Is The Optimism Back?

It’s somewhat hard to believe that there was a lot of optimism surrounding the Trenton Devils when the season got underway. 

Predictions of 80-89 points were the norm on this blog, and even your friendly beat writer thought that at least on paper, this team was going to be pretty good.

Even through that miserable first weekend, where at least they looked pretty good in finding a way to lose all three games, there was some hope that they were just going through a stretch of bad luck and that things would turn around.

And then Jeff Frazee left.  And with his gear, Frazee also took any hope fans had that this team was going to be even remotely watchable for the rest of the season.  A glass half full turned into one that was completely empty with one simple roster move.

Sound harsh?  Sure it does.  After all, with a whopping seven points through their first 12 games, this is literally the worst team in the entire 23-team league.

Sound like an indictment of Jason Smith’s play?  Well, it is.  Management put him — and for that matter the coaching staff — in a very unenviable position by waiting several weeks to getting around to signing another goalie.  But he’s 0-6-1 with a 4.44 GAA and .842 save percentage.  Some of that can be attributed to the guys in front of him, but some of the responsibility for that certainly falls on him as well.

So maybe that’s why the addition of Charlie Effinger could be a good reason for some of that early season optimism to return to Sovereign Bank Arena.

Effinger was outstanding in his first game with the team, making 35 saves in his team debut, leading the team to a much-needed 4-1 win.

With just one win, and one solid performance between the pipes, the hope that seemed to leave with Frazee appears to have slowly started to return.

The Devils return to action in Wheeling on Wednesday, and come back to SBA on Friday when they take on the Elmira Jackals.

We’ll see how optimistic everyone is after that…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

3 Responses to “Is The Optimism Back?”

  1. chiarams Says:

    Guarded optimism here.

    Effinger clearly knows the #1 spot is his if he plays his way into it.

    Only concern is that the Devils are more interested in developing a contracted guy (Smith) than a non-contracted guy (Effinger).

    But they’ve got to do more than beat the second worst team in the league (Reading) before I’m more than cautiously optimistic.

    Winning in Wheeling would go a long way to make me put down the kool aid.

  2. titans04 Says:

    Smith isn’t the answer we’ve seen that since day one last year. I think for now it comes down to whether or not any of the injured guys come back before it’s too late to make a difference. Dyment and Cohen on defense will certainly help, who knows what Torti brings ub tif it means a little less Paige, Leaderer and Quaile thats good enough for me. On the offensive side Poli is huge, Zancanaro is a upgrade over, Gerbe, Rado and Bartlett. If we can ever get Castonguay or Kell back the offense maybe decent enough to compete, still waiting on Cormier to drop the gloves if he ever gets healthy as well. The roster will look significantly different as the year progresses.

    Effinger looked very good on Saturday, hopefully he can prove Pyle wrong and step up to solidify the position. I also think there’s a decent chance the Devils bring in another guy (Roloson perhaps) I don’t think Weekes or Clemmenson can keep their head above water for the next 3 months so maybe we get Frazee or Caruso back at some point.

    Problem is if we still tank for the next 2-3 weeks it will be too little to late. But for one night the effort was good enough to beat a team that’s struggling almost as much as we are which makes no sense to me their team on paper is head and shoulders better than ours.

  3. Tdevilsfan Says:

    Smith is clearly a bad “bad team” goalie, at the very least. Goalies always have to be able to shake off goals, but it’s even more important when they don’t get any help (offensively or defensively).

    It’s possible that, being human, the guys looked at Red Light and thought “we’re toast before we start” and that surely would affect their play. Maybe feeling that the keeper will actually make a big save now and again will boost their confidence.

    Please note I’m not thinking playoff contention or anything; just a few steps above the putrid results we’ve seen so far.

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