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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mitch Beck was a standup comedian and radio personality for over 25 years. His passion for hockey started with Team USA in 1980 when they defeated the Soviets at Lake Placid. He is now self-employed and has been reporting on the New York Rangers, and exclusively on the Hartford Wolf Pack / Connecticut Whale since 2005.
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CRAWFORD: SHOOTOUT SUPREMACY GIVES WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PENGUINS 3-2 WIN OVER VISITING HARTFORD WOLF PACK
SHOOTOUT SUPREMACY GIVES Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 3-2 WIN OVER VISITING Hartford Wolf Pack
BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack
Wilkes-Barre, PA, October 21, 2017 – The Hartford Wolf Pack built a 2-0 first-period lead against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, but the Penguins came back to post a 3-2 shootout win.
Scott Kosmachuk and Vinni Lettieri scored power-play goals in the first for Hartford, and Alexandar Georgiev made 41 saves. Gage Quinney and Jarrett Burton scored for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and Jean-Sebastien Dea had the only goal of the shootout. Casey DeSmith made 26 saves in the Penguin net and went 3-for-3 in the shootout.
“With travel involved, and coming off a tough loss at home (a 5-1 defeat to the Belleville Senators Friday night), I thought the guys played really hard, love the response that we had,” Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge said. “We corrected a few things that we needed to go over and discuss in our meeting this morning, especially being early in the season. I liked the compete and the push we had tonight.” Continue reading
Greenville Opens Season At Home Tonight Against Wheeling
Swamp Rabbits home opener kicks off the 8th season in The Upstate vs. Nailers
|Fri, Oct. 13||7:00 p.m. (ET)||vs. Wheeling Nailers||Listen – Watch – Twitter|
BY: Brian Tosti, Greenville Swamp Rabbits
The Greenville Swamp Rabbits proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, have been off the ice for five months and 19 days since the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs and are more than ready to open the 2017-18 regular season. The Swamp Rabbits and Wheeling Nailers drop the puck at 7 p.m. tonight at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena, opening the franchise’s eighth season in Greenville. Before the game, check out the Swamp Rabbits Fan Fest on the Furman Plaza beginning at 5:30 p.m. The celebration includes the Dew Street Hockey Zone, inflatables, concessions specials, music, and more! Be one of the first 750 fans in the building and receive a Swamp Rabbits hand clapper to help make some noise as the season begins. Head to SwampRabbits.com or the Bon Secours Wellness Arena for $10 tickets to tonight’s game.
WRITING ON THE WALL
The Swamp Rabbits have a storied history against Wheeling, meeting 24 times in eight seasons. Greenville has owned the head to head record, winning 15 contests against their northern opponent. Last season, Greenville won a pair of close games at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, WV including an overtime victory powered by defenseman Joe Houk. The Swamp Rabbits top scoring blueliner netted the overtime winner and added an assist in the contest to earn the first star of the game. The following night he added an assist to help Greenville earn a 5-3 victory. Captain Bretton Cameron netted two goals in the second game against Wheeling and Adam Chapie contributed a pair of assists in the same contest.
NEW RABBITS IN THE SWAMP
Greenville’s roster features 14 new players. Six of the Swamp Rabbits offseason additions enter their first professional hockey season, while the remaining eight skaters combine for 615 AHL games and 540 ECHL games of experience. Amid the vast experience on the Swamp Rabbits roster, only Bretton Cameron and Curt Gogol qualify as veterans this season.
HOME SWEET HOME
Last season, the Swamp Rabbits made a powerful push into the playoffs, thanks in part to a great record at the Bon Secours Wellness. Greenville ended the regular season with a 22-10-3-1 record on the Sandlapper Securities Rink and powered through the final 17 home games with a 14-2-1-0 record.
CAN IT BE PERFECT AGAIN?
Last season the Swamp Rabbits were perfect against the North Division, earning seven wins in conference play against Wheeling, Manchester, and Reading. This season, the Swamp Rabbits are scheduled to play the North Division 10 times w/games against Wheeling (2), Adirondack (1), Manchester (5), & Brampton (2).
- The last time Greenville began the regular season at home was October 14, 2011, facing the Wheeling Nailers at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
- Four Swamp Rabbits players are expected to make their professional debut’s tonight (Kotyk, Leedahl, Sweeney, and Zborovskiy).
- Five Swamp Rabbits players were selected in the NHL Draft from 2010 to 2015 (Halverson, Basaraba, Herbert, Troock, and Zborovskiy).
- Greenville has won five of its seven home openers in franchise history.
- Branden Troock is four games away from his 150th professional contest, Allan McPherson is five games away from playing his 200th professional contest.
OPENING WEEKEND: Greenville begins the season TONIGHT at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena against the Wheeling Nailers. Tickets are specially priced at just $10 for this game and can be purchased by clicking here. The puck drops for the Swamp Rabbits’ Opening Weekend at 7 p.m. Join the pregame Fan Fest at 5:30 p.m. for the Dew Street Hockey Zone, inflatables, concessions specials, music, and more! The Bon Secours Family Fun Pack is also available for this game and includes tickets, food, beverages and a souvenir for just $60! For more information, head to SwampRabbits.com.
CLEAR BAG POLICY: Beginning with the Swamp Rabbits home opener on October 13th, the Bon Secours Wellness Arena will be implementing a clear bag policy for all events. Each ticketed guest will be permitted to carry one large clear bag, either a Ziploc style bag or a 12”x6”x12” clear bag, plus a small clutch purse (4.5”x6.5”). For more information on the policy, click here.
CANTLON’S CORNER: 2017 DRAFT RESULTS AND MORE
BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings
HARTFORD, CT – The first round of the NHL Draft went more or less according to the script.
There wasn’t much in the way of “cloak and dagger” or major surprises at Friday night’s two and half hour TV spectacle.
The New York Rangers did manage, for the first time since 2012, to have a first round pick. In fact, they didn’t just have one, but they had two selections to start the restocking process for a team in serious need of prospects. The team stocked up on centerman which seemed to be a shortage of over the past half dozen years or more.
The Blueshirts acquired the seventh overall choice in the draft from the Arizona Coyotes earlier in the day. They converted that pick into Lias Andersson from HV71 in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). Andersson posted nine goals and 19 points in 42 games. The question with this 18-year-old is not about his skill or his compete level, but will he fill out his current 6’1 180-lb frame?
Just a reminder, Jaromir Jagr was 175-pounds in 1991 when the Pittsburgh Penguins selected him. He’s still playing if you didn’t know. Continue reading
Wolf Pack Off Season Volume 8 – HOLD ON, THIS COULD GET BUMPY
BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings
HARTFORD, CT – The NHL Draft is upon us and there is SO much going on in the NHL that has an effect on every team let alone the Hartford Wolf Pack.
LATE BREAKING NHL DRAFT NEWS
The New York Rangers swung a major pre-draft trade with the Arizona Coyotes as they dealt center, Derek Stepan and their backup goalie, Antti Raanta, for New Jersey-native, defenseman, Anthony D’Angelo who split last year between Arizona and the Tucson Roadrunners (AHL) and the number seven overall pick in the 2017 draft.
The Ranger will have two first rounders as they will also select in the 21st spot. The Rangers look to replenish the team prospect depth, which is presently very low in Hartford. The Wolf Pack finished last in the AHL last season and they dismissed their long-time head coach, Ken Gernander, and hired Keith McCambridge to replace him.
The surprising part of the deal was the inclusion of Raanta. This creates an opening in New York for a backup goaltender, something the team will need to address. The Rangers have second-year pro, Brandon Halverson, and rookie Chris Nell both under contract for next season. They are the only other goalies in the organization right now.
*Cantlon’s Corner will have draft recap on Monday*
PLAYER & COACHING MOVEMENT
Ex-Pack Chad Johnson was traded by his hometown Calgary Flames to the Arizona Coyotes for another goalie Mike Smith.
Former Sound Tiger, Ryan Strome, was sent to the Edmonton Oilers for the highly skilled, Jordan Eberle.
One NHL coach going out and one coming in with CT connections.
Coming in is former Sound Tigers head coach Jack Capuano. He is one of the good guys in the game and he becomes the associate head coach with the Florida Panthers. Cap will work with the recently hired new head coach Bob Boughner.
Heading out is the Head Coach of the dysfunctional Arizona Coyotes. He is former Hartford Whaler, Dave Tippett, who leaves with four years left on a contract extension. Tippet was relieved the day before the draft!
The Coyotes are in complete disarray as an organization. They have no Head Coach, no Director of Player Operations, no captain, have become established as one of the least attended teams. They have an expiring arena lease after this season and no prospects for a new one to be built in the eastern part of Phoenix. Oh, and they also have the lowest payroll in hockey.
Ex-Pack Chris Bourque signed a two-year extension with Hershey with the second year being a mutual option for the 31-year-old forward.
Washington also signed Christian Djoos, the son of former Ranger, Per Djoos.
Nick Lukko, formerly of Salisbury Prep, signed a one-year deal with the Reading Royals (ECHL). His father is Peter Lukko is the CEO of the NHL Florida Panthers.
Joel Vermin, one of the top performers for the Syracuse Crunch in their Calder Cup run, has formally announced his signing with HC Lausanne (Switzerland-LNA) on a five-year contract to return to his homeland.
Petr Straka, who was with Albany Devils last year, also heads home to play with HC Plzen (Pilsner) in the Czech Republic Elite League (CEL).
A fellow Czech, Matej Stransky, leaves Texas for Severstal Cherepovets (Russia-KHL). That makes for 36 AHL’ers (22 of 30 teams so far have lost at least one player) to sign in Europe and with completed expansion draft and tonight’s amateur draft expect a few more names to be added just as the July 1st NHL/AHL free agency kicks in.
Ex-Pack/CT Whale Blake Parlett, who split last year with KHL Medvescak Zagreb in Croatia before their finances went south and finished the year with Tappara (Finland-FEL), has signed with Eisbaren Berlin (Germany-DEL) for 2017-18.
Former UCONN Husky Brant Harris (AHA years), who spent most of last year with the Florida Everblades (ECHL) and eleven games in Bridgeport has signed with EC Salzburg (Austria-AEHL) for the next season.
Another UCONN Husky from last year who left school mid-season, defenseman Joona Kunnas, who split the rest of the year with Illves Tampere (Finland-FEL) and a few games with Leki (Finland Division-1), has signed with Grenoble in the French Elite Magnus league for 2017-18.
Former Salisbury Prep product, Jerry Pollastone, signs for another year with Vienna (Austria-AEHL).
Ex-Sound Tiger Paul Flache was named Associate head coach for Flint (OHL).
Former New Haven Senator, Jake Grimes, signs a one year extension as assistant coach with Peteborough (OHL).
Ex-Pack, John Tripp, leaves ETC Crimmitschau (Germany DEL-2) where he started his coaching career mid-season last year, gets a gig with Braehead (Scotland-EIHL) for next season.
Former New Haven Knights assistant coach, Scott Bell, who has been an amateur scout for the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins the last five years, and was a former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher two time captain, has taken the assistant coach job at his alma mater who play in the Big 10 conference.
Leon Hayward, an assistant coach at Avon Old Farms (CTPREP) the last three years has taken the assistant coach position with Bloomington (USHL). After his five-year minor pro career, spent mostly in the ECHL with some AHL time with the Providence Bruins and the Manchester Monarchs, the Northeastern grad was also an assistant at Taft Prep (Watertown) for four years.
EXPANSION DRAFT & NHL AWARDS
Certainly, the Las Vegas Golden Knights had some Connecticut hockey flavor for their first 30 players on their roster.
Former Wolf Pack Oscar Lindberg, underutilized by the Rangers, was selected as was former CT Whale, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, who had a breakout 30 goal campaign with Florida Panthers.
Two ex-Sound Tigers were among the 30. Goalie Jean-Francois Berube and former #1 pick of the Islanders, defenseman, Griffin Reinhart.
Gathering some trophy hardware was one time New Haven Nighthawk assistant coach and former Ranger coach John Tortorella. Now with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Tortorella garnered the Jack Adams Award (Coach of the Year).
Ex-Pack Brady Skej was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team.
Congrats to the US Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2017 that will be inducted in December.
One of the inductees is former Whaler Scott Young who played 197 games in Hartford with 138 points and is the currently an assistant coach with the Boston University Terriers (HEA).
Another CT connection is Ben Smith who was an assistant coach at Yale (ECACHL) for six years under the late Tim Taylor. He help guide the US Women’s Team to Olympic gold in Nagano, Japan in 1998.
Just the second official in history and the first in 43 years Kevin Collins (Springfield, MA) will be inducted for his work on ice and his work off ice to help develop the officiating fraternity in all levels of hockey.
The first and last official inducted was the late “Big Whistle” Bill Chadwick known mostly by the older generation for his work as Rangers color commentator on Channel 9 in the 1970’s and 1980’s with Jim Gordon.
Ron Wilson, the long time NHL head coach who has worked almost every level and team for USA hockey is the other.
Providence Bruins Kevin Dean promoted to Boston as an assistant coach after just one year as the head coach.
Bridgeport signed former Quinnipiac Bobcat Travis St. Denis to a one year AHL contract for next season. The Sound Tigers also saw the Islander resign Steve Bernier to a two year two-way deal at $650K-NHL/$225K-AHL (1st year)/$250K (2nd year).
Former Yale Bulldog Denny Kearny who split last year with HC Bolzano (Italy-AEHL) and Cardiff (Wales-EIHL) will play with the recently promoted Milton Keynes team (England–EIHL).
This will be a quiet summer as far as AHL franchise movement next off season will likely not be.
It looks likely that St. Louis will likely place their full AHL team according to several hockey sources in Indianapolis. They will upgrade the Indy Fuel from ECHL to AHL in 2018-19. Currently Indy is Rockford’s ECHL affiliate.
It looks like the Colorado Avalanche will finally get their AHL affiliate in Colorado as they wanted to for several years. The same hockey sources have indicated that likely the Colorado Eagles will too be upgraded from the Avalanche ECHL affiliate to AHL affiliate.
The Avalanche really had wanted the now defunct Central Hockey League, the Denver Cutthroats to be that team, but it never worked out.
The relationship in San Antonio with the Rampage owners, the NBA San Antonio Spurs has soured greatly. The Spurs are very disappointed with the on ice product especially last year when the Avalanche spent a lot of free agent money in the off season for a more competitive squad and finished with the third worst record in the AHL.
Then of course the unknown situation for the Rangers with the unresolved XL Center issue also hangs in the balance will Vancouver continue on in Utica.
The Pacific Division could see a small change as Calgary may look to move within California not because of the arena or fan support, rather a very serious real gang violence issue in Stockton that affects the players and staff. The two cities mentioned they are said to be exploring are Fresno and Sacramento, but no final decision has been made.
-Rapid City becomes the new ECHL affiliate for the Iowa Wild. Expect New Jersey to announce they will make Adirondack (Glen Falls) their ECHL affiliate for Binghamton where they just moved their AHL team from Albany.
McCAMBRIDGE NAMED NEW WOLF PACK HEAD COACH
BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings
HARTFORD, CT: Well that didn’t take long.
McCambridge is ready to go but was careful not to step on Gernander’s skates.
“It’s a very tough part of the hockey business,” McCambridge said. “Kenny gave a lot to Hartford and I can’t be anyone other than myself and I’m looking forward to getting at it. I have been in this situation before in Manitoba following popular coaches like Scott Arniel, and Claude Noel. I really believe in and demand hard work in practice as much as games and I think we have a lot of young talented prospects here.”
McCambridge, 43, joined the Rangers organization as the Wolf Pack’s Assistant Coach on August 3, 2016. Prior to working with the Wolf Pack, McCambridge served the previous five seasons (2011-12 – 2015-16) as Head Coach of the Winnipeg Jets’ AHL affiliate (St. John’s IceCaps from 2011-12 – 2014-15 and Manitoba Moose in 2015-16). He posted a 179-158-23-20 record (wins-losses-overtime losses-shootout losses) during his five seasons as Head Coach of the IceCaps/Moose and guided the team to a playoff berth twice over the span.
With back-to-back losing seasons and finishing dead last in the AHL with Manitoba and Hartford, McCambridge isn’t gun shy.
“It’s tough. I like the challenge and the have changed and the speed of the game is so much different than when I played. Then you would have three or four speedy guys now its everybody. We’re going to do our best to mimic the Rangers systems and have these guys ready to help in New York,” McCambridge stated.
In his first season with the team in 2011-12, McCambridge helped St. John’s finish in first place in the Atlantic Division with a 43-25-5-3 record and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. The IceCaps earned 99 points during the regular season in 2013-14 (46-23-2-5 record), and McCambridge helped the team advance to the Calder Cup Finals. In addition, McCambridge served as the Head Coach of the Eastern Conference All-Stars at the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic.
Prior to becoming Head Coach of the Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate, the Thompson, Manitoba, native served as an Assistant Coach with the Manitoba Moose for two seasons (2009-10 and 2010-11). In 2009-10, McCambridge worked alongside current Rangers Associate Coach Scott Arniel (former New Haven Senator), who was the Head Coach of the Moose.
McCambridge also spent six seasons with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL (2003-04 – 2008-09), serving three seasons as a player/Assistant Coach (2003-04 – 2005-06), one season as an Assistant Coach after finishing his playing career (2006-07), and two seasons as the Aces’ Head Coach (2007-08 and 2008-09). Continue reading
BRUCE Landon Officially Retires
BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings
SPRINGFIELD, MA – You couldn’t have written a better ending to a great fair tale story.
Bruce Landon, the true face of Springfield hockey for the past 40 years, ended his career in the city to which he admits he owes everything to. Hartford also played a pivotal role in his planting roots over the border.
Almost with a sense of poetic justice in mind, the Thunderbirds and Wolf Pack close out the 2016-17 season at the same time as Landon closed his career as Springfield defeated Hartford, 5-1. Continue reading
Four Returned To Rabbits for Post Season
Recent call-ups finish the weekend in AHL and rejoin Greenville ahead of first round matchup against South Carolina.
BY: Brian Tosti, Greenville Swamp Rabbits
Greenville, SC – The Greenville Swamp Rabbits, proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, announced today that forwards Brandon Alderson, Allan McPherson, Angelo Miceli, and defenseman Joe Houk have been returned to the Swamp Rabbits by the AHL’s Texas Stars. The four skaters joined Texas during a weekend series in Charlotte, NC against the Charlotte Checkers.
Alderson skated in two games for the Stars and recorded an assist. The winger earned three call-ups and played in 13 AHL contests this season between the Stars, Hartford Wolf Pack, and Syracuse Crunch. The 6-foot-4 skater has played 146 career AHL contests and earned 33 points (17G, 16A) over parts of five seasons. The Oakville, ON native ended the regular season second on the team in scoring with 55 points (26G, 29A) in 45 games. In the final 25 games of the ECHL season, Alderson recorded 33 points (15G, 18A) in 25 games. Only six ECHL skaters tallied more points in that stretch.
Miceli earned an assist on Texas’ lone goal on Sunday afternoon. The second-year pro earned his first AHL call-up of the season after tallying 77 points (22G, 55A) in 68 ECHL games. The center from Montreal, QC ended the regular season one point shy of Greenville’s franchise record set by Justin Bowers in 2012. Miceli’s efforts this season led the Swamp Rabbits and finished ninth in the ECHL. The 5-foot-10 skater earned Sher-Wood Hockey / ECHL Player of the Week in March and led Greenville with 22 multi-point performances. Continue reading