From the Bus back from Hershey…

And a quiet one it is, after a fairly ugly 5-0 loss to the Bears in the second of the back-to-back games between the two clubs at Giant Center in Hershey.

I didn’t see this one coming, after the Whale played pretty well in Saturday night’s game against the Bears, controlling much of the play and battling hard in a 4-3 shootout loss.

Things went bad almost from the beginning on Sunday, with Hershey scoring 42 seconds in and then the Whale hamstringing themselves with penalty troubles.  The Bears built more and more momentum as the period wore on, scoring three power-play goals to build a 4-0 advantage and dominating in all areas.

Photo by JustSports Photography

Photo by JustSports Photography

Hershey had a somewhat different look Sunday than Saturday, with Ryan Potulny, Mattias Sjogren and Mathieu Beaudoin in the lineup after not playing Saturday, and long-time NHLer Tom Poti appearing out of nowhere to suit up for Hershey on a conditioning assignment from Washington, but I didn’t think that would be enough to make the two games look so radically different.  Hershey was playing its third game in three days too, and the Whale hadn’t played on Friday night.

Now it’s about four-and-a-half hours back from Hershey, and then right back out again Monday, heading to Portland for a Tuesday-night battle with the Pirates.

The Pirates lost four important players, defenseman Michael Stone and David Rundblad and forwards Alexandre Bolduc and Andy Miele, to recall to the parent Phoenix Coyotes, but still beat Worcester on the road, 3-1.  With the official opening of NHL training camps today, the transactions were coming fast and furious, and the Pirates were not the only team that got hit pretty hard.  No doubt there is going to be a ton of roster juggling over the next couple of weeks, as the NHL teams scramble to get the season started, and the Whale have to consider themselves fairly lucky to have lost only two players, Chris Kreider and Matt Gilroy, to the Rangers so far.

Gilroy was playing with the Whale on an AHL contract, so he had to be released from that before he could sign a free agent deal with the Rangers, and now would have to clear waivers if the organization wanted to send him back to Connecticut.

One interesting bit of minutiae from what was a fairly forgettable game Sunday…it was the first time in franchise history that the Whale/Wolf Pack had ever fallen victim to a shared shutout.  Dany Sabourin played the first period and got banged up in a get-together with Kris Newbury, and had to be replaced by Philipp Grubauer to start the second.  The only other shared shutout in franchise history was one during the Calder Cup year of 1999-2000 in which J.F. Labbe and Milan Hnilicka combined to blank the Philadelphia Phantoms in a late-season game in Philly.

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