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.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Whale Sweep Bridgeport, Face Tough Opponent Next

The Whale completely did the opposite of what I thought was going to happen.  By running through Bridgeport in three games the Whale made it to the second round of the AHL playoffs and now will face the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, the Norfolk Admirals.  

Even before we talk about that lets take a look at what just happened against Bridgeport.

Coach Gernander made a switch in net, by starting Cam Talbot his gamble paid off and the coach received almost seven periods of shut-out hockey. Talbot started his first playoff game,  captured his first playoff win, earned his first playoff shut out and he mirrored that performance in game two.  It's amazingly easy to pick out the series most valuable player.

The Whale were the first team into the second round of the AHL playoffs as no one jumped out to a hotter start.

The second lines and third lines really did all the punching in this past series. Kelsey Tessier,  Ryan Bourque, Jordan Owens, and Scott Tanski the guys who were the grinders all season really paid off in this series.  

Add to that new players acquired from College Junior teams. Steve Moses, Christian Thomas, and Whale playoff top goal scorer Marek Hrivik all made contributions.  Hrivik scored four goals in the series against Bridgeport, and Ryan Borque had a great series with two goals.  The Sound Tigers were eliminated were almost eliminated by the time they scored their first playoff goal.

You can read a great recap of the series here by A.I.C. sports broadcaster Seth Dussault.

Norfolk is a team that has been the big story in the AHL.  

They went on a 29 game winning streak this past season, the streak lasted 76 days.   It was an accomplishment that put the Admiral's on 'Sports Center'.  The streak lasted into the playoffs but it ended when the Manchester Monarch's won at the Scope Center in game two. 

The Whale is part of that losing streak.  On March 10 Norfolk beat the Whale 3-1 for their 14th straight win.  All four games the Whale have played against Norfolk have been losses, with one going to a shoot out.  Three of the losses to Norfolk came during that horrible 11 game losing streak in January for the Whale, but anything can happen in the playoffs.  

There will be no debating on who will start in net for the Whale.  Talbot played only once against Norfolk this year it was a 4-2 loss, and in the other three games against Norfolk Chad Johnson took the loss.  With the roster changes that have taken place its hard to say these two teams are the same when they played in the regular season.  Even the scheduling for the series is different than normal. 

The series has games one and two in Norfolk on May 2 and May 4.  

Then three games will be played in Connecticut.   Games 3 and 4 will be played at the XL Center on May 6 and May 7 and game five will be played at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport on Wednesday May 9, if necessary.

The Whale have not beaten Norfolk since February 6, 2010.  In the last 11 games the Wolf Pack/Whale are 1-11 against Norfolk.  It's hard to see the Whale beating Norfolk, just imagine the Whale beating Norfolk in Bridgeport?  Say that three times fast.

Yes, the Whale will be haunted by the Sound Tigers even in the next round.  
Why are the Whale playing a game in Bridgeport?

The circus is in town, literally and figuratively.  Ringling Brothers has brought their circus to Hartford for their 142nd Edition.  They are here Thursday May 10 through May 14 and there are eight shows in those four days.  Which means no ice time for the Whale. Even before and after the circus the XL is booked by a Michael Jackson show and a Tyler Perry show. 

Now there can be some interesting things that can happen from this rogue home playoff game in Bridgeport.  This could be a chance for the Whale to expand the fan base a little as Ranger fans are plentiful in the Bridgeport area. 

For the Hartford hockey fans that would like the NHL to return some day, theres maybe an opportunity for Howard Baldwin to talk to Charles Wang, the owner of the New York Islanders and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.  Mr. Wang had his proposal for a new arena voted down in Long Island last year.  He may be moving the team to a new city after his lease expires in 2015.  

The Whale have not beaten Norfolk since February 6, 2010.  In the last 11 games the Wolf Pack/Whale are 1-11 against Norfolk.  It's hard to see the Whale beating Norfolk, just imagine the Whale beating Norfolk in Bridgeport?  Say that three times fast.


  1. I love your blog and do hope Hartford returns to the NHL one day. Fingers crossed for 2015! BTW I find it hard to say Norfolk just once.

  2. I'm thinking if the Islanders move anywhere after 2015 it'll be Barclay's. Why would they leave their crappy arena just to go to another crappy arena? The only way there's any chance of bringing the NHL back is if we build a new arena or make crazy improvements to the XL center. As sadcity knows, getting a new arena approved would be pretty darn hard to do. Still, if that somehow happened I think Hartford would have it's pick of NHL teams to claim as their own. I say we call dibs on the Coyotes.

  3. Also, good to see Michael Jackson has recovered from death and is back touring again!

  4. Pretty sure no new arena is coming anytime soon. That said, it's obvious a few NHL teams are badly struggling and are candidates for relocation.

    Phoenix and the Islanders are obvious, but don't forget Tampa and Miami as teams that draw horrible.

  5. and Michael Jackson looked pretty dead to us since about 1995 so it hardly matters

  6. I never submitted a blog post, but it's not often you get to use this litle ditty. But who can resist after seeing Norfolk mention above ? I don't know why the author of the first post above can't say Norfolk just once, but I always say it twice when I think of the following cheer about Norfolk I heard once:


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