Starting on a Disadvantage…

First game of the 2012-13 season is officially in the books…and, well, it wasn’t quite the start the Devils were looking for. In a kind of rematch of Stanley Cup Final teams…well the farm anyway…it was the Kings, or should I say the Monarchs, on top once again. Time to review the Opening Night festivities:

10/13 vs. Manchester: 2-1 L

Keith Kinkaid drew the opening assignment against a Monarchs team featuring 4 Stanley Cup winners on its roster. Things started picking up with just over 8 minutes into the game, as Chad Wiseman gave the Devils an early 1-0 lead (assist and first pro point for rookie Raman Hrabarenka on the goal). Fifteen seconds later, Harri Pesonen drew the game’s first penalty. Just 14 seconds into the ensuing Monarch power play, David Kolomatis sent a score through Kinkaid’s pads to tie it up at 1. With 7:09 to go, the Devils took a too many men penalty, and Kolomatis made them pay yet again with his second power play goal of the night to give the Monarchs a 2-1 advantage. Albany was outshot by a 10-6 margin for the first period, along with the imperfect penalty kill.

Second period…no goals across on either side, but the Devils finally got a power play chance of their own (it’s what happens when a Koharski is in charge), but could not capitalize on the opportunity. Other than a scrap between Richard Clune and Dan Kelly (and another near scrap between Clune and Jay Leach just before that), not much to write home with.

Third period the Devils had a good chance of tying the game up with back to back power play chances, but could not get anything past Manchester goaltender Martin Jones. The special teams had quite the struggle, going 0-4 on the power play and allowing 2 power play goals on three chances. Despite a mad scramble at the end, the Monarchs held on for the 2-1 win. Jones stopped 22 of 23 shots in notching his second win (along with #3 star of the game honors), while Kinkaid was the hard luck loser, making 25 saves on 27 chances.

Notes:

-I didn’t find out till warmups tonight who ended up wearing the extra letters on their jerseys. Just as I had predicted during the offseason, your new captain is Jay Leach. Tim Sestito and Adam Henrique are the assistant captains. Not sure if this is for both home and away or if there is a rotating A, we’ll find out next weekend.

-Lots of scratches for the first game, including Matt Corrente, Joe Whitney, Steve Zalewski, among others. Still a few nursing injuries, others are healthy. We’ll see if any more ECHL assignments are in the works before next weekend’s games.

Looking Ahead:

2 games on tap for this week. Friday night sees the new look Syracuse Crunch come into town for the first of 8 matchups between the Interstate 90 rivals. Saturday the Devils hit the road for the first time this season, as they make the trek east (as will I) to take on Worcester in their home opener. We’ll have to see if it ends up as action packed as last year’s matchup, when the two teams combined for over 150 penalty minutes.

Wednesday Updates

Now that camp has finally shifted to the Capital Region (first session was on Monday), preparations are underway for the season opener against Manchester on Saturday. The latest:

-First, as of Sunday the blog is on Facebook! Click on the square under my recent tweets and give it a Like. I’ll post a few news items, and links to posts will be there as well.

-Now on to team news:

The first two cuts to the camp roster were made earlier in the week, with Eric Baier and Bryan Haczyk being assigned to Trenton in the ECHL.

Speaking of Trenton, earlier today it was announced that instead of having one ECHL affiliate, the Devils will utilize both Trenton and Elmira to reassign players.

And now for the walking wounded (all updates per Fire and Ice and The Daily Gazette):

Eric Gelinas is out indefinitely after being struck in the jaw with a shot in Binghamton on Saturday night. I had heard while in the building that he had lost three teeth, but in reality they were “loosened.”

Kelly Zajac never got into a preseason game, and there’s a good reason why: He underwent surgery to correct an abdominal issue stemming back to last season while he was still at Union. He’s out for 4 to 6 weeks.

Maxime Clermont, J.S. Berube, Steve Zalewski, Scott Parse, and Alexandre Carrier are all day to day with assorted ailments.

Unless any other news breaks, next entry will be the first pregamer of the season! All pregame entries will remain on a 3 hour before game time schedule. Most likely it will stay in the same format as last season with stats, radio/Twitter info, etc.

On What Should Be The First Night of Hockey…

…when I should be getting ready to head back to downtown Albany for Devils-Rangers preseason action (thanks NHL), here I am with just a few items to pass along:

-This just in: let there be ICE.

-Earlier this afternoon, this year’s promotional schedule was released. Most of last year’s specials are back for another year, including GE Kids in Free and Devil Dawg’s birthday (hopefully NJ Devil isn’t locked out and will join the festivities again), $5/$10 tickets courtesy of Time Warner Cable (I believe the record setting crowd from last season stemmed from that), Pucks and Paws (bring your dog to the game), 3 player bobbleheads (hopefully no one gets the Bobblehead Curse and winds up overseas next season…see Michael Swift and Nathan Perkovich as examples), 3 post game autograph session/public skate days, and the return of Dollar Dawg Night (mostly on weekday games).

-A third exhibition game has indeed been added, but not close to here: on October 2nd the Devils will take on Adirondack at the Flyers practice facility in Voorhees, NJ at 2 PM.

-And finally,training camp on ice sessions officially kick off Friday morning in Newark. Still waiting on the official roster to be released.

Friday Odds and Ends

Just a few notes to pass on:

-Albany’s training camp officially opens on Thursday, September 27th with player physicals and photos, followed by the first on ice session on Friday the 28th. For now, camp will be at the AmeriHealth Pavilion in Newark, New Jersey’s practice rink adjacent to the Prudential Center.

-Yesterday the AHL released the full 2012 preseason schedule. Turns out Albany will only have two games: October 3rd in Connecticut against the Whale, and on October 6th in Binghamton against the Senators. No local preseason games are scheduled as of now, and with preseason in two weeks I highly doubt any are in the works.

-Finally, announced earlier today after a radio interview with Chris Lamoriello (Albany’s general manager), it appears 104.5 The Team will again be the local radio home for the Devils. However, only 35 games will actually be carried on the station (football will always be primary programming, whether it’s the Jets or college), and will not be available for Internet or app streaming (the station can be heard through an app called radioPup). So your best bet if you want to listen in will again be AHL Live.

Let the Lockout Casualties Begin…

We have reached Day 4 of the NHL lockout. With no solution in sight, you knew it would be sooner or later when the preseason would be in jeopardy. And sure enough, it became official today. Next Wednesday’s preseason tilt at the Times Union Center between the Devils and Rangers was officially canceled, along with all other NHL preseason games scheduled through September 30th. Also lost for New Jersey are two home games at the Rock, on the 28th against the Rangers and the 29th against the Islanders. Good thing I didn’t pick up my ticket yet (I was planning on buying it before the week was out)…

But, in much happier news here…

If you’re planning out your individual trips to the Capital Region this season, individual game tickets go on sale this Saturday. The Devils website breaks down prices here (and while you’re at it, check out the new team store inventory!)

Speaking of games…have any ideas on how to make the game day experience better? Sound off on the Times Union blog! For the second year in a row they’re gathering ideas on how we can better enjoy the 20th season of AHL hockey in Albany (sorry Capital District Islanders, playing at RPI doesn’t count).