Tag Archives: Los Angeles Kings



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Camp Practices Start Saturday at XL Center

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, September 29, 2016:  Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld today announced the schedule for the Wolf Pack’s 2016 training camp and the opening camp roster.

The Wolf Pack’s training camp activity will begin this Friday, September 30 with on-ice testing at Champions Skating Center in Cromwell, CT, starting at 1:00 PM.  Practice sessions will commence this Saturday, October 1 at the XL Center, with ice times at 10:00 and 11:00 AM and off-ice workouts from 12:15 to 12:45 PM.  The team will follow that same schedule daily through Tuesday, October 4, prior to the Wolf Pack’s preseason opener Wednesday, October 5 at Trinity College’s Koeppel Community Sports Center vs. the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

The Wolf Pack’s full training camp schedule, which is subject to change, is as follows:

Date           Event                 Location                                       Time
Fri, 9/30       On-ice testing         Champions Skating Ctr, Cromwell 1:00 – 1:30 PM
Sat, 10/1        Practice                     XL Center                                                 10 – 10:45 AM
Practice                     XL Center                                                 11 – 11:45 AM
Off-ice workout     XL Center                                                  12:15-12:45 PM
Sun, 10/2      Practice                     XL Center                                                 10 – 10:45 AM
Practice                     XL Center                                                 11 – 11:45 AM
Off-ice workout     XL Center                                                 12:15-12:45 PM
Mon, 10/3    Practice                     XL Center                                                 10 – 10:45 AM
Practice                     XL Center                                                 11 – 11:45 AM
Off-ice workout     XL Center                                                 12:15-12:45 PM
Tue, 10/4      Practice                     XL Center                                                 10 – 10:45 AM
Practice                     XL Center                                                 11 – 11:45 AM
Off-ice workout      XL Center                                                 12:15-12:45 PM
Wed, 10/5    Game group practice               XL Center                              10 – 10:45 AM
Non-game group practice     XL Center                              11:00 AM
Non-game group workout    XL Center                              Post-practice

Game vs. Bridgeport               Trinity College                     7:00 PM

Thu, 10/6      Practice                    XL Center                                                   10:00 AM
Off-ice workout     XL Center                                                   Post-practice
Fri, 10/7        Practice                     XL Center                                                   10:00 AM
Off-ice workout     XL Center                                                   Post-practice
Sat, 10/8       Game group practice  Champions Skating Center          10 – 10:45 AM
Non-game group practice   XL Center                                11:45 AM
Non-game group workout  XL Center                                 Post-practice

Game at Springfield               MassMutual Center             7:00 PM

Sun, 10/9      Game vs. Albany           Champions Skating Center         1:00 PM

A roster of 23 players will begin camp with the Wolf Pack, 14 forwards, 8 defensemen and one goaltender:

Goal (1):           P.J. Musico

Defense (8):      Desmond Bergin, Justin DaSilva, Troy Donnay, Spiro Goulakos, Joe Houk, Garrett Noonan, Matt Prapavessis, Sean Sullivan

Forwards (14):   Brandon Alderson, Adam Chapie, Andrew Dommett, Reid Duke, Trevor Gerling, Michael Joly, Allan McPherson, Angelo Miceli, Ahti Oksanen, Mike Pereira, Matt Plesa, Nick Plesa, Peter Plesa, Tommy Thompson

The Wolf Pack’s twentieth-anniversary 2016-17 season begins Friday, October 14 at the XL Center with the Wolf Pack’s home opener, a 7:15 PM contest vs. the St. John’s IceCaps.  Tickets for that game and all Wolf Pack 2016-17 home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.

Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2016-17 AHL season can be found on-line at hartfordwolfpack.com.  To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451.



Fourth-year forward notched 27 points in 41 games with Reading last season

BY: Alan Fuehring, Greenville Swamp Rabbits

Greenville, SC The Greenville Swamp Rabbits, proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, today announced the team has agreed to terms with forward Brandon Alderson for the 2016-17 season.

“Brandon is a big body and he can skate very well,” Head Coach Brian Gratz said. “With his speed and offensive ability, he will provide us with another offensive threat who can be effective at both ends of the ice.”

Alderson, 24, spent each of the last three seasons in the Philadelphia Flyers organization, splitting time between their ECHL and American Hockey League affiliates. Last season, Alderson notched a career-high 27 points (11g, 26a) in 41 regular-season games with the Reading Royals and added 12 points (8g, 4a) in 14 playoff contests. He also recorded one assist and six penalty minutes in 18 games with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

“I’m very excited to join Greenville, I’ve heard nothing but good things from friends that have been former players there,” said Alderson. “From the city to the facilities, to the fans, it was all really positive and I’m excited to be a part of  that kind of environment. I look forward to contributing to the Swamp Rabbits on the ice as well as in the community and can’t wait to get started.”

A native of Oakville, Ontario, Alderson has registered 31 points (17g, 14a) in 133 career AHL games between Lehigh Valley and the Adirondack Phantoms, and another 42 points (18g, 24a) in 76 ECHL contests.

Prior to turning pro, the 6’4, 203-pound forward played four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Sarnia Sting and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. He logged 157 points (69g, 88a) in 267 games including a career-best 28 goals, 36 assists, and 64 points during his final season in 2012-13.

Get Social: Follow the Swamp Rabbits all off-season long and get behind-the-scenes coverage like never before on the team’s official Facebook,  Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Ticket packages for the 2016-17 season are available and on sale now! Contact a Swamp Rabbits Account Executive at 864-674-PUCK (7825) for more information and to secure your seats today! Get the latest Swamp Rabbits gear by visiting the “Hop Shop” online at SwampRabbits.com/shop to browse the full collection of fan wear and novelties!


gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – We’re getting closer and closer to the return of hockey to Hartford, but the New York Rangers made their most important free agent signing this week.


The Rangers landed the top collegiate free agent in the nation.

The list of suitors for 23-year old, Jimmy Vesey’s services included the New York Islanders, the New Jersey Devils, the Boston Bruins, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Buffalo Sabres, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Stanley Cup champion, Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago. Surprisingly, the Detroit Red Wings were not in the mix.

Reports stated that the Islanders captain, John Tavares, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, all reportedly personally contacted Vesey and made their pitch.


Vesey had 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists) in 33 games as a senior at Harvard University last season where he won the 2016 Hobey Baker Award, given to the top NCAA player.

Vesey had been a third-round pick (No. 66) of the Nashville Predators at the 2012 NHL Draft, and the Predators hoped to sign him after his season at Harvard ended in March, offering Vesey a spot among their top six forwards heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Nashville traded Vesey’s rights to the Buffalo Sabres for a third-round pick in the 2016 draft on June 20. The Sabres had exclusive negotiating rights with Vesey until Tuesday when he became an unrestricted free agent.

Vesey, considered to be an NHL-ready player, had had 144 points (80 goals, 64 assists) in 128 games in four seasons at Harvard. He also had three assists in nine games to help the United States win the bronze medal at the 2015 IIHF World Championship.


The Rangers added their 18th defenseman to the organization’s depth chart when they signed, the 6-0, 190-pound, John Gilmour to a free agent deal out of Providence College. The deal is a two-year, two-way ($742,500K-NHL/$70K-AHL) deal. The Rangers now have 47 of the 50 contracted players they are allowed under the CBA. The team’s total salary stands at $70.5 million, and they have just about $2.5M cap space remaining.

Gilmour was a Calgary Flames seventh round draft pick in 2014, but the Flames, with an abundance of defenseman, chose not to offer him a contract, despite having a good shot, hits well and played on the Friars NCAA championship squad two years ago and completed all four seasons.

Gilmour, 23, skated in 34 games with Providence College this past season, where he registered nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points, along with a plus-three rating, his best numbers as a Friar along with 18 penalty minutes for the Hockey East school. Gilmour uses his stick well and ranks fifth among NCAA defensemen in power play points (16), and is tied for fifth among NCAA defensemen in power play assists (12), and tied for eighth among NCAA defensemen in goals and power play goals (four) during his senior season.
Also, Gilmour recorded 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) against Hockey East opponents in 2015-16, helping Providence post a 16-3-3 record in intra-conference games.

He skated in 141 career collegiate games over four seasons where he compiled 22 goals and 43 assists for 65 points, along with a plus-eight rating and 85 penalty minutes. In his four years, Providence posted a record of 81-42-18 in the games in which Gilmour played. He maintained a plus/minus rating of even or better in each of his four seasons with Providence.

*Contract numbers and cap numbers come from www.generalfanager.com


Finally, the summer soap opera of the AHL schedule release has ended as the league posted its 2016-17 season Monday afternoon.

The Wolf Pack open their 20th anniversary season at home on Saturday, October 14th against the St. John’s IceCaps for the second season in a row. This is the last season in the AHL for St. John’s as the Montreal Canadiens will move their farm team to Laval, Quebec next season where they will play at the brand new Place Bell Centre.

The Wolf Pack schedule features five dates in October with the team’s second game also against St. John’s. The IceCaps start their season with six road games while the Pack play just two.

The Pack’s traditional early season school day game is against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on November 2nd at 11:00am.

The Pack will play just 14 of the 30 AHL teams with 52 games in the Atlantic Division. Springfield and Providence will play the Pack the most with ten games apiece. The pack will face the other four teams, Hershey, Lehigh Valley, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Bridgeport eight times each.

The other 24 games of their 76 games will be against the North Division who’ll likely make a difference because of the crossover playoff system. The team found out last season just how important those games were when they missed out on the playoffs by six points. They will play all of the teams four times each except Syracuse who they play just twice.

Twelve home games are on Fridays with a new starting time of 7:15 pm to accommodate for the traffic issues on I-91 and I-84.

The Pack home portion of the season concludes on Saturday, April 8th against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and the last four games of the season will be on the road in Bridgeport, Albany, Utica and will close out the season in Springfield on Saturday, April 15.

Find the Wolf Pack schedule HERE.

Find the complete AHL team-by-team schedule HERE

Note to the AHL-we all realize we have a bifurcated league now.

The AHL should release the Eastern conference schedule in July since there are no NBA building conflicts that they’re playing in and then release the Western conference schedule in August after Cleveland and San Antonio get their NBA schedules for their buildings.

Waiting like this is not good for the fans, horrendous for each team’s sales staff and doesn’t help with the league’s image.


The Wolf Pack will have a slate of three preseason games, of which two of them are home contests as they prepare for the 2016-17 season.

On Wednesday, October 5, the Wolf Pack host their in-state and divisional rivals, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The game takes place at Trinity College’s Koeppel Community Sports Center and starts at 7 pm. Donations will be accepted at the door instead of an admission charge. That money will benefit the Ryan Gordon / Hartford Wolf Pack Community Scholar’s Fund.

The fund memorializes young fan Ryan Gordon, who passed away in 2006 and asked that a portion of the monies set aside for his college education be donated to the Hartford Wolf Pack Community Foundation. Suggested donation is $5 per person.

The Koeppel Community Sports Center is located at 175 New Britain Ave. in Hartford.

The Wolf Pack’s lone road preseason outing will be a trip to the MassMutual Center in Springfield for their first meeting with the newly minted Springfield Thunderbirds who this year are the affiliates of the Florida Panthers. That game takes place on Saturday, October 8, at 7:00 pm.

The Pack concludes their preseason action with a home game on Sunday, October 9 at Champion’s Skating Center in Cromwell, CT, which is also their practice facility during the season. The game is a 1:00 pm battle with the Albany Devils, with a $5 admission charge benefitting Whalers Youth Hockey. Champions Skating Center is located at 6 Progress Drive in Cromwell Exit 21 off I-91.


Date                 Opponent             Venue Faceoff
Wed. Oct. 5   BRIDGEPORT   KOEPPEL COMMUNITY SPORTS CENTER,                                                                           TRINITY COLLEGE 7:00 pm

Sat. Oct. 8       at Springfield     MassMutual Center 7:00 pm

Sun. Oct. 9     ALBANY               CHAMPION’S SKATING CENTER, CROMWELL,                                                                  CT 1:00 pm

*Portions of the Wolf Pack press releases were used in the previous three segments.


Joining Gilmour and Jimmy Vesey on the list of NCAA players who’ve signed their first pro contracts is Thomas DiPauli from Notre Dame, who inked a deal with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

That makes 192 players to have signed a North American pro contract including 41 underclassmen since the college regular season and post-season ended.

Several ex-players are getting into the coaching, scouting and management side of hockey.

Congrats to J.F. Labbe, the Wolf Pack Calder Cup winning goalie and AHL Hall of Famer. Labbe is going to be coaching goaltending for two teams in two different leagues this season that is probably a first in hockey.

He is set to begin his third year with the QMJHL Sherbrooke Phoenix, but he was named late last week as the Anaheim Ducks developmental goalie coach and will be in San Diego two weeks a month during the season working with their prospects with the AHL Gulls.

Ex-Pack Mike Mottau is the new scout with the Chicago Blackhawks. Jim Sandlak, the ex-Whaler, switches as a scout from Vancouver to Anaheim while Jim Mill, a Hartford native and former AHL VP, switches scouting from Minnesota to New Jersey.

Nolan Pratt, the former Beast of New Haven and Hartford Whaler, is the new assistant coach in Colorado. With Patrick Roy’s sudden exit, the Avalanche need a head coach. Pratt was a part of Lake Erie’s (nee Cleveland) Calder Cup winning squad.

Another Beast of New Haven alumni, Ryan Johnson, was promoted to Assistant Director of Player Development with Vancouver.

Former Whalers who were assistant coaches in Boston have new gigs. Doug Houda with Detroit and Doug Jarvis in Vancouver.

Former Pack goalie David LeNeveu is using his Ivy League education well as President and part of an ownership group that includes former NHL goalie Kelly Hrudey of the Nanaimo Clippers (BCHL).  The British Columbia Hockey League is one of the 10 Junior A leagues in Canada that US Division I colleges recruit heavily from.

LeNeveu and Dov-Grumet Morris helped rescue the Wolf Pack three seasons ago from finishing dead last and were probably the smartest goaltending duo in AHL history with a combined IQ of something like 5,000!

Jeff Woywitka, the former CT Whale defenseman, and a Ranger was named assistant coach for the Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL)-Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Ex-Sound Tigers are starting out in the Junior B league level in Canada. Jean

Jean Bourbeau was named assistant coach with the Columbia Valley Rockets (KIJHL)-Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. The head coach and GM of the team are the one-time former Sound Tiger goalie star, Wade Dubliewicz.

Ruffian extraordinaire with Bridgeport Pascal Morency was named assistant coach with the Fernie Ghostriders (KIJHL).

Former Ranger and Nighthawk from the 1980’s, Raimo Heminen, has landed as an assistant coach with Jokert Helsinki (Finland-KHL). Last season Heminen was fired a month into the season along with the entire staff at Barys Astana (Kazakhstan-KHL) and then lasted just two months with Dynamo Riga (Latvia-KHL).

Alex Westlund, the former Wolf Pack, and Yale University goalie becomes the goalie coach with Medvescak Zagreb (Croatia-KHL). Last season he had the same position with Augusburger (Germany-DEL).

Jim Setters, a one-time Nighthawk, becomes the new head coach for the Lithuania National U-20 Team that competes in the IIHF Division II level in Group A with fellow Baltic state country Estonia, Croatia, the Netherlands, and Romania. He has been the head coach of Germany’s U-20 and U-20 teams over the past 20 years.

Next year’s AHL team in Laval, Quebec that will be the Canadiens top farm team has narrowed the team nicknames from twenty to three finalists. The names that fans will a have a choice to select are Patriotes, Rapids, and Rocket.

Ex-Pack Conor Allen, who played with three teams last season starting in Milwaukee as an assistant captain, before being traded to Binghamton, had a very rough year.  At the trade deadline, Allen found himself with the Iowa Wild – the worst team in the AHL last season. He has signed a one-year deal with Grand Rapids who along with San Antonio have made some of the most moves in the off-season and should have a stronger team this coming season.

AHL switches Jamie Devane goes from Milwaukee to Stockton. Tom McCollum goes from Grand Rapids to Ontario, and San Antonio looks to be an early Calder Cup threat after getting Avon native and Westminster Prep grad, Ben Smith. He leaves Toronto to go to the Rampage. Last season Smith played for both San Jose teams (NHL/AHL), the Sharks and the Barracuda. Both Toronto teams (NHL/AHL) Maple Leafs and Marlies.

Former UCONN player Jason Sims, son of ex-Whaler and Nighthawk Al Sims, signed with Cincinnati (ECHL) for next season. Last year, he played with Evansville (ECHL) and got a last weekend of the season recall to San Jose (AHL). Father Al has coached the first San Jose Sharks team.

Wolf Pack defenseman Calle Andersson’s younger brother, Rasmus, has signed to a three-year, two-way deal with Calgary. They originally drafted him in the second-round, 53rd overall in 2015. He will be in Stockton next season after playing at Barrie (OHL) the last two years. The younger Andersson like Calle is a right-handed shooting defenseman.

Their father Peter, a former Rangers’ player in the 1980’s, has a new coaching gig with Malmo IF in the Swedish Hockey League (AHL) after getting fired last year with HC Lugano (Switzerland-LNA).

Ex-CT Whale Lee Baldwin goes from ESV Kaufburen (Germany DEL-2) to Braehead (Scotland-EIHL).

Quinnipiac sophomore Brayden Scherbinin heads back to Canada to play university hockey with the University of Calgary Dinosaurs (CWUAA) the defenseman had just five assists in two years and played sparingly.

The next batch of NCAA college hockey Frozen Four and regional bids have been accepted last week for the tournament years running from 2019-2022. The first cuts and finalists will be announced on October 28th, and then the finalists to host the hockey regionals and the Frozen Four tournament will be announced by the NCAA on December 7th.

Hartford would be a great location central highway arteries, with plenty of hotels and restaurants in the area. They’d be terrific for a regional, but without a new XL Center, a bid can’t be made.


rp_hartfordwolfpacklogo_thumb1.jpgWOLF PACK ANNOUNCE PRESEASON SCHEDULE

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Includes Local Games at Trinity College and Champions Skating Center

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, August 19, 2015:  Spectra, operators of the XL Center and Hartford Wolf Pack, today announced the Wolf Pack’s preseason schedule for its 2016-17 twentieth-anniversary season.

The Wolf Pack will have a slate of three preseason games, two of them home contests.  The schedule begins Wednesday, October 5 when the Wolf Pack host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Trinity College’s Koeppel Community Sports Center.  Donations will be accepted at the door in lieu of an admission charge, benefitting the Ryan Gordon/Hartford Wolf Pack Community Scholars Fund.  The fund memorializes young fan Ryan Gordon, who passed away in 2006 and asked that a portion of the monies set aside for his college education be donated to the Hartford Wolf Pack Community Foundation.  Suggested donation is $5 per person. Faceoff between the Wolf Pack and Sound Tigers is 7:00, and the Koeppel Community Sports Center is located at 175 New Britain Ave. in Hartford.

The Wolf Pack’s lone road preseason outing will be a trip to the MassMutual Center in Springfield Saturday, October 8, for a 7:00 game vs. the new Springfield Thunderbirds.  Then, the Pack wraps up its preseason action with a home game Sunday, October 9 at Champions Skating Center in Cromwell, CT.  That will be a 1:00 battle with the Albany Devils, with a $5 admission charge benefitting Whalers Youth Hockey.  Champions Skating Center is located at 6 Progress Drive in Cromwell.


Date             Opponent     Venue                                                Faceoff

Wed.   Oct. 5    BPT                    Koeppel Community Sports Center             7PM                                                                         Trinty College

Sat.     Oct. 8    at SPR                 MassMutual Center                                              7PM

Sun.    Oct. 9    ALBANY             Champions Skating Ctr, Cromwell, CT        1PM

The Wolf Pack’s 2016-17 regular-season home opener is set for Friday, October 14 at the XL Center, with faceoff at 7:15. Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2016-17 AHL season can be found on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com.  To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451.


gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – The AHL’s Final Four teams are set.

It took seven games, but the team with the league’s best record, the Toronto Marlies prevailed with a late goal in Game 7 to win 4-3 and eliminate the Albany Devils.

The Marlies were the deepest and most talented team entering the playoffs and were tested in every way in Game 7 and throughout the series with Albany.

Tied at one entering the third period, Albany scored early as Nick Lappin,  just signed out of Brown University after the collegiate season ended in March, scored his fifth of the postseason on a rebound after Jim O’Brien on a face off.

Before a packed crowd at the Ricoh Coliseum, Kasperi Kapanen, son of Whaler great Sami Kapanen, showed off his incredible speed by zipping down the left wing and whistling a wicked wrist shot to the short-side on Devils’ goalie, Scott Wedgewood.

William Nylander, son of former Whaler and New York Ranger Michael Nylander, employed his considerable skill and raced into the Devils zone. Nylander curled in the lower left-wing circle and found Kapanen again as he was open on the left wing. Kapanen waited and found Connor Carrick coming off the right point and hit him with a perfect cross-ice pass and he zipped his shot to the top shelf to take a 3-2 lead.

The Devils didn’t go away as Paul Thompson, a right-handed shot on the left wing side, took Marc-Andre Gragnani’s right point pass and drilled it to the short-side past a partially screened Antoine Bibeau.

Marlies veteran Richard Clune got a fortuitous bounce off the backboards of Andrei Soshnikov’s shot and chipped the puck into the top part of the net with 2:30 left in regulation for the game-winning goal.

The Devils had three whacks at the puck in the waning seconds, but Bibeau was down of the ice and kept his pads stacked to preserve the 4-3 win.

The Marlies will play the Hershey Bears featuring the Bourque brothers, Chris, and Ryan in the Eastern Conference final starting with Games 1 & 2 in Hershey Friday and Saturday night. The series will see a rare schedule of 2-3-1-1 format because of building scheduling issues in Hershey with the circus.

What a difference a year makes by the way.

Despite a strong regular season for Albany, Yann Danis has been the backup this playoff after his spectacular run last spring with the Wolf Pack and played just one period in relief of Wedgewood.

It took seven games and overtime for the Hershey Bears to advance.

Dustin Boyd’s goal at 10:58 gave Hershey a 3-2 over their Keystone State rivals, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Boyd swung around from behind the left-wing side and fired his shot high to the short side earning the Bears the victory.

Hershey took a 2-1 lead on what certainly has to be among those considered for the Goal-Of-The-Year.

Carter Camper made a great move to free himself then made a beautiful forehand-to-backhand move on Casey DeSmith to score the goal.

The Pacific Division series ended in Ontario Saturday night with the Reign winning 2-1 and advancing in five games to the Western Conference title.

Justin Auger had the game winner in the 2-1 Game 5 clincher.

The San Diego Gulls had just one win, a 3-0 shutout in Game Three.

Matt Hackett is the nephew of a former winner of the Calder Cup’s Jack Butterfield Award as the MVP of the playoffs. His uncle is also a goaltender. He’s Jeff Hackett, who played for Springfield in 1990. They younger Hackett pitched a shutout with 29 saves.

The Reign won Game 4 in overtime. The final score was 4-3 despite a strong three-point performance by ex-Hartford Wolf Pack, Chris Mueller.

Mueller set up rookie Shea Theodore on the powerplay with a perfect cross-ice pass from the right wing circle to Theodore at the left point for the first goal of the game.

Mueller potted a goal to tie the game at two from the left side of the net. The shot came off a rebound off the stick of AHL All-Rookie team member, rearguard Brandon Montour, who outworked Ontario captain Vincent LoVerde and jammed the puck home.

The Reign went ahead with two quick goals at 3-2 in a 1:52 span both by Adrian Kempe. Mueller scored ten seconds later going down the left wing side and turned Nic Dowd inside out and beat the league’s best in netminder Peter Budaj, but like last spring in Manchester when they were the Monarchs, the Reign found a way to get the game winner in overtime.

The Lake Erie Monsters looked to complete the sweep of the Grand Rapids Griffins after amassing a 3-0 series lead.  The Griffins, however, fought back to make it to a game six, but the Monsters overtime victory prevented a Game 7 by the count of 4-3. The Monsters will now play the defending AHL Calder Cup champions, the Ontario Reign in the Western Conference final starting Saturday with Game 2 Sunday in California.

Lake Erie was down early 2-0 in the first 2:16 of the game and that became 3-1 early in the second. When that happened, the Monsters replaced starting goalie Joonas Korpisala, with veteran and former Springfield Falcon goalie, Anton Forsberg and he shut the door stopping all 23 shots he faced.

Zach Werenski, the young defenseman just signed out of Michigan after their season ended a month ago, helped in engineering the Monster’s comeback.

Werenski set up Lukas Sedlak’s goal early in the second period with a right point shot. Sedlak chipped in a backhand rebound. Werenski, had the game-winner at 12:32 of overtime getting his rebound of a backhand shot and with four Grand Rapids players all nearby, Werenski got to the loose puck, and he put his second backhander in for the victory.

Had there been a seventh game, it would have been played in Columbus because the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers had a playoff game scheduled for Tuesday the same night that would have forced a date and venue change.

The Griffins rallied from a 4-1 deficit in Game Four with a three-goal third period to win 5-4 and avoid the playoff sweep. Anthony Mantha had a goal and an assist.
Five different Grand Rapids players scored with Andreas Antanasiou tallying the game-winner with 1:55 to go in regulation.
Game 5 was all Grand Rapids a 6-1 win paced by a Tyler Bertuzzi hat trick.


French Connection II watching ex-CT Whale Jonathan Marchessault setting up former Ranger Anton Stralman to tie the game at two in Game 2 Monday night. Then Jonathan Drouin, banished to Syracuse in the AHL at midseason, sniping a goal off the right side to tie the game at two.


The Pack’s Nicklas Jensen continued the same strong play he showed down the stretch in Hartford’s failed playoff push helped Denmark engineer an upset win over the Czech Republic 2-1 in a shootout.

Jensen helped Denmark engineer an upset win over the Czech Republic 2-1 in a shootout.

He assisted on the game-tying goal, and he scored a shootout goal to keep Denmark alive in the extra round before Nikolas Ehlers scored the game winner.

Monday, Denmark beat Kazakhstan 4-1 with Jensen scoring again and had seven shots on goals, and the Danes secured a quarterfinal appearance because the Swiss lost 5-4 to Czechs on Tuesday. Last Friday, he scored his second goal, a shootout goal, to lead Denmark to a 3-2 win over Latvia. In six games he has five goals (tied for fourth in goals scored with Tomas Plekanec Czech Republic/Montreal) and seven points for the Danes.

Last Friday, Jensen scored his second goal, in the shoot-out to lead Denmark to a 3-2 win over Latvia. In six games he has five goals (tied for fourth in goals scored with Tomas Plekanec Czech Republic/Montreal) and seven points for the Danes.

The quarterfinals start Thursday Denmark plays Finland in St. Petersburg.

Ex-Pack Nigel Dawes continues to do well for Kazakhstan he scored the lone goal in a 3-1 loss to the Czech Republic on Friday and again in a loss to Denmark. He has eight points with four goals, good for tenth place in the tournament.

The best scoring defenseman still in the tourney is the Wolf Pack’s Raphael Diaz with six assists for Switzerland. Diaz played the most minutes (19:14) and had four shots on goal in a crucial 5-4 loss to the Czechs eliminating the Swiss from the medal round.

Ex-Sound Tiger Nino Niederreiter is right behind for the Swiss with three goals and five points.

The second best goalie so far is Canada’s and former Wolf Pack, Cam Talbot. In four games, Talbot has a microscopic 0.75 GAA, given up just three goals, pitched two shutouts and has a spectacular 96.0 % save percentage.

The Czech Republic’s Dominic Furch has a 0.65 GAA and a 97.2% save percentage. His numbers are better than Talbot’s, but he has played in only three games while Talbot’s played four.

Reminds you of Talbot’s AHL playoff debut when he shutout the Sound Tigers in three straight in an opening round series.

The US, despite a two-game slump, made the quarterfinals in Group B.

The US lost to Slovakia 3-2 on Tuesday despite getting the games first goal from ex-Sound Tiger, Brock Nelson.The game-winner came off the stick of ex-Springfield Falcon, Marko Dano.

The US plays the Czech Republic on Thursday in Moscow (9:00 am NBC Sports Network).


Much heralded right-wing, and third round pick, 75th overall in 2013, Pavel Buchnevich, inked an NHL entry-level deal with the Rangers last week.

The 21-year-old split the year with his hometown KHL team Severstal Cherepovets before being traded to St. Petersburg. For the season, he had 16 goals and 31 points in 58 games. St. Petersburg made it to the KHL Western Conference final of the Gagarin Cup playoffs.

His three-year standard entry-level contract has an NHL salary of $925K and an AHL salary of $70K, but the contract according to General Fanager-dot-com has a European assignment clause which could mean if he doesn’t make the Rangers he would likely return to Russia.


Former Hartford Whaler, Randy Cunneyworth, was replaced and reassigned from Rochester as the Buffalo Sabres named Dan Lambert (Kelowna-WHL) as their new AHL head coach.

Congrats to another former Whaler and longtime AHL coach, Tom Rowe, who became GM of Florida (NHL) as part of a major Panthers organizational shuffle.

Curiously, Eric Joyce was named as an assistant GM; he was also the GM of the Portland Pirates last year. When Rowe was given his promotion on January 1st to Assistant GM in Florida after coaching the Pirates in the first half of the season.

Joyce retained the title GM of their of their AHL affiliate, but the team remains unnamed in the press release. The move of their member team from Portland to Springfield is still under review by the AHL, which is set to reconvene in ten days on the matter. The sale was made by the local owner Ron Cain to a yet publicly unidentified ownership group, but Cantlon’s Corner has learned former Falcons owner Charles Pompea and long-time face of Springfield hockey, Bruce Landon, are two of the primary investors.

Sam Ftorek, son of former Nighthawk coach and player Robbie Ftorek, was named the first head coach for Roanoke (SPHL). He was the assistant coach for Kalamazoo (ECHL) last year.

Bridgeport Sound Tiger Sebastian Collberg heads back home to play with Rogle BK (Sweden-SHL) next year making him the sixth AHL’er to sign to play in Europe next season.

Ex-Pack Tomas Zaborsky goes from HIFK Helsinki (Finland-FEL) to Brynas IF (Sweden-SHL), nd defenseman Ilkka Heikkinen goes from Vaxjo (Sweden-SHL) to TPS Turku (Finland-FEL).

Old New Haven Knights forward, Alexei Lazarenko, 40, signed for another year with Vityaz Kharkov to play in the Ukrainian Hockey League. He is just one of seven players left actively playing who wore a New Haven uniform between the AHL and UHL.

AEG Europe announced its team the Hamburg Freezers (Germany-DEL) will not operate next season despite an average attendance of 9.002 (tenth best in Europe) last year when they missed the playoffs.

The team GM is former Nighthawk, Stephane J.G. Richer and ex-Pack, Sam Klassen, played on the team. AEG also owns another team in the DEL Eisbaren Berlin who have the second best attendance of all hockey played in Europe with 13,022 per game.

Rich McKenna was hired as the new head coach for the Division III powerhouse University Wisconsin-Superior. McKenna was an assistant coach at both UConn (AHC years) and Wesleyan University. There are thirteen former UConn players and coaches in the coaching ranks nationally collegiately (Division I and III), juniors, and prep and public schools


Former UConn player, Trevor Stewart, guided his Fairbanks (AK) Ice Dogs to their third NAHL Robertson Cup title after a 2-0 win over Wichita Falls (TX) Wildcats on Sunday in Edina, MN in the national championship game.

Each team won both semifinal games Fairbanks over Aston (PA) Rebels and Wichita Falls over Bismarck (ND) Bobcats.

In the USHL’s best of five Clark Cup Finals, the Tri-City (NE) Storm are up 2-0 over the Dubuque (IA) Fighting Saints. In Game One, Yale-bound Evan Smith scored the first goal of the game for Dubuque,b ut Tri-City scored the next five goals in a 5-1 victory.

Then in Game 2, Tri-City won 4-2. Smith and his twin brother, Mitchell (also heading to Yale) had five and four shots respectively and former prep school teammate at Salisbury Michael O’ Leary, who is committed to Notre Dame had three shots at Tri-City.

Games 3 and maybe 4 are in Tri-City Friday and Saturday.

The 98th edition of Canadian junior hockey’s Memorial Cup tournament is all set to start in Red Deer, Alberta on Friday night as the host team and city Red Deer Rebels (WHL) play the London Knights in the opening game.

The Rebels join WHL playoff champion Brandon Wheat Kings, QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and the OHL juggernaut winners of 13 straight games London Knights coached by Dale Hunter.

The tourney starts Friday and the NHL Network will air the games live with Red Deer in the Mountain time zone. Saturday Brandon plays Rouyn-Noranda and Sunday Red Deer plays Rouyn-Noranda at 7pm.

If you haven’t watched it you should it’s a fantastic view of some future NHL stars already drafted, those to be drafted and of course new names emerge.


Congrats to the Bentley Generals coached by former Wolf Pack, Ryan Tobler, winning their second consecutive Canadian senior hockey title in beating the tournament host Southeast Praire Thunder in Steinbach, Manitoba.

The Generals also featured former Wolf Pack, Matt St fashion, who scored six goals in four games in the tournament. He played most of his season with Big Valley in the North Central (Senior) Hockey League and was added to the Bentley roster for the post season when Big Valley’s season ended.

Former Sound Tiger Adam Huxley was also on the team and he played for his hometown senior team Wainwright (SASHL) in the regular season and was also added for the playoffs.




Board of Governors conditionally approves Arizona Coyotes’ purchase, relocation of AHL affiliate

BY: Jason Chaimovitch, AHL VP of Communications

SPRINGFIELD, MA – Convening today in Chicago for its Spring Meeting, the American Hockey League’s Board of Governors unanimously granted conditional approval of the transfer of ownership of the Springfield Falcons AHL franchise to the National Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes. Also, the Board also approved the relocation of that franchise from Springfield, Mass., to Tucson, Ariz., beginning with the 2016-17 season.

Should all conditions of the transaction be met, the Coyotes’ AHL franchise will begin to play this fall at the Tucson Convention Center Arena.

The Board of Governors is also currently reviewing an application for the transfer of ownership and relocation of the Portland Pirates AHL franchise from Portland, Maine, to Springfield, Mass., for 2016-17. The Board expects to reconvene to vote on that request within two weeks.

Founded in 1936 and now with franchises in 30 cities across North America, the American Hockey League serves as the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, executives and broadcasters of all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the 15th year in a row, more than 6 million fans have attended AHL games in 2015-16.


gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – All is not quite as it seems.

What appeared to be a genuinely miraculous last minute save to keep the hockey alive in Springfield, MA  has devolved into a potentially divisive issue in the AHL. The ramifications of this move could be lasting and powerful.

After Springfield had lost the Falcons two weeks ago to Tucson, Arizona, amazingly, as of Wednesday, they seemed like they had regained a franchise.

BUT, that situation has become hazier the day after. The Florida Panthers are expressing a very tepid, lukewarm response (at best) to the developments.

“I was informed by Portland CEO, Ron Cain, (Thursday) that he’s signed a letter of intent to sell the Pirates, pending league approval,” Panthers Executive Chairman Peter Luukko said. “We will be in contact with the American Hockey League regarding the sale process. In the meantime, Florida will begin exploring all our options to put our players in the very best developmental situation. We have enjoyed the city of Portland, the venue and the incredible fan support.”

The latest is the team claims it told local officials of a possible sale back in February when seeking changes and concessions on its current lease. No mention of whether or not the Florida Panthers were aware of this conversation. Read about that HERE.

There are many and varied issues at hand.

The Pirates have just completed Year Two of a five year lease arrangement with the Cumberland County Civic Authority after a $34 million taxpayer-dollar-funded upgrade was completed on the Cross Insurance Arena (nee Cumberland County Civic Center) two years ago.

Ironically, the Pirates last game of the regular season was against the Springfield Falcons at the MassMutual Center on April 17.  If the sale goes through, it would be the second year in a row an affiliation has moved from Portland to Springfield.

The Pirates have been in Portland for 23 years except for a brief one-year stint in Lewiston, Maine while the team was in a lease dispute with then-Pirates CEO Brian Petrovek.

The AHL first came to Portland in 1977 as a farm team for the Philadelphia Flyers. That team was called the Maine Mariners and played until 1983 when they became the affiliate of the New Jersey Devils before they moved to Utica in 1987. The Boston Bruins followed, and they sold the Mariners and moved them to Providence in 1992.

After a year hiatus, the Pirates were reborn until potentially this past Sunday. The Pirates saw the Hershey Bears end their season in Game 5 of their first-round AHL playoff series.

The old saying goes, “the devil is in the details” and that’s certainly the case when it comes to a lease contract. Is there an attendance clause in that says if the Pirates fell below (29th this year and 30th last year) in the AHL that voids the deal without penalty? Was there a buyout provision in their affiliation agreement with Florida if the Pirates ran into financial difficulties? Is the potential ownership group in Springfield responsible for paying out the remaining three years on the lease?

Did the AHL assist in the deal to facilitate it without consulting the Panthers?

Numerous questions need to answering. Without a copy of the lease or affiliation agreement its speculation, but something has apparently gone wrong.

Cantlon’s Corner wrote last week that Charles Pompea, the soon-to-be former owner of the Falcons after selling the team to the Arizona Coyotes two weeks ago, is now going to purchase the Portland Pirates. We referred to it as Northeastern city and from our sources the sale would be announced next month.

Our sources also indicated the team would stay in Portland NOBODY saw the turn of events that transpired yesterday.

Late Wednesday afternoon, it was leaked out to a Portland TV station, WCSH, and the local newspaper, the Portland Press Herald, that the team was sold and moved to Springfield for this coming season.

In fact, office staff in Portland were actually conducting business with a fan when they abruptly shut the team offices down. Read about that HERE

As of 2:00pm,  based on the Twitter account of the Maine Hockey Journal, it is believed the Portland arena officials were still in meetings with their lawyers regarding the final three years left on their lease deal.

The Pirates COO and former player, Brad Church, said the team was not sustainable in Portland. He hasn’t released any statistics regarding the team’s finances either negatively or positively.

Former Falcons Director of Hockey Operations, Bruce Landon, who’s been the face of the franchise since the mid-80’s, seems to have helped engineer another victory for Springfield hockey. 23 years ago, Landon helped create the Falcons when the Springfield Indians, then owned by Peter Cooney, was sold to the late Roy Boe and moved to Worcester.

Landon formed a local ownership group and brought an expansion team and kept it in Springfield.

Seems Landon’s invaluable connections in the AHL and within the Springfield business community paid off huge dividends yet again for the city’s hockey community who are making his enshrinenent in the AHL Hall of Fame and Springfield Hockey Hall of Fame all the more apropos if this deal holds together.

Cantlon’s Corner reached out to Landon on Tuesday before the news broke and was asked directly if Pompea was purchasing the Pirates. “I never deal in rumors and wild speculation. I never have and never will. I shook Charlie’s hand last week said thanks for everything and now I am retired.”

The former goalie deked beautifully from forehand to backhand and went top shelf. Save the rocking chair for another day.

In fact, Pompea, Landon, and several soon-to-be-announced-investors could potentially include the new MGM Springfield, the casino people scheduled to take over the MassMutual Center operations on July 1s. The expectation is they will have a casino down the street from the building opening in 2018.

Landon was contacted again on Wednesday evening. “I can’t comment on anything at this time. We’ll have more to talk about in the next day or two.”

The closest thing to a confirmation came to the Springfield Republican’s veteran reporter, Ron Chimelis. He was told by, Frank Fitzgerald, the attorney for the new investor’s group who’s handling the legal end of securing the Pirates for new ownership group. “I can confirm that a broad-based local investor group has signed a letter of intent to purchase the Portland Pirates. We are currently working on a definitive agreement that would bring the team to Springfield. This contract would be subject to league approval and an agreement with the Florida Panthers, the Pirates’ parent organization,” Fitzgerald said.

The Pirates clearly had financial difficulties under the current owner, Ron Cain. Clearly the Pirates were going to have new local ownership. The sale would solve several short term issues.

For the AHL having a team in the city of the league headquarters puts off any potential move for at least a few more years.Two. it helps makes the schedule-not released till August-better for the four other remaining Northeast AHL teams Hartford, Bridgeport, Providence and Albany keeping it somewhat stable for the lance sheet.

Two, it helps make the unreleased schedule in Springfield, which is not released until August, a better one for the four other remaining Northeast AHL teams, the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Providence Bruins and Albany Devils.

It would make for a lot more games than fans would like against those teams, but maintains the travel budgets, which have already been inching upward, from exploding.

Is a distinct possibility that if the deal gets scuttled in any way or not approved by the AHL BOG, both Portland, and Springfield could be without teams.

The only thing remotely close to this in recent AHL history was 16 years ago when the Islanders announced they were changing their affiliation from Lowell, MA, who they were sharing with LA at the time, to Bridgeport, CT after the 2000-2001 season and failed to give Lowell a heads up on the change.

This led to a major profanity laced fight from then Lowell GM/Head Coach Tom Rowe (ironically the current assistant GM in Florida and who coached Portland the last year and half before the promotion on January 1st) and then NY Islanders GM Mike Milbury who abruptly pulled five players from the Lowell roster and placed them in Springfield in December 2000, a team in their own division.



BY: The New York Rangers

NEW YORK, May 2, 2016 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with goaltender Antti Raanta on a new contract.

Raanta, 26, appeared in 25 games with the Rangers this past season, posting an 11-6-2 record, along with a 2.24 GAA, a .919 SV%, and 1 SO. He tied his career-high in appearances, and he ranked eighth in the NHL in GAA in 2015-16. Raanta allowed two goals or fewer in 13 of his 18 starts during the season. Raanta earned a win in each of his first four starts of the season, becoming the first goaltender in franchise history to register a win in each of his first four starts with the Rangers. He stopped all 22 shots he faced to earn a win/shutout while making his debut with the Blueshirts on Oct. 19, 2015, vs. San Jose. Raanta becomes the fourth goaltender in franchise history to earn a shutout in his first start with the Rangers and the first to do so since Marcel Paille on Nov. 2, 1957.

Raanta concluded the 2015-16 regular season by earning a win in each of his final four starts, posting a 1.75 GAA and a .941 SV% in those contests. Also, he posted a 7-1-0 record, along with a 2.13 GAA and a .931 SV% in his final eight starts of the season. Raanta appeared in three playoff games with the Rangers in 2016 and made his NHL playoff debut in Game 1 of the First Round against Pittsburgh on Apr. 13.

The 6-0, 193-pounder has appeared in 64 career NHL games over parts of three seasons with the Rangers and Chicago, posting a 31-15-7 record, along with a 2.35 GAA, a .914 SV%, and 4 SO. Among goaltenders who have appeared in at least 15 games over the last two seasons (2014-15 – 2015-16), Raanta ranks second in the NHL in GAA (2.10) and ranks fourth in SV% (.926). In 31 career NHL appearances at home, Raanta has posted a 19-4-4 record, along with a 1.80 GAA, a .934 SV%, and 4 SO. In 13 career NHL appearances in which he has made at least 30 saves, Raanta has posted an 11-1-1 record, along with a 1.61 GAA, a .955 SV%, and 2 SO.

The Rauma, Finland native was acquired by the Rangers from Chicago in exchange for Ryan Haggerty on June 27, 2015.

Photo by FoxNews


Danbury Titans      VERSUS      Port Huron Prowlers

BY: Mitch Beck, Howlings (With Zak McGinniss, Danbury Titans)

DANBURY, CT Defenseman Matt Fuller’s third-period goal earned him the Game’s First star honors and gave The Port Huron Prowlers a 4-3 win over the Danbury Titans in Game Two of the Commissioner’s Cup Finals before 786 at the Danbury Ice Arena Saturday night.

With the Titans scrambling in their end, Fuller from Ahmed Mahfouz and blasted a shot that went bar down behind Titan goaltender Alex Vazzano (17 saves).

For Game Two of a championship series, it was exceptionally sloppily played. There were 17 power plays. Port Huron received 34 minutes of penalty minutes on 13 infractions. Meanwhile, Danbury was issued 75 minutes of PIMs on 16 infractions

Danbury’s Ryan Patsch, was out with an undisclosed injury, after receiving a five-minute slashing penalty from Game 1, Port Huron’s Joe Pace Jr, also did not play.

Danbury Head Coach Phil Esposito started the game by sending out his tough guys, including defensemen Martin Tuma, Anthony Pisano, and forward Al Graves. Just as the referee dropped the puck for the initial faceoff, all three Danbury forwards dropped their gloves and jumped their Prowler counterparts. All three Prowlers “turtled” in response.

BOXSCORE Continue reading



Blueshirts trade Ryan Bourque to Washington

BY: The New York Rangers

NEW YORK, February 28, 2016 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has acquired forward Chris Brown from the Washington Capitals in exchange for Ryan Bourque.

Brown, 25, has skated in 20 games with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL) this season, registering three goals and six assists for nine points, along with 20 penalty minutes. He has tallied an assist/point in each of his last four AHL games. Brown has also skated in one game with the Capitals this season, registering two hits and one shot on goal on Dec. 10 at Florida.

The 6-2, 215-pounder has skated in 23 career NHL games over four different seasons with the Coyotes and Washington, registering two goals and one assist for three points, along with a plus-one rating and 21 penalty minutes. Brown made his NHL debut as a member of the Coyotes on Mar. 4, 2013 vs. Anaheim. He skated in 12 NHL games with the Coyotes and Capitals during the 2013-14 season, recording two points (one goal, one assist).

The Flower Mound, Texas native has skated in 215 career AHL games over parts of four seasons, registering 65 goals and 59 assists for 124 points, along with 258 penalty minutes. Brown led all AHL rookies in goals with 29 during the 2012-13 season. He tallied at least 16 goals in each of his first three seasons in the AHL (2012-13 – 2014-15).

Brown was selected by the Coyotes in the second round, 36th overall, of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Bourque was selected by the Rangers in the third round, 80th overall, of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, and he made his NHL debut with the Blueshirts on Apr. 9, 2015.

(Editor’s note: I think this was done as a favor to a good soldier in Ryan Bourque giving him the opportunity to play again with his brother. I don’t have any sources on that. It’s just a theory…but it makes sense).