Archive for December, 2008

Game 28: Post-Game Quotes

December 31, 2008

RICK KOWALSKY

Not a bad start for Coleman considering he missed five weeks…

“Yeah.  I thought he lost the puck a couple times.  He’s actually got really good rebound control, I thought he had a couple rebounds there.  But it’s not different than a player or a skater, a goalie’s a little different bcause he gets a lot of shots in practice, but it’s a little different in a game with your angles and the way guys are coming at you.  But he was fine.”

Do you think you guys played more confident from a defensive standpoint?

“No, to tell you the truth, I didn’t really like us through half the game.  Even with the lead, I thought we kind of sat back a little bit in our own end.  We protected the middle of the ice, but they send their D and they’re active and they’ll get three guys deep.  Early in the first, we caught them a bunch of times and we scored off the rush, then we didn’t manage the puck well and I thought we were a little passive in our coverage.  But when you have a goaltender who makes that first save, and even when Coleman didn’t control his rebounds, he’s an older guy and he knows how to direct everything into the corner.  I don’t know how many shots tonight went straight over the glass, he’s doing that on purpose.  He’s been around and he’s got some experience.  But I don’t think it was a confidence thing, I thought we played well as a team still, and then in the third period there, they kind of imploded and we took advantage of it.”

Two kind of fluky goals in the first, but how about that play by Snetsinger?

“Actually, I’ve been on him about trying to beat guys one-on-one, and when you look at it on the video, he actually tried to dump it and it hit the guy in the leg.  (Laughs) So, you know what, it just shows you that if you play simple hockey, you get rewarded.  He had a really good two days of practice here, and he’s a guy that I said a couple weeks ago, we need him to be a top guy in this league and contribute.  And he’s been doing the little things better, and that’s what it’s going to take for him to get back to the American League, just moving his feet like he did tonight.”

Nice to see Tony get on the scoresheet too?

“Yeah, this is five or six games for him now, so he’s a long way from where everybody else is, but he’s going to be an energy guy, he’s going to be a faceoff guy, good penalty killer, good defensively.  He’s going to chip in once he gets confidence and gets comfortable.  I think it’s still going to be a bit yet, but there’s no question with him in the lineup, he contributes a lot more than in the scoresheet.”

How does Tyler being up in Lowell affect the lines?

“With Henkel, Zancanaro and Burton up the middle, there’s no question we were a little deeper.  Scotty Bartlett played there the other night and he’s been in and out of the lineup.  He’s fine there, and he’s smart enough to play there, I’d just prefer to use him on the wing.  Jeff Prough can skate and play the position, but it’s not his natural position.  The only issue with that is guys that get put in situations in the middle that they’re not used to.  Jeff’s smart enough to play that area and so is Barts, so we may use both of them there, depending on just juggling lines and trying combinations until we get three natural centermen.

It might be a little early to ask, but is Coleman the starter on this team?

“Yeah, no question.  No question, that’s why we went and got him.”

What does Cormier have to do to get back in the lineup?

“Right now, after the break, he wasn’t feeling 100 percent.  We have a couple guys with a bit of a bug.  But for him, it’s depending on the lineup and depending on the team we’re playing and depending on the building.  But he’s still not where we need him to be from a conditioning standpoint.  He was starting to make the right strides after the break, but we’ve got guys that are mobile and can play, so depending on what type of lineup or team we’re playing, we may change things a bit, but for right now it’s probably going to stay status quo.”

Is having three goalies on the roster something you expect to do for a long period of time?

“Knock on wood, it’s not going to be too long, because our roster space doesn’t give us much room to work with.  Matt Torti is probably not going to be back for the weekend, Dan Eves is close, so keeping three goalies is going to be tough.  We’re going to have to, at some point here, make a decision.  Burton goes up, and him going up gave us that space today.”

GERALD COLEMAN

How nice was it to get back to a game for the first time in five weeks?

“It was awesome.  The guys did a great job in front of me, I was seeing a lot of shots and we played well defensively.  It’s been frustrating for me, I was playing well before I got injured and I was watching the games.  But I was happy the team was doing well and winning games and now I can just come back and do the same.”

Did you feel rusty at all?

“Not really.  I’ve been pretty much ready to go for the past couple of weeks, but they’ve been holding me back just in case.  But I’ve been ready to go, and I felt good out there.  The team did a great job.”

Nice to finally get to play here, too?

“Yeah, definitely.  I like to play at home, but I like to play on the road a lot better, just because you love to shove it down the fans faces.  But it’s also nice to see the home crowd, finally.  They probably don’t even know who I am, I haven’t played here in five weeks.”

Do you expect to handle the majority of the workload from here on out?

“I would like to, but it’s up to the coaches on a day-to-day basis.  I’ve still got to see how I feel tomorrow after not playing for five weeks and getting in there.  But it wasn’t a relatively difficult game for me, so it’s up to the coaches and if I play well.  It’s in their hands.”

Is it kind of tough to get in a rhythm after you really only get tested a couple times early on?

“Not necessarily.  When I was in juniors, I played for an unbelievable team and we really only gave up like three scoring chances, so I kind of got used to being mentally tough.  And that’s the way the NHL is, you really only get four or five scoring chances a game.  Playing in the AHL and getting to the NHL, you kind of learn how to get focused mentally during different situations.  It’s definitely easier to play when you get a lot of shots, but for me, just playing the puck and talking to the D really helps me stay in the game.”

Game 28: Elmira @ Trenton

December 30, 2008

Pre-Game Notes (LIVE from SBA): 6:00 PM — Gerald Coleman is expected to make his SBA debut tonight, and Tyler Burton has been called up to Lowell.

More news and photos and whatnot as game time approaches.

6:40 PM — David Shantz gets the somewhat surprise start for Elmira. Effinger is backing up Coleman, who is wearing his Portland Pirates mask. Photos shortly.

6:55 PM — Kevin Cormier’s a scratch.  For anyone having listed “seeing Kevin Cormier beat the crap out of someone” as a New Year’s resolution, sorry…

Around The ECHL: Dan McGoff got released by Stockton today.  Anyone remember McGoff?  No?  OK then.

Around The Division:

Live Box Score: Click here for the ECHL.com updated boxscore from tonight’s game.

Radio Broadcast: Click here to listen to Paul Roper’s radio broadcast of tonight’s game.

First Period: Without a doubt, this has to be the smallest crowd I’ve seen here all year.  500 people?  600?

19:43 left — Thomas Harrison just dropped the gloves with Guillaume Lepine.  Maybe two or three punches and they fell to the ice.  Not one of the better scraps you’ll see.  Video coming later.

19:31 left — Elmira takes a roughing penalty, and Trenton’s on an early PP.

14:00 left — Matt Radoslovich scores on a weak goal through David Shantz.  1-0, Trenton

11:55 left — Another wacky goal, this one by Dylan Quaile.  2-0, Trenton.  This is where you question why Shantz is playing.  O’Keefe shut Trenton out last time, and Shantz got rocked his last time out.

7:22 left — Benoit Doucet beats Gerald Coleman with a high wrister from the slot to cut the lead in half.  2-1, Trenton.

5:19 left — Trenton gets another power play…would be nice to get that two goal lead back.

1:45 left — Paul McIlveen gets stopped on a point blank shot by Coleman…the nicest save he’s made so far.

:10 left — Coleman with two more outstanding saves…the last few minutes are probably the first he’s really been tested all game.

Second Period: Will be sitting in the seats for the 2nd, no live blog…

Third Period: Trenton takes a 3-1 lead into the third after Brad Snetsinger scores a pretty goal on the rush.  They could have had a bigger lead, but were unable to convert on a 5-on-3.  Elmira pretty much controlled the first half of the period, but got into the box way too often as it wore on.

15:28 left — Trenton’s going shorthanded, as Robert Page took the rare “throwing the stick” penalty.

11:00 left — Elmira certainly didn’t get much going on their chance, and now Trenton’s on the man advantage.

8:49 left — Trenton couldn’t score either, still 3-1.

8:00 left — Trevor Kell with a nice move around the defenseman to get a shot in tight on Shantz, but the Panthers prospect makes the save.

6:30 left — 5-on-3 for Trenton.

4:20 left — David Leaderer scores just as the power play expires on a slapper from the high slot, just inside the blue line.  It may have been tipped, but it’s hard to say.  Either way, it’s 4-1 Devils.

Evidently, it was tipped by Tony Zancanaro…

Final Score: 4-1, Devils.

Three Stars:

* Gerald Coleman
** Brad Snetsinger
*** Dylan Quaile

My choices, by the way, were Snetsinger-Coleman-Quaile.

Post-Game Notes:

Pre-Game Photos:

coleman

Gerald Coleman

coleman2

Coleman

coleman3

Coleman’s mask

shantzelm

David Shantz

In-Game Videos:

David Shantz save on David Leaderer

Paul McIlveen faceoff

Gerald Coleman in action

Coleman save

In-Game Photo:

dyment

Chris Dyment

Fight Videos:

Harrison vs. Lepine

Bonus fight…from covering the AHL the other day, it’s Aaron Boogaard vs. Garrett Klotz

Next Game:

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Get Lead. Lose Lead. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

December 30, 2008

A three-goal second period was not enough for the Trenton Devils as they lost to the Cincinnati Cyclones, 4-3, at Sovereign Bank Arena Sunday afternoon. The Cyclones struck first as Jimmy Kilpatrick knocked in a rebound off of a Mark Van Guilder shot at 4:59 of the first.

Down 1-0 after the first period, the Devils would tie the game 3:54 into the second as Jeremy Akeson shot a one-timer from point blank range for his second of the season. Trenton took the lead on the first of Eric Castonguay’s two power play goals, a one-timer from the right circle at 5:20.

Kilpatrick then scored his second of the game at 14:19 on a one-timer from the slot to tie the game at two. The Devils would regain the lead at 15:44 as Castonguay would collect his second tally of the day on a play similar to his first goal. Cincinnati would again tie the contest as Kilpatrick banged home a shot from a sharp angle on the power play, completing his hat trick at 17:54.

Despite dominating the third period by outshooting the Cyclones 8-3, the Devils were undone by Van Guilder’s game-winner that came with 9:19 left in regulation.

Van Guilder took advantage of a Devils turnover at the blue line and fired a wrist shot to clinch the win for Cincinnati and a four-point night for himself.

The Devils went 2-for-2 on the power play, and saw their penalty killing streak snapped at 34 on Kilpatrick’s hat trick goal. Trenton outshot Cincinnati, 26-24.

Even Quicker…

December 28, 2008

Just a reminder that I will not be at the game on Sunday, but will return for Tuesday’s contest.

With the holiday season upon us and all the commitments that arise from that, as well as taking a few days away for myself, I’m just happy I’m only missing one game.

The trip to Philly went well — I’m still not done with what I need to do there, but interviewed J.S. Aubin, Jared Ross and Boyd Kane for my big ECHL alum piece — but I’ll elaborate on that when I have more time to write.

And for all you last minute holiday shoppers in the Trenton Devils front office, a bottle of All Sport would be a fantastic gift on Tuesday, I must say.

For those of you on the coaching staff, I’d gladly take a Gerald Coleman start.  I’ve been dying to see the guy play ever since he came to Trenton.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Real Quick…

December 26, 2008

I’m writing this post from the press box in the Spectrum, where not much has changed since my last visit.

It’s still incredibly cramped, but offers the best press box view I’ve had for hockey.

They also still serve the “traditional” popcorn and soda pre-game spread, which I’m eating now after a trip to Pat’s for a cheesesteak…

I’m here to interview a few ECHL alums for a big story I’m working on, so stay tuned for that…

I’m sure I’ll have a post about my experience of getting “called up” at some point.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Another One Bites The Dust; Ashmore Updates

December 22, 2008

After losing the Augusta Lynx earlier this season, the ECHL has seen another team fold.  This time, it’s the Fresno Falcons.

(PR) The ECHL announced Monday that the Board of Governors had voted unanimously to terminate the Membership of the Fresno Falcons, effective immediately.

The termination of the Membership comes as a result of the Fresno ownership group notifying the ECHL that they are unable to continue to operate the Membership for financial reasons.

Failure to ice a team for play is grounds for automatic termination under the ECHL Bylaws.

“We are very disappointed for our fans, league partners and the other member teams,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “The ECHL would like to thank the Fresno fans for their support of the Falcons.”

Fresno players will immediately become unrestricted free agents.

Bakersfield is working on an exhibition game for Saturday to replace the game scheduled against Fresno and will announce details as soon as they become available.

Fresno’s games against Ontario on Sunday and Victoria on Monday have been cancelled.

The league said that work has begun on a revised version of the playing schedule which will be released as soon as possible.

This does not affect the Trenton Devils, as they were not scheduled to play Fresno this season.

Two things of note…I am tentatively scheduled to get called up to the AHL for a game, as I’m heading up to Philadelphia on the 26th to cover the Phantoms game with the purpose of talking to a few of their ECHL alums for a feature on former league players making an impact on AHL rosters across the northeast.

I haven’t covered an AHL game in about four years, so I’m pretty excited that the Phantoms were kind enough to give me this opportunity.

Also, I will not be covering the December 28th Trenton game against Cincinnati, but will return for the December 30th game against Elmira.

I’ll be in Washington, DC on the 28th, watching former New York Rangers forward Mike Gartner get his jersey retired by the Capitals.

I got a lot of positive feedback on the Sheldon Brookbank feature, so you should also stay tuned for the Pierre-Luc Letorneau-Leblond piece, which should debut over the next few days…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Sigh.

December 22, 2008

(PR) An offensive barrage by the Wheeling Nailers snapped the Trenton Devils’ four-game win streak as Trenton succumbed to a 6-2 defeat Sunday afternoon.

Aaron Clarke put the Nailers on the board at 9:15 of the first on a one-timer pass from Rob Sirianni. The Devils tied the game just over two minutes later as Jim Henkel fired a shot from the slot to get a goal in his third straight game.

The Nailers received two more goals in the first by Jordan Morrison and Erik Johnson to take a 3-1 lead into the first period.

In the second period, the Nailers would continue their mastery of the Devils by outshooting Trenton 10-6. Rob Sirianni took advantage of a Brad Snetsinger turnover in the slot and rifled in his 17th goal of the season at 10:34.

Reid Cashman extended the Wheeling lead to four when his shot from the right blue line squeaked by Charlie Effinger at 14:15.

Elgin Reid added a shorthanded goal 1:32 into the third off of a rebound from Erik Johnson. The Devils rounded out the scoring with Trevor Kell’s power play goal off of a nifty wraparound with 2:37 left to play.

David Brown had 37 saves for the Nailers, turning aside 21 of those in the third period. The Devils penalty-killing unit killed off all five Nailers power plays, extending their streak to 32 penalties killed. Kell and Eric Castonguay each had two points for Trenton.

The Devils return to Sovereign Bank Arena Sunday afternoon for a 4:00 p.m. game against the Cincinnati Cyclones. The game is the second of 4 for $48 Sundays, as fans can purchase four tickets, four hot dogs and four small sodas for $48 in advance. Tickets for the promotion are not available the day of the game.

Post Game, Part Two

December 21, 2008

As promised, here are quotes from Jason Smith and Rick Kowalsky following last night’s 5-4 shootout win over the Reading Royals.

JASON SMITH

Not the easiest of wins, but still a win…

“A win’s a win.  We dug a hole for ourselves and we came out of it.  We didn’t dig another one, but we should have come out with a 4-3 win and we screwed up in the end, just a stupid defensive play.  We still got two points.  It sucks that we gave a point to Reading, but the important thing is that we won.”

When you’re in a shootout, you’ve got to be pretty confident with the guys you’ve got shooting for you, so how confident are you in your own game when the shootout comes around?

“Yeah, I’m pretty confident.  We do it in practice, because it’s part of the game.  We have some really good shooters and they go against me in practice, so I’ve kind of seen everything.  So when I go up against other guys, I’m not nervous or anything.  It’s fun.”

Must be nice to start getting some W’s in your own stat column as well…

“Oh God, it feels good.  It’s about time, it’s a nice Christmas gift to get two W’s before going home.  But there’s another game tomorrow, and we have to be ready to win that one.  We’re on a roll right now and we’ve been playing so well, both offensively and defensively.  We’re just doing the small things that we need to do, and we’ve just go to keep on going.  After Christmas, we have to come back in the same shape and the position that we’re in right now.”

Is this kind of a tough situation for you to be in?  Charlie Effinger’s been playing pretty well, and Gerald Coleman’s kind of waiting in the wings to come back from injury…has it been difficult thinking about how it’s all going to play out?

“That’s one of the things that you don’t have to worry about as a goalie.  As a hockey player in general, you control the things you can, and as a goalie it’s keeping the puck in front of me and out of the net.  I do my best to do that.  Everything else that happens, pro hockey’s not like college hockey or anything, it’s a business.  You can’t focus on things you can’t control, or else it just eats you from the inside out.  That can happen.”

RICK KOWALSKY

Where do you even start with that one?

“I thought it was a good game, they played better than they did last night.  They had a little more energy, they were better in all three zones.  They came at us a little more.  I thought we controlled and didn’t give them anything last night.  But two goals were out of piles where we should be tying up sticks, call it a lucky break and they bury it.  I still felt that what they got, we gave them.  We got on our heels a little bit in the third there, but we found a way to win.”

Talk about the way Trevor Kell and Jim Henkel played together, especially in the second period…

“I switched the lines up a bit during the week, during practice, and I liked what I saw out of those guys.  Jimmy’s been playing solid, and Keller’s probably been our most consistent forward in all three zones all year.  That’s his game, that ability to score and make plays.  I thought Castonguay had been struggling lately, so I juggled things up a bit.  he was playing with Burton and Snetsinger, and those guys were clicking.  Casty had a ton of shots.  But because of that line, I switched the power plays up.  They scored one last night, and they scored another one tonight.”

Nice to see Snetsinger finally get one?

“Yeah.  He’s been an adjustment for him.  He started in the American League, and he hadn’t played in a while up there, so I think he’s still trying to get a feel for this league.  I liked his effort tonight.  You can see he can score in the shootout, but I like the fact that he scored a goal going to the net.  But he should still be better, he can be a top player in this league, he just has to find his niche and do the little things right.”

I guess one of the things you have to think about now is what to do about the goalie situation once Coleman comes back…

“He won’t be back until after Christmas, but we’re going to have a decision on our hands, no question.  But we’ve got some time here.  Right now, hopefully we can head into Wheeling and cap off this little stretch before the Christmas break.”

Any update on Matt Torti?

“He had caught a skate, and had a laceration that went right through his skate.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  He cut his foot pretty bad, right down to the tendon, but not to the point where it damaged the tendon.  Not a huge cut, but enough where he’s got to stay off it.  He’s looking at probably about two weeks, hopefully after the Christmas break we’ll be able to get him skating.”

When do you anticipate Coleman playing?

“Probably not the first game against Cincinnati because we only have one practice and we come back just like that, so we’ll look at getting him in against Elmira.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Post-Game, Part One

December 21, 2008

I’ll have quotes from Rick Kowalsky and Jason Smith posted at some point tomorrow.  For now, here are some quick bullet point thoughts…

- Tyler Burton was sporting a heavy limp after the game, perhaps the result of crashing into Reading goalie James Reimer on his shootout goal.  Updated — If you watch the shootout video I posted, you’ll see that Burton’s right skate makes hard contact with the goalpost…

- Spoke to Gerald Coleman after the game, and he said he does expect to be able to return when he’s eligible to come off of IR.

- It is easy to be critical of Jason Smith’s play on the ice.  However, it should be pointed out what a good guy he is off of it.  I’ve talked to him after wins and talked to him after losses, and he’s a stand-up guy, no doubt about it.  Tonight, I asked him what I thought was a tough question regarding the situation he’s in with Charlie Effinger playing well and Gerald Coleman waiting in the wings.  Had he told me to take the first plane to hell, can’t say I’d have blamed him.  But he answered that question and everything else I had for him as well.

- A win is a win, but it has to be disconcerting to Kowalsky that his team blew yet another lead.

- This may the best the offense, as a whole, has looked all year.  There were times where the Snetsinger-Burton-Prough line was dominant, and other times where Jim Henkel and Trevor Kell really stepped it up.

- Two fights and a shootout win while I’m there?  Merry Christmas to me.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 25: Shootout Videos

December 20, 2008

R1: Nimmo vs. Smith

R1: Castonguay vs. Reimer

R2: Skinner vs. Smith

R2: Snetsinger vs. Reimer

R3: Snider vs. Smith

R3: Burton vs. Reimer

R4: Hooton vs. Smith

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com


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