ALBANY, NY – What the American Hockey League didn’t announce was more important that what it did release Tuesday morning. The ruling came out of league headquarters that no Albany Devils’ player or coach was suspended for the mayhem that took place against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Saturday at Times Union Center.
Bridgeport’s Ross Johnston’s three-game suspension was the only disciplinary action handed out. However, the Devils didn’t exactly come away unscathed. Blake Pietila, who was pushed into the Sound Tigers’ netminder Stephon Williams causing the second line brawl of the game, did not skate with the Devils’ first group Tuesday. He was in the second session, which mostly consisted of injured players and ATOs.
“We just kept him with the second group,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “He’s a little sore from the weekend and could move him back to the main group after today. We have some time here. It’s more precautionary, but we’ll see how it goes.”
Pietila is fresh off his first stint in the NHL and he rejoined Albany for the final four games of the regular season. He even scored against the Sound Tigers. This season, he produced 17 points with 10 goals and seven assists in 58 games.
Also on the injury front, Dan Kelly returned to the lineup last Saturday after missing 18 games with a lower body injury sustained at Binghamton on Mar. 11. Kowalsky indicated they are keeping a close eye on his progress as Game 1 against the Utica Comets on Friday approaches.
“Dano is a warrior,” Kowalsky said. “He’s going to battle. He is obviously a leader on this team, in the room and how he plays. He brings the physical element. He’s a huge penalty killer for us. He’s certainly a guy we want to have in the lineup. We’ll see how he feels as the week progresses.”
During Monday’s practice, the first group included five forward lines, four defensive pairings and two netminders.