Sunday, February 28, 2010

Peters gets the call; Rats welcome Mior

Goaltender Justin Peters today was recalled by the Carolina Hurricanes, while the Albany River Rats signed netminder Ryan Mior to a professional tryout contract.

Cam Ward of the Canes is suffering from chronic back problems and will be out for at least a few weeks, possibly longer. 

Veteran Mike Morrison will assume starting duties for the Rats. 

Peters will return to Carolina having registered a 1.51 GAA, .950 SV% and two victories in his first two NHL starts earlier this month. Peters should see more playing time on this recall and may compete to become the go-to goalie as Ward remains sidelined. 

In 41 games with Albany this season, Peters has a 2.60 GAA, .915 SV%, one shutout and a record of 26-16-2-1.

Backing up Mike Morrison for the Rats will be youngster Ryan Mior, a 22-year-old second-year pro who has been spending the season with the Dayton Gems of the International Hockey League. 

In 26 games this year with the Gems, Mior has a .899 SV%, 3.23 GAA, one shutout and a record of 11-11-2-1.  

Mior played with the Rochester Americans earlier this season on a tryout contract and put up decent numbers during his first seven AHL appearances, earning a 3.03 GAA, .907 SV% and a record of 3-4-0-0. 

Mior's most impressive performance came on December 26 when the netminder overcame a shot differential of 47 to 23 to lead Rochester to a 4-2 victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Mior, a native of St. John's, Newfoundland, spent his junior years in the QMJHL with the Prince Edward Island Rocket and Gatineau Olympiques before kicking off his professional career last season in the Central Hockey League with the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs.

Mior finished 2008-09 with the Port Huron IceHawks of the IHL, putting up a 1.94 GAA, .925 SV%, four shutouts and a record of 11-3-2-3. 

Catch video on YouTube of an interview with Mior taped in December in Rochester.

Rats dethrone Monarchs, 5-2

Post-game coverage:

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Return of the roster shuffle

With goaltender Cam Ward of the Carolina Hurricanes still sidelined with back issues, Rats' netminder Justin Peters will be returning to Raleigh by week's end. Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union has the story.

Injured Canes' forwards Erik Cole, Scott Walker and Chad LaRose are all expected be on the ice when the NHL starts back up next week. Barring any trades, Carolina will have one extra forward, including Albany captain Pat Dwyer. Forwards Zach Boychuk and Steven Goertzen were reassigned prior to the Olympic break.

Recently acquired defenseman Alexandre Picard joined the Hurricanes at practice yesterday, giving the parent club seven defenseman, including Rats' alternate captain Brett Carson.

Rats' rookies honored

The River Rats' youngsters continue to impress. The AHL announced yesterday that rookies Zach Boychuk and Drayson Bowman were included in the league's "Top Prospects" trading-card set and first-year defenseman Jamie McBain was selected by the Hockey News for this week's "Hot List."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Remember when

Longtime River Rats' fan Michael Hochman takes us back with a few video clips from the glory days of 1995. Available on Facebook and YouTube in two parts

Arena GM: AHL deal 'potentially close'

Times Union Center General Manager Bob Belber tells the Albany Times Union that a deal to bring a new AHL team to the city could be in place by the first week of March. 

Rats weekly

The regular weekly rundown is up at the Rats' website

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pirates' owner talks about the future

Managing owner of the Portland Pirates Brian Petrovek sits down with Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union to discuss the possibility of the franchise relocating to the Capital District. Read the full interview here

Rats bus crash, one year later

Carolina Hurricanes' writer David Droschak takes a look back at the tragic events of last February and the long lasting impact the bus crash had on players like Casey Borer. Read parts one and two at the Canes' website.

Rats robbed by Pirates, 3-2

Post-game coverage:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tlusty providing experience for Rats

Forward Jiri Tlusty has brought a special mixture of youth, talent, and experience to the River Rats' line-up. The Troy Record takes a closer look at the 20-year-old native of the Czech Republic. 

Rats hope to regain top form

The River Rats are hoping to forget Wednesday's blowout and regain top form as they head into a three-game weekend. The Schenectady Daily Gazette has the story. 

Chatter on the future

Latest on the future:
(A source with an inside track tells us a deal is close to being completed!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rats demote Admirals, 2-1

Post-game coverage:

Q&A with Jeff Daniels

Coach Jeff Daniels chats with Cory Lavalette at Canes Country

Senator Schumer wants AHL in Albany

Senator Charles Schumer has joined the fight to keep AHL hockey in Albany. Go to the Albany Times Union to read more. 

Rats weekly

The regular weekly summary is up at the Rats' website

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tlusty giving Rats his best

Lately Jiri Tlusty has been demonstrating precisely why he was selected in the first round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union has the story. 

Rats looking for momentum

The River Rats are hoping to build off Saturday's 7-0 win over Binghamton. Bill Cain at the Schenectady Daily Gazette has the story. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Q&A with Casey Borer

Casey Borer talks with the Albany Times Union about recovering from the bus crash and returning to the game.

Peters, Boychuk and Goertzen returned

With the NHL entering a two-week break for the Olympics, the Carolina Hurricanes today reassigned goaltender Justin Peters and forwards Zach Boychuk and Steven Goertzen to the Albany River Rats. 

Peters is coming off the first two NHL starts of his career after being recalled on February 5th. He earned two wins, a 1.51 GAA, .950 SV%, and a fair share of praise from his coaches, teammates, fans and the local press. 

In 34 games with the River Rats this season, Peters has a record of 18-13-2, with one shutout, a 2.55 GAA and .916 SV%.

The return of Peters gives the Rats three goaltenders and will likely result in the reassignment of veteran Mike Morrison to the ECHL.

Zach Boychuk, who was recalled on Friday night, picked up his first NHL goal on Saturday against the legendary Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils. Boychuk now has a goal and three assists in 12 games with the Hurricanes this season. 

Boychuk ranks among the AHL's top rookies and is one of the Rats' leading scorers with 27 points (21 G, 22 A) in 43 games.

Gritty checking forward Steven Goertzen returns to Albany after spending six games with the Canes. He was recalled on February 2 and dropped the gloves Tuesday night with Bryan Allen of the Florida Panthers.

The reassignment of Boychuk and Goertzen gives the Rats 13 healthy forwards as the team prepares for Monday's important divisional match-up against the Norfolk Admirals. 

The Rats may reassign a skater to the Florida Everblades by tomorrow.

Boychuk scores, Peters wins again

Netminder Justin Peters and rookie forward Zach Boychuk last night helped lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 5-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union has the details. 

Rats dominate Senators, 7-0

Post-game coverage:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Canes trade Cullen

The Carolina Hurricanes yesterday traded forward Matt Cullen to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for defenseman Alexandre Picard and a second round draft pick in 2010.

The trade gives the Canes an extra defenseman and may result in the reassignment of Albany alternate captain Brett Carson.

The move also means rookie Zach Boychuk will be spending some extra time in the NHL, as three Carolina forwards remain sidelined with injuries. Boychuk was recalled last night immediately after the Rats' 5-2 loss to the Hershey Bears.

Albany captain Pat Dwyer, checking forward Steven Goertzen and goaltender Justin Peters also remain with the big club.

The Rats will be offered some support and rare stability over the next two weeks as the NHL breaks for the Olympics. Reinforcements will likely be sent down in time for Monday afternoon's home game against the Norfolk Admirals.

The Rats will be short one skater tonight against the Binghamton Senators.

Rats clawed by Bears, 5-2

Post-game coverage:

Chatter on the future

Latest on the future:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Focusing on hockey

With all the news floating around regarding the move to Charlotte, Rats players and coaches are staying focused on hockey. The Schenectady Daily Gazette and Troy Record preview the weekend. 

Chatter on the future

Latest on the future:

Monday, February 8, 2010

Source: Sale of Rats to be announced Wednesday

From WNYT 13:

ALBANY - The future of the AHL hockey in Albany is in question now more than ever.

NewsChannel 13 has learned that a news conference is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in Charlotte for a major hockey announcement.

A couple of weeks ago a North Carolina newspaper reported that the sale of the Albany River Rats to a group in North Carolina was imminent.

A source tells NewsChannel 13 that the news conference will announce the sale has been finalized.

That means that when the season ends, the River Rats in their current form will no longer exist.

UPDATE: NewsChannel 13 has also learned that car dealership owner Billy Fuccillo is looking to buy the New York Islanders' AHL team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and move them from Bridgeport, Conn. to Albany.

Peters post-game interview

(Stick tap to "Hockeymomof2" for sending the link.)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Wallin traded, Carson holds position

After several days of back and forth negotiations, the Carolina Hurricanes today traded veteran defenseman Niclas Wallin to the San Jose Sharks. In exchange for Wallin and a fifth round draft pick, the Canes acquired a second round pick for next year's draft. 

The trade suggests former Rats' defenseman and alternate captain Brett Carson has earned a permanent spot on the NHL roster. Carson has been skating on a regular shift since early December. 

Wallin has been a healthy scratch since Joe Corvo was activated from injured reserve last week.

Boychuk back

The Carolina Hurricanes today reassigned rookie forward Zach Boychuk to the River Rats, giving Albany 20 healthy skaters as the team prepares for Wednesday's away game in Binghamton.

Boychuk was recalled to Carolina on Friday and earned two assists in two games with the Canes over the weekend. 

Boychuk is the Rats second highest leading scorer with 12 goals and 15 assists in 41 games. He ranks among the AHL's top rookies and his five game-winners ties for fifth best in the league.

Tifu released

The Albany River Rats today released forward Yannick Tifu from his professional tryout contract.

Tifu scored his first AHL goal of the season last night in Albany's 7-6 victory over the Springfield Falcons. He will rejoin the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL, where he has 44 points (13 G, 31 A) in 30 games so far this season.

Tifu was signed on Wednesday after forward Steven Goertzen was recalled by the Carolina Hurricanes. 

The release suggests an injured or recalled player may return to the line-up on Wednesday as the Rats travel to Binghamton to face the Senators. Tifu could also be re-signed after skating with Elmira today on the road in Trenton.

Rats take Falcons for ride in OT, 7-6

Post-game coverage:

Peters named first star in NHL debut

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Peters to make NHL debut

Goaltender Justin Peters will make his NHL debut tonight with the Carolina Hurricanes as they face off against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum at 7 pm.

Gajic, Morrison called up

The River Rats have a twenty-man roster once again. Forward Milan Gajic and goaltender Mike Morrison will join the team tonight at home against Springfield. The Rats' website has the news. 

Rats held off by Senators, 4-3

Post-game coverage:

Friday, February 5, 2010

News & Notes UPDATED

  • Goaltender Justin Peters today was recalled by the Carolina Hurricanes. Canes' starter Cam Ward is experiencing an upper-body muscle problem, possibly related to a chronic back issue. Coach Paul Maurice say Peters could make his NHL debut tomorrow night against the New York Islanders. Netminder Mike Morrison, who was reassigned to the ECHL yesterday, will likely be returned to the River Rats. Mike Murphy has recovered from a hip injury and should be able to start for Albany tonight against the Senators in Binghamton. The Rats signed goalie Tyler Sims temporarily to play back-up.
  • Rookie forward Zach Boychuk was also recalled to the Hurricanes today. Carolina forwards Chad LaRose and Tuomo Ruutu recently joined Erik Cole and Scott Walker on the team's injured list. Boychuk will likely skate tonight on a line with Brandon Sutter and Pat Dwyer as the Canes take on the Sabres in Buffalo. 
  • Forward Jiri Tlusty yesterday was reassigned to the River Rats. Tlusty has a goal and five assists in 18 games with the Hurricanes this year. The former first-round draft pick was acquired in December in a trade with Toronto and appeared in four games with Albany earlier this season. Read more in the Troy Record
  • Gritty winger Steven Goertzen made his debut with the Hurricanes Wednesday night in Calgary. He saw just over six minutes of ice-time and registered an even plus/minus rating as the Canes fell 4-1 to the Flames. Goertzen will play again tonight in Buffalo alongside Stephane Yelle and Rod Brind'Amour. 
  • Rumors are swirling that Hurricanes' veteran blueliner Niclas Wallin will soon be traded to the San Jose Sharks for a second-round draft pick. That means defenseman Brett Carson has likely earned a full-time NHL spot. D-man Joe Corvo, who was cut with a skate blade in late November, recently returned to the line-up, giving the Hurricanes an extra defenseman. Wallin was a healthy scratch Wednesday night. UPDATE: The trade is off. Wallin decided not to waive his no-trade clause.
  • Rookie defenseman Jamie McBain has been getting his fair share of press coverage lately. Check out this article in the Albany Times Union and these two features at the Schenectady Daily Gazette. 
  • The fourth annual Ronald McDonald House jersey auction will be held tomorrow night at the Times Union Center after the Rats face the Springfield Falcons at 5 pm. Read more at the Rats' website. Also check out pictures of players visiting the Ronald McDonald House and other locations around the Capital District.
  • Forward Milan Gajic of the Florida Everblades has put up six goals and 11 points in his first six games since returning from a long-term lower-body injury. Gajic skated with Albany during the preseason and his services may soon be needed once again.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tifu returns to town

The Albany River Rats today signed forward Yannick Tifu to a professional tryout contract. 

The 25-year-old playmaker is having a dynamite season in the ECHL with 44 points (13 G, 31 A) in 36 games with the Elmira Jackels and Victoria Salmon Kings.

Tifu, now an official "Rat-for-hire," returns to Albany for the third consecutive season. 

Tifu tallied three goals and 15 assists in 38 games with the River Rats last year and proved to be a vital part of the team after the February bus crash.

The fifth-year-pro split last season between the Rats and Florida Everblades and also skated in nine contests with Albany in 2007-08.

Tifu will fill in for Steven Goertzen, who was recalled yesterday by the Carolina Hurricanes.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Goertzen called up

The Carolina Hurricanes today recalled forward Steven Goertzen from the Albany River Rats.

Goertzen will fill in for Canes' forward Chad LaRose, who suffered an upper-body injury Saturday night and did not accompany the team this week on a four-game road trip. 

Goertzen, an energy player who was picked up as a free agent during the offseason, will make his first appearance with the Canes tomorrow night in Calgary against the Flames. 

Goertzen has six goals, seven assists and a plus-1 rating in 45 contests with the River Rats this season. He has 33 penalty minutes, including three fighting majors. 

Goertzen has 62 games of NHL experience with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Phoenix Coyotes. 

The call-up leaves the River Rats with just 10 healthy forwards.

News & Notes

  • The River Rats have been getting along without an official captain for some time. Coach Jeff Daniels tells the Albany Times Union the team has plenty of leaders and is in no rush to designate a new "C" in the near future. 
  • The Rats are focused for Wednesday's game and ready to bounce back from Saturday's loss in Hershey. Bill Cain at the Schenectady Daily Gazette has the story.  
  • Goaltender Mike Murphy, who is still recovering from a hip injury, is back at practice and could return to the line-up this weekend.
  • Carolina Hurricanes' defenseman Joe Corvo, who was sidelined with a leg laceration in late November, could return to action this weekend, meaning Brett Carson, who was recalled from Albany in early January, may be soon be reassigned to the Rats. The Canes could decide to keep Carson over another blueliner, namely veteran Aaron Ward. 
  • The comeback of Casey Borer is the focus of a story today at the NHL's website.
  • Forward Milan Gajic recently returned to the ice for the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. Gajic skated for Albany during the preseason and would have likely joined the Rats at some point during the regular season had he not been sidelined for three months with a leg injury. Gajic is featured in the Naples Daily News.
  • Former Rats' enforcer and hometown favorite Reid Simpson is back in the AHL at age 40. Simpson, who was thought to have finished his career in Russia in 2007, recently signed a tryout contract with the Chicago Wolves. The team's website has the story.