Wolf Pack Weekly: Fresh From Break, Hartford Has Lots To Do

Libor Hajek

As we gear back up for the second half of the American Hockey League Season in Hartford, the Wolf Pack are in familiar territory, which unfortunately is at the bottom of the standings. The unthinkable has happened again as the club slipped up in too many games that were winnable. As a result, Keith McCambridge’s young crew slips to 19-21-3-2 for 43 points. That ranks Hartford 8th in the Atlantic Division and 15th in the Eastern Conference. The group resumes practice on Thursday after the American Hockey League All-Star break, which began last Sunday. The Pack will have two games this weekend in attempt to snap a five game skid (0-4-1).


What Has Happened?!

Over the past couple of season, the Wolf Pack have not fared well in the standings around this time of the year. Each season has a different storyline. In each of the previous years, Hartford is simply not good enough. Looking at this year’s issue, it is always the lack of consistency. Numerous times I have written about the young core needing to find consistency in the league. I know they can play well, as I have seen it numerous times this season. Then there are games where they throw away a contest that was winnable. Keith McCambridge has had a hard time getting his troops to provide consistency in their game. As the season has progressed, the team hasn’t found an identity, except be known for a team that opponents can handle.

Chris Drury has work to do if he wants Hartford to have a winning culture again. The Pack hasn’t made the playoffs in five of the last six seasons. Unfortunately, as we look ahead this season, that number will likely increase to six out of seven missed playoffs. Currently, the Wolf Pack are eight points from a playoff spot. That is a steep hill to climb, considering the teams they have to leap frog.

If the team wants to salvage the season, then the boys must go on a lengthy winning streak. To put this into perspective, the Providence Bruins were behind Hartford for most of the season. As the Bruins enter this week, they are now fourth in the division for 51 points. The group that was struggling found a spark and then ran away with it. It’s not impossible to get on a roll, but for this crew, if they have consistency, then they can fight upwards in the standings.

Having the future Rangers developing in a losing culture over seasons will catch up to the organization. Superior homegrown development must take place if the Rangers are going to have a winning organization from the bottom up.

John Gilmour’s AHL All-Star Appearance

Prospect John Gilmour had himself a night on Monday during the All-Star Games. After completing each game, the defenseman found himself notching a hat trick. Who would have knew this would happen?!? Let’s take a look back at his moves. Boy, they were impressive.

The first goal was an empty netter. His second tally was a quick release after a beautiful pass, and the third goal was just impressive. More information regarding the AHL All-Star festivities will be featured shortly on another upcoming article, so stay tuned!

One Timers

  • After registering points almost nightly, Hartford’s top veteran Peter Holland has slowed down in the past few weeks. In the last five contests, he has registered just one assist. I expect his offensive production to increase once he finds his spark once again.
  • John Gilmour continues his production on the blue line. The defenseman has points in five of his last eight outings for a total of nine points.
  • Steven Fogarty has points in three straight games.
  • Vinni Lettieri continues to produce consistently for Hartford. Nightly, his offensive generates good opportunties. In his 26 games played, he’s been held off the scoresheet nine times. That’s impressive for the prospect.
  • Sean Day notched his first pro point with Hartford last Wednesday against the Springfield Thunderbirds.

Roster Move

The Wolf Pack signed forward Zach Tolkinen to a PTO from the organization’s ECHL affiliate, the Maine Mariners. In 33 games for Maine, Tolkinen has registered 12 points (G, 11A).

Alexandar Georgiev’s Stint in Hartford

Despite the Rangers prospect playing backup in New York, Alexandar Georgiev hasn’t performed so well in Hartford. The prospect’s record is 2-9 with a 3.66 GAA and a .883 SV%. Keith McCambridge was not impressed with his playing as of late when he was assigned to the Pack. Considering him as the backup goalie in New York, perhaps playing in Hartford does not mean much for the goaltender. Since he earned the spot already, he could have played with less emphasis in Hartford knowing he will be up again. Another possibility is that he is afraid of getting injured while assigned in the AHL. Who knows, but this is a unique situation

Upcoming Games

This weekend will feature light travel for the club.

Friday, February 1st vs Springfield Thunderbirds (Florida) at 7:05pm, Mass Mutual Center

  • This is the sixth of ten meetings in the season series. Hartford lost two straight against Springfield on January 19th (3-0) and January 23rd (7-4). The Pack is 2-3 in the five games played.
  • This is the second meeting in Springfield this season. The first meeting away from Hartford was on October 28th as the Pack dropped a 6-2 decision.
  • Springfield enters the week fifth in the Atlantic Division with a record of 20-16-6 for 50 points. Hartford is seven points behind the Thunderbirds.
  • Springfield has lost two straight while Hartford has lost five straight.

Saturday, February 2nd vs Rochester Americans (Buffalo) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the final meeting in the season series against Rochester. Hartford is 2-1 in the season series. The Pack swept both games in Rochester on December 21st and 22nd.
  • Rochester is first in the North Division with a record of 26-13-3-1 for 56 points. The Americans enter the week on a streak of 4-0-1-1. The club has points in six straight.
  • Hartford went 3-1 in the season series in the 2017-18 season. Hartford hopes to match that effort on Saturday.
  • Starting on Saturday, the Pack are home for nine of their next 14 games.

Ricky Milliner is a Hartford Wolf Pack season ticket holder. While growing up, he discovered hockey by attending a... More about Ricky Milliner

Mentioned in this article:

More About: