The Weekly Primer, Issue 13

Quick Hits:

-The Devils begin the week with a 17-8-3-0 mark, good for 37 points and a .661 percentage.  They remain in second place in the North Division, tied in points with St. John’s (but with two less games) and 13 points behind first place Toronto (who have 4 games in hand).

-With Binghamton defeating Lehigh Valley in a shootout on Tuesday night at home, Albany is the last AHL team standing that has yet to reach the bonus round this season.  And with that I probably just jinxed it.

-Injury report: Blake Coleman (shoulder), Raman Hrabarenka (lower), Seth Helgeson (shoulder), and Max Novak (hand) remain out.  Blake Pietila and Ryan Kujawinski are day to day.

-Just in to the newsroom: Mike Sislo was recalled to New Jersey after Jacob Josefson was placed on injured reserve.

Wednesday & Thursday, 12/30 & 12/31 vs. Utica

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY (Wednesday); Utica Memorial Auditorium, Utica, NY (Thursday)

When: 7:00 PM (Wednesday); 5:00 PM (Thursday)

Season Series: Albany leads 1-0.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 16-10-2-2, 36 points, .600 percentage, 4th place in North Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Hunter Shinkaruk, 24 points (12 G, 12 A); Alexandre Grenier, 18 points (6 G, 12 A); Brendan Gaunce, 17 points (9 G, 8 A); Richard Bachman, 6-4-1, 2.19 GAA; Clay Witt, 0-1-0, 6.00 GAA

Notes: Utica returned from the Christmas break with a pair of wins over Rochester and Syracuse; the Comets have 4 regulars, including 3 defensemen, on recall to Vancouver, prompting them to sign AHL vet Danny Syvret to a PTO on December 18th; Utica is 7-0-0-1 in their last 8 road contests; the Comets have sold out every home game so far this season; Albany has yet to lose to Utica since the Comets joined the league prior to the 2013-14 season (7-0).

Listen: AHL Live, WKLL 94.9 FM

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @UticaComets, @CometsInGame, @CometsArmy

Saturday, 1/2 @ Hartford

Where: XL Center, Hartford, CT.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 1-0.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 14-16-2-0, 30 points, .469 pct, 6th place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Chad Nehring, 20 points (10 G, 10 A); Jayson Megna, 17 points (7 G, 10 A); Brian Gibbons, 16 points (5 G, 11 A); Magnus Hellberg, 8-9-2, 2.71 GAA; Mackenzie Skapski, 2-6-0, 3.51 GAA; Jeff Malcolm, 4-1-0, 1.86 GAA

Notes: Hartford is on a modest 2 game winning streak after a shutout win in Rochester Sunday and a win over Portland at home Tuesday; the matchup marks the beginning of a 5 game homestand for the Wolfpack, which ends with a second visit from the Devils on January 10th; 31 players have appeared in at least one game for Hartford so far this season; the Wolfpack are last in the league in power play (10.4 percent).

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @wolfpackahl

Week 12 Recap: Evacuation then Excellence

It was quite the one game week after coming back from Christmas for the Devils.  After real life interrupted, they got back on track in a big way.

12/26 vs. Providence: 4-1 W

After a much needed 6 day break after an 0-4 road trip, the Devils returned to home ice for the first time in 15 days to take on the Bruins.  But things took a scary turn before warmups could even get underway: a suspicious item found under a vehicle in one of the side parking lots caused the arena to be evacuated, delaying the start of the game by nearly 90 minutes.  Once the investigation was completed (it turned out to be a toy with flashing lights), everyone was allowed back in the building and things got underway.  (Side note: thanks to a family Christmas gathering, I missed out on all of that and ended up arriving just after puck drop.)

After a mostly quiet first period, and just 22 seconds into their first power play of the contest, Matt Lorito would score his fifth goal of the season late in the period for a 1-0 advantage.  After a scoreless second, Albany would take command in the third period.  Brian O’Neill would score just 13 seconds into the third, his first goal since coming down for New Jersey, for a 2-0 lead.  Graham Black would add his first goal of the season 5:36 later for a 3-0 advantage.  Austin Czarnik would break up Scott Wedgewood’s shutout bid with just over 10 minutes remaining to cut the lead to 3-1.  But Corey Tropp would put the cherry on top late with an empty netter to seal the win, breaking a 4 game losing streak.  Wedgewood stopped 27 of 28 shots to pick up his second win of the season.  It was a very balanced offensive attack, as 12 of 18 Devil skaters registered at least one point.

The Lineup:

Matt Lorito-Joe Blandisi-Mike Sislo

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill-Paul Thompson

Reid Boucher-Graham Black-Corey Tropp

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Dan Kelly/Vojtech Mozik

Marc Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Seth Helgeson, Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Blake Pietila, Ryan Kujawinski, Raman Hrabarenka, Pierre-Luc Leblond

Power Play: 1 for 1.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 6.  Shots on Goal: 27.  Shots Allowed: 28.

Highlights:

My Player of the Week:

With so many contributors to the win…have to give it to the man between the pipes.  After a disasterous road trip, it was good to see Scott Wedgewood rebound in a big way.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Mike Sislo (13)

Assists: Matt Lorito (17)

Points: Mike Sislo (23)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+13)

Penalty Minutes: Ben Thomson/Dan Kelly (44)

Wins: Yann Danis (14)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.78)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.922)

The Vault:

Since it’s World Junior Championship time…let’s go back to 2011 and an interview with Reid Boucher while he was a member of Team USA.

Up North with the Thunder:

Adirondack returned from the Christmas break with a home and home split against Manchester.  Saturday night they defeated the Monarchs on home ice, as Greg Wolfe scored his 5th goal and Ben Johnson contributed an assist.  Sunday afternoon in New Hampshire Ken Appleby suffered a 2-0 loss, stopping 24 of 26 shots.  The Thunder have a 4 game week upcoming, hosting Greenville on Tuesday and Reading on Thursday, then head to Pennsylvania on Saturday and Sunday for a two game set against the Royals.

This Week’s Schedule:

It’s a busy one as we say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016.  Albany closes the calendar year with a home and home set against Utica…Wednesday at home, New Year’s Eve in Utica.  Then 2016 starts on the road with a trip east to Hartford to face the Wolfpack.

The Weekly Primer, Issue 12

Quick Hits:

The Devils return from the Christmas break with a record of 16-8-3-0, a .648 percentage and 35 points.  Despite the recent woes, they remain in second place in the North Division, 13 points and .152 percentage points behind first place Toronto.

Saturday, 12/26 vs. Providence

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 5:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 1-0.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 11-12-5-1, 28 points, .483 pct, 5th place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Seth Griffith, 23 points (9 G, 14 A); Alexander Khokhlachev, 22 points (7 G, 15 A); Austin Czarnik, 18 points (8 G, 10 A); Malcolm Subban, 6-7-3, 2.67 GAA; Zane McIntyre, 5-4-3, 2.84 GAA

Notes: The Bruins come in on a two game skid, dropping road contests to Springfield and Portland last weekend; veteran forward Benn Ferriero was signed to a standard player contract on December 18th after starting the season overseas and clearing AHL waivers; forward David Pastrnak is down from Boston on a conditioning assignment; Providence ranks in the league top 10 in both power play (3rd with 21.9%) and penalty kill (7th with 85.9%).

Listen: AHL Live

Tweet: @AlbanyDevils, @AHLBruins

Week 11 Recap: Christmas Collapse

And that title was the nicest way I could think to describe a week where you’re outscored 12-4 and you go from winning 7 in a row to dropping an entire road trip before going on a holiday break.

12/15 @ St. John’s: 3-2 L

The road trip headed up north…way up north…to Newfoundland, as the Devils started a two game set against the IceCaps.  It didn’t take long for the hosts to strike first, as Mark MacMillan would score 1:45 into the contest for a 1-0 lead.  Rod Pelley would tie things up later in the period with his second goal of the season.  St. John’s would seemingly put the game away late in the second, scoring twice in a span of 1:44 to go up 3-1.  But the Devils would try to rally in the third, as Corey Tropp would score his 6th midway through the period to get to within one.  But despite putting up 21 shots on goal in the third, Albany could get no closer, and suffered their second straight defeat.  Yann Danis would stop 28 of 31 shots, and three Devils (including the returning Chris McKelvie) would have assists.  Albany would put up a season high 46 shots on net for the contest.

The Lineup:

Paul Thompson-Matt Lorito-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Jim O’Brien-Corey Tropp

Blake Pietila-Graham Black-Ryan Kujawinski

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Dan Kelly/Marc Andre Gragnani

Seth Helgeson/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Scott Wedgewood

Out: Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Raman Hrabarenka (inj), Vojtech Mozik, Pierre Luc Leblond, Greg Wolfe (healthy)

Power Play: 0 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 12.  Shots on Goal: 46.  Shots Allowed: 31.

Highlights:

Wednesday: After appearing in his first three NHL games, Joe Blandisi was returned to Albany.  Naturally he wasn’t able to travel to St. John’s in time for the rematch.

12/16 @ St. John’s: 5-1 L

A few lineup changes for the rematch: Scott Wedgewood drew the starting assignment, while Vojtech Mozik and Corbin McPherson swapped places.  And much like the night before, the IceCaps got things started very quickly.  Michael McCarron would score just 30 seconds after the puck drop for a 1-0 lead.  St. John’s was not finished, as they would score twice in a 2:08 span (the latter goal coming on a power play), and the Devils were staring at a 3-0 deficit just 8:29 into the contest.  That would end Wedgewood’s evening early, as he was pulled in favor of Yann Danis.  To add injury to insult, a scary moment for Mike Sislo as he had to leave the ice on a stretcher due to an apparent left leg injury.  Second period, things began to look up…Sislo would make a miraculous return and Blake Pietila would score to cut the lead to 3-1.  But the IceCaps would regain their three goal advantage late in the period.  Third period the Devils would throw everything at IceCaps goaltender Eddie Pasquale, putting up 21 shots on net…but nothing was getting past him.  The Devils did revert back to their old habits, only allowing 4 shots in the period…but one would get past Danis and give McCarron a hat trick.  Despite putting up 46 shots for the second straight night, going on 9 power plays, and outshooting the hosts 39-11 over the final 40 minutes, the Devils would get swept by the IceCaps and suffer a third straight defeat.  Danis played well in relief of Wedgewood, stopping 15 of 17.

The Lineup:

Paul Thompson-Matt Lorito-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Jim O’Brien-Corey Tropp

Blake Pietila-Graham Black-Ryan Kujawinski

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Dan Kelly/Marc Andre Gragnani

Brandon Burlon/Reece Scarlett

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Raman Hrabarenka, Pierre Luc Leblond, Corbin McPherson, Greg Wolfe

Power Play: 0 for 9.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 6.  Penalty Minutes: 17.  Shots on Goal: 46.  Shots Allowed: 23.

Highlights:

Thursday: The offense got a nice boost as forward Brian O’Neill, last year’s AHL MVP, cleared waivers and was assigned to Albany.  In 22 games with New Jersey, he posted two assists and was a -3 while mostly seeing fourth line minutes.  With O’Neill and Blandisi arriving from the big club, Greg Wolfe was released from his professional tryout and returned to Adirondack.

12/19 at Rochester: 4-1 L

While I was in Newark watching the big club drop a 2-1 decision to the Ducks, Albany tried to salvage the end of their road trip in Rochester against the Amerks.  And…that didn’t go so well, as the hosts put a 4 spot on Yann Danis in the first period.  In a span of 14:16 in the opening period, Tim Schaller, Patrick Kaleta (yes, that guy), Nick Baptiste, and Colby Robak would all find the back of the net.  And for the second straight game, a call to the bullpen was made, as Scott Wedgewood would come in to start the second period.  And things would settle down defensively from there, as Albany would outshoot the Amerks 22-12 over the final 40 minutes, and Wedgewood would stop all 12 of those shots.  But again, the Devils had trouble getting back into the game after getting in an early hole, as Brandon Burlon would score the lone Devil goal early in the third period.  It was almost a 4-2 contest late, but the goal was waved off.  With the loss, Albany finished the road swing 0-4 and searching for answers as to what happened after leaving home on December 11th.  Ryan Kujawinski and Reid Boucher had the lone assists.

The Lineup:

Brian O’Neill-Joe Blandisi-Mike Sislo

Paul Thompson-Jim O’Brien-Corey Tropp

Reid Boucher-Blake Pietila-Ryan Kujawinski

Chris McKelvie-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Dan Kelly/Vojtech Mozik

Marc Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Scott Wedgewood

Out: Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Raman Hrabarenka, Seth Helgeson, Matt Lorito, Pierre-Luc Leblond, Graham Black

Power Play: 0 for 2.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 11.  Shots on Goal: 31.  Shots Allowed: 24.

Highlights:

My Player of the Week:

Well…um…who to pick?  Eh, if you scored a goal this week, you win?  That’s all I got.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Mike Sislo (13)

Assists: Matt Lorito (17)

Points: Mike Sislo (22)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+13)

Penalty Minutes: Ben Thomson (44)

Wins: Yann Danis (14)

GAA: Yann Danis (2.01)

Save Percentage: Yann Danis (.919)

The Vault:

Changing things up this week with the holiday…and since I’ve seen this guy in the building a few times this season it sort of counts…here’s one of the famous San Jose holiday videos featuring Ryane Clowe (oh and this year’s Behind the Video collection? Hilarious)

Up North with the Thunder:

Adirondack had a 2-2 week leading up to their Christmas break, winning in Manchester Sunday afternoon, nearly coming back in a home loss to Elmira on Wednesday, then splitting a two game set in Norfolk over the weekend.  After a strong start, Ken Appleby has slumped as of late, dropping both of his starts this week: a 6-4 loss to Elmira on Wednesday only saw him stop 10 of 15 shots, then a 2-1 decision to Norfolk on Saturday, where he had 26 saves.  He has not won since December 3rd in Brampton, and now sits at 10-5-1-1 with a 2.37 GAA and .918 save percentage for the season.  Ben Johnson played in all 4 games this week, scoring his first goal of the season Friday night.  He has one goal and three assists in 6 games.  Joe Faust scored his first of the season on Wednesday, and had two assists on Friday against the Admirals.  He has seven points in 16 games.  Alexandre Carrier contributed an assist on Wednesday…in 18 games he has 2 goals and 4 assists.  Greg Wolfe scored in his return to the Thunder on Friday.

This Week’s Schedule:

After taking a few days off for the holidays, it’s back to work on Saturday, as the Devils return to home ice for the first time since December 11th to take on Providence.

Wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday season and Merry Christmas!

 

The Weekly Primer, Issue 11

Quick Hits:

Albany begins the week with a 16-5-3-0 mark, 35 points and a .729 percentage.  They sit in second place in the North Division, .049 points behind first place Toronto.

Tuesday, 12/15 & Wednesday, 12/16 at St. John’s

Where: Mile One Centre, St. John’s, NFLD, Canada.

When: 6:00 PM EST (7:30 NST).

Season Series: Albany leads 1-0.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 12-7-5-2, 31 points, .596 pct, 3rd place in North Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Bud Holloway, 24 points (7 G, 17 A); Michael McCarron, 20 points (9 G, 11 A); Mark Barberio, 18 points (1 G, 17 A); Eddie Pasquale, 3-1-2, 2.44 GAA; Zachary Fucale, 7-3-2, 3.03 GAA

Notes: St. John’s is in the midst of a 4 game homestand, suffering a sweep at the hands of Rochester Friday and Saturday; after Wednesday, the IceCaps will be off for 10 days before starting a five game road swing through Toronto, Rochester, Binghamton and Utica; St. John’s leads the league in overtime appearances (11), going 3-5 during the 5 minute session and 1-2 in the shootout.

Listen: AHL Live, stjohnsicecaps.com

Tweet: @trace_1114 (Wednesday only), @AlbanyDevils, @IceCapsAHL

Saturday, 12/19 at Rochester

Where: Blue Cross Arena, Rochester, NY.

When: 7:35 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 1-0.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 12-11-1-1, 26 points, .520 pct, 5th place in North Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Jason Akeson, 16 points (5 G, 11 A); Phil Varone, 13 points (9 G, 4 A); Jean Dupuy, 11 points (2 G, 9 A); Nathan Lieuwen, 7-4-0, 3.25 GAA; Andrey Makarov, 4-5-2, 3.29 GAA

Notes: The Amerks travel to Utica on Wednesday before starting a 5 game homestand, hosting Hartford on Friday before Albany comes in Saturday; this is the last game before Christmas break for both teams; after starting December 0-2, Rochester has gone 2-0-0-1, including a pair of wins in St. John’s over the weekend.

Listen: AHL Live, Fox Sports 1280

Tweet: @AlbanyDevils, @AmerksHockey

Week 10 Recap: No Crazy Eights

As the old saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.” Alas, the wonderful winning streak the Devils put together could not pass seven.

12/11 vs. Syracuse: 3-1 W

Jim O'Brien returns...
Jim O’Brien returns…

The homestand wrapped up on Friday night, as Albany welcomed the Crunch for the second time in 5 days.  After a relatively drama free first period (except for near the end), the Devils got on the board in a big way in the second.  Jim O’Brien, in his first game back since Halloween, managed to score twice in a span of :28 for a 2-0 Albany lead.  Then, a rare misstep by the Devils special teams, ranked #1 in the entire league…just 15 seconds after Seth Helgeson took a seat in the penalty box, the Crunch would cut the lead in half on a Jeff Tambellini goal.  But Albany would shut things down after that, only allowing 3 shots in the third period and Brandon Burlon would add an insurance goal, sealing the Devils 7th straight win, a new Albany/Lowell franchise record.  Scott Wedgewood finally made his season debut and hardly had to break a sweat, stopping 17 of 18 shots and picking up the win.  Corey Tropp added three primary assists, while Reid Boucher added two helpers.

...and Graham Black too.
…and Graham Black too.

The Lineup:

Matt Lorito-Max Novak-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Jim O’Brien-Corey Tropp

Blake Pietila-Graham Black-Ryan Kujawinski

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Dan Kelly/Marc Andre Gragnani

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Blake Coleman, Paul Thompson, Chris McKelvie, Reece Scarlett, Raman Hrabarenka, Greg Wolfe

Power Play:  0 for 3. Penalty Kill 2 for 3. Penalty Minutes: 13.  Shots on Goal: 27. Shots Allowed: 18.

Scott Wedgewood your post game interview.
Scott Wedgewood your post game interview.

Highlights:

12/12 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: 4-0 L

Ben Thomson
Ben Thomson

It was off to northeast Pennsylvania on Saturday, as the Devils made their only visit of the season to Wilkes-Barre Township to take on the Penguins, who earlier in the day saw a change of coaches: former Albany captain Jay Leach was making his debut behind the bench as an interim coach after Mike Sullivan was promoted to Pittsburgh.  And unlike the last few games, the Devils found themselves in an early hole after a Kevin Porter goal with 2:59 to go in the first (and also buried under a ton of stuffed animals thanks to a Teddy Bear Toss).  It didn’t get any easier when Tom Kostopoulos would double the lead just seconds into the second period.  A PL3 bout and a called off goal could have shifted momentum in the Devils direction, but not to be.  Porter would score his second of the game with 4:13 to go in the second for a 3-0 lead.  After the Pens had a goal waved off for the second time, they managed to solve the top penalty kill in the league and took a commanding 4-0 lead.  Despite Albany’s best efforts, they were unable to solve Penguin goaltender Tristan Jarry, and the win streak came to a screeching halt at 7 games.  It was also the first time all season the Devils were shutout.  Yann Danis picked up the loss in net, stopping 23 of 27 shots.

Matt Lorito & Max Novak
Matt Lorito & Max Novak

The Lineup:

Matt Lorito-Max Novak-Mike Sislo

Reid Boucher-Jim O’Brien-Corey Tropp

Blake Pietila-Graham Black-Ryan Kujawinski

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Pierre Luc Leblond

Dan Kelly/Marc Andre Gragnani

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Scott Wedgewood

Out: Blake Coleman, Paul Thompson, Chris McKelvie, Reece Scarlett, Raman Hrabarenka, Greg Wolfe

Power Play: 0 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 1 for 2.  Penalty Minutes: 11.  Shots on Goal: 22.  Shots Allowed: 27.

Highlights:

My Player of the Week:

Scoring 2 goals in a span of :28?  A nice comeback appearance for Jim O’Brien.  Honorable mention to Corey Tropp for his 3 assist performance.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Mike Sislo (13)

Assists: Matt Lorito (17)

Points: Mike Sislo (22)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+15)

Penalty Minutes: Pierre-Luc Leblond (42)

Wins: Yann Danis (14)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.00)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.944)

The Vault:

So…how many Devils can say they were once the #1 play on Sportscenter in college?  Max Novak holds that bragging right. (You’ll just have to watch through to the end.)

Up North with the Thunder:

A slow start to the weekend for the boys in Adirondack, as they dropped back to back games on home ice.  Friday night Ken Appleby suffered a 6-1 loss at the hands of Norfolk, only lasting 2 and a half periods before being pulled.  He stopped 15 of 20 Admiral shots in defeat.  Saturday Appleby suffered a 4-3 overtime loss to the Monarchs, stopping 36 of 40 shots.  Alexandre Carrier scored his second goal of the season on a power play late in the second period.  After traveling to Manchester Sunday afternoon, the Thunder return home on Wednesday to take on Elmira before traveling south to Norfolk on Friday and Saturday.

This Week’s Schedule:

The week before Christmas is going to be a very long one.  Tuesday and Wednesday the Devils travel all the way north to Newfoundland to take on the IceCaps for a pair.  Then it’s back to the U.S. mainland and western New York for their first visit to Rochester in three seasons on Saturday before starting a near week long break for the holiday.

Also Saturday: I get my third callup to New Jersey of the season.

The Weekly Primer, Issue 10

Quick Hits:

Albany begins the weekend with a record of 15-4-3-0, good for 33 points and a .750 percentage.  They sit in second place in the North Division, .021 behind first place Toronto.

With Scott Wedgewood ready to return to the lineup, Albany officially released goaltender Doug Carr from his PTO on Monday.  He finished with a 1-2-0 record, 2.34 GAA, and a .897 save percentage during his 2+ month stay.  He didn’t stay unemployed for long, signing a contract with Manchester (ECHL) on Tuesday.

Congratulations go out to Joseph Blandisi, who was recalled by New Jersey Thursday and all signs point to him making his NHL debut on Friday at The Rock against Detroit.

As far as the injury front goes…all but Blake Coleman (upper) and Raman Hrabarenka (lower) will be available to play this weekend.  Considering the long travel itinerary the boys are about to take on…this is great news.

Friday, 12/11 vs. Syracuse

Where: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Albany leads 2-0.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 10-9-2-1, 23 points, .523 pct, 5th place in North Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: 2 tied with 14 points; Andrei Vasilevskiy, 2-0-0, 1.00 GAA; Adam Wilcox, 2-3-3, 3.20 GAA

Notes: This is the second visit in 5 days for the Crunch to the Capital Region; Syracuse is on a slide, dropping their last three games and falling behind Utica in the division; Tampa Bay swapped goaltenders with the Crunch on Thursday, calling up Kristers Gudlevskis and sending down Andrei Vasilevskiy for the second time this season; this wraps up Albany’s four game homestand, their last game locally until December 26th.

Listen: AHL Live, ESPN Radio Syracuse

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @SyracuseCrunch

Saturday, 12/12 @ Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre, PA.

When: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Wilkes-Barre leads 1-0.

Know Your Opponent:

Record: 17-5-0-0, 34 points, .773 pct, 1st place in Atlantic Division

Leading Scorers/Goaltending: Conor Sheary, 22 points (6 G, 16 A); Dominik Simon, 21 points (9 G, 12 A); Scott Wilson, 19 points (11 G, 8 A); Matt Murray, 11-4-0, 1.95 GAA; Tristan Jarry, 6-1-0, 1.96 GAA

Notes: The Penguins broke a rare 3 game losing streak with a 6-2 win on Wednesday at home against Syracuse; they travel to Lehigh Valley on Friday before returning home on Saturday; Matt Murray ranks 5th among AHL goaltenders with a 1.95 GAA, 4th in save percentage (.935), and tied for second in shutouts (3).

Listen: AHL Live,  WILK 103.1 FM

Tweet: @trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @nafsnep, @WBSPenguins