Hope for Hartford

He's certainly too late to bring back Gordie, Mark, and Marty Howe. But the former owner of the Hartford Whalers has launched a campaign that he hopes will bring NHL hockey to Connecticut again.

Howard Baldwin said Wednesday he is trying to demonstrate that Hartford is a viable market for a team. His campaign includes a "Whalers Hockey Fest" that will feature as many as 20 outdoor games at the University of Connecticut's football stadium next February.

"We have got to get people talking about Hartford again when they talk about hockey," Baldwin said.

League officials might be the toughest sell. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Tuesday that he couldn't foresee another Whalers team in Hartford.

The Whalers left Connecticut in 1997 and moved to North Carolina, where they became the Hurricanes. Besides the three Howes (father and two sons), other Whalers stars included Ron Francis, Ulf Samuelsson, Mike Liut, Kevin Dineen, and current Chicago coach Joel Quenneville.

Of note

Anaheim kept 29-year-old defenseman Sheldon Brookbank off the open market by signing him to a two-year deal. . . . Don Maloney of the Phoenix Coyotes was chosen as the league's top general manager this season, making him the first winner of a new NHL award.

- Inquirer wire services