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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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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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