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.
Monday, March 19, 2012
The Whale Homestand
It's been up and down for the Whale over the past few days. There was some good play, some bad play and then you could say there was some good play again!
March 8 was a Friday night and it did not have a large crowd but it had a large amount of highlights. Anders Nilsson, the Soundtigers best goalie is up with the Islanders which may have helped the Whale last Friday night. With Nilsson up with the big club that made Kevin Poulin the starting goalie for Bridgeport. He played well enough to win but the Whale gave Poulin trouble especially when the game went to a shoot out. Poulin allowed three goals on three shots.
Poulin was beaten real late in the game before that. Kris Newbury knocked in a game tying goal to tie it at 3 a piece with 4.9 seconds left in regulation. Kris Newbury produced in the game what is known as a Gordie Howe 'hat trick'.
Its a player who gets in a fight, scores and assist and scores a goal. The goal was a real hard fought one, and it got the Whale a shot to win the game in a shoot out.
Now Newbury's fight was definitely one sided, oh was it ever. Newbury was throwing his right hand like it he was chopping a tree down. The Whale pulled within one point of Bridgeport with the shootout win.
Chad Johnson stopped 41 shots and really played well especially in the shoot out where he stopped all three shot attempts. Right now actually Chad Johnson is up with the Rangers backing up Martin Biron. Lundquist is out with the flu.
The Connecticut Hall of Fame Game was truly a sight to see and correctly identified a rich hockey tradition in its inaugural class.
Brian Leetch, the kid from Cheshire who grew up playing hockey in Connecticut wore an Avon Old Farms Jersey at the first Intermission. He was also a Ranger and hoisted the Stanley Cup in the magical run the Rangers had in 1994.
Julie Chu was born in Bridgeport. I wonder if she rooted for the Sound Tigers the night before? She played for Harvard and then went on to play in three olympicscapturing three medals as well. In 150 games of international competition, Julie Chu scored 40 goals and 83 assists.
Blaine Stoughton who was the Whalers first 50 goal scorer and first 100 point scorer. He scored 205 goals for Hartford in just over 5 years here. Blaine was traded to the New York Rangers and also played a year for the New Haven Nighthawks.
Pat Verbeek who is NHL famous for being known as "The little ball of hate." Pat was involved in what may arguably be the best trade the Whalers ever made. The Whalers acquired their future Captain from the New Jersey Devils for SlyvainTurgeon, who, well wasn't so great.
Mike Liut or as most have called him; LIUUUUUTT! Mike Liut, to me is the best goalie I have ever seen in Hartford, he arguably could be the one of the best goalies in the NHL in the 80's. He led the league in shutouts in 1987. Mike Liut was one of many Whalers I remember who cried when they were traded from Hartford. He really liked playing in this city.
Ken Gernander, who has been playing and coaching in this hockey market for 15 years. Professional hockey has been in Hartford for 38 seasons and Gernander has been here for almost 40% of it. He was the Captain of the Wolf Pack when they won the Calder Cup in 2000. He is the head coach right now as the team fights to get into the playoffs. I have said if Hartford had a hockey Mount Rushmore Ken Gernander would be on it.
William E. Barnes who I didn't know much about until he was mentioned as an inductee. Howard Baldwin has said he was one of the people who brought the New England Whalers to Hartford. We owe him much on that sentence alone.
The game was against the Norfolk Admirals and every time that this Examiner has been covering the mighty Whale when they play the Admirals they lose. Well they did just that.
The Whale lost 3-1 and they were lucky it was that little. They do play the Admirals close but in the last 6 home games they are 0-5-0-1.
There was a little rebound when on Sunday the Whale traveled to Manchester New Hampshire and beat the Monarchs 5-3. They definitely have the Monarchs number they haven't lost to them this year. Wade Redden scored a bounce of the boards empty net goal that was the Captains first goal as Captain.
On Friday the Whale face Bridgeport again and they are still tied for first place. On Saturday the Whale will play the Springfield Falcons.
Before the game against the Falcons there will be a Game Seven. The final game between the Team Whale and the Team Falcons, the fan game series, will be played at 4P.M. If you would like to get tickets contact the Team Whale and Team Falcon Players Face Book site. some of your ticket proceeds will go to 'Defending the Blue Line'
On Sunday the Whale are home to face the Portland Pirates. If the Whale can make a clean sweep this home-stand they can begin to really lock down the Northeast Division. Which they must do if they want to go deep into the playoffs. The three division winners in the Eastern Conference will be the top three seeds.