Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rats back on playoff track

With the River Rats just one point away from clinching a playoff spot, coach Jeff Daniels talks with the Albany Times Union about prepping for the remainder of the season. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Dwyer's fire raising Canes

Former Albany captain Pat Dwyer is the centerpiece of an excellent article in his hometown newspaper the Great Falls Tribune

Rats weekly

The usual weekly recap is available at the Rats' website.

Rats cage Falcons, 5-1

Post-game coverage:

Albany, Devils close to agreement

Sources tell the Troy Record a deal to bring the AHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils back to Albany is close to being inked. 

UPDATE: Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello says the report is not true and the team's first priority is to stay in Lowell. Read more at Fire & Ice

UPDATE: The Troy Record covers the latest. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rats pummel Phantoms, 6-2

Post-game coverage:

Bowman gets the call

The Carolina Hurricanes yesterday recalled rookie forward Drayson Bowman from the Albany River Rats.

Canes' forward Tuomo Ruutu is scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery and will be out for the remainder of the season.

Bowman returns to Carolina for the second time, having appeared in his first NHL contest on January 16 against the Atlanta Thrashers. 

Bowman has tallied 32 points (17 G, 15 A) in 56 games this season with Albany. 

The Hurricanes play tonight at home against the Washington Capitals.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Q&A with Jeff Daniels

Coach Jeff Daniels talks with Cory Lavalette at Canes Country about the latest influx of talent, the graduation of players to the NHL, and the Rats' hunt for the playoffs. 

Rats reassign Pistilli, McNicoll

The Albany River Rats today reassigned forwards Matthew Pistilli and Cedric LaLonde-McNicoll to the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. The Rats' website has the news. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rats hit the road

The team chats with Bill Cain at the Schenectady Daily Gazette about preparing for this week's three road games, including tomorrow night's rivalry matchup against Adirondack. 

Rats sign Mike McKenzie

The Albany River Rats today signed college forward Mike McKenzie to an amateur tryout contract.

McKenzie, 23, recently finished his senior season at St. Lawrence University, where the six-foot-tall, 185-pound winger ranked second in scoring with 36 points (14 G, 22 A) in 41 games and led the team with 134 shots on goal.

McKenzie skated in his two final college games this past weekend in Albany at the ECAC tournament hosted at the Times Union Center.

Prior to college, McKenzie, originally of Whitby, Ontario, spent four seasons in the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League, notching an impressive 77 points (39 G, 38 A) in his last 40 games in 2005-06.

Rats weekly

The usual weekly roundup is available at the Rats' website

Hard work starts now for Dalpe

Recently acquired rookie forward Zac Dalpe talks with the Brantford Expositor about starting his professional career with the Albany River Rats. 

McBain lives up to hype

Get the latest on rookie sensation Jamie McBain at the Hockey News, NHL FanHouse and the Raleigh News & Observer

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

McBain continues to shine

Rookie defenseman Jamie McBain, who was recalled to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday, continues to impress, earning first-star honors today as he led the Canes to a thrilling overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

With just 0.9 seconds remaining in the extra stanza, McBain, in a fashion familiar to fans in Albany, received the puck on the blueline and used his deadly slap-shot to thread it like a needle through traffic. Defensive partner Bryan Rodney, who was called up to Carolina on Friday, notched the secondary assist. 

McBain assisted on a goal in the first period by fellow call-up Zach Boychuk, giving the blooming blueliner two points on the night and a total of four in his first three NHL contests. 

Goaltender Justin Peters stopped 15 of 17 shots and picked up his sixth NHL victory after replacing Manny Legace, who sustained a minor leg injury in the second period.

Watch highlights of the game here. Also check out the Raleigh News & Observer for today's feature story on McBain. UPDATE: Post-game interviews with Jamie McBain and Justin Peters

Carson proves he belongs

Former Rats' defenseman and alternate captain Brett Carson this year earned his stripes with the Carolina Hurricanes, proving he belongs at the NHL level. Paul Branecky at Tracking the Storm talks with Carson and Canes' head coach Paul Maurice about the young D-man's transition to the top tier. 

Rats beaten by Bears, 8-2

Post-game coverage:

Friday, March 19, 2010

Reid brought up, Rodney recalled

The Albany River Rats today recalled defenseman Elgin Reid from the Florida Everblades of the ECHL.

Reid will fill in for Albany alternate captain Bryan Rodney, who was called up to the Carolina Hurricanes today to replace sidelined D-man Alexandre Picard. 

Picard is listed as week-to-week after suffering an upper-body injury last night against the Washington Capitals. 

Reid returns to the River Rats for the second time this season. The 23-year-old made his AHL debut with Albany in December, skating in two games and picking up his first American league point against Syracuse on December 19th.

Reid has 21 points (5 G, 16 A) and 59 penalty minutes in 43 games this season with the Everblades.

Bryan Rodney heads to the Hurricanes for the fifth time this season, having earned five assists in 10 games with the Canes back in November and December.

Rodney ranks second among Albany defenseman in scoring with 35 points (7, G, 28 A) in 54 games and is known for having some of the best stick-handling skills on the team. 

Rodney represented the River Rats this year at the AHL All-Star Classic in Portland.

McBain sets up OT winner for Canes

Rookie defenseman Jamie McBain, who was recalled from the Albany River Rats to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday, last night set up the game-winning overtime goal for the Canes to defeat the first-place Washington Capitals in Raleigh. 

With about one minute remaining in the extra session, McBain forced a turnover in the neutral zone and fed the puck to Eric Staal, who then dished it to Ray Whitney for the finish.

McBain, who picked up his first NHL point Tuesday night against the Bruins, now has two assists in two contests with Carolina. 

McBain averaged nearly twenty minutes of ice-time against Boston and logged more than 25 minutes last night, good for second highest on the team.

McBain was not the only former Rat showcasing his skills.

Former Albany alternate captain Brett Carson picked up his second NHL goal in the third period and goaltender Justin Peters made 25 saves on the night to register his fifth big-league win.

Carson now has two goals, seven assists and a plus-3 rating in 42 games with Carolina this season, while Peters has earned a 2.42 GAA, .919 SV% and a record of 5-2-0-0.

The Hurricanes currently have seven former Rats on the roster and they may need another by tomorrow, as defenseman Alexandre Picard left last night's game with an upper body injury and is listed as day-to-day (updated: now week-to-week).

McBain will likely remain with the Canes up until the closing of the regular season, as D-man Tim Gleason is expected to miss three weeks due to broken foot. 

Zac Dalpe’s first pro interview

The latest addition to the Rats' roster gives his first interview as a pro to the Vees Blog, a site dedicated to Dalpe's old junior team, the Penticton Vees. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Prospect Zac Dalpe to join Rats

The Carolina Hurricanes today announced that rookie forward and highly valued prospect Zac Dalpe will join the Albany River Rats for the remainder of the 2009-10 season on an amateur tryout contract. 

The 20-year-old college star and 2008 second-round draft pick recently agreed to a three-year, entry-level deal with the Canes, which will begin next season. 

Dalpe, who stands at 6-foot-1 and weighs in at 195 pounds, recently finished his second year with the Ohio State Buckeyes, where he led his college club in scoring with 45 points in 39 games and topped the Central Collegiate Hockey Association with 21 goals. 

View Dalpe's Ohio State profile here.

Rats shank Sharks, 5-3

Post-game coverage:

New Jersey Devils' AHL team courted

Fans last night were hoping for a wee bit of Irish luck when it comes to keeping AHL hockey in Albany next season. The Albany Times Union has the latest. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rats sign goalie Parker Van Buskirk

The Albany River Rats today signed rookie goaltender Parker Van Buskirk to a professional tryout contract, giving the team a healthy back-up as they prepare for a busy week. 

Van Buskirk, 21, was recently acquired by the Florida Everblades of the ECHL in a trade that sent forward Chris Capraro to the South Carolina Sting Rays. 

Van Buskirk, a native of Windsor, Ontario, has played a total of 23 ECHL games with the Sting Rays, Charlotte Checkers and Utah Grizzlies. He has yet to play for the Blades.

Prior to going pro, the young netminder spent four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League and was a teammate of fellow goalie Mike Murphy in 2007-08 when both played for the Belleville Bulls.

TUC offers Devils 10-year contract

Times Union Center general manager Bob Belber chats with the Albany Business Review about the prospect of the Lowell Devils relocating to the Capital District. 

McBain plays often, plays well in debut

Paul Branecky at Tracking the Storm reviews the NHL debut of rookie defenseman Jamie McBain.

Osala has taken to new surroundings

Power forward Oskar Osala talks with Chris Fitz Gerald at the Troy Record and Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union about joining the squad in Albany.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rats prepare for another 4-in-5

Members of the team talk to Bill Cain at the Schenectady Daily Gazette about preparing for another busy week. 

Rats weekly

This week's round-up has been posted at the Rats' website

McBain gets the call

The Carolina Hurricanes today recalled rookie defenseman Jamie McBain from the Albany River Rats.

Canes' D-man Tim Gleason is dealing with a minor lower-body injury and may not be able to skate tonight as Carolina takes on the Boston Bruins in Raleigh.

Regardless of Gleason's status, McBain will likely make his NHL debut this evening, as the coaching staff in Carolina is eager to see the youngster in action.

McBain, the Rats' second highest leading scorer and top offensive defenseman, has 40 points (7 G, 33 A) and a plus-11 rating in 68 games with Albany this season.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pirates out, Devils in

After weeks of back-and-fourth negotiations, officials from the Times Union Center and the Portland Pirates have ended talks to relocate the franchise to Albany. 

The arena is reportedly now in discussions to move the farm team of the New Jersey Devils back to the Capital District. 

Bob Belber, general manager of the Times Union Center, said today he hopes to have a deal finalized with an AHL team within the next two weeks. 

Read more at the Albany Times Union.

Rats munch Crunch, 3-1

Post-game coverage:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Watch tonight's game on TW-1

Tonight's game in Rochester will be broadcast on Time Warner Cable Channel 1. Puck drops at 7:05 pm. 

Osala reassigned

The Carolina Hurricanes today reassigned forward Oskar Osala to the Albany River Rats. 

Osala was called up on Wednesday to fill in for Canes' forward Erik Cole, who had been out with an illness. Cole returned to action last night. 

Osala skated one game with Carolina, playing a limited role and registering just 6:46 of ice-time.

Osala has 31 points (15 G, 16 A) in 55 AHL games this season with Hershey and Albany.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pirates back at the table in Portland

Over the past week we were told an announcement regarding the relocation of the Portland Pirates was imminent, but today the Portland Press Herald reports that managing owner Brian Petrovek is back at the negotiating table with the Cumberland County Civic Center. We hope to hear more this weekend. 

Clear day roster released

Yesterday was the deadline for AHL clubs to hand in their clear day rosters for the remainder of the season and Calder Cup playoffs. The River Rats 22-man list is available at the team's website. Clear day rosters from around the league may be viewed at

Rats earn point in SO loss to Penguins, 4-3

Post-game coverage:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

News & Notes

  • The regular weekly round-up is available at the Rats' website
  • Defensive prospect and Notre Dame star Kyle Lawson this week agreed to a two-year entry-level deal with the Hurricanes and will join Albany on a tryout contract for the remainder of the season. Read more here and here
  • Recently acquired power forward Oskar Osala today was recalled by the Carolina Hurricanes. Erik Cole is out with an illness. Read more at the Albany Times Union.
  • The Rats may soon have to officially name a new captain. Jason Karmanos, VP and assistant GM of the Carolina Hurricanes, said during a recent interview that Pat Dwyer, as well as Brett Carson and Brandon Sutter, will be staying in the NHL for good, even if the Canes miss the playoffs.
  • Forward Milan Gajic was recently reassigned by Albany to the Florida Everblades of the ECHL.
  • Rats' leading scorer Jerome Samson was named AHL Player of the Week for the first week of March. Read more here. Samson is featured today in the Troy Record

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

Gajic called up

The River Rats last night recalled forward Milan Gajic from the Florida Everblades of the ECHL, giving Albany a full line-up for two pivotal contests this weekend against the Norfolk Admirals. 

Gajic is a welcomed addition to the team, as Mike Angelidis and Brad Herauf are suspended, Zach Boychuk and Jay Harrison were recently called up to the Carolina Hurricanes, Jiri Tlusty is sidelined with a lower body injury, and Harrison Reed on Wednesday was traded to the Colorado Avalanche. 

Gajic returns to the Rats for the second time this season, having earned a goal and a plus-2 rating in four games with Albany in February.

Gajic has 30 points (12 G, 18 A) in 22 games this season with the Everblades and would have seen more time in Albany this year had he not suffered a serious leg injury in November.

Gajic has been on an amazing hot streak since returning to action in January, tallying 21 points (10 G, 11 A) in his last 13 games with the Blades, including last night's game-winning goal against the Gwinnett Gladiators. 

Boychuk tallies two assists for Canes

Rookie forward Zach Boychuk last night stayed aggressive on the forecheck and tallied two assists to help lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a decisive 4-1 win of the Ottawa Senators. Boychuk now has six points (1 G, 5 A) and a plus-2 rating in 13 games with the Canes this season. Read post-game comments from Boychuk at the Raleigh News & Observer. Watch highlights of the game here

River Rats readying for playoffs push

This is an important weekend, to say the least. The Troy Record gives us a preview as the final push for the playoffs approaches. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rats welcome new faces after trades

As many predicted, the Carolina Hurricanes yesterday made a flurry of deals prior to the NHL trade deadline, unloading five veterans, opening up nearly $9 million in salary cap space, and clearing room for prospects from Albany.

When the dust finally settled, the Rats had lost three players and gained three new faces.

Fourth-line center Harrison Reed, who spent the past two seasons with Albany, was dealt to the Colorado Avalanche and will likely join the Lake Erie Monsters in the North Division. 

Carolina made room for rookie forward Zach Boychuk and blueliner Jay Harrison, both of whom were recalled last night.

Veterans Joe Corvo, Aaron Ward, Stephane Yelle, Scott Walker and Andrew Alberts were all traded away for younger players and draft picks. 

Joining the River Rats in the coming days will be Justin Pogge, a talented netminder from Anaheim; Oskar Osala, a large power forward from Washington; and rookie Cedric LaLonde-McNicoll, a natural center from Colorado. 

Pogge, who will be 24 years old in April, has been spending the season with the San Antonio Rampage, where he has earned a 2.57 GAA, .920 SV%, one shutout and a record of 12-7-0-3. 

Pogge started the year with the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL, registering a 2.69 GAA, .902 SV%, one shutout, and a record of 6-2-0-0. 

Pogge was acquired along with a fourth-round pick from Anaheim in exchange for veteran defenseman Aaron Ward.

Selected in the third-round by Toronto in 2004, Pogge spent his first three professional seasons with the Marlies. He was granted seven starts with the Maple Leafs last season, but did not perform up to expectations and was traded to Anaheim during the summer.

Pogge, a native of Fort McMurray, Alberta, is a product of the Western Hockey League. He spent two years with the Prince George Cougars and another two years with the Calgary Hitmen, putting up a phenomenal 1.72 GAA, .926 SV%, 11 shutouts and a record of 38-10-2-4 during his final junior year. Pogge was honored with the league's MVP award and was named Canadian Hockey League goaltender-of-the-year.

Pogge helped Team Canada win its second consecutive gold medal at the 2006 World Junior Championships with a 1.00 GAA, .952 SV% and an undefeated record of 6-0. 

Pogge is listed at 6-foot-3, 204 pounds and is similar in size and frame to Albany's regular starter, Justin Peters, as well as Carolina's goalie coach Tom Barrasso, who hopes to personally fine-tune the skills of the young netminder.

The acquisition of Pogge gives Albany some stability in net as Justin Peters remains in Carolina. Canes' starter Cam Ward is out indefinitely and Rats' rookie Mike Murphy is sporting a cast/finger-splint.

Recently acquired back-up goalie Ryan Mior, who was signed to a professional tryout contract on Sunday, will likely be released after he recovers from an undisclosed injury suffered on Tuesday.

Oskar Osala, drafted by the Washington Capitals in the fourth round in 2006, comes to Albany from the division rival Hershey Bears, where the Finnish-born 22-year-old has totaled 29 points (15 G, 14 A) in 53 games this season (including two goals and an assist against Albany). 

Osala was acquired along with Brian Pothier (formally of R.P.I.) and a second-round pick from Washington in exchange for defenseman Joe Corvo.

Listed at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Osala is a powerful winger best known for his speed and hard shot. He knows how to play tough and is not afraid to mix things up from time to time. 

After spending a season in the Finnish elite league SM-liiga, Osala signed a three-year deal with the Capitals in 2008. 

Osala tallied 37 points (23 G, 14 A) and a +11 rating in 75 games with the Bears last year and put up another six goals and four assists in 22 playoff contests as Hershey went on to win the Calder Cup. 

Osala was recalled to the Capitals on two occasions, going scoreless in his first two NHL appearances.

Cedric LaLonde-McNicoll is a 21-year-old undrafted rookie center who started his pro career this season with the Lake Erie Monsters. 

The undersized youngster was acquired along with a sixth-round pick from Colorado in exchange for Stephane Yelle and Harrison Reed.

Born in Longueuil, Quebec, LaLonde-McNicoll spent four full seasons with the Shawinigan Cataractes of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League prior to going pro in October. The small but speedy playmaker, listed at 5-foot-10, 178 pounds, was the third-highest scorer in the QMJHL last season with 104 points (38 G, 66 A) in 65 games.

LaLonde-McNicoll has 13 points (5 G, 8 A) in 45 games this year with Lake Erie.

Report: Negotiation tactics revealed

The Central Maine Sports Blog, a reputable online publication covering sports in Maine, offers a revealing inside account and perspective of the negotiations between the Times Union Center and the Portland Pirates. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Trade deadline deals

  • Defenseman Aaron Ward to Anaheim for goaltender Justin Pogge and a fourth-round pick. 
  • Forward Scott Walker to Washington for a seventh-round pick. 
  • Defenseman Joe Corvo to Washington for defenseman Brian Pothier, forward Oskar Osala and a second-round pick. 
  • Andrew Alberts to Vancouver for a third-round pick. 
  • Forwards Stephane Yelle and Harrison Reed to Colorado for rookie forward Cedric Lalonde-McNicoll and a sixth-round pick.

Rats unseat Senators, 6-1

Post-game coverage:

Peters earns third NHL victory

The hard work and determination of goaltender Justin Peters was destined to pay off at some point. Three NHL games, three wins, a 1.34 GAA and .957 SV%. CongRATS to Petey, the star-of-the-game tonight in Toronto with 32 saves!!! Read the recap at the Raleigh News & Observer.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Deal inching closer

A deal to bring a new AHL franchise to Albany could be signed in the next 7-10 days and may be officially announced on March 10th. Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union has the story.

Rats weekly

The usual weekly summary is available at the Rats' website

Fitzy excited for 'Ratinee'

Defenseman Zack FitzGerald is looking forward to Tuesday's "Ratinee" at 11 am Tuesday. The rugged blueliner talks with Bill Cain at the Schenectady Daily Gazette about the special start-time and what it will be like to skate in front of thousands of screaming kids. 

Rats drowned by Pirates, 4-2

Post-game coverage: