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Devils Season 5 in Review, Part 3: My Favorite Things

Welcome once again to the annual Season in Review.  As I have done the past four years, the review will be broken down into three parts: statistics, fun with numbers, and my favorite things from the season gone by.

Here it is, the final part, my favorite things (formerly called What I Learned).  There is always more to this hockey thing than tweeting, photo taking, recapping, etc.

While I was driving to Wilkes-Barre last weekend for my last road trip of the season, I started thinking about just how I wanted to look back on the last few months (and when you have 3 hours in the car you have a lot of time to think).  People, moments, things that happened on and off the ice.  Then it came to me…taking a page from In Lou We Trust I came up with some superlative awards to sum up the year for me.  So without further delay:

You’re Not Allowed to Leave. Ever.

Given to Graham Black for probably being the most well rounded Devil I have probably ever met in 5 years.  I felt sorry for the rookie, who played quite well for his first pro season despite injuries and illness limiting him to 46 games.

You’re Also Not Allowed to Leave. Ever.

Given to Matt Lorito who showed up on an amateur tryout in March, got a chance to play when Joe Whitney got hurt in Norfolk, and immediately made an impact playing on the top line.  Game winning goal in his pro debut, a shootout winner in Springfield in early April, and a record tying 5 points in his last game on April 15th.  He is already under an AHL contract for next season, and I hope the New Jersey brass was paying attention.

Best 1 Game Cameo Performance

Remember when Adam Larsson showed up for one game in December after getting over the mumps?  Not really?  It was because it was on the road in Wilkes-Barre on December 19th.  He contributed two assists in a 4-2 Devil win.

Best Multi Game Cameo Performance

Remember earlier in the season when Steve Bernier and Peter Harrold were here?  That lasted oh, about a month or so before both were summoned back to New Jersey.

Where Did This Guy Come From?

When I first saw Paul Thompson’s name on the training camp roster, I didn’t know much about him, so I asked my friends in Wilkes-Barre and Springfield for a scouting report.  Nowhere in that was just how much offense he would create.  Who would have guessed he would score 4 times in the season opener and go on to set the season franchise record for goals with 33?  And he will be re-signed in July to a 2 way deal, a well deserved one at that.

Best Player Performance That Ticked Off An Opposing Fanbase

Mark Fraser fighting J.P. Cote in Syracuse on December 20th…well the fight wasn’t the problem.  It was Fraser raising the roof as he skated to the penalty box after the fight.  He had his own “fan club” upon returning to the Salt City the day after Christmas (and had to answer to Eric Neilson in the first period).

Tough Building Award

The Broome County/Floyd Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton has been a house of horrors for the Devils in recent years.  This year alone, they were outscored 13-3 in two games.  But when the Senators came to Albany, no issues in sweeping them.

Most Overused Hashtag

Of course it involved trying to get someone playing time.  This year’s campaign? #FreeFaust for rookie Joe Faust, who was stuck in the #7 defenseman slot, but filled in nicely when he actually did get to play.  Here’s to more playing time for him next season so I don’t have to wave to him from the concourse in Springfield.

Obligatory Fight of the Year, Bronze Medal

April 17th in Wilkes-Barre, Cam vs. PL3.

Obligatory Fight of the Year, Silver Medal

December 7th against Adirondack, Cam vs. Trevor Gillies.

Obligatory Fight of the Year, Gold Medal

November 28th in Atlantic City, Mark Fraser vs. Jay Rosehill.

Smartass Little Brother Award:

A few of us have been calling Dan Kelly this for awhile.  Battles for you on ice, has a sarcastic answer for everything off of it.  From the bobblehead reveal in January to bowling with him in February, we could always count on the 5 time voted Defensive Player of the Year (by the Booster Club) and the Albany choice for the AHL Man of the Year. (If you happen to read this, I mean it as a term of endearment.  Seriously. I do.)

Most Likely to be Found at a Thruway Rest Stop:

Given to Tim Sestito for being called up and sent down more times than necessary in a span of a week and a half.

Best Road Trip, Bronze Medal

February 27th in Syracuse, where the offense finally came alive in a much needed 7-6 win, only their second win in the month of February.

Best Road Trip, Silver Medal

April 17th in Wilkes-Barre.  All they did was put a four-spot on the league’s Rookie and Goaltender of the Year and shut out the Penguins in another tough building.

Best Road Trip, Gold Medal

I had maintained for years that I would never, ever set foot in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall for a “home” game.  Well…this year things were different.  I had the time to actually make the trip there, and ended up witnessing the first OT win by a Devil team in nearly three years (a 4-3 overtime win over Lehigh Valley on December 14th).  And got a mini vacation on the Boardwalk as a nice bonus prize.  Heck, I may even do it again next year if the opportunity arises…well, at least this time I’ll pick a hotel that’s not next to an abandoned casino.

And now time for my favorite Game Break!  (The Rock as Darcy Zajac?  Nope.  But Channing Tatum as Corbin McPherson…where do I sign up as an extra?)

Now for a few thank yous:

-To my AHL friends, for the support and therapy sessions during the year (and for also making my first AHL All Star experience in Utica a lot of fun).

-To my New Jersey friends, for the support, the endless laughs, and also for the many therapy sessions during coaching changes, questionable callups, and goal droughts.

-To my friends at home for the help and keeping up with gameday habits like Moose calling and Instagramming certain announcers, among other things.

-Finally, to you the reader for following along and making me want to continue doing what I do!

Only a few months before Season 6 begins…that is, when the lease is finally signed.

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Devils Season 5 in Review, Part 2: Fun with Numbers

Welcome once again to the annual Season in Review.  As I have done the past four years, the review will be broken down into three parts: statistics, fun with numbers, and my favorite things from the season gone by.

Here we go with Part 2 and some random numbers from the season:

4,011: Attendance for the home opener, a 3-2 win on October 18th.

4: Goals by Paul Thompson in the season opener October 11 at Adirondack.

6: Shootout losses.

37: Players to appear in at least one game.

2: Players who made their NHL debut (Seth Helgeson & Raman Hrabarenka).

4: Goaltenders to appear in at least one game.

7,012: Season high attendance on January 24th, a 2-1 overtime loss to Worcester.

13: Players who appeared in at least one game for both Albany and New Jersey.

77: Most penalty minutes in one game, on February 22nd at Springfield (a 4-2 loss).

10: Different cities I saw at least one game (Albany, Atlantic City, Newark, Binghamton, Syracuse, Springfield, Worcester, Hartford, Bridgeport, Wilkes-Barre).

2: Penalty minutes in a 2-1 overtime loss at St. John’s on March 6th.

8: Number of times Tim Sestito was either called up or sent back from New Jersey between December 15th and January 27th.

3: Devils to earn their first NHL points (Seth Helgeson & Mike Sislo with assists, Joe Whitney with a goal)

1: Penalty shots awarded (Mike Sislo on 11/26) and also faced (Scott Wedgewood on 12/26).

3: Hat tricks, all by Paul Thompson.

10: Rounds for the longest shootout of the season, a loss to Syracuse on January 2nd.

7: Most goals allowed in one game, on November 8th in Bridgeport and November 22nd in Binghamton.

4: Wins against Lehigh Valley in a series sweep.

5: Total goals scored in 8 shootouts.

33: Times Albany scored the first goal.

6: Power play goals allowed in a 7-2 loss to Bridgeport on November 8th.

5: Wins against Bridgeport, the most against any opponent.

0: Wins against Hershey and Manchester.

33: Goals for Paul Thompson, a new franchise record.

79: Goals scored in the third period.

17: 1-goal victories.

10: Home point scoring streak for Scott Timmins, between October 18th and November 28th.

6: Road goal scoring streak for Stefan Matteau, starting from February 27th through the end of the season.

-5: Plus/minus rating for Raman Hrabarenka on November 22nd in Binghamton.

1: Shot allowed in the second period on January 31st vs. St. John’s.

0: Players to appear in all 76 games (Paul Thompson was the closest with 73).

7: Most goals scored in one game, on October 24th in Hartford (7-3 win), January 3rd in Bridgeport (7-4 win), and February 27th in Syracuse (7-6 win).

6: Shutouts by Devil goaltending.

26: Most penalty minutes by one player…Mike Sislo on February 22nd at Springfield (two abuse of official misconducts for arguing did the trick).

3: Shootout losses for Scott Wedgewood.

13: Majors for Ben Thomson (tied for first in the league among rookies).

42: Most saves in one game, by Scott Wedgewood on 12/30 vs. Providence.

5: Points for Matt Lorito, tying a franchise record, in a 6-2 win over Syracuse on April 15th.

I may add more to this list as I think of them…

 

 

 

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And the Awards Go To…(2015 Edition)

Just came home from the annual Devils STH party downtown…and this year there was more than just player intros and watching the year’s highlight reel: due to scheduling conflicts, the Booster Club was unable to do a separate awards banquet.  But there were still awards to be given out, so without further delay…

First, the Bowlathon awards:

Players High Score: Joe Whitney (with a 182…he beat me, so…)

Players Best Effort: Paul Thompson (no report on what the actual score was)

Next, the Booster Club vote:

Offensive Player of the Year: Paul Thompson (also my pick)

Defensive Player of the Year: Dan Kelly (same; he has won it all 5 years of the Devils existence by the way)

Most Electrifying Player (the player who gets the fans going, gets them cheering, etc.): Cam Janssen (my pick: Scott Wedgewood)

Unsung Hero (does the most for the team but gets no credit): Graham Black (for some reason I chose Brandon Burlon)

Fan Favorite: Scott Wedgewood (back to back years for Wedge; my pick: Mike Sislo)

Your Three Stars of the season (based on how many times a player was selected for a star of the game):

Third Star: Paul Thompson

Second Star: Scott Wedgewood

First Star: Joe Whitney

Finally, the coaches’ awards:

Most Improved Player: Raman Hrabarenka

John Cunniff Memorial Award: Dan Kelly

And I did get a few injury updates, which will be included in Friday’s primer.

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Devils Season 4 in Review, Part 3: My Favorite Things

It’s that time again, the annual Year in Review.  As I have done the past three seasons, I will break down the year in 3 parts: the stats, some fun with numbers, and a few memories of the season gone by.

Welcome to the final part, My Favorite Things (formerly called What I Learned).  Considering the number of games I attended during the course of the season (about, oh, a lot), along with player events and post game interactions, there were quite a few interesting stories to remember this year by.  Here’s just a few of my memories:

Now, I’ve made it pretty obvious that Mike Sislo has grown to be my favorite Devil.  So, yeah, it was awesome to actually be on hand in Wilkes-Barre when he did this in November:

I’m still kicking myself for not going to Dunkin a month ago before the second job…then again if Dan Kelly saw me in line he’d probably make me pay up.  Just because that’s the way he is with me.

Still laughing over #JoeWhitneyFacts in honor of Joe’s NHL debut back in January.  Too bad most of them have disappeared since then.

Most awkward road trip?  The schoolday fail in Bridgeport.  Apparently half of Connecticut can’t drive in wet snow shower conditions.  And a bunch of us from upstate NY could.

Sweet golf visor, Seth. (from the Bowlathon in December)

Sweet golf visor, Seth. (from the Bowlathon in December)

-And now the best of That Awkward Moment…

...when the Joe Whitney bobblehead towers over the Tim Sestito one.

…when the Joe Whitney bobblehead towers over the Tim Sestito one.

-when you check in at the hotel in Wilkes-Barre you discover you’re on the same floor as the team.  During pregame naptime.

-when Brandon Burlon turns into Spiderman to retrieve a soccer ball in the ceiling.

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-when watching soccer you volunteer to grab a loose ball…and end up kicking it further down Exhibition Hall.

-when half the team accidentally boards the wrong bus in Glens Falls.  Don’t think you want to go to Philly with the Phantoms, guys.

-when Alexander Urbom nearly walks in front of your car as you’re leaving the parking garage.  Pay attention, will you?

Then there was the easy way to replace the glass in the arena…and it happened twice in a month (first comes about :57 in):

Most adventurous road trip?  A tie…getting stuck in a snow squall in November coming home from Glens Falls and my 600 mile odyssey through 3 different cities in early April (Syracuse to Wilkes-Barre, Wilkes-Barre to Glens Falls).  I don’t know how these guys can play with that kind of travel…just driving it fried me.  And the fact Interstate 81 between Syracuse and Binghamton is essentially a black hole of nothing.

Favorite postgame activity: being a temporary babysitter for Tim Sestito’s two kids.  I couldn’t leave the building without at least a big hug from Sloane or having to chase Jude around to catch him.

Most used Twitter hashtag:

DSCN5141

 

When it gets to the point where Harry himself (who would jokingly roll his eyes at us if we dared forget the signs) came up with his own to get him in the lineup (Young Caged), you know it’s bad.  Other overused ones: #FreeHoeffel, #FreeScarlett, and very popular towards the end of the season, #whyisurbomstillhere.  And the usual #Blame (insert ref here…a few got that treatment this year too).

And now a few thank yous:

-To my fellow AHL bloggers/tweeters for the support and kind words, especially during tough losing streaks and down the stretch getting into the postseason.

-To my friends in New Jersey for the laughs and countless jokes about a whole variety of things…and certain photos of Swedish defensemen…and the support in the postseason as well.

-To the crew at home for helping me with tweets, keeping me laughing even on days when games were going badly, and keeping the players (and goalie coaches) in line.

-To the players, thank you for being awesome and for the most fun I’ve had in four years of having the Devils back in Albany.  Hopefully you can build on this going into next season.

And thank you for reading and following along!  Just under 5 months before Season 5 begins…

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Devils Season 4 in Review, Part 2: Fun with Numbers

It’s that time again, the annual Year in Review.  As I have done the past three seasons, I will break down the year in 3 parts: the stats, some fun with numbers, and a few memories of the season gone by.

Welcome to Part 2, where I have some fun with numbers.  All in random order (translation: as I think of them):

9: AHL cities I saw at least one game (Albany, Adirondack, Binghamton, Bridgeport, Hartford, Wilkes-Barre, Worcester, Syracuse, Springfield)

2: AHL Player of the Week awards (Keith Kinkaid in November, Scott Wedgewood in March)

35: Players who made at least one appearance this season.

10: Players who made at least one appearance in New Jersey.

4: Devils who made their NHL debut (Merrill, Boucher, Sislo, Whitney)

53: Shots in a 4-3 loss to Adirondack on April 6th.

1: Shots in the third period in a 4-3 shootout loss to Hartford on February 1st.

14: Combined goals by the Devils and Bridgeport on November 30th (Devils won 8-6).

45: Games in which Albany scored first.

14: 1 goal wins.

4: Wins against the Western Conference (all against Utica).

93: New franchise record for points in a season.

9: Players with 10+ goals.

4: Goalies used during the regular season.

2: Penalty shot attempts for Harri Pesonen on October 25th against Hartford.

2: Successful penalty shots during the season (Tim Sestito and Artem Demkov)

8,026: Attendance for Game 2 against St. John’s on April 26th (a new AHL Albany record)

0: Non-shootout overtime wins.

8: Most goals in a game, accomplished twice (11/30 vs. Bridgeport, 1/17 at Utica)

0: Wins in 4 Atlantic City “home” games.

9: Shutouts by Devils goaltending.

0: Wins against Worcester and Hershey.

7: Most goals allowed (2/16 vs. Bridgeport).

6: Longest winning streak, from December 4-21.

10: Rookies that made at least one appearance.

1: Goal scored on Michael Hutchinson in two games in St. John’s during the first round.

4: Power play goals scored in the first two games against St. John’s.

16: Years since a New Jersey AHL team won a playoff series (River Rats defeated Hamilton in the ’98 CC Playoffs).

 

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Extra! Extra!

It’s a momentous occasion!

I could break out in song…

Or start dancing…

 

 

But instead, I’ll just scream it…

I’M GOING TO THE PLAYOFFS!!!!

Wait…I’m going to the playoffs?  Holy crap!

How am I going to cover this??

Stay tuned to Sunday’s recap for just how things are going to happen.

But for now, I’ll just enjoy the moment for the first time in 4 years.  It’s been too long.

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And The Awards Go To…(2014 Edition)

A nice welcome from the banquet hall.

A nice welcome from the banquet hall.

Just returned home from the annual Booster Club Awards dinner with the team.  As always, a fun night where you get to have dinner with the players and just hang out.  And celebrate the season’s accomplishments so far.  Ironically enough, the big winner of the evening wasn’t even in attendance, as he was too busy filling in for Ryane Clowe in Buffalo.  Without further delay, your awards winners:

Bowlathon Awards:

Players High Score: Mike Sislo (I believe 170?)

Players Best Effort (otherwise known as the lowest score): Seth Helgeson (he broke 90, but to be fair he was too busy roaming around visiting other kids participating)

Player Achievements:

Hat Trick (player was given a hat with the date on the back): Mike Sislo the lone winner (but an honorable mention to Chris McKelvie for getting the Gordie Howe version)

Chili Goal: To explain–when the Devils score three goals at home (Atlantic City need not apply here), everyone can take their ticket stub to Wendy’s for a free cup of chili.  It’s been a promotion going back to the Capital District Islanders days.  A total of 19 Chili Goals were scored this year:

2 each: Scott Timmins, Reid Boucher, Mike Sislo, Rod Pelley, Mattias Tedenby

1 each: Joe Whitney, Chris McKelvie, Brandon Burlon, Stefan Matteau, David Wohlberg, Dan Kelly, Kelly Zajac

Each got Chili hats, while Rod Pelley took home the huge Chili Goal trophy.

3 Stars of the Year (based on how many times a player earned a star of the game):

3. Stefan Matteau

2. Mike Sislo

1. Keith Kinkaid (he has been #1 star 9 times this season, by the way)

Booster Club-voted Awards:

Offensive Player of the Year: Joe Whitney (also my pick)

Defensive Player of the Year: Dan Kelly (my pick:  Corbin McPherson)

Most Electrifying Player: Joe Whitney (my pick: Keith Kinkaid)

Unsung Hero: Kelly Zajac (also my pick)

Fan Favorite: Scott Wedgewood (my pick: Mike Sislo)

Coach’s Awards:

Most Improved Player: David Wohlberg

John Cunniff Memorial Award: Rod Pelley

And now for a few photos:

Our guest speaker, John Gray from WTEN/WXXA (local ABC/FOX affiliate)

Our guest speaker, John Gray from WTEN/WXXA (local ABC/FOX affiliate)

Brandon Burlon sporting his new Chili Goal hat.

Brandon Burlon sporting his new Chili Goal hat.

Rod Pelley and his awesome Chili Goal trophy.

Rod Pelley and his awesome Chili Goal trophy.

Since Mike Sislo couldn't make the dinner, Darcy Zajac got to haul all his hardware.

Since Mike Sislo couldn’t make the dinner, Darcy Zajac got to haul all his hardware.

 

 

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