Tag Archives: Training Camp

Preseason Wrap

And now, a brief summary of everything that happened over the last four days:

-On Thursday, the Devils kicked off their two game schedule with a 4-1 win in Wilkes-Barre over the Penguins.  Four different Devils–Jan Mandat, John Quenneville, Ben Sexton, and Ty Loney–would all score while on the power play.  Mackenzie Blackwood drew the start and stopped 23 of 24 shots to pick up the win in net.

-Add two from New Jersey to the training camp roster on Friday, as Nick Lappin and Joe Blandisi were sent down.

-On Saturday, six players were released from their tryout deals: goaltender Andy Iles, defensemen Connor Hardowa and Alexander Kuqali, and forwards Ty Loney, Joe Pendenza, and Brian Ward.

-Sunday afternoon the Devils finished out their preseason schedule on a high note, shutting out Hartford 2-0 in Connecticut.  Ken Appleby stopped all 26 Wolfpack shots, while Brian Gibbons and Rod Pelley each scored.  Karl Stollery added two assists.

Coming up this week: once rosters are finalized and those that need to come down clear waivers, I will post that and get you set up for how I’ll be covering everything this season.

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Welcome to October!

First, a PSA to everyone who started whining for October as far back as April…it’s here.  So SHUT UP TILL NEXT SUMMER!

Okay, now that I got that out of my system, let’s get to the task at hand, shall we?

-Albany’s training camp will officially open for business on Monday morning in Troy.  Why at the practice rink and not the Times Union Center?  Well…between the Professional Bull Riders Tour and the annual circus visit coming in over the next two weeks, there’s no ice to practice on.  So…the wait for the official game ice continues till at least Columbus Day.

As for who will be in camp?  Yesterday, 8 players were given invites:

Patch AlberA local product (born and raised in Clifton Park), the defenseman split last season between Missouri and Adirondack, where he posted 30 assists in 66 games.  He has yet to make his AHL debut, only playing in the ECHL (also played in Elmira for a season and a half) upon completing a four year career at Boston College.  He re-signed with Adirondack during the offseason.

Mathieu Brodeur: You may remember this defenseman from his two game stint for the Devils late last season.  Outside of those two games, he spent all of last season with Adirondack, scoring 9 goals and assisting on 21 others in 70 games.  He also made 12 playoff appearances, scoring twice.  He is slated to return to Adirondack for his second season.

Connor Hardowa: A native of Edmonton, the defenseman spent last season in Utah (ECHL), picking up 13 points (3 G, 10 A) in 43 appearances.  He has little AHL experience, appearing in 2 games for Abbotsford in 2012-13 upon finishing his collegiate career at New Hampshire, and 5 games for Texas in 2014-15.  He has an ECHL deal with Manchester.

Andy Iles: The goaltender spent last season with three different ECHL teams (Atlanta, Brampton, and Cincinnati), going 19-14-4 with a 2.93 GAA and a save percentage of .898.  He also has yet to make his AHL debut, and is under contract with Elmira.

Alexander Kuqali: You may remember Kuqali as one of New Jersey’s invites during the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo a couple of weekends ago.  I had said earlier he could be a possibility if extra bodies were needed.  He is under contract with Florida (ECHL, not the Panthers).

Ty LoneyThe token former Penguin of the group (there’s always at least one!), he split last season between Wheeling and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, picking up 6 assists in 31 games for the Pens, and 7 goals/11 assists in 28 games for the Nailers.  He appeared in 5 games for Norfolk (when they were still AHL) in 2014-15 after finishing his collegiate career at the University of Denver.  He is under contract with Adirondack.

Joseph Pendenza: The center has spent his professional career split between Milwaukee and Cincinnati.  Last season, he scored 10 goals in 29 games for Cincinnati, and picked up 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists) in 45 games for the Admirals.

Brian Ward: The only true rookie of the group, he made his professional debut at the end of last season, picking up one game with Charlotte upon completing 3 years with St. Lawrence.  He has an ECHL deal with Adirondack.

-Before New Jersey plays their fifth preseason game against the Rangers at The Rock, the first wave of cuts were announced:

Back to their respective junior teams: goaltender Evan Cormier (Saginaw); defensemen Colby Sissons (Swift Current) and Colton White (Sault Ste. Marie); and forwards Nathan Bastian (Mississauga), Brandon Gignac (Shawinigan), and Mikey MacLeod (Mississauga).

To Albany: goaltenders Ken Appleby and Mackenzie Blackwood; defensemen Josh Jacobs and Vojtech Mozik; and forwards Brandon Baddock, Blake Coleman, Brian Gibbons, Ryan Kujawinski, Jan Mandat, Max Novak, Blake Pietila, John Quenneville, Kevin Rooney, Ben Sexton, and Ben Thomson.

To Albany, once they pass through waivers: defensemen Brandon Gormley, Andrew MacWilliam, Reece Scarlett, and Karl Stollery; and forward Carter Camper.

Notables still up in New Jersey: Nick Lappin (after I witnessed his two goal performance Monday night in Newark, not shocked), Joe Blandisi, Seth Helgeson to name a few.  Rod Pelley was part of Saturday’s morning skate group, but expect him back in Albany shortly.

But the most important news of the week?  The River Rats are making a comeback!  Well…sort of.  The Devils announced on Thursday that on November 26th (vs. Rochester) and March 25th (vs. Providence), the team will be wearing River Rat sweaters as part of special Throwback Nights.  The jerseys will be signed and auctioned off after the second contest.

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Back to Work!

Tomorrow, a new season begins.

Earlier today, New Jersey released their full training camp roster:

Goaltenders: Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood, Mackenzie Blackwood, Ken Appleby, Evan Cormier, Anders Lindback (PTO).

Defensemen: John Moore, Andy Greene, Jon Merrill, Ben Lovejoy, Damon Severson, Brandon Gormley, Yohann Auvitu, Steve Santini, Seth Helgeson, Reece Scarlett, Andrew MacWilliam, Karl Stollery, Vojtech Mozik, Josh Jacobs, Colton White, Colby Sissons (tryout).

Forwards: Beau Bennett, Taylor Hall, Mike Cammalleri, Adam Henrique, Reid Boucher, Jacob Josefson, Travis Zajac, Luke Gazdic, Kyle Palmieri, Brian Gibbons (PTO), Devante Smith-Pelly, Nick Lappin, Pavel Zacha, Vernon Fiddler, Blake Coleman, Michael McLeod, Ben Thomson, Miles Wood, John Quenneville, Ben Sexton, Carter Camper, Rod Pelley, Sergey Kalinin, Brandon Baddock, Ryan Kujawinski, Blake Pietila, Jan Mandat, Kevin Rooney, Max Novak, Brandon Gignac, Nathan Bastian, Joe Blandisi, Blake Speers.

Notice one big name missing from this list?  For the first time in quite a long time, no Patrik Elias.  Kind of sad for me, considering I still remember him as a River Rat nearly 20 years ago (yeah, I’m old).

A few names to keep an eye on for possible Albany roster spots:

-Gibbons, another former Penguin, spent all of last season in Hartford, picking up 23 points (6 goals, 17 assists) in 63 games.  He has 66 games worth of NHL experience with Pittsburgh in 2013-14 and Columbus in 2014-15, scoring 5 goals.

Sexton was signed to an AHL contract earlier this afternoon.  He spent last season with Providence, appearing in 29 games and picking up 5 points (4 goals, 1 assist).  Prior to joining the Bruins, he spent four years at Clarkson.

-Sissons was the only tryout from the Prospects Challenge to earn an invite to camp.  But with his age (18), don’t expect to see him anytime soon.

-But two signings today may affect the Albany roster late this season or the beginning of next season: Blake Speers and Colton White both signed entry level contracts.  They will return to Sault Ste. Marie in the OHL if they don’t crack New Jersey’s roster.

Everyone will report tomorrow for photos, physicals, first media meetings, etc.  Friday will see the first day on ice, in preparation for Monday’s preseason debuts at home and in Montreal.

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Prospects Challenge in Review

Not a bad showing for the Devils rookies in their second visit to the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo over the weekend, going 1-1 and scoring 9 goals over the two games.

9/17 vs. Buffalo: 6-3 W

First game of the challenge came for New Jersey on Saturday night, as they took on the host Sabres.  After a scoreless first period, where Evan Cormier would stop all 9 shots faced, Nicholas Baptiste would put Buffalo on the board with a power play 7:30 into the second period.  John Quenneville would tie the game up, only to see Baptiste score his second late in the period to put the Sabres back in front.  But just as quickly, Blake Speers and Nathan Bastian would each score to put the Devils ahead 3-2 after 40 minutes.  Blake Coleman and Brandon Gignac would score 30 seconds apart early in the third period to put the Devils ahead 5-2.  Baptiste would complete the hat trick late in the game to cut the lead to 5-3, but Gignac would score an empty netter to seal the win.  Ken Appleby would enter the game in the second and stop 18 of 21 shots.  Miles Wood and Kevin Rooney would each contribute two assists.

If you have about an hour or so to kill, here is the full video of Saturday’s game:

9/18 vs. Boston: 4-3 L

24 hours later, it was back on ice in Buffalo, but this time the Devils would face the Bruins.  Cormier would once again draw the start in net, but again only played the first twenty minutes.  Just 2:31 into the contest, a Colton Hargrove power play goal would put Boston ahead 1-0.  Speers would tie it up late in the period with a power play goal of his own.  The Bruins would not be kind to Mackenzie Blackwood in the second, as Anton Blidh (shorthanded) and Jake DeBrusk would score to put Boston up 3-1 after two periods.  The Devils would try to mount a rally in the third, as Gignac’s third goal of the weekend would cut the lead to one.  Rob O’Gara answered with an even strength tally to put Boston ahead 4-2.  Speers’ second goal of the night would cut the lead to 4-3, but New Jersey could not get any closer.  Cormier stopped 13 of 14 Bruin shots in the first period, while Blackwood stopped 22 of 25 in his 2 periods of work.  Gignac and three other Devils each contributed an assist.

No full video, but here’s a quick highlight reel:

With the Prospects Challenge over, time to look ahead to later this week and the start of training camp on Thursday (I will post the roster once released), then the preseason begins on Monday night at The Rock (FYI…I will be in Section 13) and in Montreal.

 

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Ready for a Challenge

It’s been awhile since I had anything much to blog…but now that we’ve reached the near beginning of training camps and the World Cup of Hockey is getting underway, business is about to start picking up around here.

Earlier today New Jersey released their roster for the Prospects Challenge next weekend in Buffalo:

Goaltenders: Ken Appleby, Evan Cormier, Mackenzie Blackwood.

Forwards: Nick Lappin, Pavel Zacha, Blake Coleman, Mikey McLeod, Miles Wood, John Quenneville, Brandon Baddock, Ryan Kujawinski, Blake Pietila, Jan Mandat, Kevin Rooney, Brandon Gignac, Nathan Bastian, Joe Blandisi, Blake Speers.

Defensemen: Steven Santini, Josh Jacobs, Marcus Crawford, Colton White, Colby Sissons, Ralph Jarratt, Alexander Kuqali.

A quick breakdown of the roster:

-9 players appeared in at least one game with Albany in 2015-16; 5 appeared in at least one game in New Jersey.

-16 players are New Jersey draft picks, including three first rounders.

-4 players are invitees:

Crawford, 19, spent last season with Evan Cormier in Saginaw (OHL), appearing in 66 games with 34 points (2 goals, 32 assists).

Sissons is an 18-year-old who just completed his second season in Swift Current (WHL), appearing in 71 games with 22 points (3 goals, 19 assists)

Jarratt, also 18, just finished his second year with Victoria (WHL), picking up 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) in 69 games.  He also appeared in 13 playoff games, with only one assist.

Kuqali is someone to keep an eye on for a potential callup to the Albany roster.  The 25-year-old signed with Florida of the ECHL in early August after completing his collegiate career at RIT.  Over four seasons in Rochester, he scored 59 points in 153 games.

The group will report to New Jersey on Thursday, September 15th, then head to Buffalo shortly thereafter.  They will face the Sabres prospects on Saturday, September 17th at 7 PM, then face the Bruins on Sunday, September 18th, also a 7 PM start.

 

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Off to Training Camp…

After the Devils rookies got a painful lesson in Buffalo at the Prospects Challenge over the weekend (more on that in a moment), today the veterans arrived in Newark for the beginning of regular training camp.  First, here’s the full roster of who’s in Jersey:

Goaltenders: Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood, Yann Danis, Ken Appleby, Mackenzie Blackwood.

Defensemen: John Moore, Adam Larsson, Andy Greene, Jon Merrill, David Schlemko, Damon Severson, Brandon Burlon, Raman Hrabarenka, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Seth Helgeson, Dan Kelly, Reece Scarlett, Eric Gelinas, Vojtech Mozik, Ryan Rehill, Josh Jacobs, Colton White, Jacob Sweeney.

Forwards: Jiri Tlusty, Stephen Gionta, Mike Cammalleri, Adam Henrique, Tuomo Ruutu, Jacob Josefson, Travis Zajac, Jordin Tootoo, Lee Stempniak, Kyle Palmieri, Rod Pelley, Stefan Matteau, Patrik Elias, Reid Boucher, Jim O’Brien, Pavel Zacha, Ben Thomson, Paul Thompson, Mike Sislo, John Quenneville, Tyler Kennedy, Graham Black, Blake Coleman, Sergey Kalinin, Brandon Baddock, Ryan Kujawinski, Blake Pietila, Matt Lorito, Chris McKelvie, Connor Chatham, Pierre-Luc Leblond, Joseph Blandisi, Blake Speers, Alexandre Goulet.

For a numerical roster just click here.

One notable name on this list is Tlusty, who was signed to a 1 year contract yesterday.  His name may sound familiar to Albany fans…he appeared in 20 games with the River Rats during the 2009-10 season, after being acquired in a trade with Toronto in early December.  He would spend the next 5+ seasons with Carolina before being dealt to Winnipeg in February.  In 416 career games with the Hurricanes and the Jets, he has put up 87 goals and 86 assists.  Stempniak and Kennedy are both in camp on tryout deals.

While the veterans were getting settled in for their first day, the rookies already have at least one week in under their belt.  After starting camp on Thursday, they traveled northwest to Buffalo to take on the Sabres and the Bruins prospects.  Saturday night was not a good night against the Sabres, as Nicholas Baptiste would score twice in 3:36 to open the game, including a goal just 25 seconds into the contest.  Justin Bailey would make it a 3 goal lead for the hosts with just over 9 minutes to go in the period.  The Sabres would add on to the lead in the second as Cason Hohmann and Evan Rodrigues would score for a 5-0 lead.  New Jersey finally got on the scoreboard in the third, as camp invitee Alexandre Goulet would break up the shutout just 29 seconds into the period.  John Quenneville would add a 4 on 4 tally to draw the visitors to within three, but that was as close as they would get, as the Sabres would tack on a 6th goal courtesy of Sam Reinhart.  Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 32 of 38 shots in his Devil debut, while Reece Scarlett would get the lone assist.  If you have, oh, an hour or so to kill, the full coverage of the game can be found here.

The rookie contingent looked much better in their second matchup of the weekend, a Sunday night tilt against the Bruins.  Joe Blandisi would score twice and Matt Lorito added a goal, but the Devils would blow a 2-0 and a 3-2 lead en route to losing just 13 seconds into overtime, 4-3.  John Quenneville would add two assists, while Max Novak and Ryan Rehill would have one helper apiece.  Ken Appleby, a possible candidate for Albany’s #3 goaltending spot (read: the one who answers the white courtesy phone should anyone go down/get called up), got the nod between the pipes and stopped 36 shots.  Again, if you have an hour or so to kill, you can watch the entire game here.

After the rookies returned to New Jersey, Novak and Joe Faust were signed to AHL deals and will report to Albany’s camp, which should start up in just a little over a week.  Also some not so good news popped up…Reid Boucher suffered a concussion while in Buffalo, it is not known when he’ll be able to return to the ice.

Four days to go till the first preseason game…hopefully by next weekend we’ll start to get an idea of just who may be suiting up for Albany this season.

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Time to go Camping!

The official beginning of the 2014-15 season has finally arrived, as Devils rookies reported to New Jersey this morning for the start of training camp.  The veterans will report later this week, with the first game at MSG against the Rangers just one week away.  Here is the full New Jersey camp list:

GOALTENDERS

1 Keith Kinkaid

31 Scott Wedgewood

35 Cory Schneider

40 Scott Clemmensen

55 Maxime Clermont

60 Anthony Brodeur

DEFENSEMEN

2 Marek Zidlicky

5 Adam Larsson

6 Andy Greene

7 Jon Merrill

10 Peter Harrold

22 Eric Gelinas

24 Bryce Salvador

39 Dan Kelly

41 Brandon Burlon

42 Corbin McPherson

43 Reece Scarlett

44 Raman Hrabarenka

45 Seth Helgeson

46 Ramat Mamashev (camp invite)

47 Tomas Kaberle (camp invite)

48 Damon Severson

59 Ryan Rehill

62 Joe Faust

72 Mike Komisarek (camp invite)

FORWARDS

8 Dainius Zubrus

9 Martin Havlat

11 Stephen Gionta

12 Damien Brunner

14 Adam Henrique

15 Tuomo Ruutu

16 Jacob Josefson

17 Michael Ryder

18 Steve Bernier

19 Travis Zajac

20 Ryan Carter (camp invite)

23 Mike Cammalleri

25 Cam Janssen

26 Patrik Elias

28 Scott Gomez (camp invite)

29 Ryane Clowe

32 Tim Sestito

33 Rod Pelley

34 Mike Sislo

36 Reid Boucher

37 Joe Whitney

38 Stefan Matteau

49 Ben Thomson

51 Scott Timmins

52 David Wohlberg

53 Graham Black

54 Brandon Baddock

56 John Quenneville

57 Chris McKelvie

58 Kelly Zajac

61 Darcy Zajac

63 Ryan Kujawinski

64 Myles Bell

65 Ben Johnson

66 Connor Chatham

67 Paul Thompson

68 Jaromir Jagr

74 Jordin Tootoo (camp invite)

76 Ruslan Fedotenko (camp invite)

A few observations:

-Eric Gelinas, the last of the restricted free agents, finally agreed to a 1 year contract, ending a potential holdout situation.

-Good to see both Chris McKelvie and Kelly Zajac back in the fold for another season.

-Among the camp invites (well, other than a who’s who of I can’t get a contract), there are two names that may potentially see time here:

Mamashev is a 31-year-old Russian defenseman who has only one year of North American experience (2000-01 in Moose Jaw).  He split last season with Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk and Traktor Chelyabinsk 0f the KHL.

Thompson split last season between Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Springfield, scoring 8 goals in 69 games.  He is a former college teammate of Mike Sislo (and former Devils Phil DeSimone and Bobby Butler) at New Hampshire.

Looking ahead to New Jersey’s preseason schedule…first game (as mentioned earlier) is next Monday night at the Garden, followed by back to back road matchups in Philly on September 25th and in Brooklyn against the Islanders on the 26th.  My guess is first cuts to Albany would come that weekend.

And the cuts to Albany will be greeted by a new look coaching staff.   While Rick Kowalsky and Sergei Brylin have returned, two have moved on. Tommy Albelin has been promoted to the bench in New Jersey, taking the spot of Scott Stevens, who left for personal reasons.  And Johan Hedberg (otherwise known as MOOOOSE) will take over goaltending coach duties.  Dave Caruso has decided to concentrate on his goaltending camp in Ohio for the season.  A replacement for Albelin has yet to be named.

UPDATE (1:30 PM): Per a tweet from Fire and Ice, New Jersey has chosen a somewhat familiar name to take Albelin’s spot as an assistant coach.  Former River Rat David Cunniff, son of late Albany (and New Jersey) coach John, will join Brylin and Kowalsky on the bench.  He spent the last12 years as an assistant with the Sharks AHL affiliate in Cleveland and Worcester.

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