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Morency consciously tried to make foes mad

Thursday, 10.11.2007 / 10:00 AM / AHL Update

By Lindsay Kramer - NHL.com Correspondent

Bridgeport forward Pascal Morency has reached the AHL after spending the past four seasons skating in the UHL & ECHL.
Here’s a thought that will bring a few smirks around the AHL: Bridgeport forward Pascal Morency claims that he’s motivated by a lot more than just the chance to become the most detested player in the league.

Morency insisted that for the past couple seasons, he’s been exploring various sources of inspiration, such as pump-you-up movies and self-help books and CDs.

“I’ve never been a guy who enjoyed reading. I sort of picked it up,’’ he said. “You live your life (subconsciously). When it becomes conscious, it opens doors and you get opportunities. Instead of complaining, I try to find a way to be grateful for something. It’s a better way to live.’’

Especially if you can leave the other guy carping and moaning. Morency, previously a journeyman who had played in just two AHL games, scratched his way onto the Sound Tigers’ roster by pushing opponents to the edge and laughing as they fell off it. In a preseason game against Hartford, for instance, he suckered the Wolf Pack into five penalties.

“Sometimes people get frustrated, will do something that puts them in the box,’’ said Morency, 25. “It (agitating) is definitely not easy. It’s not easy to score 50 goals, either. Everybody has a role. There’s not a role that’s easy to do if you want to do it the best you can.’’

Morency comes to Bridgeport after kicking around the past four seasons in the UHL and ECHL. In 2004-05, he bugged his way to 252 PIM for Wheeling of the ECHL. Last season, he stirred up 24 points and 204 PIM for Fort Wayne of the UHL. It was before that season that he started to read motivational works, creating the expectation that he would someday stick in the AHL.

So maybe Morency’s riled up foes could be similarly helped by delving into such materials in an effort to escape his mouse traps?

Maybe not.

“I’m sure I can find a way to make them mad,’’ Morency said.

Monarch expert -- Players who are kept off the ice by injury are usually concerned that the ailment makes them feel less a part of their team.

In the case of first-year Manchester Monarchs defenseman Patrick Hersley, the exact opposite is true. He grew more familiar with his new team because he was too hurt to play. The rub is that Hersley hurt himself last season playing in Sweden, when he suffered a torn labrum in his hip. That ended his season in December, and after surgery he came to Manchester to rehab and start taking in the AHL lifestyle.

“It was good to be here early, see how everything works around the team and around the rink,’’ said Hersley, 21. “I didn’t know anything about the level of the game over here, or the tempo of the game. I could see for myself how it is. If I didn’t like it over here, I could have decided to go back. But I did (like it).’’

Hersley, a 6-foot-3, 215-pounder, said whatever off-ice edge he picked up in terms of a general comfort level ends once the games begin.

“I’m not ahead of the other guys because they’ve been playing over here,’’ he said. “It’s a little bit harder for me. It’s a lot to adjust to. But I look forward to trying my best here.’’

Wearing the “C” -- There were a couple of interesting twists in the first wave of AHL captain-namings this season. The Phantoms handed that honor to Boyd Kane, making him the first player in team history to be named captain after previously serving in that role for the franchise.

He was captain of the Phantoms’ 2005 Calder Cup championship team and went on to captain the Hershey Bears to the 2006 title. He became the first player in nearly 20 years to captain different clubs to the championship in consecutive seasons. It’s a good thing that Kane has such extensive and successful experience in that job. He replaces Philadelphia legend John Slaney, who wore the “C” from 2005-07. Slaney is playing in Germany this season.

Kane is taking over a much different, and younger, Philadelphia squad than the one he led in 2004-05. Only Alexandre Picard, who signed with the team the day of Game 3 of the finals that year, remains with the Phantoms.

“The kids are willing to learn,’’ Kane said. “I’m going to be the same person whether it’s a whole team of 30-year-olds or 22-year-olds.’’

Chicago, which had no captain last year, tabbed Darren Haydar as its leader. The reigning AHL MVP becomes just the fifth player in franchise history to hold that job after Steve Maltais (1994-1996 and 1997-2005), Troy Murray (1996-97), Kevin Dahl (2000-01) and Derek MacKenzie (2005-06).

The kudo is at least small consolation for Haydar’s ongoing inability to stick in the NHL despite a run of near-unstoppable seasons in the AHL.

“It’s not like my goals are different from anybody else on the team,’’ Haydar said of balancing captain’s responsibilities with his personal ambition. “Everybody is on the same page here. I’m with an organization that expects and only accepts winning.’’

Amerks coach Randy Cunneyworth saw two good choices for captain on his team, so he decided not to pick. Clark MacArthur will be captain at home and Drew Larman will carry that honor on the road.

Around the AHL -- Albany’s regular-season opener on Oct. 6 was a meteorological event at Binghamton’s Broome County Veteran’s Memorial Arena. Because of unseasonable heat and humidity, a dense fog developed over the ice surface, forcing a considerable number of delays. Unofficial statistics counted 25 stoppages where the referee ordered the players off their benches to skate in circles to create airflow and dissipate the fog. … San Antonio tied a franchise record for most goals scored in a single period with four in the second in the team’s 7-1 win over Iowa in the season opener on Oct. 6. … Cleveland Barons games used to be the quietest place in town before that team folded two seasons ago. The franchise that gives that city yet another try this year, the Lake Erie Monsters, pulled in 15,132 in its home opener against Grand Rapids on Oct. 6. It marked the sixth-largest opening night crowd in AHL history. … Grand Rapids won that game for new coach Mike Stothers, making him the fourth coach in team history to win his debut (Dave Allison in 1996, Guy Charron in 1998 and Bruce Cassidy in 2000). … The Rockford IceHogs are wearing commemorative patches with the initials WWW in remembrance of William W. Wirtz, president of the parent Chicago Blackhawks, who passed away on Sept. 26. … Following off-season knee surgery, Jose Theodore made a rehab start for Lake Erie on Oct. 6 and became the first former Hart Trophy winner to play in the AHL since 1959 NHL MVP Andy Bathgate skated for the Pittsburgh Hornets in 1966-67. … How young is Rochester this season? Young enough to have a collegial feel. According to the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper, the average age of the Amerks, 21 years and 7 months, is younger than the typical player on Rochester Institute of Technology, a Division III college team (22 years, 2 months). … Chicago’s first-period dominance didn’t cool off at all in the off-season. The Wolves jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead in their opener against Houston on Oct. 6, a frame in which the squad outscored rivals, 104-66, during the 2006-07 regular-season.

Quote of the Day

It's really exciting. I'm pretty sure that when I play my first game I'm going to be emotional. To be back on the ice playing a game, being in game situations, with all the routines and rituals I do before games and during the game, I feel like I'm going to be emotional. I'm going to be really happy.

— Canadiens forward Tim Bozon on playing for the first time since his life-threatening illness