Mostly Daily Update 9/28

Big…and surprising news…from the Mohawk Valley this afternoon.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo visited Griffiss AFB in Rome for a pair of announcements for the city of Utica: first, an additional $10.5 million dollars in state funds will go towards more renovations for the newly named Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium, on top of the 7 million already tied into the current project.

Second, the AHL announced that the 2018 All Star Classic will be returning to Utica for the second time in four years, taking place January 28th and 29th between the Adirondack Bank Center and Turning Stone Resort & Casino, who again will be the main sponsor.  For those that wonder why the Comets got the All Star events back so quickly…well, it’s based on city interest in hosting the event, which includes having adequate hotel and meeting center space, among other things.

My first All Star event was in Utica back in 2015, and I must say the Comets did an amazing job.  I’m definitely looking forward to making my fourth straight All Star trip!

Meanwhile, in the Southern Tier, the next chapter of Binghamton hockey began with the opening of Devils camp.  Four Thunder signees–Tim Boyle, Pierre-Luc Mercier, Tim Harrison, and the newly signed Desmond Bergin–are invites, along with defenseman Tim Erixon (recently cut by New Jersey) and veteran forward Tim Kennedy, who split last season between Sweden and Rochester.

Camping Updates 9/27

Following up on Sunday’s updates:

Syracuse and Utica both released their full camp rosters on Tuesday afternoon, with some interesting additions to both:

-The Crunch have invited veteran forward Jason Akeson to camp on a tryout, and also signed former Thunder forward Ty Loney and winger Troy Bourke to AHL contracts.  Thunder signee Terrence Wallin is in camp on an invite as well.

-Utica received the services of former Devil Reid Boucher, who cleared waivers earlier in the day.

-Also in Utica: The Aud is getting an updated name as part of their renovations, The Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.  The first event after renovations are completed will be Utica College’s home opener in late October, with the Comets to follow on November 1st.

After a split Monday with Ottawa and the Islanders, New Jersey finally made their first round of cuts to Binghamton Tuesday afternoon:

-Ben Thomson, Scott Wedgewood, and Bracken Kearns were placed on–and later cleared–waivers, while Mackenzie Blackwood, Brandon Baddock, Nathan Bastian, Brandon Gignac, Ryan Kujawinski, Blake Pietila, Kevin Rooney, Blake Speers, Yaroslav Dyblenko, Josh Jacobs, Michael Kapla, and Colton White are en route to the Southern Tier.  First day of camp will be on Thursday, with game action 24 hours later against the Penguins, who start their preseason against Hershey at home tonight.

Rooney was recalled to New Jersey on Wednesday, and is in the lineup on the 4th line as the parent Devils face Washington in their final preseason tuneup.

Sunday Funday Update 9/24

AHL camps are opening for business!

I always looked forward to when New Jersey–and Carolina too–would make their first round of cuts.  That meant it was almost time for my hockey season to truly begin.

Sigh…but not this time around.

Anyway…the show goes on for the rest of the league.

Tampa Bay, Buffalo, and Vancouver have all made their first round of cuts to their respective affiliates:

To Syracuse: Connor Ingram, Michael Leighton, Mat Bodie, Matt Spencer, Alex Gallant, Carter Verhaeghe, Kevin Lynch, Reid McNeill, Shane Conacher.  Jamie McBain is currently on waivers and will join this group once he clears tomorrow at noon.

To Rochester: Eric Cornel, Vaclav Karabacek, Steve Moses, Kevin Porter, Brycen Martin, Casey Nelson, Devante Stephens, Jason Kasdorf, Jonas Johansson, Adam Wilcox, Kyle Criscuolo, Hudson Fasching, C.J. Smith, Brendan Guhle.

To Utica: Michael Carcone, Yan-Pavel Laplante, Evan McEneny, Zack MacEwen, Griffen Molino, Ashton Sautner, Jordan Subban, Alexis D’Aoust, Aaron Irving, Brett McKenzie, Carter Bancks, Wacey Hamilton, Jaime Sifers, Danny Moynihan, Anton Cederholm, Mackenze Stewart.

New Jersey has yet to make any assignments to Binghamton.  The Devils will have two split squad games on Monday, in Brooklyn against the Islanders and in PEI for the Kraft Hockeyville matchup with Ottawa.

As for the camps themselves:

Syracuse kicks off their camp on Tuesday afternoon at the War Memorial. The Crunch will start their preseason slate on Saturday afternoon in Rome against Utica, then host the Comets on Sunday, October 1st.

Rochester will start their camp Monday afternoon at the Blue Cross Arena. They will take on Toronto Friday night at RIT, followed by a rematch on Saturday at HarborCenter in Buffalo.

Utica’s camp will begin this week (no dates available at press time), with the home and home series against Syracuse their only two preseason games scheduled.

No official information on when Binghamton’s camp will open is available.  They too have two preseason tilts, a home and home series with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton starting Friday in Pennsylvania, then finishing Sunday afternoon in the Southern Tier.

Meanwhile, another player has joined the fold in Adirondack:

On Friday, the Thunder acquired the rights to defenseman Desmond Bergin from Quad City for the ever popular future considerations.  Bergin will be starting his second professional season after spending all of last year with Greenville.  In 60 games, the native of Natick, MA scored 7 goals and assisted on 19 others.  He was traded by the Swamp Rabbits to Quad City for Jack Nevins on August 14th.  Before turning pro, he played collegiately at Harvard and spent one season in the USHL.

Sunday Reading 9/17

How about some links for your Sunday as NHL training camps get rolling?

First, up north: an awesome tribute at Cool Insuring Arena on Saturday, as Dallas Stars broadcaster Dave Strader, who began his career as the original voice of the Adirondack Red Wings, was honored with the official renaming of the press box. (The Post Star) (WNYT) (Facebook)

A preview of the newest faces in Rochester, who look to have a resurgence after years of playoff futility. (Let’s Go Amerks)

Looking at prospects in Tampa’s training camp, including a few names you may see in Glens Falls. (Raw Charge)

A couple of A-Devils alumni were factors in New Jersey’s first scrimmage of camp on Saturday.  The Devils face Washington at home on Monday to start their preseason slate.  (Fire and Ice)

Former Comets coach Travis Green was a winner in his first NHL preseason game, as Vancouver defeated the Kings 4-3 in overtime.  The Canucks and Kings are off to Asia for the NHL China Games, which will take place in Shanghai and Beijing later this week. (Vancouver Canucks)

Finally…look everyone, the Times Union Center is almost done renovating.  Too bad they would rather host foam parties and bull riding than house an AHL hockey team. (Times Union)

 

 

Up North with the Thunder 8/8

Today was quite a busy day for Adirondack.

Two big announcements came out this morning during a press conference in Glens Falls:

-First, there’s a new affiliation.  Well, make that two new affiliations.

The main affiliate for at least the 2017-18 season will be New Jersey/Binghamton, which marks the first time since 2010-11 that the Devils have a full time ECHL partner (Trenton).  New Jersey is no stranger to using Adirondack as a partner–in between AHL stints up north, the then River Rats used the UHL’s IceHawks (later known as the Frostbite) as a feeder team in the early 2000s, with Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond the most notable of those players (his first professional season was in 2005-06, the final year the Frostbite called Glens Falls home).

Tampa Bay/Syracuse will take over New Jersey’s unofficial partnership/handshake role.  The Lightning/Crunch were in search of a new team after last year’s ECHL affiliate, Kalamazoo, signed an agreement with Vancouver/Utica in July.  They had some success last season with one member of last year’s Thunder, as defenseman Mathieu Brodeur turned a PTO stint in early December with Syracuse into an AHL contract, helping the Crunch reach the Calder Cup Finals last June.

-Secondly, Brad Tapper will take over as Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations, just six days after former coach Cail McLean left the Thunder for an assistant coaching role in Stockton.

Tapper is a former RPI product who spent parts of three seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers before finishing his playing career in Germany. This is his first head coaching job, as he has spent the last six seasons as an assistant in both the ECHL and AHL, including a Kelly Cup championship with the Florida Everblades in 2012.  He spent two years as an assistant coach in Chicago with the Wolves before spending last season with the Amerks.

Free Agency Progress Report 8/1

Finally, my first opportunity to put together an actual AHL post!

Just when I thought I wasn’t going to do a Free Agent Tracker this summer…well here we are on August 1st.  So how have the four New York teams fared since free agency began exactly one month ago?  Here’s where everyone stands:

New Jersey/Binghamton

New Arrivals: Bracken Kearns, Brian Strait

Departures: Yohann Auvitu (Edmonton); Seth Helgeson (NY Islanders); Andrew MacWilliam (Rochester); Vojtech Mozik (Europe); Karl Stollery (Europe); Luke Gazdic (Calgary); Petr Straka (Europe); Max Novak (Toronto); Ben Sexton (Ottawa); Carter Camper (Cleveland)

Staying Put: Brian Gibbons, Viktor Loov, Scott Wedgewood (RFA), Joe Blandisi (RFA), Blake Pietila (RFA), Blake Coleman (RFA), Kevin Rooney (RFA), Ben Thomson (RFA)

Still Available: Rod Pelley, Jan Mandat, Shane Harper

Other News: On Saturday, the logo was officially revealed and…you be the judge.  Let’s just say I’m a bigger fan of the sleeve patches and leave it at that.  Otherwise, it’s been a fairly quiet offseason, outside of Nicomania hitting the Garden State.

Buffalo/Rochester:

Arrivals: Adam Wilcox, Andrew MacWilliam, Stevie Moses, Barry Goers, Adam Krause, Kyle Criscuolo, Kevin Porter

Departures: Mat Bodie (Tampa Bay); Cole Schneider (NY Rangers); Patrick Mullen (Europe); John Muse (Lehigh Valley); Jean Dupuy (Toronto); Erik Burgdoerfer (Ottawa); Derek Grant (Anaheim); Justin Kea (ECHL Florida); Paul Geiger (Hershey)

Staying Put: Daniel Muzito-Bagenda, Evan Rodrigues (RFA)

Still Available: Tim Kennedy, Matthew Lane, Justin Vaive, Brady Austin, Mac Bennett, Tyson Strachan

Other News: It’s been a summer of change in western New York, as a new regime takes over in Buffalo–new GM (Randy Sexton), new coaching staff (Chris Taylor and Gord Dineen take over behind the bench), and quite a few veteran signings by the Amerks/Sabres with the aim of helping Rochester get back to being competitive again.

Tampa Bay/Syracuse:

Arrivals: Michael Leighton, Mat Bodie, Jamie McBain, Carter Verhaeghe, Alex Gallant, Reid McNeill

Departures: Tanner Richard (Europe); Mike McKenna (Dallas); Bryon Froese (Montreal); Kristers Gudlevskis (NY Islanders); Matt Taormina (Montreal); Henri Ikonen (Europe); Joel Vermin (Europe)

Staying Put: Michael Bournival, Jake Dotchin, Matthew Peca, Slater Koekkoek, Cory Conacher, Yanni Gourde, Gabriel Dumont, Kevin Lynch, Nic Riopel

Still Available: Stefan Fournier, Mike Halmo, Pierre-Luc Leblond, Mathieu Brodeur, Dylan Blujus, Adam Comrie, Jonathan Racine

Other News: Just a summer of reloading for the defending Eastern Conference champs, as the Lightning have done a great job of not only re-signing key members of last year’s Crunch team, but bringing in a netminder of Michael Leighton’s caliber.

Vancouver/Utica:

Arrivals: Jaime Sifers

Departures: Mike Zalewski (Europe); Chad Billins (Europe); Alexandre Grenier (Florida); David Shields (Europe); Curtis Valk (Florida); Derek Hulak (Lehigh Valley)

Staying Put: Darren Archibald, Joseph LaBate, Evan McEneny

Still Available: Colby Robak, Cody Kunyk, Pascal Pelletier, Borna Rendulic, John Negrin, Michael Garteig

Other News: It’s the fifth season of the AHL return to Utica, and other than the renovation of the Aud, it’s been a rather quiet summer for the Comets to this point player-wise.  Behind the bench, former Crunch coaches Trent Cull and Gary Agnew take over for the promoted Travis Green and Nolan Baumgartner (now with Vancouver), and Ryan Johnson was brought in as the new general manager.