Tag Archives: AHL

Week 17 Primer

Devils Quick Hits:

-Albany returns from the All Star Break with a 20-14-4-5 mark, good for 49 points and 4th place in the Northeast Division (9th in the Eastern Conference).

-On Monday, Tim Sestito was placed on waivers by New Jersey.  Tuesday he cleared and was returned to Albany.  He appeared in 15 games with two assists and 33 penalty minutes.

-The AHL announced Wednesday that defenseman Seth Helgeson will sit out Thursday’s game in Lehigh Valley due to suspension, thanks to an elbowing incident in Worcester on Friday night.

-Defenseman Mike Keenan, on a PTO since December 4th, was officially signed to an AHL contract on Wednesday.  He has one assist in 15 games and 15 penalty minutes.

1/29, Game #44 at Lehigh Valley

Where: PPL Center, Allentown, PA.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 3-0.

Standings:

Lehigh Valley: 20-16-4-1, 45 points, 3rd place in East Division

Phantoms Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

Nick Cousins, 30 points (13 G, 17 A); Brandon Manning, 26 points (7 G, 19 A); Andrew Gordon, 25 points (13 G, 12 A)

Rob Zepp, 11-5-4, 2.57 GAA; Anthony Stolarz, 6-9-1, 2.91 GAA

Notes:

-The Phantoms broke a 3 game losing streak just before the break with a win at home against St. John’s on Saturday.

-Lehigh Valley is also starting a 3 in 3 week, hosting Hershey on Friday before traveling to Wilkes-Barre on Saturday.

-The Phantoms got a boost in goal when Philadelphia sent Rob Zepp back on Wednesday.

Listen: AHL Live, The Fox 1470 AM

Twitter: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @LVPhantoms, @BobRotruck

1/30 & 1/31, Game #45 & #46 vs. St. John’s

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 7:00 PM (1/30), 5:00 PM (1/31).

Season Series: First 2 meetings of 4.  Future matchups: March 6th & 7th @ St. John’s

Standings:

St. John’s: 18-21-5-1, 40 points, 5th place in Atlantic Division

IceCaps Leading Scorers/Goaltending:

John Albert, 28 points (10 G, 18 A); Carl Klingberg, 26 points (14 G, 12 A); Chase Balisy, 25 points (10 G, 15 A)

Connor Hellebuyck, 18-13-2, 2.48 GAA; Peter Budaj, 0-7-4, 3.69 GAA

Notes:

-This is a rematch of last year’s first round Calder Cup playoff series, won by the IceCaps in 4 games.  They would make it all the way to the Calder Cup Finals before losing to Texas in 5 games.

-The IceCaps are finishing off a 5 game road swing, so far going 1-2 against East Division opponents with their only win in Binghamton on Friday evening.

-Connor Hellebuyck, the lone St. John’s representative at Monday’s AHL All Star Classic, got the starting nod for the Eastern Conference and stopped 9 of 13 West shots in his one period of work.

-Local ties: Former River Rats forward Nicolas Blanchard is in his first season with St. John’s and first outside of the Carolina organization.

-The first 1500 in attendance on Saturday get their very own Dan Kelly bobblehead doll.

Listen: AHL Live, stjohnsicecaps.com

Twitter: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @IceCapsAHL

 

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2015 All Star Wrap

Hard to believe, but the All Star weekend in Utica is over.

This was my first time going to any All Star event at any level, and it was an awesome experience.  Always fun to visit with friends from around the league and see players I never get to see live (translation: anyone in the Western Conference not a Comet or a Flame).  Without further delay, let’s recap the last two days!

Getting ready for the intros!

Getting ready for the intros!

1/25, All Star Skills: East 15, West 11

The slate of events began on Sunday evening, as both teams took to the ice at The Aud for the Skills Competition.

Both teams split the four rounds of the Puck Control Relay.  Joe Whitney was part of the second heat, which the West won.

In the second event for Fastest Skater, Manchester’s Colin Miller won the individual title with a time of 13.805 seconds.  The West won the team average title at 13.9 seconds.

The West goaltending dominated during the Rapid Fire competition, as goaltenders Richard Bachman (Oklahoma City), Jacob Markstrom (Utica) and Magnus Hellberg (Milwaukee) combined for 23 saves over 30 chances.  In the final heat, Utica’s Bobby Sanguinetti owned St. John’s goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, burying 4 out of 5 shots on net to the delight of the hometown crowd.

The East took the Hardest Shot round, thanks to a new AHL All Star record off the stick of Miller, who registered a shot of 105.5 MPH.  His three shots on net all broke 103 easily.

Paul Thompson took part in the Accuracy Shooting, getting all 4 targets on 8 attempts.  Hartford’s Chris Bourque and Texas’s Maxime Fortunus tied with 4 targets out of 6 attempts.  The West took the team point by hitting 14 targets out of 30 chances.

In the Pass and Score Competition, Whitney and Thompson teamed up with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Derrick Pouliot, but were unable to get the puck past Bachman.  The East took the round by scoring 4 times over 6 heats.

The East clinched the competition during the Breakaway Relay, scoring 5 goals over three rounds.  Thompson and Whitney were shut out on their attempts.  Hellebuyck and Manchester’s J.F. Berube stopped all 6 of their attempts to clinch the win.

Colin Miller (Manchester) receiving his awards.

Colin Miller (Manchester) receiving his awards.

Post Skills, everyone was signing by the boards.  Nice touch.

Post Skills, everyone was signing by the boards. Nice touch.

Before the actual game on Monday, the State of the League address took place at Turning Stone.  Full audio from the Power Play Post Show can be found here.  The Times Union has a brief summary of topics, such as the rumored Pacific Division and schedule adjustments.

1/26, All Star Classic: West 14, East 12

And now, for the actual game.

More intros...

More intros…

Things got off to a good start for the East, as Portland’s Brendan Shinnimin got the first goal of the evening.  But the West would rattle off three straight tallies, off the sticks of Rockford’s Mark McNeill, Milwaukee’s Brendan Leipsic, and Hamilton’s Charles Hudon.  Shinnimin would add his second to get back to within one, only to have Chicago’s Ty Rattie restore the two goal lead as the period ended.  But the star was the hometown goalie, Jacob Markstrom, as he stopped 16 of 18 shots, with some just point blank robbery.

First intermission entertainment: mascot broomball!

First intermission entertainment: mascot broomball!

 

Second period was all about the offense, as both teams combined for 12 goals.  The East would score the first four to take a 6-4 lead, as Springfield’s Austin Madaisky, Joe Whitney, Providence’s Alexander Khokhlachev, and Bourque all connected.  But not to be outdone, the West would score six straight to go up 10-6.  Hudon would get the hat trick, McNeill and Leipsic each had their second, and Rockford’s T.J. Brennan and Grand Rapids’ Teemu Pulkkinen scored one each.  But the East wasn’t done quite yet, as Binghamton’s Shane Prince and Manchester’s Jordan Weal got on the board to make it a 2 goal West lead going into the third.  Rochester’s Phil Varone was awarded a penalty shot late, but was denied.

Second intermission: Mascot danceoff, aka the Tux invitational.

Second intermission: Mascot danceoff, aka the Tux invitational.

In the third, Prince (with his second) and Adirondack’s Emile Poirier traded goals early on.  Then, a second penalty shot was called, and Norfolk’s Chris Wagner connected to bring the East back to within one goal.  But Leipsic and McNeill would each complete their hat tricks to make it a 13-10 contest.  The other Adirondack representative, Drew Shore, would score the 14th goal for the West.  Prince would complete the hat trick late in the period and Syracuse’s Jonathan Marchessault would get the final goal to finish off a very offensive game (but aren’t all All Star games like that?).  The East outshot the West by an astonishing 59-40 margin.

Your co-MVPs: Utica's Jacob Markstrom and Hamilton's Charles Hudon.

Your co-MVPs: Utica’s Jacob Markstrom and Hamilton’s Charles Hudon.

Whitney finished with a goal on one shot and a -3.  Thompson had one assist, two shots and a -3 rating, as both he and Whitney were on the same line (why break up a good thing?).  Shinnimin lead all skaters with 10 shots on goal, he just could not get that third goal after a strong first period.  The 26 combined goals were an All Star record.

Thanks to the Utica Comets, the AHL, and everyone else involved for an awesome two days and a great first time experience for me!  Even got in my first ever visit to Turning Stone (on Sunday night for the Post Skills party).  Hopefully it’s a close location next season so I can travel there and do it again.

And a few more photos from the two days:

East Captain Tom Kostopoulos (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) being interviewed on ice during Monday's game

East Captain Tom Kostopoulos (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) being interviewed on ice during Monday’s game

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The captains and AHL president Dave Andrews with the ceremonial puck drop.

Thompson, Whitney, and Chris Bourque

Thompson, Whitney, and Chris Bourque

 

 

 

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Not A Bad Week…

I must say, the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015 is going quite well for Joe Whitney.

-After a week that saw his first NHL goal in Detroit on Wednesday, then notching two goals and three assists in two games in Bridgeport, Whitney was awarded the AHL Player of the Week on Monday.  He is the first Devil to win the award since Scott Wedgewood took the honors the week of March 16, 2014, and the first skater since Matt Anderson in February 2013.

-To add to the accolades, he was the lone Devil named to the AHL’s Eastern Conference All Stars, announced earlier today.  There are a few former Devils that will be joining him: Matt Taormina (Worcester), Tom Kostopoulos (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, also the East Captain) and Bobby Butler (San Antonio).  The full rosters can be found here.  The game will be held in Utica on Monday, January 26th, with the Skills Competition on Sunday the 25th.

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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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2014-15 Schedule Revealed

Finally, finally, finally (and did I mention finally?) the day has arrived.

After waiting for the NBA to get their schedule finalized (since a few Western Conference teams share the building), the AHL released the full 2014-15 schedule this morning.  Here is the full Albany schedule, followed by a breakdown:

(all home games in CAPS)

OCTOBER

11-at Adirondack

17-at Bridgeport

18-BRIDGEPORT

21-WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON

24-at Hartford

25-HARTFORD

NOVEMBER

1-BRIDGEPORT

2-PORTLAND

5-at Hartford

8-at Bridgeport

9-at Bridgeport

12-SYRACUSE

14-at Portland

15-at Portland

21-WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON

22-at Binghamton

23-BRIDGEPORT

26-HARTFORD

28-LEHIGH VALLEY*

29-UTICA

DECEMBER

2-SPRINGFIELD

5-at Providence

6-PORTLAND

7-ADIRONDACK

11-at Hartford

14-LEHIGH VALLEY*

19-at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

20-at Syracuse

26-at Syracuse

27-SPRINGFIELD

30-PROVIDENCE

JANUARY

2-SYRACUSE

3-at Bridgeport

4-at Bridgeport

9-HERSHEY

10-BRIDGEPORT

11-at Springfield

14-SPRINGFIELD

16-at Lehigh Valley

17-at Hershey

21-BRIDGEPORT+

23-at Worcester

24-WORCESTER

29-at Lehigh Valley

30-ST. JOHN’S

31-ST. JOHN’S

FEBRUARY

4-at Manchester

6-at Springfield

13-HERSHEY

14-at Hartford

15-HARTFORD

20-at Syracuse

21-at Utica

22-at Springfield

27-at Syracuse

28-at Hershey

MARCH

1-BINGHAMTON

6-at St. John’s

7-at St. John’s

13-WORCESTER

14-SYRACUSE

15-SPRINGFIELD

18-NORFOLK

21-NORFOLK

22-HARTFORD

27-at Norfolk

28-at Norfolk

APRIL

1-MANCHESTER

3-at Springfield

4-BINGHAMTON

10-at Binghamton

11-at Hartford

12-at Worcester

15-SYRACUSE

17-at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

18-HARTFORD

*at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City

+at Prudential Center, Newark

Looking at the numbers:

First, the opponents…

36 intra-division games, with Bridgeport and Hartford 10 times apiece, and Springfield and Syracuse 8 times.

20 games against the East Division (Binghamton, Hershey, Lehigh Valley, Norfolk, Wilkes-Barre), evenly split with 4 games each.

16 games against the Atlantic: 4 each with Worcester and St. John’s (back on the schedule for the first time in 2 seasons), and 2 each with Manchester and Providence.

Only 4 games in the Western Conference: 2 with Adirondack, 2 with Utica.  No Rochester yet again.  It’s actually going to be nice not having to see Adirondack 20 times this year (okay, it just seems that way but still).

3 neutral site home games, with 2 back in Atlantic City on November 28th and December 14th…and both against Lehigh Valley.  Great idea Lou, you just gave up two home crowds to Philly with that one!  And again, no one was told about this happening.

However, there is a game at the Rock on January 21st against Bridgeport.  About time the AHL Devils returned to the NHL home!

Only 9 3 in 3 weekends this year, but a majority of them are in the second half of the season.

Longest homestand comes in March, a 6 game stretch from the 13th-22nd.  The longest road trip comes just before that, a 5 game trip from February 20th-28th.  St. John’s and Norfolk two game swings are both in March as well.

Breakdown by day: Sunday 13, Monday 0, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 8, Thursday 2, Friday 23, Saturday 26.  Very weekend heavy schedule as usual.  And a couple of Tuesday home games, which I find rather weird.

Once again this season, all Saturday home games with the exception of January 24th (a 2 PM start to accommodate the annual RPI-Union matchup) will start at 5 PM. Look at it this way…if New Jersey plays the same night, you can get dinner and still catch at least half the game afterwards!  Sundays are at 3 PM, while all other start times are at 7.

The All Star Classic is scheduled for January 25th and 26th.  More information, including format and location, to come.

One more scheduling note to pass along, as a second preseason game was announced last week: the team will travel to Champions Skating Center in Cromwell, Connecticut, on October 1st to take on the Wolfpack.

 

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New Divisions, New Rules

The AHL just wrapped up its annual meetings in South Carolina this week…and with it, came a few big changes for the 2014-15 season:

-Yesterday, the divisional alignment for the season was announced, and with Lehigh Valley joining the lineup and Abbotsford moving east to Glens Falls, it’s an interesting setup:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Atlantic: Manchester, Portland, Providence, St. John’s, Worcester (no change)

East: Binghamton, Hershey, Lehigh Valley, Norfolk, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

Northeast: Albany, Bridgeport, Hartford, Springfield, Syracuse

WESTERN CONFERENCE

North: Adirondack, Hamilton, Rochester, Toronto, Utica

Midwest: Chicago, Grand Rapids, Lake Erie, Milwaukee, Rockford

West: Charlotte, Iowa, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Texas

The Phantoms move from Adirondack in the Northeast to the East Division, Syracuse moves from the East to the Northeast Division.  Abbotsford leaves the West with Adirondack going to the North.  Lake Erie moves from North to Midwest, and Iowa moves from Midwest to West.  Got all that?

Now, with Albany and Adirondack in different conferences, I’m hoping this means there’s a slight reduction in the season series.  Yeah, who am I kidding, I’ll still see them 20 times…

The playoff format remains the same from last season: Division winners will comprise the top 3 seeds, while the top 5 non division winners earn a spot.

Also from the meetings came some rule changes:

-Overtime periods are extended from 5 minutes to 7 minutes, starting as a 4 on 4 for the first three minutes, then going to 3 on 3 for the rest of the session.  If it gets to a shootout, it’s 3 rounds instead of 5 (like in the NHL).  Teams will change sides before the period begins, and also a full dry scrape of the ice surface will precede the start.

-If a player assesses two major penalties for fighting or three non-fighting majors in a game, they will receive a game misconduct.

-If a player loses his helmet during play and does not leave the ice immediately or put the helmet back on properly, they will receive a minor penalty.

And finally, mark your calendars: This year’s home opener will be on Saturday, October 18th.  With the season beginning on October 11th, it appears Albany will begin the season on the road for the second straight year.

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News of the Week

Yeah, it’s about time I updated this thing…

-The 2013-14 hockey season officially ended on Wednesday evening in St. John’s, as the Texas Stars took the Calder Cup title by finishing off the IceCaps in overtime, winning the series 4 games to 1.  There was one River Rat connection to the new champs, and it’s actually off ice: broadcaster Owen Newkirk, who was in the booth for the River Rats (during the Carolina days) for 2 seasons.

Meanwhile, in Devils land:

-Two unrestricted free agents returned to the fold, as Mike Sislo signed a 2 year, 2 way deal on Wednesday.  A well deserved contract for the 3rd year pro, who made his NHL debut back in January and lead Albany in goals this past season.

Then early Friday morning it was announced that Cam Janssen had signed a new 1 year, 2 way contract, which made everyone on my Devils Twitter feed curse under their breath.

And a third Devil has left for Europe, as Mattias Tedenby has joined Lev Praha of the KHL.  Not surprised by that move at all, unfortunately.

-Earlier today New Jersey announced their 6 game exhibition schedule…and sadly no games in Albany again this season.  Their only home game on neutral ice comes September 26th against the Islanders at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

-The annual rookie camp will take place July 13-18.  More info on that to come.

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