Week 1 Recap: Holy First Impressions!

Now this is how you start a season!

10/11 at Adirondack: 5-1 W

Chapter 3 of the Albany-Adirondack rivalry (well, not so much as the early Rats-Wings days of the mid 90s) kicked off Saturday night in Glens Falls as the Devils opened the season against the Flames, coming off a rough loss in Rochester the night before to start their first season in the North Country.  The newest Devil, Paul Thompson, scored the first goal of the season 7 minutes into the first for a 1-0 lead.  And he was just getting started.  Thompson scored a power play tally early in the second period to double the lead.  Brett Kulak would cut the Devils lead down to 1 with a power play goal of his own.  But in the third, Thompson would not only complete the hat trick, he would add a fourth goal for good measure just 3:47 apart to put the game away for the visitors.  Stefan Matteau would add his first goal of the year with just over 4 minutes to go to seal the win.  Keith Kinkaid earned his first win in net, stopping 34 of 35 shots.  Joe Whitney would assist on 3 of Thompson’s goals, while four other Devils contributed assists.

Highlights:

Lines:

I was not on hand for the game, but from what I could see in the highlights and box score this is what I was able to piece together (those on hand can correct me):

Paul Thompson-Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins

Reid Boucher-Graham Black-Mike Sislo

Rod Pelley-Stefan Matteau-Steve Bernier

Tim Sestito-Darcy Zajac-Cam Janssen

Extra: Chris McKelvie, Kelly Zajac, David Wohlberg, Ben Thomson, Ben Johnson

Defense Pairings:

Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Peter Harrold

Extra: Reece Scarlett, Joe Faust

Pop Quiz: Who was the last A-Devil before Paul Thompson to score 4 goals in a game?  Answer at the end of this post.

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

No gloves dropped or faces punched last night.

My Player of the Week:

Scoring 4 goals in your debut makes it a slam dunk decision.  Who else but Paul Thompson?

Team Leaders:

Goals: Paul Thompson (4)

Assists: Joe Whitney (3)

Points: Paul Thompson (4)

+/-: Paul Thompson (+3)

Penalty Minutes: 3 tied with 2

Wins: Keith Kinkaid (1)

GAA: Keith Kinkaid (1.00)

Save Percentage: Keith Kinkaid (.971)

Notes:

-For the second straight season, Rod Pelley is the captain.  Tim Sestito and Mike Sislo sported the A’s.  Not sure if the assistant captains are all games or if there is a rotating home/away assignment.

This Week’s Schedule:

A home and home series with Bridgeport awaits.  Friday night the Devils make their first of 5 visits to southern Connecticut.  Saturday it’s back on home ice for the first time since the playoff run at the end of April.

And the Photo Gallery returns next Sunday!

Pop Quiz Answer: Prior to last night, Bobby Butler was the last A-Devil to score four goals in a game, accomplishing the feat on December 12, 2012, in a 6-3 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Times Union Center.

 

 

 

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Week 1 Primer

Game #1: Albany at Adirondack

Location: Glens Falls Civic Center, Glens Falls, NY.

Time: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: First meeting of 2.  Future matchup: December 7th at Albany.

Standings:

Adirondack: 0-1-0, 0 points, 5th place in North Division

Albany: 0-0-0, 0 points,  tied for 1st in Northeast Division

Flames Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

2 skaters tied with 1 point (Ken Agostino 1 goal; Ben Hanowski 1 assist)

Joni Ortio, 0-1-0, 6.23 GAA; Brad Thiessen, 0-0-0, 0.00 GAA

Notes:

-This marks Adirondack’s home opener, their first as the Flames (last 5 seasons as the Phantoms).

-If you were hoping for a possible matchup of former River Rat Trevor Gillies vs. Cam Janssen, sorry to disappoint you.  He will have to sit out tonight due to, well, being Trevor Gillies.

-One other local tie of note: former Union College forward Josh Jooris is a member of the Flames, in his second year pro.

-With the move from Abbotsford keeping Adirondack in the Western Conference, this marks Albany’s only visit to the North Country, despite being its closest opponent on the schedule.

Listen: AHL Live, Hits 95.9 FM

Twitter: @AlbanyDevils, @AHLFlames, @dianacnearhos

 

 

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One More Day…

Happy AHL Opening Day! (About time.)

Before Albany takes the ice up north tomorrow night to start the 2014-15 season, a few notes from the week to get everyone caught up:

-On Tuesday, New Jersey cut its final roster down to 23 by reassigning Cam Janssen, Steve Bernier, and Peter Harrold to Albany, after all three cleared waivers on Monday.  This will be the second tour of duty for both Bernier and Harrold, who both skated for the A-Devils during the 2011-12 season.  Janssen will be skating in Albany for the third season in a row after splitting the last two seasons between both Albany and New Jersey.

-Albany released Renat Mamashev, Alexandre Carrier, and Tom Hartnett from their professional tryout deals.  The current roster now stands at 28 players (17 F, 8 D, 3 G), which I expect to be reduced once an ECHL affiliate is found.

In league news:

-On Tuesday the AHL announced that Utica would be the host for the 2015 AHL All Star Classic, to be held January 25th (Skills Competition) and 26th (Hall of Fame, All-Star Game).  With Utica being a less than 90 minute drive for me, I am hoping to actually go to my first All Star events this year.  Well, ticket purchase and weather permitting, of course.

-And yesterday in Glens Falls, the newest AHL mascot, Scorch, was introduced to the world.  I’m still shaking my head over this one.

-Our friends over at Chirps from Center Ice have a full league preview, broken down by division.

Look for the Week 1 Primer (as mentioned earlier, I will only be doing pregamers once a week this season) early tomorrow afternoon.

 

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14/15 Preseason Recap

After opening camp on Monday, the Devils had two chances to prepare for the season, both on the road in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.  With a cast of mostly last year’s regulars and a few new faces, it went well, as they finished 1-1.  And there may be more faces to come, making for some tough decisions before the season begins on the 11th.

Wednesday 10/1 at Hartford (Cromwell, CT): 3-1 L

The first test came on Wednesday night against division rival Hartford, a team Albany will be seeing 10 times during the regular season.  Maxime Clermont got the start in net, and all but 5 of last season’s regulars made the trip.  The game remained scoreless till late in the second period, when a Paul Thompson penalty shot put the visitors ahead 1-0.  But not even 20 seconds later, Andrew Yogan would tie things up.  After a chippy start to the third (4 fights broke out in the first 5 minutes of the period),  Michael St. Croix would break the tie for the hosts midway through for a 2-1 advantage.  Nick Crawford would add an empty netter late to seal the win.  Clermont played well despite the loss, stopping 19 of 21 shots.

Lines (from what I was able to tell):

David Wohlberg-Kelly Zajac-Myles Bell

Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Paul Thompson

Mike Sislo-Ben Thomson-Graham Black

Darcy Zajac-Alexandre Carrier-Tom Hartnett

Defense:

Reece Scarlett/Renat Mamashev

Dan Kelly/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Joe Faust

Saturday: Before the last preseason games for both Albany and the parent Devils, New Jersey announced that goaltender Keith Kinkaid, defenseman Seth Helgeson, and forwards Reid Boucher and Stefan Matteau were sent down.  Tuesday afternoon is the deadline for NHL rosters to be set, so there are more on their way.

10/4 at Lehigh Valley: 2-1 W

It was off to Allentown for the final tuneup, as the Devils paid a visit to their former North Country rivals the Phantoms.  Scott Wedgewood got the start in net, with a near similar lineup in front of him.  Raman Hrabarenka scored late in the first on a power play to give Albany a 1-0 lead.  Graham Black would add a power play goal of his own early in the third for a 2-0 advantage.  Kevin Goumas would break up Wedgewood’s shutout bid halfway through the period to cut the lead in half.  But the Devils would hang on the rest of the way to earn the win.  Wedgewood stopped 28 of 29 shots, while Brandon Burlon (after surviving a fight with Lehigh Valley’s Zack Stortini in the first) would pick up 2 assists.

Going by Phantoms radio, I wasn’t able to put together lines or defense pairings.  But here’s who did get in:

Forwards: Myles Bell, Graham Black, Alexandre Carrier, Tom Hartnett, Rod Pelley, Tim Sestito, Mike Sislo, Ben Thomson, Paul Thompson, Joe Whitney, David Wohlberg, Darcy Zajac

Defense: Brandon Burlon, Raman Hrabarenka, Joe Faust, Renat Mamashev, Corbin McPherson, Reece Scarlett

I have a brief album of photos from Wednesday’s game over on the Facebook page.  The regular photo gallery entries will return in two weeks.

This Week’s Schedule:

All that’s left is the final round of cuts from New Jersey, who gets sent to the ECHL (no official affiliate, so it’s wait and see as to where anyone will go), and the annual kick off party on Wednesday evening (where I get my season ticket package).  Then Saturday things start for real in Glens Falls.

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Second Round (and other News)

I had expected another round of cuts before Wednesday, but not this soon.

Four more players were reassigned to Albany just after New Jersey’s morning skate in preparation for tonight’s preseason home opener against the Flyers: goaltender Scott Wedgewood, defensemen Corbin McPherson and Renat Mamashev, and forward Joe Whitney. Add that to yesterday’s cuts and you’ll pretty much have a full team roster ready to start Albany camp (presumably) tomorrow.

One news item that I missed yesterday: back on September 16th the radio schedule for the season was announced…and much like the last four seasons it’s on local ESPN affiliate 104.5 WTMM, but with just half the schedule (because the Jets and every other sport are much higher on the totem pole here, as usual). The station is streamed through the RadioPup mobile app, but your best bet outside the Albany/Schenectady/Troy area is tuning in to the AHL Live feed.

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And the First Round…

Just as I had predicted, after Friday night’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Islanders in Brooklyn, today New Jersey made its second set of training camp cuts (more on the first group shortly), assigning the following 19 players to Albany:

Goaltenders: Maxime Clermont

Defensemen: Brandon Burlon, Joe Faust, Raman Hrabarenka, Dan Kelly, Reece Scarlett

Forwards: Myles Bell, Graham Black, Ben Johnson, Chris McKelvie, Rod Pelley, Tim Sestito, Mike Sislo, Ben Thomson, Paul Thompson, Scott Timmins, David Wohlberg, Darcy Zajac, Kelly Zajac

All but Thomson (who actually was in Albany’s camp last season before returning to juniors) and Thompson spent time in Albany last season.

Burlon, Kelly, Sestito, Sislo, Timmins, Joe Whitney and Darcy Zajac were placed on waivers on Friday and officially cleared earlier in the day.

Earlier in the week, 6 players were returned to their junior teams: Anthony Brodeur (Gatineau/QMJHL), Ryan Rehill (Kamloops/WHL), Brandon Baddock (Edmonton/WHL), Connor Chatham (Plymouth/OHL), Ryan Kujawinski (Kingston/OHL), and John Quenneville (Brandon/WHL).

A few familiar names still up in New Jersey include Corbin McPherson, Seth Helgeson, Stefan Matteau, Reid Boucher, Cam Janssen, and both goaltenders from last season, Keith Kinkaid and Scott Wedgewood.

New Jersey still has three preseason games left, starting tomorrow night at home against Philly, before hosting the Islanders on Thursday and the Rangers on Saturday.  I’m expecting at least another round of cuts before Wednesday, when Albany starts their brief preseason schedule in Connecticut against the Wolfpack.

And by the way…I will be traveling to Connecticut on Wednesday, officially kicking off my season coverage.  A few changes on the horizon for Season 5:

-With quite a few back to backs against one team this year, I have decided to not do individual pregamers for the season.  What I will be doing is a weekly preview, with a release on the day of the first game of the week.  I will still do the recap at the end of the week, out on Sunday or Monday depending on the schedule.

-Photo galleries will continue…but I’ll have an extended gallery over on the blog Facebook page.  If you haven’t given it a like yet, what are you waiting for?  Just follow the link on the right hand side of the page.

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Time to go Camping!

The official beginning of the 2014-15 season has finally arrived, as Devils rookies reported to New Jersey this morning for the start of training camp.  The veterans will report later this week, with the first game at MSG against the Rangers just one week away.  Here is the full New Jersey camp list:

GOALTENDERS

1 Keith Kinkaid

31 Scott Wedgewood

35 Cory Schneider

40 Scott Clemmensen

55 Maxime Clermont

60 Anthony Brodeur

DEFENSEMEN

2 Marek Zidlicky

5 Adam Larsson

6 Andy Greene

7 Jon Merrill

10 Peter Harrold

22 Eric Gelinas

24 Bryce Salvador

39 Dan Kelly

41 Brandon Burlon

42 Corbin McPherson

43 Reece Scarlett

44 Raman Hrabarenka

45 Seth Helgeson

46 Ramat Mamashev (camp invite)

47 Tomas Kaberle (camp invite)

48 Damon Severson

59 Ryan Rehill

62 Joe Faust

72 Mike Komisarek (camp invite)

FORWARDS

8 Dainius Zubrus

9 Martin Havlat

11 Stephen Gionta

12 Damien Brunner

14 Adam Henrique

15 Tuomo Ruutu

16 Jacob Josefson

17 Michael Ryder

18 Steve Bernier

19 Travis Zajac

20 Ryan Carter (camp invite)

23 Mike Cammalleri

25 Cam Janssen

26 Patrik Elias

28 Scott Gomez (camp invite)

29 Ryane Clowe

32 Tim Sestito

33 Rod Pelley

34 Mike Sislo

36 Reid Boucher

37 Joe Whitney

38 Stefan Matteau

49 Ben Thomson

51 Scott Timmins

52 David Wohlberg

53 Graham Black

54 Brandon Baddock

56 John Quenneville

57 Chris McKelvie

58 Kelly Zajac

61 Darcy Zajac

63 Ryan Kujawinski

64 Myles Bell

65 Ben Johnson

66 Connor Chatham

67 Paul Thompson

68 Jaromir Jagr

74 Jordin Tootoo (camp invite)

76 Ruslan Fedotenko (camp invite)

A few observations:

-Eric Gelinas, the last of the restricted free agents, finally agreed to a 1 year contract, ending a potential holdout situation.

-Good to see both Chris McKelvie and Kelly Zajac back in the fold for another season.

-Among the camp invites (well, other than a who’s who of I can’t get a contract), there are two names that may potentially see time here:

Mamashev is a 31-year-old Russian defenseman who has only one year of North American experience (2000-01 in Moose Jaw).  He split last season with Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk and Traktor Chelyabinsk 0f the KHL.

Thompson split last season between Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Springfield, scoring 8 goals in 69 games.  He is a former college teammate of Mike Sislo (and former Devils Phil DeSimone and Bobby Butler) at New Hampshire.

Looking ahead to New Jersey’s preseason schedule…first game (as mentioned earlier) is next Monday night at the Garden, followed by back to back road matchups in Philly on September 25th and in Brooklyn against the Islanders on the 26th.  My guess is first cuts to Albany would come that weekend.

And the cuts to Albany will be greeted by a new look coaching staff.   While Rick Kowalsky and Sergei Brylin have returned, two have moved on. Tommy Albelin has been promoted to the bench in New Jersey, taking the spot of Scott Stevens, who left for personal reasons.  And Johan Hedberg (otherwise known as MOOOOSE) will take over goaltending coach duties.  Dave Caruso has decided to concentrate on his goaltending camp in Ohio for the season.  A replacement for Albelin has yet to be named.

UPDATE (1:30 PM): Per a tweet from Fire and Ice, New Jersey has chosen a somewhat familiar name to take Albelin’s spot as an assistant coach.  Former River Rat David Cunniff, son of late Albany (and New Jersey) coach John, will join Brylin and Kowalsky on the bench.  He spent the last12 years as an assistant with the Sharks AHL affiliate in Cleveland and Worcester.

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