An Annual Tradition Continues…

I wasn’t planning on an extra entry (considering it’s a game day), but the events of earlier today and this evening have prompted me to multi task…starting this during the 3rd period of the game in Syracuse. The day started off kind of normally…forward Stephane Veilleux was reassigned by New Jersey after only appearing in one game and then being a healthy scratch for the last three. Albany also brought up defenseman Eric Baier (bio here) from Trenton to fill in for the banged up Alexander Urbom and Mike Banwell.

Then came second period of tonight’s game. It had been common knowledge for the last few days that Minnesota Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky may possibly be traded to New Jersey. This of course got me nervous…nearly every year that the Devils and Albany have been affiliated, Lou tends to trade off a good Albany player or someone I followed for a veteran to boost the lineup up top. To name a few: Doug Gilmour for Steve Sullivan (probably one of the most popular players from the River Rat days of the mid-1990s); Alexander Mogilny for Brendan Morrison (my first NJ jersey was his #9 that my mom actually bought me for my birthday…two sizes too small but I still wore it anyway); Sean O’Donnell for Willie Mitchell (another favorite River Rat for me), you get the idea. Sure enough, my fear was realized. First announcement via Twitter was Zidlicky for Kurtis Foster…okay, I can deal with that. Then came the official announcement…not only Foster, but Veilleux, Nick Palmieri (both players I liked here), and two draft picks to the Wild in exchange for Zidlicky (official release here). Palmieri had been recalled on February 14th (same day as Veilleux), and had appeared in 3 games, not registering a point. He and Foster were mysteriously (at the time) healthy scratches for the Devils home game against the Canucks, while Veilleux was held out of the Albany-Syracuse game despite rejoining the team in time to go on the road trip. Hopefully this trade with Minnesota goes a little bit better than the last one back in June…which reminds me, I should check the stats in Switzerland to see how Noreau’s doing…

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