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Jay Leach returns home

Jay Leach is the definition of a journeyman hockey player.

The Altamont native joined his 17th professional franchise when he was traded from the Worcester Sharks to the Albany Devils two weeks ago. Leach suited up for New Jersey's AHL affiliate last Friday at the Times Union Center when Albany hosted Worcester -- a game that the Devils won 5-4.

To be really honest, it's kind of old hat [for me], said Leach, a 10-year veteran defenseman. "I don't know if it affects me anymore [when traded]."

The one advantage this time was that Leach could truly go home. He spent the night before his home debut staying at his parents' house.

"My mother is ecstatic," said Leach. "I haven't been home in a couple of years."

Leach's professional resume looks like a minor league travelogue. His stops have included four ECHL teams and seven AHL franchises, as well as occasional call-ups to the NHL. His most recent NHL stint came shortly after his rights were traded from San Jose to New Jersey, as he spent a couple of games with the Devils before being sent back to Albany.

"It's such a long year and such a long career that it honestly feels like one bleeds into the next," said Leach.

As it turned out, Leach's first game as an Albany Devil came against his former Worcester team. That gave Leach -- as well as center Steve Zalewski, who was also traded to Albany -- a chance to share with his new teammates what he knew about the Sharks.

"We gave them little tidbits of information on them, just as I'm sure that [former Albany players] Swifty [Michael Swift] and Patrick [Davis] gave them little tidbits of information on us," said Leach.

Those tidbits of information Leach and Zalewski gave their new Albany teammates probably didn't include how to come back from a 4-1 third-period deficit. But the Devils did just that, as they scored four times in the final 10 minutes to pull out the victory. Zalewski got the game winner on a power play with five seconds left in regulation.

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