Author Archives: Ricky Milliner

Wolf Pack Weekly: The Playoff Push Continues!

Lias Andersson & Aleksi Saarela

Hartford skated into the All-Star break with a five-game winning streak. The group found their magic touch and continued to climb the standings. Last weekend was a thriller, with the Wolf Pack sweeping a two-game series against Charlotte, as well as defeating the Utica Comets. Four of the wins were in overtime while the lone regulation win was the last game on Saturday against Charlotte. Read more

Wolf Pack Weekly: Three Game Skid Snapped

Ryan Sproul

Hartford enters the weekend with a three-game winning streak, after snapping a three-game losing streak last Friday against Utica. All three victories were in overtime, with Filip Chytil ending the game against Utica and Vince Pedrie on Sunday against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Then, on Wednesday, Cole Schneider notched the game-winning goal against Utica. After multiple roster moves by the organization, the Wolf Pack have found life after their slump. Let’s check out what is happening in Wolf Pack world.

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Wolf Pack Weekly: Bonding on the Road

This week, the Wolf Pack began a four-game road trip.  The journey began on Wednesday night in Bridgeport against the Sound Tigers with the Pack earning a 2-1 shootout win.  Off to a good start, Hartford is attempting to find their groove after sliding down the standings.  The road trip has Hartford playing four games in six days.  Entering the weekend, Hartford has gained a few additional key players that will turn the club around.  Filip Chytil returns to action on Wednesday night against the Sound Tigers.  Vinni Lettieri also played his first game back on Wednesday.  Hartford is seventh in the Atlantic Division with a record of 15-17-3-3 for 36 points.

Roster Moves

In an unusual move, Vinni Lettieri is assigned to Hartford after a brief stint with the Rangers.  The move helps Hartford.  I expect him to be back with New York eventually, possibly as soon as this bi-week is over for the Rangers.  However, that depends on Alain Vigneault but the only reason he was assigned down in the first place was to get some games and playing time in before returning to the big club.  The forward has been the most consistent player in Hartford and was rewarded with a call-up to Broadway when Chris Kreider went down with an injury.

Filip Chytil joins Hartford after the 2018 World Junior Championships. He returned last weekend and although he’s been a bit quiet offensively since his return, he will get back in the grove and dominate offensively in time. Chris Langkow was released earlier in the week.  The ECHL forward joined Hartford on a professional tryout agreement.  Hartford needed another forward when they were depleted.  Chris Langkow played in five games, recording one goal and one assist for two points. Caleb Herbert was also released from his professional tryout agreement and rejoined the Wolf Pack’s ECHL affiliate, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits.

One Timers

  • Peter Holland has goals in two straight games. From the looks of things, he’s getting hot and he could very well be in for a lengthy point streak. You can check out a recent article about him here by John Altavilla of the Hartford Courant.
  • Anthony DeAngelo is a streaky defensive player.  Since his point streak of six games, the prospect is quieter.  Defensively his game is still strong and is improving.
  • Ryan Gropp continues to work hard.  Despite not being dominant on the score sheet, the young forward is quietly progressing.  He gets goals in bunches and is useful in the shootout.  There is plenty to like about his game.  He plays hard and makes nifty passes.  In addition, he keeps his defense simple and is able to adapt to any situation.  In 31 games, the forward has 8 goals and 3 assists for 11 points.  Measuring a prospect’s growth is not just about the points they notch.  There is more to look at.
  • Gabriel Fontaine is another young prospect that is developing quietly.  In 35 games he’s notched 6 goals, 4 assists for 10 points.  Similar to Ryan Gropp, Gabriel Fontaine has a good two-way game.  He keeps his play simple and scores in bunches.  Both forwards are growing and both have potential to become big name players on the Wolf Pack down the road.
  • Dan Catenacci returns to the lineup from injury.  Prior to playing on Wednesday, his last action was against Providence on December 8th.  He is a good depth center to have.  In addition, Dan Catenacci plays with grit and is not afraid to get in the dirty areas.
  • Marek Mazanec stole the show against Bridgeport.  He stops 46 of 47 shots in the game.  He also stops all three Bridgeport shooters in the shootout.  He is a great pickup.  Well done by Chris Drury and the Rangers.

Upcoming Games

Friday, January 12th vs Laval Rocket (Montreal) at 7:30 pm,  Place Bell

  • Peter Holland returns to Place Bell since his trade.  The Wolf Pack will also see ex-Ranger Adam Cracknell in a Rocket uniform. They are fifth in the North Division with a record of 15-17-5-2, similar to Hartford.  This is the final meeting between both clubs as Hartford plays them twice.  Last time out, the Wolf Pack lost in overtime at the XL Center on November 12th in the first meeting with Laval.

Saturday, January 13th vs Belleville Senators (Ottawa) at 7:00 pm, Yardmen Arena

  • The second and final meeting of the season against the Senators.  Hartford lost the first game in the season series at home 5-1 on October 20th.  Belleville is sixth in the North Division with a record of 15-20-0-3.  The club is 4-6 in the last ten games.

Monday, January 15th vs Springfield Thunderbirds (Florida) at 1:05 pm, Mass Mutual Center

  • The last game of the road trip for Hartford.  Springfield is 5-4-0-1 in the last ten games.  They are below Hartford in the Atlantic Division for eighth.  This is the ninth meeting with Springfield out of twelve games.  The Thunderbirds have lost the last three of four games as well.

John Gilmour Selected for AHL All-Star Classic

The American Hockey League have announced the roster for the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic that will take place in Utica, NY on January 28th and 29th.  The Hartford Wolf Pack will be represented by second year pro John Gilmour!  A well deserved recognition for the young defenseman.  In addition, former Rangers Brandon Pirri and Matt Puempel were selected as well by the league.  Chris Bourque, who is now a United States Olympian for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea, was selected as well and was a former Pack player.
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Wolf Pack Weekly: Point Streak to Losing Streak

This upcoming weekend features a three in three for the Wolf Pack. Unfortunately, the club lost three straight after going on a nine-game point streak. In their recent three game losing streak, the Pack gave up five goals. The offense has gone cold while the defense has turned into a hot mess. Entering the weekend, Hartford is ranked seventh in the Atlantic Division with a record of 13-15-3-3 for 32 points (a .471 point percentage).

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Wolf Pack Weekly: Hartford Progressing Since Roster Moves

Another weekend means another opportunity to collect wins.  Last weekend, the Wolf Pack went 2-0-1.  They lost in a shootout to Providence on Friday, 4-3 and Saturday started a two game winning streak as Hartford defeated Rochester in the shootout, 3-2 and Springfield in regulation 5-3.  That’s five of six points and the team really impressed me with the way they played. The Wolf Pack has recently made some roster changes and that’s slowly been translating to better results with time. Coming into this weekend, Hartford is 10-12-3-2 for 25 points in the Atlantic Division.  They are ranked seventh in the division with a point percentage of .463.  However, they continue to not be far off from first in the division.  Eleven points separate the seventh spot and first.  Hartford has notched points in five straight games as well. Read more

Wolf Pack Weekly: Hartford Shakeup Leads to Optimism

Last weekend was a busy one for the club.  There were a couple of roster moves to improve the roster. Hartford last weekend was struggling.  However, they broke out of their slump and played better as the week went on.  Entering into this week, I am still optimistic for the club. Standings wise, the club is 7th in the Atlantic Division. Let’s not get worried. The first place team, the Wilkes-Barre-Scranton Penguins are ahead of Hartford by eight points. The division is close. The top four of each division reach the playoffs.  The club has work to do, but they are not far out.  The season still young entering December.  Let’s check out a few updates as Hartford prepares for another weekend. Read more

Wolf Pack Weekly: Pack Slumping Through Mid-November

Zach Sill & Tony DeAngelo

Last weekend was rough for the Wolf Pack. The club dropped all three games and struggled on both sides of the puck. This is their first big slump of the season and they experienced their first blowout of the season as well on Friday night against Bridgeport, losing 7-3. It will be interesting to see how they respond this upcoming week. The club last season did not respond well to slumps and they now have their work cut out for themselves. The team is currently 7-11-2-1, seventh in the Atlantic Division, with a point percentage of .405.
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