Swifty’s Kicks Off Bubblehockey Season

The 2014-15 Labatt Blue Bubblehockey Tournament of Champions officially began in the Capital Region on Friday, Oct. 24 at Swifty’s in Delmar, NY.

Geoff Van Epps came away victorious and has qualified for the Albany finals, which will be held on Mar. 22 at Times Union Center.

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Because of the versatility of Swifty’s, the competition was held outdoors in what could possibly be the first outdoor Bubblehockey game since the inception of the Tournament of Champions.

“We were thrilled to host the first round and provide our customers with some excitement as bubblehockey and real hockey season begins,” said establishment owner Dave Swift. “The Devils and Swifty’s are great partners and I think this event showcased that fact.”

The Labatt Blue Bubblehockey Tournament of Champions is taking place at different cities around the AHL. The winner of the Albany finals will represent the Capital Region in the league finals.


Notebook: Second Line Gets A New Look

TROY, NY – On Monday, Reid Boucher became the first Albany Devils player to be recalled by the parent team, the New Jersey Devils. The recall came the same day New Jersey placed Martin Havlat on injured reserve and Mike Cammalleri received x-rays on his jaw.

The transaction along with Kelly Zajac’s upper-body injury gives the Devils a new-look second line. During Monday’s practice, Stefan Matteau and Graham Black – two players coming off injuries – filled the void. The line now consists of Black centering Matteau and Mike Sislo.

“There are a couple of options you could use there, but I think with Boucher going up and Kelly going down, the right fit right now is Matteau and Black,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “I think it should be a good fit and an easy transition. Sislo is playing well and that line should really be seamless.”

Matteau, who made his NHL debut in 2013, had 13 goals and 13 assists in 67 games last season with Albany. Like Boucher, he was one of the final players assigned to Albany during New Jersey’s training camp.

Black played two games with Albany at the end of last year on an amateur tryout agreement. He made his season debut at Adirondack on Oct. 11. Playing with Swift Current (WHL) last season, he registered a team-leading 97 points.

Janssen and Zajac Out

Like Zajac, Cam Janssen is battling an upper-body injury. According to Kowalsky, Zajac is day-to-day, but will likely miss Wednesday’s game. Janssen is out indefinitely.

Six-Game Streak

Scott Timmins set a franchise record last season beginning the year on a nine-game point streak. The Devils center is back at it again this season with points in all six outings. He has produced eight points with three goals and five assists. In his last two contests, he has two goals, including the game-winner against Hartford Saturday, and two assists.

“He’s a three-zone guy,” Kowalsky said. “That’s his game; he’s not real flashy. He is skating well and he’s strong on the puck.

“He’s playing with skilled guys and he feels maybe a little pressure to get them a puck and doesn’t make good decisions with it at times, but he hasn’t done that too much this year. He is an easy guy to play with and he is one of those guys that makes players around him better. He is low maintenance from a coaches stand point; he self corrects pretty well.”

In 247 career AHL games, the 25-year-old has produced 120 points with 48 goals and 72 assists.

Schedule Update

The Devils will practice Tuesday morning at Knickerbacker Ice Arena before hosting the Springfield Falcons Wednesday at Times Union Center (7 pm).


Watch To Watch For: Oct. 27-Nov. 2


The Albany Devils own the best winning percentage in the Eastern Conference and the second-best mark in the AHL at .917. The team, which is riding a four-game winning streak, is off to the best start in franchise history with a 5-0-0-1 record. The 2013-14 team had held the record with a 4-1-0-1 mark after six games.


This week, the Devils continue their homestand with three games at Times Union Center. They host Northeast Division rivals the Springfield Falcons Wednesday at 7 pm and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Saturday at 5 pm. Albany concludes the weekend against the Portland Pirates Sunday at 3 pm.


The Devils extended their winning streak last week with three wins: 4-0 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Tuesday, 7-3 at the Hartford Wolf Pack Friday and 5-2 against Hartford Saturday. Scott Timmins led the team with two goals and three assists and Mike Sislo potted four goals.


Linemates Paul Thompson, Scott Timmins and Joe Whitney are each tied for fourth in the AHL with eight points. Thompson has seven tallies and an assist and Timmins has three goals and five helpers. Whitney has two goals and six assists.


Wednesday’s game feature’s “Dollar Dawg Night” with $1 hot dogs and $1 sodas. The Devils and Price Chopper have partnered once again for the “Thanksgiving Food Drive” starting Saturday and continuing until Nov. 23. Fans who attend these games and donate a nonperishable food item will receive a free ticket voucher to the team’s Nov. 26 outing. The team’s first postgame autograph session and postgame skate will take place after Sunday’s game. Fans will have a chance to interact with the players on the concourse and/or take a spin on the Times Union Center ice.