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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Penguins 1 Wolves 0

The Wolves slump continued last night as the WBS Penguins blanked them in one of the best hockey games I've seen all year. I believe part of the offensive problem is turnovers. I kept track in the first period, the Wolves used dump and chase almost as much as they brought the puck into the offensive zone. However, the Pens and other teams have lately appeared to be very prepared for this style of Wolves play. Either a blue liner is waiting, often on the opposite board, or the goalie (who had an excellent game) will just go behind the net to play the puck. Either way, the Wolves end up turning over the puck. There is almost a one-for-one relationship between dump and chase and turnovers.

This isn't to say that you should never dump and chase, nor that every dump and chase causes a turnover, but the use of it is excessive on the Wolves. It happened, at least seven times in the first period.

Watching Atlanta play on TV I also counted the dump and chase against the Canadiens. I believe they used it six times in the whole game. Why are we using a technique that is taught to mites so they can penetrate the blue line? Are the offensive players so ill-equipped to be challenged that this is the best they've got? It has clearly become a dominant style for the Wolves as opponents are now anticipating its use.

The almost useless Braydon Colburn, number one draft pick and current Atlanta Thrasher said "let's go" to New Jersey Devil Mike Rupp. He sustained cuts to his face and did not return. In a related matter, Wolves blue liner Mark Popovic was seen taking a limo to O'Hare after the game. So long Braydon?

The MetroCentre and the ownership of the Rockford IceHogs are close to a deal, according to the Rock River Times. The deal would allow current ownership to continue with a 25 percent stake in the team, the other part owner would be the MetroCentre. Team owner Dr. Kris Tumilowicz asked Winnebago County Board members Thursday night to reverse an earlier decision to block the MetroCentre from owning an AHL team saying a deal would be announced before the next board meeting January 27.

The thought occurrs to me, as this deal is now approaching reality, what will happen next season as the fanatical Rockford UHL fans invade the Bradley Center and the Allstate. I'm of the opinion that the Bradley Center will be a tough place as there will be almost as many Rockford fans as Mads fans. And, there will be bad blood due to the broken relationship between the two teams. On the other hand, coming to Chicago, the IceHogs fans may pickup some Blackhawk fans. The Wolves larger fan base will be able to absorb the influx of IceHog fans, but there is no love lost between Blackhawk fans and Wolves fans. As a season ticket holder for all three teams, yes I'm nuts, welcome hogs fans. I need to get myself an IceHogs sweater before it is too late.

By now most Wolves fans are aware that Jason Krog, the Wolves scorer who led a line until December with Darren Haydar and Brent Sterling, has been claimed off of waivers. Krog, who did not play against the Canadiens earlier this week, will play for the New York Rangers. Go Krog! If Atlanta turns to the Wolves for more offensive power, the Wolves would probably lose Darek MacKenzie, Darren Haydar and Brent Sterling, in that order.

The Wilkes-Barre Scranton fan club and the Wolfpack had a joint function after the game last night. Great fans. Whatever happens in Pittsburgh, these fans have earned a team in the AHL with almost 100 percent sell-outs and consistent post-season play. The fans tell me they are guaranteed a team in WBS until at least 2010.

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