Tag Archives: Stanley Cup


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.


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*


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.


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.


Nick Betz Becomes First Off-season Signing

Swamp Rabbits ink returning forward to ECHL contract for 2017-18 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 forward Nick Betz has signed on for the upcoming 2017-18 season.

Betz, 21, is the first player signed by the Swamp Rabbits this offseason and returns to the club after finishing the second half of the season in Greenville. The 6-foot-5 forward collected six points (4G, 2A) in 24 ECHL games. After making his professional debut with the Indy Fuel on Jan. 8th, Betz was acquired by the Swamp Rabbits along with forward, Tristan King.

“We’re really excited to have Nick back for the upcoming season,” said Head Coach Brian Gratz. “He provides a big, physical presence on the ice and he is a player who will continue to develop and be a meaningful contributor in our lineup.”

The Mount Clemens, MI native made a splash one month after joining the pro ranks, collecting his first professional goal. It proved to be the game-winner against the Norfolk Admirals. The rookie added to his total that night by notching a second goal less than three minutes after tallying his first pro marker.

“I’m excited to be back in Greenville this season. The city and the fans are two of the big reasons why I wanted to come back,” said Betz. “There were a lot of positives that came out of last year that included making playoffs. I’m excited to bring those positives into this year ready to get things going again.”

Prior to his professional career, Betz played 15 games at Acadia University in Nova Scotia collecting nine assists. Betz also brings nearly 300 games of OHL experience, playing five years for the Erie Otters.

The Swamp Rabbits winger posted his best junior hockey output in 2014-15, earning 54 points (22G, 32A) in 60 games and making it to the J. Ross Robertson Cup Final. In his final season, Betz served as the Otters alternate captain and ended his OHL career with 144 points (55G, 89A).

Get Social: Follow the Swamp Rabbits and get behind-the-scenes coverage like never before on the team’s official Facebook and Twitter pages. Download the Swamp Rabbits app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for up to date information right in the palm of your hand.

Contact a Swamp Rabbits Account Executive at 864-674-PUCK (7825) for information on 2017-18 season tickets 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!


Swamp Rabbits Announce 22-Player Protected List

In conjunction with the ECHL, Greenville reveals offseason list of protected players

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 the team’s Protected List for the 2017 off-season. The players on the list are restricted to exclusively negotiate with the Swamp Rabbits through July 1st. Protected lists may exceed 20 players.

This season Greenville has protected 22 players including five former Swamp Rabbits from the 2015-16 campaign.

Forwards (16): Brandon Alderson, Nick Betz, Tyler Brown, Bretton Cameron, Andrew Dommett, Brodie Dupont, Scott Fleming, Evan Jasper, Kevin King, Tristan King, Allan McPherson, Angelo Miceli, Ryan Rashid, Vinny Saponari, Tommy Thompson, & Collin Valcourt.

Defensemen (6): Desmond Bergin, Justin DaSilva, Chad Duchesne, Sean Escobedo, Joe Houk, & Matt Prapavessis.

Teams are allowed to protect as many players as they wish provided the players protected meet the guidelines as defined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the ECHL and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association which state that teams shall retain the rights to each player that:

  1. Signed an SPC in 2016-17 with the Member, and has not been traded or released, OR
  2. Signed an SPC in 2016-17, and was recalled to the NHL/AHL or IIHF team, and has not been traded or released, OR
  3. Had received a Qualifying Offer last summer for the current Season, DID NOT sign an SPC, and has not been traded or released, OR
  4. Has been suspended by the Member or League, and has not been traded or released, OR
  5. Signed an SPC on or after the first day of the 2016-17 Regular Season, then subsequently signed an NHL/AHL contract, and has not been traded or released, OR
  6. Has executed the ECHL Retirement Form, and has not been traded or released.

The ECHL also announced that teams must complete all Future Consideration trades by 3 p.m. ET on June 13 and that teams must submit their Season-Ending Roster by 3 p.m. ET on June 15.

Get Social: Follow the Swamp Rabbits and get behind-the-scenes coverage like never before on the team’s official Facebook and Twitter pages. Download the Swamp Rabbits app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for up to date information right in the palm of your hand.

Contact a Swamp Rabbits Account Executive at 864-674-PUCK (7825) for information on 2017-18 season tickets 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!


BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CTSo much going on in hockey that occasionally you need some time to reflect in order to get your thoughts in order. This was a week like that.


It was tough thinking about the fact that Ken Gernander will be no longer be the face of Hartford Wolf Pack hockey.

This is no small matter. It’s a Titanic-sized earthquake that split the road down the middle in the magnitude of its stature. The franchise will have his jersey snuggly hanging from the rafters to remind the fans what was, and has been. People truly need to appreciate what a titan Gernander became in Connecticut’s capitol city. That description would likely make him cringe as Gernander always had a very self-effacing demeanor. It may make him uncomfortable but is undeniably true. Continue reading



BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CTWhile the lights may be out in Hartford, there is still plenty of hockey going on still in the ECHL, AHL, and NHL.


The Hershey Bears have a three-games-to-two lead in their playoff series with the Providence Bruins after the weekend’s action. On Thursday night, Hershey won a 2-1 OT thriller with, who else but ex-Hartford Wolf Pack, Chris Bourque scoring both goals. The team got the win despite registering just 15 shots on goal. Bears’ goalie Pheonix Copley stopped 39 of 40 Bruins shots. The series is a 2-3-2 format with Game 4 on Friday going to the Bruins in a reversal of the score from the previous night and their own 2-1 win.  In Game 5 on Sunday in Providence, it took OT to get a result again, and Hershey won again as Madison Bowey scored 1:58 into overtime to give the Bears a 3-2 win.

Meanwhile, back in Thursday’s game, Bourque got his first goal early in the third and then the second, the game winner, the other came at 7:23 in overtime both on the powerplay. The Bears evened up their series with Providence at one with Travis Boyd scoring the overtime game-winner in Game 2. Continue reading



BY: Jason Chaimovitch, AHL

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League has announced the following schedule for the Western Conference Finals in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs:

Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
P1-San Jose Barracuda vs. C2-Grand Rapids Griffins
Game 1 – Sat., May 20 – Grand Rapids at San Jose, 9:00
Game 2 – Sun., May 21 – Grand Rapids at San Jose, 8:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 24 – San Jose at Grand Rapids, 7:00
Game 4 – Fri., May 26 – San Jose at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 27 – San Jose at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 6 – Tue., May 30 – Grand Rapids at San Jose, 10:00
*Game 7 – Wed., May 31 – Grand Rapids at San Jose, 10:00

*if necessary… All times Eastern

The two Western Conference division finals both ended tonight with the Grand Rapids Griffins eliminating the Chicago Wolves four games to one in the Central Division, and the San Jose Barracuda defeating the San Diego Gulls four games to one in the Pacific Division. Continue reading


  Game Summary                           OTT: C. Anderson (W) NYR: H. Lundqvist (L)             Event Summary

–        SHOOTING GALLERY – The Rangers registered 39 shots on goal in tonight’s game, as 15 of 18 skaters recorded at least one shot on goal.

–        KILL ZONE – The Rangers were 2-for-2 (4:00) on the penalty kill in tonight’s contest. Dating back to the regular season, New York did not allow a power-play goal in 13 of its final 17 games. In addition, the Blueshirts did not allow a power play goal against in each of their final five games.

–        HITTING MACHINE – New York was credited with 30 hits in tonight’s contest. The Rangers registered 30 or more hits in each of their 12 playoff games this year, and as of the conclusion of tonight’s game, the Blueshirts lead the NHL in hits in the 2017 Playoffs (499). Continue reading


CANTLON’S CORNER: 2017 Wolf Pack Off Season Volume One

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – There is LOTS of news going on regarding the New York Rangers and their top affiliates in Hartford and even in Greenville With the Swamp Rabbits. We will give to you a weekly series all summer keeping you up to date on all of it.

Week One has plenty to offer.


The Hartford Wolf Pack team makeover for 2017-18 is clearly underway.

The first two off season signings were on defense.

The latest is from the collegiate ranks in right-handed shooting rearguard, Neal Pionk. Continue reading


 Game Summary                    OTT: C. Anderson (L) M. Condon (ND)  NYR: H. Lundqvist (W)  Event Summary

–        LEADING THE WAY – Over 262:54 of game time through the first four contests of the Second Round, the Rangers have led for 149:56, have been tied for 108:47, and have trailed for 4:11.

–        SPLITTING THE DIFFERENCE – Since the start of the 2012 Playoffs, eight of the 15 playoff series the Rangers have played in were tied at two games apiece through the first four games. The Blueshirts have posted a 5-2 series record in series in which they were in a tie at two games apiece over the span. Both of the Rangers’ two playoff series this year have been tied through four games. Continue reading


   Game Summary                                                 NYR: H. Lundqvist (L)  OTT: C. Anderson (W)    Event Summary

–        THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT – Three Rangers rookies have tallied a point in the playoffs this year (Pavel Buchnevich, Brady Skjei, and Jimmy Vesey). Prior to this year, the last time three or more Rangers rookies registered a point in the same playoff year was 2008 (five – Ryan Callahan, Nigel Dawes, Brandon Dubinsky, Lauri Korpikoski, and Marc Staal).

–        TEAM EFFORT – Through the Rangers’ first seven games of the 2017 Playoffs, 19 of 20 skaters who have played at least one game have tallied a point. In addition, nine different Blueshirts have recorded a goal thus far in the playoffs this year. Continue reading