Game 7: Post-Game Notes

- We all spoke to Rick Kowalsky at length after the game. It’s a lot to transcribe, so don’t expect it tonight…

But if you’re looking for long-term information, Rick said he would like to return next season and that he’d have to sit down with the organization to discuss that.

If the Lowell job opens up, Kowalsky should certainly be a candidate for that. But if not, if he wants to come back to Trenton…they’d be lucky to have him.

- Jim Henkel made it very clear that he wants to play next season.  He said his lap around the ice after the game was more to thank the fans…which was a classy move from a classy guy.  Henkel has helped a certain reporter who had a deer in the headlights look on more than one occasion when he was trying to find a certain player…you don’t forget guys doing stuff like that for you.

He said that if he can’t land an American Hockey League job, he’d like to come back to Trenton.

- I spoke to Chaz Johnson after the game.  Considering how much of the fans and even the players attention focused around him, it was a little surreal to see him just sitting quietly in the locker room.  He was wearing a black, sparkly shirt that had “respect” spelled out in big, bold letters.  I think it may tough for some people to respect him, but I’d take him on my team any time…he’s a skilled player who plays on the edge and changes the way teams play.  Yeah, the theatrical stuff is a little much…but still, the guy is a very, very good player at this level.

Look for quotes from all three men in the coming day or two…

- Getting to Game 7 itself…the Devils had absolutely every opportunity to win that game.  Rob Chakler made a great point, in that their 2-1 lead was the first time they’d played with a lead since Game 2…and yet, there they were in a Game 7.  So the fact that they even got there was impressive.  But they could have won that game.

In my professional opinion, the power play sucked.  No other way to put it, and it was the difference in the game.  Elmira scored twice on theirs, Trenton went 0-for-7.  They had, had, had to score on that four minute power play, and they didn’t.

- Matt Cohen’s injury was kept pretty hush-hush…but he was walking around the locker room after Game 6 with a huge brace on his left knee.  He was limping heavily, and there was no way in hell he was playing tonight. 

- Speaking of injuries, Eric Castonguay hurt his knee after getting hit by Johnson.  No idea how serious and so on, but that’s why he didn’t return.

- The defense, in general, was so-so.  Ryan Gunderson is so incredibly frustrating to watch because it seems like he never, ever shoots.  Chris Dyment glides to the puck too much and never steps up to try to prevent puck possession and the other team starting a rush.  Justin Coutu coughs up the puck too much.  Dylan Quaile needs to be more accurate with his shot.  The only two D that stood out for good reasons tonight were Mike Wilson and David Leaderer.

In fact, Leaderer stepped up for the whole series.  He showed much more offensive potential in this series than he had all season, it seemed.

- Jeff Frazee’s rebound control was awful.  It’s amazing that it didn’t cost them any more than it did.  He was good otherwise, but too many times he’d kick a puck right into the slot, or simply drop a puck he should have cleanly gloved.

- Myles Stoesz was sporting a very nasty mouse under his left eye, which was nearly swollen shut.  Give the guy credit for coming back and playing, high sticking penalty or not.

- That may be the quietest locker room I’ve ever been in.  All you could hear was the water running in the shower and sticks being untaped.  Nobody said a word.

- With the season over, I can be a fan a little bit…with that said, I hope Cincinnati blows the doors off of the Jackals.  Outside of Elmira, I can’t imagine Steve Martinson has too many fans.  An awkward exchange I had with him before Game 1 would seem to validify what everyone else had been saying…

- Stay tuned in the next few days for a lot more…I’ll need some time to write up a thank you to everyone who visited the blog on a regular basis…as well as this team.  I was very clearly and openly on the fence about how I felt about covering this team this season…but I’m going to miss being there and miss covering this group of guys.

Henkel gave us a great quote about this team that I’ll share with you soon…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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9 Responses to “Game 7: Post-Game Notes”

  1. Shtikl Says:

    I’m very sorry to hear about Cohen. I hope he’s back 100% in time for next season. Likewise with Castonguay — and with all of the wounded, especially the guys who played tonight and tried to pretend they were healthy.

    THANK YOU, Mike Ashmore, for a great live game blog every home game! And THANK YOU x 10^6 for all the extra coverage!

  2. Al (Philly Devil) Says:

    Too much to write. Just that I talked to Eric and Matt after the game. Both, along with Akeson, had a horrible limp and I don’t even know if they would’ve been availble the next series. Bottom line, the Devs did not get into the “dirty” areas on the power play. Also, Gundy could’ve shot more..but we all know what he does. Maybe that’s the next step and yes he should be there already, but I’ll take him in a heartbeat. I AM NOT saying he is this guy..he is certainly in the mold, but Rafalski is the same thing. Great passer, not a heavy shot at all. He should shoot more though. At least at the ECHL level I am happy with him on the point as oppossed to # 7 at in Newark. I can’t even speak his name most times. Glad Jimmy is coming back, I’d love to have him in Lowell.

    As for next year, I don’t know but I can say that Eric, Cohen and T Kell have a great shot at spending most time, if not all in Lowell. Lowell has many not signed and quite frankly a few that have “run their course.”
    Love to see them in Trenton, but for their sake..I hope in Lowell. See, the ladder must go up and they had great seasons. I can truly see any of them, especially Cohen and Eric in Newark in two and half, three years. The Devs are patient so they must be.

    Jeff did have some rebound crontrol tonight. Hope that and the 07 World Jr’s don’t play on his mind. However he did display why he is highly regarded and was brilliant in Game 5 and 6. STAND UP GOALIE, the Devils adore that.

    Now, finally for the night. I would NEVER want Chaz Johnson (nor would he ever be) a Trenton Devil. I did not know what the big fuss wa s really about him. Now I come to learn about him and the kid is a joke. Dude, should realize that he looks EXTRA BAD and silly when a huge player like himself dives all over the ice. This guy actually plays dead on the ice. I thought I’d seen it all with Darcy Tucker, Dom Hasek, Bill Barber, Mark Recchi, etc..but this guy is just an embarassment to the game like Sgroi. He may wear a shirt that says, “Respect,” but he plays like a true coward. Fine, he has some skill, fine they won and he can agitate However, he’s a career minor league player becuase of HOW he plays. If he played smart and like a man he would be in the AHL with some kind of hope. Players of his height don’t make good divers.

    At the end of the day, we lost and had one hell of a season. We should’ve won this series. We had a lot of PP chacnes, but the calls to make it a 5-3 in the second and just the second period penalties in general were a disgrace to officaiting. Whatever, we had our chances and we did not work hard enough. ELmira did not give us odd man rushes and got in the dirty areas on their power play. When we shot, it was right into the stomach of Teslak. We did not make him work enough tonight. Great he was good with his positioning, but our shot selection lwas horrible. They were lost without Eric and I hate to say it, he is young, but Snettsy had a horrible playoff. They did the little things tonight and this team was clearly different without Cohen and Eirc.

    They won and at the end of the day: I feel better about our prospects than Elmira/Ottawa at this level and even AHL. Elmira: A couple of skill players, a half assed goalie with no futre (Riku is much better)and nothing but goons. And, our players gave us a great season. A seaosn no one would’ve thought of in the Fall. Not bad for essentially, a second year expansion team. Kowalsky will be with the Devs somewhere.

    Thanks Mike, we may knock heads..but I appreciate you, your hard work and you know what, you know that already. I’ll be reading and you know that as well. Much thanks.

    Thanks to the Boys, Coaching Staff and the TRENTON/LOWELL/NJ DEVILS fans who support this team and the other fans who I know and truly respect. Great Season.

  3. Tdevilsfan Says:

    I would never want that diving yapper Johnson on my team; he’s the Avery of this division though admittedly with more skill(when adjusted for level of play). He’s dirty. He’s a Martinson type player, and I don’t want anything to do with him. End of story.

    I agree with Al, Cohen and Castonguay should get serious looks in Lowell.

    Kowalsky has certainly earned at least a return engagement here.

    Great to hear Henkel saying he wants to be back; sure looked like a goodbye lap but if it was simply a thank you it only reinforces what a classy guy he is.

    Gunderson passes up way, way WAY too many shots. Shoot the puck and turn some of those charity assists into goals. If he does he could pot quite a few next year before people begin to adjust to the fact that he’s shooting the thing.

    Nice Job T Devils, thanks for a great year *tap tap tap*

  4. chiarams Says:

    Good work as usual Mike. Traffic here may not be what you’d hoped, but it’s certainly appreciated.

    I think we’d all agree that Kowalsky has come a long way, but I don’t think he’s ready to make the leap to the AHL yet. 2 mediocre and 1 good season in the ECHL isn’t exactly a glowing coaching resume. He did show his abilities to retool the roster after the mess that he was given for the second straight year under this GM. If he can wrench more of those player decisions out of das fuhrer’s hands, he might be able to build a team that is solid the entire season.

    I think Howard Johnson has about as much chance of suiting up in Trenton as Chaz Johnson has. The guy’s a Grade A douchebag, but the talent is clearly there. Pretty clear where his head was when the game ended and his team was celebrating around Teslak and Johnson was busy yapping at the crowd.

    Gunderson – eh, whatever. Hoping and praying he signs with Reading or someone else in Trenton’s division so he can be their problem. 100 points in two years from a defenseman is great. Too bad he was a -30 to go with that. Totally unnerving to watch a guy pass up a shot time and time again. Then again if the Devils org thinks Ruggeri is capable of being a full-time AHL d-man, then anything’s possible for Gunderson.

  5. Sillyputty Says:

    Guess this was their gameplan all along. From the ECHL website:
    “It was an unbelievable series,” Jackals head coach Steve Martinson said. “I think the big hits won the game for us. Obviously, we knocked out some of their best players in the last couple of nights.”
    They injured: akeson, coleman, cohen and castonguay

  6. Off-Ice 21 Says:

    I’m curious about this encounter with Martinson…..

  7. titans04 Says:

    Only thing hurt about Coleman was his GAA and as a result his pride. We had numerous chances to win last night but the pp came up empty which was the difference, losing Castonguay didn’t help and the QB that refuses to shoot the puck killed a few off all by himself. Great/fun season can’t be to upset with anything at this point.

  8. 106F15 Says:

    You forgot to mention that the officiating was the deciding factor in the game. Too many times, Trenton got called for doing EXACTLY what Elmira got away with only moments before, and quite often right in front of the ref.

    I’m convinced that last night’s contest was decided before the puck hit the ice.

    As for Johnson? He’s a goon – nothing more. His only contributions last night were a miscalled assist (he never put a stick on the puck – it bounced off his leg while he was looking away) and a whole rink full of bul____……oops, I mean drama.

  9. titans04 Says:

    While I hate Johnson you’re wrong, he also had the primary assist on the gwg when he outskated our dman back to get the puck in our zone along the boards and fired a perfect pass to Faubert who was trailing the play and scored their 4th goal. He had 2 assists and was a +1, along with his hit on Eric and his dive, in the end he only had for penalty minutes in the game and left with a huge smile on his face.

    Also pretty lame to use the officiating excuse as well, we went a steller 0/7 on the pp while Elmira went 2/6. One of those nights where our pp was just flat out dreadful and that was probably the difference.

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