them.

Just 16 seconds into their man-advantage, centerman Nazem Kadri simply outworked Pavel Valentenko in front of Chad Johnson (26 saves, 3-9-1) and Ryan McDonagh could not hold off Jerry D’Amigo who got the puck and lifted it over Johnson’s glove at 2:09.

Just 1:48 later, on just the Marlies second shot of the period, the Pack doubled their deficit when this time Valentenko could not hold off the New York Rangers 7th Round Pick (226 overall) from the 2002 NHL Entry draft, Joey Crabb who slid the puck just past Johnson’s outstretched left leg and into the net. The goal was Crabb’s fifth of the season.

Johnson had a busy game considering that most of his defense took the night off. At 10:42, Johnson made a brilliant stop of Marcel Mueller’s breakaway  and then minutes later at 13:12 repelled a tremendous chance for D’Amigo.

The Pack managed to put nine shots on net, but they were all stopped by Marlies starter Jussi Rynnas (33 saves, 1-3-1) who went on to be named the game’s First Star.

Jyri Niemi had the home team’s best scoring chance at the 14:40 mark when his attempt from right in front of the net was dispelled by Rynnas.

In the third period, the Wolf Pack were simply out worked all over the ice.

At 4:28 they had what would be their best chance of the game to score but came up empty when Devin DiDIomete put a shot on Rynnas from in front and then Ryan Garlock missed. He clutched his stick behind his head and stared upward in frustration afterwards.

Just 1:16 later though, the hole got deeper when Josh Engel’s shot from the left point looked to be redirected on it’s way towards Johnson and got behind the Pack netminder for a 3-0 lead.

The Marlies added a fourth goal at 14:36 when Johnson was beaten by Pack Killer Mike Zigomanis.

But all of that is academic right now. The team is flat, with no confidence and trying to find a way how to score goals and play as a unit.

Understandably, Gernander is NOT happy to say the least. “I think we have some guys underachieving,” he said. “I talked at the start of the year that I thought we were going to be a very tenacious team, a very hard team, but tonight we didn’t finish checks, we didn’t create turnovers and we didn’t force the issue. We turned pucks over instead. They were very passive coming through the neutral zone, and we weren’t determined to get it deep and go chase it down.”

But the Head Coach was not done. “And I don’t think we did enough with the puck as far as putting it in smart areas and making them come 200 feet as opposed to just turning it over and allowing them on a short rink.”

So what options does an AHL coach have in his arsenal to make his point? Realistically, he can “Bag Skate” his team and he can put players in the stands to watch. It’s looking like his team could be facing both.

“We cut ice time in small doses, but it’s probably going to have to be more significant,” Gernander said. “You think you can get your message across through other means, and you think you’re probably best served having all your best available best people playing, but if we’re not getting the message, something is going to have to change.

Gernander has some veterans on his roster and is looking for them to step up their games. “We need big efforts from a lot of our key, marquee players. I’m not going to single anyone out, but in some regards, we’re not playing up to our fullest potential. And when you’re just a little bit off, you’re not going to be as successful. Then throw frustration on top of things, and it magnifies themselves…But our roster is what it is. You can’t look to other people or wait for some magical player to show up. You have got to take it upon yourself.”

For Byers, it’s 100% about the team.

“Things aren’t going good. It’s not fun to be around, so we just have to stick together as a team. It’s a team effort, and we can’t blame one person. Everybody has to take a look in the mirror.”

“We’ve got to put our nose to the grindstone and work through this. It’s not fun right now, but I still believe in this team. We’ve got a lot of the season left.”

The Wolf Pack have until Saturday to figure out who and what kind of a team they are. Saturday night’s contest, which will feature a lot of strolling down memory lane as it will be the last home game as the Hartford Wolf Pack before playing the final five on the road. When they return on November 27th they will officially be branded the Connecticut Whale when they take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Bruce Berlet can be found at HartfordWolfPack.com. The Toronto perspective is just about non-existent. There are a couple of Canadian Press stories that are essentially about three sentences and not worth noting.



Wolf Pack disappear against Marlies at XL Center


* It seemed like the entire Dineen family was in the arena…well everyone but Kevin. Former Hartford Whalers Coach, Bill Dineen, son Gord (an assistant coach with Toronto), son Shawn and son Peter both scouts for Nashville and Columbus respectively and son Jerry who’s with the Rangers organization as a video coach.

* The Wolf Pack have surrendered the first goal of the game in ten of their sixteen games. Their record in those games, 1-8-1-0. In the six where they have scored first they are 3-1-1-1.

* Justin Soryal and Devin DiDiomete are first (with eight) and tied for third (with six) respectively in the AHL in Major penalties taken.

* Chad Johnson has a league worst nine losses, but is also first in minutes played (753) and second in saves (326).

* The Pack have not won a game yet when they have trailed after the first period (0-5-1-0) or the second (0-8-0-0)

* For those people who think shots on goal is an important stat… The Pack are 2-5-2-1 when outshooting their opponent and 2-4-0-0 when they are outshot.


Head Coach Ken Gernander

Dane Byers:


Dupont – Kennedy – Zuccarello
Soryal Newbury – Grachev
DiDiomete – Garlock – J. Williams
Byers © – Tessier – Donati

McDonagh – Kundratek
Redden – Niemi
Valentenko – Baldwin


(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)


Dale Weise – Wrist Surgery – Three to Four Weeks
Jared Nightingale – Healthy Scratch
Nigel Williams – Healthy Scratch
Chris McKelvie – Healthy Scratch


1. TOR – J. Rynnas
2. TOR – M. Zigomanis
3. TOR – J. D’Amigo


Jean Hebert (43)

Brent Colby (7)
Luke Galvin (2)


The Wolf Pack have until Saturday now to regroup and figure this whole thing out. On Saturday, the last home game before they change their name to Connecticut Whale will be against 1-91 rivals, the Springfield Falcons.  Game-time Saturday is at 7pm with Bob Crawford and the pregame at 6:30pm. Saturday will also feature the all-time Wolf Pack team announcement and many other salutes to the team.

To watch the game live, you can purchased it for $6.99 at AHL-live.

For Ticket information call (860) 548-2000.

Too far away or can’t make it? Listen live at WTIC.com or from your cell phone or computer visit www.twitter.com/howlingstoday for complete live in-game coverage.


Toronto Marlies 4 at Hartford Wolf Pack 0 – Status: Final
Tuesday, November 9, 2010 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Toronto 0 2 2 – 4
Hartford 0 0 0 – 0

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Brennan Tor (high-sticking), 6:01.

2nd Period-1, Toronto, D’Amigo 2 (Kadri, Hodgman), 2:09 (PP). 2, Toronto, Crabb 5 (Mueller, Zigomanis), 3:57. Penalties-Kennedy Hfd (interference), 1:53.

3rd Period-3, Toronto, Engel 2 (Hodgman, Kadri), 5:44. 4, Toronto, Zigomanis 2 (Finger, Mikus), 14:35 (PP). Penalties-Brennan Tor (interference), 0:50; Aulie Tor (interference), 8:24; Dupont Hfd (boarding), 11:09; Newbury Hfd (goaltender interference), 12:42; Lashoff Tor (fighting), 13:28; Dupont Hfd (fighting), 13:28; Aulie Tor (fighting), 15:38; Tessier Hfd (slashing, fighting), 15:38; Lashoff Tor (fighting), 19:21; Newbury Hfd (roughing, fighting), 19:21.

Shots on Goal-Toronto 8-10-12-30. Hartford 12-9-12-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Toronto 2 / 5; Hartford 0 / 3.
Goalies-Toronto, Rynnas 1-3-1 (33 shots-33 saves). Hartford, Johnson 3-9-1 (30 shots-26 saves).
Referees-Jean Hebert (43).
Linesmen-Brent Colby (7), Luke Galvin (2).