– 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