Welcome to Wolves Insider, presented by Are You Really Winning?: The weekly report that gives you an inside look at the latest Chicago Wolves news and happenings. Look for a new edition of Wolves Insider each Tuesday.
hitting the road
The Wolves embark on their longest road trip of the 2022-23 season starting in Grand Rapids on Saturday night. The six-game trek will then take the defending Calder Cup champion Wolves to Manitoba, Rockford and Tucson before they return to Allstate Arena to face Rockford on Jan. 28.
The Wolves have fared well away from home this season, sporting an away record of 6-7-0-0. While many teams look at long road trips as difficult challenges, the Wolves are embracing the opportunity to come together as a unit and pile up points in an effort to move up the Central Division standings.
“With this long trip coming up it’s about drinking a lot of water to keep your body fresh and taking care of yourself,” center Ryan Suzuki said. “We’re getting some heathy bodies back in the lineup and if we just keep playing the way we are, good things will come.”
Slowly but surely the Wolves have been getting healthier and that could continue with several key players nearing a return to the lineup. That includes Cavan Fitzgerald, who hasn’t played this season while recovering from shoulder surgery on July 15. The defenseman has been practicing with the team and could make his debut during the trip.
“It’s been a long road – six months – so I’m just excited to get back with the boys playing,” said Fitzgerald, who had three goals and seven assists in 53 regular-season games in 2021-22 followed by a stellar performance during the Wolves’ run to the Calder Cup championship. “I’ve been watching these guys from Day One and I’m excited to get back with them and see what we can do the second half of the year and make a good push for the playoffs.”
The Wolves will reach the halfway point of the season during the road trip – in Rockford on Jan. 21 – and they believe a healthier roster will result in a strong push to the postseason.
“We’ve been pretty unlucky with guys being injured,” winger Brendan Perlini said. “Hopefully, guys can get back and stay healthy and we can put together a good second half.”
Teddy Bears Were Flying
During the Wolves’ 4-1 victory over the Cleveland Monsters on Saturday night, William Lagesson’s first-period goal sent an avalanche of teddy bears onto the ice as fans donated stuffed animals to Chicago Wolves Charities.
“It’s for a good cause so it was fun scoring that goal for sure,” Lagesson said. “I wasn’t thinking about it at the time, so it was a surprise when everyone was tossing them out there.”
Mental Health Awareness
“If we can raise awareness and continue to make this topic easy to talk about and get people comfortable in saying, ‘hey, hockey players go through this, I go through this and you go through this, too,’ it doesn’t become a stigma anymore,” Wolves President of Operations Courtney Mahoney said.
The Wolves are featuring a variety of initiatives to help raise money for mental health awareness-related charities including Erika’s Lighthouse, Alliance of Hope and Paws for Patrick, among others.
The culmination of the Wolves’ commitment to Mental Health Awareness will be the commemorative jerseys worn by players during the defending Calder Cup champion’s games Jan. 28 and 29 at Allstate Arena.
The jerseys will be available to own through silent and blind auctions, as well as a golden-ticket raffle. Other featured Mental Health Awareness items include Mystery Pucks and limited-edition t-shirts.
For more information on all of the Wolves’ Mental Health Awareness activities, go here.
weekly REWIND (2-1-0-0)
Tuesday, Jan. 3
Wolves 5, Wild 2: At Allstate Arena, Josh Melnick had a goal and an assist while Alexander Pashin, Ryan Suzuki, Noel Gunler and Brendan Perlini also scored to help the Wolves snap a two-game losing skid.
Friday, Jan. 6
Monsters 5, Wolves 2: Jack Drury and Nathan Sucese scored but the Wolves couldn’t hold a first-period advantage as Cleveland rallied behind goals from five different players at Allstate Arena.
Saturday, Jan. 7
Wolves 4, Monsters 1: William Lagesson and Jack Drury each had a goal and an assist while Zack Hayes and Ryan Suzuki also scored to help the Wolves earn a split of back-to-back games between the teams.
First Star of the Week
The center had two goals and two assists in three games, extending his Wolves points streak to seven contests (two goals, six assists). For the season, Drury has three goals and six assists in 13 games with Chicago.
by the numbers
The Wolves have scored the first goal of the game in nine of their their last 10 contests.
Where we stand
12-16-3-1, sixth in the Central Division.
|Saturday, Jan. 14||at Grand Rapids||6 p.m.||Van Andel Arena||AHLTV|
|Tuesday, Jan. 17||at Manitoba||7 p.m.||Hockey For All Centre||AHLTV|
|Wednesday, Jan. 16||at Manitoba||7 p.m.||Hockey For All Centre||AHLTV|
|Saturday, Jan. 21||at Rockford||7 p.m.||BMO Harris Bank Center||AHLTV|
|Tuesday, Jan. 24||at Tucson||7:30 p.m.||Tucson Arena||AHLTV|
For information on Wolves ticket plans for the 2022-23 season — everything from single-game tickets to Flex Packs to group outings — visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.