Old Stuff and a New Look…

Now that we’re getting close to the start of training camp (once I get the list of participants I’ll have something up), time to start prepping for season 4!

As you can see, a slight makeover on the blog, as I have discovered WordPress’s editing tools. Okay, just changed the background color, not a big thing. But the team links at the top of the page have also been updated for this season’s opponents (to be edited as the season goes on).

I’m also working on how I’ll be covering things as the season progresses, as far as posts, Tweets, etc. Once I make the final decisions I may have something up on that before the season begins in exactly 4 weeks (!!).

Anyway, there is some old news to catch up on:

-Announced by Hartford just before Labor Day weekend, the Devils will be traveling to the XL Center on September 26th to take on the Wolfpack. There has been no formal announcement of a full preseason schedule, but it’s most likely that local fans will not be getting any home games before October.


Devils Year 3 In Review, Part 3: What I Learned

Welcome to my 3rd annual Devils year in review. As I have done the last two seasons, I will be presenting the season in review in three parts: stats, some fun with numbers, and what I learned on and off the ice.

Here we go, the final part: What I Learned. For me, it’s more that just covering the games and recapping. There’s so much more that goes on that makes this fun and actually worthwhile. Now for a few memories of the season:

-Normally, I can handle myself no problem when I’m around any of the Devils (or even some of the opponents, for that matter). But the first night I saw Adam Henrique postgame during the third week of the season…I actually found myself literally starstruck. After all, all he did last season was score two playoff series clinching goals and almost win the Calder Trophy. But yes, I got myself together before he said hello. Sadly his hand injury in late November cut his visit short…and a week before all the fun Booster Club events too!

-Remember last season and #FreeBurlon? This year it went to a whole another level, due to the lockout and the abundance of players on the roster. I have lost count of how many players we requested to be freed on both Twitter and on a number of signs. It got to the point where Harry Young actually wanted us to put up the signs! And yes, that actually made him crack a smile (baby steps!).

-I created a new penalty just for Tim Sestito (know to my Jersey followers as the #ENERGY guy), the Sestito Penalty. Regardless of whether he was guilty or not of whatever infraction he committed, he always had to get the last word in with the referee. Next thing you know…extra 2 minutes, extra 10 minutes on the board.

-Now on to the Yes, That Actually Happened Department:

The douche otherwise known as Zac Rinaldo scored on a penalty shot? Yes, that actually happened. And I think everyone had the same reaction as Jeff Frazee.

Cam and Jay Leach providing a majority of the offense in one game? Yes, that actually happened. I’m still looking outside for those flying pigs.

-I made quite a few road trips during the course of the year. Some interesting events from a few of those stops:

If you’re bored while in Adirondack, you can always watch Marc-Andre Bourdon charm his date (or a random teammate) for the evening. This actually started last season when a friend witnessed the entire date (from introduction, to number exchange, to eventually leaving before the game was over), but with him still on the shelf from post concussion symptoms, seemed like every time I went up he was in the next section over from me charming a new girl.

The other memory from up there was a scary one…being on hand when Mattias Tedenby took the skate cut to his jaw. I don’t think I had ever seen that much blood on the ice in all the years I’ve gone to games. Luckily he recovered and was back out there (and I even got my first good look at his cut last weekend) before the season was out. And thanks to Mike Testuwide (one of the Phantom scratches that night) for giving me the initial update.

Tribute to Sandy Hook in Bridgeport.
Tribute to Sandy Hook in Bridgeport.

The main memory of my lone trip to Hartford was that it was the same day as the Sandy Hook shootings. Every radio station in the Springfield/Hartford area carried the press conferences and news updates. The drive down there was a little numbing, but once I got in the building and got into game mode, it got better.

On a lighter note, after hearing the news that the Whale are going back to being the Wolfpack, I’m kicking myself for not buying those cool Whale socks I saw at one of the souvenir stands…

Wilkes-Barre has a pretty cool scoreboard...quite similar to the TU Center.
Wilkes-Barre has a pretty cool scoreboard…quite similar to the TU Center.

Ah Wilkes-Barre. Where I always get booed by the same random tall guy and there’s a Tim Hortons booth (always a plus). While the game I saw wasn’t the greatest, there was another story that came out of this trip. On the way back up Interstate 81 towards New York, our bus was treated to the tail end of a fireworks show at PNC Field, where the Triple-A Yankees play. Then I find out the next morning more than fireworks happened. Um, oops?

But the most memorable trips of the year involved two words, one hashtag: #fullcar. Two trips to Binghamton in February and April involved a full car of 5 heading west on Interstate 88 for a pair of games in Binghamton. Whether it was helping out with the B-Sens Power to the Purple cause or hanging out at a pregame party with this guy:

Yep, this guy.  Shorts not pictured.
Yep, this guy. Shorts not pictured.

Or racing the team bus down the highway…or late night Tim Hortons runs…the list goes on and on.

With another season in the books, I just want to thank everyone for following along and reading. It’s amazing all the new friends I have found just via Twitter alone and meeting people at games, events, etc. Looking forward to an interesting summer and ahead to the fall to start Year #4!

Devils Year 3 In Review, Part 2: Fun With Numbers

Welcome to my 3rd annual Devils year in review. As I have done the last two seasons, I will be presenting the season in review in three parts: stats, some fun with numbers, and what I learned on and off the ice.

And now, Part 2: Fun With Numbers (in random order):

12: Shootout losses, a new AHL record.

9: AHL cities I saw at least one game (Albany, Adirondack, Connecticut, Bridgeport, Springfield, Worcester, Binghamton, Syracuse, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton).

3: Teams that swept the season series (Manchester, Portland, Providence).

1: Series sweeps (Worcester).

10,218: Attendance on January 26th vs. Adirondack, a franchise record.

2,209: Lowest attendance, on March 27th vs. St. John’s.

11: Total shots in a 4-0 loss at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on April 6th (season league low).

47: Most shots, on February 10th at Binghamton.

6: Most goals in a game, on December 12th vs. Wilkes-Barre Scranton and February 24th vs. Hershey.

7: Most goals allowed, on January 11th at Manchester.

55: Most penalty minutes in one game, on February 13th vs. Syracuse.

42: Number of players who made at least one appearance in an Albany uniform.

13: Albany players who played at least one game in New Jersey.

2: ECHL affiliates used (Trenton and Elmira).

4: Albany players that made their NHL debut this season.

0:39: Time lapse for a regulation win to turn into an OT loss at Norfolk on December 22nd.

7:58: Time lapse to erase a 2-0 deficit in Syracuse on February 9th with 3 goals.

9: Attempts before finally winning a shootout on February 5th in Connecticut.

9: Most shootout rounds, on December 15th vs. Providence.

0: Number of wins in overtime.

8: Most wins against 1 opponent (naturally, Adirondack).

4: Penalty shots awarded (2 to Harri Pesonen, 1 to Adam Henrique, 1 to Phil DeSimone).

6: Penalty shots faced (4 by Jeff Frazee, 2 by Keith Kinkaid).

6: Shootout losses by Keith Kinkaid (tied for first in the league).

6: Shootout goals by Mike Sislo (tied for first in the league).

146,696: Total home attendance (including 4 games in Atlantic City).

2: AHL Players of the Week (Bobby Butler in December, Matt Anderson in January).

7: Goal scoring streak at home by Joe Whitney from February 24th-March 30th (tied for first in the league).

4: Goals in one game for Bobby Butler on December 12th (tied with 1 other for season league high).

1: Shot in the first period on April 6th in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (tied for league season low).

0: Number of players to play in all 76 games.

22: Most often assigned uniform number (J.S. Berube, Stephen Gionta, Cam Janssen, J.S. Berube again).

I may add to this list as I think of more.

Stay tuned for Part 3, What I Learned…

And The Awards Go To…(2013 Edition)

Earlier tonight I attended the annual Devils Booster Club Awards Banquet (it didn’t hurt that the venue was exactly a 3 minute car ride from my house, either). A little earlier than normal like last year (thanks to the hectic season ending schedule), but always a fun night with the team. Now let’s get on with the awards, shall we?

First, the Bowlathon awards (from way back in December):

Players High Score: Scott Parse (167; sadly Keith Kinkaid was informed that he could not rig another perfect game to get the trophy)
Players Best Effort (otherwise known as lowest score): Eric Gelinas (we’ll say below 100)

Next, the Acknowledgment of Achievements:

Goal Scoring Leader: Joe Whitney (21)
Assist Leader: Matt Anderson (25)
Game Winning Goal Leader: Joe Whitney (4)
Shorthanded Goal Leader: Jacob Josefson (2)
Power Play Goal Leader: Joe Whitney (4)
First AHL Goal: Harri Pesonen, Corbin McPherson, Raman Hrabarenka, Kelly Zajac
Wendy’s Chili Goals (to explain: if the Devils score 3 goals during a home game, everyone gets a free cup of Wendy’s Chili the next day): Matt Anderson, Chad Wiseman, Tim Sestito, Jacob Josefson, Eric Gelinas; Joe Whitney & Mike Sislo crowned co-Chili Champions for having 2 apiece

Third Star of the Year: Jeff Frazee
Second Star of the Year: Keith Kinkaid
First Star of the Year: Joe Whitney
(determined by how many times a player earned a star of the game)

Booster Club-voted Awards:

Offensive Player of the Year: Matt Anderson
Defensive Player of the Year: Dan Kelly
Most Electrifying Player: Darcy Zajac
Unsung Hero: Harri Pesonen
Fan Favorite: Keith Kinkaid

Coach’s Awards:

Most Improved Player: Corbin McPherson
John Cunniff Memorial Award: Chris McKelvie

As for a few highlights:

Our guest speaker decided to give Coach the fan experience, complete with ridiculous hat.  And a cowbell.
Our guest speaker decided to give Coach the fan experience, complete with ridiculous hat. And a cowbell.
Jay Leach with the official Captain's speech.
Jay Leach with the official Captain’s speech.
My dinner guests for the evening, the brothers Zajac (Kelly on the left, Darcy next to him)
My dinner guests for the evening, the brothers Zajac (Kelly on the left, Darcy next to him)
The Chili Goal Award...yup, just a Wendy's cup.
The Chili Goal Award…yup, just a Wendy’s cup.

What I Learned in New Jersey…

Sunday was my annual excursion to the Prudential Center to see the parent Devils play Winnipeg. As a season ticket holder here, one of our perks is a free ticket to a selected NJ game (since the big club owns the AHL club, they can do that). This was my third time at The Rock, and this year I did something different: instead of taking a bus the Booster Club provided, I decided to make the drive myself and take the train to Newark, as quite a few others do. Since I do it when I go to Yankee games, why not try it for a Devils game? Now to review my day as a “callup” so to speak:

-Fun game to play while you’re driving down Route 17 towards Route 3 and the Meadowlands: how many Dunkin Donuts can you pass? We lost count after 10.

Hello Secaucus Junction!  Yes I actually took a picture of the sign. (via Instagram)
Hello Secaucus Junction! Yes I actually took a picture of the sign. (via Instagram)

-My first experience on NJ Transit. Similar to the Metro North in New York City but with double decker cars. Pretty fair price (8 dollar round trip from Secaucus Junction to Newark Penn) considering the alternative ($20 to park 2 blocks from the arena and get stuck in postgame traffic…um I’ll pass).

-For those who have never been to downtown Newark…one word to describe it? Ghetto. Just walk one block or so away from The Rock and you’ll turn right back around.

-Pregame meal? Good luck finding a table at a restaurant without having to wait at least an hour. Thank God for the Dinosaur BBQ takeout counter. Didn’t suck having a pregame picnic at Championship Plaza.

As far as the actual game:

The view from my seat in Section 11.
The view from my seat in Section 11.

-The two referees from the game? Both former AHL refs, Francis Charron and Mike Leggo. Saw them both during the River Rats days. And they’re apparently still just as bad as back in the day.

-Number of Zajac brothers I’ve seen score this season? 3. Now to get to Colorado and complete the family hat trick (plus 1).

-So is Krys Barch just there for the occasional entertainment if the first period is boring? Just wondering. At least Cam is getting actual ice time down here.

And there's your first period entertainment...
And there’s your first period entertainment…


-You know it was a long day for the parent club when the postgame fireworks show outside seemed to get more applause…and those that came down from Albany were wishing they went to Atlantic City instead.

Despite the loss, I had a great time. Just being in and around a major league enviroment is always fun for me. Especially when you look out onto the ice and see players you’ve met, supported, and befriended over the years as they were getting their careers started.

And now for a few more photos…

At least I got one shot of Marty before his early exit.
At least I got one shot of Marty before his early exit.
If you know me, you figured there was going to be at least one Henrique photo.
If you know me, you figured there was going to be at least one Henrique photo.
And here's Gio!
And here’s Gio!
Jacob Josefson's cameo appearance.
Jacob Josefson’s cameo appearance.

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…

Photo Gallery: December Off-Ice Events

Photos from the Booster Club Bowlathon 12/2/12; Booster Club Holiday Party 12/4/12; and STH Holiday Skate 12/10/12.

(L to R) Mike Hoeffel, Harri Pesonen, Scott Parse, Raman Hrabarenka
(L to R) Mike Hoeffel, Harri Pesonen, Scott Parse, Raman Hrabarenka
Tim Sestito teaching his daughter some skills...
Tim Sestito teaching his daughter some skills…
Darcy Zajac
Darcy Zajac
Just hanging out at the holiday party...
Just hanging out at the holiday party…
Brandon Burlon and David Wohlberg
Brandon Burlon and David Wohlberg
Mattias Tedenby and Adam Larsson
Mattias Tedenby and Adam Larsson
Bobby Butler and Matt Anderson
Bobby Butler and Matt Anderson
Joe Whitney (aka the Christmas Elf)
Joe Whitney (aka the Christmas Elf)
Adam Larsson watching...(Harri Pesonen behind him)
Adam Larsson watching…(Harri Pesonen behind him)
Mattias Tedenby
Mattias Tedenby
Eric Gelinas, Mike Sislo, Chris McKelvie
Eric Gelinas, Mike Sislo, Chris McKelvie

Wednesday Updates

Haven’t had to do one of these in awhile…but some breaking news came across my feed this afternoon.

-Earlier today in a statement, the Devils announced that Adam Henrique will be undergoing surgery on his left thumb tomorrow. He injured his hand Sunday afternoon in Atlantic City during the Devils shootout loss to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He had appeared in all 16 games, posting 5 goals and 3 assists. So I guess this also means he won’t be bowling on Sunday at the annual Booster Club Bowlathon…

-Also earlier today, on a lighter note, last season’s game worn jerseys are up for sale! You too can own Peter Harrold’s game worn #5 or Tim Sestito’s #12 for just $375…

-And finally…um, what? That’s Europe for you…

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.