Midseason By The Numbers

Wednesday night the Devils played game #38, the official halfway point of the 2012-13 season. Before we begin the second half of the season on Friday, how about assessing the team’s progress so far?

Record: 15-14-1-8, 39 points. 4th place in Northeast Division, tied for 12th in the Eastern Conference (with St. John’s), tied for 25th in the AHL (with St. John’s)

Home: 7-8-0-5
Away: 8-6-1-3

Team Leaders:

Goals: Bobby Butler, 15
Assists: Adam Larsson, 15; current roster leader: Steve Zalewski/Matt Anderson, 13
Points: Bobby Butler, 24
+/-: Joe Whitney, +11
Penalty Minutes: Tim Sestito, 55
Power Play Goals: Bobby Butler, 5
Power Play Assists: Matt Anderson, 7
Shorthanded Goals: Jacob Josefson, 2; current roster leader: 3 tied with 1
Shorthanded Assists: Jacob Josefson/Tim Sestito, 1
Game Winning Goals: Mattias Tedenby/Bobby Butler, 3
Shots on Goal: Bobby Butler, 99

Wins: Keith Kinkaid, 12
GAA: Keith Kinkaid, 2.43
Shutouts: Keith Kinkaid, 2
Save Percentage: Keith Kinkaid, .915

Team Stats (with league rankings):

Home Attendance: 3,752 (27th)
Penalty Minutes Average: 15.16 (21st)
Power Play: 12.2% (27th)
Penalty Kill: 84.5% (9th)
Goals For: 99, 2.61 (18th)
Goals Against: 105, 2.76 (12th)
Shots For: 31.13 (9th)
Shots Against: 28.66 (8th)

When I set up the list, I used the same format as last year…and ended up doing some comparisons. The biggest difference was definitely more on the defensive side of things. For example, last year at this time the penalty kill was near the bottom of the league (at the time 77.5%). This season it ranks in the top 10 (at one point, they were standing at #3 in the league). Goaltending has improved as well, as Kinkaid and Jeff Frazee have combined to lower the team GAA from 3.05 (also near the bottom of the league) to 2.76. Technically, if you were to take out the shootout loss goals, the real GAA is 2.55, which would have put the team in the league top 10. Slight improvement in goals for per game and shots per game, and a small decrease in penalty minutes (down a full minor penalty) average as well. And thanks to a front office initiative to sell more season tickets and the lockout, attendance has improved by almost 800 a game (yes the Atlantic City crowds count in that too).

Second half kicks off tomorrow up in the North Country, followed by what is shaping up to be a big day Saturday afternoon. Let’s hope the defense and goaltending keeps up what they’re doing…and maybe just a little more offense…

Pre-Weekend Update

I was supposed to put this up last night, but my TWC modem crapped out during the day yesterday…luckily I can write this on my IPhone. Anyway, on to Thursday’s news update:

-Kelly Zajac and Bryan Haczyk have rejoined the team after playing for Trenton yesterday morning. And Harry Young has returned from Kalamazoo, where he is now listed as a left wing.

-6 players were placed on waivers by New Jersey: Tim Sestito, Matt Anderson, Jeff Frazee, Jay Leach, Chad Wiseman and Steve Zalewski. If all clear by noon Friday, everyone should be available (except Wiseman who is injured) tonight in Glens Falls. (UPDATE: All 6 have cleared, but now Bobby Butler is next on the waiver list.)

-The AHL finally released the rosters for this year’s AHL All Star Classic, which will be held January 27th and 28th in Providence. Albany has one representative: Bobby Butler. Well deserving, but it appears he will be sticking in New Jersey and won’t be able to participate. So we’ll see who will go in his place. Full rosters can be found here.

A Little Christmas Treat…

(or, I was bored of watching the Giants losing miserably to the Ravens, went on YouTube, and…)

As is standard around the league, most teams like to put out some funny, embarassing holiday video with their teams in it, wishing fans a happy holiday, Merry Christmas, etc. Being probably the most serious team in the league, you won’t find that in Albany. So for kicks, time to share what some of the opponents have done…and point, laugh, and facepalm accordingly.

First, where better to begin than the bad singing of our neighbors to the north?

If only they could repeat the video from two years ago…or stick to the cheesy 80s songs

Two Ask the Team videos from Syracuse. First, the favorite gift:

And these guys need to watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas again.

Moving a little further west to Rochester and the 12 Days of Hockey with the Amerks…

A little out of tune, but just as entertaining as bad Gangnam Style, especially when a moose outdances you. Apologies if anyone gets Psy stuck in their head.

Moving down south to the former River Rats/now current Checkers from Charlotte:

Oh Zach and Blanch, don’t ever change. But it doesn’t top the Vanilla Ice on-ice dance number from the beginning of the season…or goalies in ugly Christmas sweaters.

But the winner of this year has to be the Rockford IceHogs 12 Days rendition.

Don’t know any players on that team since Albany doesn’t travel west of Rochester, but it’s a classic.

(Edit: I do know someone in Rockford! That would be former River Rat Wade Brookbank as one of the 5 fighting Hogs)

UPDATE: Apparently the Crunch also need to re-read Twas The Night Before Christmas…

Monday Afternoon Update

Two news items to pass along:

-As expected (because who else came close?), Bobby Butler was named the AHL’s Player of the Week for the week of December 10-16th. All he did was score 6 goals and contribute 1 assist in 3 games this week, including a 4 goal outburst against the Penguins on Wednesday night.

-And check out this week’s Talking Red podcast. Not just because, well, I’m in it…but anyway, thanks to David and E.J. for having me come on the show. Even though my mind drew a blank on a couple of questions (public speaking has never been a strength of mine).

There’s An App For That.

Interrupting your Election Tuesday (and I hope all my American readers went out and voted today…I sure did!) for a little followup on something I wrote about during the offseason…

Back in mid-August I wrote about a hockey app developed by players known as Shnarped, which at the time was in its early testing stages. The app is now available to the public for download via the App Store (link here). I had a chance to be one of the beta testers for the app and it has improved a lot since inception, adding more features with each new version.

I have been in contact with one of the player/developers of the app, Kyle Hagel, since the beginning, and he has been keeping me up to date on the app and any new features since its release. One new feature is the player themselves personalizing their own “stall” on the site, where not only will you find his updated stats, you can see latest tweets (for players that are on Twitter) or any other information (such as charity work) that they want to share with fans. Coming soon, a player will be able to interact with fans mobile to mobile via the “Pound” feature. Right now only fans can select Pound if they want to congratulate a player for a good game or to send a personal message.

The app has the most current data for any player currently playing in North America, you can search by name or team. If the player is actually using the app themselves, they are verified much like a verified celebrity on Twitter with the blue checkmark.

You can learn more about Shnarped by following them on Twitter at @Shnarped or by going to the App Store and downloading the free app.

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…

A Little Help…

I’m interrupting a blah Tuesday night for something that just may be of interest…

A few days ago I received a message via Twitter from Kyle Hagel, a forward for the Hamilton Bulldogs who just happens to be involved in developing a mobile app for both players and fans. The goal is to have the app available for download before the season begins. It’s similar to going on the Internet Hockey Database, but with more than just the usual stats (or as Kyle describes it, a “juiced up hockeyDB on your phone”). As of now, you can track any NHL, AHL, ECHL, or Central League player, with possibly a few European leagues to be added. One interactive feature is the “pound” button, in which a fan can give a player they track a virtual tap, or “pound,” on the shin pads for a good game, birthday wish, etc. The player then has the option to “pound back” via a push notification, and can even add a personal message.

A few examples of what the app will look like (courtesy of Kyle):

Individual Player Profile
Tracking List
Tracking Page

He also has a feedback survey available, I encourage everyone to take a few minutes and fill it out. You can access it at http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22GFWC2R7R9.

I kind of see this as an app with a little something for everyone, whether you’re a stats geek or one of those fans who like to get to know the player behind the uniform or mask. It’s definitely something I would download and utilize during the year.

The Butler Did Do It.

(sorry, I had to go there.)

Finally some news comes in as we get ever closer to fall (but not close enough for me…go away humidity!), as earlier today a story running rampant on my Twitter feed just became official a couple of hours ago. New Jersey has signed forward Bobby Butler to a 1 year, 2 way deal. He spent the last two seasons with Ottawa, putting up 16 points (6 G, 10 A) in 56 games before being bought out on July 27th. He was a key member of Binghamton’s 2010-11 Calder Cup Championship squad, scoring 27 points (13 G, 14 A) in 23 playoff games, and putting up another 22 goals in 47 regular season AHL games. He also scored 10 goals in 36 games with Ottawa. Before signing with Ottawa in March 2010, he spent four years at the University of New Hampshire, where he put up some steady offensive numbers, including a breakout senior season with 29 goals in 39 games. He will be reunited in Devils camp with former Wildcats Mike Sislo and Phil DeSimone. He does have a shot at cracking the lineup in New Jersey, but if he were to come to Albany…this could be a big boost for the offense.

And now from the In Case You Missed It Department:

-We do know at least one Albany preseason game date: the Devils will travel to Binghamton on Saturday, October 6th to take on the Senators. Still waiting for the obligatory Phantom slugfest in Glens Falls to be announced.

-While I was stuck at work Tuesday night, the AHL put on a #AskTheAHL Twitter chat with fans. The biggest piece of news to come out of that? The 2012-13 schedule is due to be out within the next two weeks. And no schedule matrices (translation: list of opponents) will be released before then. There’s one extra breakdown of the schedule I’ll have to figure out.

-Earlier this week, Tom from In Lou We Trust took a look at how Albany’s offense may look this season with the loss of several key players.

Another Year at CBGBs…

2 days to go till free agency. While everyone is waiting on whether Zach Parise or Martin Brodeur are re-signing, New Jersey took care of a few unrestricted free agents, signing 5 players for next season: the entire CBGB playoff line of Ryan Carter (2 years), Steve Bernier (2 years), and Albany’s captain Stephen Gionta (2 years, first year 1 way second year 2 way), Cam Janssen (1 year, 2 way), and Peter Harrold (unknown terms). Four out of the five all contributed to the Devils Stanley Cup run…and why Janssen was re-signed, I have no idea. He did not get a lot of playing time, basically being scratched except for Rangers games, and instead of sending him down here where he most likely would have been in the lineup, he sat.

In other news, for those that missed it yesterday the AHL wrapped up their annual Board of Governors meeting in South Carolina with a few minor tweaks:

-The Western Conference was sort of realigned for next season: Abbotsford moves from the West to the North Division, Grand Rapids switches from the North to the Midwest Division, and Charlotte gets bumped to the new South Division, which includes Oklahoma City and the three Texas teams (Houston, San Antonio, Texas). Since the River Rats relocated to North Carolina, the Checkers have switched divisions three times: East, then Midwest, and now South.

-A few rules changes involving handling the puck (it is now a penalty if a player closes their hand on the puck as an opponent tries to play it), faceoffs (both players cannot bat the puck with their hand or face a delay of game penalty), and an experimental run with hybrid icing till mid November.

-But the biggest move of all? VIDEO REPLAY! Finally, finally, goals are subject to video review starting next season. If only there was a war room like the NHL does in Toronto…

Unless there’s any more signings tomorrow, next time you hear from me blog wise will be the free agent tracker Sunday afternoon.