Here’s some reading for you if you get bored enjoying the late spring weather…
–A review of the Devils’ prospects 10-11 season from our friends at Hockey’s Future. A thank you goes out to Jared for asking me for some input on the story.
–Found a great article via my Twitter feed, a story from the Canadian news site Macleans on concussions and the effect it has on players.
–For those following the Fred Wilpon saga in New York, the New York Times Bats Blog offers up an interesting comparison between the 3 Mets in question and 3 members of the ’80s Yankees.
–And then there were two in the Calder Cup playoffs. Friday night, Binghamton and Houston kick off the Calder Cup Finals in Texas. For the best Finals coverage, I highly recommend checking out B-Sens beat writer (and a friend of mine) Joy Lindsay’s blog from the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin. Here is the full Finals schedule courtesy of the Binghamton Senators.
–I’m not much of a wrestling fan (I know enough to get by thanks to a few family members), but really liked this SI.com story on the Macho Man’s long lost minor league baseball career.
–One Cup has already been awarded this postseason…congrats to the Alaska Aces on winning the 2011 Kelly Cup (ECHL). Two more to go…
Well the end of the world prediction came…and we’re still here. Guess what believers, YOU’VE BEEN HAD.
But moving on to other topics…one piece of news concerning the Devils this week, and I’m liking this idea: Albany announced the creation of a fan advisory board called the Extra Attacker Program. Basically 8 people will be selected from a host of applicants (including myself) and will meet once a month with the front office to discuss ideas to get people interested in the product and get them into the building, along with how the arena itself can better serve fans once inside the building. After how the season began public relations-wise, this is a huge step in the right direction. I think they decide who gets on the board sometime next month, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed to see if I get chosen or not. On the same topic, the team also released their first Fan Survey for those who attended games this year, whether you’re a season ticket holder or just a casual fan. If you did attend a game, here’s the link to take the survey.
Now for a Calder Cup playoffs update: I guess unbelievable would be a good way to describe it. In an Eastern Conference final that everyone said could go either way in 6 or 7 games, the Binghamton Senators pulled off a shocker. After allowing just 10 goals all series to the league leading Penguins in the East Division Finals, Charlotte’s defense took a nap in this series. The Senators outscored the Checkers 21-8 en route to a 4 game sweep and a berth in the Calder Cup Finals. I was all set to go to Game 5, which would have been last night in Binghamton, and do my very first guest blog for our friends at Chasing Checkers, but it wasn’t meant to be I guess. The B-Sens are awaiting their Western Conference opponent…as of now Houston holds a 3-2 series lead on Hamilton with Game 6 later this afternoon in Texas. The Aeros were on the verge of a sweep themselves, but the Bulldogs won Games 4 and 5 at home to push the series back to Houston. I would think the Finals start next weekend, and I’m hoping the schedule works out again for me to go to one of the games in Bingo. Never have been to a Calder Cup final game (didn’t get to any of the River Rats’ finals games during the ’95 Calder Cup run), or to a hockey game in June for that matter.
The other news of the week is the rumored moves of both Atlanta to Winnipeg and Manitoba to St. John’s (to make room for the Thrashers). Franchise moving rumors, that was my hockey life for 4 and a half months last year. It’s so interesting to see how many different storylines can come out of one rumor. Our friends at Chirps From Center Ice tries to make sense of it all here.
Other than that…just enjoying baseball season and looking forward to vacation in July…have a few ideas in planning stages…mostly day trips (maybe one overnight) for baseball. Have some ideas for the blog for some filler while waiting for the offseason stories to come in. All I can say is stay tuned…
First of all…happy Mother’s Day to all the moms (and in my case, pet owners) out there! Thinking of my own mom who is no longer with us (my 11th Mother’s Day without her) and also my grandmother who I only got to know for 7 years.
Meanwhile time for a weekly update. I am hearing rumors of another college draft pick possibly signing with the Devils (and possibly a member of next year’s team), Brandon Burlon. He just completed his junior year at Michigan, and from what I’ve read has pretty good offensive stats for a defenseman (something Albany could definitely use…Alexander Urbom seemed to be the only member of the D corps that had a regular offensive contribution this season). Nothing has been made official, so stay tuned on that one.
I’ve been paying close attention to the AHL playoffs more than the NHL lately, and what I’ve been hearing is probably some of the best hockey ever. For obvious reasons I’ve been keeping an eye on the Checkers playoff run, which has been basically nothing short of magical. After defeating Hershey in 6 first round games (and everyone here is still celebrating about that after last year), the league leaders in Wilkes-Barre were next. I did not know what to expect out of this series given the Penguins record against Charlotte in the regular season (I was on hand for the Checkers only win against in January, a 9-5 thrashing at the end of a 3-in-3 weekend for the Penguins). Then Mike Murphy and Brad Thiessen started a goaltending duel for the ages. Neither team scored more than 4 goals in a game and three shutouts were pitched so to speak, 2 by Thiessen and 1 by Murphy. Thiessen’s second shutout of the series came in Game 5 with the Pens on the brink, setting the stage for a memorable Game 6 back in Wilkes-Barre Township. By all accounts, by early in the third period with the Pens holding down a 3-0 lead and Thiessen being his usual brick wall self, all signs pointed to a Game 7 showdown on Monday night. An hour and 4 unanswered goals later, it was over. Charlotte had pulled off the unthinkable, scoring 4 times in a span of 9:18 (similar to the two comebacks Albany had staged during the season against Worcester and Bridgeport) to eliminate the Penguins and move on to the Eastern Conference Finals. Their opponent is fellow East Division rival Binghamton, who eliminated the entire Atlantic Division with a 7 game win over Manchester and a 6 game win over Portland. Should make for an interesting series with both teams carrying a lot of offensive weapons and brick walls for goalies (Robin Lehner has come up big since replacing Barry Brust…he’s known for more than calling Adirondack fans idiots). I am hoping to go to Game 5 on the 21st in Binghamton to check it out, my first late year AHL playoff game in 13 years (I went to a ECF game between Albany and Philadelphia…only thing I remember from that night was the Phantoms goading Rat leading scorer Brendan Morrison into a spearing match penalty. Well it’s kind of hard to move when there’s 4 guys all over you in the corner the stick had to go somewhere). The Western Conference Finals could be determined as early as tonight, with Houston and Manitoba holding 3-2 series leads.
Otherwise…40 more days till the Valleycats begin…looking forward to the MLB Draft in a few weeks and trying to figure out who may be coming here for the summer. Don’t be too surprised if there’s a lot of baseball updates mixed in over the summer along with whatever breaking Devil stories pop up. It’ll basically fill the void till fall.