With its low self-esteem and high urban blight, Hartford is the ultimate underdog city. Sad City Hartford documents the joys, sorrows and eccentricities of New England's Rising Star.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Whale Hail New Captain

A decision was made by Ken Gernander, a decision that most all fans probably agree on, a decision that most fans would say should have happened awhile ago.  Whale defenseman Wade Redden was named team Captain.  He is the first team Captain since Dane Byers who was traded last year.  Byers was Captain under the Wolf Pack brand.

The "Clear Day" roster was announced it is the list of players that are eligible to compete in the AHL playoffs and the rest of the regular season.  It consists of two goalies and 20 skaters. The Whale left off no surprises.  A note of interest was Sean Avery who was not on the list.  Apparently Avery was informed he has no more requirements with the team and and does not have to report to the team.   I had forgotten what it was like to see Sean Avery play in Hartford, it was back on January 27 when he last played for the Whale.  I think from now on when I think about Sean Avery in Hartford, all I will hear is; "healthy scratch".   I think most fans would agree that Avery was never really part of the Whale and they certainly wont miss him in the penalty box either.  

The Whale could have used Chad Kolarik, who was expected to return this season.  Kolarik was out with off season knee surgery.  He is not on the cear day list and therefore won't play in the playoffs this year but he will be ready to go at the start of next season. 
Also left of the list was Chris McKelvie who had played 38 games with the Whale this season.  He was loaned to Greenville of the ECHL.  He will be a good help to the Road Warriors, much like Blake Parlett.  Parlett is in Greenville but he is on the "Clear Day" roster.  Should the Whale need a defenseman they can call him up.  

The Whale can make moves on their roster but one place they don't need to is in goal.  Chad Johnson has been having a very solid year.  When looking at the save percentage in the AHL Johnson is seventh in the league.  I was and was not surprised when I saw who was second, San Antonio Rampage/former Whale player DovGrummet-Morris.  In the goals against average rankings in the AHL, Chad Johnson is tenth in the league, he was ninth recently until Anders Nilsson of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers passed him. 

Nilsson most likely will be in goal in a big game on Friday night.  The Sound Tigers will try to lengthen that margin to four points when they play the Whale at the XL Center.  Coming out of tomorrow nights game the Soundtigers will head home to host the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Whale will play the Norfolk Admirals in the XL Center for the Connecticut Hall of Fame Game.  There could be a change in division hands by the end of the weekend or things could get tougher with a couple of losses.

Chad has been getting almost all of the work Cam Talbot last work was a 4-3 loss to Providence on February 19, he was the starting goalie for the Whale while Johnson recovered from a neck injury.  The Whale's chances for the Northeast Division may rest on a goaltender who is playing well.

Looking ahead to Saturdays game the Whale will honor six Connecticut Hall of Fame inductees.  Brian Leetch, Pat Verbeek, Mike Liut, Blaine Stoughton, William E. Barnes and three time Olympic Medalist Julie Chu.  All will be on hand for the induction ceremony which will take place during the first intermission.   

Don't forget the St. Patrick's Day parade in Hartford on Saturday morning.  If you would like to walk in the parade with the Hartford Whalers Booster Club you can join them by meeting them in front of the Capital on Capital Ave.  They would like you to be there between 9:30 and 10:00 and make sure you wear your Whalers gear.

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