Wednesday, June 16, 2010

AHL, now at 30 teams, announces alignment for 2010 season

The American Hockey League has reached its long-term goal of 30 clubs, each serving as a primary affiliate among the National Hockey League’s 30 teams.
Yet here are few changes in the divisional alignment for the upcoming 2010-11 season for the AHL, which serves as the top developmental league for the NHL.
The new Albany Devils team will skate in the Eastern Conference’s East Division, just like its predecessor, the Albany River Rats — did before it was sold and moved to Charlotte, N.C. after serving as the top farm club of the Carolina Hurricanes for the past four seasons.
The Devils, who return to Albany after stocking the River Rats club with players for 13 seasons (1993-94 through 2005-06), moved their franchise to the Capital District after their affiliate spent the last four AHL campaigns in Lowell, Mass.
The new Albany franchise will be joined in the eight-team East Division by Empire state foes Adirondack, Syracuse, now Anaheim’s top affiliate, and Binghamton; Hershey, which recently won its second consecutive Calder Cup; Charlotte; Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Norfolk.
With the move of the Devils to Albany, the Atlantic Division was trimmed to seven teams, which includes Springfield, now the top farm club of Columbus.
The Edmonton Oilers, who did house their prospects in Springfield, moved their franchise to Oklahoma City, which will compete in the Western Conference’s West Division.
Here are the new division alignments:

Atlantic Division
Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders)
Hartford Wolf Pack (New York Rangers)
Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles Kings)
Portland Pirates (Buffalo Sabres)
Providence Bruins (Boston Bruins)
Springfield Falcons (Columbus Blue Jackets)
Worcester Sharks (Worcester Sharks)
East Division
Adirondack Phantoms (Philadelphia Flyers)
Albany Devils (New Jersey Devils)
Binghamton Senators (Ottawa Senators)
Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes)
Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals)
Norfolk Admirals (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Syracuse Crunch (Anaheim Ducks)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh Penguins)

North Division
Abbotsford Heat (Calgary Flames)
Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings)
Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens)
Lake Erie Monsters (Colorado Avalanche)
Manitoba Moose (Vancouver Canucks)
Rochester Americans (Florida Panthers)
Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs)
West Division
Chicago Wolves (Atlanta Thrashers)
Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild)
Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators)
Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton Oilers)
Peoria Rivermen (St. Louis Blues)
Rockford IceHogs (Chicago Blackhawks)
San Antonio Rampage (Phoenix Coyotes)
Texas Stars (Dallas Stars)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Devil of a town once again

It's official --- the New Jersey Devils are back in town.
The Devils announced they will move their American Hockey League franchise from Lowell, Mass. to Albany for the upcoming season.
New Jersey, which owns its AHL team, agreed to a five-year deal with the Times Union Center.
The arena hosted the Devils' farm team --- the Albany River Rats for 13 seasons (1993-94 to 2005-06).
The new team will be called the Albany Devils and will wear sweaters with the traditional colors of red, black and white --- with the new logo an 'A' complete with Devil horns and tail.
The 2010-11 campaign will be the 18th consecutive season of pro hockey in downtown Albany.
The River Rats franchise, which was sold by owner Walter Robb, has been relocated to Charlotte, N.C., after four seasons as the Carolina Hurricanes top affiliate, where it will become the Charlotte Checkers.

Madden reunited with Lord Stanley

John Madden has reached the pinnacle of hockey again.
The 37-year-old center won his third Stanley Cup on Wednesday night as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-3 in overtime in Game 6 to claim their first Cup since 1961.
Madden, who spent two seasons with the Albany River Rats (1997-98 and 1998-99) won two Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils in 1999-2000 and 2003-04.
The University of Michigan product spent 10 seasons with New Jersey and joined Chicago this season, and posted 23 (10-13) points in 79 games and contributed a goal and an assist in 21 playoff games.