About Michael Gwizdala

Michael Gwizdala is in his first season of writing for the Power Play Post Show. Michael will be covering the Albany Devils and chiming in on all things AHL, around the Empire State. Michael is also an NHL accredited writer, covering the New Jersey Devils for The Hockey Writers for three years. Michael has also written for the Times Union and has been published on numerous outlets on the web, such as BronxPinstripes.com. Additionally, Michael was once a Media Relations intern for the AHL Albany River Rats. Michael is also a graduate of The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.

Pivotal Weekend Ahead For Albany Devils

One doesn’t have to be Kenny Loggins to realize, “this is it.” This, being the upcoming home-stand for the Albany Devils. More specifically, this weekend’s three-and-three at the Times Union Center, when the Devils host the Worcester Sharks, Syracuse Crunch and Springfield Falcons. After winning just two games in February, Albany has matched that total (2-0-1) already in March, earning a point in each contest thus far. Currently the sixth through eighth spots in the Eastern Conference are knotted up at 70 points apiece, with the aforementioned Sharks, Falcons and Portland Pirates all playing musical chairs. With 59 games played, Albany has 62 points and is eight back of a postseason berth. The Devils have a game in hand on Springfield and the same amount … Continue reading

Built To Be Champions The 1994-95 Albany River Rats

The 1994-95 season was a special one for the New Jersey Devils organization. It was a championship season that was on full display, with the franchise celebrating its 20th anniversary of winning its first Stanley Cup title. That club featured a number of players who honed their craft at Albany, Utica and other stops around the AHL. Speaking of which, that year was pretty special for the Devils top minor-league affiliate, the Albany River Rats. That season, the Rats won Albany’s first Calder Cup championship. It was the first time since the Montreal Canadiens and Nova Scotia Voyageurs, each won it in the same season, back in 1976-77. Seeing the 1995 squad back together, brought back a lot of great memories, leading some in Albany … Continue reading

Albany Devils Looking To Strike The Right Balance

Fighting through the fog of February. It is never an especially easy task. A task only made more difficult with a slate chalk full of road games, including a recent three-in-three weekend road swing. While they clotted the bleeding Saturday at Utica, the Albany Devils have been scuffling of late. Albany remains a game over AHL .500 but by virtue of going 2-8 in its last ten contests, has fallen seven points off the pace for the 8th and final playoff spot. Certainly there are some key differences between this squad and the one which stood atop the standings after all hallows eve. In New Jersey are Keith Kinkaid, Steve Bernier and Peter Harrold. Then of course the injuries and various call-ups that all clubs … Continue reading

Albany Devils February Focus

Short month, long and winding road trip. That’s what awaits the Albany Devils in February. Much like a baseball team in July, it’s a bit perplexing for a hockey team to have only a pair of home games in the dead of winter but such are the scheduling quirks of the AHL. Thus far, 2015 has been kind to the Devils. January saw the club register a ledger of 8-4-2-1, including a run of points in eight of their last nine games. Albany (22-15-4-5, 53 points) enters February tied with the Portland Pirates for sixth place in the Eastern Conference and just eight points off the pace, behind the Thruway rival Syracuse Crunch, for first place in the Northeast Division and overall in the Conference. … Continue reading

Martin Brodeur The Last Utica Devil

One year, 90 miles and one Peter Sidorkiewicz injury. That’s how close I came to seeing Martin Brodeur in an Albany uniform. Alas, Brodeur spent the 1993-94 season with the New Jersey Devils, won the Calder Memorial Trophy and the rest as they say is history. While he never played in Albany, Brodeur did spend one season in the AHL, playing for the Utica Devils. During the 1992-93 campaign, Brodeur posted a ledger of 14-13-5, in 32 games. That season also saw Brodeur register a goals against average of 4.03 and a .884 save percentage, while making 1,002 saves and recording six assists. In that year, Brodeur also shared duties with Corey Schwab and Chad Erickson. It was the final season of AHL play for … Continue reading

New Jersey Devils AHL Development Belongs In Albany

In 2010 they rode into town and planted their pitchfork at center ice. Hey Albany, we’re back. It was with that proclamation, the AHL was to stay in the capital of New York. Replacing the Albany River Rats, the artists formerly known as the River Rats, before they were the artists formerly known as the Lowell Devils, the Albany Devils signed a five-year lease agreement with the Times Union Center, which included facility upgrades. Fast forward to 2015 and they are in the final year of that lease. In case you haven’t noticed lately, much has been bandied about with regard to mass migration of clubs around the American Hockey League. Albany has not been immune from such speculation. That isn’t to say the New … Continue reading

AHL Movement Madness: Is Your Team Safe?

The dominoes are slowly falling but when the dust settles, the American Hockey League landscape could be something more resembling Jenga. Where the pieces or in this case the teams, fit and or fall, is anyone’s guess. First it was the announcement that the Oklahoma City Barons will cease operations at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season. Now there’s news, the Norfolk Admirals will raise anchor and change coasts. While it’s hardly news that there will be an AHL Pacific Division, come 2015, this chain reaction could have reverberations far beyond Oklahoma City, Norfolk, Manchester, Worcester, Glens Falls, etc. Not to be an alarmist or create mass speculation but if you think your team is safe, you may want to think again. If the initial … Continue reading

Albany Devils Review and Glance Ahead

An inauspicious start to November, left the Albany Devils pining for October hockey. Considering the callups, injuries and a couple of minor suspensions, Albany rebounded well and gained some momentum into December. Despite a depleted roster, the A-Devils have gained a point in each of the past four contests. Albany finished the month of November at 4-6-1-3 (12 points). On the season, the Devils are 10-6-1-4 (25 points) and are in a three-way-tie for fourth in the AHL Eastern Conference standings. On the leader-board, Joe Whitney and Paul Thompson are among the top 20, posting 19 and 18 points respectively, while Thompson is tied for second in the AHL with eleven goals scored. Through two months, Albany ranks 16th on the power play (16.7%) and … Continue reading

The 1995-96 Albany River Rats – Where Are They Now?

It is difficult in any sport to repeat as champions. In American League Hockey it has happened just eight times, with 2008-09 and 2009-10 Hershey Bears being the last to accomplish the feat. The old Springfield Indians are the lone AHL club to three-peat, doing so from 1959-62. In the 1995-96 season, the Albany River Rats were the pure definition of domination. Fresh off a Calder Cup championship season in 1994-95, the Rats and their defending Stanley Cup champion parent club New Jersey Devils, were riding high and looking to capture a second consecutive Cup. Alas it was not to be, as the free wheeling River Rats fell to the clutch and grab Conwall Aces (along with some pennies from heaven on the ice in … Continue reading

Albany Players Return: Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

You can go home again. Just ask Scott Clemmensen and Mark Fraser of the Albany Devils. Recently, Clemmensen was sent down by the New Jersey Devils and Fraser signed an AHL contract with Albany. Both began their professional careers in Albany, playing for the Albany River Rats, when they were a Devils affiliate. In fact, Clemmensen and his future Albany teammates, Brian Gionta and Bobby Allen, won the 2000-01 NCAA Men’s Hockey championship at the then Pepsi Arena, for the Boston College Eagles. While Fraser got into four games with the Rats in 2006 and also played for the A-Devils in 2011-12. I’m pretty sure that somewhere deep within the bowels of the now Times Union Center, there are cardboard cutouts of Clemmer and Ari … Continue reading