Friday, November 21, 2008

Local Press on Alby

Sometimes Google Alerts doesn't catch them all, so I appreciate when folks pass stuff along to me that I might not have seen. Here's an article on Aeros defenseman Paul Albers from his hometown paper.

From the Melville Advance in Melville, Saskatchewan:

Albers follows ‘Aero’ plan

Paul Albers is anything but a stay-at-home defenseman.

Former Melville resident Albers is now plying his trade in Houston as a member of the American Hockey League’s Aeros, farm club for the National Hockey League Minnesota Wild.

Although Albers feels he had a good camp in September for the Wild he knows it’s difficult to know what to expect for the rest of the season.

“Camp went well in Minnesota. It’s too hard to know if you’re going to get a call up (from Houston to Minnesota),” says Albers. “I fit into the same role that I was used on the team for last year.”

The offensive-minded rear guard plays anywhere from 20-30 minutes a game, logging a lot of ice time with a regular shift and also on the penalty kill and some powerplay.

The Aeros are currently in the middle of the pack in the AHL Western Conference West Division, just four points out of first place.

“Our team here is starting to gel and we’re improving every game,” adds Albers.
Albers went undrafted after his graduating season for the Western Hockey League Vancouver Giants. The high scoring defenseman signed with the Wild as a free agent in 2006.

In his fifth and final WHL season Albers led all defensemen in scoring with 17 goals and 62 points over 70 regular season games.

He had 19 points in 18 playoff games helping to lead the Giants to the WHL title and was named to the Western Conference first all-star team as well as the Memorial Cup first all-star team.

The 2006-07 season saw Albers toil with Texas Wildcatters of the East Coast Hockey League. He managed 43 points and was named to the ECHL All-Rookie team and played in the ECHL all-star game.

He had 21 points in 69 games with the Aeros last year.

As for Albers future as far as the NHL might be concerned he’s just going to have to put his nose to the grindstone.

“I just have to continue to develop in Houston and see where that leads me.”
A few points:
  • I actually didn't know he'd played in the ECHL All Star Game. That's a nice honor at any level of the pro game.
  • Nice also to hear that he feels like the team is gelling and improving. It's hard to know from the outside what's really going on in the heart of a team, but when I hear it from players, I tend to believe it's genuine.
  • As a fan, Paul is one of my favorite Aeros defensemen, simply because of the way he plays the game. He's the picture of self-sacrifice out there, blocking shots like he's oblivious to the 6 oz. of rock hard pain rocketing at him. He's a guy who has been willing to pay the price 100% of the time, and that's about as endearing as a hockey player can be in my book. If I'm a goalie, I want Paul Albers in front of me.
  • I haven't heard his status after being out the last couple of games. He got creamed on a hit during the game in Grand Rapids and hasn't played since. Not sure whether he hit his head or banged up a shoulder or what, but hopefully he's on the mend. I saw him wandering around after the game Sunday, so at least we know he's mobile and vertical. :)


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