Saturday, June 20, 2009

Albany Welcomes Signing of Chris Terry

Carolina prospect Chris Terry is likely to be wearing a River Rats' sweater in 2009-10
(Photo from

It's official, Ontario Hockey League all-star Chris Terry is on his way to Albany. Terry, the Carolina Hurricanes' fifth round pick from the 2007 draft, just signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Canes, meaning he will likely start his professional career with the River Rats this October.

In his final year in juniors, Terry tallied 39 regular season goals and 55 assists for a total of 94 points, good for second highest in the league. He landed another 16 points (7 G, 9 A) in 11 games during the playoffs. For a fifth round pick, that is absolute gold.

As a recent Hurricanes' press release proudly pointed out, "The Brampton, Ont., native totaled 114 goals and 175 assists (289 points) in 253 regular-season contests in his four seasons with the Whalers. Terry (5'10", 190 lbs.) competed in two OHL All-Star Classics, was named the Kal Tire OHL Player of the Month two times and helped lead the Whalers to the OHL championship in 2007."

Chris Terry's gifted scoring touch was overshadowed only by his character and leadership. "He was awarded the Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy as the OHL's Humanitarian of the Year for his devotion to the Whalers' Community Relations efforts, and he was the inaugural recipient of the Mickey Renaud Captain's Trophy, given by the OHL to the captain that best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice."

If Albany is fortunate enough to have Terry for a full season or more, which is certainly a possibility, he has a good chance of wearing an "A" or a "C" just like his days in juniors. But as with all young forwards, it remains to be seen if his offensive ability will translate to the pros.

Regardless, Terry looks like a true worker who can play just about any role he is assigned, from goal scorer to checking forward. The website Hockey's Future, which keeps track of prospects and developing players, aptly notes that his "future as a pro is probably more tied to being an all-around player who can contribute at both ends of the ice rather than an elite goal scorer." We'll see.

Above all else, Terry, as young as he is, is sure to bring quality leadership to the River Rats' line-up...and if he gets involved in the local community like he did in Plymouth, the Rats' marketing staff will no doubt be kissing his Canadian feet.

Terry is a true all-around character player and, as made evident by the clip below, a genuinely good human being. Plymouth will surely miss him, but Albany will welcome him with open arms.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rats Set In Net; Peters Earning Respect

Carolina Hurricanes' Prospect Justin Peters
(Photo by Adam Prince)

Anyone who watched the second half of the River Rats' 2008-2009 season saw a goalie finding his stride. Justin Peters not only won the #1 spot in Albany, he impressed the boys in Carolina so much he was called up to witness the Canes' playoff run. Peters was arguably the most improved Rats' player this past season.

The Blyth, Ontario native earned little respect in his early professional days. Starting his career in Albany in 2006, he eventually ended up in the ECHL, playing 31 games for the Florida Everblades during the 2007-2008 season.

But Peters fought his way back to Albany, competing with goalie Daniel Manzato for the top spot in 2008-2009. By the end of the year, he had earned the job and then some.

Peters has always been equipped with the fundamentals, but perhaps the best quality a goaltender can have these days is the ability to stay calm and focused under extreme pressure. With four years of professional hockey under his belt, Peters now has this particular skill mastered...and to the surprise of many, he has blossomed into a top-notch goalie.

Peters is rarely rattled by multiple waves of offense. He can be relied upon to make just about every first save; confidently move in position for the rebound; reset for the next wave; and when everything is safe, refocus without showing an ounce of fatigue. Soft goals are no longer in his vocabulary. Peters' side-to-side is reminiscent of Cam Ward. His positional game is solid. His glove is sharp. The best part of it all, he is stuck in Albany for at least one more year.

Peters has NHL written all over him, but Carolina is loaded with depth in net. Cam Ward is a franchise starter and former River Rat Michael Leighton is signed to be his back up for one more season. On top of that, two-time OHL goalie-of-the-year Mike Murphy is set to make his pro debut in Albany next season. So even though Peters has NHL potential, he will still have to compete with another Hurricanes' prospect. In the end, Peters and Murphy may prove to be a dynamic combo. Carolina has interest in them both.

All of this equates to good news for the Rats, who are almost guaranteed a strong goalie for the duration of the 2009-2010 season.

Justin Peters deserves bonus points for showing tremendous spirit in the final game of the 2008-2009 season. He went toe-to-toe at center ice with Binghamton netminder Jeff Glass. Peters was escorted off the ice to a standing ovation. Multiple angles of the brawl are available on YouTube...for those interested in that sort of thing. (Photo by Jennifer Bock)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Looks Like Opening Night Won't Be Rats vs. Phantoms

Much to the dismay of the Albany River Rats' marketing team, the newly born Adirondack Phantoms have scheduled their opening night for Saturday October 3rd, the same night as the Rats' already-scheduled home opener. Members of the Rats' staff were hoping to open up the season by splitting a two-game series between Albany and Glens Falls, but now it looks like that option is off the table.

Still, the Rats will face-off against the Phantoms twelve times over the course of the upcoming season. There is little doubt those games will be intense for both players and fans alike. Six games at the Times Union Center. Six games at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

If you wish to infest the Civic Center with the rest of the team, tickets should be purchased in advance. Mark my words, those games will be sold out. As for the home games, the marketing team is likely to be shooting for 10,000+ at the TU, so walk-ups will probably be directed to the upper-deck. Prepare to scream.

Old time hockey returns October 3rd. Only four short months to go.


Welcome to the latest in-depth blog covering the Albany River Rats. It is still June and the Rats' 2008-2009 season has been over for a while, but in the minds of some, the 2009-2010 season has already begun. So if you are missing your team and craving news, you are in luck. Here at the Infestation we'll be monitoring off-season transactions all summer long.

With a mere four months to go before the puck drops for Game #1, things are looking up for the River Rats. Young prospects are headed to Albany; a rivalry with the newly-born Adirondack Phantoms is brewing; and whispers that hockey fever may be returning to the Capital District are already in the air.

This is the Infestation.