Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Trashing Danbury

Internet Is Just Bad Pot

From MinorLeagueNews.com:

There is a smell coming from the UHL Trashers franchise that suggests that there is something rotten in Danbury.

At least the Feds think there might be. The FBI has swept the UHL's Trashers into their ongoing probe of owner James Galante, who counts the two-year old team amongst his holdings.

According to reports by the Associated Press and the Danbury News-Times, federal investigators have questioned UHL President Richard Brosal, and have served five current or former Trashers players with subpoenas, as part of a larger look into Galante's business dealings. The five players are, Brent Gretzky, Jeff Daw, Jim Duhart, Scott Sterling, and Jay Murphy.

Galante, who made his fortune in the waste removal business, hence the "Trashers" moniker, is one of several waste removal operators in New York and Connecticut who are suspected of violating federal anti-racketeering laws.

While Galante's involvement with the UHL is a minor part of the overall investigation, the government is interested in finding out whether he has made under the table payments to Trasher players, thereby violating UHL salary cap rules. The probe brings into question the league's credibility, and Brosal's leadership of the UHL.

Galante has been a controversial figure since becoming a part of a UHL ownership group that has had a blemished record.

The unusual abounds in Danbury. The team’s presidency was turned over to son A.J. Galante at the tender age of 19 (See: "What I Want for Christmas"). Most notably, Galante was involved in a bizarre incident after a game last year, in which he was accused of choking linesman James Harper (See: "Taking Out the Trashers"). Legal charges were pressed, then dropped. While Galante received a brief suspension by Brosal for his actions, it amounted to nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

The UHL, which has struggled with credibility problems over the last few years, seemed to be getting past some of those bumps in the road.

A franchise owner in Columbus, Ohio with a poor prior track record of operating professional hockey teams shuttered the nascent Columbus Stars franchise in less than half a season in 2003-2004 (See: "The Fault Lies Within the Stars, Not Ourselves.") The choking incident with Galante was the following year's folly.

Brosal will wait until the government investigation is completed before taking any action, if he takes any action at all. If the allegations that Galante has been using the Trashers as a front for any illegal activity (e.g. money laundering), the Commissioner might have no choice but to pull the franchise, or seek a replacement of the ownership. Players found to have received "off the books" payments should be handed down stiff suspensions or even lifetime banishments.

Hockey is doing well in Danbury. The Trashers enjoy a sizable lead atop the UHL's Eastern Division.

If Galante's garbage biz mucks up the game for the fans, the UHL will have a second major ownership debacle in three years, and Galante won't be the only one with some "'Splainin'" to do.


I think I can say this: the more bad press that Galante and the Trashers get, the more their rabid and loyal fans ratchet-up their frenzied behaviour.

Witness this one report that I was reading earlier today, about the fans in the Danbury Ice Arena's notorious Section 102:

Don't expect me to be returning to that arena anytime soon-- that place is BRUTAL... there were the group of fans in Section 102 who were the most rude and brutal group I have ever had to deal with. Well, I should have known what I was in for when I saw the team slogan on the screen... "Welcome to Hell"

Well, the team's promotional video does end with the tag-line, "Hell On Ice". (Windows Media Player)

Myself, I'd just like to get a t-shirt that looks like this:

Vindicated by DNA

Jagr fight video from Russia

Mickey and Minnie Mouse were getting a divorce. The judge says to Mickey, 'You say here that your wife is crazy? I don't think that's enough reason for a divorce,' and Mickey replied, 'I didn't say she was crazy. I said she was fucking Goofy!'
Alexei Yashin (79, Lokomotiv) and Jaromir Jagr (68, Avangard)

This is a video clip from last season that I found on the Metallurg Magnitogorsk web site. It's from a late-season game between Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and Avangard Omsk that was won by Lokomotiv, 2-1, on a goal by Alexei Yashin.

The video starts with some rough stuff behind the Yaroslavl net between Jaromir Jagr of Omsk (#68) and the Lokomotiv team captain, Dmitri Krasotkin (#44). Jagr and Krasotkin wrestle each other to the ice-- actually, it looks like Jagr tries to throw Krasotkin down, but then slips and falls himself-- and then all hell breaks loose. All of the players on the benches and on the ice get involved; you'll even see the two starting goalies, Marc Lamothe and Norm Maracle, dancing with each other. A league-record 322 minutes in penalties were handed out in this game between the two teams, led by 33 minutes for Andrei Nazarov, who can be seen in the video wearing #44 for Avangard (dark jerseys). Jagr and Krasotkin each received 27 penalty minutes.

If you click on the link below, the video (from Russian TV, with sound!) should start right up. If it doesn't, you can jab at the "play" button on the viewer.

Lokomotiv v. Avangard March 5, 2005

Super Chopper Cha-Cha

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Hi, We're They Might Be Giants

Heard You Been To College

From cnn.com:

Replacements reunite for 2 new songs

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (AP) March 30, 2006-- It's a 'Mats fan's dream come true -- new songs from The Replacements.

The surviving original members of the Minneapolis '80s group have reunited to record two new songs for a best-of CD, according to news reports.

Singer-guitarist Paul Westerberg, bassist Tommy Stinson and drummer Chris Mars were recently in the studio to record some tracks, the Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

Westerberg wrote both songs: "Message to the Boys" and "Pool & Dive." Mars sang backup while a session drummer handled the drumming.

It's the first The Replacements -- known as the 'Mats to fans (short for "Place Mats," another nickname for the band) -- have recorded together since disbanding in 1991.

Original guitarist Bob Stinson, Tommy's older brother, died in 1995. His replacement, Slim Dunlap, wasn't asked to play on the sessions, but said he never expected a call.

"It's really neat they put aside their little squabbles and did it," Dunlap told the Star Tribune.

Rhino Records is releasing the 20-cut best-of CD, "Don't You Know Who I Think I Was? The Best of The Replacements," due in stores June 13.


Jumpin' Jack Flask?

Track Listing (from colormeimpressed.com): Takin' A Ride, Shiftless When Idle, Kids Don't Follow, Color Me Impressed, Within Your Reach, I Will Dare, Answering Machine, Unsatisfied, Here Comes A Regular, Kiss Me On the Bus, Bastards of Young, Left of the Dial, Alex Chilton, Skyway, Can't Hardly Wait, Achin' To Be, I'll Be You, Merry Go Round, Message to the Boys, Pool & Dive

Not having heard the two new songs yet, I'm not sure how good they're going to be in relation to Paul's recent middling solo output (both Chris and Tommy have better track records there, as far as I'm concerned). Still, it couldn't be any worse than that last lousy Big Star record.

Fodos swiped from the Twin/Toaster 'Mats page. Also, the best of the Replacements sites out of the ones I've seen is Color Me Impressed. You're welcome.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

One more last chance for Fedor Fedorov

I know nobody likes me, why do we need a holiday to emphasize it?
Fedor Fedorov (#81) playing with Metallurg Mg last year

The less-than-meteoric path of the enigma that is Fedor Fedorov was given frequent coverage here during Fedor's gradual flameout with the Hartford Wolf Pack this season. After trading away Josef Balej in order to bring Fedorov to New York early last October, the Rangers sent Fedor down to the minors, where he eventually played his way out of a job with the Hartford Wolf Pack. Fedor Fedorov now plays with the Syracuse Crunch-- currently in second place in the AHL's North Division, and the farm team of the Columbus Blue Jackets-- which is where the Rangers sent him "on loan" two weeks ago, after supposedly offering Fedorov to any number of teams but finding no takers. In 5 games so far with the Crunch since joining the team in mid-March, Fedorov has one goal and no assists and is at -2 with 8 penalty minutes.

The following is an article that appeared in The Post-Standard, a Syracuse newspaper, shortly after Fedorov joined the Crunch. It does a pretty good job of summarizing Fedor Fedorov's North American career so far, as well as what the prospects are for his future:

It's Time for Fedorov to Put Up -- By Lindsay Kramer

One way or another, Syracuse forward Fedor Fedorov claims he’s pretty much done with the American Hockey League.

His detractors would point out that in terms of production Fedorov long ago left the building, but that’s another story.

The relevant issue for the Crunch these days is that how Fedorov performs in his AHL exit interview will determine where he goes from here. If he plays well, Syracuse benefits and maybe, just maybe, Fedorov gets a chance to play with older brother Sergei in Columbus next year. If Fedor keeps drifting off, he might float until he pulls into a port in Europe.

"I’m sure these guys heard all the bad things about me here," Fedor said. "My main goal here is to come to the rink, work hard, show these guys who I am. I don’t want to let anyone down. I mean, they got me here, right?"

Only after two other organizations threw up their hands since the start of this season. Vancouver, perpetually frustrated by Fedorov’s underachievement, traded him to the New York Rangers at the end of training camp. The Rangers were so unimpressed with his effort in Hartford — 38 games, 17 points — that they loaned him to Columbus for nothing in return.

"This is the perfect period of time for the kid to show us he wants to stay in North America and be a pro player," said Jim Clark, assistant general manager of Columbus. "From our perspective, there is no risk. If he’s not getting the job done, he won’t be in the lineup."

Fedorov, 24,passes the eye test with honors. He is a long 6-foot-4, 217 pounds, and has the strength, stride and reach to play keepaway with the puck. He’s also nimble and elusive for a big man, traits that complement his heavy shot.

But his history of taking shifts off and skating to his own tune have caused the engine to drop out of his career.


There must be millions of people all over the world who never get any love letters... I could be their leader
Fedor Fedorov with Manitoba

In 154 career AHL games with Manitoba and Hartford, Fedorov registered just 37 goals and 45 assists. With the Moose two seasons ago, violations of unspecified team rules led coach Stan Smyl to make him a healthy scratch 10 straight games. He was scratched 12 times with the Wolf Pack this season.

In 18 NHL games, Fedorov has just two assists. He played in Russia last season because he was frustrated in the AHL. He stuck around this season only because he thought the trade to New York gave him a fresh start, a notion that quickly soured.

As a free agent next year, Fedorov said if this year’s return to the league doesn’t pay off in an NHL job, he’ll go back to Europe.

"I’ve been in (pro) systems since I was 20 years old," he said. "I haven’t even got a fair chance yet. I think I’ve done everything they’ve asked me to do to get a chance, to a T."

Hartford coach Jim Schoenfeld said while he didn’t have any personality conflicts with Fedorov, it became time to give minutes to the next wave of prospects.

"I think a difference between a lot of players in the AHL and the NHL is a matter of consistency," Schoenfeld said. "I wouldn’t put Fedor in a category any different than that. His high end is pretty darn high. Now, he has to find a way to play that high-end game consistently."

Fedorov’s immediate future comes down to the little things. He has one goal in his first three games with the Crunch but at some level his points total is secondary. Coach Gary Agnew needs him to win the odd faceoff, backcheck a little and use his at-times dazzling offensive skills to open up the ice for everybody.

"I’m happy with the way he’s played so far," Agnew said. "I’ve always maintained you need to see a player over a period of time to see the true player, so I’m hoping he continues."


I've developed a new philosophy... I only dread one day at a time
Fedorov (81, with his back to the camera) working along the boards for Spartak

Fedorov said he’s encouraged by the role Agnew has laid out for him, indirectly contrasting it to what he perceives as constraints placed on him by previous coaches. Fedor said Sergei told him to keep his mouth shut and enjoy playing for Agnew, who is generally regarded as a players’ coach.

"He said the coach down here is a good coach, he likes players who create," Fedor said. "He said it will be a plus for you. I said, great. When the coach is behind me, trusts me, and lets me play, I’ll do good things on the ice."

Still, Fedor maintains an independent streak. He indicated that the best guiding voice in his head might be his own.

"I have a couple of regrets about this year. But you can’t go back and change," he said without being specific. "I think the only thing (overall) I should’ve done is listen to myself and do what I think was right. I should’ve listened to myself more since I was 19 years old."

The one person whom Fedor clearly opens his ears to is his superstar brother. Clark said Sergei’s presence in the organization could be something of a wild-card variable to motivate Fedor.

"I don’t think it has anything to do with my brother saying, bring this guy over. But I’m sure he mentioned me," Fedor said of the loan. "I’m very proud of my last name. I’m very proud of my brother. I don’t think anything in the universe could change that."

Fedor warms to the notion that a quick turnaround in his game for Syracuse in the next several weeks could create the possibility of a pair of Fedorovs in the Blue Jackets’ lineup next year. There’s much work to be done between now and then, however, and both the Crunch’s schedule and Fedor’s opportunities are heading toward the finish line.

"I don’t want to jump to the next year. But it has crossed my mind," Fedor said. "It’d be great to be in camp with my brother. If I fit in, if they (Columbus) give me a shot, that’d be great. If they don’t, that’s hockey."

Alexei Gets Even

Sometimes I think that life and I are going in different directions

I've been receiving a number of hits on a daily basis this week from people looking for a video clip of the elbowing match that occurred between Montreal's Alexei Kovalev, who had captained the Russian team in the recent Winter Olympics, and Toronto's Darcy Tucker this past Saturday.

In the waning moments of the Canadiens' blowout victory over the Maple Leafs, Tucker (a relatively well-known cheap shot artist) took a swipe at Kovalev's head with his elbow, as the two players skated past each other. With no penalty being called, Kovalev decided to settle things himself only moments later by ramming Tucker into the ice, leading to a brawl along the boards.

Here's a clip of the entire incident, thanks to hockeyfights.com and packattack.org:

Tucker vs. Kovalev (Windows Media Player)

"I could have hit him and I didn't." --Darcy Tucker

"Are we just going to watch and wait until we get hurt?

"I'm not going to let that go. He tried to hurt me." --Alexei Kovalev

Get The Puck Outta Here!

Sometimes, when I lay awake at night, I wonder, 'Where did I go wrong?' Then a voice comes to me from the darkness and says, 'This is going to take more than one night.'

Ref: These pucks don't just find their way out of the net by themselves, you know.
Goalie: I'm tired, I've been on my feet the whole game. Besides, I got it out the last time.
Ref: Lazy son-of-a-bitch. Just wait 'til you see all the lousy calls I'm going to make against you guys this next period.
Goalie: Couldn't be any worse than the ones you screwed up last period.

Photo: metallurg.ru

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Pack win in Providence, 3-2

And we'll sink with California when it falls into the sea
Brad Smyth won't give P's a chance

After getting their tails whipped by Bridgeport the night before, the Hartford Wolf Pack went into Providence this afternoon short-handed-- carrying only 16 skaters-- and defeated the Bruins, 3-2, after an overtime shootout.

Robert Gherson started in net for the Pack and played extremely well, holding up well under some heavy pressure late in the game (judging by Bob Crawford's radio call), especially when Hartford had to kill off another ill-timed late penalty by Thomas Pöck with 2:27 left in the third just to get into the overtime.

With the team's leading scorer, Alexandre Giroux, being called up to the Rangers on Friday night, the Wolf Pack dressed only 10 forwards for the game, just as they had the night before against the Sound Tigers. Center Lee Falardeau was then ejected from the game over an altercation that began at the end of the first period, and when Colby Genoway was injured midway through the third period, the Wolf Pack were forced to play through a serious manpower shortage. Dwight Helminen's game-tying goal was scored at the 14:32 mark of the third period, with Hugh Jessiman taking Genoway's place on the line with Dawes and Helminen. I couldn't tell from Crawford's description exactly what the injury was to Genoway, other than it involved a pile-up around the Hartford net and that there was blood involved.

So now you know where the other half of 'The OC' Fan Club went
Providence fans aren't very creative

Here's the penalty sheet for the 20-minute mark of the first period:

HFD Falardeau, 20:00 - Fighting, 5 min
HFD Falardeau, 20:00 - Game misconduct - Secondary altercation, 10 min
PRO MacDonald, 20:00 - Roughing, 2 min
PRO Schmidt, 20:00 - Fighting, 5 min
HFD Sonnenberg, 20:00 - Roughing, 2 min
PRO Walter, 20:00 - Fighting, 5 min
PRO Walter, 20:00 - Game misconduct - Secondary altercation, 10 min
HFD Weller, 20:00 - Fighting, 5 min


After killing off another penalty in the overtime period, the Wolf Pack then won in the shootout. Jarkko Immonen had the game-winning tally in the shootout, which I believe is the third time that has happened this season.

By the way, if anyone out there still remembers Fedor Fedorov and wants to hire him for a guest appearance, please contact the Nashville Agency.

Don Steele coughs, Bob Crawford grows a beard

This Corpse Is A Warning
Martin Sonnenberg knocks on Wade Dubielewicz'
doorstep (Chris Rutsch photo)


The Hartford Wolf Pack fell behind in a hurry last night, giving up four goals to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a span of about 6 minutes during the first period. The Pack eventually chipped away at Bridgeport's 4-0 lead, with a goal by Hugh Jessiman with 8 minutes to go in the third making it a two-goal game at 5-3, but that was as close as it would get. Bridgeport added an empty-netter with a minute and a half left, and went on to win, 6-3. It was the Sound Tigers' second straight victory against the Wolf Pack, after Hartford won each of the first six meetings between the two teams this season. Colby Genoway scored his 25th goal of the season for the Wolf Pack, and Bridgeport's Rob Collins scored his 20th goal and added two assists.

Hartford's starting goaltender, Al Montoya, was pulled for the fifth time in his last 14 starts, with Robert Gherson coming into the game to start the second period. The Wolf Pack came back with a flurry towards the end, outshooting Bridgeport 19-5 in the third period, but were unable to dig themselves out of the early hole. Wolf Pack coach Jim Schoenfeld, from this morning's Hartford Courant:

"Monty once again had a dreadful start. We have to be ready to play and get goaltending for 60 minutes... I'm not saying the guys in front of our goaltenders were flawless either, but the combination of the two just makes it insurmountable."

Among the very few interesting things of note from last night's game were PA announcer Don Steele accidentally coughing loudly into an open mike while the puck was in play, which has to be a violation of some "PA Announcer's Code" or something, and Smurf-ish Bob Crawford suddenly sporting a full-on "evil leprechaun" beard, as seen during the "Coach's Corner" segment before the start of the game.

Every Band Has A Shonen Knife That Loves Them
Glenn "Chico" Resch (Chris "Chico" Rustch photo)

Also in the evil leprechaun department: Chico Resch (not to be confused with Chico Hell, Lawrence Crane's fanzine from the mid-80's) made an appearance at the game during the second intermission, signing autographs and allowing people to touch his hair to see if it's real (which it seems to be). Chico knows something about comebacks, having once backstopped the Islanders to a playoff series win after being down 3 games to none, but his aura was no help to the Wolf Pack and their own comeback efforts on this particular night.

Hartford remains solidly in second place in the division, although now 6 points in back of first-place Portland, and will face-off against the fourth-place Providence Bruins at 4 o'clock in Providence today (4:00 being only a couple of hours from now as I'm typing this).

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Six And Change

You Don't Have To Be A Dick About It
Street Justice: Martin Grenier and Darren Reid tangle (Chris Rutsch photo)

The Hartford Wolf Pack easily dispatched the Springfield Falcons on Friday night, 6-1, in a relatively clean 2-hour game that saw only six penalties whistled all night. Alexandre Giroux, Brad Smyth, Craig Weller, and Colby Genoway each had a goal and an assist for the Wolf Pack, who have now won three in a row and are only 4 points behind Portland for first place in the division.

Only three teams in the league have worse records this year than Springfield, even though the Falcons came into last night's game on a relative hot streak (4-1-1 over their last 6). The final score in each of the Falcons' last three games: 7-1 (loss), 7-1 (win), 6-1 (loss).

Brad Smyth's goal was his 30th of the season and, according to the recap in the Hartford Courant, his 322nd career AHL goal. With four more goals in the 11 games that remain in the regular season, Smyth would move into the top ten all-time in career AHL goals and that much further into "Crash Davis" territory.

Pack defensemen Marvin Degon and Thomas Pöck, who were teammates on the same UMass team in college, each earned a plus-4 on the night. "Marvin the Martian" has looked especially well so far, playing in only his third professional game since signing an amateur try-out contract with the Wolf Pack last week. Degon, whose full name is Marvin Edwin Degon IV (no shit!), has been keeping his mistakes to a minimum by playing a smart, relatively simple game, showing above-average offensive skills with clean passes and a good, accurate shot.

Despite reports during the week that Peter Worrell had been recalled to Hartford from the Charlotte Checkers, Worrell wasn't listed on the roster sheet last night, nor was he announced as a scratch. It didn't look to me like he was sitting anywhere in the building, either.

Avoid the cost of getting lost

Some Spell Itt "Mullett"

Speaking of the Checkers, tonight is Mullet Night in Charlotte, for the Checkers' home game against the Florida Everblades. Anyone who shows up at the game wearing a mullet-- whether it's their real hair or just a wig-- will get into the game for free. Not just a few bucks off the price of a ticket, mind you, but a free ticket. Seeing as the South is the home of the Kentucky Waterfall, this could cause all sorts of problems-- not the least of which could be a Who concert-like crush at the door if all the local good-ol'-boys show up for their free tickets.

Not that the playoff-bound Checkers need to boost their attendance all that much, as they've been getting fairly big crowds now that they've started playing in their nice new arena. Charlotte drew 7,941 for their game last night against Greenville, with Rick Kozak (who was up playing with the Wolf Pack just a short while ago) scoring a hat trick.

The Checkers have also been gaining some notoriety lately from a bathroom wall ad campaign involving urinal cakes, of all things:

Rethinking arena rock

The sign above the urinal reads, "The disgusting thing is not that we're going to play with that puck. It's that we're going to shove it down Greenville's throat Friday night."

I'm thinking that's what Down East'ers would call a pissah, ayuh.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I've Always Sucked At Math

It was only for the grace of you that I got this attitude
My Fist, Your Face: Ivan "The Hammer" Baranka giving Konstantin Pushkarev a lesson in directional derivatives (Chris Rutsch photo)

I'm sure there are many worse ways to spend a workday than going to a hockey game with an 11 AM start, even if riding in a bus for three hours down from Manchester, NH, to Hartford to watch your team get their butts whipped at an 11am hockey game (as the Monarchs Booster Club did today) is probably one of them. The late-morning start was in the best interests of education, apparently, signified by the quiz booklets that were handed out at the door before the game (along with Power Rangers sour candy and LifeSavers), but I'll get to that part later.

The Hartford Wolf Pack strengthened their hold on second place by dispatching the Manchester Monarchs, 3-1, pushing the third-place Monarchs to 6 points back, though it's practically a foregone conclusion that Hartford and Manchester will end up facing each other in the first round of the playoffs anyway. Joe Rullier started off the scoring with a goal for Manchester eight minutes into the contest, but it was all Hartford after that. Linemates Colby Genoway (23), Dwight Helminen (26), and Nigel Dawes (31) all scored goals for the Wolf Pack, with Thomas Pöck and Ivan Baranka each having two assists. Helminen scored the go-ahead goal in the first period as he was falling to the ice, getting tripped just before he chipped the puck over Manchester goalie Barry Brust's shoulder.

In the first period, Manchester's Tim Jackman didn't like the way that Martin Grenier was roughing him up behind the Hartford net, and took a swing at Grenier's head. Jackman picked the wrong guy to mess with, though, as Grenier instantly laid out Jackman with a single punch that was right on the button, knocking Jackman out cold even though Grenier never even took his gloves off. At first I thought that Jackman was just taking a dive to draw a penalty, but when I stood up to get a closer look, Jackman was definitely on queer street. It reminded me of the scene from "Friday", when Smokey (Chris Tucker) says: "You got knocked the FUCKOUT!"

There was one other good fight in the game, as Ivan "The Hammer" Baranka, an infrequent fighter, destroyed Konstantin Pushkarev. Baranka started off by raining a flurry of punches on Pushkarev, who was standing up to Baranka over a cross-check. Baranka then finished the fight by yanking Pushkarev's jersey over his head and tying him up with it while he brought down several heavy forearm chops on the top of Pushkarev's head.

How do you make your cat go 'woof'? Douse it in gasoline and throw it in the fireplace
That Old Trick: Chad Wiseman gets tripped up by Mark Ardelan (Courant photo)

The Wolf Pack's Nigel Dawes was recently featured in an article on nhl.com, by the way (click here to go to the article). Former #1 overall draft pick Alexandre Daigle, one of the all-time busts who had 19 points in 16 games for the Wolf Pack back in 1999 before retiring for two years, is back in the minors again with the Monarchs and was recently the subject of an article on theahl.com, also.

And now, as promised earlier, our educational feature:

It's kind of a Metal Machine Music in celluloid form
1. A one is added to a player's "Plus/Minus" when his team scores an even-strength goal while he is on the ice, and a one is subtracted when the other team scores. Count the number of goals scored by the other team when Jake Taylor is on the ice, and enter it here: _____________

'Soixante neuf' is truly very in the English dictionary
2. The oldest player on the Wolf Pack team is Brad Smyth. If you divided Brad's age by three and then multiplied by two, what would you get?

A). 44 B). 108 C). 88 D). ∞

Eddy Grant was in the Equals
3. "Helping others achieve goals is what makes you a winner, also." The Wolf Pack goalie from this season who best exemplifies this philosopy is:

A). Ty Conklin B). Chris Holt

The whiter the eyes, the bigger the lies
3. Which is shorter:

A). Marvin Degon B). Marvin the Martian C). Jeff Jacob's weenie, on stilts

Drop a boulder on your pelvis, you'll be dead as frickin' Elvis
5. Dale Purinton is to a hockey game what:

A). a fuse is to dynamite B). a spark is to gunpowder C). Curly is to the Three Stooges D). a migraine is to an afternoon nap

MCA and Warner Brothers; Trick Knee, Go Kart and the others
4. The difference between the number of times Thomas Pöck lets the puck stray out of the offensive zone during the power play, and the number of times this would happen if the powerplay were instead quarterbacked by a blind Chinese squirrel, is how many?

A). about one more B). about one less C). about the same


And always remember, kids-- Stay In School.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Road To Norfolk



The Hartford Wolf Pack won the second game (of back-to-back games) in Norfolk this past Saturday night, beating the Admirals 5-4 on the strength of another Alexandre Giroux hat trick. The win clinched a playoff spot for Hartford, a relatively minor stepping stone with the Wolf Pack still in a fight with Portland for the top spot in the division.

Pack Attack and G12 made the trip down to Virginia for the game at "The Scope" in Norfolk (or "Norfork", as they say down in Bridgeport), returning yesterday and putting together a report for packattack.org. Here are just a few of the highlights from their report:

Inside the Scope we scoped out the Scope. In our Hartford jerseys people looked at us like we were dropped-eyed freaks. We went to our seats and there were only two other people in the whole section and our seats were directly in front of them. So as not to be thought of as jerks we started a conversation with this married couple and proved that we were jerks — just kidding.



Anyway, during warm-ups we saw that the new guy, Marvin Degon, was in the line-up. Whoever was responsible for bringing the kid’s uniform down from Hartford should have NOT brought a GRENIER or Pete Worrell size uniform for the kid. Let’s just say, he looked like the new guy in that new uniform.

The new guy was paired up with Pock. He was out of position a few times but the kid does have a shot. It was great to see a couple shots from the half-boards or the top of the circle which were on goal.

A bunch of fights broke out. The Genoway fight was a hugging match. The Shooter fight was a slaughter. Smitty kicked the guys ass. The guys went to the ice, and then Shooter pulled him up to his feet and kicked his ass to the ice again...

With the game won G12 and I headed out to the parking garage to leave. We were treated to one last bit of entertainment. Across the street from the garage was a guy stumbling down street. Bets were wagered if he was going to blow chunks. Let’s just say the chunks won.


To read the full report, including lots more about the game and the drive itself, go here.

(Images from packattack.org)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Say 'No!' To Vodka

Baby, you wouldn't last a minute on the Creek 1950's Soviet-era propaganda poster

Besides the Russian photos and interviews that appear regularly on this site, I thought it would be interesting for people to see some highlights of Russian Super League games. So, after digging around on some Russian team sites for a decent amount of time, I've come up with a few video files. Whatever they're lacking in OLN-type picture quality (*smirk*) is hopefully offset by the chance to see what the crowds and the arenas are like over in Russia.

All of these should open up and play on your computer fairly easily, if you've got Windows Media Player. I've found that if my computer is moving a bit too slowly, replaying the videos a couple of times will help smooth out some of the skips.

Pay for the lip, backlash is free
Jaromir Jagr skating for Avangard Omsk in '04-'05

The first clip is of a game-winning end-to-end rush by Jaromir Jagr, from last season when Jagr played for Avangard Omsk while the NHL lockout was going on. Avangard had trailed in a best-of-five playoff series against Evgeni Nabokov and Metallurg Magnitogorsk, 2 games to none, but then rallied to force a deciding Game Five. In overtime, Jagr picks up the puck at his own goal line and then skates through all five players on the Magnitogorsk team, faking the last defender right out of his skates. If you look closely at the very end of the video, it looks like #6 for Metallurg flings his stick out of frustration.

Video: Jagr goal vs. Metallurg Mg

Those bruises weren't really from a baseball
Avangard's Alexander Svitov skating past CSKA goalie Peter Skudra

This next one is from the current season, from a game between Avangard Omsk and Spartak Moscow that ended in a 2-2 tie back in January. Keep your eye on the puck carrier here, which is former Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Alexander Svitov. Just after Svitov crosses the red line, he gets leg-whipped by Spartak's Igor Musatov. The referee keeps a couple of Avangard players from meting out justice on Musatov, while former Tampa Bay Lightning and Springfield Falcons player Nikita Alekseev (#81) helps Svitov to the lockerroom. This is at Avangard's home arena, and you can see cheerleaders standing on platforms in front of the two videoboards at the corners of the rink, which is a bit of an odd touch. No Bryan Marchment sightings anywhere in the building, though.

Video: Svitov gets leg-whipped

Since that one isn't too pretty, here's one that's slightly better (unless you're from Omsk), from Avangard's home opener this season. Dynamo Moscow's Maxim Sushinsky, who in the previous season had played for Avangard, scores the game-winning goal in overtime, as Dynamo beat Avangard, 4-3. A pass at center ice goes off an Avangard player's stick right to a Dynamo player, who quickly rifles the puck up-ice to Sushinsky for a breakaway goal. The Avangard goalie is former Detroit Red Wing/Atlanta Thrasher Norm Maracle. It looks like the Weight Watchers patch on tubby old Norm's jersey might've fallen off again, by the way.

Video: Sushinsky's game-winning goal

You suck worse than two Billy Corgans
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl's Konstantin Rudenko skating against Dynamo Moscow

This last video shows a goal on a nice give-and-go scored by Philadelphia Flyers prospect Konstantin Rudenko, playing for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl against CSKA (Central Sport Club of Army). Lokomotiv's Ivan Tkachenko (#17) starts the play by crashing into the corner boards, and Rudenko picks up the loose puck. He then passes it around a CSKA defender to Ilya Gorokov (#77), who gives it right back to Rudenko, standing near the crease ready to jam the puck home.

Video: Rudenko give-and-go

No doubt some people will notice all of the extra advertising on the ice surface of Avangard's rink, and so forth. Russian Super League teams get most of their budget money from team sponsors, as tickets to the games are very cheap. For example, single ticket prices at Molot's arena range from 50 to 250 rubles, which is about $2 to $9. You can buy a Jaromir Jagr jersey, which made is by Kait Sport and is pretty much the same as the ones worn by the players on the ice (equivalent to the North American "pro" jerseys that have a fight strap), from the Avangard Omsk web site for 1200 rubles (around $43).

The Russian Super League, as befits their early September start and 54-game regular season, are already well into the playoffs now (as are most of the European leagues). Since it's the end of the regular season, EuropeanHockey.net posted a list of this season's top attendance figures among the leagues in Europe. Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and Sibir Novosibirsk are the only Russian Super League teams to make the top 25.

The "Say No To Vodka" headline is not only unrelated to the post itself, but is also misleading, as Sidearm Delivery wholeheartedly endorses vodka drinking among responsible adults.

FBI's Galante probe includes UHL players

The Future Ain't What It Used To Be

From a story that ran in the Hartford Courant:

New Haven, Conn (AP) 3/17/06 -- The commissioner of the United Hockey League and at least five players, including the brother of Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, have received subpoenas as an investigation into organized crime in the trash industry spread into minor league hockey, The Associated Press has learned.

James Galante, who owns the Danbury Trashers hockey team and numerous trash companies, is the target of an FBI racketeering investigation, his attorney has said. The FBI Organized Crime strike force is investigating the trash industry in Connecticut and New York.

League president Richard Brosal said he testified before a grand jury in New Haven but said the UHL is not a criminal target. Prosecutors do not normally call criminal targets as witnesses.

"The investigation is against Jim Galante and his trash company," Brosal said Friday. "They're bringing the team into it because he also owns the Trashers."

Investigators also subpoenaed several players, including Brent Gretzky, a former Trasher now playing for the Motor City Mechanics in Michigan, according to someone with direct knowledge of the case who spoke on condition of anonymity because grand jury matters are secret by law.

Trashers forward Jeff Daw and former Trashers Jay Murphy and Scott Sterling were also subpoenaed, the source said. UHL spokesman Brian Werger said Jim Duhart, a former Trasher now playing for the Missouri River Otters, was also subpoenaed.

Investigators want to know whether Galante violated the league's salary cap and paid players under the table, the source said. Federal documents in the trash investigation show the FBI is scrutinizing all of Galante's business dealings.


They never gave a tip to the boy who ran the route, they never gave a shit what the paper was about

Thanks go out to G12 for the heads-up about this latest development.

Related posts:

FBI Probe Of Danbury Trashers Owner Widens (Nov. 29 '05)

Danbury Trashers' Owner Targeted By Feds (July 21 '05)

(Photo of Brent Gretzky sitting on Trashers' bench taken from redpac.com)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Smyth helps Pack rout Phantoms, 8-2

We were inept and offensive — just what Alex was looking for
Pat Kavanaugh and Dan Girardi (Chris Rutsch/HWP photo)

The acquisition of Brad Smyth on loan from Manchester paid off immediately for the Hartford Wolf Pack, as Smyth notched 5 points (two goals and three assists) in his first game back in a Wolf Pack uniform, helping Hartford rout the Philadelphia Phantoms in Philadelphia on Wednesday night, 8-2. The victory on the road stopped Hartford's three-game losing streak. Ivan Baranka added a goal and three assists for the Wolf Pack.

When Brad Smyth left the Wolf Pack after the '01-'02 season, he stood as the team's all-time leader in career points, a spot that took Ken Gernander three more seasons to eventually snag last year, 347 points to Smyth's 343. It has now taken Smyth only one game to reclaim the career points lead back.

Martin Grenier achieved a "Gordie Howe Hat Trick" for Hartford, with a goal, an assist, and two fights. In Grenier's first fight, he flattened the Phantom's Pat Kavanaugh with one punch midway through the third period; several minutes later, Grenier came to the aid of a teammate (Colby Genoway, I believe) against Riley Cote, and was given a game misconduct for being the third man in. Dale Purinton, playing his first game in many weeks, also fought for the Pack, after taking a slash from Stefan Ruzicka.

Hello, Starbuck
Former Pack teammates Jason Dawe (on left) and Brad Smyth in
Finland, when they both played for Oulun Kärpät


Thanks go out to packattack.org, for tracking down an old article on Brad Smyth that appeared on nhl.com and newyorkrangers.com back in 2002.

UPDATE 3/16/06 3:29pm - I've read on another site that Jake Taylor might've been the Wolf Pack player that Martin Grenier was sticking up for when he got his third-man-in misconduct, not Colby Genoway. I was going from memory, from listening to Bob Crawford's radio call over the internet, which was amusing in one aspect: there were a number of fights in the third period, and every time Bob would start to say something like "...and now Purinton goes after a Phantoms player", at first it would sound like, "...and now Purinton goes after a fan."

The Philadelphia Phantoms web site has a slide show from the game, with some good photos of the tussles that occurred (not to mention the spooky-looking Phantoms mascot):

Hartford vs. Phila 3/15/06

Also, someone who posts on the HockeyTurd message board went to the game, and took some pretty good photos: go to HockeyBird

Monday, March 13, 2006

Relic Redux

I was in a car crash or was it the war
Chris Rutsch photo

In a player exchange that seems to be the biggest news in the Hartford area since the Cow Parade, today the Hartford Wolf Pack acquired winger Brad Smyth on loan from the Manchester Monarchs.

The official ahl.com release:

As AHL teams made their final major roster preparations for the remainder of the 2005-06 season, the Hartford Wolf Pack have acquired Brad Smyth on loan from the Los Angeles Kings. In exchange, the New York Rangers have assigned defenseman Joe Rullier to the Manchester Monarchs.

Smyth, who turns 53* today, leads the Monarchs in scoring with 64 points (27g, 37a) in 64 games this season. The Ottawa native ranks 28th on the AHL's all-time scoring list with 645 career points in 594 games over 10 seasons. Smyth is also tied for 12th place on the AHL's all-time goal-scoring list with 319 goals.

Smyth returns to Hartford, where he spent five seasons from 1997-2002. He is the Wolf Pack's all-time leader in goals (177) and ranks second in points (343), and helped Hartford to the Calder Cup championship in 2000.


Brad Smyth is the leading active scorer in the AHL, whose 68 goals with the Carolina Monarchs as an AHL rookie in '95-'96 is still the second-highest single season total in the 70-year history of the league. Smyth also stands as the last AHL player to score 50 goals in one season (a mark being threatened this season Scratch that, the Griffins' Don MacLean got his 49th and 50th on Sunday), reaching that total in '00-'01 with the Wolf Pack.

After a 54-goal season with the OHL's London Knights in '92-'93, Smyth broke into the pro ranks with the Birmingham Bulls of the ECHL, scoring 26 goals in 29 games in '93-'94 and 33 goals in 36 games in '94-'95. Smyth last played in the NHL in '02-'03, when he had 4 points (3g, 1a) while appearing in 12 games for the Ottawa Senators.

Hey, Merle, you got any 'ludes onya?
They Hate Us In Scandinavia: Brad Smyth getting crunched while playing for Oulun Kärpät in '03-'04

In receiving Smyth, the Pack have seemingly given their struggling offense a shot in the arm, as the team has scored only one goal in each of their last three games. A pure and prolific goal scorer, Smyth's only apparent liabilities as a player are that he's too old, too short, and too slow, and that he can't skate a lick, nor play defense to save his life. Plus, his nose is way too big, forcing the Wolf Pack ticket office to announce that rinkside seats will now be sold as "obstructed view". I kid, I kid! (For more on Smyth's unique talents, check out the Sidearm Delivery archives.)

Going from the Wolf Pack to the Manchester Monarchs is Joe Rullier, a usually rock-solid defenseman who's had a troubled season in Hartford. Rullier was a fan favorite in four previous seasons with Manchester, before signing a one-way NHL contract with the Rangers this past off-season. Despite the one-way contract (meaning the player continues to draw his NHL salary even if he's sent to the minors), Rullier was assigned to Hartford out of Rangers training camp, and lately there had been rumours about Rullier grumbling and being unhappy about his situation in Hartford.

Of course, the wacky snowbound and cabin-fevered Manchester fans are having contractions over this recent set of player moves, but that's another story in itself.

*a slight exaggeration

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Giving the finger to the rock-n-roll singer

This was put here for no apparent reason
"Oh, yeah-- chicks dig me"

There are some people who think that hockey needs more entertainment in order to be successful, and to those people I offer the Hartford Wolf Pack's game on Saturday night against the Binghamton Senators. The night was a veritable "MyAHL"-fest, featuring a pre-game concert by Marco Hernandez (above), followed by an in-game performance by Chica (that's Chica-- not Chicago, which was not only taken by someone else years ago, but also has two extra letters which makes it harder to spell), all brought to you by Radio Disney. Apparently this year someone noticed that goalie Al Montoya is of Cuban descent, so the team has decided to try to reach out to the local Hispanic community (I am not making this up). How watching some training school graduates sing karaoke over pre-taped backing tracks helps to reach this goal, I'm not sure, but I'm willing to go along with it for now, as long as it keeps the Wolf Pack/Radio Disney braintrust from bringing back Aaron Carter and Jesse McCartney instead.

Those dishes won't wash themselves, you know
"We're just proud to be on the same stage where Bowling For Soup once stood"

As for the game itself, from a Wolf Pack fan's perspective, it pretty much sucked. Hartford lost to the Senators-- who are currently in last place in the East Division-- 3 to 1, in a rather dull game that featured a number of bad plays and miscues. So, on the heels of a six-game win streak where they were scoring in bunches, Hartford has now fallen into a three-game losing streak where they've scored only a single goal in each of the three losses.

Early in the game, when it was still 0-0, there was a "no goal" call on a shot by the Pack's Bryan Rodney. It was at the other end of the ice from where I sit, so I didn't get a good look at it, but apparently Rodney's shot went through the back of the net, according to the write-up in the Courant:

"Bryan Rodney actually scored on a shot that went through a corner of the net at 2:31, but wasn't detected by the goal judge or referee Steve Kozari."

The recap on the Binghamton Senators' site also mentions the puck going through the net. Woe to Bryan Rodney, who was reassigned to the Charlotte Checkers after the game.

Hartford did end up scoring first, taking a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, but the Senators scored three unanswered goals after that. Binghamton's third goal came on a botched pass up the middle of the ice by Thomas Pöck that was intercepted by Danny Bois, who then moved in alone on Robert Gherson for the relatively easy score.

I like Canadian women very much. They know how to build igloos and appreciate John Candy films
Alexandre Giroux and Binghamton's Dusty Jamieson

Lee Falardeau played the whole game, after leaving the game against Springfield the night before with a knee injury. Falardeu seemed to struggle with his skating during his first few shifts, flexing his knee as he skated to the bench a couple of times, but he seemed fine after that. The game featured 17 former Charlotte Checkers players on both sides of the ice, including Dusty Jamieson, the Checkers' leading scorer this season who had just been loaned to Binghamton earlier in the week.

Binghamton's Cory Pecker was scratched and didn't play, in case anyone was wondering.

I thought I made it clear to you last month that I did not want to do this anymore

The "Fedor Fedorov era" in Hartford has apparently ended, as it was announced yesterday that the Rangers have re-assigned Fedorov to the Syracuse Crunch, the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets and the team that likely has the ugliest logo in the history of sports.

(Photo credits: Chris Rutsch/HWP)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Dusted in Springfield

I wish I was a little smarter, I'm number two or three but I don't try any harder Chris Rutsch photo

Thomas Pöck just spent a week in New York playing in the NHL, but it was 5 minutes that Pöck spent in the penalty box in Springfield last night that doomed the Hartford Wolf Pack. With 4-1/2 minutes to play in the game and the Wolf Pack trailing the Falcons, 2-1, Pöck took offense to a couple of stick chops he received during a standard-issue after-the-play scrum behind the Springfield net. Unthinkingly, Pöck twice used the blade of his stick to spear the Springfield player straight in the gut, drawing a 5-minute spearing major and a game misconduct. The penalty insured that the Wolf Pack would play the rest of the game back on their heels and shorthanded, eliminating almost all chance of a comeback. The Falcons were able to easily skate home with the win, 2-1.

Early in the second period, Wolf Pack center Lee Falardeau suffered a leg injury as a result of an open-ice, knee-on-knee hit from Springfield's Andre Deveaux. Falardeau had to be helped off the ice, unable to put pressure on his left knee, and Deveaux was ejected from the game, earning a kneeing major and a game misconduct.

Robert Gherson started in goal for the Wolf Pack, and Chris Holt dressed as the back-up goalie, with Al Montoya scratched due to a stomach virus. Holt skated in pre-game warm-ups sporting a brand-new helmet with the Wolf Pack logo and "Holtzy" painted on the front and back. It should probably read "Schottzie" instead, after Marge Schott's dog, because that's who Holt plays like.

The game program that I bought had the autograph of the Falcons' Mitch Fritz on the inside, meaning that I was a "Lucky Signature" winner. My prize was a $15.00 gift certificate to Belmont Laundry ("The House of Quality"), which will come in handy should I ever decide to go to Springfield, Mass., to do my laundry.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Puffy Shirts Prevail

I'm working on my abs, I'm working on a plan
Portland's Geoff Peters and Hartford's Dwight Helminen (Courant photo)

The Hartford Wolf Pack's luck ran out on Wednesday night, as they again spotted the opposing team to a big lead yet this time were unable to mount a comeback, losing to the visiting Portland Pirates, 5-1. The Wolf Pack have been able to overcome two- and three-goal deficits several times in the past week or so against the also-rans of the league, like Albany and San Antonio, but they weren't going to pull it off on this night against the Pirates, the team that Hartford is battling for first place in the division. Geoff Peters had a hat trick for Portland, and Jani Hurme, acquired only days before from the Atlanta Thrashers, played an outstanding game in net for the Pirates.

Hartford's lone goal came on an exceptional second effort in the second period by Nigel Dawes, after the Pack were already down, 3-0. With the Pack in a shorthanded situation, Dawes broke free with the puck and skated in on the Portland net, but was ridden off the play by Pierre Parenteau. Parenteau shoved Dawes down to the ice in the direction of the end boards and then skated away, apparently thinking that Dawes would just fall down and the scoring chance would be over. Instead, Dawes kept to his skates and, with his back to the play, fired a seeing-eye pass right onto the stick of Dwight Helminen, trailing behind him. Helminen quickly rifled a shot past Hurme for the score, his 24th goal of the season.

Bring a girl on stage, make her stick her ass out- get her back home, play Dreamcast and pass out
One of those damn Portland Pirates fans

There were some fans at the game in the next section over from where I was sitting, whom I'm guessing drove down from Portland for the game. A couple of them weren't wearing jerseys, but instead wore pirate garb-- you know, a puffy shirt with a scarf on, and an eyepatch. I'm not even kidding! I'm letting you people know right now that when the Wolf Pack play the Senators this weekend, if anyone sits near me in costume as Chuck Schumer or Arlen Specter, I swear we're gonna have some issues.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Q. Where do you find a turtle with no legs? A. Wherever you left it last

If you really wanted to screw me up, you should've gotten to me earlier
Darius Kasparaitis (Ak Bars) defending against Nikolai Antropov
(Lokomotiv) in the Russian Super League last year


I wasn't planning on posting about the Flyers' Donald Brashear trying to lump up on Darius Kasparaitis last Thursday, and Brashear's subsequent comments about how the NHL "is gay now", partly because some other, more competent sites have already done a decent job of it (check out HockeyBird and Blueshirt Bulletin, for starters). However, I've noticed that this site has been popping up in the searches of people looking for the video of the "fight", and I happen to have a link to it (thanks to PackAttack.org and Hockey Fights), so here it is:

Brashear vs. (sort of) Kasparaitis (Windows Media)

Apparently, Brashear went after Kasparaitis in retaliation for a knee injury that Kasparaitis caused to the Flyers' Simon Gagne during the Olympics. Need I remind anyone that there was more than one questionable hit that occurred in Turino?

Ruutu slams Jagr

Andrei Nazarov, who always seems to be ready with a good quote if nothing else, sees the situation this way, for the benefit of the folks back home in Russia (taken from Sport Express):

I mean, I know we don't have any customers, but I thought that was a bad thing, not like, a business strategy Andrei Nazarov

"A player like Ruutu-- and others, like (Kirk) Maltby, (Tyson) Nash, and (Sean) Avery-- is there to provoke the other team and throw their best player off their game. If you notice, it is extremely rare that one of their kind will fight, and not with the other team's 'tough guy' as a rule, but with one of the everyday players. However, Ruutu cannot be compared as one with Maltby. The Finn (Ruutu), as the saying goes, is 'neither fish nor fowl', and in nine out of ten cases plays irresponsibly and dirty. He has a bad reputation in the NHL, which in many ways is justified.

"On its own, Ruutu's hit on Jagr wasn't in the category of exceptionally dirty. By other measures, though, it was worse, because it was against a player who defines the NHL as an entertainment and a business. This is entirely the misfortune of European hockey-- their traditions and rules make it impossible to protect the star players properly."

Nazarov goes on to say in another Sport Express article that "many Olympic accounts will find themselves being settled during the regular season of the NHL."

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Straight Up And Narrow

I buy me a burger when the tacos go fickle and they skimp on the meat and they triple the pickle
Hugh Jessiman battles Houston's Josh Olson against the boards during a Feb. game in Hartford(Chris Rutsch/HWP photo)

The Hartford Wolf Pack grabbed a piece of first place, ending the Houston Aeros' 7-game win streak while extending a 6-game streak of their own, by beating the Aeros in Houston last night, 5-1. After trailing in the game 1-0 entering the second period, the Pack reeled off five unanswered goals, including 3 goals on only 5 shots taken in the third period. Houston came into the game with the top winning percentage in the AHL, but the Wolf Pack have now swept the season series with the Aeros, 2-0. Hartford now sits alongside Portland atop the AHL's Atlantic Division with 82 points, and have moved 8 points ahead of the Manchester Monarchs, who are in a bit of a tailspin, losing 7 of their last 10 games. The Wolf Pack are 13-1-0-1 in their last 15 games, and will face Portland at home on Wednesday.

Alexandre Giroux scored two goals for the Pack, his 28th and 29th of the season. Dan Girardi scored 2 goals and was a +4 on the game, while Hugh Jessiman and Jarkko Immonen had 2 assists each. Patrick O'Sullivan scored the lone goal for the Aeros, his 35th of the year. The Aeros have three of the top six point-getters in the league with Eric Westrum (#1), Kirby Law (#2), and O'Sullivan; that's not even including Roman Voleshenko, who has 27 goals for the Aeros this season but isn't even among the top 50 players in the league in scoring.

Dan Girardi's first goal of the game, the eventual game-winning tally, was a fluke goal on a dump-in from center ice that ended caroming off one of the metal support pieces that holds up the glass and into the net behind Josh Harding, the Houston goaltender who had skated away from the crease in anticipation of playing the puck in the corner. Al Montoya was in net for Hartford, and improved his record on the season to 19-5-1 (wins-losses-shootout losses).

The game ended on a fight in the final two seconds between Hartford's Craig Weller and Houston's Bill Kinkel, with both players landing plenty of punches in what seemed to be a pretty good fight, judging by Bob Crawford's radio call. Kinkel ended up drawing an extra instigating minor, as well as a 10-minute instigating misconduct and a 10-minute game misconduct. Martin Grenier, who had fought Kinkel in an earlier meeting last month, did not play in this game because of strep. Also, Wolf Pack forward Martin Sonnenberg left the game with a knee sprain in the first period.

A lot of hippies are selfish, unpleasant, and not particularly funny
Pack defenseman Dan Girardi (Rutsch photo)

Elsewhere around the league last night, Nick "Two-Tooth" Tarnasky-- previously believed to be one of the lousiest players ever-- scored all three Springfield Falcons goals in their 3-2 win over Bridgeport last night, including the game-winner in overtime. There goes that grave misconception.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Dawes' hat trick downs Rampage, 4-2

Never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it
Thomas Pöck fires a shot on Karl Goehring in a game against the Rampage earlier this season (Chris Rutsch/HWP photo)

The recap of last night's Wolf Pack win in San Antonio, from the San Antonio Rampage web site:

San Antonio Rampage center Layne Ulmer scored a pair of goals as the Hartford Wolf Pack defeated the Rampage 4-2 at the AT&T Center Friday night. Rampage goaltender Karl Goehring had 42 saves on the night as the Rampage were outshot 46 to 23.

Ulmer gave the Rampage a 1-0 lead at the 10:59 mark in the opening period as Mike Bishai and Tim Jackman collected assists on Ulmer's power-play goal. Hartford's Nigel Dawes answered back early in the second period to tie the score before Ulmer gave the Rampage another one-goal lead. Ulmer intercepted a bouncing puck in the Wolf Pack’s defensive zone and scored an unassisted, short-handed goal for his second goal of the night and 16th of the season.

Dawes called Ulmer’s goal less than two minutes later to knot the score at two with three minutes remaining in the second frame.

Hartford took advantage early in the final period by scoring a power-play goal 1:40 into the third before Dawes completed his hat trick 43 seconds later.


Nigel Dawes now has 27 goals on the season. Joe Rullier scored the other goal for the Pack. Dawe's linemate, Dwight Helminen, had three assists, and Colby Genoway had two assists. Hartford is now only 2 points in back of the Portland Pirates for first place, and have moved 6 points ahead of third-place Manchester.

Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool

The Rampage web site also has an interesting article on what it takes to create the ice surface for their hockey rink, including all of the water and paint that's involved. The ice is made from scratch only twice each season (which is typical for most buildings), while the flooring for all the other events, like concerts and basketball games, gets placed right over the ice whenever it's needed. Obviously, this can be a nuisance if someone at one of the other events spills something on the floor and it happens to leak down onto the ice below:

“We had a couple of times last year after rock concerts when we had to do emergency repair because drinks had slipped through the cracks,” said John Sparks, the AT&T Center’s Vice President and General Manager. “When that happens we clean out the crack really well, pack it with zamboni ice, and let the zamboni shave it off so that it is ready to go.”

In other news, the AHL has issued a card set of 49 of the top prospects that are playing in the league this season, including the Wolf Pack's Nigel Dawes and Al Montoya.

Here's what the Al Montoya card looks like:

That's the worst fuckin' sweater I've ever seen, that's a Cosby sweater