Tag Archives: Whale

WHALE WEEKLY: March 19 – 25, 2012

Bob CrawfordBY: Bob Crawford, Voice of the Connecticut Whale

The Whale took four out of six points in three home games this past weekend, solidifying their lead in the Northeast Division with wins over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and the Portland Pirates. The Whale began the weekend with a big 3-2 win over the Sound Tigers Friday, before a 3-0 setback against Springfield on Saturday. Connecticut closed their three-games-in-three-nights home slate with a 5-4 shootout triumph over the Pirates on Sunday afternoon, helping them to carry a four-point division lead into this week. Tommy Grant posted a four-point game on Sunday (2-2-4) and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault had a four-point weekend as well (2-2-4). Casey Wellman had three points in Friday’s win (1-2-3), while Cam Talbot Sunday won his first decision in goal since Feb. 18.

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REDEMPTION

Connecticut-Whale_thumb_thumb_thumb_      VERSUS     Portland

(I feel like I need to apologize to the readers of Howlings. I haven’t written my normal stories for the games on Friday and last night. This is as some of you may or may not know, started as a hobby for me but has progressed to the point where it has become a non-paying — and actually I pay quite a bit of money for all of it — part-time job. Well the job that does pay me, my employment agency Crossroads Consulting, has had an explosion of business the past three days and frankly it was difficult to find the time to even get to the games at all. I am also having incredible computer problems that are messing up both “jobs” so I haven’t had the time to dedicate to this as I should. So for that I apologize. We’ll get it right again this coming week…once again, I apologize.)

Bruce BerletBY: Bruce Berlet

After being shut out by the Springfield Falcons at home for the first time in 15 seasons on Saturday night, Connecticut Whale coach Ken Gernander almost completely shuffled his deck Sunday afternoon.

Gernander changed all four lines, two of the three defensive pairings and started Cam Talbot in goal for the first time in 11 games since Feb. 19.

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THE ROAD AHEAD

Connecticut-Whale_thumb_thumb_thumb_      VERSUS    Springfield Falcons

The Connecticut Whale currently sit in the third position in the AHL standings. How they’re doing that is a testament to the character of this team, because based upon the way they played at the XL Center Saturday night in a 3-0 loss to the Springfield Falcons, a team fighting just to make it into the post-season, you’d have thought it was the other way around.

“We didn’t give much, I thought and that’s disappointing.  We never really got anything going,” team captain Wade Redden said in his post game assessment. “We had a couple power plays in the first (period) that we didn’t do anything on, didn’t get a spark.

“You guard against (emotional let downs)…it just seemed like we were flat. We had a big win (Friday) night, we just weren’t making plays. We were just a little slower to pucks than them. They just played harder than us…We just put this behind us and get ready for tomorrow.”

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WHEN YOU’RE HOT, YOU’RE HOT

Connecticut-Whale_thumb_thumb_thumb_      VERSUS     Bridgeport

Bruce BerletBY: Bruce Berlet

Despite numerous injuries and call-ups, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers had proven to be a bugaboo for the Connecticut Whale.

The Sound Tigers were 5-1-1-1 in the first eight meetings with their intrastate rival, though the Whale had lost twice in overtime and once in a shootout.

But for the second straight Friday night, the Whale prevailed thanks to another stellar performance by goalie Chad Johnson, who had 38 saves in a 3-2 victory after two quick visits to the New York Rangers this week as a backup to Martin Biron filling in for the ailing Henrik Lundqvist.

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SPOTLIGHT: BATTLE LINES DRAWN IN THE ICE

Bruce BerletBy: Bruce Berlet

Connecticut’s two AHL entries have reached a share of first place in the Northeast Division from quite different directions, yet neither is anywhere near clinching a playoff berth, something both coaches and former Hartford Wolf Pack teammates have espoused on numerous occasions.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers hold a tie-breaker lead over the Connecticut Whale, making their ninth of 10 meetings in the GEICO Connecticut Cup on Friday night at the XL Center that much more significant. The Sound Tigers (32-20-3-5) were in the division cellar after a 2-10-0-1 slide from Thanksgiving to the end of 2011, but a stunning 20-2-0-2 run vaulted them into first place before they lost three straight last weekend for the first time this season, the first two via shootouts, starting against the Whale.

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COMPLETING THE SET, THE CARD SET THAT IS

Bob CrawfordFRIDAY IS FINAL WHALE TRADING CARD NIGHT

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Card Giveaway Presented by Webster Bank

The Connecticut Whale’s home game at the XL Center tomorrow night, Friday, March 16, a GEICO Connecticut Cup battle, and first-place showdown, with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, will feature the last of three Whale trading card giveaways, sponsored by Webster Bank.

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SPOTLIGHT: BICKEL STU – A RANGER SPECIALTY

Bruce BerletBY: Bruce Berlet

When it comes to feel-good stories in the NHL this season, you’d be hard-pressed to find one better than New York Rangers defenseman Stu Bickel, who began the season playing on Asylum Street in Hartford.

Though Bickel will never be confused with elusive Hall of Famers Bobby Orr or Cheshire-bred Brian Leetch, he has proven to be one of the NHL’s all-time steals since being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 23, 2010 for disgruntled Hartford Wolf Pack defenseman Nigel Williams.

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SPOTLIGHT: COMINGS AND GOINGS

Bruce BerletBY: Bruce Berlet

It’s official.

Sid “The Kid” Crosby will be returning AGAIN in the world’s biggest media center.

Crosby, who has been battling the effects of post-concussion syndrome for more than 14 months, will be back in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ lineup Thursday night when they visit Madison Square Garden to face the New York Rangers, whom they’re frantically pursuing for the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference titles.

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WHALE WEEKLY: March 12 – 18, 2012

Bob CrawfordBY: Bob Crawford, Voice of the CTWhale

The Whale won two out of three games again this past weekend, starting off with a key 4-3 shootout victory at home Friday over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in Northeast Division action. The Whale would fall to the league-leading Norfolk Admirals Saturday at the XL Center, 3-1, on Connecticut Hockey Hall of Fame night, but would rebound nicely with a 5-3 road win over the Manchester Monarchs on Sunday. Casey Wellman had two goals and an assist in Sunday’s game, and both Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and Kris Newbury cracked the 20-goal mark over the course of the three games. Chad Johnson recorded his 20th win of the season in goal Sunday, after earning a First-Star nod in Friday’s win over the Sound Tigers.

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TWO POINTS ARE TWO POINTS

Connecticut-Whale_thumb_thumb_thumb_      VERSUS      Manchester

The Connecticut Whale should be happy they came away with the two points they got for the 5-3 win Sunday afternoon in Manchester when they faced the Monarchs at the Verizon Wireless Arena, because they certainly weren’t going to be getting any style points – if there was such a thing.

“It’s going to be a grind, with a short night and travel last night,”  Whale head coach Ken Gernander told Brian Ring afterwards. “But the guys stuck with  it, got a big goal by Casey [Wellman], and we were able to get our two points.”

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