Tag Archives: preseason

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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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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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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Narrowing It Down…

Happy Opening Day in the AHL!  10 teams are starting up the 2013-14 season this evening.  Meanwhile, the Devils still have to wait about 48 hours before they can finally get started.  Today the official opening roster was released, with 2 goaltenders, 7 defensemen, and 14 forwards:

Goaltenders

1 Keith Kinkaid

31 Scott Wedgewood

Defensemen

2 Seth Helgeson

5 Jon Merrill

7 Brandon Burlon

24 Eric Gelinas

28 Dan Kelly

33 Corbin McPherson

34 Reece Scarlett

Forwards

9 Joe Whitney

10 Rod Pelley

11 Kelly Zajac

12 Tim Sestito

14 Reid Boucher

15 Harri Pesonen

16 Chris McKelvie

17 Scott Timmins

18 Stefan Matteau

19 Mike Sislo

22 Cam Janssen

23 Darcy Zajac

25 David Wohlberg

26 Mike Hoeffel

A lot of jersey number changes compared to last year’s roster: Kinkaid switches from 35 to 1; Wedgewood from 1 to 31 (claiming Jeff Frazee’s old number); Helgeson from 39 to 2; Kelly Zajac from 17 to 11; Boucher from 20 to 14; Pesonen from 18 to 15; McKelvie from 37 to 16; Janssen from 14 to 22.

So how did we get to this point after the preseason schedule ended on Saturday night in Adirondack?  A quick recap of all the roster changes from this week:

-On Sunday, Kinkaid and Timmins were sent down.  Timmins had already cleared waivers and had been assigned to San Antonio before being acquired from Florida on Saturday.

-Monday, as a surprise to, well, no one, Janssen cleared waivers and was sent down.

-Forwards Alexandre Carrier, Artem Demkov, and Dmitry Goldenkov were all released.  Demkov and Carrier are off to Elmira (ECHL).

-Thursday forward Ben Thomson was released from his tryout, he will return to Kitchener of the OHL as an overage player.

-Finally Maxime Clermont, Riley Boychuk, Raman Hrabarenka, and Harry Young were sent to Elmira, where the Jackals are about to start their training camp (although when they released their camp roster earlier today they were not listed, but Clermont is listed on the roster on the Jackals website, although it could be last year’s list still there).

One familiar name missing from this list that could have been there? Alexander Urbom.  Wednesday New Jersey placed him on waivers to make room for Patrik Elias’s return from IR, but on Thursday the Capitals picked him up.

Unless anything else pops up, first pregame of the season comes down Sunday around noontime!

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Photo Gallery: Preseason 9/28/13

And of course, the first photos of the season too!  (Disclaimer: the glass in Adirondack is still horrible, I still think it hasn’t been replaced since 1979.  When the Civic Center opened.)

Riley Boychuk

Riley Boychuk

Scott Wedgewood

Scott Wedgewood

Jon Merrill

Jon Merrill

Seth Helgeson's ill-fated fight at center ice.

Seth Helgeson’s ill-fated fight at center ice.

Maxime Clermont

Maxime Clermont

 

 

 

 

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A Perfect Preseason

Welcome to the first weekly recap of the season!  A brief preseason schedule for the Devils, outside of one “secret” game at The Rock against the Flyers/Phantoms two weeks ago.  Two road matchups against two teams they will be seeing a lot of (and it doesn’t hurt that it’s Rangers/Flyers teams either).  And if the last two days are any indication, we may be in for a fun season this year.  But on that note, it’s still just preseason.

9/26 at Hartford: 4-3 W (SO)

The Devils started the preseason in pretty good fashion with a road win over the team formerly known as the Connecticut Whale.  Scott Wedgewood drew the start and didn’t have much work to do, making 12 saves.  They found themselves in an early 1-0 hole on a Tyler Gjurich goal in the first.  After that, it became all Devils in the second, as they outshot the hosts by an astonishing 17-0 rate.  Reid Boucher would tie the game up at 1 just as the second got underway.  Just as the second was coming to an end, Darcy Zajac and newcomer Reece Scarlett scored just 1:04 apart for a 3-1 lead.  Hartford would come back in the third with a pair of power play goals to tie things at 3.  After an uneventful overtime, it was on to the shootout, an area that killed the Devils in 2012-13.  Boucher and camp tryout Artem Demkov scored in the first two rounds, while Wedgewood stopped 2 of 4.  In the fifth round, Hartford was kept off the scoreboard, but the other camp tryout, Dmitri Goldenkov, would score the game winner and give Albany the victory.  Demkov, Joe Whitney, and Seth Helgeson each had an assist.

9/28 at Adirondack: 3-2 W

In what has become an almost annual start to the year, the Devils traveled north to Glens Falls for the preseason finale against the Phantoms.  Also, it was my first chance to get a look at what I’ll be seeing on the ice for most of this season.  Harri Pesonen gave the Devils the first period lead, only to see Adirondack tie it up 2 minutes later on the first power play of the night.  Newcomer Ben Thomson broke the tie 6 minutes into the second (even though from my angle it appeared Eric Gelinas had the goal all the way; he was given the primary assist).  Then the penalty party started up…first the lone bout of the night, Seth Helgeson taking on (and not faring very well; someone missed Cam’s fighting seminar!) Doug Clarkson.  Yes, David’s younger brother.  And for those asking, I did not see the patented #ClarksonFall.  Then referee Graham Skilliter started handing out Albany power plays like candy…5 minors were called on the Phantoms in the last 9:55 of the period, including some extended 5 on 3 time.  It took till the last penalty on the board for the Devils to connect, as Pesonen scored his second of the game just 38 seconds into the 3rd for a 3-1 Devil lead.  Jason Akeson would draw the Phantoms to within one goal 6 minutes later.  Despite a late charge from Adirondack that included a penalty kill, the Devils held on for the win and capped off a brief perfect preseason tuneup.  Maxime Clermont drew the start and played very well, stopping 29 of 31 shots.  Brandon Burlon contributed two assists.

Notes:

Yesterday morning, there was reason among the Devils contingent to celebrate, as Krys Barch and a 2015 7th round draft pick were dealt to Florida for forward Scott Timmins and a 2014 6th round pick.  Timmins has already cleared waivers with Florida, so it is most likely he will be joining Albany at some point this week.  He spent last season with San Antonio, putting up 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) in 65 games.  He also played with Adam Henrique, Andrei Loktionov, and Harry Young on the 2010 Memorial Cup-winning Windsor Spitfires.  But, he’s probably most famous for something that happened off ice last season.

And per a tweet from Fire and Ice, Keith Kinkaid has been reassigned to Albany.  He had stayed on the roster after Martin Brodeur returned home after the passing of his father Denis on Thursday.

Looking Ahead:

Monday is the deadline for New Jersey to get the roster down to 23, and as of now there are three players left.  Albany too has a few decisions to make to get their roster set for the start of the AHL season.  Next Sunday, things get started for real in Hartford.

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Second Wave…

Just as I expected, earlier today New Jersey made its second round of training camp cuts.  A total of 9 players were reassigned, with 8 coming to Albany and 1 returning to juniors.  The roster now stands at 28, with a Monday deadline to reduce the roster to 23.  Most were expected, but there was one I was a little surprised to see at first.  The lone junior returnee is Damon Severson, on his way back to Kelowna (he had told me at the end of last season he had one more year left with the Rockets) of the WHL.   Coming back to Albany are Scott Wedgewood, Brandon Burlon, Eric Gelinas, Jon Merrill, Stefan Matteau, Rod Pelley, Tim Sestito, and Mike Sislo, fresh off doing this last night:

I’m expecting all will join the other group already in camp in time for tomorrow’s preseason opener in Hartford against the Wolfpack.  Pelley and Matteau are the only “new faces” so to speak of this group–Pelley is rejoining the organization after 2 seasons away, while Matteau…well, the 2012 first rounder has had quite the interesting last year or so, shall we say?

A little surprising to see Gelinas among the second round of cuts, he appeared in 3 of 5 games and registered a goal against the Rangers in the first game.  But it also came down to his contract status–he was eligible to be sent down without having to clear waivers.  The rest were all expected, with Keith Kinkaid sticking around as a third goalie in New Jersey for a few more days.  There are still 5 more players to be dealt with, but many of those still standing (Alexander Urbom, Jacob Josefson, Mattias Tedenby, Cam Janssen to name a few) would have to clear waivers before they can be sent down.  Come Monday it will be interesting to see the final roster decisions made and how it would affect things down here.

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