Welcome to the annual Year in Review Series. As always, the year in review is broken down into three parts: final stats, fun with numbers, and my favorite things.
Here it is, the final part, My Favorite Things (formerly called What I Learned)…
Where to begin? So many things…good, bad, scary, and otherwise…happened this year. So, like last year, I’m breaking it down with some special superlative awards. And away we go…
You’re Not Allowed to Leave. Ever.
Given to Nick Lappin, the first of the amateur tryouts to arrive on the scene in March. All he did was come up big against Toronto in both the regular season and the playoffs. And made a great linemate for his former college teammate Matt Lorito. Good news is he’s already under contract!
Best Musical Performance by a Devil:
I’ve seen Graham Black on video play an amazing piano (and guitar). But in early April…I got to experience it live.
Best Player Nickname:
Thanks to the A-Devils Podcast, Seth Helgeson revealed that Ben Thomson is called Groot, based on the character from Guardians of the Galaxy. Of course I had to run with it…
Best Unintentional Yet Intentional Trolling:
On two different occasions (and a third on the road) at home, the Devils shut out Rochester. Just before both shutout games ended, what does the DJ play? Let Me Clear My Throat by DJ Kool. Which is the Sabres goal song. Rochester is Buffalo’s farm team. Put it all together and…perfect.
Boy, That Escalated Quickly…
It was the last game of the regular season, with a potential first round opponent in house. Everything went downhill from there…
Can We Keep Him? Please?
In a rare preseason move, a loan was worked out with the Blackhawks, enabling Corey Tropp to join the Devils. All he did was provide eleven goals, some grit, and was a steady presence on the top two lines. It was a sad day when he was traded to Anaheim at the trade deadline and was reassigned to San Diego. I do believe he is an unrestricted free agent this summer, so…come back?
Fight of the Year, Non-Bridgeport Edition:
Who else but PL3? From back in November vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton:
Best Opponent Attraction:
Three words: John Scott, MVP. The unlikely hero of this year’s NHL All Star Game made three appearances in Albany while playing for St. John’s. Then there was the time when Ben Thomson decided to take him on during a game in Newfoundland…
You Poor Unfortunate Soul.
It was not the best first year for rookie forward Blake Coleman. First, in his pro debut, he gets accidentally high sticked in the mouth, losing both front teeth. Then a month later, he gets boarded by former Devil Mark Fraser, leading to season ending shoulder surgery. Here’s hoping the kid has better luck next year.
When Real Life Intrudes…
The day after Christmas, I was at a family holiday function, knowing that I was going to be late for the Devils matchup against Providence that afternoon. So you can imagine what was going through my head as I was preparing to leave, only to receive messages from friends to stay put. Why? A mystery package found under a car in the box office parking lot prompted an evacuation of the building, just as warmups were about to start. Luckily it was only a toy that was found and the TU Center was all clear to resume. And I only ended up missing half the first period.
Quote of the Year:
“F—ing Binda.”–coach Kowalsky in Springfield in November after referee Geno Binda (again) called something ridiculous.
Now for the anti-Lou portion of this post…
Dat Hair Doe…
We have a tie, between Graham Black’s midseason manbun (a look approved by Starbucks baristas everywhere…long story) and Joe Blandisi’s playoff Magic Mullet (styled very well by Matt Lorito).
Best Movember Look:
Another tie…Raman Hrabarenka was shameless going for the Gomez Addams stache, then you had PL3 with the Super Mario Bros. impression.
Best Beard, Regular Season or Playoff:
I have to give it to Corbin McPherson…he was pulling off the hipster look quite well by the end of the playoff run.
Best Instagram Presence:
Another one I couldn’t break the tie on…this one is split between Joe Blandisi and Graham Black for a variety of reasons (Graham’s music, randomness with Blender).
Finally, a few stick taps:
To my fellow AHL and Devil tweeters/bloggers: thank you all (there’s too many to name!) for all the support in the regular season and in the postseason…
To the crew at home for all the help and support in keeping up with all the game day superstitions, seeing eye dog ratings, etc. etc.
To the Devil players themselves…you are a wonderful group of guys, thank you for making this season fun. To those who move on to other teams next season…good luck wherever life and hockey take you.
And finally, thanks to you the reader for following along!
The countdown to Season 7 is on…