Wolf Pack Weekly: Hartford Preps For Four Game Week

Tim Gettinger

The Wolf Pack continue their skid as they enter the early stages of February. The group has lost seven straight and is 29th in the American Hockey League. Ouch. Who would have thought the group would creep this low? I did not, considering the roster that was provided. As we enter this week, with four games on tap, Hartford is 19-23-3-2 for 43 points. That ranks them eighth in the Atlantic Division.

AHL

Hartford Falls After Trading Away Captain

The group is 1-7 since the captain, Cole Schneider, departed from the organization through a trade. Since the trade, the Wolf Pack have not looked the same. When you trade away one of the team’s better forwards, second in points at the time, usually the gamble may not be worth it. Well, we have the results after the trade, and the Pack’s plan has seemingly backfired.

I am not knocking on Connor Brickley because he’s a different type of player. We are comparing apples to oranges here. Chris Drury wanted grit and, unfortunately, Milwaukee won the trade, value wise. Perhaps the organization could have moved another forward for Connor Brickley.

The players and Keith McCambridge had some interesting commentary on the trade. Remarks from the group on Howlings.net regarding the trade raises eyebrows.

“I told them he was a part of our family starting from September and you hope till early June (Calder Cup Final time) you’re together as a family. I really like this group. They get along well together, and a piece of our family was taken away. I always speak from the heart to the team,” McCambridge said.

McCambridge was channeling his captain’s player role, not so much being their head coach

“I liked Cole a lot. He was a good man. I like what he represented. Now, we have to pick up the slack in a leadership void and what he brought (to the team) on the ice as well.”

Keith McCambridge

From a coach’s perspective, McCambridge sounds as if he lost one of the best forwards in the locker room, despite bumping him to the third or fourth line to kickstart his offense, which seemed to have worked.

“We’re bummed out for sure. That is the tough part of the business, and we signed up for it, and we all know the possibilities,” Holland said. “Our lives can be tossed into a blender and get traded away.”

Peter Holland

Was this the right move for the Wolf Pack? Probably not, but I will let you decide.

John Gilmour Continues To Prosper

The 25-year-old defenseman continues to make strides in Hartford. His contract is up this summer and I expect him to return. Offensively, he has found a spark and ran away with it as his offensive game continues to shine. The prospect has 36 points in 47 games played. Last season in 44 outings, he collected 26 points and in the 2016-17 season, he had 25 points. If the defenseman stays in Hartford for a majority of the season, we could see him reach as high as the 50-point range, which, for a defenseman, would be impressive.

John Gilmour is the best defenseman on the ice for the Pack on both ends of the ice. His speed allows him to easily transition from defense to offense and be able to block lanes when the opponent establishes play in Hartford’s zone. If the Rangers are looking for a call up on the blue line, I expect John Gilmour to get the call.

Injury Updates

Hartford is dealing with a few injuries or illnesses. As a result, players such as Sean Day and Zach Tolkinen are being given opportunities to play.

  • Matt Beleskey – Illness. He should return shortly.
  • Brandon Crawley – Injured. Time table for return is unknown.

Rangers Prospects In Hockey East Updates

Goaltender Tyler Wall was named Hockey East’s defensive player of the week. Congrats to the Rangers prospect for his award!

Closer to home, University of Connecticut’s goaltender, and Rangers prospect, Adam Huska is the starting goalie for the university. Despite a record of 5-11-2 with a 3.16 goals against average, he is still continuing to develop. The team in front of him has struggled this season as the group is led mainly by young freshmen. The University of Connecticut is 7-17-2, but is just 2-12-2 in Hockey East play.

Upcoming Games

The Pack has a busy week coming up. Perhaps the losing streak could get snapped this week.

Tuesday, February 5th vs Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Islanders) at 7 pm, XL Center

  • This is the final meeting in Hartford between the clubs. This is the ninth of ten meetings in the season series. The series finishes up next Saturday in Bridgeport.
  • Hartford is 4-3-1 against Bridgeport. Last season the group was 3-6-1.
  • The Sound Tigers are second in the Atlantic Division with 56 points. They are 25-17-4-2 and have won four of their last ten outings.

Friday, February 8th vs Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay) at 7:15 pm, XL Center

  • This is the first meeting between the clubs. This is a two-game season series. Hartford is in Syracuse on March 16th. Last season, the Pack split the season series with the Crunch.
  • Syracuse is 27-13-2-1 for 57 points, second in the North Division. The Crunch enter the week winning six straight.
  • Hartford is 12-9-2 at home, while Syracuse is 10-8-2 on the road.

Saturday, February 9th vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia) at 7:05 pm, PPL Center

  • Saturday begins back to back games in Allentown against the Phantoms. This game will be the fourth of six meetings in the season series. The last three meetings will be in Allentown.
  • Hartford is 2-1 against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms entering the contest. Last season, the Pack won all six games against the Phantoms.
  • The Phantoms are fourth in the Atlantic Division with 55 points. They are 25-17-3-2, and is 5-5 in their last ten outings.

Sunday, February 10th vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia) at 3:05 pm, PPL Center

  • This is the fifth of six meetings on the season series.
  • Hartford will return to Allentown on April 13th to finish the season series during the final week of the season.