The Albany Devils are getting ready for Pucks and Paws (Jan. 10, 2015) and decided to pay a visit to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society. Dan Kelly, Corbin McPherson, Rod Pelley and Kelly Zajac spent some time playing with Rosco, Harley and Dustin on Tuesday, Dec. 17.
Nothing like some national pride to drive competition. Instead of the Albany Devils being segmented by lines during Tuesday’s practice at Knickerbacker Ice Arena, the team was split into two teams: USA vs. Canada.
“We still have two full days of practice, so we just mixed it up a little bit today,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “A little more flow at the beginning of practice, a lot of touches, and then played a little game — a little different, four-on-two, split the ice in half.”
Team Canada — in red — was made up of Myles Bell, Graham Black, Alexandre Carrier, Rod Pelley, Ben Thomson and Kelly Zajac. Although he was born in New Brighton, MN, Chris McKelvie played for the great white north.
The defensemen and goaltenders were handed dual citizenship for the day.
“We can still teach and coach with those guys, but they certainly have fun with it,” Kowalsky said. “Sometimes when you do stuff like that, they don’t even realize that they’re getting better or they’re working. So on days like this, sometimes it’s the best fit. ”
Kowalsky, a Canadian, gave the advantage to Team USA.
Raman Hrabarenka is the only non-North American on the roster. However, the Belarusian did not practice and remains out with an upper-body injury. Assistant Coach Sergei Brylan and Goaltender Coach Johan Hedberg are the only other Europeans in the group.
After a three point performance, including scoring the game-winner in overtime Sunday, Tim Sestito was recalled by the New Jersey Devils. He made his first NHL appearance of the season in the Devils 3-2, shootout loss at the New York Islanders Monday.
New Jersey announced Tuesday that the Rome, NY native is on his way back to Albany.
“He’s a smart intelligent player,” Kowalsky said. “He has become one of our top minute leaders now, playing power play and penalty kill, up by a goal, down by a goal. So I think as a player, that’s the biggest credit you can give somebody, when they play in all situations”
Albany went 2‐0‐0‐0 against Lehigh Valley in a two game series at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. The Devils have played 14 games at the historical arena since the 2010‐11 season, going 4‐6‐1‐3.
Credit some of the success to a lighter schedule heading into both of this season’s games.
“Maybe just being there I think might help it,” Kowalsky said. “The schedule certainly wasn’t favorable in the past. But, whichever way you look at it, I’m just glad we got the wins there and got those trips out of the way.”
The Devils begin a three game road swing with games in hostile territory. They head to Mohegan Sun Arena to face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Friday and then go to War Memorial Arena to play the Syracuse Crunch Saturday.
“I think it’s important to stay focused, have a good week of practice,” Kowalsky said. “We’ve got two tough opponents and we’re going to have to have everyone on board, and play our system and really play our game for a solid 60 minutes.”
On home ice, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 10-5-0-0 and Syracuse is 8-3-2-0.
|The Albany Devils begin a three game road swing with a pair of contests this weekend. The team travels to face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Friday at 7:05 pm and heads to play the Syracuse Crunch Saturday at 7:00 pm.|
|The Devils split two games last week. They lost to the Hartford Wolf Pack, 3-2, Thursday at XL Center, but rebounded against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 4-3, in overtime Sunday at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. Reid Boucher and Tim Sestito led the team with three points each during the two games. Boucher had a goal and two helpers and Sestito had two goals and an assist.|
|Entering the week, the Devils are fourth in the Northeast Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference at 12-9-1-4 (29 pts.). The Penguins are first in the East Division and third in the conference at 16-9-1-2 (35 pts.). The Crunch are second in the Northeast Division and fourth in the conference at 16-7-3-0 (35 pts.).|
|Both games can be seen and heard online or on mobile devices at ahllive.com. Additionally, fans can follow the action on 104.5 “The Team” ESPN Radio.|
|The “Holiday Hat Trick” is on sale now at thealbanydevils.com/shop or by calling 518-4-DEVILS. For $45, the package includes a ticket to the Jan. 31 game against the St. John’s IceCaps, three flex vouchers and a $10 Price Chopper Gift Card.|
About a month ago and five weeks into the 2014-15 season, we took a look at how competitive the Northeast Division was compared to the rest of the league. Since then not much has changed. The Northeast and the Midwest are the only divisions in which all five of their teams are above .500.
With the help of a recent 11-game winning streak, the Springfield Falcons sit atop of the Northeast Division and the Eastern Conference with 37 points. The Devils and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers are fourth and fifth in the division, but eighth and ninth in the conference.
Here’s how the Northeast stacks up in the East.
Eastern Conference Rank
Red: Northeast Division
Blue: Non-Northeast Division