Good morning from the Den!
First of all, I sincerely hope all of our season ticket holders had a great time at the ticket pickup event last night. The unveiling of the scoreboard was certainly the highlight of the night, wasn’t it?? I also heard tons of comments about how approachable and kind the players were to our fans. That’s pretty much a given in my mind. We had a wonderful turnout of nearly 3,000 people and folks, what you saw on the board will not even scratch the surface of the list of things it can do during the regular season. I can’t wait either, believe me!
Madison Bowey won the hardest shot competition too, firing a blast of 98 mph on his second attempt (his first: 97). In a neat twist, assistant coach Bryan Helmer went up against Bowey and fellow competitors Riley Barber and Bobby Shea. Helmer fell 0.5 mph short of Bowey’s reading, and unfortunately for the players, did not have to buy dinner for them. I still think Helmer – with his heart of gold – will still treat, even if it happens to be at Chipotle or McDonald’s.
During the event, the Albany Devils arrived at Giant Center and began to load into their locker room in preparation for tonight’s pre-season opener. Former Bears centerman Jim O’Brien was one of them, and hopefully we get a chance to see him at some point.
The parent New Jersey Devils went through one heck of a transition in the off-season, with long-time GM Lou Lamoriello heading to the Toronto Maple Leafs and former Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero moving in to Lou’s spot. Shero brought up his former staff in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, with head coach John Hynes getting his first crack on an NHL bench. Hynes, in turn, swiped assistant coach Alain Nasreddine from northeastern Pennsylvania and took him along for the NHL ride. Another of Shero’s former colleagues in Pittsburgh, then-special assistant Tom Fitzgerald, is now serving as the GM of Albany. The Albany coaching staff has largely remained the same, with Rick Kowalsky back again to try to take his crew through a new-look division.
Hershey’s morning skate gets underway at 10:00 am, and Albany will take the ice at 11:15. I’ll have lineup information and a few interviews later on today. Here’s hoping that with Lou’s departure comes the removal of the embargo on talking to his entire staff!