Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Morning, at Tim is good.

It's early on this last day of Thanksgiving weekend and being of the religious persuasion, I rose at the crack of dawn and drove to Tim Horton's for a cup of coffee and a pair of Tim Bits's 20's for the ride home. One for us and one for WK the penalty time keeper for the Wolves. The last time he had a box of Timmies the Wolves won so it has become a bit of a tradition to bring Timmies home when on the road. I tell the earnest young man behind the counter the destination of one of the boxes of Bit's and I don't think he believes me until I empty the box of the Timmies into a zip lock bag for the ride home. Then the moment comes, the XL coffee with cream and 4 Splenda is placed in my hand and it is to the table I go to enjoy what is arguably the finest and freshest cup of coffee in the world, OK, North America.

It has been four days since Kissane and I packed up the van had headed to Rochester to see the family on Wed for a weekend of turkey, family stories and not much hockey. Quite a change for us, although my niece Kristine did tell us about a league goalie she knew from Qswego State who's big mojo was to tape his stick in the nude in the locker room before games-TMI ! I did manage to catch a period of the Amerks-Manchester game on TV Thursday night. For a team that supposedly is in at the bottom they looked pretty good. Friday against Lake Erie they looked even better winning despite Karl Stewart , bless his heart getting a tripping penalty at the wrong time giving Cleveland a two man advantage. Rochester Goalie Chris Beckford -Tsu managed to stand on his head for two minutes and save the day. Something many of us can remember him doing from his time in Peoria.

My cup grows empty and I promised the family I would be back in an hour to have a last meal, pack the van and be on the road early as the weather forecast has bad tidings along the Great Lakes. With luck WK will have his box of Tim Bits at 3:00 at today's game, be nice to him and he just may give you one. Mine will be long gone by noon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Manchester Moncharchs come to Chicago, King them!

Last night the hockey action in the Allstate Arena turned ugly. The Manchester Monarchs came to town and dominated the Chicago Wolves from the opening puck drop, winning 7:2. Scoring twice on PP and one shortie, it was obvious they had come out to play hard against a team they hoped to see later in the year, possibly the Calder Cup finals. It was not Chicago goalie Dan Turple's night to shine, Coach Don Granato pulled him at 15:04 in the second and put crowd favorite Robert Gherson in place between the pipes. It would not be his karma to escape the Manchester front line as Scott Parce and Marty Murray would drill the final two goals in under his watch.

Manchester's 5th goal was scored by a familiar face from a favorite place, Justin Azevedo. At 5'7" and 183 pounds this W. Lorne Ontario native and Kitchner Ranger (04'-08') strutted his stuff as an Atlanta invitee at the Red Wing Rookie Tournament in Traverse City in 06'. Even as a 17 year old he was aggressive in a face off and in front of the net. It was a pleasure to see him on ice again, all be it in a uniform with a Kings crest on it.


The boys can shake off the loss with a holiday tomorrow. They board the team buss for Grand Rapids and the Griffs on Friday. No Black Friday shopping for you boys!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wolves Send Grand Rapids Packing3:6

The Wolves old and dear rivals the Grand Rapids were in town last night for a rare inter divisional game. Once upon a time Grand Rapids and the Wolves were the biggest of rivals. However since the redrawing of divisional lines years ago these two old rivals now see each other twice a year and the old feelings see more like old flames meeting at a bus stop rather than the regular brawls on ice of old. This time as old friends met it was the Wolves who shelled the Griffins goalies out of the net and sent them home packing 6:3. Her are some images of the game:


Thursday, November 20, 2008

More Zebras needed!

Ex- Wolf enforcer Andre Deveaux and current Tronto Marlie has received a 5 game suspension for his actions in a game last weekend against the Manitoba Moose.

As the event has been described Deveaux delivered a resounding but clean hit to Moose Nolan Bamgartner drilling him into the boards in font of the Manitoba bench. What happened next is what the suspension was given for, after the hit Deveaux has been described as "kneeing" Bamgartner as he lay on the ice, knocking his helmet off and kicking him in the face. Although he was able to return to the game Bamgartner suffered cuts to his face. Deveaux was given 2 minutes in the box for a roughing minor by referee Kyle Rehnar. Marlie coach Greg Gilbert wisely decided not to ice his enforcer for the remainder of the game.

Just as concerning as the hit and possible injury to the player involved is the speculation that the light penalty dealt on the ice is due to refree Kyle Rehnar not having a clear view of the incident. Again this brings up the argument for a second referee in the AHL. Until the league ponys up the cost for a second referee just like the big show it will be relegated to a bus league where incidents like this can continue to give the AHL it's often deserved "Slap Shot" reputation. Yes the AHL is the proving ground for coaches, players and refrees. It is past time for the standard of rules enforcement to be the same for the AHL as the NHL. If this truley is a devlopemental league, take devlopement seriously in all fcets of the game including the zebra herd.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Syracuse Crunch downs Wolves 4:2

I admit it when I'm wrong, the Wolves lost to the Crunch last night but, not only were they not spanked they notched two count em' two power play goals. Joe Motzko at 2:01 in the first period and Joey Crabb at 15:45 in the second. Showing the light at the end of the tunnel may not be a train for Chicago. However not to belabor the point both our young goalies need more of a back up, until these guys find their confidence the more experienced defence has to take it up several levels. Last night Robert Gherson looked decidedly lonely in the defensive zone as the water bottle popped and the light went on. He doesn't need his hand held but defence is a three man line.

Penalties last night were lopsided Kerry Fraser's son Ryan (14) was referee, Derek Sylvester and Jeff Walker served as linesmen. Chicago was tagged for 40 min/12 inf and Syracuse 20 min/10 inf. .Game tapes show an excited Chicago Coach Don Granato discussing the penalty to Syracuse center Nikota Filatov at 20:00 for elbowing with Fraser. Obviously something prompted the usually cool Granato to express himself passionately to the officiating staff at 20:00 in the third. It will be interesting to see if there is any footage of what caused the "elbowing" call and the ensuing exchange between coach and on ice officials.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

How bad is the Chicago Wolves Power Play? Its so bad....


The Chicago Wolves Power Play is so bad they almost lost to the Rochester Americans a 2/11 team by going 0/6 on the PP in a SHOOT OUT.

It is time to look at the game plan here, something is very wrong.

The Syracuse Crunch now second the North (10/3) will not be so kind tonight this may be the outcome.

Hello is anyone else out there that has an idea how much the Wolves PP is lacking?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ondrej Pavlec- He there another shoe to drop?

Almost as I posted the last blog, Ondrej Pavlec was packing his bag. Not for the Rochester/Syracuse road trip this weekend but for a move south. It looks like Robert Gherson and Dan Turple will man the nets for the trip to the Flower city and Central New York . This not so much a surprise move by Atlanta begs two questions, what's going on with Lehtonen and how much for the Finn in the window? Atlanta is heavy in the net with prime talent and there is a sent of a trade in the southern breeze.

Powderhornhockey will do it's best to keep you posted in the revolving nettie doors between Chicago and Atlanta. This isn't as bad as 05' when they were on the verge of dressing a walk on from the boosters but the Wolves may get there yet. Minor league hockey, there is nothing like it in the world is there?

Monday, November 10, 2008

More revolving doors...

Don't get stuck in the revolving door guys! There are a few Wolves comings and goings I have been remiss on reporting. First and foremost Blueliner Boris Valibak has been called up and a long time coming it is too. As much as I hate to see the Wolves "Excitable Boy" leave for warmer climates he deserves the shot at the big show and I hope he sticks.

Brett Sterling AKA Sterls is back. The biggest theory circulating is that Atlanta is heavy on forwards. So they are,but it seems hard to believe that their isn't room for this scoring machine. Welcome back to Chicago Brett, you are appreciated here.

Ondrej Pavelec is back! Although Dan Turple and Robert Gherson did a good job keeping the ship afloat without the Wolves main nettie, it's good to have him back. There were a few too nervy moments for most fans liking without Pavs. Although seeing Gherson win in a shoot out yesterday in Manchester is a bodes well for the future, for we will loose the blue eyed boy Pavelec to Atlanta someday.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Wolves Split Weekend series in Iowa, Tale of Three Goalies.

Halloween night the Wolves found themselves deep in the Iowa cornfields facing the rechristened Iowa Chops, the jokes about there name quickly stopped as the farm boys beat the Wolves 2: 1 in their first meeting of the season. Basic stats for the game are SOG for each team 28, PIMs Iowa 6 min/4 inf, Chicago 12 min/6 inf.

Saturday morning the Wolves woke with wishes for a change in fortune, they got what they wanted, goalie Ondrej Pavelec was called up to Atlanta to back strengthen the bench while Kari Lethenon recovers from a rumored "illness". Chicago's back up goalie Dan Turple would be between the pipes in Iowa for the night.

The bottom line is that in his first outing as a Wolves goalie Dan Turple did well, turning away 21 SOG, good enough for a 3:1 victory. Tonight back home in Rosemont the decision will be by Coach Granato to start Robert Gherson , last years back up or stick with Turple's hot hand.

Dan Turple has been with the Atlanta system for three years spending most of his time as the primary goalie with the Wolves farm team in Georgia. His previous service with the Wolves was as a back up to Fred Brathwaite in 2007 for the Hamilton series where although dressed did not see ice time.

Robert Gherson was a diamond in the rough that seemed to come out of nowhere last year in most fans eyes. He played a few games, always dressed and was a consistent positive force on the team. You could see him on the bench talking to other players. At the end of each game Gherson was shaking hands and high fiveing each player at the tunnel. Although not often on the ice his value on the team seemed to be else where and obvious. It will be interesting to see how his star rises with Pavelec out of town.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

1st place Belfast Giants fall to 9th place Hull Stingrays 6:3

It was not a good night to be a Giants fan in Belfast. Admittedly I was only able to join the game for the third period after what was described as a lack luster performance by the home team by the webcast announcers. The first place Giants needed to come out for the last period breathing fire and although they tried a few key mistakes sealed their fate for this Saturday night game. Goal five for the Stingrays was simply theirs for the taking, Giants, you just can't hang your goalie to to dry like that, a man needs some company in the defensive zone. The sixth was an ugly empty netter in the last seconds that sent the Giants back to the showers with heads hung low .

My guess the Belfast boys will be off to an early bed tonight and up for a Captain's practice first thing in the morning. Things will be back on course next game, player coach Steve Thorton likes to keep his Giants winning.

We miss you Stewie, our favorite agitator!

It's Saturday morning and as usual I'm at the computer catching up on the weeks photo editing. I have to admit to somewhat enjoying this tedious process. For often ideas come at me when I search through all the photos and sort them one by one, ultimately tossing a thousand or so a week into the trash bin. Today when editing last Sunday's Icehog game photos of Evan Brophy reminded me of a favorite Wolf from years ago. Brophy was yapping at the bench and as he was skating by and at his opposite when he was lining up during face, offs all classic Karl Stewart moves.

For those new to the Wolves or reading this blog Karl Stewart was a LW who played for the Wolves from 2003-06' he played with the spirit of a pond hockey player with clearly on his face. You could see his love for the game in every stride he took on the ice and it was a pleasure to watch him, When he returns to Chicago ice on February 11th with his new team the Rochester Amerks I pray this elan has not been diminished by his two years in the NHL. But there was something else about him, Stewie was pure trouble, an agitator on the ice, all yap his mouth moving all the time. Skating by the opposition bench, stealing the goalies water bottle and squirting himself down in celebration after a goal. He could make us laugh, cheer after one of his many goals and stop our hearts with a break a way that seemed to come from nowhere. No saint on the ice he often seemed to have a target on his back as far as the officiating staff were concerned and often was one of the leaders of the team in PIMs. In essence he was our bad boy and we loved our Stewie for it!

Since Stewart left the team in 06' the Wolves have lacked an adjator and it has seemed to be a missing element in the mix somehow. Yes, Boris Valibik does his best but he doesn't quite have the pure spice of the classic yappers. As the shopping season starts and trade rumors abound in the AHL please Kevin Cheveldayoff find the Wolves a good old fashioned yippy yapper, a nice small dog with lots of fight in him who can drive the other team to distraction . You know the one, he's the guy that reminds you of Spike, the poodle next door!