Monthly Archives: January 2012

All Star Monday Update

A few things to pass along:

-The AHL is in the midst of All Star Weekend in Atlantic City. Last night was the first event, the Skills Competition, won by the Western Conference 18-10. The lone Devils representative, Alexander Urbom, participated in two events: Hardest Shot (with a score of 91.4 MPH, 8 MPH less than the winner, Chicago Wolves defenseman Kevin Connauton) and Pass and Score Relay (teaming up with former River Rats captain Keith Aucoin of Hershey and Syracuse’s Kyle Palmieri). Full results can be found here.

-Earlier today the AHL held the annual State of the League address (something I always look forward to hearing about…and the one event I would love to attend if I could) from league president David Andrews. Our friends at Let’s Go Amerks and the Power Play Post Show have the wrapup with audio…and PPPS also has a few All Star interviews to check out. Also today was the annual Hall of Fame inductions, which honored four new members: Joe Crozier (father of former River Rat Greg), Jack Gordon, John Stevens, and Zellio Toppazzini. The actual game kicks off just after 7 PM at Boardwalk Hall (the Devils home for 4 games last year if you recall).

-Meanwhile further north in the Garden State, three A-Devs were recalled this afternoon, two out of three were expected: Jacob Josefson and Matt Taormina were recalled after playing in both games over the weekend, each getting 2 points. But the third callup was a bit of a surprise to me (and judging by my Twitter feed, everyone else): Steve Bernier, just back after a hand injury, signed a two way deal and was summoned to New Jersey. He had just returned to the lineup on Friday after sitting out since early December.

Depending on how tonight’s game shakes out, I may do an update tomorrow if there’s time (or if anything else interesting comes up).

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Blown Lead…And An Exorcism

A quick weekend in the books for the Devils as we have reached the AHL All Star Break. And it was a very, shall we say, up and down two games, as is the norm with this team in recent weeks. Let’s rewind:

1/27 at Binghamton: 3-2 L

The week started off with a trip to the Southern Tier against the B-Sens. First period was virtually all Devils, as Matt Taormina (on a PP) and Stephane Veilleux scored 28 seconds apart midway through the first on former Devil goalie Mike McKenna. Jeff Frazee barely had to break a sweat, only facing 3 Binghamton shots and stopping all three. First half of the second period started out well for the Devils…but second half was all B-Sens. Andre Petersson scored back to back power play goals just 1:54 apart to quickly tie the game at 2. Then a scary moment for Albany…Nick Palmieri left the game after getting hit in the head with a teammate’s shot. First person to check on him? McKenna. Very nice gesture from a former teammate. Third period the Sens completed the comeback while shorthanded…Jim O’Brien scored on a nice breakaway with just over 12 minutes left in the period for a 3-2 lead. McKenna turned in a very good performance, stopping 38 of 40 Albany shots and earning #3 star honors. Taormina posted a goal and an assist in his first game back since being sent down by New Jersey for the NHL All Star break.

1/28 vs. Adirondack: 3-0 W

For the third time in 12 days, the Devils faced off against their neighbors to the north, the Phantoms. The game started out as a goaltending duel between Keith Kinkaid and Jason Bacashihua. Jacob Josefson thought he had a goal just 24 seconds into the game, but referee Chris Brown waved it off. Typical Chris Brown. That was about as close as anyone got to scoring during the period, with Adirondack outshooting its hosts 7-5. Second period, let the fun begin. Tim Sestito (with big little bro Tom on the ice at the same time) put the Devils up 1-0 6 minutes into the second. At the end of the second, a near line brawl erupted in the corner right by where I was sitting. No real fights broke out, just the usual pushing, shoving, grabbing an opponent’s jersey. Third period, more pushing, shoving, chirping, everything that makes this rivalry so much fun. With just under 5 minutes remaining, Peter Harrold snagged an insurance goal against Bacashihua for a 2-0 lead. Jacob Josefson added an empty netter with 13 seconds to go to seal it. Kinkaid was impressive in net, earning his third shutout of the season. He stopped all 30 Phantom shots and earned #1 star honors…and had an assist on Sestito’s goal to boot. But the real story of the day? The attendance. An all time Devil mark was set today…8,194 were on hand. That’s the most for an AHL game in Albany in almost 12 years and nearly triple the average attendance from this year.

Notes:

I covered the transactions earlier this week, now for an injury update:

-Steve Bernier did return to the lineup last night in Binghamton, after missing the last 7 weeks with a hand injury. Matt Corrente is probably the next one to return, he has been skating in practice. Matt Anderson, Nathan Perkovich, and J.S. Berube are all out with the ever popular upper body injury. Jay Leach is still out long term.

Looking Ahead:

After the All Star Weekend Sunday and Monday, the Devils start a 5 game road swing, with two games at the end of the week. It begins Friday night in Hartford against the Whale, then Saturday they travel to Wilkes-Barre (as will I for my annual NEPA overnight roadie) to face the Penguins. With just three points now separating all 5 teams in the division, they need to stay consistent. The team could easily be in first place–or in fifth–depending on what group decides to show up.

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Game #43: Albany vs. Adirondack

Location: Times Union Center, Albany, NY. Time: 5:00 PM.

Season Series:

Adirondack leads 3-2.

Standings:

Adirondack, 21-20-1-1, 44 points, tied for 3rd in Northeast Division; Albany, 18-16-5-3, 44 points, tied for 3rd in Northeast Division

Leading Scorers:

Adirondack: Jason Akeson, 33 points (10 G, 23 A); Denis Hamel, 28 points (15 G, 13 A); Ben Holmstrom, 24 points (11 G, 13 A)

Albany: Joe Whitney, 25 points (11 G, 14 A); Vladimir Zharkov, 23 points (6 G, 17 A); Matt Anderson, 22 points (7 G, 15 A)

Goaltending:

Adirondack: Michael Leighton, 14-16-0, 2.84 GAA; Jason Bacashihua, 7-5-1, 3.05 GAA

Albany: Jeff Frazee, 7-10-2, 2.73 GAA; Keith Kinkaid, 10-11-1, 2.98 GAA

Miscellaneous:

Time Warner Cable Cup Game #6; first 2000 receive a Martin Brodeur bobblehead; chance to win autographed Brodeur jersey or stick; Best Buddies International carnival in Exhibition Hall pregame (I’ll be a helper with that; more info here)

Following Along?

Radio: AHL Live (Albany); WNYQ 101.7 FM (Adirondack)

Twitter: myself, @AlbanyDevils, @Bill_Cain_ (Albany); @PhantomsHockey, @PSPhantoms (Adirondack)

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Game #42: Albany at Binghamton

Location: Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena, Binghamton, NY. Time: 7:00 PM.

Season Series:

Binghamton leads 3-2.

Standings:

Albany, 18-15-5-3, 44 points, tied for 3rd place in Northeast Division; Binghamton, 18-24-1-1, 38 points, 5th place in East Division.

Leading Scorers:

Albany: Joe Whitney, 25 points (11 G, 14 A); Matt Anderson, 22 points (7 G, 15 A); Vladimir Zharkov, 22 points (6 G, 16 A)

Binghamton: Rob Klinkhammer, 29 points (13 G, 16 A); Mike Hoffman, 26 points (9 G, 17 A); Corey Locke, 26 points (4 G, 22 A)

Goaltending:

Albany: Jeff Frazee, 7-9-2, 2.71 GAA; Keith Kinkaid, 10-11-1, 2.98 GAA

Binghamton: Mike McKenna, 11-12-0, 2.88 GAA; Robin Lehner, 7-13-1, 3.19 GAA

Following Along?

Radio: AHL Live (Albany); WBBI 107.5 FM (Binghamton)

Twitter: myself, @AlbanyDevils (Albany); @BSens_Hockey, @PSBSensInGame (Binghamton)

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Jumping Between Exit 15 and Exit 23

It’s been quite a busy week for both Albany and its parent club. Playing a little catchup here:

-Sunday afternoon was the annual Booster Club Charity Bowlathon with the team, an event I look forward to every year. It’s the one day you get to hang out with the team and be like one of the guys instead of a fan (at least in my opinion anyway). Everyone was present except for four: Matt Anderson and Nathan Perkovich (who I haven’t seen in over a week…I’m guessing both are sick?), Jay Leach, and Peter Harrold, who was supposed to be on my set of lanes. When I mentioned it to Jeff Frazee (who was also on my lane), he said he was called up to New Jersey. I knew someone on defense had to go up with Henrik Tallinder going down 4 to 6 weeks, but usually Alexander Urbom would get the call (he already made a couple appearances earlier in the season with New Jersey). Matt Corrente and Steve Bernier both participated, and I noticed no cast on Bernier’s hand, so it looks like both are close to returning. As for the event itself…as usual an awesome time, thanks to all who helped put it together.

-Earlier in the day (just after I posted the weekly recap…of course), leading scorer Steve Zalewski was sent down from New Jersey after appearing in 7 games, registering no points.

-Monday it was announced that defenseman Matt Taormina, the lone Devil All-Star representative, would not be participating in the AHL All Star festivities due to still being on recall. Taking his place will be Alexander Urbom, the only Devil player to partake in any kind of All Star festivities over the next few days. Unless N.J. Devil or Devil Dawg try to get into a competition…

-Just announced today (and a piece of news from yesterday), with the NHL All Star Break starting up, three players are coming down for the weekend: Harrold, Taormina, and forward Jacob Josefson. With a big two game set this weekend against Binghamton and Adirondack, I’ll take all the extra help.

(P.S. Wondering what my title means? It’s NYS Thruway exit numbers: 15 is for Northern NJ, 23 is for downtown Albany.)

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Second Half Roller Coaster

The second half has begun…and well, it’s off to a weird start. The Devils earned 4 out of 8 points on the week, and their play was all over the place, starting out great, then sinking, then back up to great again. Now to look back on the week that was:

1/16 vs. Adirondack: 5-3 W

The Devils started the week off with a Monday afternoon tilt against their neighbors to the north, the Phantoms. And for the first time in quite awhile, they were quick out of the gate in the first period. On their first power play opportunity, Nathan Perkovich scored his third goal in 2 games for the early lead. Matt Anderson added a short handed goal with just under 5 minutes left in the period for a two goal cushion, which came despite Adirondack outshooting the Devils 12-8. Second period the Devils turned the offense up. Jacob Josefson and Tim Sestito scored 54 seconds apart for a 4-0 Devil lead, chasing Phantom goalie Michael Leighton. They then greeted his backup Jason Bacashihua 1:15 later with a Brad Mills tally for a commanding 5-0 lead. However, Adirondack then started to chip away at the lead. Jason Akeson broke up Jeff Frazee’s shutout with about 8 minutes left in the period to make it 5-1. In the third, Adirondack continued its rally, first on a power play goal by Garrett Roe, then Eric Wellwood added a shorthanded goal to make it a 5-3 game. But that’s all the Phantoms would do, as Frazee shut them down the rest of the way and the Devils held on for the win and a 2-2 tie in the Sestito…sorry, Time Warner Cable Cup series. Frazee had another solid outing in between the pipes, stopping 32 of 35 shots and earning #1 star of the game honors.

1/18 vs. Norfolk: 5-4 L

The Devils wrapped up the homestand with a visit from the Admirals, a team they were a perfect 4-0 against coming in. First period, it was the Stephane Veilleux Show. He kicked off the Devils scoring against Dustin Tokarski just under 6 minutes into the period. After Matt Fornataro scored on a power play with 6 minutes left, Veilleux answered with two more goals in a 2:15 span for his first AHL hat trick in 9 years and gave the Devils a 3-1 lead. For the second straight game, no sluggish start, as the Devils outshot the Admirals 13-10. Second period, which is normally when the Devils get into the game, was just the opposite on this night. Evan Oberg and Mark Barberio scored 48 seconds apart to tie the game at 3. But Chad Wiseman gave the Devils the one goal lead back with 6 and a half minutes to go. But Norfolk struck again less than 3 minutes later, as Michel Ouellet and former River Rat Mike Angelidis scored 26 seconds apart to give the Admirals the 5-4 advantage. Despite the Devils best efforts in the third period, including a few close calls on Tokarski at the end, Norfolk held on for the 5-4 win, their first against the Devils in 5 tries this season. Kinkaid stopped 21 of 26 shots in the loss, while Joe Whitney added two assists.

1/20 at Adirondack: 3-2 L

Hoping for a rebound, the Devils traveled north for Game 5 against Adirondack. Well…not quite, although things started off on the right foot…or should I say skate. Despite being outshot 13-6, it was Albany that escaped the first with a 1-0 lead, thanks to a late goal by the birthday boy, Mike Sislo (he celebrated his 24th for those who wondered). Second period, the Phantoms took over the game and never looked back. They scored 3 times on goaltender Jeff Frazee (all even strength) and outshot the Devils by a 20-9 clip to take a 3-1 lead after two periods. Third period the Devils started to wake up, but it was just too little and too late. Chad Wiseman scored on a very late power play (thanks to a rematch by the penalty boxes between Darcy Zajac and Ben Holmstrom…Holmstrom also received an instigator and a misconduct) to bring the Devils within 3-2, but no more. Frazee stopped 33 of 36 saves in the loss…the guy just didn’t have the defensive support on this night.

1/21 at Springfield: 5-2 W

The Devils finished off the week with a quick trip east down the Mass Pike to take on the Falcons. The big story was the return of Mattias Tedenby to the lineup after being reassigned by New Jersey earlier in the day. And he made an immediate impact on the offense. Placed on a line early with Tim Sestito and Joe Whitney, the trio produced two goals in the first 5:26 of the game, both scored by Whitney (one a power play tally) for a 2-0 lead. The goal barrage continued later in the period as Kory Nagy scored his first of the season to make it 3-0. Then for the second time this week, a Devil registered a hat trick (after no one had scored one since last March), as Whitney notched his third with less than 3 minutes remaining in the first for a commanding 4-0 Devil advantage. All of this came on just 9 shots on goal, while Springfield could only muster 5 on Keith Kinkaid. That prompted the Falcons to make a goalie switch to start the second, as Manny Legace replaced Mark Dekanich. No scoring in the second period, probably because everyone was too busy parading in and out of the penalty box (referee Jarrod Ragusin got a little whistle happy this game, handing out a combined 16 power play chances). In the third the Falcons tried to make it a game, as rookie Cam Atkinson and vet Alexandre Giroux notched power play goals to get within 4-2. But Nagy would score his second of the night with less than 3 minutes on the clock to put the game out of reach. After a rough outing on Wednesday at home, Kinkaid rebounded nicely in this one, stopping 28 of 30 shots, including a few brilliant stops to keep his shutout (at the time) bid going. Tedenby notched 2 assists in his season debut, as did Sestito.

Notes:

I pretty much covered roster moves yesterday after Joe Sova was dealt to Carolina and Tedenby was sent down, so here’s the injury report:

-Jay Leach, Matt Corrente, and Steve Bernier are still out. Corrente is the closest to return, back skating, but no timetable on when he’ll actually be back. Matt Anderson has been out since Monday with an undisclosed ailment (one report said he was excused from Monday’s team autograph session due to illness), not sure on his status. And Myles Stoesz has yet to play despite being recalled on Wednesday (all healthy scratches), so who knows what his situation is.

Looking Ahead:

A much quieter week ahead heading into the All Star Break, only two games on tap. Friday the Devils head to Binghamton to face the Senators, hoping for a better outcome than the last visit (a 8-3 thrashing the day after Christmas). Then Saturday afternoon it’s Time Warner Cable Cup Game #6 against Adirondack (not Sestito Cup for the moment as Tom has been recalled to the Flyers) at home. It could make for a very good atmosphere, as it’s Martin Brodeur Bobblehead day and the Devils are offering a Dunkin Donuts 4 pack deal. With another three way tie for second place, every game is becoming more important by the day.

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Game #41: Albany at Springfield

Location: Mass Mutual Center, Springfield, MA. Time: 7:00 PM.

Season Series:

Springfield leads 2-1.

Standings:

Albany, 17-15-5-3, 42 points, tied for 3rd in Northeast Division; Springfield, 18-18-1-2, 39 points, 4th place in Northeast Division

Leading Scorers:

Albany: Matt Anderson, 22 points (7 G, 15 A); Joe Whitney, 21 points (8 G, 13 A); Vladimir Zharkov, 21 points (6 G, 15 A)

Springfield: Martin St. Pierre, 36 points (8 G, 28 A); Cam Atkinson, 32 points (22 G, 10 A); Alexandre Giroux, 26 points (12 G, 14 A)

Goaltending:

Albany: Jeff Frazee, 7-9-2, 2.71 GAA; Keith Kinkaid, 9-11-1, 3.02 GAA

Springfield: Manny Legace, 10-12-1, 2.51 GAA; Mark Dekanich, 1-1-1, 3.27 GAA

Following Along?

Radio: AHL Live (Albany); WHYN 560 AM (Springfield)

Twitter: myself, @AlbanyDevils (Albany); @TheFalconsAHL, @KatyLovesHockey (Springfield)

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Saturday Afternoon Update

A couple of notes to pass along on a snowy Saturday (yes finally there’s some decent snow on the ground in upstate NY…and downstate…and in NJ…):

-While I was on the way home from Glens Falls, New Jersey announced a trade with the Hurricanes, acquiring forward Alexei Ponikarovsky for Joe Sova and a 4th round pick in the 2012 NHL draft (press release here). Sova split time between Albany and Kalamazoo, playing in 14 games here and registering 4 points (2 G, 2 A). What’s funny is he actually played in Glens Falls last night against Adirondack and Brandon Burlon was the scratch. I saw Sova leave after the game and there was no indication of him going anywhere, my guess is he found out on the bus ride home. This leaves the Devils with just 6 healthy D (Jay Leach and Matt Corrente are still out, however Corrente is coming close to returning to the lineup) going into Springfield tonight. To think, at the beginning of the year there were too many D and now it’s a scramble to find a healthy one.

-Then this morning New Jersey announced that forward Mattias Tedenby was sent down to Albany after being a healthy scratch the last couple of games. He had started last season in Albany, but after 12 games he was recalled to New Jersey and stuck for the rest of the season. He had played in 43 games but only scored once, and was basically demoted to a third or fourth line role before being out altogether. The one thing I worry about is there’s a glut of forwards here…especially considering Myles Stoesz, just recalled from Trenton earlier in the week, has yet to get back in the lineup. We’ll have to see how Tedenby is worked in and who sits, gets sent out, etc.

Pregame for tonight out in about 2 hours…we’ll have to see if anyone else gets added or sent out…

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Game #40: Albany at Adirondack

Location: Glens Falls Civic Center, Glens Falls, NY. Time: 7:00 PM.

Season Series:

Tied at 2.

Standings:

Albany, 17-14-5-3, 42 points, tied for 2nd in Northeast Division; Adirondack, 20-16-1-1, 42 points, tied for 2nd in Northeast Division

Leading Scorers:

Albany: Matt Anderson, 22 points (7 G, 15 A); Joe Whitney, 21 points (8 G, 13 A); Vladimir Zharkov, 20 points (6 G, 14 A)

Adirondack: Jason Akeson, 31 points (10 G, 21 A); Denis Hamel, 27 points (14 G, 13 A); Ben Holmstrom, 22 points (11 G, 11 A)

Goaltending:

Albany: Jeff Frazee, 7-8-2, 2.69 GAA; Keith Kinkaid, 9-11-1, 3.02 GAA

Adirondack: Michael Leighton, 14-13-0, 2.66 GAA; Jason Bacashihua, 6-4-1, 3.08 GAA

Miscellaneous:

Time Warner Cable Cup Game #5.

Following Along?

Radio: AHL Live (Albany); WNYQ 101.7 FM (Adirondack)

Twitter: myself, @AlbanyDevils (Albany); @PhantomsHockey, @PSPhantoms (Adirondack)

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Game #39: Albany vs. Norfolk

Location: Times Union Center, Albany, NY. Time: 7:00 PM.

Season Series:

Albany leads 4-0.

Standings:

Norfolk, 23-13-1-2, 49 points, tied for 2nd in East Division; Albany, 17-13-5-3, 42 points, tied for 2nd in Northeast Division

Leading Scorers:

Norfolk: Cory Conacher, 43 points (22 G, 21 A); Mark Barberio, 35 points (4 G, 31 A); Carter Ashton, 28 points (15 G, 13 A)

Albany: Matt Anderson, 22 points (7 G, 15 A); Joe Whitney, 19 points (8 G, 11 A); Vladimir Zharkov, 19 points (6 G, 13 A)

Goaltending:

Norfolk: Dustin Tokarski, 16-9-0, 2.39 GAA; Jaroslav Janus, 7-5-2, 3.04 GAA

Albany: Jeff Frazee, 7-8-2, 2.69 GAA; Keith Kinkaid, 9-10-1, 2.92 GAA

Following Along?

Radio: AHL Live (Albany); 102.1 FM The Game (Norfolk)

Twitter: myself, @AlbanyDevils (Albany); @AdsGameUpdates, @NorfolkAdmirals (Norfolk)

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