The Wolf Pack's head coach was a replacement guest on the Hawk's Nest pre-game show. ESPN's Linda Cohn was the scheduled guest but she unfortunately had to cancel the day before due to a recent injury she suffered. Earlier Friday morning she was also scheduled to dress in her goalie gear and take some shots at a Wolf Pack morning practice. I hope she feels better and is up to coming back because it would be interesting to get her insight on who has the team's best, fast and hardest shot.
Coach Gernander has a reputation from the fan base of being pretty calm on the bench most of the time. He is different then most coaches you see in sports. You can tell what many coaches are feeling or thinking because they are very demonstrative.
Coach Gernander appears to not be anything like that. He always appears to keep his cool on the bench and stay focused on the game. He was no different up in the Hawk's Nest. Every question asked of Gernander was met with an answer that was calculated, well though out and without a moment of pause in response. In short, Coach knows his stuff.
I asked Coach if the roster adjustments in mid-January of this past year had an impact on the teams play this year as they have been 17-10 since those roster adjustments. He answered and gave specifics that included the entire roster. He started explaining about the team and its youth on the roster at the beginning of the season, that was a challenge. The issues with defense were brought up. He explained how Dylan McIlrath, was the teams' only returning defenseman and McIlrath only had 40 games of experience at the AHL level. The defensive core needed to learn to play together. He spoke about the European players, like Jesper Fast, and how some of them had to adjust to North American hockey. When speaking about the goaltenders on the roster this season he talked about how Jason Missaen and Scott Stajcer just were not ready to play full time at the AHL level. Their adjustment was to go out and get Dov Grumet Morris.
Gernander was also asked about the goaltending situation in the near future. Mackenzie Skapski was brought up by Bob Crawford who is host of the Hawk's Nest. Skapski is playing well in the WHL but may still be a season or two away. Gernander gave away no secrets as to whether the Pack will keep Dov Grumet Morris or David Lenevue for next season. The pair of veteran goal tenders will finish out the season here in Hartford and then the team will do its evaluations over the summer on whether to resign, release, or make a call up for a different goalie.
This is Grumet Morris's second stint in Hartford. He was released after the end of the 2010-2011 season when the team was the Connecticut Whale. At the time the Rangers had Chad Johnson and Cam Talbot and there was no room for Grumet Morris on the roster. It would be great to have Grumet Morris back in Hartford next year. It may be possible if the Greenville goalies are not ready for the AHL and we know that the Rangers are set with Henrik Lundqvist, who is in the first year of a seven year deal, and Talbot who has earned a back up position with solid play at the NHL level this season.
After the Hawk's Nest there was a Hartford hockey game to play.
The game unfortunately did not reflect the dire urgency of the playoff situation the Wolf Pack were in. The Falcons poured on a 3-0 lead and took it into the third period. Darrel Powe at least got the Pack on the board in the third period but that goal was only meat to a sandwich of a pair of three goals as the Falcons increased their lead to 6-1.
That was it, the final score. The Falcons also broke a personal Pack losing streak as they won against Hartford for the first time in five tries. The crowd was smaller than usual as UConn once again stole some of the Hartford area sports fans with the Huskies current run in the NCAA tournament.
The Pack play tonight against instate rival the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. It is also the first Saturday that the Pack will wear their new third alternate jersey. Every Saturday night the Wolf Pack will wear their new red jerseys. You can listen to the games on 1410AM Fox Sports Radio or watch them on WWW.AHLLIVE.COM.