It's The Oil
Nigel Dawes (Chris Rutsch photo)
It was hard to tell from watching last night's Hartford Wolf Pack - Springfield Falcons game who the last-place team was, as the Wolf Pack spent most of the first two periods getting pushed around by the lowly Falcons, with the Pack losing, 5-2.
Eric Healey scored the Falcons' two first-period goals, the second one coming on what might've been a fluke bounce. With the Falcons on an odd-man rush, Healey carried the puck into the Pack zone down the left-hand side. A Hartford player belly-flopped onto the ice in front of Healey to try to break up the play, but Healey shot the puck anyway. One of the Springfield radio guys said afterwards that it looked like the puck bounced off the Pack player's skate before getting past Al Montoya.
Alex Bourret (thatsa niiiiice) scored his first Hartford goal to put the Pack on the board early in the second period, but the Falcons scored two more times after that: the first on a great medium-range wrist shot from a tough angle by Stephen (Reecky Booby) Baby, with the Wolf Pack on a penalty kill and showing no intention of playing any defense at all, and the second by David Spina on a breakaway with just 16 seconds to go in the period, on a low shot that Montoya barely sniffed at.
The Wolf Pack put Chris Holt in net to start the third period, and then Hartford closed the gap a little bit when newcomer Darin Olver scored to make it 4-2 at 8:34 of the third. The Pack put together three or four good chances after that to try to make it a one-goal game, but were unable to get the puck in the net.
The Falcons' Mike Egener was involved in two fights in this game-- early in the second period with Dane Byers, and again in the second period after taking a slashing call against Hugh Jessiman-- and both times Egener bear-hugged his opponent to the ground, rather than stand up like a man and throw punches. It's no suprise, then, that a creampuff like Egener has an ice cream sundae named after him:
Beginning Monday, February 26, 2007, Friendly's will introduce the Ut-O-Eggy-O Sundae, a delicious ice cream sundae created by Springfield Falcons defenseman, #48 Mike Egener. The sundae, a combination of all Egener's favorites, contains three flavors of ice cream - Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Coffee and Nuts Over Caramel, four toppings - caramel, marshmallow, chocolate sauce and crushed Oreo's, and finishes with whipped topping and a cherry.
Sounds pretty gay to me.
Francis Lessard grabbed Joe Rullier by the collar and challenged him to a fight twice in the third period, though I'm not sure what exactly that was about. As is usual, Rullier slunk away both times, but then had plenty of shit to say after the referees were safely between him and Lessard.
Oh, yeah-- the Falcons had a live band, the teenaged-looking Gone by Daylight, playing throughout the game yesterday, which was pretty neat. I can't say much for Gone by Daylight's regular material, which is kinda Jimmy Eat World-ish indie/emo rock, but the stuff they played in-between their actual songs (snippets of AC/DC covers, some loose instrumental jams, and stuff like that) was way more than decent.
The big news in Springfield this weekend is an upcoming affiliation switch for the Falcons, from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Edmonton Oilers, which supposedly the Falcons will be ready to announce on Monday. Apparently there's no love left for the Lightning in Springfield, as the Springfield Republican's Fran Sypek put it this way:
The affiliation between the Springfield Falcons and Tampa Bay Lightning, which started with so much promise when it was forged in 2004, is coming to an abrupt end.
The Falcons have scheduled a major press conference Monday at noon at the MassMutual Center to announce they will part ways with the Lightning and have the Edmonton Oilers as their NHL partner.
Falcons president and general manager Bruce Landon, who has been working overtime to save a franchise that has been plagued by poor on-ice performance and dwindling attendance, would have dealt with major issues trying to sell another season of a Lightning affiliation to his fan base had he not decided on a change.
The Falcons will miss the American Hockey League's Calder Cup playoffs for the fourth straight season and sixth time in the past seven seasons. Only Albany, which has missed the past six seasons, has a worse track record.
Said Sypek, in another column in today's Republican, "Tampa Bay promised the Falcons a rose garden, but what they got instead was a patch of weeds."
Old Falcons jersey / New Falcons jersey
If there's one good thing that the Lightning brought to Springfield, though, it was a considerable upgrade to the Falcons' ridiculously bright-looking former jerseys, by adding the Lightning's darker colors and a new logo. Hey, doesn't that count for something?
Ryan Callahan (center), after scoring his first NHL goal yesterday
In other news, Ryan Callahan had 2 goals in the Rangers' win against the Bruins yesterday, logging 7 shots on goal in just 12 minutes of ice time, as well as a 5-minute fighting major. Blueshirt Bulletin gave a good report on Callahan's previous game, one day earlier ("Ryan Callahan played over fifteen minutes of highly effective ice time on the second line with Matt Cullen and Sean Avery, who were both superb in this game as well. He hits, he shoots, he skates -- the guy is a keeper"). My guess would be that Callahan won't be back in Hartford this year unless the Rangers miss the playoffs.
("New Falcons jersey" photo by Chris Rutsch)