Butler excited to play in second All-Star game
It turns out Bobby Butler will get to play in the AHL All-Star Game after all.
The right wing for the Albany Devils was recalled for New Jersey’s training camp after the lockout ended, and it was unclear if he would be available for the exhibition game in Providence on Monday. New Jersey returned him to Albany before the start of the abbreviated season, though, and he will be headed to Rhode Island for his second appearance as a AHL All-Star — his first coming two years ago as a Binghamton Senator when the game was in Hershey.
“It’s exciting. It’s a nice honor, and I’m lucky and happy to represent Albany,” Butler said. “It’s an exciting time, and it’s good for the resume.”
He had quite the month in December, playing all 12 games and recording 11 goals and five assists. He finished the month with a plus-nine rating and a shooting percentage of 22 percent.
“The month of December was insane,” Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said. “We haven’t had a guy here like that who just had a nose for the net, in every game the puck was around him, he was finding it, it was finding him and he was finding the back of the net. Whatever he scored in that month, he probably could have had another five. We’re going to need him to do that. With him being up in New Jersey, then back, now the All-Star [game coming up], I think his game has tapered off a bit here, but it’s been a busy schedule for him. If he can find the net for us, he definitely is something we need, as far as a production standpoint.”
For the season, Butler has 15 goals and nine assists. He leads the team in goals, points (24) and power-play goals (five).
The All-Star Game isn’t quite the same as regular hockey games. There is practically no hitting, which makes for more courageous play.
“You definitely try things you don’t usually try in a game,” Butler said. “It’s good to have some fun and just relax out there.
“It’s fun, it’s kind of how you play in the summer. Once you get to the third, everybody picks up the intensity and starts back-checking, so you just kind of go with the flow of the game and see what happens.”
A native of Marlborough, Mass., Butler will be about an hour’s drive from his hometown, so he should have a decent contingent of friends and family on hand for the game. Also, he’ll have a chance to spend some of the All-Star break away from the game, like everyone else, and catch his breath before the second half begins Feb. 1 ... back at Providence.
“I’ll be close to home, so it’ll be good,” he said. “I only have to put my equipment on twice, so it’s not too bad. You don’t have to go full speed, so it’s a fun, relaxing two days, and I still have a couple days to do my own thing.”