New York Hockey: Connecticut Whale

Reports: Rangers plan to recall Avery

October, 30, 2011
Rangers fans might get their wish.

According to several reports, Sean Avery will be placed on re-entry waivers Monday at noon. Other teams would have the opportunity to claim him, blocking his recall to the Rangers, but that is unlikely.

The controversial winger and fan favorite was waived Oct. 4, three days before the Rangers opened their season in Sweden. He was then assigned to the Rangers' minor-league affiliate -- the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League-- but was kept off the ice for almost two weeks while rehabbing a shoulder injury.

After his first practice with the Whale in Hartford on Oct. 19, Avery told he didn't think he'd ever wear a Rangers uniform again.

"Probably not," he said. "I doubt it."

His fortune appears to have changed, however. The 3-3-3 Rangers have struggled with consistency and the blue-collar identity they cultivated last season, and could use the feisty forward's energy and forechecking ability.

Fans certainly think he can help the middling team find their way. One fan in section 427 erected a huge banner that read: "AVERY 16 SEND TORTS TO THE WHALE" during the team's home opener at Madison Square Garden Thursday. Chants of "We want Avery!" have also become a rallying cry over the last two games for Garden faithful displeased with the team's current state.

Avery played his first game of the season for the Whale Friday, scoring an empty-net goal and earning a five-minute fighting major immediately afterwards. In the Whale's 3-2 shootout win over the Worcester Sharks Saturday, Avery scored the game-winner.

Rangers' AHL affiliate mascot attacked

January, 31, 2011
It ain't easy being green.

Pucky the Whale, the mascot of the Rangers' AHL affiliate squad Connecticut Whale, was attacked Saturday night by a fan during a Whale game, according to reports.

According to The Hartford Courant, 28-year-old Kevin O'Connell of East Hartford, Conn., attacked Pucky because of a bet with a friend. Police said the mascot was hanging with fans when he was tackled and punched by O'Connell.

O'Connell was arrested and charged with one count of second-degree breach of peace and will not be allowed to attend future events at the XL Center in Hartford. He is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 2.

Absence, opportunity after Drury injury

September, 21, 2010
Team captain Chris Drury broke his finger blocking a shot in Monday's training camp scrimmage and will miss four weeks, including the first four games of the regular season.

The loss opens the window a little wider for a crowded field of centers to make a good impression. Rookie Derek Stepan will certainly receive a long look, while the newly acquired Tim Kennedy and Todd White will also see more time during the Blueshirts’ preseason schedule, which begins Thursday against the Devils.

The Post’s Larry Brooks speculates that it could also open a slot on the third line for Sean Avery, with Vinny Prospal shifting to center.

The Record’s Andrew Gross spoke with some vets on the impact of the injury.

Morning Links
  • Drury discussed the long, hot, playoff-free summer with the team’s official site.
  • In other injury news, 2010 fourth-round pick Andrew Yogan will need surgery to repair a torn labrum.
  •’s Rich Carpiniello chatted with D-man Matt Gilroy, who is motivated by his late-season benching.
  • The Rangers’ 2010 top pick Dylan McIlrath writes about the Traverse City tournament from his perspective. In the article, the truculence-prone prospect explains why he didn’t drop the gloves.
  • Stepan, the sensation of the camp so far, centered a line with fellow rookies Mats Zuccarello-Aasen and Evgeny Grachev yesterday, yielding the top-line role to Erik Christensen, according to the Blueshirts Blog, which also adds several other interesting notes from yesterday’s action.
  • Head coach John Tortorella wrapped up Monday’s session with some comments to the media on Drury’s injury and prospect performances, as recorded by Andrew Gross.
  • Blueshirt Banter wants to know if the (formerly?) fiery Tortorella has had an attitude adjustment.
  • The Rangers’ AHL affiliate will be changing its name from the Hartford Wolfpack this season, as the Whale is being resurrected, according to this Hartford Courant report. The former owner of the Hartford Whalers (R.I.P.) is taking control of the club and will change the Wolfpack to the “Connecticut Whale” this season.
    I’m sorry, but as a guy who owns a puck signed by Jason Muzzatti, this is close to blasphemy. If you’re going invoke the memory of the greatest mall-based franchise in history, do it right. Don’t flaunt a nickname cliquey college students would use to demean a pudgy loner from the Constitution State. My hometown of Danbury, on the other hand, has it right. The Federal Hockey League might not share the same prestige as the AHL, but yesterday they had Dr. Hook Tim McCracken in the flesh!
  • And if you were looking for some awkward Fashion Week video featuring two members of the New York Rangers sitting in some sort of "Real World" video confessional booth, you just found it. Congratulations.