Wolf Pack Watch: A fine start for the team, Kravtsov scratch, Chytil and Shesterkin updates
The Pack came into this season with a new coaching staff and players and so far it’s been a good start. The Wolf Pack built a 2-0 record after defeating the Charlotte Checkers 5-4, then the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 4-3 (overtime win). The roster has a good mix of players after seeing the team perform in the first back to back games of the season. Of course there’s room for improvements, but there is nothing concerning at this moment. Let’s get down to business on the latest in Hartford with the future Rangers.
The Hot Topic: Vitali Kravtsov Scratched?!
This was the talk of the fan base Sunday and into the upcoming week when Hartford’s management elected to scratch an up and coming forward, Vitali Kravtsov.
You may wonder why that has happened. To start, there are a few areas to address. The scratching of the prospect does not mean a call up is earned, or the Wolf Pack coaching staff giving up on him. The prospect is fairly young and he has learning to do on ice.
Saturday’s performance of the Russian forward was quiet. He was on the ice periodically in the beginning of the game, then eventually found himself benched in the third. He was not showcasing his talents and seemed to struggle. Mistakes happen, but the prospect was unable to find his game and became frustrated it seems.
Sunday came and he did not skate for the warmups sitting as a healthy scratch. Afterwards, there are a few interesting remarks regarding the situation.
“Do people really think that the Rangers weren’t consulted before Kravtsov was scratched? In any case, this is hardly the first time that a first-rounder has been a scratch. Happens now and then around the AHL. Same as any other league. If you don’t play well, you don’t play.”
“The other thing is that this isn’t the AHL from back in the day. Just about every NHL organization has loaded up their affiliates with first- and second-rounders. It has morphed into something of a graduate-level CHL/NCAA league. If you’re not ready, it’s going to show.”Patrick Williams
Vitali Kravtsov has to be prepared to play in the AHL. He has to battle hard, especially in practice. We all know his high ceiling potential. We have to build the foundation for him in Hartford so he could excel and eventually be a solid long-term forward for the Rangers.
Do not worry, he will be fine once he gets his feet wet and adjusted to the AHL. Keep in mind that he has to adjust to the North American rink size, which can throw off plenty of European players. Development takes time and patience.
Filip Chytil Performance
The young forward struggled periodically on Saturday night. He also had a quiet night in Hartford. He seemed to be slower to the puck and did not have many opportunities. However, Sunday was a different story for the prized prospect. Chytil earned himself two assists to help Hartford win against Bridgeport. Both games he was put as a center and did well with draws. Unfortunately, I cannot get his exact face-off stats as the AHL does not release all hockey information to the public. I have a feeling he will start lighting up the league shortly, as he found a spark as a centerman winning draws and producing.
A Look At Goalies
In his North American debut on Saturday, Igor Shesterkin stopped 26 of 29 shots against Charlotte. The goals he gave up were tough ones, but he recovered and bounced back well. The prospect had quite a few impressive saves and is extremely flexible. I am looking forward to seeing him play this upcoming weekend.
Huska beat Tom McCollum for a spot in Hartford. His comfort in net is noticeable compared to last season, where he was struggling. He has the right mindset, but still has a while for development. There are a few improvements in the game, however, struggled periodically. He got the win despite giving up a penalty shot earlier in the game.
Let’s take a look at a few goals from this past weekend that you have to see. Hartford produced 9 goals in two games.
Let’s begin with Ryan Lindgren’s tally. It was a beauty!!
Here’s a look at Joey Keane’s first pro goal in the AHL.
- Vinni Lettieri collected two goals and one assist for 3 points over the weekend.
- Danny O’Regan had three assists on Saturday.
- Matt Beleskey had a great game Saturday with his two goals. He was looking for his hat trick. He was unable to pull it off. He was more defensive on Sunday.
- Joey Keane has goals in back to back games.
- Sean Day had one goal, one assist on Sunday.
- Vincent LoVerde had a two point performance on Saturday with one goal and one assist.
- Filip Chytil had two assists on Sunday.
- Steven Fogarty and Gabriel Fontaine recorded an assist in each game.
- Four players on the roster has yet to record a point, excluding the goalies and the newly acquired defenseman, Nick Ebert. The four players are: Vitali Kravtsov, Ville Meskanen, Mason Geertsen, and Darren Raddysh.
First Transaction Of The Season
After the Rangers trade on Monday, the Wolf Pack completed a transaction on Tuesday to accommodate defenseman Nick Ebert. He joins Hartford from the Belleville Senators.
As a result, Brandon Crawley was reassigned to the Maine Mariners of the ECHL. Hartford is still carrying 8 defenseman after the roster moves.
Track The Pack
Be sure to check these links out for additional coverage of Wolf Pack hockey:
- Radio: Mixr (Home Games Only, Limited Coverage Away)
- Watching: AHLTV (Good for computers, smart phones, Roku, Android TV, Amazon Fire, and Apple TV)
- Live Game Updates: Follow my coverage here. (Twitter)
Hartford continues their 5 game homestand with two games on the docket this weekend. This is the second back to back games of the season.
Saturday, October 12th vs Springfield Thunderbirds (Florida) at 7:30pm, XL Center
- The first of ten meetings against the closest rivals. Last season, Hartford dropped the season series 4-6.
- Springfield’s Paul Thompson is suspended two games due to his actions against Bridgeport last Saturday (illegal check to the head). The rugged veteran gave Hartford fits last season on the score sheet and penalty sheet.
- Springfield enters the weekend with a record of 1-1.
- Hartford enters the weekend 2-0 and tied for first with Providence.
Sunday, October 13th vs Rochester Americans (Buffalo) at 3pm, XL Center
- This is the first of two meetings against Rochester. After Sunday, Hartford is in Rochester on November 22nd. Last season, Hartford split the series 2-2.
- The league reduced two games in the series. The extra two games goes with the Rocket de Laval.
- This is the first meeting with a team from the North Division this season. Rochester’s only game was on October 4th against Syracuse. The Americans won the game in overtime, 3-2.
- This is the second of three Sunday home games for Hartford. The Wolf Pack play a total of ten games on Sundays throughout the season.