Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wolves drink from sweet silver, Wilkes Barre Pens take to the Links

Last night the Chicago Wolves put the 2008 Calder Cup series to bed winning game 6, 5:3 in close intensive play. Jason Krog named Series MVP scored his second hat trick of the series showing just why he was named the winner of the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy.

I will refer readers to my partner in crime and hockey, Patrikc Kissane at "Sit Down and Shut Up" linkage at right for an in depth analysis of the game I'll just give you the visuals...


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Wilkes Brarre Roars Back Series Tightens With Pens Win!


Last night history was made in the hills of Pennsylvania, the WBS Penguins came back from a 3:1 deficit and essentially restarted the series. This morning they will pack their bags board a plane for the second time this season and fly to Chicago to prepare for game 6. You can't help but be impressed by the tenacity of a team like that can come back like that, they played with greater heart last night and that is what in the end carries the day in the finals.

Last night Brian Pochmara did make a few calls, 28 minutes with 10 infractions for Chicago, 6 minutes and 3 infractions for WBS. Wolves columnist Timmy the Heckler has a mantra "good teams overcome bad officiating". In general I concur,, but it wasn't the case last night. Yes, the lopsided penalties did effect the game however the deciding factor was that the Pens simply out played the Wolves. As I see it the end of the game occurred at 6:35 in the third frame when on one of the three precious PP two of the WBS players did not have sticks, the PP ended without a goal. The air went out of the Wolves tires and the rest as they say is history. So we go on to a game 6....

Saturday, June 7, 2008

90 minutes until the puck drops...Will Wilkes Brarre take a second Win?

There was joy a plenty in Mudville last night. Local hero and goalie mighty Curry far from struck out, with the score a tenuous 3:2 he hung on and denied the Wolves over time. In short the Wilkes Brarre Penguins tasted victory for the first time in the Calder Cup Finals.

The game was not without it's controversies, first referee Dean Morton awarded Chicago 28 minutes for 10 infractions, Wilkes Brarre-Scranton 14 minutes for 7 infractions. Possibly a bit lopsided, however worth nothing more than a raised eyebrow. But it is worth mentioning with 4 minutes left in the game Chicago Center Andre Deveaux was again singled out when he was cross checked into the glass by WBS Ryan Stone and lay on the ice motionless for by my count 20 seconds. Referee Dean Morton had a clear sight line 1/2 way to the blue line, on the same side of the ice. Maybe his head was turned, his attention was else where, however as Deveaux was within a few feet of the puck the lack of a call is is glaring. Andre Deveaux did not return to action for the rest of the game. Tonight Brian Pochmara will be the main man in stripes, in the best of all possible worlds Candide, Dave Andrews would open his wallet and spring for another referee to partner him on the ice. Well, we can live in hope.

This morning my favorite collegiate nettie Larissa Gazinski and her mother Kristine called from Wilkes Brarre with the local news. They report it is hot, hot, hot with a lack of air conditioning in the local hotel rooms. Ouch! The crowds at the Wachovia Center largely have been knowledgeable and friendly with the expected idiots mixed in. Most of the local fans seemed to think the series was over as the game started last night. With many of the numbered 6718 fans coming dressed as blue seats. Yet as the game wore on these same depressed fans created such a din my friends "ears were still ringing" from all the noise. Now that's the 7th man I have heard so much about! They had to cut their conversation short as they had to check out this morning. It seems all the visitors including the Wolves will be leaving right after the game, all hotel rooms in WSB and Scranton are going to be filled with NASCAR fans and a local event. Hope they like it hot.

Lastly on a personal note a Wilkes Brarre-Scranton journalist and blogger Jonathan Bombulie is reporting that he is the last " professional hockey beat writers in North America who covered a game on opening night in October and are still covering games on June 7. Go me. (Thanks for the plug, Mike)." Woops, hate to burst your bubble Johnathan but there are at least two other hockey beat writers still standing. Kissaine and I cover our favorite sport as you all know for the as well as our own blogs. Do I need to mention that our season started for the last two years in September at the Redwings Rookie Tournament and not at an opening game in the middle of October? Ah, the pond is much bigger than the east and those that cover it, wake up and smell the West boys!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Will the Pens take one for pride?

It's 3:30 am, 80 degrees and we are looking at a day of thunderstorms, probably starting within the hour. Good thing the team is in WBS. Somehow I don't think the Baby Pens will go down tonight, those guys will win one for pride then hit the showers in game 5. Chicago takes home the cup on Saturday.

Another prediction, its going to be nasty.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Penguins out on the ice flow...Wolves lead the Calder Cup series 3:0

The Wilkes Brarre -Scranton Penguins came out strong scoring the first goal in last nights game. Center Kevin McLean found the hole in Ondrej Pavelec's leather for first blood at 10:44. . It proved to be their best effort of 60 minutes. Soon afterword the parade of Chicago goals would begin. Second period, Joel Kwikowski (5:39), Jesse Schultz (8:20, 13:38), Jordan Lavalle (14:32) and at 16:38 rookies Matt Anderson and assisted by Gui Desbiens and veteran Brian Sipotz all three their first of the playoffs. Third period, saw a new WBS goalie, David Smith but no change in karma. Again a rookie, Mike Hamilton, found the net at 10:01. Leaving the final score at 6:1, there was no joy in Mudville.

Possibly the most shocking observation made about the entire game was the way the arena cleared out during the third period. By the end on the game the original crowd numbered at 6419 looked down to 1/3 it's original count. As a life long fan I know it is painful to see your team inundated in a playoff game but a bit of stamina is required of a true fan, hockey or otherwise. In other words, stand by your team!

We will see what tomorrows game will bring, a Wolves win will yield a short series of 4 games. Probably a bit of a rough one, let's hope the AHL sends it's best on ice crew to manage the fun.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Chicago Wolves ahead by 2 games, on to Wilkes Brarre!

Tonight the Chicago Wolves did what they needed to do, played disciplined hard hitting hockey for 60 minutes and did their best to stay out of the penalty box. However with Dean Morton's work tonight in stripes that task was easier than it usually is for the physical Wolves and Penguins. I could site several examples of missed calls by either team however the obvious example was when Pens Captain Nathan Smith while resting between shifts on the Pens bench, punched Wolves center Andre Deveaux in the face as he was pushed into the Pens bench by one of his players. The incident was" unseen" by all of the on ice officials, yet caught easily by the camera. No call was made, leading to speculation for the rest of the game just what form retaliation would take.

At the risk of homerism one could only call an act such as this at best "undisciplined hockey". At worst, a serious breech of the unwritten code that is the system of checks and balances that has governed on ice behavior for generations. There were other fouls that went uncalled on both sides . Each non call adding to the tension between these teams. The time has more than come for the AHL to take note, Dave Andrews CEO of the AHL was in house last night to see the system of one referee in all of it's glory. To quote one Wolves fan after the game" As long as the AHL only has one ref, we will always be a bus league". I couldn't have put it better myself, Gracie.

Besides uncalled penalties other exciting things happened on the ice. Daryen Haydar scored two goals during the first period putting him in the record books as the AHL all time leading scorer. Bravo Daryn, it took years hard work to get there. nothing could top your name in the record book except maybe getting a Calder cup ring.

Due to the distance between Chicago and Wilkes Brarre the next three games will be played in Pennesvanlia. Wedensdays referre will be Francois ST Laurent. We can hope a French coonnection has the ability to bilocate and keep things under control.