Tag Archives: Kevin Dineen

SPOTLIGHT: SEAN AVERY

Bruce Berlet 7BY: Bruce Berlet

The New York Rangers placed veteran left wing Sean Avery on waivers for a second time Friday.

Avery was scratched for the 10th consecutive game Friday night at Florida against the surprising Southeast Division-leading Panthers and first-year coach Kevin Dineen, the former Hartford Whalers standout right wing and captain. Avery last played Dec. 10 in a 4-1 victory at Buffalo, his 15th game after playing two games with the Whale. He scored a clinching empty-net goal in a 4-2 victory at Adirondack on Oct. 28, had the deciding shootout goal in a 3-2 win at Worcester the next night and was recalled from the Whale and passed through re-entry waivers on Nov. 1.

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SPOTLIGHT: KEVIN DINEEN

Bruce Berlet 7BY: Bruce Berlet

Former Hartford Whalers star right wing and captain Kevin Dineen is certainly in the running for NHL Coach of the Year, after what he has done with the Florida Panthers in his first season behind an NHL bench.

Well, Dineen earned more kudos from his upstart team on Saturday, when he decided to have his South Division-leading Panthers practice outdoors in Central Park as a treat after earning three of four points with a shutout win in Boston on Thursday night and overtime loss in Buffalo on Friday night, before facing the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.

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BRUCE BERLET REPORTS – RYAN GORDON, A PART OF HARTFORD HOCKEY FOREVER

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

FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

bruce mug shot 1BY: Bruce Berlet

In an extensive interview with “Puck Daddy” at Yahoo! Sports, former Hartford Whalers icon and captain Kevin Dineen discussed his new first NHL head coaching job with the Florida Panthers and his old surroundings in Hartford.

Dineen will have to deal with 12 new faces brought in by Panthers general manager Dale Tallon, who began clearing salary cap space last season and made an extensive overhaul after Pete DeBoer failed to get Florida to the postseason in his three seasons before being fired on April 11 and hired by the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.

But the moves weren’t made haphazard since Dineen was named coach June 1.

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FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

bruce mug shot 1BY: Bruce Berlet

With general manager Dale Tallon having added 11 new players to the Florida Panthers’ roster in less than a month, first-year coach Kevin Dineen has plenty of familiarizing and strategizing to do before the season opener Oct. 8 on Long Island.

Dineen, the former Hartford Whalers icon and captain who coached the AHL’s Portland Pirates the past six seasons before being hired June 1, said his major challenge in his first six weeks on the job has been getting in touch with so many new players and running his cell phone bill.

“I waited to get in the office to call the Euros because I don’t think that falls under my phone plan,” Dineen joked to Dave Lozo of nhl.com.

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FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

bruce mug shot 1BY: Bruce Berlet

An estimated 5,000 fans lined the streets of Binghamton, N.Y., on Wednesday to celebrate the city’s first pro hockey title.

Few enjoyed it more than two men with Connecticut ties, one of whom had to get reports in his hospital bed.

The first thing the victorious Calder Cup champion Binghamton Senators did after arriving home after a clinching 3-2 victory over the host Houston Aeros on Tuesday night was to bus to UHS Wilson Medical Center in nearby Johnson City where assistant coach Steve Stirling is recovering from an emergency quadruple bypass surgery on Sunday that prevented him from being behind the bench for Game 6.

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TWO MINUTES from BRUCE BERLET

bruce mug shot 1Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs Wednesday had its highest overnight rating in 12 years.

That’s obviously good for the NHL, but when the numbers are broken down, it’s even better for Hartford.

The Vancouver Canucks‘ 1-0 victory over the Boston Bruins on Raffi Torres‘ goal with only 18.5 seconds left generated a 3.2 overnight rating and 6 share, an increase of 14 percent compared to Game 1 last year between Philadelphia and Chicago (2.8/6). It was the best overnight for a Game 1 since 1999, when Buffalo against Dallas drew a 3.7 on Fox.

Not surprisingly, Boston was the top-rated market with a 25.5/39, the highest-rated NHL game in Boston dating to at least 1995 and topping the Boston rating for last year’s NBA Finals Game 1 featuring the Celtics and archrival Los Angeles Lakers (19.1/34). Munch on that number you basketball fans.

But the cities following Boston proved most interesting as two of the next three were AHL cities: No. 2 Providence (16.7/24) and No. 4 HARTFORD (5.5/8) surrounding Buffalo (7.2/11). No. 5 was Pittsburgh (4.3/7).

Yes, that Hartford, the capital of Connecticut. Maybe NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will finally have the decency to admit there’s an actual interest in hockey in a place where the NHL never should have left. I’m sure the NHL’s newest coach, Kevin Dineen of the Florida Panthers, would certainly agree.

TWO MINUTES for BRUCE BERLET

BY: Bruce Berlet

Connecticut hockey fans had more to cheer about Wednesday than just Hartford Whalers icon Kevin Dineen being named coach of the Florida Panthers.

South Windsor native and Houston Aeros captain Jon DiSalvatore scored only 68 seconds into the game and had the primary assist on Nate Prosser’s winner in a 2-1 victory over the host Binghamton Senators in Game 3 of the Calder Cup playoffs Wednesday night.

The Aeros took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, with Games 4 and 5 on Friday and Saturday nights at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton. Games 6 and 7, if necessary, on Tuesday and next Thursday nights in Houston.

DiSalvatore knocked in his own rebound for his sixth playoff goal, then Prosser picked up a loose puck and beat Senators rookie goalie Robin Lehner at 12:51 of the second period. Patrick O’Sullivan got his second assist of the game on the winner.

Senators captain Ryan Keller scored his ninth goal of the playoffs at 2:52 of the third period, but Aeros rookie goalie Matt Hackett (28 saves) shut down Binghamton the rest of the way to improve to 14-7 in the postseason. The Senators, who had 21 goals in a four-game sweep of Charlotte in the Eastern Conference finals, have only four games in the first three games against the Western Conference champion Aeros, who are seeking their first title since 2003.

But the fans thought the Senators had tied it with 24.5 seconds left on a goal by former Wolf Pack center Corey Locke, the AHL’s MVP and leading scorer (86 points) this season, during a late flurry after pulling Lehner. But referee Terry Koharski waved his arms to signal no goal, leading to many in a sellout crowd of 4,710 to rain plastic bottles and cups on the ice.

“(The puck) was on its edge, but it didn’t go over (the goal line),” Hackett said. “With the (Senators) goalie pulled, it was pretty intense. People were blocking shots with their faces, with any part of their body, and they did a great job.”

Senators coach Kurt Kleinendorst didn’t dispute the no-goal call but was upset his team wasn’t as intense as the Aeros.

“These are the Calder Cup finals, and you would expect your group would show up and give you an honest 60 (minutes),” Kleinendorst said. “I think we can do better. We have to give credit to Houston, but at the same time, I know this group, I know my guys, and we’re not quite where we need to be. We’re close, but close isn’t going to cut it. We’re going to have to fight for every little inch.”

And that’s about by how much the Senators failed to tie it late, but there is no video replay in the AHL because not all arenas in the 30-team league are equipped for it.

“That’s hockey,” Senators forward Mike Hoffman said. “Sometimes that happens. The chances were there, we just had to capitalize, and we didn’t. That’s why we lost the game.”

Instead, the Aeros regained the home-ice advantage and hope to return home with the Calder Cup. The Senators, now only 4-5 at home in the playoffs, hope to get back to Houston in a bid for their first title.

DiSalvatore was thinking otherwise.

“We’re striving for two more wins,” he said. “We can’t go flying high on this win and forget what we need to do. We have to look at tape from this game and look at things we can do to get better.”

DiSalvatore has been better than ever this season, having scored a career-high 28 goals during the regular season and now helping put the Aeros within two victories of another AHL championship. It has been 11 years since the Wolf Pack won the only title in Hartford hockey history, though Dineen had sure tried hard to get one earlier. After all, there are loads of reasons that his number (11) and that of Connecticut Whale coach Ken Gernander (12) are in the XL Center rafters.

FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

bruce mug shot 1BY: Bruce Berlet

Former Hartford Whalers captain and iconic right wing Kevin Dineen finally got where many thought he should have been a few years ago on Wednesday.

Dineen, one of the grittiest and hard-working players in hockey history, was named coach of the Florida Panthers, who haven’t reached the NHL playoffs for a record 10 consecutive years.

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FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

bruce mug shot 1BY: Bruce Berlet

After a 15-year absence, the NHL is returning to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

After weeks of denial by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and other league officials, True North Sports and Entertainment announced a conditional purchase of the financially strapped Atlanta Thrashers. Lawyers worked through the night on deal, with the final piece put in place Tuesday morning. Bettman told reporters at a news conference in Winnipeg that he took a conference call with the principles at 4:30 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday.

True North, headed by billionaire David Thomson and Mark Chipman, negotiated with the Atlanta Spirit Group to buy the Thrashers, who reportedly lost more than $300 million since 2005. Thomson is Canada’s richest man and chairman of the news and information company Thomson Reuters. Chipman’s family owns auto dealerships and real estate in Manitoba, and Chipman is governor of the AHL’s Manitoba Moose and former chairman of the executive committee of the AHL Board of Governors.

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