Tag Archives: Jeff Frazee

SPOTLIGHT: AUDY-MARCHESSAULT

Bruce Berlet 7BY: Bruce Berlet

Whale rookie Jonathan Audy-Marchessault brings some of the qualities of former Wolf Pack right wing P.A.  Parenteau, as Greenville Road Warriors coach Dean Stork noticed before wanting to sign him for his ECHL team. Unfortunately for Stork, Audy-Marchessault played so well as an invite on the Rangers’ team in the prospects tournament in September in Traverse City, Mich., that he got invited to Rangers camp. When he continued to show well, he earned a spot with the Whale and is now the team’s leading scorer, after getting a goal and an assist Saturday night.

Audy-Marchessault’s goal came on a 35-foot laser from the top of the right circle that cleanly beat Jeff Frazee high to the glove side. He later assisted on rookie Carl Hagelin’s goal off a second primary assist by veteran defenseman Wade Redden. Gernander also put Audy-Marchessault in the fifth and final spot in the shootout. He tried a Denis Savard spin-o-rama move that Frazee stopped, but when Matt Taormina hit the post to the left of Cam Talbot (18 saves), the Whale won the shootout on goals by Zuccarello (brilliant slow-moving fake and deke to the backhand) and defenseman Brendan Bell (quick wrist shot). Zuccarello had nearly won the game 1:17 into overtime, but he hit the post for the second time and then looked skyward in disbelief.

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WHALE EXORCIZE LOSING STREAK WITH WIN OVER DEVILS

Connecticut Whale     VERSUS      Albany Devils

BY: Mitch Beck

If Connecticut Whale head coach Ken Gernander had any hair, he’d probably be pulling it out about now. His team did win on the road Saturday night knocking off the Albany Devils 3-2 in a shootout in front of 3,006 at the Times Union Arena, but they came awfully close to repeating the ills that plague them blowing a lead, but in this case finding a way to win.

“It was little frustrating with the penalties in the third period,” Gernander told reporters afterwards. “But we battled through it and got the two points to finish off the week because it will set us up for next weekend with a long week of practice and rematches with St. John’s (in Newfoundland on Saturday and Sunday).”

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BRUCE BERLET REPORTS – MITCHELL MAKES MARK

FROM THE CREASE BY: BRUCE BERLET

John Mitchell has always prided himself in being “a pretty fast skater” and proved it when he won a fastest skater competition with the Toronto Maple Leafs three years ago.

“I think I actually beat the time in the NHL All-Star Game, so I know I can skate,” Mitchell recalled Wednesday night after his first NHL action with the New York Rangers in a 2-1 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils in the preseason opener at the Pepsi Center in Albany, N.Y.

Mitchell was one of the first players used in all situations and also leveled Cam Janssen, one of the Devils tough guys, as he continued to center a line with pesky veteran Sean Avery and fuzzy-faced J.T. Miller, the Rangers’ first-round pick (15th overall) in June. The trio was cited as “probably our most effective line, as far as forechecking and having some offensive zone pressure” by Rangers coach John Tortorella, who watched in the upper deck with president and general manager Glen Sather and other team executives while assistant GM/assistant coach/Connecticut Whale GM Jim Schoenfeld ran the bench with assistant coach Mike Sullivan.

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FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

BY: Bruce Berlet

I can still picture New York Rangers center Artem Anisimov, then with the Hartford Wolf Pack, standing with Alexander Vasyunov after he was named the No. 1 star and his former Russian linemate the second star in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Lowell Devils at the XL Center on Nov. 21, 2008.

Anisimov and Vasyunov, a speedy wing, had played together at different levels for a decade, often on the same line, with the elite Lokomotiv Yaroslavl teams before heading to North America after being born only a month apart and drafted just four spots apart in the second round of the 2006 NHL draft by the Rangers and rival New Jersey Devils. The XL Center game was their first meeting overseas, and they had plenty to celebrate and catch up on after the final horn sounded before heading their separate ways again.

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POGGE LEADS CHECKERS OVER DEVILS

Charlotte Checkers VERSUS Albany Devils

POGGE’S EIGHTH STRAIGHT ROAD WIN LIFTS CHECKERS OVER DEVILS
Samson becomes first AHL player to 20 goals this season

ALBANY, N.Y. – The Charlotte Checkers benefitted from another solid performance by goaltender Justin Pogge as they doubled up the Albany Devils, 4-2, on Friday evening for their 10th road win in the last 11 tries.

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WOLF PACK KNOCK KING KONG OFF THEIR BACKS

Hartford Wolf Pack Logo VERSUS       Bridgeport

(We owe our faithful readers an explanation as to why this report is so late. When we came home from the game last night there was no power in our house and it stayed that way through almost 11am today. Once the power came back on it was a scramble to get everything back up and running and to get our business back in place. We are just now having the time to sit down to write. So, we apologize for making you wait for this.)

After playing nine straight games where the best they could do was throw a couple of deuces amidst one goal efforts, last night’s 7-1 thrashing of the Hartford Wolf Pack’s arch instate rival, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, will hopefully give the team the jump start that it needed to turn this season around.

Mats Zuccarello finally show off the goal scoring ability that had the New York Rangers organziation so high on him over the summer with his first North American Hat-Trick. The Blueshirts signed “The Norweigen Hobbit” with the hope that he could have the same level of success as a sniper in the US as he did as a member of MoDo Hockey in the Swedish Elite League where he was voted as the Elitserien or MVP by the league’s players. In 2009-2010, Zuccarello scored 23 goals and had 41 assists for 64 points in just 55 games.

For Zuccarello, he was proud of the goals but more focused on the team. “We’ve been talking a lot, but there is only so much you can say,” The dminiutive forward said. “I don’t think you can describe what losing like we had was doing to us. Every guy goes out there giving it his best, but we were still losing, so something was wrong but you can’t put your finger on it. Every game we had been busting our asses just to get the W, but it didn’t seem to work.”

“It’s frustrating for everybody – players, coaches, everybody. We’d been playing hard every game, but some mistakes here and there have cost us, and tonight maybe it didn’t cost us a game. So we had a little bounce on our side, and that’s a good feeling. Every guy contributed, so it was a big, big team victory and a nice boost to get a W. It was nice to score some goals, but the most important thing was to get rid of that bad habit about losing and get it out of you.”

Head Coach Ken Gernander echoed the game’s First Star. “It was a nice win because the longer and longer (the losing streak) goes it kind of takes on a story of its own and become a monster in itself.”

It was a completely different look on the bench when Zuccarello gave the Wolf Pack their first lead since the 3-0 advantage they had in Providence 21 days earlier.

“I think the guys felt a little more comfortable playing from ahead than trying to catch up,” the Pack Head Coach stated. “And the power play was really good (4-for-7).”

Goaltender Chad Johnson (3-8-1, 24 saves) may have gotten King King off his back having lost his last seven straight starts. Even he felt the surge that came from being ahead rather than what seemed to be an ugly trend.

“When we scored the first goal, you could see us get our confidence going,” said Johnson. ““When the second one went in, we knew we had it back. I remember a game last season when the Rangers were kind of going through the same thing, and (former Wolf Pack wing) Ryan Callahan was just flying one game and got two goals. It’s like that one guy who sort of steps up and leads the way. Tonight it was Zuccarello. He was just all over the place, in the right place defensively and getting pucks.”

Jeremy Yablonski was called for tripping by referee Chris Cozzan at 7:59.

On the ensuing power play, defenseman Wade Redden made a terrific play keeping the puck from a charging Brent Regner and backhanded the puck to Zuccarello along the right wing boards. The Hobbit dropped the puck to Tim Kennedy and then headed straight for the slot. Kennedy moved in and quickly returned the puck back to Zauccarello in the slot. The genreously listed 5’9″ 170 pounder saw an opening to the stick side of Nathan Lawson (1-2-0, 24 saves) and put it past the Sound Tiger goalkeeper before he even had a chance to react.

2:17 seconds later the Pack doubled their lead and put themselves two-for-two on the man-advantage when Jason Williams sent a laser beam of a shot from the left point that likely fooled Lawson. It looked like Dane Byers might have gotten a stick on it, but Lawson also needed to contend with Brodie Dupont who put a perfect screen in front of the crease.

The Pack made it 3-0 to end the first period when, with just 3.8 ticks remaining Kennedy made an NHL quality pass from behind the net after evading both Travis Hamonic and Jesse Joensuu and found Zuccarello in front of the net. Zuccarello got away from Brandon Svendsen, playing in his first game since his recall from the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL earlier in the day and David Ullstrom. Zuccarello then fired from in close over Lawson’s stacked pads into the right corner of the net.

1:07 into the second frame, Rob Hisey left with what appeared to be a bad knee problem  and did not return.

The Wolf Pack have gotten themselves into trouble in games earlier in the year where they would get a lead and then just disappear and allow their opponent back into the game. NOT this time.

At 5:38, Zuccarello finished his hat-trick off a terrific feed from Brodie Dupont that he buried from almost the same spot as his first goal earlier.

7:01 later Kelsey Tessier ended his own personal scoring drought of 11 games when he, Byers and Chris McKelvie worked a terrific passing play that the rookie from Fredericton, New Brunswick knocked in past a defenseless Lawson.

Frustration started to rally boil over as the period came to a close. Former Wolf Pack defenseman Dylan Reese got frustrated after getting tied up with Kennedy along the left wing boards in the offensive zone and went after the center iceman who already had three assists in the game. Lee Baldwin skated over to protect Kennedy and was summarily jumped by Michael Haley and when the two fell, Haley contiunued to pound Baldwin in the face when the two were on the ice…not a good thing to do. That kind of “against the code” sort-of-thing is something that certain members on the Pack roster are likely to remember for the future and if you think elephants have a long memory, try talking to a hockey player.

The Wolf Pack contined to roll along at just 1:48 into the final frame, Jeremy Williams pocketed his second goal of the game after finishing on a backhanded shot after finding Tessier’s rebound gift wrapped on the left side of the crease.  It really was a display of great talent by Williams as Lawson recovered and was there to get the puck but Williams made a perfect shot for his team leading 6th of the early season.

Robin Figren turned aside Johnson’s shutout bid with just 8:17 remaining after Joensuu made a great rush up ice and into the Pack zone along the left wing side. When figren started running out of ice, he turned in on the net and got away from Jared Nightingale. He then fed Figren the puck who JUST put it past Johnson on the short side for the Sound Tiger’s only goal of the game.

The Pack were not done with Lawson just yet…for that matter neither were the relentless Wolf Pack fans who just were relentlessly giving it to Lawson the entire game.

With 6:03 left all of Dane Byers hard work over the past three weeks got rewarded on the ice when he took a terrific feed from Ryan Garlock and beat Lawson to the short side. It was a terrific play and a just reward for the Pack captain who has really stepped up in terms of leadership with this group of athletes.

Devin DiDiomete laid a very hard check into Reese as the final buzzer sounded. “Reese kind of took some liberties on guys all night…I wanted him to know that he couldn’t be doing that to our skill guys. I have a chacne to finish a check; I’m going to do that. I’m sure he’s going to have that in the back of his mind the next time we play and maybe it’s going to open more space for some of the skill guys. He’ll be trying to make a big hit on me or maybe take a dumb penalty or something like that.”

ALL of the Sound Tiger players will have until November 27th to think about this game. That’s when they will return to the XL Center for the next battle between these two teams.

Gernander summed it all up saying, “You don’t want to go as long as (the losing streak) obviously did, but hopefully we’ve got things turned around, have that monkey off our back and can start to forge ahead.” 

Bruce Berlet can be found at HartfordWolfPack.com  while the highly talented Mike Fornabaio has his game story from the Bridgeport perspective over at the Connecticut Post. 

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET 

GAME HIGHLIGHTS:

Rangers prospects thrash Islanders prospects 7-1  Sunday at the XL Center

 

NOTES:

* This was the first hat-trick by a Wolf Pack player since P.A. Parenteau on 2/28/10 against Jeff Frazee in a 4-3 loss at Lowell. Coincidentally, Parenteau had two of his goals that day on the power play as well.

* It was three weeks to the day since the team’s last win.

* The last time the Wolf Pack scored 7 times in a game was April, 11th 2010 when they won 7-5 at home.

* The Sound Tigers were without some of their best players as defenseman Dustin Kohn, left wings Justin DiBenedetto and Jean Bourbeau and center Tomas Marcinko all were out with injuries. Rob Hisey left the game with a knee injury early in the second period.

SOUNDS OF THE GAME:

Head Coach Ken Gernander:

Mats Zuccarello:

Chad Johnson:

Devin DiDiomete:

Brodie Dupont:

LINES:

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

Redden – Nightingale  
Valentenko – Baldwin    
McDonagh – Kundratek

Johnson  
Talbot

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized) 

SCRATCHES:

Dale Weise – Wrist Surgery – Three to Four Weeks
Jyri Niemi – Upper Body Injury – Day-to-Day 
Nigel Williams – Healthy Scratch
Brandon Wong – Healthy Scratch

THREE STARS:

1. HFD – M. Zuccarello
2. HFD – J. Williams
3. HFD – T. Kennedy 

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Chris Cozzan (18)

Linesmen:
Paul Simeon (66)
Brent Colby (7) 

NEXT GAME:

Too much is at stake for the Wolf Pack to let this losing streak continue. They have to win the final game of this home-and-home series with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Sunday night they finish a string of three series of home and homes. Game-time Sunday is at 7pm with Bob Crawford and the pregame at 6:30pm.

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. 

SCORE-SHEET:

Bridgeport Sound Tigers 1 at Hartford Wolf Pack 7 – Status: Final
Sunday, November 7, 2010 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Bridgeport 0 0 1 – 1
Hartford 3 2 2 – 7

1st Period-1, Hartford, Zuccarello 4 (Kennedy, Redden), 9:25 (PP). 2, Hartford, Williams 5 (Zuccarello, Kennedy), 11:42 (PP). 3, Hartford, Zuccarello 5 (Kennedy, McDonagh), 19:56. Penalties-Yablonski Bri (tripping), 7:59; Haley Bri (boarding), 11:15; Byers Hfd (high-sticking), 15:13.

2nd Period-4, Hartford, Zuccarello 6 (Dupont), 5:38 (PP). 5, Hartford, Tessier 3 (McKelvie, Byers), 12:39. Penalties-Joensuu Bri (interference), 4:47; Sim Bri (roughing), 9:57; Newbury Hfd (broken stick), 17:23; Ullstrom Bri (unsportsmanlike conduct), 17:54; Garlock Hfd (roughing), 19:30; Haley Bri (roughing, roughing), 20:00; Reese Bri (cross-checking), 20:00; Baldwin Hfd (roughing), 20:00; Kennedy Hfd (high-sticking), 20:00.

3rd Period-6, Hartford, Williams 6 (Tessier), 1:48 (PP). 7, Bridgeport, Figren 3 (Joensuu, Hamonic), 11:43 (PP). 8, Hartford, Byers 3 (Garlock, Williams), 13:57. Penalties-McKelvie Hfd (interference), 3:53; Romano Bri (roughing), 7:18; McKelvie Hfd (roughing), 7:18; Zuccarello Hfd (tripping), 10:11; Yablonski Bri (fighting), 14:39; Soryal Hfd (tripping, fighting), 14:39; Reese Bri (cross-checking), 16:41; Redden Hfd (cross-checking), 17:10; DiDiomete Hfd (misconduct), 20:00.

Shots on Goal-Bridgeport 5-8-12-25. Hartford 12-13-6-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Bridgeport 1 / 7; Hartford 4 / 7.
Goalies-Bridgeport, Lawson 1-2-0 (31 shots-24 saves). Hartford, Johnson 3-8-1 (25 shots-24 saves).
A-2,022
Referees-Chris Cozzan (18).
Linesmen-Paul Simeon (66), Brent Colby (7).

FROM THE CREASE with Bruce Berlet

Bruce HeadshotBy Bruce Berlet

With Tim Kennedy out with an undisclosed injury, the four centers who played for the Wolf Pack on Wednesday night started the game against the Albany Devils with a total of zero goals.

That’s nada, zilch, none – in eight games. Ryan Garlock, the supposed fourth-line center, scored his first of the season when he converted Jeremy Williams’ centering pass 4:49 into the third period after a strong play along the boards by Justin Soryal.

“A textbook 3-on-2 play,” Garlock said.

Unfortunately for the Wolf Pack (3-4-1-1), their offense has been anything but textbook during a season-high, five-game homestand that ends Friday night with the opener of a home-and-home set with the Springfield Falcons (4-4-0-0). The Wolf Pack are 0-3-1 in the recent home run and has lost five in a row at the XL Center (0-4-1-0) since a season-opening, 4-2 victory over the Charlotte Checkers on Oct. 9.

Coach Ken Gernander has tried seemingly every permutation and combination with his 13 forwards, including using Evgeny Grachev at center and both wings. But the Wolf Pack missed the net from close range twice as many times (four) in a 3-1 loss to the Devils as they’ve scored in the last 229 minutes, 55 seconds. And they would have lost a third consecutive one-goal game if former Wolf Pack defenseman Chris Murray hadn’t scored a power-play goal into an empty net with 37.7 seconds left after Williams took an ill-advised slashing penalty with 1:13 to go.

Several players admitted frustration has started to cause many to squeeze their sticks too hard trying to score. But there’s only so much Gernander can do to try to find the right combinations. In fact, he even changed his three defensive pairings in the third period.

“He’s trying to shake things up, which is something every coach would do when you’re going through a stretch like this,” said center/left wing Brodie Dupont, who has one assist in nine games. “There are a few guys in the room who remember last year. You can’t make the playoffs in October, but you can definitely miss them, so we have to start winning games and come together no matter who you’re playing with.

“We just have to start playing more as a team, which is how we’re going to score. We don’t have the most skilled team. We have a hard-working team that has to work to score. We have to take short shifts, stay positive with each and keep each other’s heads up. We’ve got a lot of young guys (10 rookies) getting used to pro hockey and North America, so it’s a whole combination of things. But we’ve got a lot of games left, and the young guys are going to come around because they’re really talented. The older ones, including me, have to assume responsibility to help the young ones out as far as contributing the way I can and the rest will just roll over.”

Dupont said if a player is having difficulty scoring than he has to help in other ways.

“You never want to have stretches like this and put yourself behind the eight-ball, and I have to contribute in different ways,” Dupont said. “If I’m not putting up numbers, then I at least have to start getting a few more chances and playing the body more. I have to be a little more accountable for my actions. I think Kenny was trying to shake things up putting me back in the middle and different line combinations trying to get different guys going.

“I’m one of them that has to step it up and help the club out. When the chemistry is there, it’s there, and when it’s not, you have to work at it. The injuries don’t help because we’ve got two pretty key guys out (Kennedy and right wing Dale Weise), which kind of messes the lines up and has kind of a waterfall effect. It trickles all the way because we’re trying to spread the offense and ice time out and not just load up the first few lines. (Gernander) wants to have a four-line team. He’s doing his job, and now we have to start bringing up our end of the bargain.”

Feisty Devin DiDiomete, playing in only his third game since extensive hip surgery on May 7, tried to ignite the Wolf Pack with two fights, the second with Harry Young early in the second period resulting in a gash on his head that had him looking like an Arab wearing a turban after the game.

“Who knows what’s going to get us started?” Gernander said rhetorically. “DiDiomete tried a couple of different times, but it might be a big save, a big (penalty) kill or a big effort to score a goal. But you’ve got to find something that’s going to swing the momentum in our favor, and then we have to work with it.”

The Wolf Pack’s recent bad offensive run was epitomized in the second period Wednesday night when Garlock, McKelvie and Grachev missed the net from point-blank range and Devils goalie Jeff Frazee stoned a wide-open Mats Zuccarello from 20 feet in the slot. And the Devils got their first goal from Patrick Davis when he beat Chad Johnson high to the glove side after veteran defenseman Wade Redden had fallen down.

“You say it all the time that you make your own luck,” Gernander said, “so if a bad break goes against you, someone has to make a big play behind that or someone has to make a play after that to get things turned around. And if things aren’t going your way, somehow you have to make it so that the next bad bounce is on the opponent or that you capitalize on it. There’s enough time in a hockey game that one bad bounce shouldn’t sink the ship.”

Dupont, one of the centers Wednesday night, said he is among those who has to start pulling their weight.

“In practice, we have to shoot to score and take it into the game,” Dupont said.

Veteran center Kris Newbury leads the Wolf Pack with eight points, all assists, but demonstrated his frustration in a 2-1 overtime loss to Syracuse on Saturday night when he broke his stick on the glass after Timo Pielmeier somehow slid across in time to stop on a 2-on-1 with McKelvie.

“It’s been frustrating because I know for myself I’ve got the puck a few times in the slot and it’s spinning and I’m trying too hard,” Newbury said. “I guess that’s what happens when you’re not scoring many goals as a team, so it’s kind of expected. But I’ve got to find a way to get out of it.

“I think it’s going to take a game or two where we put up a lot of goals and guys start getting confidence. Hopefully it happens quicker rather than later. Until then, guys are going to be frustrated. It seems like nothing is going right right now. We can be better in a lot of areas, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to put more goals on the board than the other team. So we’ve got to find a way to score and get some confidence.”

To try to reach that end, Gernander kept the lines intact but had his troops spend 20 minutes at the end of practice Thursday shooting. Assistant coach J.J. Daigneault, who works with the defense, had each defenseman line up 25 pucks and fire slapshots from the blueline, stressing accuracy on the net.

“The lines didn’t click (Wednesday) night, but our best option right now is keeping the combinations together,” Gernander said. “The volume of chances isn’t what it should be. We haven’t had a 42-shot night. Masking the issue is we’re not giving up a lot of goals, but it’s not like the shots are 42-15 and we lost 1-0, then maybe you could say we were squeezing our sticks a bit. Missing the net on point-blank shots hurts so obviously there was an emphasis on shooting pucks.”

A few power-play goals would help ease the tension, but the Wolf Pack has failed on its last nine man advantages.

“I think your 5-on-5 has to spill over into your special teams,” Gernander said. “It’s not very often that a guy is a rotten apple all game long and then turns it on for the 5-on-5. There’s a few special people that can do that, but for the most part, those habits carry over into special teams.

“There are all kinds of factors for what has happened because every guy is a little different. Everyone talks about frustration, but you can’t let frustration make you take penalties or detract from the system play. And sometimes instead of making the simple play, you look for the real highlight-reel play instead of just hammering that thing on net and maybe that goes in or you get the rebound.

“Today we just gave them some more options to try to diversify a little bit. We tried to point out that if you got the puck in a certain position, there are options for all three guys on the line. It’s poise, so you get the puck in an area, instead of just trying to force something right away, you look for a play and keep your feet moving otherwise (the opposition) is going to limit time and space. So you always need poise.”

As Dupont said, Gernander and assistants Daigneault and Pat Boller have done their job. Now it’s up to the players to execute properly and escape the scoring doldrums, hopefully sooner rather than later. 

Rangers Call Up Grachev; Donati Makes Pack Debut Friday Night

Grachev was called up by the Rangers because left wing Derek Boogaard has an infected hand after suffering a cut on his right index finger knuckle during a fight with the Boston Bruins’ Shawn Thornton on Saturday night. Grachev has only one goal and one assist in nine games and now has one goal and eight assists in 38 games dating back to last season. He will be an emergency fill-in if Boogaard can’t play against the Carolina Hurricanes Friday night.

With Kennedy and Weise sidelined and Grachev on recall, newly signed forward Tyler Donati might make his Wolf Pack debut against the Falcons. He signed an AHL-ECHL contract last Friday after leading the ECHL in scoring (114 points) and being named league MVP last season with the Elmira Jackals. It’s an especially frustrating time for Weise, who likely would already be with the Rangers because of injuries to forwards Marian Gaborik (separated left shoulder), Vinny Prospal (knee) and captain/Trumbull native Chris Drury (broken finger). Weise skated alone for the first time Thursday since having hand surgery last Friday.

Goalie Cameron Talbot, who injured his groin while stopping 41 shots in a 3-0 victory over Providence in his Wolf Pack debut on Oct. 17, resumed skating on his own Monday and hopes to participate in team drills this weekend or on Monday. 

Plenty of Options for Redden

The Rangers are almost certain to waive Redden again next year to remove his $6.5 million salary from the to-be-determined 2011-12 cap, which could be lower than the $59.4 million this year. If Redden then would like to return to the NHL for a far less salary than he would earn in the AHL or Europe, he will have that option.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told Larry Brooks of the New York Post that if Redden refuses to report to Hartford next year if he’s assigned, the Rangers would be able to terminate his contract under terms of the collective bargaining agreement just as the New Jersey Devils terminated the contract of former Whalers captain Brendan Shanahan last year when he refused to report to the Lowell Devils after he was unclaimed on waivers.

Daly said there was no difference between the cases, even if Shanahan had a one-year contract for $1 million and Redden would have three years worth $16.5 million left on his contract.

“The Devils (terminated). So could the Rangers,” Daly told Brooks.

If Rangers do that, Redden would become a free agent. So would Redden consider such action and attempt a final shot at the NHL for lesser money?

“At the end of the day, I don’t really want to be down here (in Hartford) playing out my contract, but that’s not so say that won’t happen,” Redden said. “I’ll make those decisions after the season. The options will be there. There are a lot of different scenarios that could play out, so I just have to let them play out. Whatever happens is going to take care of itself, but I can’t worry about it. For anything to work, I’ve got to play well, and that’s all my focus is on right now.”

Redden has been a stabilizing influence for a young defense, playing alongside rookies Tomas Kundratek and Jyri Niemi in eight games and Jared Nightingale in the other. Redden admits it’s doubtful that he’ll ever end up back with the Rangers, but there are 29 other NHL teams, and one might need a veteran defenseman if hit by injuries, especially down the stretch. 

Todd White Headed to Hartford?

Rangers coach John Tortorella admits he isn’t sure what he has in Todd White, which leaves the center in limbo in his first season on Broadway. Tortorella was so unsure White was a healthy scratch Sunday even though Jeremy Williams was called up as a possible emergency fill-in for Brandon Prust, who sustained an eye injury in a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night. Even though Prust was able to play in a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils, White watched as Williams made his Rangers debut, playing six shifts for 3 minutes, 43 seconds.

“I don’t know what he (White) is as a player,” Tortorella told Brooks. “It really isn’t fair to him. I don’t think he has a ton of confidence in his play, and I have to a lot to do with that as far as the spots I’ve put him in and how I’ve spotted him in certain areas. I’m concerned about his speed, and I’ve talked to him about that. But I don’t think I’ve given him a fair shake.”

White got another chance Wednesday night and scored his first goal of the season in a 6-4 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers. He played 10 minutes, 52 seconds, all at even strength.

The Rangers acquired White from the Thrashers on Aug. 2 for disgruntled Donald Brashear and Patrick Rissmiller, who weren’t exactly thrilled when they were in Hartford. It was speculated that White would follow them to Hartford as a salary dump in training camp, but he wasn’t placed on waivers until early October. He and Kennedy both cleared waivers, but Kennedy was sent to the Wolf Pack on Oct. 13 after captain/Trumbull native Chris Drury returned from injured reserve because of a finger injury. Drury played less than two periods, re-broke the finger and is in the process of being out an estimated six weeks.

Some wondered why White wasn’t sent to Hartford instead of Kennedy, who seems to have little chance of being recalled regardless of how he plays with the Wolf Pack unless the other 29 general managers are asleep. Kennedy would have to get through recall waivers, so any team could claim him and be responsible for only half of his salary against the cap, $275,000, which is less than the NHL’s minimum salary.

The Rangers have until next week to reassign White to Hartford or they will have to waive him again if they would like to erase his salary cap hit of $2.5 million. White hasn’t seemed like a good fit with the Rangers and wouldn’t have made the opening-night roster if Drury and Vinny Prospal (knee) would have been available. And he still was a healthy scratch after leading scorer Marian Gaborik sustained a separated left shoulder.

So the Rangers’ only other option is to trade White, but it’s unlikely another team would bite considering his age (35) and cap hit. So their best option would be sending White to the Wolf Pack, opening cap space and roster space. That would enable them to call up another prospect from the Wolf Pack and give White some playing time in the minors. There are several players in Hartford who deserve a shot at the NHL, so expect something to happen in the next few days. 

Falcons Make First Visit in Start of Home-and-Home Series

The Wolf Pack concludes the homestand with the first of 10 meetings with the Falcons, who are 3-1-0-0 on the road. The Falcons have a new coach, former longtime Army coach Rob Riley, and new affiliation, the Columbus Blue Jackets, after three seasons as the top affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers. Veteran Tom Sestito is the Falcons’ leading scorer (four goals, five assists), and Michael Blunden leads the team in goals (five).

Former Wolf Pack goalie David LeNeveau is 2-2-0 with a 2.22 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. The Blue Jackets assigned defenseman Nate Guenin, the Rangers’ third-round pick in 2002 who never played for the organization, to the Falcons on Tuesday. He has played 17 NHL games with the Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Friday night is a Guida’s Family Value Night that starts as low as $48 and includes three tickets, three hot dogs or pizza slices, three sodas and Wolf Pack souvenir. Guida’s Family Value Night packs are available at the XL Center box office or on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com. The teams have a rematch Saturday night at 7 in Springfield. 

Former New Haven Resident Among Four Named To AHL Hall of Fame

The newest members of the AHL Hall of Fame announced Thursday are Maurice Podoloff, Mitch Lamoureux, Harry Pidhirny and Larry Wilson. The Class of 2011 will be honored as part of the All-Star Classic festivities in Hershey, Pa. The Hall of Fame induction and awards ceremony is Jan. 31. The AHL Hall of Fame, formed in 2006 to recognize, honor and celebrate individuals for their outstanding achievements and contributions in the AHL, is housed on-line at www.ahlhalloffame.com. The AHL Internet Network also includes www.theahl.com and all 30 official team sites and hosts more than 200 million page views each year.

Podoloff, who died in 1985 at 95, was one of the AHL’s founding fathers and known as a pioneer whose vision and dedication helped build the foundation for the league that still thrives 75 years later. Born in Elizabethgrad, Ukraine, Podoloff moved to New Haven at 6 and graduated from Yale and the Yale Law School. He and his father Abraham and brothers Nathan and Jacob built the New Haven Arena in 1926 and created the New Haven Eagles as a charter member of the Canadian-American Hockey League. Maurice served on the league’s board of governors and later became secretary-treasurer in 1935. The Can-am League and International Hockey League joined forces in 1936 to create what was known as the International-American Hockey League, and Podoloff continued to oversee the Can-Am teams that made up the combined league’s Eastern Division. In 1938, the consolidation between the CAHL and IHL became official, and Podoloff was elected the IAHL’s first president. The “International” was dropped from the league’s name in 1940, becoming the AHL as it remains to this day.

Podoloff brought stability to the AHL during the difficult war years and oversaw the addition of teams in future major-league cities such as Washington, Buffalo, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Indianapolis. He also had a hand in modernizing the league through rules changes and innovations and organized the first AHL All-Star Game in 1942 as a fundraiser for American and Canadian Red Cross efforts during World War II. Podoloff served as AHL president until 1952, including several years in which he concurrently ran the NBA as its first president, starting in 1946. He was enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1974, and the Maurice Podoloff Trophy is awarded each year to the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.

Lamoureux was an eighth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1981, joined the Pens’ AHL affiliate in 1982-83 and scored 57 goals, the most in the 47-year history of the league at that point, and had 107 points, then a record for rookies. The 5-foot-6 dynamo split three seasons between Baltimore and Pittsburgh and then helped the Hershey Bears, coached by Paddock, to their first 50-win season in 1987-88 and perfect 12-0 playoff record on the way to the Calder Cup. He had six 30-goal seasons, finished seventh all-time in goals (364) and ninth in points (816) in 802 games before retiring after 17 seasons in 1999, when he won the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award for sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey. He later had his No. 16 retired by the Bears.

Pidhirny began his pro career with the AHL’s Philadelphia Rockets in 1948-49 and put together 12 consecutive 12-goal seasons starting in 1949-50 with the Springfield Indians and Syracuse Warriors. On Nov. 21, 1953, in a 9-1 victory over the Providence Reds, the crafty center tied an AHL record by scoring six goals. He later returned to Springfield, where he won Calder Cups in 1960 and 1961, was named an All-Star five times in the 1950s and ended 17 seasons ranked third in games played (1,071), sixth in goals (376) and seventh in points (829). He coached the Springfield Indians briefly in 1966 and was a member of the first class of inductees into the Springfield Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996.

Wilson played 15 seasons and coached six in the AHL, spending much of the early part of his playing career in the NHL with Detroit and Chicago, winning a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 1950. He also played two seasons with the AHL’s Indianapolis Capitals, and in 1955, he began a 13-year stay with the Buffalo Bisons in which he became the franchise’s all-time leader in every offensive category. The Bisons lost in the Calder Cup finals in 1959 and 1962 before finally bringing the championship back to Buffalo in 1963 after finishing with the league’s best record and beating Hershey in a seven-game series for the title. Wilson retired in 1968 and ranks nine in career assists (492) and 12th in points (790). In his first season as coach, he led the Providence Reds to the Calder Cup finals, where they lost to the Springfield Kings, coached by his brother, Johnny. He also coached Providence (1970-72) and the Richmond Robins (1972-76), and his players included future coaches Bill Barber, Paul Holmgren, Terry Murray and John Paddock, who was inducted last year after an outstanding playing career and a coaching career that included stops in the NHL and guiding the Wolf Pack to their only Calder Cup in 2000.

Wilson was named the first coach of the AHL’s Adirondack Red Wings in 1979 but never saw the ice in Glens Falls, N.Y. At the age of 48, he suffered a fatal heart attack just before training camp. His legacy lives through his son, Ron, a longtime NHL coach in Anaheim, Washington, San Jose and Toronto since 2008

HOME NOT-SO-SWEET HOME

Hartford Wolf Pack Logo      VERSUS     Albany Devils 

The New York Rangers and Hartford Wolf Pack are in similar situations in terms of their offensive talent…their prime talent is injured and they really don’t have much depth in that department beyond that. However, the Rangers had won three straight coming in to last night’s contest against Atlanta and the Wolf Pack had lost three straight. The Rangers found a way to put four goals past Atlanta’s starting netminder, Chris Mason, but it was their defense that failed them in a 6-4 loss. Conversely, the Wolf Pack defense was good, as it has been over this span, but they could not slip more than a single puck past Albany starter Jeff Frazee (3-1-0, 24 saves) en route to a 3-1 loss to the Albany Devils at the XL Center Wednesday night.

““We’ve got some offensive players, but we really haven’t generated much, especially five-on-five, in the last little while.” Wolf Pack Head Coach Ken Gernander said after his team dropped it’s fourth-home-loss-in-a-row. “We’re stressing execution. We had some opportunities here where we missed the net. How do you create offense when you miss the net?”

“I think we’re squeezing the sticks a little bit too tight.” Ryan Garlock said. “We’re working hard and as long as we keep doing that we’re eventually going to start bearing down on some of our chances. It’s just kind of a funk here that we got to get through early in the year.”

How bad is this funk?

At 4:30 of the second, veteran defenseman Wade Redden lost his footing skating backwards in the defensive zone allowing Patrick Davis a free pass to the net. The Devils right winger bared down on Johnson (2-4-0, 26 saves) and lifted the puck over the glove and into the twine. Then just 4:23 later, Adam Henrique roofed a backhander over Johnson and that would be all the Devils would need for the win.

But the frustration for the Wolf Pack was most evident in a span of just over 3 1/2 minutes following the two goals when the team had four, count’em four, wide-open chances. First Chris McKelvie; then Garlock, then a Mats Zuccarello opportunity gets nullified by Frazee and then the mightily struggling Evgeny Grachev missed his second open net of the game.

“On that one shift, (McKelvie) and I missed the point-blank chances, but that’s the way this game goes sometimes. It’s an 80-game season, and if you keep plugging away, they’re eventually going to start going in for us.” Garlock added. “The plus side is we’re not giving up a lot and (goalie Chad Johnson) is always rock solid back there. We’re going to keep trying to limit the chances against and start capitalizing on some of ours and eventually with the work ethic we have, it’s going to start turning around.”

The Wolf Pack did manage to get one past Frazee on the type of goal that this team is going to need to make in order to score and win games.

Under a delayed penalty that was going to be called on Alexander Urbom for holding, Justin Soryal used his size and strength along the right-sideboards and advanced the puck into the Devils zone. Soryal found an open Jeremy Williams and got the puck past the two defenders covering him. Williams saw Garlock coming up the left side of the slot and put a perfect pass in front of him. Garlock reached out and lifted the puck over the stick side of Frazee for his first of the season.

“It was a textbook 3-on-2 play,” Garlock said. “Soryal made a good chip, and Williams put it right on my stick and I didn’t really have to do too much, just be in the right place.”

Chris Murray added an empty net goal from the right side circle with just 37.7 remaining for the games final tally.

Gernander is doing all he can trying virtually every combination he can with the players he has to find some offense, but it’s just not coming.

“I don’t know if constantly changing the lines is an ideal situation, but when we’re struggling to find offense, you try some different combinations,” Gernander said. “You’d like to see one line be able to take the ball and run with it, catch fire, and then everyone can fall in line afterward. But as of right now, we’re struggling to find that line to get us some offense five-on-five.”

The Wolf Pack hope to find some offense Friday night when they host the first of a home-and-home against their I-91 rivals, the Springfield Falcons who have ex-Pack David LeNeveau between the pipes. LeNeveau is off to a good start sporting a 2-2-0 record and a 2.22GAA and a .918%.

Bruce Berlet gives you his view on the events of the day at HartfordWolfPack.com.  For the Albany perspective, there’s this staff report at TimesUnion.com

GAME SUMMARY and OFFICIAL SCORERS SHEET

SOUNDS OF THE GAME

Ken Gernander Press Conference:

Ryan Garlock:

NOTES:

* The Wolf Pack scoring problems can best be summarized this way. They have scored two goals in the last 229.55.

* New York Rangers legend and Special Assistant Mark Messier was on hand to take in the game.

* Evgeny Grachev has 2 goals and seven assists in his last 47 games dating back to last season. He has 1 goal and 1 assist in nine games this season. 

* This was the first time this season that the Wolf Pack saw two referees on the ice as the AHL is toying with going back to the two referee system.

LINES:

Grachev – Newbury – Zuccarello
Byers © – Dupont – J. Williams
DiDiomete – Wong – Tessier
Soryal – Garlock – McKelvie

Redden – Niemi
Valentenko – McDonagh 
McDonagh – Kundratek

Johnson 
Grumet-Morris

(Assistant Captains Bold and Italicized)  

SCRATCHES:

Cam Talbot – Groin – Day-to-Day
Tim Kennedy – Undisclosed – Day-to-Day
Dale Weise – Broken Wrist – Four to Six weeks
Lee Baldwin – Healthy Scratch
Nigel Williams – Healthy Scratch
Tyler Donati – Healthy Scratch 

THREE STARS:

1. ALB – A. Henrique
2. ALB – P. Davis
3. HFD – R. Garlock

ON ICE OFFICIALS:

Referee:
Mark Lemelin (84)
Jean Hebert (43)

Linesmen:
Luke Galvin (2)
Derek Wahl (46)

NEXT GAME:

You think that maybe the Wolf Pack want to get out of Dodge and try their luck on the road? Well, they’ll have to try one more time at home first as they wrap up the five game homestand hoping to a) score some goals and b) win one.  They play their first home-and-home series of the season with Springfield. Game-time is 7pm with Bob Crawford and the pregame at 6:30pm.

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.   

SCORE-SHEET:

Albany Devils 3 at Hartford Wolf Pack 1 – Status: Final
Wednesday, October 27, 2010 – XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Albany 0 2 1 – 3
Hartford 0 0 1 – 1

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Robitaille Alb (fighting), 10:32; DiDiomete Hfd (fighting), 10:32; Murray Alb (holding), 11:27; Williams Hfd (holding), 13:13.
2nd Period-1, Albany, Davis 1 (Eckford), 4:30. 2, Albany, Henrique 2 (Fayne, Urbom), 8:53 (PP). Penalties-Dupont Hfd (tripping), 1:21; Young Alb (fighting), 6:22; DiDiomete Hfd (fighting), 6:22; Perkovich Alb (roughing, roughing), 7:17; Garlock Hfd (hooking), 7:17; Soryal Hfd (roughing, roughing), 7:17; served by Williams Hfd (bench minor – too many men), 13:23; Perkovich Alb (tripping), 15:54.
3rd Period-3, Hartford, Garlock 1 (Williams, Soryal), 4:49. 4, Albany, Murray 1   19:22 (PP EN). Penalties-Tedenby Alb (roughing), 16:39; Williams Hfd (slashing), 18:47.

Shots on Goal-Albany 8-16-5-29. Hartford 6-9-10-25.
Power Play Opportunities-Albany 2 / 5; Hartford 0 / 3.
Goalies-Albany, Frazee 3-1-0 (25 shots-24 saves). Hartford, Johnson 2-4-1 (28 shots-26 saves).
A-2,251

Referees-Mark Lemelin (84), Jean Hebert (43).
Linesmen-Luke Galvin (2), Derek Wahl (46).

DEVILS SNEAK PAST CHECKERS

Charlotte Checkers      VERSUS     Albany Devils

CHECKERS DROP 2-1 DECISION TO DEVILS
Team’s first ever trip to N.Y. capital since being relocated to Charlotte

The Charlotte Checkers were edged, 2-1, on Wednesday evening by the Albany Devils in the team’s first ever trip to New York’s capital since being purchased and relocated to Charlotte over the summer.

Albany forward Michael Swift scored the game winner with less than five minutes to play and goaltender Jeff Frazee was solid, turning away 25 of 26 shots. Chris Terry scored the lone goal for Charlotte and led the way with six shots on goal.

The Checkers came out buzzing and hit Frazee with six shots in the first six minutes but the third-year pro stood his ground.

Terry then got Charlotte on the board at 7:15 of the first period when took a pass from Jiri Tlusty at the right-wing circle and fired a wrist shot over the glove of the Albany netminder.

The lead did not last long, however, as the Devils responded back just 2:37 later. Stephen Gionta broke in alone on Checkers goaltender Justin Pogge and was stopped point blank. He then grabbed his own rebound and put the puck out front to Adam Henrique, who tapped it in for his first ever professional goal.

Pogge was solid in the second, making several impressive saves, including a quick glove save on an Albany 2-on-1.

Charlotte nearly went ahead early in the third when Terry, looking for his second goal of the game, beat Frazee but hit the post.

Albany then took its first lead of the game with 4:23 left in regulation when Nathan Perkovich centered a pass off a defender and onto the stick of Swift. Swift made no mistake and buried his first of the year blocker side on Pogge.

Charlotte went to work on a late power play but was unable to capitalize and the Devils walked away with a 2-1 victory.

The Checkers (1-5-0) will travel to Adirondack to face the Phantoms on Friday evening. Fans can watch or listen to the game by heading to www.ahllive.com beginning at 7:30 p.m. The next home game will be Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. when the Checkers will host the Portland Pirates. Ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4423 or visiting www.gocheckers.com.

Notes:

Friday’s opener was the largest crowd in Charlotte hockey history and is the second largest crowd in the AHL this season (12,512)…Jerome Samson has four goals in his last five games and leads the AHL with 36 shots on goal…Jon Matsumoto leads the Checkers with six points (2g, 4a).

Score-Sheet:

Charlotte Checkers 1 at Albany Devils 2 – Status: Final
Wednesday, October 20, 2010 – Times Union Center

Charlotte 1 0 0 – 1
Albany 1 0 1 – 2

1st Period-1, Charlotte, Terry 2 (Tlusty, Borer), 7:15. 2, Albany, Henrique 1 (Gionta), 9:52. Penalties-Palmieri Alb (tripping), 2:01; Perkovich Alb (holding), 7:34; Dodge Cha (holding), 13:26; Samson Cha (high-sticking), 18:31.

2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-FitzGerald Cha (slashing), 2:15; Bellemore Cha (fighting), 7:44; Pogge Cha (roughing), 7:44; Swift Alb (unsportsmanlike conduct, fighting), 7:44; Young Alb (high-sticking), 7:44; Fayne Alb (interference), 12:19; Tlusty Cha (slashing), 14:46; FitzGerald Cha (fighting), 16:32; Letourneau-Leblond Alb (fighting), 16:32.

3rd Period-3, Albany, Swift 1 (Perkovich, Young), 15:37. Penalties-Perkovich Alb (cross-checking), 7:52; Pogge Cha (interference), 11:45; McIntyre Alb (tripping), 16:17.

Shots on Goal-Charlotte 8-8-10-26. Albany 10-10-6-26.
Power Play Opportunities-Charlotte 0 / 6; Albany 0 / 5.
Goalies-Charlotte, Pogge 0-3-0 (26 shots-24 saves). Albany, Frazee 2-1-0 (26 shots-25 saves).
A-1,679
Referees-Jamie Koharski (84).
Linesmen-Frank Murphy (29), Jim Briggs (83).