Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Vitali Yeremeyev: "The food in Torino was terrible"

Changing peoples' lives to be more like mine
Dynamo Moscow goalie Vitali Yeremeyev

As far as I'm concerned, the list of the all-time best Hartford Wolf Pack goalies begins: 1. Dan Cloutier ('97-'98), 2. Milan Hnilicka ('99-'00), 3. Vitali Yeremeyev ('00-'01). After Yeremeyev's strong season for Hartford in his rookie year as a North American pro, the following year the Rangers tried to send him another rung further down the minor league ladder, to Charlotte of the East Coast League. From a recent write-up about Yeremeyev and the Olympic hockey team that ran on NHL.com:

Yeremeyev wasn't happy with sitting two levels below the NHL. "They sent me back to their second farm club and I didn't like staying there," Yeremeyev said.

And with that, Yeremeyev went overseas to play for Dynamo Moscow, where he has become one of the premier goalies in the Russian Super League, winning the league title in '04-'05 in a season when RSL team rosters were laden with locked-out NHL players. This season, Yeremeyev suffered a mid-season injury and wasn't able to play for Dynamo during the last month leading up to the Olympic break, but he recovered in time to lead Kazakhstan to a strong showing in Torino against Russia-- making 48 saves in a game that Kazakhstan barely lost, 1-0. Watching from the Russian side of the ice were Vladimir Krikunov, the Russian head coach who is also Yeremeyev's head coach with Dynamo Moscow. No doubt that on that day Krikunov was both confounded and reassured by Yeremeyev's remarkable performance.

Sleet is the most unappreciated type of weather.  This winter, let's all try and have a deeper respect for sleet and what it does and what it is
A Dynamo defender helps Vitali out by trying a little tenderness

Upon returning from Torino, Yeremeyev didn't rest much, but instead headed straight between the pipes to play for Dynamo in a make-up game on February 26th against Russian Super League also-rans Salavat Yulaev.

What follows is an interview with Vitali Yeremeyev that appeared in gazeta.ru on Feb. 27th. In it, Yeremeyev talks about his Olympic experience in Torino (apparently, the food was lousy), and gets asked a lot of questions about the chemistry of the Russian Olympic team, even though Yeremeyev wasn't on the team. The inteviewer seems to have a pretty cheeky attitude, also...

(from the gazeta.ru article) "After appearing at the Olympics for Kazakhstan, Yeremeyev immediately returned to play for Dynamo in Russia. Comparing this regular season game to the intense final game of the Turin Olympics, and some differences might not seem that great, while others are simply shocking. Here, the spectators number around 300, most of whom it seems the game has put to sleep. About the only similarity between the two events could be found between the pipes, which were occupied for the Moscow club by Vitali Yeremeyev, who had also been a participant in the Olympiad."

This must be something of an adjustment for you. Arriving from Torino, where you played against the stars of the NHL, and here you are playing against UFA Salavat Yulaev.
Everything is back to normal. There is no reason to feel sorry about being here, only that we lost.

Wouldn't it have been worth it to get a little rest, in order to adapt and acclimate yourself?
No, I didn't even think about that. I had planned to leave Italy on February 23rd, to arrive for the postponed regular season game.

Salmon don't keep blogs.  They're too stupid
Vitali playing against Salavat Yulaev, 2/26/06

How was the Olympiad for you? How was Italy? Were you generally happy to be there?
I was without a doubt very content to be able to play in the tournament. All of the best players in the world came to Torino. The level of competition of the hockey was outstanding. I was also, by the way, very pleased with the final game, where the two best teams met in Finland and Sweden.

We watched the games here on television. You played quite a game against Russia! Many have said that you played the best game of your career.
Of course not, there have been better games. I simply had a very good mindset that day. Not to mention that I knew many of the players on the Russian team.

Exactly. Weren't (Maxim) Sushinsky and (Alexander) Kharitonov upset that you were taking critical scores away from them?
(laughs) Of course not, they acted normal, as if they weren't bothered by it.

What were the goals of the Kazakhstan team entering the tournament?
The highest. We earnestly tried to fall into the final eight.

Why didn't it work out that way?
First, the opposition was very tough. Second of all, we are used to playing a somewhat different type of hockey. The rules at the Olympics were noticeably different from those which we play by in Russia.

They were more liberal (as to what was considered a penalty)?
Yes. Hockey in Russia is more rugged. What is possible here, they moved away from in Torino. By the time we became accustomed, the preliminary stage had ended. Even so, it became easier towards the end. Generally, there weren't any games where we were embarassed, with the exception perhaps of the first game against the Swedes. However, we only got better as we progressed.

You have a very calm voice. If I had just played in an Olympics, I would still be jumping for joy. Didn't it feel like a holiday?
Yes, the holiday atmosphere was there. You have the opportunity to talk with many of your fellow players from around the world at these types of competitions. That is how I occupied myself.

Did you only talk with other hockey players? Or were you introduced to the other athletes. I know that exchanging gifts and souvenirs is typical among all the athletes. Did you exchange any gifts?
No, somehow I wasn't brought any.

Didn't you meet with the Russian team?
Yes.

The potential for evil being perpetrated in the world is much greater coming from an android rather than from a coffee maker
Lokomotiv's Ivan Tkachenko gets tripped up in front of Yeremeyev

Describe to us what occured within Team Russia. Was there any turmoil that would've prevented us from winning a medal?
Well, I didn't associate with them closely enough in order to learn about such details. That's your team's problem. Let the team's own management sit down and figure out the reasons.

But is that the reason we are without a medal?
I didn't travel with the Russian team. If they scored first against Finland, there would've been a completely different game. Even with the Czechs, the team's luck ran out. And vice versa-- if the Canadians scored first, everything could've been completely different in the quarterfinals.

We've heard that the athletes in Torino were poorly fed. Is this true?
True, the food was not the best. I won't even tell you about the worst meals. It was simply monotonous.

Will you be in Vancouver in another four years?
First, it would be necessary for Kazakhstan to make it through the qualifying process. If the team goes, then why not? If I'm playing well then, I hope they will name me to the team. I will be ready.

--

Vitali Yeremeyev's player profile on the Dynamo Moscow web site. Yeremeyev is actually the Anglicization of Eremeev, which in Russian looks like "Epemeeb".

I study Karate so that I can injure people HARD if they wish me and mine harm.  I want to be able to destroy them.  I want to be able to kick them in the neck or throat if they come after me.  Which is just a matter of time. It's also good cardio.

Wolf Pack in-game MC, Damon Squat, giving the Fear The Dynamo salute at a Dynamo home game. By the NY Yankees cap that he's wearing, you can tell that one of the guys standing behind him is Pack Attack. Really!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Shocker In Gloomtown

The computer's on the fritz, I got a million hits (yeah)

Down 5-3 halfway through the third period against a Lowell team that they've beaten only twice in five previous tries this season, the Hartford Wolf Pack came back against the Lock Monsters and won in overtime at Lowell earlier today, 6-5. It was the second straight night where the Wolf Pack overcame a multiple-goal deficit by pulling out a win, and one of the few times ever that the Pack have been able to solve Lowell's outstanding goalie, Vitaly Kolesnik, who was on Kazakhstan's Olympic hockey team in Torino.

Thomas Pöck had the game-winning goal, on a powerplay with 14 seconds left in the overtime period. Once again, the Wolf Pack dug a hole for themselves with penalties, being whistled for seven penalties in the first period alone, and the two teams combined for 9 powerplay goals. For the Wolf Pack, Alexandre Giroux had a goal (his 25th) and two assists, Jarkko Immonen had a goal (28) and an assist, and Colby Genoway and Dan Girardi had two assist each. Nigel Dawes also scored his 24th goal of the season. Keith Aucoin had a goal and 3 assists for Lowell, and former Wolf Pack winger Paul Healey scored his 12th powerplay goal of the season, a Lowell team record and his 15th goal overall this year.

With Manchester losing in Providence, Hartford now takes sole possession of second place in the division.

Photo credit: Chris Rutsch/Hartford Wolf Pack

Rat Poison

Frustrated Incorporated
Joe Rullier, surrounded by dirty Rats (Chris Rutsch photo)

The Hartford Wolf Pack overcame another parade to the penalty box, charging back from a 4-1 deficit with four unanswered goals to secure a 5-4 victory against the Albany River Rats at the Hartford Civic Center on Saturday. As in the previous night's affair against Springfield, the Wolf Pack were whistled for seven penalties in the first period, helping Albany build a 4-1 lead based on four power play goals, including two by Aleksander Suglobov, his 22nd and 23rd of the season, and one by fellow Russian Ivan Khomutov. The Wolf Pack clawed their way back, however, capped by Jarkko Immonen's second goal of the night (his 27th) to tie the game at 4-4 with six minutes left in the third, and then Dan Girardi's game-winning goal with less than four minutes to play. The win kept the Wolf Pack (winners of 9 of their last 11 games) a perfect 5-0 against the River Rats this season, and also helped the Pack keep pace with Manchester for second place in the division.

Thomas Pöck and Alexandre Giroux each had two assists for the Wolf Pack, and Dan Girardi added an assist to go along with his game-winning goal. Hugh Jessiman had a goal and an assist for the Wolf Pack, also. Thomas Pöck now has 12 points (4g, 8a) in his last 7 games, and is second in scoring among AHL defensemen with 50 points on the season. The real star of the Wolf Pack defense so far this year, though, has been Girardi, who is at +16 with only 12 penalty minutes (compared to Pöck's +6 and 72 penalty minutes) and has a healthy 26 points in 43 games.

Oddly enough, Fedor Fedorov skated with the team during the pre-game warmups, yet was a healthy scratch once again.

I Did A Power Slide Into The Taco StandMy grandfather lived to be 107 years old. Did your grandfather eat 6 candy bars at a time? No, he minded his own fucking business
Aleksander Suglobov (foreground) skating for Yaroslavl in '01-'02

Both of Suglobov's goals for Albany were great efforts, the first one coming on a turnover after the puck skipped past Jake Taylor's stick and Suglobov was able to pick up the loose freebie and skate in alone on Al Montoya. Montoya was making his first start in two weeks and fell victim to Albany's numerous power play chances early on, giving up the four goals in the first 16-1/2 minutes of play, which had many of the fans howling that he be pulled from the game. Montoya and the Wolf Pack defense clamped down for the last two periods, though, holding the River Rats to only 6 shots in each of the second and third periods and obviously no further scores as the Wolf Pack came back for the victory.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Wolf Pack smother Falcons, 4-3

If you didn’t have a handle, you wouldn’t have an axe
Jarkko Immonen (Chris Rutsch/HWP photo)

Dwight Helminen broke out of a month-long scoring drought with two goals, his 22nd and 23rd of the season, as the Hartford Wolf Pack beat the Springfield Falcons on Friday night in Hartford, 4-3. At one point the Wolf Pack were up 4-1 in this game, but two late goals by the Falcons-- including Jason Jaspers' 20th of the season with just a handful of seconds left in the game-- made for a closer final score than the game actually was. The Wolf Pack threw a season-high 58 shots on net despite being a man down for one-third of the game, including having to kill off six Springfield power plays in the first period alone. Jarkko Immonen scored his team-leading 25th goal of the season for the Pack, and Chad Wiseman and Thomas Pöck added two assists. With the win, Hartford moves into a tie for second place with Manchester in the Atlantic Division.

Lee Falardeau led off the scoring for the Wolf Pack, scoring a short-handed goal six minutes into the first period. It was Hartford's 18th short-handed goal of season, which leads the AHL by a wide margin. Falardeau was later ejected from the game when he drew a 5-minute boarding major early in the second period.

Hugh Jessiman, for being a fairly big guy (listed at 6'-5" and 220 lbs), doesn't seem to be much of a fighter, as he was manhandled by Springfield's Andre Deveaux in the second period. At first Jessiman tried to turtle his way out of the fight; then, after finding himself nearly folded in half as the refs were trying to separate the two players, Jessiman started punching at Deveaux's legs, which was a pretty cheap move. A few seconds later, Martin Grenier fought Mitch Fritz, in a lengthy brawl that literally went on for several minutes. Fritz, a cagey fighter, was able to control Grenier almost the entire way, pulling Grenier's jersey up over his head and down around his arms so that Grenier was unable to throw any effective punches.

Since the game was out of hand early, I killed time by thinking up ways to mock some of the player names on the Springfield roster. Legend has it that Evel Knievel played hockey for Charlotte in the EHL; well, the Falcons this year have "Awful" Kvapil, as well as "Bell Biv" Deveaux, Mitch "On The" Fritz, and Mike "Ham 'n" Egener. The Falcons also have Chris Dingman playing for them now-- not that there's anything funny about that, except that the guy won two Cups in the NHL and now he's stuck playing in dreary Springfield. As I was flipping through the Falcon's yearbook the other day, I also noticed that the Falcons have a team sponsor whose web page is f-k.com, which is no relation to the second-greatest band ever on Matador, in case you were wondering.

One of the more amusing parts of the game (for me at least) was noticing Martin Grenier telling David Liffiton to position himself a few feet further to his left as they waited for a second period face-off, and then watching the puck drawn back right to where Liffiton was standing before Grenier had moved him.

Al Montoya was back on the ice after missing three games to an injury, skating around as Gherson's back-up goalie during pre-game warmups. Fedor Fedorov was a healthy scratch yet again and is rumored as being offered around as trade bait (yeah, good luck with that).

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Wolf Pack upended by Bridgeport, 5-1

All this giving in is wearing thin

Bridgeport's Sean Bergenheim scored four times, including the first three goals of the game to chase Hartford goalie Robert Gherson, as the Sound Tigers went on to defeat the Wolf Pack in Bridgeport on Wednesday, 5-1. The win was Bridgeport's first against the Pack this season, following 6 straight losing efforts. Bergenheim now has 25 goals on the season. Hartford's lone goal came in the second period, by Alexandre Giroux (24). Hartford outshot the Sound Tigers, 41-26.

The loss ended the Wolf Pack's recent streak of 8 straight games without a defeat in regulation (7-0-0-1). Replacing Gherson in net after Bergenheim's third goal of the night was Chris Holt, just recently reassigned to Hartford after a stint in Charlotte (Holt has since been recalled by the Rangers to be target practice in NY while Henrik Lundqvist is away). It should be noted that the same four letters in "Holt" are also in "Holmqvist"-- as in Johan Holmqvist, against whose place in history as the worst Wolf Pack goalie ever Chris Holt is now challenging.

The fact of the matter is I ain't your bitch, so why you always giving me the bait and switch?
Sean Bergenheim scoring on Robert Gherson

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Wolf Pack complete undefeated weekend

Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere
Robert Gherson making a stop earlier this year vs. Manchester (Courant photo)

The Hartford Wolf Pack parlayed a 3-0 second period lead into a narrow 4-3 victory over the Pirates in Portland earlier today, as the Pirates scored in the final seconds of the second period and again with less than a minute left in the third to keep the final score close. Thomas Pöck notched a goal (his 12th of the season) and two assists, with Dan Girardi, Craig Weller, and Colby Genoway also lighting the lamp for the Wolf Pack. Hartford continued their recent success with the man advantage, with three of their four goals against the Pirates coming on the power play. Back-up netminder Robert Gherson got the start and the win in all three weekend victories, after starter Al Montoya was injured in a game against Houston the previous Saturday. The Wolf Pack have now won 4 games in a row for the first time this season, having previously managed 3-game win streaks a handful of times.

In other Wolf Pack news, Hartford team captain Craig Weller was the subject of a recent profile on theahl.com.

Meanwhile, down in Charlotte, the Checkers beat up on the South Carolina Stingrays, 6-2, in ECHL action earlier today. Bruce Graham scored against the Stingrays for his first goal in Charlotte since being demoted from Hartford earlier this month. The Checkers won two out of three games over the weekend, and remain in 4th place in the ECHL South Division standings.

Gherson blanks Bruins, 4-0

Might as well be myself, I'm so much better at it than anyone else
Robert Gherson (Chris Rutsch/HWP photo)

The Hartford Wolf Pack left the gates quickly, scoring 3 times in the first period, and Robert Gherson earned his first AHL shutout in net as the Wolf Pack went on to claim victory against the Providence Bruins, 4-0, before a healthy Saturday night crowd of 6588 at the Hartford Civic Center. Alexandre Giroux (23) and Nigel Dawes (23) were among the goal scorers for the Wolf Pack, and Hugh Jessiman and Jarkko Immomen each added 2 assists. The win extended the Wolf Pack streak to seven straight games while earning a standings point (6-0-0-1), and places the Wolf Pack 8 points behind division-leading Portland with 27 games to play. Hartford travels up to Portland to play the Pirates in a 4:05pm game this afternoon.

The win was sparked by a number of strong plays from some of the more maligned members of Hartford's defensive corps, including "Less Than" Jake Taylor and the stick thief, Thomas Pöck. More than once during the game, Taylor came through with a crucial poke check or shot block, or stopped a rush by standing up the puck carrier and swiping the puck away. The solid defensive effort helped keep the pressure off Gherson, who only had to make 18 saves the entire night. Not to say that Taylor has completely changed his stripes-- he continues to leave himself out of position by over-committing several times each game, plus he has the amusing habit of frequently tapping his stick on the ice and asking for the puck on offense, apparently oblivious to the fact that he has stone hands (1 goal and 6 assists in 42 games all season).

Please take me seriously as an artist
Liffiton vs. Reich (Chris Rutsch photo)

David Liffiton marked his first game back from an injury by getting into three fights, earning himself an ejection from the game and most likely an automatic one-game suspension for racking up three fighting majors in the same contest. In Liffiton's first fight, he easily dispatched Jason "Old" MacDonald, but then didn't fare nearly as well in a bout against Jeremy Reich early in the third period. In that fight, Liffiton managed to land a couple of shots, but Reich kept Liffiton under control thanks to a claw-like hold on Liffiton's jersey, giving himself plenty of room to do some damage. The two fought again in a re-match a few minutes afterward, and this time Liffiton put a hellacious pounding on Reich, even knocking one of Reich's teeth out onto the ice.

Lee Falardeau left the game bloodied after a goalmouth scrum in the third period, where (for as much as I could tell) he got caught at the bottom of the pile, and eventually skated off the ice with blood running down the right side of his face and also showing on the back of his jersey. One of the rink crew carried a shovelful of pink slush off the ice in cleaning up afterwards, and Providence's Nate Thompson was thrown out of the game after being forcibly held down onto the ice for a considerable amount of time by the referee, though what Thompson's role was during the scrum I didn't exactly see.

After scoring three power play goals in a 3-1 win in Albany the night before, the Wolf Pack again moved the the puck well during the man advantage in this game-- keeping the puck in the Providence end for the entire two minutes each time and throwing plenty of shots at Bruins goalie Brian Eklund, though the Pack ended up 0-5 on the power play for the night.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Nausea 1, Admirals 0

I can't take recidivism, so hit me with some criticism

The Milwaukee Admirals, wearing special plaid-colored jerseys that I guess are supposed to look like one of Bob Uecker's sport coats, defeated the Manitoba Moose last night, 7-4. The Admirals are going to wear the jerseys for this weekend's games, and then auction them off for charity.

I guess it could be worse-- they could be wearing jerseys that look like one of Bob Uecker's sweaters.

I am a serving wench at a themed restaurant

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Wolf Pack outlast Aeros, 4-3

Sissy psychedelic Satanism
Chris Rutsch/HWP photo

One day after losing at home to the San Antonio Rampage-- the team with the worst record in the AHL-- the Hartford Wolf Pack shot down the Western Division-leading Houston Aeros, 4-3, in a back-and-forth slugfest on Saturday night at the Hartford Civic Center. The Wolf Pack attack was led by Thomas Pöck's two goals, including the game-winner with under 4 minutes left in the third period, and by Lee Falardeau, who played a stellar game (+3) and had two assists in setting up goals by Martin Sonnenberg and Craig Weller. Dwight Helminen also had two assists for Hartford. Kirby Law scored his 30th goal of the season for Houston. With the win, Hartford extended its points streak to five games (4-0-0-1).

Wolf Pack goalie Al Montoya left the game midway through the second period, after suffering a groin injury while making what looked like a relatively simple save on a mini-breakaway by the Aeros' Bryan Lundbohm. Back-up Robert Gherson finished the game in net for the Wolf Pack, earning credit for the win. Forward Alexandre Giroux also left the game early on, for about the length of a period, after taking a blow to the forearm that made him immediately drop both gloves to the ice and skate off to the bench, grasping his left wrist in pain. Giroux returned to finish the game, though, and showed no obvious ill effects.

The game featured a good amount of fisticuffs, starting with Martin Grenier bloodying Houston's Bill Kinkel in a rousing battle during the first period. In the second period, Craig Weller fought one of the Aeros' fake Russians, Joey Tetarenko (who is actually from Saskatchewan). Weller controlled the battle from start to finish until Tetarenko, swinging wildly, was able to knock Weller off balance with a few gorilla-like forearm shots to the top of Weller's helmet.

Fedor Fedorov caused a major skirmish shortly after the Weller - Tetarenko bout in the second period, when he leveled Erik Westrum (the AHL's leading scorer so far this year) with a clean, hard check behind the Aeros' net, sending Westrum sprawling to the ice. Three different Houston players immediately ganged up on Fedorov, who started to punch back while the rest of the players on the ice skated over to join the fray.

If you can't do anything, don't do anything
Alexandre Giroux (Chris Rutsch photo)

The game ended with one of the weirdest situations I've seen so far this year, coming about a minute left in the third period while the Wolf Pack were already a man down, killing off a Joe Rullier penalty. Thomas Pöck lost his stick after he was hit in the corner behind the Hartford net while trying to play the puck, and rather than play without his stick while Houston was on a critical power play, Pöck grabbed Erik Westrum's stick from behind and ripped it out of his hands. A suprised Westrum held out his empty hands and started screaming at the referee while Pöck continued to play, using Westrum's stick. Eventually, an "illegal stick" penalty was called on Pöck, forcing the Wolf Pack to skate 3-on-6 with Houston's goalie sitting on the bench for the last 28 seconds of the game, but no further damage was done.

In the building, though a healthy scratch, was Andrei Nazarov. Nazarov, perhaps the top Russian-born enforcer in North America, has only played one game for the Aeros this season since being banished to the minors by the parent Minnesota Wild back in October.

UPDATE 2/16/06 - Thanks to packattack.org and hockeyfights.com, you can now watch a one-minute video clip of the fight between Craig Weller and Joey Tetarenko. You can see, towards the end of the fight when Tetarenko starts chopping down on the back of Weller's helmet, that Tetarenko's elbow pad has slid down his arm, so that he's actually clubbing Weller over the head with a solid piece of hard plastic. The two commentators during this clip are Bob Crawford and, I believe, P.J. Stock.

Tetarenko vs. Weller (Windows Media)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Goehring, Rampage Put Pack To Sleep, 2-1

I remember the day I saw you hobbling, a weeble wobbling, you had a problem
San Antonio's Karl Goehring vs. Milwaukee (Darren Abate photo)

Lead by pint-sized goalie Karl Goehring's 49 saves, the San Antonio Rampage downed the Hartford Wolf Pack on Saturday night, 2-1 after an overtime shoot-out. San Antonio came into the game with the worst record in the league (14-29-1-4), having scored an abysmal 90 goals in 48 games-- about half of Hartford's total of 177. The loss ended a 3-game win streak for the Pack.

Despite the huge number of shots on goal, the Wolf Pack put in a scattered effort on offense. Goehring played rock-solid in net and had the right angle the entire night, as most of the pucks that the Wolf Pack threw at him were right at his mid-section, or through no traffic at all and easily turned away.

Fedor Fedorov played a terrible game, yet again embarking on several puck-hogging coast-to-coast trips when a simple pass or two would've been much more effective. With the score tied at 1-1 with 4:01 left in the third period, Fedorov took a 5-minute spearing major and a game misconduct, forcing the Wolf Pack to play shorthanded for the rest of regulation and into the overtime period. Pavel Brendl fumbled away a chance for the Rampage to win in regulation while the Wolf Pack were killing off Fedorov's major, when goalie Al Montoya made a save and hunkered down to the ice, thinking the puck was beneath his pads. Instead, the puck had popped up into the air behind Montoya, where Brendl was able to catch it and place it onto the ice with an open net in front of him. Almost unbelievably, Brendl wiffed the easy shot.

Montoya was picked apart in the shoot-out, as all three Rampage shootout goals came on the same move: the Rampage player faking Montoya down into a low position after Montoya had already come out of the crease to cut down the angle, then simply stepping to Montoya's left and tucking the puck behind him and into the net.

Nigel Dawes, the Wolf Pack's second-leading scorer, didn't play due to an illness. Layne Ulmer, formerly with the Wolf Pack ('01 to '05), had an assist in the game for San Antonio and stands as the Rampage's leading scorer with 29 points on the season (12g, 17a).

Monday, February 06, 2006

Father Fedorov Spots Czech Conspiracy

Well, I ain't very good but I get practice by myself Fedor Fedorov (Rutsch photo)

After being a healthy scratch for the majority of Hartford's games recently, Fedor Fedorov notched 2 points in last Saturday's 6-0 Wolf Pack victory over Portland. So, despite it being a somewhat minor item, I've decided to run this article that appeared on Sport Express earlier today, if only because there just hasn't been enough Fedor Fedorov news lately:

Fedor Fedorov, formerly a forward with Metallurg and Team Russia, lost out on his last chance to be added to the roster of the New York Rangers during the Olympic recess. (The NHL breaks after Feb 12th for more than 2 weeks to accomodate the Winter Olympics.) For the past two months, the junior brother of Sergei Fedorov has been with the farm club in the AHL, the Hartford Wolf Pack, where-- judging by the statistics-- he hasn't distinguished himself: 30 games, 16 points (2g, 14a), a "minus 1", and 57 penalty minutes.

"In light of a number of subjective reasons, not the least being the fact that the Rangers have decided to take the course of only those players that are of one European country, Fedor himself cannot break out within their system," noted Victor Fedorov, the player's father. "However, that is a completely separate issue, one that it isn't yet time to address. I have no doubt that Fedor's situation will radically change soon."

As it is known, the Rangers, lead by Jaromir Jagr and his many brethren Czech team-mates, have been contending for first place in their division for the first time in 10 years.


Well, now that we've gotten that all settled, time to move on to who should captain the Russian Olympic team.

Technology is as boring and predictable as the people who embrace it
Alexei Yashin (79) skating for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl last season

According to a story that appeared just a short while ago in gazeta.ru, it could be either the Montreal Canadiens' Alexei Kovalev, or the New York Islanders' Alexei Yashin:

Head coach of the Russian Olympic team, Vladimir Krikunov (Dynamo Moscow) and star forward Maxim Sushinsky (also of Dynamo) recently discussed in an interview who should be the captain of the Russian team at the Olympic Games in Torino. According to Krikunov, the captain should be selected with the aid of a vote among the players.

"Certainly, the captain will be selected with the input of the players as to who the candidates should be," said the Russian head coach.

"The captain, of course, must be a player of authority", said Sushinsky. "Such as Alexei Kovalev, who has already been the captain of the team this past season. I don't think that is something that is worth changing."

"I think the players will vote for either Yashin or for Kovalev. Considering that the majority of players on the team also played in Vienna
(at the 2005 World Championships), where Kovalev was the captain, I would not be suprised if they chose him this time also", said the Russian head coach.

Click here to read a recent Russian Hockey Digest interview with Alexei Kovalev about the Russian Olympic team.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Quack, Quack, Quinnipiac

Who let the ducks out?
Quinnipiac goalie Bud Fisher (QU photo)

While the Wolf Pack were thumping the Pirates up in Maine on Saturday night, 6-0, Mrs. Brushback and I travelled down to New Haven to watch the Quinnipiac Bobcats beat St. Lawrence, 3-1, at Ingalls Rink. St. Lawrence came into the game ranked #18 in the nation, one of four ECAC schools ranked among the nation's top 20 Division One hockey teams; Cornell (#5), Colgate (#17), and Harvard (#20) are the others. The Bobcats' defeat of St. Lawrence drew the traditional, derisive "Over-rated!!" chant from the QU students in the crowd, as the game's final seconds ticked away.

The win was Quinnipiac's 4th in five games and their second in a row since introducing their Donald Duck-colored gold jerseys the night before, in a 6-1 win over Clarkson. Quinnipiac had enjoyed an 8-game win streak at the beginning of the season but then started to struggle towards the middle part of their schedule, as their record now stands at 15-14-0 (6-11-0 in league play).

The offensive star of the game for Quinnipiac was freshman forward Bryan Leitch, who scored two of Quinnipiac's three goals in the game and assisted on the other. Freshman goalie Bud Fisher played an outstanding game for the Bobcats, stopping 31 of 32 shots and inspiring chants of "He's a freshman!" from the crowd whenever he made one of his better saves. Quinnipiac's starting goalie last year, Jamie Holden, is now with the San Jose Sharks organization and has played for the Cleveland Barons (AHL) and Fresno Falcons (ECHL) this year. This season's Quinnipiac roster also features junior defenseman Reid Cashman, the team's leading scorer who had been chosen as a finalist for the 2005 Hobey Baker Award as a sophomore last season.

Opinion is out of the question and it is not coming back
Quinnipiac forward Jamie Bates (QU photo)

Ingalls Rink, where the game was played, is actually the home ice of the Yale Bulldogs hockey team, who also play in the ECAC with Quinnipiac. The rink doesn't have much of its own parking, meaning that fans have to park in the streets of the neighborhood around the rink; but that wasn't too bad, as I got there early enough to get a spot right near the doors. The rink, which is nicknamed "The Whale" because its humpback-shaped roof, was designed by the same architect who designed the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. So, besides getting to see an entertaining hockey game for cheap, a trip to Ingalls is a lesson in goofy-looking modern architecture to boot.

Jarkko Immonen torches Portland for 5 goals

I Don't Want To Be An Eddie Rutsch photo

(Article from the AHL web site)

Jarkko Immonen set a franchise record with five goals to lead the Hartford Wolf Pack to a 6-0 victory over the first-place Portland Pirates at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Saturday night.

Immonen opened the scoring 8:18 into the game, scored twice more in the second period to cinch his first career hat trick, then scored two more goals 44 seconds apart in the third. A native of Finland in his first North American season, Immonen now leads the Wolf Pack with 23 goals and 45 points on the season.

Al Montoya made 34 saves for his second shutout of the season. Thomas Pock, Fedor Fedorov and Daniel Girardi registered two assists apiece for the Wolf Pack.

The 23-year-old Immonen, acquired by the N.Y. Rangers from Toronto in the Brian Leetch trade of 2004, became the first Wolf Pack player ever to score more than three goals in a regular-season game. He then topped Chris Kenady's four-goal effort in a 2000 playoff contest by netting his fifth goal on Saturday on a penalty shot.


The win in Portland (the Wolf Pack's only game this week) is Hartford's third in a row, and improves the Wolf Pack's record to 27-15-2-5. The Pack remain in third place in the Atlantic Division, a point behind Manchester and four points behind Portland.