Tag Archives: Schedule

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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Old Stuff and a New Look…

Now that we’re getting close to the start of training camp (once I get the list of participants I’ll have something up), time to start prepping for season 4!

As you can see, a slight makeover on the blog, as I have discovered WordPress’s editing tools. Okay, just changed the background color, not a big thing. But the team links at the top of the page have also been updated for this season’s opponents (to be edited as the season goes on).

I’m also working on how I’ll be covering things as the season progresses, as far as posts, Tweets, etc. Once I make the final decisions I may have something up on that before the season begins in exactly 4 weeks (!!).

Anyway, there is some old news to catch up on:

-Announced by Hartford just before Labor Day weekend, the Devils will be traveling to the XL Center on September 26th to take on the Wolfpack. There has been no formal announcement of a full preseason schedule, but it’s most likely that local fans will not be getting any home games before October.

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More 2013-14 Schedule Revealed…

Now that I’ve had a day to go over the full schedule (and listen to the annual complaints amongst the fanbase), a further look into what to expect during the regular season:

-Before I get into more details, I (being a season ticket holder) did receive a letter from the Devils about making up the four Atlantic City games (since I had locked in a full season rate when I signed up for my ticket package a couple of seasons ago): extra vouchers, credit towards playoffs, credit towards 2014-15 season tickets, or just a straight refund. If you’re not going to tell us (again) this is going to happen, at least they have something to reimburse us.

-Longest homestand: 4 games, from October 25th-November 1st. Longest road trip: 5, from March 2nd-14th (normally when the Times Union Center is booked up with high school/NCAA events), but the furthest they go is Portland on the 7th. Mostly a New England swing, which isn’t bad.

-Norfolk is the furthest spot they travel, and they get that trip out of the way early, on October 18th and 19th. With no Rochester on the schedule for the first time ever, the furthest west they travel is Syracuse.

-A total of 11 3 in 3 weekends, with most of them coming the second half of the season. The most brutal looking one? Valentine’s Day weekend: Friday at “home” in Atlantic City, Saturday afternoon at the real home, then off to Bridgeport for a 3 PM start the next afternoon. There are also 2 all road 3 in 3′s, coming in March/April.

-No 7 PM Saturday puck drops. All are at 5 PM except January 25th, which is a 2 PM start. The very few Sunday home games (5 here, but 2 in Atlantic City) start at 3 or 5 PM locally, 4 PM in Atlantic City.

-The AHL All-Star Break was scheduled a little later than usual this season: instead of the last week in January, it has been pushed back to Tuesday, February 11th (Skills) and Wednesday, February 12th (Game). The location will be announced at a later date (early rumors are St. John’s will be the host).

Our friends at The Hockey Writers have their own schedule breakdown here.

In other news, New Jersey announced yesterday the opening training camp schedule:

-Devils rookies and AHL players report for photos and physicals on September 9th, with the first practice on September 10th.

-The rest of the team reports on September 11th, with their first practice on September 12th. First game comes on September 16th against the Rangers.

-And finally, a quick preview of September’s player tracker: with longtime goalie Jeff Frazee leaving North America, the list of players without a home for next season is now down to 6. This list includes last year’s captain (Jay Leach) and one of the key members of the defense (Corbin McPherson). So there is a very good chance there could be a new Devils captain come October. And about that new Adam Henrique contract…

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2013-14 Schedule Revealed!

Finally, the day I (and a few others) have been waiting for has arrived…the unveiling of the 2013-14 AHL schedule. Before I go more into details, let’s start with the full slate of games for the Devils coming up in the fall…and winter…and into early spring.

OCTOBER

6 at Hartford 3PM
12 UTICA 5 PM
14 ADIRONDACK 2 PM
18 at Norfolk 7:30 PM
19 at Norfolk 7:15 PM
23 at Utica 7:35 PM
25 HARTFORD 7 PM
26 PORTLAND 5 PM
30 SYRACUSE 7 PM

NOVEMBER

1 NORFOLK 7 PM
2 at Adirondack 7 PM
5 at Bridgeport 11 AM
8 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 7:05 PM
9 ADIRONDACK 5 PM
11 BRIDGEPORT 2 PM
15 at Hartford 7 PM
16 at Syracuse 7 PM
20 HARTFORD 7 PM
22 at Springfield 7 PM
23 at Adirondack 7 PM
29 ADIRONDACK 7 PM
30 BRIDGEPORT 5 PM

DECEMBER

4 SPRINGFIELD 7 PM
7 at Binghamton 7:05 PM
13 BRIDGEPORT 7 PM
14 HARTFORD 5 PM
21 at Binghamton 7:05 PM
22 at Bridgeport 3 PM
27 ADIRONDACK 7 PM
28 PORTLAND 5 PM
29 at Bridgeport 3 PM

JANUARY

3 SPRINGFIELD 7 PM
4 at Adirondack 7 PM
7 SPRINGFIELD 7 PM
10 at Springfield 7 PM
11 MANCHESTER 5 PM
12 HERSHEY 4 PM*
17 at Utica 7 PM
18 at Adirondack 7 PM
19 at Hershey 5 PM
24 at Binghamton 7:05 PM
25 ADIRONDACK 2 PM
26 BINGHAMTON 3 PM
31 BRIDGEPORT 7 PM

FEBRUARY

1 at Hartford 7 PM
4 at Springfield 7 PM
8 at Bridgeport 7 PM
9 at Manchester 3 PM
14 HERSHEY 7 PM*
15 ADIRONDACK 5 PM
16 at Bridgeport 3 PM
21 at Adirondack 7 PM
22 NORFOLK 5 PM
23 UTICA 3 PM

MARCH

1 WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 7 PM*
2 at Providence 3:05 PM
7 at Portland 7 PM
8 at Hartford 7 PM
9 at Worcester 3 PM
14 at Springfield 7 PM
15 HARTFORD 5 PM
16 SYRACUSE 5 PM
19 BINGHAMTON 7 PM
22 at Syracuse 7 PM
23 WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 4 PM*
28 at Hershey 7 PM
29 WORCESTER 5 PM
30 BINGHAMTON 3 PM

APRIL

4 at Syracuse 7 PM
5 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 7:05 PM
6 at Adirondack 3 PM
11 BRIDGEPORT 7 PM
12 PROVIDENCE 5 PM
13 SYRACUSE 5 PM
18 at Portland 7 PM
19 SPRINGFIELD 5 PM

(Home games in CAPS)
*-at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City

Now for a closer look at what’s to come:

Only 14 opponents on the schedule for this year, with Rochester and St. John’s going off the list and Utica coming in. Utica is also the only Western Conference team the Devils will face, with just four matchups. No crossing the Canadian border at all this season (boo, I wanted to hear Oh Canada at least once!).

Exactly half of the schedule–38 games–will be played within the Northeast Division: 8 games each with Hartford and Springfield (finally, more with the Ranger affiliate!), 10 with Bridgeport, and the usual 12 with Adirondack.

24 games against East Division opponents: 6 each with Binghamton and Syracuse, and 4 each with Norfolk, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and Hershey. The remaining 10 come against the Atlantic Division: 4 with Portland, and 2 each with Manchester, Providence, and Worcester.

Breakdown by days of the week: Saturday leads the way with 28, followed by Friday with 22 (not a surprise). 16 on Sunday, 2 on Monday, 3 on Tuesday (?!), and 5 on Wednesday.

Once again, 4 home games will be played in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, something once again I wasn’t aware of. For those in Jersey interested in seeing the A-Devils up close, they will be there January 12th (Sunday afternoon), February 14th (Friday night), March 1st (Saturday night), and March 23rd (Sunday afternoon). Hershey and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton are the opponents, meaning the Bears and Penguins will not set foot in the Times Union Center at all unless a playoff miracle happens. At least no Adirondack games there so half of Philadelphia takes over the building…

Speaking of our friends to the north: April 6th will be the final matchup between the two teams. Since it is in Glens Falls, I suggest the Albany faithful keep this song handy, just incase you feel the need to troll.

Some other dates of note:

The Devils get 2 Monday holiday games at home: Columbus Day (Adirondack) and Veterans Day (Bridgeport).

One of the rare Tuesday games is in Bridgeport on November 5th, and it’s a school day 11:05 AM start. Bring the earplugs!

Only one Wednesday road game: first trip to Utica on October 23rd. But there are two Tuesday road trips, the aforementioned morning game in Bridgeport and on February 4th in Springfield.

As for me…the road schedule is very favorable. It appears I will be making almost all of my usual trips (as always, weather or work schedule permitting), maybe even try for one of the Atlantic City games.

And now the countdown to October 6th in Hartford begins…

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Mark Those Calendars…

Just as the hockey season finally, finally came to an end last night (and what an ending it was…I think the Bruins may still be trying to figure out what happened in those 17 seconds), an early hint for 2013-14 has come. Yesterday the Devils announced that the home opener for the 2013-14 season will take place on Saturday, October 12th. With other teams releasing their guaranteed home dates, I noticed that quite a few teams have their home openers on October 5th. So by process of elimination, it appears the Devils will be opening the season on the road for the first time in team history. And hence the return of the awkward looking WordPress Milestone Countdown Square at the bottom of the page!

In actual player news, per a couple of Twitter sources New Jersey has made a qualifying offer to restricted free agent forward Jacob Josefson. Much like his recently signed teammate Mattias Tedenby, Josefson had quite an up and down 2012-13 season. He started in Albany during the lockout, then joined the parent club upon the season resuming in January. He was sent back to Albany in February, only to be recalled for one appearance (which just happened to be the game I was at, Winnipeg on February 24th at The Rock). He sat out almost a month after taking a puck to the ear against Adirondack on March 10th, then after coming back on April 2nd in Springfield he was recalled to New Jersey for the remainder of the season. While his stats in the NHL weren’t much to write home about (1 goal in 22 games and a -10 rating), he played well here, with 10 goals and 15 assists in 38 games. Also like Tedenby, this may also be the last chance for the 2009 1st round draft pick to stick with the parent club. Now if only there were ways to keep him from getting injured all the time…

There is one last chance for you to win two tickets to the 2013 NHL Draft at The Rock on Sunday…another drawing will be held on Thursday for 25 more pairs of tickets. You can find the entry form here. For those who can’t get in but still want to be part of the fun, the Devils are holding a Fan Fest in Championship Plaza Sunday morning from 10:30-2:30, just before the Draft gets underway at 3 PM. I entered the second drawing after not winning the first time around…still don’t expect to get any tickets. So the chances of me making the trip down are, shall we say, slim at best?

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The Almost Snowed In Update…

Quite a busy last couple of days in the land of the Devils. Now to get caught up:

-On Monday forward J.S. Berube was recalled from Trenton after appearing in 10 games for the Titans, notching 8 points (3 G, 5 A) in 10 games. He had been assigned to Trenton in mid January after coming back from injury.

-Just before Albany took the ice in Connecticut Tuesday afternoon, another roster move: the signing of defenseman Stefan Stepanov to a standard player contract. The 20 year old (turns 21 in September) comes to Albany from the KHL’s Yekaterinburg Automobilist, where so far this season he registered no points in 20 games. He represented Russia in the 2010 U18 World Junior Championships before spending 3 seasons in the KHL with CSKA Moscow and Automobilist. It’s not his first taste of North America, however: he appeared in 23 games for the U18 Dallas Stars in ’08-09 and 7 games in ’09-10 for the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves.

-Then earlier today, another new player has joined the team, as New Jersey sent a 5th rounder in the 2013 draft to Los Angeles for center Andrei Loktionov. He has spent the last three seasons bouncing between Los Angeles and Manchester, and had appeared in 37 games for the Monarchs this season, putting up 22 points (7 G, 15 A). Albany fans may remember his professional debut, when as a member of the Monarchs on Opening Night 2009 he scored a hat trick against the River Rats. He is a former junior teammate of Adam Henrique and Harry Young from the 2008-09 Memorial Cup winning Windsor Spitfires.

-And finally, with a major snowstorm about to arrive in the Northeast (especially in New England), Friday’s Albany-Springfield matchup has been postponed and rescheduled for Tuesday, April 2nd. Another game on Friday, Providence vs. Portland in Rhode Island, has also been postponed, but rescheduled for Monday. I think this is only the second time an Albany game was postponed due to weather–I remember during the 01-02 season a game against St. John’s was moved to March from late December due to the fact St. John’s couldn’t get out of Ontario due to a huge lake effect storm that closed the Thruway west of Rochester.

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On What Should Be The First Night of Hockey…

…when I should be getting ready to head back to downtown Albany for Devils-Rangers preseason action (thanks NHL), here I am with just a few items to pass along:

-This just in: let there be ICE.

-Earlier this afternoon, this year’s promotional schedule was released. Most of last year’s specials are back for another year, including GE Kids in Free and Devil Dawg’s birthday (hopefully NJ Devil isn’t locked out and will join the festivities again), $5/$10 tickets courtesy of Time Warner Cable (I believe the record setting crowd from last season stemmed from that), Pucks and Paws (bring your dog to the game), 3 player bobbleheads (hopefully no one gets the Bobblehead Curse and winds up overseas next season…see Michael Swift and Nathan Perkovich as examples), 3 post game autograph session/public skate days, and the return of Dollar Dawg Night (mostly on weekday games).

-A third exhibition game has indeed been added, but not close to here: on October 2nd the Devils will take on Adirondack at the Flyers practice facility in Voorhees, NJ at 2 PM.

-And finally,training camp on ice sessions officially kick off Friday morning in Newark. Still waiting on the official roster to be released.

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2012-13 Schedule Revealed

Finally, the day all of us has waited for since early June (or in my case, mid-April) has arrived. This afternoon the AHL released the entire 2012-13 schedule. Now comes the fun part of planning out my life for oh, the next 7-8 months. First, the full schedule:

OCTOBER

13-MANCHESTER, 5:05 PM
19-SYRACUSE, 7:00 PM
20-at Worcester, 7:00 PM
24-CONNECTICUT, 7:00 PM
26-ADIRONDACK, 7:00 PM
27-at Hershey, 7:00 PM

NOVEMBER

2-CONNECTICUT, 7:00 PM
3-at Adirondack, 7:00 PM
9-at Providence, 7:05 PM
10-ADIRONDACK, 7:00 PM
12-NORFOLK, 2:00 PM
16-at St. John’s, 6:00 PM
17-at St. John’s, 6:00 PM
23-at Rochester, 7:05 PM
24-SYRACUSE, 5:00 PM
25-WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON, 4:00 PM*
30-ST. JOHN’S, 7:00 PM

DECEMBER

1-at Adirondack, 7:00 PM
8-BRIDGEPORT, 5:00 PM
9-at Connecticut, 3:00 PM
12-WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON, 7:00 PM
14-at Connecticut, 7:00 PM
15-PROVIDENCE, 7:00 PM
19-at Bridgeport, 7:00 PM
21-at Norfolk, 7:30 PM
22-at Norfolk, 7:15 PM
27-at Springfield, 7:00 PM
28-BINGHAMTON, 7:00 PM
29-at Hershey, 7:00 PM

JANUARY

5-SPRINGFIELD, 5:00 PM
6-BINGHAMTON, 4:00 PM
11-at Manchester, 7:00 PM
12-WORCESTER, 5:00 PM
13-BRIDGEPORT, 4:00 PM*
18-at Adirondack, 7:00 PM
19-at Springfield, 7:00 PM
20-ADIRONDACK, 4:00 PM*
23-SPRINGFIELD, 7:00 PM
25-at Adirondack, 7:00 PM
26-ADIRONDACK, 2:00 PM

FEBRUARY

1-at Providence, 7:00 PM
2-at Portland, 7:00 PM
5-at Connecticut, 7:00 PM
8-at Springfield, 7:00 PM
9-at Syracuse, 7:30 PM
10-at Binghamton, 5:05 PM
13-SYRACUSE, 7:00 PM
15-at Adirondack, 7:00 PM
17-BINGHAMTON, 3:00 PM
18-SYRACUSE, 2:00 PM
23-at Binghamton, 7:05 PM
24-HERSHEY, 4:00 PM*

MARCH

1-at Syracuse, 7:30 PM
2-at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 7:00 PM
3-at Adirondack, 3:00 PM
8-BRIDGEPORT, 7:00 PM
9-SPRINGFIELD, 5:00 PM
10-ADIRONDACK, 3:00 PM
15-at Rochester, 7:05 PM
16-at Syracuse, 7:30 PM
17-at Bridgeport, 3:00 PM
22-at Binghamton, 7:05 PM
23-at Syracuse, 7:30 PM
24-at Bridgeport, 3:00 PM
27-ST. JOHN’S, 7:00 PM
29-HERSHEY, 7:00 PM
30-PORTLAND, 7:00 PM

APRIL

5-PROVIDENCE, 7:00 PM
6-at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 7:05 PM
7-ROCHESTER, 4:00 PM
12-at Binghamton, 7:05 PM
13-BINGHAMTON, 5:00 PM
14-ROCHESTER, 3:00 PM
19-CONNECTICUT, 7:00 PM
20-NORFOLK, 5:00 PM
21-ADIRONDACK, 3:00 PM

(Home games in CAPS)
*at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City

Now a look inside the numbers:

-One complaint I had last year was less games within the division than outside. This year it’s better: 30 games against the Northeast Division, 28 games against the East, 14 games against the Atlantic. Only 4 games outside the conference, all against one opponent: Rochester.

-Not surprisingly, most games against Adirondack, a whopping 12 matchups (oh yay). Binghamton and Syracuse follow with 8 games, Connecticut, Bridgeport, and Springfield (all divisional) with 6, Hershey, Providence, Norfolk, St. John’s (new to the lineup…yay!), Rochester, WB/Scranton with 4, and Manchester, Worcester and Portland (back after a 1 year absence from the schedule) with 2. No Hamilton and Toronto this year…and of course no Charlotte (sorry River Rat loyalists).

-You may notice 4 home games back in Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, just like back in 2010-11. I had no idea that this was planned for this season. As a full season ticket holder, I’m kind of hoping this will be addressed as the season gets closer. Naturally, there’s already a whole bunch of complaints. But since they’re all Sunday afternoon games (which has never been a big sell here anyway, especially during football season), there is a chance I may go to one of them. We shall see.

-March looks to be the toughest month, with 3-in-3s practically every weekend. But on the bright side, the furthest they would travel is Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at the beginning of the month.

-2 6 game road trips during the 2nd half of the year (Feb. 1-10 and March 15-24) are the longest road stretches, while the longest homestand closes out the schedule (April 13-21).

-Breakdown by day: Sunday 15 games; Monday 2 games; Tuesday 1 game; Wednesday 6 games; Thursday 1 game; Friday 24 games; Saturday 27 games.

-As for possible road trips for me? I’m already eyeballing a few days. With the only Norfolk swing around Christmas this year, I can safely say no trip to the beach for me. But the annual Wilkes-Barre trip looks like a go, along with the usual stops in Adirondack, Springfield, Binghamton and Syracuse. Also possibly Worcester and maybe my first trip to Hartford since the ’06-’07 season.

-The All Star festivities will be in Providence on January 27th and 28th. I may finally be able to attend this year!

Now we sit back and wait for the rest of the summer to go by…just under 2 months to go…

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