Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Norfolkjokeopus

It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid
Dan Girardi (Chris Rutsch/HWP photo)

Wednesday night's 7-6 overtime win by the Hartford Wolf Pack over the visiting Norfolk Admirals reminded me of how much I'd rather watch a crisply-played 2-1 hockey game over a supposedly more entertaining, high-scoring mess of a game any time. If it's offense that you want, though, then the Wolf Pack have been a good team to follow lately as the Pack have putting up some ridiculous numbers over the past week or so, including scoring 10 power play goals in their last 3 games, and averaging 47 shots on goal over their last four games.

Hartford jumped out quickly in this one, taking a 2-0 lead early in the first period. Norfolk, in the midst of an 11-game road trip, found their game soon after that, though, scoring three times on a somewhat suspect Al Montoya before the first period had ended. Dan Richmond scored the first two goals for Norfolk, including one where he banked the puck off the back of Montoya's pads as Montoya lay on the ice, apparently unaware that the play was going on behind him. But it was Norfolk's third goal, with only 26 ticks left on the clock until the first intermission, that was especially dubious. Montoya made the initial save, but then the puck sat underneath Montoya's right skate for a very long second or two-- nestled up against the skate blade-- before either an Admirals player knocked it into the goal, or Montoya kicked it in himself as he spun around searching for the loose puck.

Robert Gherson, sporting a new blue helmet (not always a good omen), was inserted in Montoya's place to start the second period, and a quick goal by the Wolf Pack's Alexandre Giroux twenty-six seconds into the second frame briefly knotted things up at 3-3. But Gherson wasn't much better than Montoya, and Norfolk put two more scores up on the board before the second period had ended, including a short-handed goal to take a 5-3 lead with just 11 seconds remaining.

The Wolf Pack then began the third period with three straight goals in the span of 3-1/2 minutes to retake the lead, 6-5, only to have Gherson give a goal away to Norfolk when he misjudged his attempt to clear the puck away from the side of the crease, and actually ended up backhanding the puck into the net himself. Defenseman Bryan Rodney-- brought up from Charlotte and signed to a PTO contract by the Wolf Pack after Thomas Pöck received a call-up to New York late the night before-- then made great defensive plays on each of three consecutive Norfolk possesions in the last two minutes of regulation, and the game went into overtime tied 6-6.

Chad Wiseman then finished things off in the overtime period when Norfolk defenseman Michal Barinka lost an edge and fell down, which allowed Wiseman to walk in on the net and score the game-winning goal, his second goal of the contest.

Alexandre Giroux also scored two goals (his 26th and 27th), while Colby Genoway and Dan Girardi each had a goal and an assist. Bryan Rodney and Dwight Helminen had two assists apiece, and Jarkko Immonen had 4 assists on the night. Ivan Baranka was an ugly -5 for the Wolf Pack. Genoway's goal was his 20th of the season, becoming the fifth Wolf Pack player to reach 20 goals this season, with 21 games still left on the schedule (Chad Wiseman is the next closest, with 14). The win was the Wolf Pack's fourth in a row, and Hartford is now 11-1-0-1 in their last 13 games and are only 4 points behind Portland for first place.

You’ve undoubtedly mixed us up with another group of middle-aged twits
Wiseman scores! Pack win! Oh, look-- it's that Damon Squat guy again... (Rutsch photo)

The Admirals have a defenseman named Nick Kuiper, and seeing the name Kuiper on the back of a red jersey with an Indian-head patch on it was a cool reminder of Duane Kuiper, the former Cleveland Indians second baseman in the '70s and '80s who hit exactly one home run in 3379 major league at-bats.

Just recently, the Pack (or the Civic Center sound guy, at least) started flogging the hell out of Alice In Chains' "Rooster" ("Yeah, here comes the rooster...") as a theme song for Alexandre "Rooster" Giroux. Then tonight, they introduced a theme song for Chad Wiseman: "Wise Man", which is a song by someone named James Blunt, who I guess is some kind of Coldplay/Five For Fighting rip-off, if you're into that sort of thing.

(The origins of the "joke" contained in this post's title; okay, maybe it's not so great, but I tried anyway)