NEWS: Jeff Frazee To Stay With Devils Organization

Frazee will likely end up competing with Keith Kinkaid and Scott Wedgewood for one of two goaltender jobs with the Albany Devils.

Prospect Buzz: Albany Goaltending Has Not Been A Problem

Pat Pickens

While the New Jersey Devils goaltending has been a source of recent stress, the Albany Devils have not struggled with such problems.

The three-headed monster of Keith Kinkaid, Jeff Frazee and Scott Wedgewood have combined for an .899 save percentage and 2.65 goals-against average in 59 games.

Toss out Wedgewood’s so-so three games, and Frazee and Kinkaid have combined for a 2.62 goals-against and .912 save percentage.

“(Kinkaid) has been good for us all year,” Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said Sunday after Albany’s 2-0 loss to Bridgeport. “Our goaltending hasn’t been an issue.”

The problem is, Kinkaid and Frazee — and more recently Wedgewood — have been doomed by Albany’s sudden lack of offense. As was discussed Sunday, Albany’s power play is converting just 11.4 percent of the time.

“We’d be sitting in a lot better position than we are now if it was better,” Kowalsky said.

With Tim Sestito called up — and perhaps another forward making the jump after Alex Ponikarovsky’s recent injury — offense may continue to be the A-Devils’ downfall.

Most of you know that Stefan Matteau was sent back to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Sunday.

But what does that actually mean?

Matteau was eligible to return to Blainville-Brisbois because he is only 19-years old. When Blainville-Brisbois’ season ends — the Armada open a best-of-seven series with Acadie-Bathurst Thursday — Matteau will be eligible to complete the year with Albany or return to New Jersey.

Matteau, who only recorded three points in 17 games, already has played in enough NHL games to start his waiver clock. I imagine since Matteau obviously was not quite NHL ready yet, the Devils are trying to let him gain some confidence and keep him from reaching the 160 games which also would remove him from waiver exemption.

NEWS: Devils Take Brodeur Off IR, Re-assign Frazee

In what was a wholly expected move, the Devils officially removed Martin Brodeur from injured reserve and assigned backup goalie Jeff Frazee to AHL Albany. Brodeur will serve as the backup goalie tonight before returning to the starting position Thursday.

Frazee appeared in one game during his time with the Devils. Brodeur was on injured reserve since Feb. 26.

Injury Report: Marty Brodeur To Be Backup Against Rangers

Martin Brodeur will dress as the Devils’ backup goalie tonight against the New York Rangers, according to Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger.

Brodeur also told reporters that he woke up “feeling fine” and is “100 percent.” He is ready to start any time, he added.

Johan Hedberg will start again for the last time in probably a little while.

Corey Griffin

As we said yesterday, Brodeur will back up Hedberg tonight only because of conditioning reasons. Monday was Brodeur’s first practice with the team since a pinched nerve kept him on the sidelines for weeks. Now, if Moose suddenly gets shelled by the Rangers in the first period, I wouldn’t be shocked in the least if Marty ends up entering the game for him. First off, Hedberg has gotta be exhausted, but, more importantly, Brodeur would probably feed off the energy of the crowd and adrenaline to help him get through any rust factor. Don’t go expecting a sudden change at the last minute, but don’t be surprised if Marty finds his way into tonight’s game at some point.

Life On The Farm Is No Glamorous Road

Pat Pickens

No Albany Devil has recorded more points in two years than Joe Whitney.

The 5-6, 170-pound winger’s game is tenacious and feisty. Playing such a game has enabled him to record 85 points in 122 AHL games in Albany.

“He’s playing with intensity, he’s competing,” Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said Sunday after Albany’s 2-0 loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. “He’s not a big guy, but he’s strong on the puck. He’s been doing it all for us.

“I’ve really liked his play.”

Joe Whitney

Joe Whitney

Still Whitney’s not gotten his call. Many of his teammates have. Heck, his linemate — 30-year-old winger Matt Anderson — even got his brief moment in the show, recording an assist in two games in New Jersey  earlier this year.

“I’m happy for those guys who get to go up,” Whitney said Sunday after the Devils’ 2-0 loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

But Whitney’s not concerning himself with all that. The recently-turned 25-year old is working to help the A-Devils’ struggling power play and trying to help Albany reach the Calder Cup playoffs.

“We haven’t gotten rewarded much,” Whitney said of the power play. “We’ve got to figure it out down the stretch if we want to win some games and get into the playoffs.”

Albany sits in ninth, just one point behind eighth-place Syracuse, with only 16 games left.

“I’m giving it everything I’ve got every night,” Whitney said. “Right now, it’s about wins.”

The road to the NHL is littered with stories like Whitney’s. Anderson was one until he got his call this February. But after only two games, he was sent back to Albany.

Likewise, A-Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid spent eight days with New Jersey — playing in just one game — before being recalled for Jeff Frazee on March 6.

“It’s just more stuff to work on,” Kinkaid said. “It’s a battle to get back up there.”

With Martin Brodeur’s return imminent, Frazee likely will be sent back to the AHL life of riding buses and playing three games in three days over a weekend that takes you from Rochester, N.Y. to Syracuse to Bridgeport, Conn. like this past weekend did.

It’s by no means glamorous.

Still, it’s playing hockey for a living.

Goalie Plan: It’s A Moose Watch This Weekend

With Martin Brodeur slowly but surely creeping toward a return, Pete DeBoer was asked whether we might see Marty in net this weekend. You know, because the Devils just played Wednesday and then have a back-to-back set on Friday and Saturday.

OK, so does that mean the 39-year-old Johan Hedberg will look to extend his streak of 10 straight starts in net to 12? Yup.

Hedberg’s looked much better of late, but I imagine he’s looking forward to getting at least one night off once Marty does return.

Midterm Grades: It’s The Goalie!

Corey Griffin

Brodeur-Hedberg

Has the Devils’ goaltending duo been a boost or a weight around their neck? Hmm.

Being that the Devils are at the half-way point of the season (OK, a couple games past it but cut us some slack), we decided to do some “grades” for this team. Originally, this was supposed to be one full post, but after compiling them, it seems better to break them up into different pieces today. Earlier, we gave you our grades for the forwards and the defensemen. Now, we get to the goalies.

(Disclaimer: All “grades” comments are usually entirely too general and tend to omit more detail than normal, so apologies in advance if we left a player out.)

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