Uggh

This was one of those games I don’t even want to think about again, no less spend about a half hour breaking it down and putting Rick’s quotes together and so on.  The fact that I was able to churn out about 700 words about it — sucky of a story as it may be — is somewhat miraculous.  You can read that little miracle in the Trentonian tomorrow.

Seemed like both teams played a much more defense-oriented game tonight, but it led to some pretty tedious moments for the first half of the game.  Yes, Trenton finally scored first, but Florida came right back 31 seconds later, so it was rendered meaningless almost instantly.  I’d have to see the Bayrack goal again…I don’t know if Caruso was too far out and it cut his time to react to the deflection or what, but that didn’t seem to be any more than a harmless soft little shot that Baker flipped towards the net.  Instead, it tied the game.

There was a lot of frustration in the room about the 5-on-3 goal after the game.  Kowalsky, and I’ll get you the quote or audio in a bit, said they were two dumb penalties taken by guys who should know better.  You can’t give a team like that a 5-on-3, and it was obviously the difference.

For as long as this is a Devils franchise, they will never, ever build a team like the one Florida has.  Period.  The Devils seem to be able to justify the financial…uhhh, choice they made to purchase the team by using it almost solely as a development team.  The veterans you see on the Everblades would be highly, highly unlikely to suit up for the Devils.  Anyone who’s played minor league hockey will tell you that you can’t win without veterans.  But veterans cost money and go against the philosophy the organization has for this team, so you won’t see them.  And the Devils won’t win…not on a consistent basis, not enough to where they can be any sort of factor if they manage to luck into a postseason berth.

Soapbox rant aside, Dave Caruso played very well tonight.  Ultimately, you probably can’t blame him on the first goal, and he had no chance on the second.  As for the third goal…well, he obviously wasn’t in the net for that one.  I didn’t have a problem with Rick pulling Caruso after the timeout — early as it may have been — because he needed to do something.  Kowalsky said after the game that the team was unlikely to do anything 5-on-5…and it’s hard to disagree.

I also think that it was more evident than it’s ever been that Tim Kunes can never, ever be on the power play again.  Period.  His mishandling of the puck and refusal to shoot keeps costing this team, and at some point, this experiment has got to come to an end.  I think he’s regressed a bit since the start of the season, similar to how the power play seemed to regress tonight in comparison to last night…even though they did score on it.

I thought Chris Poli was the Devils best player tonight.  He might have been able to single-handedly steal a game or two for this team had he been healthy enough to do so early in the year.  I think Andy Thomas has also played pretty well over the past few games.  Seems pretty solid on both ends.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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14 Responses to “Uggh”

  1. titans04 Says:

    Great job Mike you summed up the priority of the organization perfectly, it will never be about icing a team whos sole focus is winning. If Lowell does get into the playoffs it will be the first time in 11 seasons that the Devils AHL affiliate played in the post season. Unless we back in it will be the 2nd time in 3 seasons we were on the outside looking in.

    Will some people still go just to pay hommage to the logo, yes. But the rest of the fans that care about wins and loses won’t be there on a regular basis. Not having a single vet on the roster is a huge mistake, Mike Harder was a cruel joke to start the season. Honestly even having just one is a brutal mistake. Will Chris and the rest of the Nazi org ever admit it, hell no, why because they just don’t care about winning as long as “thier” guys play “the system” every night.

    I don’t blame Rick, in fact he’s just the face that we all get to see and point fingers at. He was a magician last year and it gave us false hope. For the third season in a row they dug themselves a huge hole at the beginning of the season and they’re not getting out of this one. Even if they were to get into the playoffs they will get blown out early.

    The Devils came into Trenton and saved a team that was on life support, they promised great things, they haven’t delivered a single thing. In the end Trenton will just be another minor league hockey town where the Devils have been the final nail in the coffin.

    Keep up the great work Mike.

  2. Philly Devil Says:

    Thank God this is a Devils team, I am fine with how we run the team and to HELL with anyone who still loves the Titans. GO DEVILS!!!!!

  3. chiarams Says:

    I agree with Philly Devil.

    In Trenton, winning and being entertained is totally overrated.

  4. titans04 Says:

    Good for you Al, enjoy every minute of it with 200 of your closest friends.

  5. I want real hockey in Trenton Says:

    Very well put Mike. I guess my only question is, if the Devils are only using their ECHL franchise to “develop” players for “their system” and not with putting out a good entertainment product that draws people, why do they even bother paying a lease and other expenses to have the team play here?

    Their lease in Trenton was up last fall. They own the Prudential Center in Newark; they could just have their players “learn their system” there. Then Trenton would have been free to attract the Phantoms or another minor league team with better owners who actually care about putting out a good product.

  6. chiarams Says:

    Because Lou & Co. out of spite would rather lose money and squat in Trenton than let a Flyers/Rangers team play in Mercer County.

    I’m sure Mercer County taxpayers are content having a team drawing “2,000” a night as the arena’s primary tenant. Thankfully it’s not my money propping the building up.

  7. titans04 Says:

    I want real hockey in Trenton great question but there’s no logical answer other than the one Chiarams lays out.

    Philly Al this is for you, another situation you can explain with your R+B glasses on.

    AHL Lowell Attandance

    29th out of 29 teams dead last drawing 2049 per game which is 2597 below the league average

    ECHL

    Devils are 19th out of 20 teams averaging 2161 per game which is 2039 below the league average. The only team drawing less flies are the Chiefs who by all accounts are on life support this season in what very well could be their last.

    NHL – in the self proclaimed best building in the league

    23rd out of 30 averaging 15790 which is only 6450 off the pace the Hawks are setting. Yes the Hawks have a bigger building but thy’re filling it at 111%, Devil sit at 89%

    The good news is they’re outdrawing the hotbed markets of the Isles, Panthers, Thrashers, Avs, jackets, Preds and Coyotes. Lots to be proud of there.

    The organization as a whole either can’t spell marketing or worse yet couldn’t care less.

  8. Off-Ice21 Says:

    Bottom line, this Devils team in Trenton was put here for two reasons. To act as a tax write off for Lou and his cronies, and to help develop one or two top prospects for the NJ Devils like Nagy. We have all heard this rumor but I believe it to be true: after this year this ECHL team in Trenton will fold and the AHL Lowell Devils will move down here sice they can’t draw anything up there. I guess Lou and compnay think that they can attract more people in this area if an AHL team is here with some NHL guys coming and going. They clearly have given up on this team: no coaching change at a time when something needs to be done, and no effort to put a much needed veteran in the lineup. Lowell moving to Trenton would make sense for the fans in the area, and act a hub for the NJ Devils. Again just a rumor, but it could happen. It also makes sense if you put all the pieces together.

  9. Shtikl Says:

    So, the message is loud and clear, eh? The Devils don’t care whether people show up to watch their minor league clubs. If you *do* choose to go to future Devils games, get used to dancing to this tune.

  10. titans04 Says:

    Don’t necessarily think it make sense in Lou’s eyes, the current lease in Lowell is probably the most one-sided lease in pro hockey in the teams favor. Next to nothing in rent and a huge share of the cocessions. Yes the arena was taken over by UMass Lowell because the city was tired of bleeding money. Even if the university made the lease a little fairer for both sides it’d still beat the Sun Center lease. The other thing that’s probably front and center in the penny pinchers eyes is that Lowell incurred the cost of thier first overnight stay of the season last weekend. If they were to come here those costs would increase dramatically. The other thing of note is that each of the past two seasons the Devils could have left Lowell but there were team options to the lease that they choose to renew each of the last two seasons.

    Not saying it would never happen but I wouldn’t count on it.

    Why would you assume the would draw any better than the do now?

  11. Shtikl Says:

    Yeah, I know, if it’s only about the money, the only hope of getting them to leave Lowell is that UML won’t give them such a deep discount on the lease. This is my last year as a STH, though, no matter where they play next year.

  12. Trentondevilsfan Says:

    Y’know, I’m ok with the ECHL franchise being a true development team. Seriously. But the chintzy way they’re runnung things on top of it…if you know the team’s going to have season long growing pains you have to give people other reasons to come out. I say it all the time but Scorch is great…trouble is he’s about it. The jersey auctions are a cool thing. But it’s just sad to see booster club auctions that have repeated offerings because they didn’t get any bids.

  13. tdevils Says:

    The ECHL has moved more and more towards being a developmental league. And it would be somewhat misguided for me to complain about a team with young guys on it, and how they’re being groomed for spots in the AHL and so on.

    However…winning is important. Development is as well. And you can accomplish both with veterans on the roster. The veterans are there every night and most likely aren’t going anywhere…the winning, in theory, goes through them. And the development…rather than skate around with four other guys who aren’t acclimated to the pro game either…wouldn’t it make more sense to mix in a few veteran players to serve as on-ice coaches and mentor some of the young kids?

  14. tdevils Says:

    Also, the attendance qualms are certainly valid and the significance in the drops over the past few years are, no doubt, in large part due to the affiliation/name change.

    However, the attendance has literally gone down every year since the team’s inception. As someone with eight years experience of covering minor league sports now, I can tell you that most markets…ESPECIALLY urban and non-traditional markets such as Trenton, experience that. Essentially, the novelty wears off. Look at baseball in Newark.

    The easy comparison there is the Trenton Thunder, and how they’ve been able to stay successful for 17 years now…but I do believe they’re the exception rather than the norm.

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