My first sight upon entering the Glens Falls Civic Center this afternoon was Adirondack Red Wings legend Glenn Merkosky in a denim shirt and jeans taking a leisurely spin on the ice with several young players. Didn't look too bad, actually. Wonder how his hands are. The Rats could use a proven scorer ....
(Caught up with Merk in the press box later on, where he joked about what the fans would say if they saw him earlier. "Looks like he hasn't lost a step," he said. "That's how slow he was when he played.")
Former Rats forward David Cunniff and the Worcester Sharks caught some traffic around Albany and didn't arrive at the arena until 5:45 p.m. Good thing for a 7:30 start. Some of the looks on the faces of Sharks players as they surveyed their surroundings were priceless. The best was NHL veteran Kyle McLaren, who will be playing his first minor-league game tonight. His head nearly scraping the ceiling in the hallway corridor, he slowly and silently glanced around with eyes wide open and a "is this what it's like" expression.
Two lineup changes for the Rats tonight. Goalie Daniel Manzato gets the start, with Noah Babin replacing Jonathan Paiement on defense. Paiement was assigned to ECHL Florida this week.
Not dressed for Albany are injured forwards Jerome Samson, Bobby Hughes and Joe Jensen, as well asa defensemen Benn Olson and still-suspended captain Tim Conboy, serving the final game of his sentence.
Line combinations from warmups were: Marc Cavosie-Dwight Helminen-Nicolas Blanchard, Yannick Tifu-Jakub Petruzalek-Pat Dwyer (A), Mike Angelidis (A)-Stefan Chaput-Harrison Reed, Trevor Gillies (A)-Nick Dodge-Ryan Weston.
Defense pairings: Bryan Rodney-Mark Flood, Casey Borer-Brett Carson, Babin-Brett Bellemore.
For Worcester, Union College product T.J. Fox is here after missing the season opener last week with an injury. He's skating on a line with Brett Westgarth and Frazer McLaren. Former Rats forward Dan DaSilva, signed to an AHL contract this week, was on a line with P.J. Fenton and Michael Wilson.
McLaren (the defenseman, not to be confused with new Sharks teammate Frazer McLaren, a towering 6-4, 225-pound rookie left wing), is paired with rookie Jason Demers on defense and wearing the alternate captain's 'A.' Thomas Greiss gets the start in goal.