Tag Archives: preseason

Preseason Split

Welcome to October!  For all of you that have been begging for it since April…you can stop complaining now! (I kid, I kid.)

Before Season 6 of Albany Devils hockey kicks off on Saturday in the Southern Tier, there was a preseason slate to get through first.  The Devils traveled southwest to Pennsylvania to take on the Bears and the Penguins on back to back nights to tune up for the regular season.  And it was a mixed result:

10/1 at Hershey: 2-1 W

The brief preseason slate got off to a good start with a win in Chocolatetown.  After a scoreless first period, Max Novak would score on a power play 47 seconds into the second period for a 1-0 lead.  Nathan Walker would tie it up for the hosts with a short handed goal nearly six minutes later.  After a few extra curriculars midway through the second and early in the third, Blake Coleman would give Albany a one goal lead with six and a half minutes remaining in regulation.  Ken Appleby drew the start and played well in his third goalie audition, stopping 28 of 29 shots.  Joseph Blandisi would add two assists.

10/2 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: 2-1 L (OT)

It was due north on Interstate 81 for the second game of the week, as Albany took on the Penguins.  Much like the night before, both teams were scoreless through the first, but on Friday it was the home team that would strike first.  Conor Sheary would give the Pens a 1-0 lead 8 minutes into the second period.  Joseph Blandisi would continue his strong preseason play by tying the game up at 1 4:35 into the third period.  The game would then carry over into overtime, where Kael Mouillerat would score the game winner off a 2 on 1 breakout play with just 25 seconds to go in the extra frame to give the Pens the win.  Scott Wedgewood would stop 33 of 35 Penguin shots.

With the preseason wrapped up, just who is left on the roster?  With final cuts from New Jersey having to be made by Tuesday, there may still be a couple of more players sent down.  After New Jersey’s preseason wrapped up on Friday, Marc Andre Gragnani cleared waivers and was reassigned to Albany, while Alexandre Carrier, Gunnar Hughes, and Jacob Sweeney were released from their tryouts.  Carrier will report to Adirondack, where he signed with the Thunder earlier this week, along with Hughes.

This Week’s Schedule:

It all starts for real on Saturday, as the Devils kick off the season with a quick trip west to Binghamton to take on their old/new division rival, the Senators.  Also before the weekend: once the final roster is complete, I’ll update with that plus how I plan on running blog postings for the season.


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Cuts, Camp Begins, and Visiting Old Friends

It’s been a busy few days in Devil land…and for myself as well.  With A-Devils camp officially opening for business this afternoon (and the first games coming up later this week), let’s get caught up with how training camp in the Garden State has been going.

-After Wednesday night’s loss to the Islanders in Brooklyn, the first round of cuts was announced:

Going back to juniors: goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood (Barrie/OHL); defensemen Josh Jacobs (Sarnia/OHL), Ryan Rehill (Kamloops/WHL), and Colton White (Sault Ste. Marie/OHL); and forwards Brandon Baddock (Edmonton/WHL), Connor Chatham (Flint/OHL), and Blake Speers (Sault Ste. Marie/OHL).  Alexandre Goulet, who had been in camp on an amateur tryout, was also let go.

Going to Albany: Yann Danis, Dan Kelly, Jacob Sweeney, Graham Black, Chris McKelvie, Rod Pelley, and Ben Thomson.

The Albany seven will join Joe Faust, Max Novak, Corbin McPherson (all on AHL contracts) and Alexandre Carrier, David Shields, and Gunnar Hughes (tryouts) at Albany’s camp.

-Friday night myself and a friend called ourselves up to New Jersey to check out the first home exhibition game.  And I must say, I’m glad I made the trip.

Adam Henrique greeting fans in the Towers...

Adam Henrique greeting fans in the  Towers…

Scott Wedgewood warming up

Scott Wedgewood warming up (Gio in the background)

When you get to see the first New Jersey win of the preseason (with a former A-Devil in net in Keith Kinkaid) and reunite with your first favorite A-Devil who remembers you even though it’s been at least 3 years since you last spoke to him…it’s a perfect way to kick off your hockey season.

-This just in: New Jersey has made its second round of cuts.  The following 15 players are en route to Albany (additionally, John Quenneville was returned to his junior team in Brandon), with some likely needing to clear waivers first in order to do so:

Goaltenders: Ken Appleby, Scott Wedgewood.

Defensemen: Brandon Burlon, Raman Hrabarenka, Vojtech Mozik, Reece Scarlett.

Forwards: Joseph Blandisi, Blake Coleman, Ryan Kujawinski, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Matt Lorito, Jim O’Brien, Blake Pietila, Mike Sislo, Paul Thompson.

The Devils roster stands at 27, so there may be another additional 1-2 players coming later.  By the end of next weekend, there will be a clearer picture of who will be here, who stays in New Jersey, and who may be heading north to Adirondack.




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Off to Training Camp…

After the Devils rookies got a painful lesson in Buffalo at the Prospects Challenge over the weekend (more on that in a moment), today the veterans arrived in Newark for the beginning of regular training camp.  First, here’s the full roster of who’s in Jersey:

Goaltenders: Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood, Yann Danis, Ken Appleby, Mackenzie Blackwood.

Defensemen: John Moore, Adam Larsson, Andy Greene, Jon Merrill, David Schlemko, Damon Severson, Brandon Burlon, Raman Hrabarenka, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Seth Helgeson, Dan Kelly, Reece Scarlett, Eric Gelinas, Vojtech Mozik, Ryan Rehill, Josh Jacobs, Colton White, Jacob Sweeney.

Forwards: Jiri Tlusty, Stephen Gionta, Mike Cammalleri, Adam Henrique, Tuomo Ruutu, Jacob Josefson, Travis Zajac, Jordin Tootoo, Lee Stempniak, Kyle Palmieri, Rod Pelley, Stefan Matteau, Patrik Elias, Reid Boucher, Jim O’Brien, Pavel Zacha, Ben Thomson, Paul Thompson, Mike Sislo, John Quenneville, Tyler Kennedy, Graham Black, Blake Coleman, Sergey Kalinin, Brandon Baddock, Ryan Kujawinski, Blake Pietila, Matt Lorito, Chris McKelvie, Connor Chatham, Pierre-Luc Leblond, Joseph Blandisi, Blake Speers, Alexandre Goulet.

For a numerical roster just click here.

One notable name on this list is Tlusty, who was signed to a 1 year contract yesterday.  His name may sound familiar to Albany fans…he appeared in 20 games with the River Rats during the 2009-10 season, after being acquired in a trade with Toronto in early December.  He would spend the next 5+ seasons with Carolina before being dealt to Winnipeg in February.  In 416 career games with the Hurricanes and the Jets, he has put up 87 goals and 86 assists.  Stempniak and Kennedy are both in camp on tryout deals.

While the veterans were getting settled in for their first day, the rookies already have at least one week in under their belt.  After starting camp on Thursday, they traveled northwest to Buffalo to take on the Sabres and the Bruins prospects.  Saturday night was not a good night against the Sabres, as Nicholas Baptiste would score twice in 3:36 to open the game, including a goal just 25 seconds into the contest.  Justin Bailey would make it a 3 goal lead for the hosts with just over 9 minutes to go in the period.  The Sabres would add on to the lead in the second as Cason Hohmann and Evan Rodrigues would score for a 5-0 lead.  New Jersey finally got on the scoreboard in the third, as camp invitee Alexandre Goulet would break up the shutout just 29 seconds into the period.  John Quenneville would add a 4 on 4 tally to draw the visitors to within three, but that was as close as they would get, as the Sabres would tack on a 6th goal courtesy of Sam Reinhart.  Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 32 of 38 shots in his Devil debut, while Reece Scarlett would get the lone assist.  If you have, oh, an hour or so to kill, the full coverage of the game can be found here.

The rookie contingent looked much better in their second matchup of the weekend, a Sunday night tilt against the Bruins.  Joe Blandisi would score twice and Matt Lorito added a goal, but the Devils would blow a 2-0 and a 3-2 lead en route to losing just 13 seconds into overtime, 4-3.  John Quenneville would add two assists, while Max Novak and Ryan Rehill would have one helper apiece.  Ken Appleby, a possible candidate for Albany’s #3 goaltending spot (read: the one who answers the white courtesy phone should anyone go down/get called up), got the nod between the pipes and stopped 36 shots.  Again, if you have an hour or so to kill, you can watch the entire game here.

After the rookies returned to New Jersey, Novak and Joe Faust were signed to AHL deals and will report to Albany’s camp, which should start up in just a little over a week.  Also some not so good news popped up…Reid Boucher suffered a concussion while in Buffalo, it is not known when he’ll be able to return to the ice.

Four days to go till the first preseason game…hopefully by next weekend we’ll start to get an idea of just who may be suiting up for Albany this season.

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Preseason Planning

Back from a week’s vacation, including 3 days in Maryland and witnessing a no-hitter.  So of course during my travels actual news hits:

The first two preseason games have been scheduled, and both are on the road: On October 1st, Albany travels to Hershey for a 7 PM faceoff against the Bears, then head north on Interstate 81 to Wilkes-Barre on October 2nd for a 7 PM match against the Penguins.  I’m expecting at least one or two more games to be announced in the near future, including an obligatory matchup against the Phantoms.

Also announced this week: another addition to the coaching/developmental staff, with the hiring of Pertti Hasanen as a developmental/skills coach.  He joins the Devils organization after spending several years with Boston University as an assistant coach, then as director of hockey operations and player development.  He also has coaching experience with UMass-Lowell (as an assistant) and overseas in Finland, Norway and Italy as a head coach, along with running his own hockey school.  Most recently, he worked with prospects during New Jersey’s developmental camp last month.


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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


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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