Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gameday preview

The River Rats are featured today in each of the three major local newspapers, the Albany Times Union, the Troy Record and the Schenectady Daily Gazette.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Weekly recap

The weekly summary is up at the River Rats' website.

Rivalry renewed?

Bill Cain at the Schenectady Daily Gazette previews the next two games of the Northway rivalry. 

Rodney honored as all-star

Defenseman Bryan Rodney has been selected as the River Rats' sole representative for the AHL Canadian All-Star team. The Rats' website has the full roster

The all-star game is scheduled for January 19 in Portland. The PlanetUSA roster will be announced tomorrow. 

Rodney out at least a week

Defenseman Bryan Rodney, who sustained a shoulder injury Saturday night in Wilkes-Barre, will be sidelined for at least a week. The Albany Times Union has the story, along with some notes from yesterday's practice. 

Monday, December 28, 2009

Rats fall to Pens again, 3-2

Post-game coverage:

Pistilli sent down

The River Rats yesterday reassigned forward Matthew Pistilli to the Florida Everblades of the ECHL.

Pistilli, an undrafted rookie signed by Carolina during the offseason, has registered three goals and three assists in 25 games with Albany this year.

Pistilli performed admirably with the River Rats, skating in a checking role and earning a plus-2 rating. 

Pistilli was edged out of the line-up by the return of forwards Drayson Bowman, Jiri Tlusty and Michael Ryan. 

Bowman was out with a knee injury, Tlusty was dealing with immigration issues, and Ryan was sidelined with a concussion. 

Pistilli, who rejoins Florida for the second time this season, has a goal in five games with the Blades this year. 

Pistilli has been commended for his community efforts in the Capital District. 

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Rats frozen by Penguins, 2-1

Post-game coverage:

Ryan needed lots of patience

Michael Ryan talks with Bill Cain at the Schenectady Daily Gazette about his long wait on the sidelines.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Boychuk on the right path

Zach Boychuk is putting together quite the highlight reel in his first professional season.

In Syracuse on Saturday, the 20-year-old rookie forward took a pass from Jerome Samson, weaved the puck between the legs of a Crunch defender, cut across the goal mouth and buried it on the short side. 

The night before in Lowell, Boychuk went end-to-end, blew past two defenders, and out-maneuvered the sprawling Devils' netminder for another beauty

Against Providence the previous week, the youngster flew down the left wing and unleashed a shot so fast and accurate most on the arena never even saw it hit the top corner of the net. 

Fast hands, a deadly release, tremendous acceleration, creativity with the puck, and continuous determination on the forecheck are just some of the traits that make Boychuk the natural-born goal-scorer and playmaker the Hurricanes were hoping for when they selected him in the first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. 

Coming off a spectacular junior career, Boychuk is adapting quickly to the professional level. 

Boychuk's offensive talents were never really in doubt, but the limitations of his size and defensive play had some people questioning his ability to make the transition. 

Zach Boychuk
(Photo by Jennifer Bock)

Now, nearly three months into the season, Boychuk has proven to be one of the top rookies in the league, tallying 20 points (9 G, 11 A) in 30 games, not to mention an assist in two games with the Hurricanes during a call-up in November. 

Boychuk's small stature rarely slows him down, as the shifty forward easily avoids and spins off checks. He has been lined up a few times, but absorbed the hits well and showed no signs of weakness. 

Boychuk has even rattled the glass with a few checks of his own.

Knowing when and where to take chances and how to recover when things go wrong is an essential part of the game, one that Boychuk is picking up fast. 

Boychuk held a team-low minus-9 rating after his first 22 games, underscoring a lack of defensive awareness. 

Lately, however, Boychuk has demonstrated a new level of responsibility in his own end, staying aware defensively while remaining aggressive offensively. 

In Boychuk's last eight contests, he has a plus-7 rating. He has not registered a negative game in all of December. 

Boychuk is equipped with all the tools of an elite player. He still requires some slight fine-tuning, but is developing well at the AHL level and is certainly in the running for a full-time NHL slot by next season. 

For now, fans in Albany have a future star to watch. Boychuk is on the path to a long and prosperous career.

Young Canes keep earning ice time

Defenseman Brett Carson is the centerpiece of a story published today in the Raleigh News & Observer

Peters' play quite the present

Goaltender Justin Peters is stealing headlines at the NHL's website. 

Harrison reassigned

The Carolina Hurricanes today reassigned defenseman Jay Harrison to the Albany River Rats. 

Harrison returns to Albany having picked up two assists in an eight-game stretch with the Canes. The veteran stay-at-home D-man was recalled on December 6 and performed well during his time with the big club.

Harrison started the year with Carolina and has now skated in 18 NHL contests this season, registering a goal and four assists. 

In 15 games with Albany, Harrison has a goal, seven assists and a plus-4 rating. 

Defenseman Brett Carson and forward Pat Dwyer remain with the Hurricanes. 

Canes' blueliner Aaron Ward, who cleared waivers on December 15, is still on the chopping block. If Ward is traded or dumped on re-entry waivers, Brett Carson would likely take his place. 

Carolina defenseman Joe Corvo, who suffered a serious laceration on November 30, is expected to be sidelined for at least another two months. 

Monday, December 21, 2009

Weekly summary

The weekly review is up on the River Rats' website

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hockey's Future update

Cory Lavalette at Hockey's Future reviews some of Albany's notable prospects and their performance so far this season. 

Rodney back in town, Reid reassigned

The Carolina Hurricanes today reassigned defenseman Bryan Rodney to the River Rats, while Albany sent down blue-liner Elgin Reid to the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. 

Rodney returns to Albany after earning three assists in three games with Carolina. He was recalled for the fourth time this season on December 15 and skated just last night in the Canes' 3-2 victory over the Panthers. 

In 10 NHL games this season, Rodney has five assists, including four on the powerplay. 

With the River Rats this year, Rodney has two goals and seven assists in 20 games.

Elgin Reid heads back to the Everblades after appearing in the first two AHL games of his career over the weekend. The 21-year-old notched his first American league point last night in Syracuse, assisting a tally by Stefan Chaput. 

Reid has three goals and five assists in 19 games with the Blades this season. 

Rats rip Crunch, 5-2

Post-game coverage:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ryan, Reid assigned to Albany

The Carolina Hurricanes today activated forward Michael Ryan and assigned him to the River Rats, while Albany called up defenseman Elgin Reid from the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. 

Ryan, who has been practicing with the Rats since October, has not played since suffering a concussion during an NHL preseason contest in September.

According to the Rats' website, Ryan will skate for Albany tonight in Lowell, although coach Jeff Daniels said earlier this week that Ryan would not play until next Saturday. 

Ryan has appeared in 261 career AHL games, scoring 85 goals and 84 assists. The 29-year-old vet has a decent share of NHL experience, notching seven goals and eight assists in 83 big league contests. 

Despite skating in just 40 AHL games last season, Ryan led the River Rats with 25 goals. He totaled 42 points (25 G, 17 A) with Albany and landed an additional two assists in 18 NHL contests with Carolina. 

Second-year pro Elgin Reid will make his AHL debut tonight with the River Rats on the road in Lowell. 

The 21-year-old blue-liner, who signed a two-way AHL/ECHL deal over the summer, appeared at the Traverse City prospects tournament in September, attended training camp with Carolina, and skated with Albany during the preseason. 

Reid has three goals and five assists in 19 games with the Everblades this year. He has appeared in a total of 75 ECHL contests, accumulating 20 goals and 30 assists. 

McBain a big contributor on blue line

Rookie defenseman Jamie McBain talks with Chris Fitz Gerald at the Troy Record

Michael Ryan ready to play

After missing more than two months due to a preseason concussion, forward Michael Ryan is ready for game action. 

The Carolina Hurricanes yesterday placed Ryan on waivers, meaning team doctors have cleared him to play.

Coach Jeff Daniels said last week he hoped to bring Ryan into the fold for tonight's game in Lowell, but nows says he will wait until next weekend. 

Injured during an NHL exhibition game in September, Ryan has been practicing with the River Rats since October, but is still technically with the Hurricanes, as league rules prevent injured players from being reassigned. 

If Ryan clears waivers, he will be eligible for official reassignment today at noon. 

Ryan, along with injured forward Drayson Bowman, plan on returning December 26 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Both are taking an extra week of rest as a precautionary measure. 

Last season Ryan skated in 40 games with the Rats, scoring 25 goals and 17 assists for 42 points. He also played 18 games with the Canes, landing two assists. 

Ryan joined the organization last October and re-signed with Carolina this summer on a one-year, two-way deal. He spent the previous five seasons with the Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Americans, skating in a total of 261 AHL and 83 NHL games.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dwyer, Rodney recalled

Pat Dwyer, Bryan Rodney
(Photo by Jennifer Bock)

The Carolina Hurricanes today recalled forward Pat Dwyer and defenseman Bryan Rodney from the Albany River Rats. 

Hurricanes' forwards Erik Cole and Chad LaRose remain on injured reserve and Sergei Samsonov is now listed as day-to-day with a lower-body complication. 

Defenseman Joe Corvo, who is out with a severed achilles tendon, is now accompanied on the sidelines by blueliners Niclas Wallin, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, and Tim Gleason, who took a puck in the face Friday night in Washington. 

Dwyer and Rodney join Brett Carson and Jay Harrison, both of whom were recalled from Albany last Sunday, as well as center Brandon Sutter, who earned a spot on the NHL roster earlier this season. 

This is the third call-up of the year for Dwyer, who just returned to Albany on Sunday after playing for Carolina the previous two nights. In eight total contests with the Canes this season, Dwyer averaged 11:58 of ice-time and performed admirably on the penalty killing unit. 

Rodney, entering his fourth NHL stint of the year, notched two assists and averaged 18:27 of ice-time in seven games during his previous assignments. He was applauded for moving the puck well and holding down the point on the power play.

The call-up of Rodney leaves the River Rats with just five defenseman.

Leighton claimed by Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers today claimed goaltender Michael Leighton off re-entry waivers. Tracking the Storm has the story.

News & Notes

  • Seven straight wins by the River Rats has earned the team some extra coverage at the AHL's website
  • The latest installment of Murphy's Mailbag is up on YouTube
  • The Carolina Hurricanes yesterday placed defenseman Aaron Ward on waivers and he cleared today at noon. Read more at Tracking the Storm.
  • Call-ups could be in the works. The Hurricanes are short two players with a game tomorrow night. Carolina has just five healthy blueliners, including Brett Carson and Jay Harrison, who were recently recalled from Albany to replace injured D-men Niclas Wallin and Joe Corvo. Tim Gleason, who was hit in the face with a shot Friday night, is listed as day-to-day. The team is also down one forward after returning Pat Dwyer and Jiri Tlusty to the River Rats on Sunday. According to Tracking the Storm, Dwyer will likely be headed back up. 

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dwyer, Tlusty reassigned

Captain Pat Dwyer and newly acquired forward Jiri Tlusty are back with the Rats. Tracking the Storm has the news

Rats beat Bruins, 3-1

Post-game coverage:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Leighton returns

The Carolina Hurricanes today reassigned former Rats' netminder Michael Leighton to his old stomping grounds here in Albany.  

Leighton rejoins the River Rats after spending one and one-third seasons as a back-up for Cam Ward in Carolina. 

In 2007-08, Leighton led an underperforming Albany squad to the playoffs, earned first-team all-star honors, and was named AHL goalie of the year. He led the league with a 2.10 goals-against average and was tied for second with a save percentage of .931. 

Leighton played 19 games with the Hurricanes last season, registering a 2.92 GAA and .901 SV%. 

This season Leighton was given only one start before Cam Ward was injured with a severe laceration. Manny Legace was signed immediately after the injury and was picked to start the Canes' next two games. 

Leighton was handed the two starts after, but pulled his groin midway through the second game. Upon his recovery, Leighton started two more contests and was then placed on waivers.

Leighton appeared in a total of seven contests with the Canes this season, recording a 4.29 GAA and .850 SV%. 

The River Rats, now with three goaltenders, may reassign Mike Murphy to the Florida Everblades of the ECHL, where the rookie netminder would likely be given starting duties.

UPDATE: Leighton will be placed on re-entry waivers today (12/13). 

Rats shut out Hershey, 3-0

Post-game coverage:

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dwyer, Tlusty recalled

The Carolina Hurricanes today recalled Rats' captain Pat Dwyer and newly acquired forward Jiri Tlusty, while Albany called up center Harrison Reed and winger Matthew Pistilli. 

Canes' forwards Chad LaRose and Erik Cole were both placed on injured reserve today. LaRose is expected to miss three to four weeks with a lower-body injury and Cole will be out for two to three weeks with an upper-body condition.

Dwyer, who is tied for the lead in goals scored for Albany, will join the Canes for his second NHL stint of the season. Dwyer played six games with Carolina in late November, averaging 10:53 of ice-time and filling in on the penalty killing unit. 

In 22 games with Albany this season, Dwyer, arguably the AHL club's most valuable player, has 11 goals, 12 assists and a plus-1 rating.

Jiri Tlusty, who was acquired by the Canes in a trade on December 3, heads to Carolina after just one game of action with the River Rats. 

Tlusty was mostly a non-factor in his first contest with the organization. He demonstrated exceptional skating ability, but was still adjusting to the new team and system. 

Tlusty heads into Carolina with 74 games of NHL experience under his belt. He holds ten goals and ten assists during his time in the big league. 

Harrison Reed reunites with the Rats after a rock-solid eight-game stretch in the ECHL. Reed, who was reassigned to the Florida Everblades on November 24, earned eight goals, five assists and was named ECHL player of the week for November 23-29. 

Prior to joining the Blades, Reed skated in 19 games with Albany, registering two assists and a plus-1 rating. 

Rookie forward Matthew Pistilli, who was reassigned to Florida on December 3, was held scoreless in three games with the Everblades. 

In 21 games with the Rats this season, Pistilli has three goals, two assists and a plus-2 rating.

Chaput continues break out

Stefan Chaput
(Photo by Jennifer Bock)

Chris Fitz Gerald at the Troy Record chats with center Stafan Chaput, who is continuing the break out season he never had a chance to finish last year. 

Tlusty faced hurdles en route to Albany

Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union talks with forward Jiri Tlusty about his journey to the Capital District. 

Rats taking nothing for granted

The River Rats may have four consecutive wins under their belt, but the team is taking nothing for granted. Coach Jeff Daniels, captain Pat Dwyer and goaltender Justin Peters talk with Bill Cain at the Schenectady Daily Gazette.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Catching up with coach Daniels

Cory Lavalette at Canes Country catches up with Rats' coach Jeff Daniels. 

Ryan, Bowman on the way

Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union has the latest on injured forwards Michael Ryan and Drayson Bowman. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rats weekly

The weekly rundown is up at the Rats' website

Monday, December 7, 2009

Michael Leighton put on waivers

The Carolina Hurricanes today placed back-up goaltender Michael Leighton on waivers. 

Leighton, a former starter for the Rats, could be snatched up by another team at half price or reassigned to Albany should he go unclaimed. 

The Hurricanes signed veteran goalie Manny Legace earlier in the season after Cam Ward was injured. With Ward expected to return December 9, the Canes have a surplus of netminders.

Legace was favored over Leighton from the start and the vet outperformed the younger goaltender in the handful of games they split.

Leighton, 28, in the final year of his contract with Carolina, was hoping to find a starting job in the NHL next season, but the chances of that happening now are slim to none. 

In seven games with the Hurricanes this season, Leighton has a less than impressive 4.28 GAA and a .850 SV%. 

In 19 NHL games last season Leighton registered a decent 2.92 GAA and a .901 SV%. 

With the River Rats in 2007-08, Leighton recorded seven shutouts, a 2.10 GAA and a .931 SV% after 58 games.

If Leighton is reassigned to Albany, he would likely share time or serve as a back-up to Justin Peters, while rookie Mike Murphy could be sent to the ECHL for extra playing time.

UPDATE: Leighton cleared waivers today (12/8) at noon.

Rats hold strong against Pens, 4-1

Mike Angelidis, Justin Peters
(Photo by Jennifer Bock)
Post-game coverage:

Carson called up

Defenseman Brett Carson, alternate captain of the Albany River Rats, was recalled by the Carolina Hurricanes shortly before Sunday's contest against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Carson impressed the NHL coaches during the Canes' training camp in September, but was sidelined early in the season with a broken wrist. His performance in Albany, both before and after the injury, has been nearly flawless.

Carson has developed tremendously over the past year and provides a unique combination of offensive and defensive awareness, putting him in the running for a permanent spot in the NHL, either this year of the next. 

In 14 games with the Rats this season, Carson has three goals, eight assists and a plus-4 rating. 

The dependable blueliner is a core member of the AHL squad and will be sorely missed.
Carson joins Jay Harrison, who was recalled to Carolina earlier on Sunday. 

Hurricanes' defenseman Joe Corvo was sidelined with a severe laceration to his leg and achilles tendon on November 30th.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Harrison recalled, Rodney reassigned

The Carolina Hurricanes today recalled defenseman Jay Harrison and reassigned Bryan Rodney to the River Rats. 

Rodney was called up to Carolina for the third time this season on December 4th. He skated in one game and registered 17:24 of ice-time. Rodney will return to Albany, where he has a goal and five assists in 15 games thus far this season. 

Jay Harrison, who started the year with the Canes, has a goal, seven assists and a plus-4 rating in 15 contests with Albany this season. Harrison will rejoin Carolina, where he accumulated a goal, two assists and 27 penalty minutes in 10 games prior to be reassigned on November 3rd.

With defenseman Joe Corvo on injured reserve, the Canes will need a substitute for the next two to three months. Rodney offers an offensive, puck-moving style, whereas Harrison is more of a stay-at-home D-man. Brett Carson, who falls somewhere in the middle, will likely earn the next audition. 

Rats blast Phantoms, 4-1

Post-game coverage:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

News & Notes

  • Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union catches up with injured defenseman Casey Borer, who recently returned to Albany and started skating for the first time since having neck surgery in September. 
  • Forward Rob Hennigar, who was recently recalled from the Florida Everblades of the ECHL, chats with Chris Fitz Gerald at the Troy Record about his new role as a member of the Albany River Rats. 
  • Goaltender Justin Peters talks with Bill Cain of the Schenectady Daily Gazette about his time with the Canes and his desire to stay focused and prepared for any and all opportunities.  
  • Center Harrison Reed, who was reassigned to the Florida Everblades on November 24, earned ECHL player of the week honors after scoring seven goals and five assists in four games with the Blades.
  • Hurricanes' General Manager Jim Rutherford has expressed interest in "transitioning" his team. "If we could [move contracts out], we would probably move a handful of guys out today and move the younger guys in, even if they weren't ready," Rutherford told Tracking the Storm. The process is easier said than done. 
  • Hurricanes' goaltender Cam Ward, who was cut by a skate blade on November 7, returned to practice this week and is hoping to play in net against New Jersey on December 9th. Barring any more injuries, the Canes will soon have three healthy netminders. Veteran goalie Manny Legace, who was signed to a two-way deal after Ward went down, could be reassigned to Albany. 
  • Cory Lavalette at Canes Country has a bit more on the latest addition to the Rats' squad, Jiri Tlusty.
  • Who is the funniest River Rat? Watch the latest installment of Murphy's Mailbag and find out. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Jiri Tlusty to join Rats

The Carolina Hurricanes today acquired forward Jiri Tlusty from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for the rights to 2009 first-round draft pick Philippe Paradis.

Tlusty (pronounced "To-loo-stee") will join the Albany River Rats, while Paradis, 18, remains in juniors with the Shawinigan Cataractes of the QMJHL. 

Tlusty, a six-foot-tall 209-pound goal-scorer and playmaker from the Czech Republic, was a first-round pick by the Leafs in 2006. The 21-year-old has skated in 74 NHL contests, scoring 10 goals and 10 assists. 

In 130 regular season and playoff games with the Toronto Marlies, Tlusty netted 45 goals and accumulated 70 assists for 116 points. Tlusty tallied 66 points (25 G, 41 A) in 66 games last season with the Marlies and has 15 points (8 G, 7 A) in 19 games so far this year. 

Highlights of Tlusty's five-goal game against the Syracuse Crunch on February 18, 2009.

"They're two different types of players," said Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford, referring to Paradis and Tlusty. "We need to score more goals and we need to have skill. In our opinion, Philippe is more along the lines of a power forward and Jiri is more skilled where we project him being able to put up points in our top six."

"This trade gives us an opportunity to pick up a young, skilled forward who is further along in the development phase," Rutherford said. "I'm dealing with trying to put a player in our lineup by the start of next season that's going to be able to help produce points."

Read more at Tracking the Storm.

Micflikier swapped with Pistilli

The River Rats today recalled forward Jacob Micflikier from the Florida Everblades of the ECHL and reassigned forward Matthew Pistilli. 

Micflikier has three goals in five games with Albany this season and is the ECHL's top scorer with 32 points (9 G, 23 A) in 16 games. He was recently named ECHL player of the month for November. 

Matthew Pistilli has three goals, two assists and a +2 rating in 21 games with the Rats this season. The undrafted rookie forward, signed during the offseason by the Carolina Hurricanes, has been heavily involved in humanitarian efforts around the Albany area.

Bryan Rodney recalled, again

Defenseman Bryan Rodney today was recalled by the Carolina Hurricanes to fill the void created by the injury to Canes' D-man Joe Corvo.

Corvo, who has averaged more ice-time than any another other Hurricane, suffered a serious laceration on his achilles tendon on Monday night during a contest against the Washington Captials. He underwent surgery and is expected to miss two to three months.

This is Rodney's third call-up of the season. The others were short-lived, but this one may last a while.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Canes lose Corvo for 2-3 months

Defenseman Joe Corvo of the Carolina Hurricanes is expected to miss two to three months after suffering a serious laceration on the back of his leg last night in Raleigh. 

General Manager Jim Rutherford said the team will likely call up either Brett Carson, Jay Harrison or Bryan Rodney as a replacement.

Corvo has been averaging over 25 minutes of ice-time, more than any other player on the Canes' roster.

Dwyer reassigned

The Carolina Hurricanes today reassigned Pat Dwyer to the River Rats. 

Albany's top goal-scorer and respected captain was recalled on November 19 after a string of injuries left the Canes without a complete line-up.

Dwyer played six games with Carolina, averaging 10:53 of ice-time and filling in on the penalty killing unit. 

Dwyer nearly scored on November 28, but the net was knocked off a fraction of a second before he put the puck over the line.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Weekly review

The River Rats' website has the usual weekly rundown

Bowman eager to reach NHL

Rookie forward Drayson Bowman talks with correspondent Lindsay Kramer about his hopes of standing out and reaching the big club. 

Rodney returns, again

The Carolina Hurricanes today reassigned defenseman Bryan Rodney to the River Rats. 

Rodney was recalled for the second time this season on November 25th. He played one game this time around, registering over 20 minutes of ice-time, four shots on goal and an even plus/minus rating. 

Rodney was filling in for injured Canes' D-man Joni Pitkanen, who is expected to be back in the line-up tonight.

Albany captain Pat Dwyer remains in Raleigh, as forward Chad LaRose has been sidelined with a lower-body injury. 

Forward Scott Walker, who has been out with an upper-body injury since November 15, participated today at the team's morning skate. Goaltender Cam Ward was also briefly on the ice.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Micflikier, Morrison reassigned

The River Rats today reassigned forward Jacob Micflikier and goaltender Mike Morrison to the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. 

Micflikier was recalled last week for the second time of the season after Drayson Bowman suffered a knee injury on November 25th. 

Micflikier played two games with Albany over the weekend and scored a goal each night. In five contests with the River Rats this season, Micflikier has three goals and a +4 rating.

Micflikier's reassignment today to Florida suggests either Bowman is recovering well or Albany is expecting captain Pat Dwyer to soon return from the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Veteran goalie Mike Morrison was recalled to Albany on November 18 after Rats' starter Justin Peters was summoned by the Canes. 

Morrison spent five games with Albany but did not get an opportunity to play. 

Peters was returned by Carolina on Friday, paving the way for Morrison's return to the ECHL.

Rats exact revenge on Admirals, 3-2

Post-game coverage:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Rodney called back up

Defenseman Bryan Rodney today was called back up to the Carolina Hurricanes to fill in for the injury-prone Joni Pitkanen. 

Pitkanen left the Canes' game last night in Raleigh with an upper-body condition. He has been in and out of the line-up since the start of the season.

Rodney was reassigned to the River Rats from Carolina just last Friday, but skated in only two contests before getting the call once again.  

Albany captain Pat Dwyer, who was called up to the Hurricanes on November 19, may soon be reassigned. 

Dwyer was a healthy scratch last night as Carolina forward Tuomo Ruutu returned after missing one game. 

Star forward Eric Staal, who sat out 10 games with an upper-body injury, registered over 20 minutes of ice-time in his second game back.

The Hurricanes blew a 4-1 lead to the Atlanta Thrashers, losing 6-4 after allowing five unanswered goals in the third period.

Rats edged by Admirals in OT, 4-3

Post-game coverage:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Jacob Micflikier recalled

The River Rats today recalled forward Jacob Micflikier from the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. Micflikier is playing for the Rats tonight in Norfolk. He put Albany on the board in the first period with his second AHL goal of the season. 

Justin Peters reassigned

The Carolina Hurricanes today reassigned goaltender Justin Peters to the Albany River Rats. Peters was recalled to the Canes on November 18 after back-up goalie Michael Leighton suffered a groin pull. Peters spent a week with the big club, but did not get a chance to start. He will likely join the Rats this weekend in Norfolk. Tracking the Storm has the news.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rats outwork Crunch, 4-2

Bryan Rodney, Brett Carson and Jerome Samson celebrate a power play goal on Wednesday night
(Photo by Jennifer Bock)

Post-game coverage:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

News & Notes

  • Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union chats with Tim Conboy, Bryan Rodney and coach Jeff Daniels about the Rats' well-fortified defensive corps. 
  • The Rats talk to Chris Fitz Gerald at the Troy Record about their goals for the coming week, including their hopes of improving scoring chances, particularly on the power play. 
  • "Coach preaches consistency," says rookie forward Chris Terry to the Schenectady Daily Gazette, "and I think if we become more consistent with our plays and the strategies the coaches draw up for us, I think we'll be more successful."
  • Defenseman Bryan Rodney will play tonight for the first time since being returned from Carolina. Rodney was reassigned to Albany on Friday, but sat out the weekend with the flu.
  • Rob Hennigar is in town and will make his first appearance as a River Rat tonight against Syracuse. He should be wearing #19. Meanwhile, Harrison Reed, who was sent to the ECHL in exchange for Hennigar yesterday, is expected to play for the Florida Everblades this evening in Wheeling, West Virginia.  
  • Forward Tuomo Ruutu of the Carolina Hurricanes left Monday night's game in Dallas with a lower-body injury. He is questionable for tonight's contest against Anaheim. Eric Staal, who missed the Canes' last 10 games with an upper-body injury, is expected to play tonight. Goaltender Michael Leighton, who was curbed with a groin injury on November 17, is recovering well and traveled with team on the road trip.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sutter sticking with Canes

Brandon Sutter
(Photo by jbk-ltd)

Center Brandon Sutter was called up to the Carolina Hurricanes on October 24th. Since then he has tallied five goals and four assists in 14 NHL contests. Sutter has been filling in for Eric Staal on the top line and skating on both special teams. He has almost certainly earned a permanent spot on the big club's roster. Tracking the Storm has more on the "future of the franchise."

Micflikier takes out frustrations on ECHL

Rat-in-reserve Jacob Micflikier has 24 points in 13 games with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. "I know when I come down to the East Coast, my job is to dominate and create as many points as possible," Micflikier tells Lindsay Kramer at "I'm here to prove at some point, that I don't belong here." 

Read the full story here.

River Rats weekly

Hard to believe we are already nine weeks into the season. The Rats' website has the usual rundown

Rats call on Hennigar, reassign Reed

The River Rats today recalled forward Rob Hennigar and reassigned center Harrison Reed to the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. The Rats' website has the news. 

The Naples Daily News recently ran a story on Hennigar. Read it here

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rodney's long journey

Bryan Rodney
(Photo by jbk-ltd)

Bryan Rodney had to overcome several obstacles to reach this point in his career. The undrafted defenseman and current Albany alternate captain was once considered a lost cause, but he defied the naysayers and has now proven capable of contributing at the NHL level. 

Writer Gare Joyce at traces Rodney's long journey from juniors to the pros.

Rats squashed by Senators, 4-1

Post-game coverage:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Rodney returned

The Carolina Hurricanes today reassigned Bryan Rodney to the Albany River Rats. 

Rodney was called up on November 11 to fill in for injured defenseman Joni Pitkanen, who is set to return tomorrow night. 

In five games with the Canes, Rodney averaged 17:51 of ice-time, tallied two assists and was credited for boosting the team's power play. 

The return of Rodney to the Rats puts eight solid defenders on Albany's roster.

Conboy's return bolsters Rats 'D'

Tim Conboy
(Photo by Jennifer Bock)

Tim Conboy has returned to Albany, fortifying the River Rats' defense and bringing experience and leadership to a young club. The former team captain is featured in today's Troy Record

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Olson assigned to Everblades

Defenseman Benn Olson today was loaned by the River Rats to the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. 

Olson was edged out of the regular line-up by the return of Brett Carson from injury and the reassignment of Jay Harrison and Tim Conboy from Carolina. 

In nine games with Albany this season Olson holds a +1 rating and 21 penalty minutes, including three fighting majors. 

Canes recall Pat Dwyer

The injury-plagued Carolina Hurricanes today recalled Albany's respected captain and top goal-scorer Pat Dwyer.

Dwyer will likely remain with the Canes until star forward Eric Staal recovers from an upper-body injury. Coach Paul Maurice told the Raleigh News & Observer that Staal may return as early as next week. 

In similar news, goaltender Justin Peters will remain with Carolina for an indefinite amount of time. Canes' netminder Michael Leighton, who suffered a groin injury on Tuesday, is listed as "week-to-week." Top goalie Cam Ward, who was cut by a skate blade on November 7, is hoping to return to action on December 5th.  

The Hurricanes play tonight at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Canes to take another?

Be on the lookout today for news of another call-up. Jim Rutherford, General Manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, tells the Raleigh News & Observer that his club is considering recalling either Jerome Samson or Pat Dwyer. 

Rats crack Crunch, 5-2

Drayson Bowman
(Photo by Jennifer Bock)

Post-game coverage:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Peters called up; Conboy sent down

Having lost two goalies in less than two weeks, the Carolina Hurricanes today recalled Justin Peters. 

Former Albany captain Tim Conboy was reassigned to the River Rats to make room for Peters on the NHL roster, which is limited to 23 players. 

Goaltender Mike Morrison has been called up from the Florida Everblades to back up Mike Murphy in Albany. 

It will be interesting to see who arrives in time for tonight's game.

News & Notes

  • The River Rats' busy schedule continues with three games in four days. Albany will skate at home tonight against Syracuse, in Manchester on Friday and at Binghamton on Saturday. The Rats dropped the first contest against each team, so they should be thirsty for revenge. The standings are also a concern. The Rats fell to fourth place last night after Norfolk picked up two points against Portland. Read the Rats' weekly recap for more.
  • The Rats limped home from Springfield on Sunday, but the tough loss to the Falcons only provided inspiration for the coming week. The team held a spirited practice yesterday, full of heavy skating, on-ice chatter and even a few hits. Albany worked hard on improving special teams and the quality of their scoring chances. Hopefully it will pay off. Look for the Rats to come out aggressive tonight. The Schenectady Daily Gazette has more from practice.
  • It is no secret. Pat Dwyer was named captain because he leads by example. Now in his fourth year with the River Rats, Dwyer is arguably Albany's most valuable player. He serves as a role model for the rest of the team, giving everything he has on every shift. Dwyer is featured today in the Albany Times Union.
  • Rookie forward Drayson Bowman, who sat out the last three games with a chest injury, will not play tonight or this weekend. He will be sorely missed. Bad info!!! 
  • The injury woes of the Carolina Hurricanes continue. Goaltender Michael Leighton left last night's game against Montreal with a lower-body complication, likely a groin pull. It was Leighton's second start since Cam Ward was curbed with a laceration on his leg. Eric Staal, Scott Walker and Joni Pitkanen also remain sidelined. Carolina's next game is on Thursday. If Leighton is unable to dress, Justin Peters could be on the way up. 
  • Brandon Sutter and Bryan Rodney continue to shine in Raleigh. Sutter has five goals and three assists in 11 games. Rodney has two assists in 4 games. Both are skating extended minutes and getting time on the power play. Rodney was even included in the shootout line-up last night in Montreal. Read more about their stellar performances at the Raleigh News & Observer, Canes Country and Tracking the Storm.
  • Players on standby in the ECHL are stacking up impressive numbers. Jacob MicFlikier has an unbelievable 22 points (7 G, 15 A) in 10 games. Rob Hennigar has 21 points (7 G, 14 A) in 14 games. Goaltender Mike Morrison has a solid GAA of 2.79 and a SV% of .903 after 10 games. The way things are going, their services may soon be required in Albany. 

Friday, November 13, 2009

News & Notes

  • After missing 12 games with a broken wrist, alternate captain Brett Carson is back. With fellow defenseman Bryan Rodney recalled to Carolina, the timing could not have come sooner. The Troy Record catches up with the Albany blueliner. 
  • Coach Jeff Daniels says the struggles of the Carolina Hurricanes are not affecting the River Rats. If anything, the problems in Raleigh provide extra incentive for those hoping to crack the NHL line-up. The Albany Times Union has more.
  • With a busy weekend ahead of them, the Rats are looking to tighten their game and boost their position in the standings. To get things done, they'll need to stay focused and play with consistency. The Schenectady Daily Gazette has the story
  • Rookie forward Drayson Bowman is out with a chest injury that apparently occurred last Saturday against Adirondack. After being taken down from behind, Bowman slid hard into the boards and looked pretty shaken up. He returned to the ice later that night, but was absent Wednesday in Syracuse and is not expected to play this weekend. 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tim Conboy placed on waivers

The Carolina Hurricanes have placed former River Rats' captain Tim Conboy on waivers. Conboy is on a one-way contract this season, but would be eligible for reassignment to Albany if he cleared. Tracking the Storm has more.

Pistilli already an off-ice presence in Albany

Matthew Pistilli
(Photo by Jennifer Bock)

Rookie forward Matthew Pistilli was heavily involved in community programs and humanitarian efforts during his junior career. Now a proud member of the River Rats, Pistilli is reaching out to the Capital District and is already adored at the local schools. AHL On the Beat has more.

News & Notes

  • Some say a two-goal lead is the hardest to keep. Look no further than last night's game against Syracuse for an example of why. Hockey is a sport based largely on momentum and perseverance. If a team is comfortable, their opponent is usually desperate. The best players and teams are those that play hard every shift of every game, no matter the situation or score. The River Rats have plenty of talent, but they are still struggling with consistency. The players, coaches and captains need to keep the bench energized at all times. Look for that to be the deciding factor as Albany heads into a busy weekend. 
  • The River Rats have a packed schedule ahead of them. Albany will play three games in three nights: Friday at home against Wilkes Barre/Scranton, Saturday at home against Norfolk, and Sunday in Springfield. The East Division remains extremely tight so these games are vital. Albany, Norfolk and Wilkes Barre/Scranton are all tied with 16 points each. Remember, the crossover rule applies to the Eastern Conference this year. If the season ended today, only three teams in the East Division would qualify for the playoffs. 
  • Rat-in-reserve Jacob MicFlikier continues to tear through the ECHL. The Florida Everblades' top-scorer was named Sher-wood Player of the Week for November 2-8. MicFlikier scored nine points in his first two games back from assignment in Albany. He landed a hat-trick and three assists on November 5. He has accumulated 17 points (7 G, 10 A) in just eight contests with the Blades. The Naples Daily News has more on everyone's favorite ECHL'er.
  • Forward Milan Gajic, who was assigned to the ECHL after attending training camp with the River Rats, suffered a lower-body injury on November 4. He was ranked second in scoring on the Everblades with eight points in nine games. He was placed on 21-day injured reserve and is walking with the assistance of crutches. The Naples Daily News keeps us up-to-date.
  • The Carolina Hurricanes have lost 13 games in a row. Veteran goaltender Manny Legace, who was signed after Cam Ward was injured, allowed four goals on 30 shots last night in a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. Forwards Stephane Yelle and Scott Walker both left the game with injuries. Tim Conboy was the only healthy scratch on the Canes' roster. Bryan Rodney, who was called up to replace an ill Joni Pitkanen, registered 21:29 of ice-time, the third-highest on the team. Rodney had an even plus/minus rating, skated on the power-play unit, and was not on the ice during any of the goals against. He was given a tripping penalty in the first period, but Carolina killed it off. 

Crunch rally over Rats, 4-3 in SO

Post-game coverage:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rodney called up

Defenseman Bryan Rodney was called up to the Carolina Hurricanes today, as Canes' D-man Joni Pitkanen has a fever and will not be able to play tonight against the Los Angeles Kings. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chatting with Zach Boychuk

Zach Boychuk
(Photo by Jennifer Bock)

Zach Boychuk recently stepped into the AHL Chat Room to answer some questions from the fans. Read the transcript here

River Rats weekly

The River Rats are ready for a "bloody" good week. The team's website has the regular weekly rundown.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekend highlights

Video highlights from Friday and Saturday are now available on YouTube. Watch here and here.

Canes sign Manny Legace

With goaltender Cam Ward expected to miss significant time with a lacerated leg, the Carolina Hurricanes today signed veteran netminder Manny Legace to a two-way, one-year deal. 

That means Rats' starter Justin Peters will be sticking around, at least for now.

The Canes would rather bring in Legace than put all the weight on two goalies with limited experience. Justin Peters, along with Michael Leighton, both lack time in the NHL, whereas Legace is a battle-tested goalie with more than 15 years of professional play under his belt. 

Still, if Legace does not perform, Peters will be waiting on deck. 

Where Legace lands when Ward returns is anyone's guess. 

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Boychuk is back

Zach Boychuk is back with the Rats. With Carolina forward Ray Whitney expected to return from an upper-body injury on Wednesday, the Hurricanes this morning reassigned Boychuk to Albany. He was called up on November 5th and played two games with the big club, registering an assist and an even plus/minus rating.

Cam Ward injured (UPDATE)

Justin Peters will likely be getting a call from the boys in Raleigh. 

Netminder Cam Ward of the Carolina Hurricanes was cut badly by a skate blade last night in a contest against the Columbus Bluejackets. The laceration required stitches and Ward was hospitalized overnight after losing a significant amount of blood.

Justin Peters will likely be recalled to back up Michael Leighton for the Hurricanes' next game on Wednesday.

As for Albany, Mike Murphy will take charge of the Rats' crease and Mike Morrison will likely be called up from the ECHL for backup. 

The Rats' next game is Wednesday at Syracuse. 

UPDATE: Cam Ward is expected to be out for three to four weeks. The Hurricanes are considering several options, including a trade or a new signing. Chip Alexander speculates that Carolina may pick up veteran goaltender Manny Legace, who is currently playing for the Chicago Wolves. 

Rats rise over Phantoms, 3-1

Post-game coverage:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Harrison ready to contribute

Jay Harrison
(Photo by jbk-ltd)

Defenseman Jay Harrison may have started the season in the NHL, but the veteran blueliner is looking forward to his time in Albany. He considers it an opportunity to demonstrate his skill and provide leadership to a young club. The Troy Record and the Schenectady Daily Gazette each have a story today on the latest addition to the team. 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Boychuk called up

The Carolina Hurricanes last night lost another game and another two players. Forwards Ray Whitney and Tuomo Ruutu both suffered upper-body injuries in a 3-0 loss to the Florida Panthers. 

Zach Boychuk is headed to Raleigh to fill in. Chip Alexander breaks the news.

Rats blanked by Senators, 2-0

Post-game coverage:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Captain trying to right ship

Captain Pat Dwyer is determined to lead the Rats out of their recent slump. The Albany Times Union has the story. The Schenectady Daily Gazette has more

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Jay Harrison assigned to Albany

As expected, veteran defenseman Jay Harrison has been assigned to the River Rats. Harrison will bring size, experience and toughness to Rats' defensive corps. The Rats' website has the news.

News & Notes

  • Forward Jacob MicFlikier has been reassigned to the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. MicFlikier was called up to Albany on October 24th after Steven Goertzen suffered a concussion. Goertzen is now healthy. In three games with the River Rats, MicFlikier had a goal and a +2 rating. Expect him back at some point this season.
  • The Carolina Hurricanes have placed defenseman Jay Harrison on waivers. Harrison will likely clear waivers and be reassigned to Albany. He will hopefully provide some much-needed relief at the Rats' blue line. Harrison was filling in for Canes' D-man Tim Gleason, who is expected to return to action tomorrow night. 
  • The Carolina Hurricanes have won just two of 13 games. General Manager Jim Rutherford is preparing to make some major changes. Trades and call-ups could be on the horizon, especially if the Hurricanes keep losing. 
  • Carolina's top forward Eric Staal is expected to miss several games with an upper-body injury sustained over the weekend. He is listed as week-to-week. The Hurricanes have two extra players to insert in the line-up: Stephane Yelle and Tim Conboy. If the Canes are not satisfied with those options, well, you know the drill. 
  • The River Rats' weekly recap is available here
  • Watch the next installment of Murphy's Mailbag here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Seeking consistency

Stefan Chaput is checked by Springfield's Johan Motin
(Photo by Jennifer Bock)

"Consistency is key." It is a common cliché phrase in sports, but it often rings true, especially for the River Rats at this particular juncture. 

After a strong start to the season, the Rats have fallen into a slump. Albany has just one win in the last six games. 

The Rats suffered two losses over the weekend and dropped to fourth place in the East Division with an overall record of 5-5-1.

Albany was defeated Friday by the Springfield Falcons in a shootout, 4-3, and beaten down the next night by the Hershey Bears, 4-1. In both games, the team looked slow, sluggish and out-of-sync. Every attempt to build momentum fell flat. 

Much of the Rats' offense depended on a strategy of dump-and-chase, but they were slow to enter the zone and were out-battled along the boards. Rarely did they come up with the puck. 

Miscommunication resulted in repeated offsides, unnecessary icings, and turnovers in every sector of the ice. The Rats were also caught off guard on line changes more than once. 

Defensively, Albany did a decent job of clogging the center of the ice, but they were slow to gain control of the puck, which allowed the opposition repeated break-out attempts. 

On several occasions, the Rats failed to cover traffic in front of the net. The defenders and centers were not keeping track of the open forwards as both Springfield and Hershey moved the puck down low. 

Some of the blueliners also need work handling the puck under pressure. There were far too many turnovers in the defensive zone. 

Some limited praise is still deserved. The team was not functioning as a whole, but extraordinary individual efforts by a small group of names kept them on life support.

Not enough can be said about captain Pat Dwyer. As usual, he forced the puck in the zone and created chances from all angles. He was also deadly on the penalty kill and now is a league-leader with two short-handed goals. Dwyer is a constant spark of light for the Rats.

The same goes for Drayson Bowman, whose fast legs, quick shot and extra effort helped generate numerous scoring chances in both weekend games. Bowman also showed more grit than usual. He refused to get pushed around after whistles. 

Props also go to Jerome Samson for showing extra energy when everyone else appeared to be half asleep. At times, Samson looked like he was putting on a stick-handling clinic. He, too, stepped up his physical game. 

Zach Boychuk continues to show off his talents and produce highlight reel quality goals. He scored another beauty against Springfield.

Matthew Pistilli was another standout. He played exceptionally well and scored two goals against the Falcons.

Nonetheless, the momentary outbursts of a few could not overcome the overall poor performance of the team.

The home crowd offered little help. Attendance at the Times Union Center continues to disappoint. There were only 2,422 people at Friday's game. Meanwhile, folks in Hershey were complaining Saturday about the "low" turnout of 6,802. 

The Rats will have a chance to bounce back with three big home games this week, including two against division rivals. Albany will face off against the Binghamton Senators on Wednesday, the Lowell Devils on Friday and the Adirondack Phantoms on Saturday. 

The River Rats have the skill and depth to be true competitors this season, but they need to balance intensity and intelligence. They must skate hard and stay focused, game-in and game-out.

Consistency is key.