Albany-Springfield Pregame Notes

Things you may need to know before the Devils and Falcons take to the ice at Times Union Center tonight:

-This is the first meeting of the season between the two teams.  Considering the Falcons are the second closest team (about 80 miles) behind Adirondack, I’m a little surprised the schedule makers took this long.  Anyway…they will face off three more times this season, on February 25th and April 8th in Springfield and March 12th in Albany.

-Standings: Springfield starts the day in 6th place in the Atlantic Division, with a record of 18-17-1-3, good for 40 points.  They stand one point behind Bridgeport for the 5th place spot.  After last night’s win over the Senators (and their 3rd in a row), Albany checks in at 16-20-0-3, good for 35 points.  Don’t look now Binghamton, but they are 9 points behind you for 5th.

-Team Leaders: The Falcons are lead in scoring by recent acquisition Trevor Smith (who when last we saw him was dropping 4 goals on the Devils as a member of the Crunch) with 29 points (14 G, 15 A) and Dane Byers with 23 points (8 G, 15 A).  David LeNeveu and rookie Gustaf Wesslau split time in net, with LeNeveu leading the way with 10 wins.  On the home side…Matt Anderson has retaken the team scoring lead with 26 points (14 G, 12 A) over Michael Swift with 25 (15 G, 10 A).  Jeff Frazee remains out with the ever popular “lower body” injury, so expect Mike McKenna to continue to see time (and if he continues to play the way he has I will not complain).

-Miscellaneous Facts: Falcons captain Ben Guite is a former River Rat (06-07), along with Steven Goertzen (09-10) and the recently demoted Mike Commodore (listed on the roster but has yet to make an appearance).  Winger Tom Sestito is the younger brother of Tim, currently still on recall in New Jersey (I was so hoping for a family reunion on the ice, but not to be this time).

Game time at 7:00.  It’s post game autograph session night, I will have my NJ media guide for autographs…along with the usual tweets and photos…

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Turtle Power

Before I turn in for the night (7 hours of service desk fun await me in the morning), may as well recap the Devils 3rd straight win, a 3-2 triumph over the Binghamton Senators. 3 different Devils had goals: Jacob Josefson, Matt Anderson, and Louis Robitaille. Louis had a very interesting night: 2 fights with a 4 minute penalty thrown in, then the game winning goal in the 3rd, earning him first star honors. Mike McKenna was solid yet again in net, making 27 saves and getting the second star.

Early on things got chippy in a hurry. After Louis sort of tussled with Francis Lessard, 13 seconds after the penalties expired Lessard got his fight…but with Pierre-Luc Leblond. Later a scrum in the Binghamton net kicked off Louis vs. Colin Greening. Later on for good measure Louis took on Cody Bass, after they were separated Louis did his new signature move: nonchalantly tossing his helmet to the ice as he skates to the box.

Attendance was 3528. It’s amazing what free vouchers can do isn’t it?

Ok time to get some sleep. Pregamer for tomorrow night out at the usual time…

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Albany-Binghamton Pregame Notes

Things you may need to know before the Devils face off against the Senators at the Times Union Center:

-This is the fourth meeting between the two East Division rivals, with Albany holding a 2-1 lead in the season series.  The Devils won a 4-3 decision on November 27th in Albany, then Binghamton shut the Devils out at 5-0 on December 10th in Binghamton.  In a rematch New Years Eve, the Devils pulled out a 5-4 win.  After tonight, the two teams will square off three more times, January 19th and April 3rd in Albany and March 1st in Binghamton.

-Standings: Binghamton starts the day in 5th place with a record of 20-16-2-2, good for 44 points.  After shutting out Worcester on Tuesday night, the Devils leap frogged over Syracuse and now stand in 6th, with a record of 15-20-0-3 for 33 points.

-Team Leaders: The B-Sens are paced in scoring by Erik Condra (the active roster leader; All-Star Corey Locke is currently on recall to Ottawa) with 36 points (14 G, 22 A) and Jim O’Brien with 29 points (12 G, 17 A).  Goaltender Barry Brust has 13 wins and 4 shutouts to his credit, filling in for regular starter Mike Brodeur, who has been out till recently with a concussion.  On the home side, after his two goal performance on Tuesday Michael Swift has re-tied All Star Matt Anderson for the team scoring lead with 25 points (Swift 15 G 10 A, Anderson 13 G 12 A).  Behind them is rookie Adam Henrique with 20 points (9 G, 11 A).  With Jeff Frazee out for the week due to injury (per the Times Union), it appears Mike McKenna will have a chance to build on his last two strong performances in net.

-Game time is 7:00.  If you had made it to the Charlotte game last week, don’t forget your free voucher for this game.  I will be in attendance with the usual…

Snow Day!

Greetings from home!  Snowstorm #3 in the last 3 weeks is wreaking havoc as I type.  Not as much as say, Massachusetts (where conditions are so bad the governor is telling everyone stay home) or New York City (the only public school system open today…I feel sorry for those kids).  Even though I have lived in this area my whole life and should be used to this…wasn’t going to drive out today.  So I’ll use my day to catch up on some cleaning (well that’s the plan anyway) and get an entry in.  Speaking of catch up…while I was dealing with more people that won’t keep the crap they buy or receive as Christmas gifts (and it doesn’t help the store advertises that we’ll take anything for any reason), Mike McKenna turned in a wonderful performance in Worcester.  Michael Swift provided all the offense in a 2-0 Devils win, scoring both goals.  McKenna turned away all 32 shots for his first shutout of the season and the Devils 3rd.

Before the game, the AHL announced the rosters for the 2011 AHL All Star Classic on January 31st in Hershey.  In honor of the league’s 75th anniversary, the league abandoned its usual Canada vs. PlanetUSA (Canadian born players vs. American/European born players) in favor of a traditional Eastern/Western Conference matchup.  Matt Anderson was chosen as the Devils’ lone representative, although I thought Michael Swift may have got some consideration with his play of late.  The full rosters below:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

GOALTENDERS

Braden Holtby (Hershey), Martin Jones (Manchester), Brad Thiessen (WBS-starter)

FORWARDS

Luke Adam (Portland), Matt Anderson (Albany), Bobby Butler (Binghamton), Jonathan Cheechoo (Worcester-starter), Andrew Gordon (Hershey-starter), Johan Harju (Norfolk), Dustin Jeffrey (WBS), Corey Locke (Binghamton-starter), Kyle Palmieri (Syracuse), Rhett Rakhshani (Bridgeport), Jerome Samson (Charlotte), Jeremy Williams (Connecticut)

DEFENSEMEN

Erik Gustafsson (Adirondack), Steven Kampfer (Providence), John Moore (Springfield), Lawrence Nycholat (Hershey-starter), Bryan Rodney (Charlotte), Drew Schiestel (Portland), Viatcheslav Voynov (Manchester), Mark Wotton (Bridgeport-starter and captain)

WESTERN CONFERENCE

GOALTENDERS

Jake Allen (Peoria-starter), Mark Dekanich (Milwaukee), Curtis Sanford (Hamilton)

FORWARDS

Joey Crabb (Toronto), David Desharnais (Hamilton-starter), Alexandre Giroux (Oklahoma City-starter and captain), Linus Klasen (Milwaukee), Spencer Machacek (Chicago), Brett MacLean (San Antonio), Travis Morin (Texas-starter), Linus Omark (Oklahoma City), Max Pacioretty (Hamilton), Michal Repik (Rochester), Sergei Shirokov (Manitoba), Ryan Stoa (Lake Erie)

DEFENSEMEN

T.J. Brodie (Abbotsford), Brian Connelly (Rockford), Maxim Noreau (Houston), Nathan Oystrick (Peoria), Paul Postma (Chicago-starter), Brendan Smith (Grand Rapids), Garrett Stafford (San Antonio-starter), Clay Wilson (Rochester)

As reported in the pregame notes, goalie Dave Caruso is back up from Trenton.  Still waiting for an explanation (like everything else involving the Devils organization), Jeff Frazee was out for last night.  No callup news from New Jersey so for now I will assume he’s hurt or just under the weather.  I may actually listen in to the Trenton game tonight if I remember to, since the end of February I may possibly be traveling to Elmira to see them play (may as well get one game each from the other teams in the organization, right?  Did NJ already, now have to do Trenton).  Only road trip I am planning at the moment is my overnight stay in Wilkes-Barre next weekend.  It’s become an annual event for me since the 08-09 season and has quickly become one of my favorites to visit.  I may do an entry on road trip spots that I like sometime soon.

Okay, time for some snow day cleaning…or motivating myself to get up and do some snow day cleaning…

 

Albany-Worcester Pregame Notes

What you need to know before the Devils and Sharks take to the ice Tuesday night at the DCU Center:

-This is the third of four meetings between the former Atlantic Division rivals this season, with the teams splitting the first two games.  First meeting in early November in Worcester the Devils came from behind to win 3-2 in a shootout, while the Sharks returned the favor in mid December by winning 6-3 at the Times Union Center.  The teams play one more time this season, on February 18th in Albany.

– Standings: Worcester is currently in 4th place in the Atlantic Division, with a record of 18-13-2-5, good for 43 points.  After Saturday’s victory over Syracuse, the Devils now stand at 14-20-0-3, maintaining a 7th place standing, one point behind the Crunch and five points ahead of Adirondack.

-The Sharks are led in scoring by NHL veteran Jonathan Cheechoo with 35 points (13 G, 22 A) and defenseman Sean Sullivan with 21 points (10 G, 11 A).   Alex Stalock is their #1 goaltender, appearing in 32 games and posting 15 wins.   On the Devils side, Matt Anderson continues to pace all skaters with 25 points (13 G, 12 A), followed by Michael Swift with 23 points (13 G, 10 A).  Swift saw his point scoring streak halted in Saturday’s game at 10.  Jeff Frazee continues to get the bulk of the goalie workload, I would not be surprised if he was back between the pipes Tuesday night.

-The Sharks carry a few local ties to the Capital Region.  Defensemen Nick Petrecki (Clifton Park) and Jay Leach (Altamont) were born and raised in the area, while forwards Cory Quirk and Dan Dasilva are ex-River Rats.  Backup goalie Carter Hutton spent the last month of the 09-10 season with the Phantoms on an amateur tryout (as did current Devil Darcy Zajac).

UPDATE (12:00 PM):  The Devils announced a couple of roster moves, goaltender Dave Caruso has been recalled from Trenton, while Myles Stoesz, Trevor Kell and Darcy Zajac have been returned to the T-Devils.  Why Caruso is here is still a mystery, we shall find out.

Game time at 7:00 PM.  Due to work obligations, I will not be tweeting (sorry…I hate Tuesday games this year).  I will try to put together some kind of game recap sometime on Wednesday.

Stop the Presses! New Jersey Wins!

Greetings from the front seat of Yankee Trails Bus 294. We are heading out of Newark towards the NJ Turnpike after witnessing a miracle at the Prudential Center earlier today. The Devils beat Tampa Bay in convincing fashion 6-3. Two goals from David Clarkson, one each from Patrik Elias, Jason Arnott, Dainius Zubrus, and…A-Devil Nick Palmieri with his first NHL goal! So happy for him. Martin Brodeur put on a goalie clinic he was awesome. He even got an assist on Palmieri’s goal after almost trying to score one himself.

As for the building itself…beautiful facility. Great sightlines no matter where you sat. There was even an area with laptops set up for fans to log on the Devils site or Facebook and a cigar booth. There was a Yankee Stadium like atmosphere in the stands as well, with a whole section of the upper deck for the Devils Army, who I called the Bleacher Creatures of the building. Food prices were what I expected…10 and change for Nathan’s cheese fries and soda. If the Albany Devils offer the free ticket again next year I may do it.

The trip itself wasn’t bad. I am a little jealous of the residents of Mahwah and Ramsey near the Rt. 17 corridor…gas for them is under 3 bucks a gallon, range was 2.93-2.99. And per state law, they pump it for you, it’s win-win!

Ok signing off for now…time to crank Z100 on my radio till the signal’s gone…

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Free Tacos and Hitting the Garden State

Good morning!

Before I pack up my travel bag and hop the bus to New Jersey (more on that in a minute), let’s recap last night’s activities in downtown Albany…

Very good performance by the Devils last night.  The boys finally got their first Albany win since November (with the December “home” win in Atlantic City in between) beating Syracuse 2-1.  Adam Henrique had a goal and an assist, Matt Anderson potted the game winner in the 3rd.  Mike McKenna was nothing short of spectacular in net, there was one point he was practically doing backflips in the crease to keep the Crunch from scoring.  There was even a couple of scraps from Louis Robitaille (who takes the helmet off after finishing the fight…normally that’s the first thing you do…only growing your turtle reputation more among East Division foes, just saying) and Brad Mills (dominating performance I may add).  Best part, all 2844 in attendance (that’s way over the average, I’m impressed) get a free taco from Taco Bell (joy…I miss my free Panera Bread sandwiches from the Rats days).

Now to today…one of the perks of having a Devils season ticket (or in my case half-season) package is getting a free game ticket to a selected NJ Devils game.  The first game was on a weeknight in December, then there were two other options, today or January 23rd against Florida.  Since I will be in Wilkes-Barre visiting the Checkers on the 23rd, I chose today’s game against the Lightning.  I got a deal through the front office for bus transportation from Yankee Trails, so basically this whole trip is costing me $30.   This is my first trip to the Prudential Center, I’m hearing good things about the building.  Also it’s my first NJ game in about 7 years back during the Devils first regime here…you know when it was exciting to go there.  How the times have changed, I used to count down about a month or 2 in advance to when I went to New Jersey.  Now, it’s like oh ok we’re going to New Jersey.  I pretty much know what’s going to happen, they’ll lose and only score 1 goal.  That’s all I’ve seen them do the past month or so.  But the good part is seeing the players I watched and got to know here in Albany (Clarkson, Parise, Elias, White) as Rats, plus see this year’s guys (Sestito, Palmieri, Tedenby).  I probably won’t tweet the game like I do here, I’ll check in here and there…and get as many pictures as I can.

Okay, have to do some reading…I may send an entry from the bus on the way home, we’ll see how things go…