Tag Archives: news and notes

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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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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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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Holiday Weekend Updates

After a relatively quiet August…it’s my second post this week!  Just a few notes to pass on before I can finally start enjoying my Labor Day weekend:

-After only returning to Albany on an AHL only contract in 2013-14, Dan Kelly was signed to a new 2 year, 2 way contract yesterday.  He set career highs in games played (71), points (17), and plus/minus (+13), while appearing in one playoff game.  He also was Albany’s selection as the AHL’s Man of the Year for his work in the community. The Lowell/Albany all time plus/minus leader at +36, he is one of just 3 Albany regulars (Tim Sestito and Darcy Zajac the others) remaining from the first Devils season of 2010-11.

-Per Fire and Ice, captain Rod Pelley will be returning on a 2 way deal (no terms given), while David Wohlberg, who was a restricted free agent, receives a one year AHL deal.  In his second tour of duty with the organization, Pelley appeared in 74 games and scored 20 points (13 G, 7 A), and appeared in all four playoff games.  Wohlberg had a strong second full season, appearing in 62 games and scoring 12 points (5 G, 7A), played in one playoff game, and was chosen as Most Improved by the coaching staff at the annual Booster Club awards banquet.

The final Free Agent Tracker of the offseason will be out Monday at around noontime.

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There’s Actual News!

We interrupt a lovely summer day with…actual updates!  To get caught up:

-Two more restricted free agents have re-signed with New Jersey:

In a move that some found, well, interesting, Brandon Burlon was signed a 2 year, 2 way contract.  The defenseman has yet to play more than 57 games since turning pro in 2011, mostly because of the logjam of prospects in the organization (Gelinas, Merrill, Larsson to name a few).  He did manage to set a career high in goals this past season with 5 in 54 games, while mostly being used in even strength and power play situations.  Unless Dan Kelly re-signs, he will be the most experienced A-Devil defenseman to return this season in terms of years played.

Also returning is forward Scott Timmins, signing a 1 year, 2 way contract.  Acquired in late September from Florida for Krys Barch, Timmins was a pleasant offensive surprise from the start.  In his fourth pro season, he set a career high in points with 39 (13 goals and 26 assists) in 70 games (he did miss time due to a knee injury in November/December).

The updated free agent tracker will be out on Friday at noon.

-And the first preseason game has been announced, via Lehigh Valley, who announced their full preseason schedule earlier today.  The Devils will travel southwest to the new PPL Center on Saturday, October 4th for a 7 PM faceoff.  Hopefully the first of many game announcements to come (one local game other than in Adirondack would be nice, but I’m not holding my breath).

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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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Free Agency Week 1: Set in the Net

A very interesting first six days of free agency has passed, and there were a few signings that will affect Albany’s roster, including a return by a former River Rat goalie:

-On the first day of free agency on Tuesday, along with Mike Cammalleri and Martin Havlat, New Jersey signed a familiar face to Albany fans and in turn officially ended the Martin Brodeur era in the process: goaltender Scott Clemmensen, who received a 1 year 2-way contract in his third tour of duty with the Devils organization.  He spent the last five seasons with Florida, winning a total of 40 games primarily in a backup role, and 5 wins in 12 appearances in San Antonio over 2 seasons.  His last appearance in a Devils uniform was back in the 2008-09 season, where he took over the starting job while Brodeur was out due to injury and won 25 games.  He will either backup Cory Schneider in New Jersey or return to Albany for the first time since the end of the Devil/River Rat partnership during the 2005-06 season.

-On Thursday, per CapGeek, three more signings to shore up the defense and the goaltending for next season.

First, a well deserved 1 year 2 way contract for Corbin McPherson.  He had his best season in Albany since arriving late in the 2011-12 season, posting 10 assists and a team leading +16 rating.

And the goaltending situation for next year is all settled, as both Keith Kinkaid and Maxime Clermont signed 1 year deals, both 2 ways.  After a breakout season that saw him win 24 games, Kinkaid is expected to take over the backup role in New Jersey, but will be contending with Clemmensen for the role.

Clermont split last season between Elmira and Orlando, winning 11 games in 27 appearances.  He will most likely stick with an ECHL team and be the first on call if Kinkaid/Clemmensen or Scott Wedgewood go down to injury or callup.

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