It was just me asking the always gracious Trenton Devils head coach Rick Kowalsky questions after the game tonight, which is always rough for both of us after a loss. I don’t want to ask him questions about how badly his team played, and I’m sure he doesn’t want to deal with having to answer them. So, before we get started, I would like to make sure I publicly thank him for always being good enough to answer every question I have.
Now with that said, here’s how things went…
Mike Ashmore: There really isn’t too much I can say after a game like that…do you feel like this is a low point for your team this year?
Rick Kowalsky: “Well, geez. Yeah. You lose Coutu in the first five minutes, and we were already down to five D. We took Kell and played him on defense. He’s out of position, plus it takes away our depth up front where we only have one natural centerman anyway in Tony Zancanaro. But to come off that trip and play the way we played and to come out…I don’t know if we were tired, I don’t know if we were jet-lagged, I don’t know what it was, but that was a terrible hockey game. There was a lot of guys, I don’t even know if they broke a sweat tonight.”
Ashmore: When you come into a game with 11 forwards and five D, how does that change what you’re able to do out there?
Kowalsky: “Well, it’s a little tougher to get the forwards in the usual rhythm. The NHL and American League can play four lines, but here, you’ve got to rotate a centerman or whatever. But right away, we went to ten forwards anyways with Trevor going to the back end. We talked about our forwards getting the puck deep and playing in their end, and we did for a bit of the first. After that, we were just sloppy. We looked tired. I don’t know what it was, whether they were tired or not, that’s not an excuse. You’ve got to come out, you’re going to have nights where you’re tired. We made some strides on that trip and now we just took another step back, which we can’t do. It’s going to catch up with us.”
Ashmore: It seemed in the first two periods especially, the team was really flat. Did you say anything to these guys between the first and the second?
Kowalsky: “Well, I thought we started to get away from things. Guys turning pucks over and guys trying to beat guys one-on-one in the neutral zone. I didn’t think we moved the puck very well. You get frustrated and just get off our game for no apparent reason. After the second, it was a two goal game, and we’d scored a lot of goals lately. But guys didn’t want to…they buckled down defensively and played hard, and guys didn’t go to the areas we needed them to go to. Guys didn’t get any traffic in front of Murray tonight. We had six shots or five shots in the second period, and that’s not enough, at home anyways. We had 40 shots in one of the best team in the league’s building last week. Again, we don’t have everybody going. When we have everybody going and we’re skating, we’re going to compete with every team in the league. But when we’re not, and there’s passengers…and there was a lot tonight…”
Ashmore: Was there anyone in particular who stood out to you in that sense?
Kowalsky: “I just thought for the most part, guys weren’t skating. I thought the only guy who skated tonight, honestly, was Ryan Ginand. He was our best player on the road. Other than that, guys…there’s just not enough there. Guys not competing. Guys not skating. We were hoping for things to happen, hoping for the puck to bounce our way, and it never did.”
Ashmore: So what do you do tomorrow in practice to try to change things for Friday?
Kowalsky: “Well, I’ve got to watch the tape first, as painful as it may be. Watch that again, and then we’ll see. Maybe Akeson gets in on the weekend. You would expect after that performance, guys would be a little ticked off on Friday. This is a big weekend at home for us, Friday and Sunday. These are huge games for us.”
Ashmore: Any word on a sixth defenseman?
Kowalsky: “Pender was suspended, so he’ll be back, but that still may leave us with five. We have to see on the status of Justin here past tonight. I don’t know as far as Andy Thomas (coming back).”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com