The Wolf Pack try to get back on track with two more Atlantic Division match ups this weekend. The Wolf Pack have lost seven straight, only earning one point in a shootout loss. They are starting to even fall behind the Bridgeport Sound Tigers who are now currently three points ahead of the Pack. The Pack sit last in the Atlantic Division and dead last in the Eastern Conference as well.
The team needs to turn their season around which has had an up and a down so far. The Pack began the season undefeated in their first 6 contests. Since that time they have gone 4-14-0-2, if that trends continues they will definitely suffer through their worst season in 17 years and miss the playoffs in back to back years for the first time since the team came to Hartford in 1997.
The teams’ play within the division has suffered as well, they lost both contests to Adirondack and Albany last week. They are 6-9-0-1 in games against division rivals. The Pack are currently only a point behind the Worcester Sharks but are 10 points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Rangers have been active sending down and called up players, they just recently returned defenseman Dylan McIlrath and veteran Arron Asham to the Pack and recalled J.T. Miller who has 9 points in 8 AHL games. Miller brings a serious offensive threat in the AHL, he is much improved at the AHL level since coming to Hartford. The Rangers have taken notice as well as this is not his first call up this season.
A few weeks ago, I made a stink about the Pack and its ranking in penalty minutes within the AHL. They still lead the league in penalty minutes and although they only now have around 40 more than Bridgeport they still have over a hundred more than any team within either conferences top 8 teams. You can’t even think about the playoffs when your team is in the box much more often than your opponent.
The thought of more penalty minutes might have been on fans mind when it was announced yesterday that Akim Aliu has signed a PTO contract with the Pack. Aliu was drafted in the second round(56) by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2007. He has 346 penalty minutes in his last 212 AHL games. Last season for the Abbotsford Heat Aliu had 111 penalty minutes in 48 games. Aliu and Kyle Beach are the most recent additions to the Pack list of forwards. They won’t be able to help the team if those penalty minutes continue to rack up on their end.
Tonight game at the XL Center is against those Bridgeport Sound Tigers whom stand three points in front of the Pack. The first 3,ooo fans in the XL Center for tonight’s game will receive a Wolf Pack gym bag courtesy of the Hartford Courant.
The Hawks Nest will have UConn coach Mike Cavanaugh, you can see him up in the Coliseum Club between 6:00 and 6:20. The Coliseum Club also has a number of specials and they serve food before the game as well.
Saturday night the Wolf Pack play the Springfield Falcons and it is “Teddy Bear Toss Night”. People in attendance are allowed to bring a new soft Teddy Bear, and to toss it onto the ice once the Wolf Pack score their first goal of the game. The “Teddy Bear Toss”, benefitting the Joy of Sharing and Toys for Tots.
The Falcons are currently in first place in the Atlantic Division and they are already 18 points ahead of the Wolf Pack. The Pack has not defeated the Falcons yet in five contests. This will be the first of the remaining seven matchups with the Falcons, even if they won every one of those and the standings remained the same the Pack still would not catch up to the Falcons.
If the Pack want to get back on track there is no time like the present, especially with two division match-ups on the line.