If you’ve read my T-Devils coverage long enough, you know that I’m a goalie nerd. So obviously, my focus tonight was going to be on Jeff Lerg. But as a reporter, I feel like Lerg’s pro debut is the biggest story to hit the Trenton Devils this season. Given what he’s accomplished and given that he’s viewed as a prospect by some, and I felt it was a big story…one that even overshadowed the Chiefs last trip to Johnstown.
Rick Kowalsky, who was in one of the best moods I’ve seen him in all season, actually told a funny story about his experience with Johnstown that I’ll probably post tomorrow. But you want post-game stuff right now. And post-game stuff you shall have.
Rick Kowalsky: “I thought we played really tight in the first for (Lerg). I think the guys wanted to battle hard for him. It’s his first game in over a year. It was a good start for him, I’m glad he was able to get a taste here. He’s been working so hard and he’s such a good kid. He came in here, and he didn’t know whether he was going to see any time at all, and Gerald and Dave are both good guys and mature guys, so there was no issues with the three goaltenders here. But nobody knew what was going to happen. Some of the Michigan guys know him from back home, so he fit right into our group. He’s just a workhorse. When we brought him to Gwinnett, we couldn’t find him, because he was in the gym. I said his phone may be off for two hours, because the kid just works so hard. It was good to see him get in and be a part of this and contribute.”
“We have a three in three with travel, and Caruso’s played a lot of hockey. It was obviously a frustrating weekend last weekend. Just mentally and physically, give him a break. We felt comfortable that Lerg had seen enough action in practice that he could step in. He was eager, and we wanted to see him, too. We thought this was as good of a night as ever. We don’t know the status of Gerald, we may need him on the weekend. This is a mid-week game where we can do some things with players up front. We’ve got a big weekend against Elmira here, and if we need three goalies, he’s got his feet wet.”
Jeff Lerg: “I was a little nervous. I’m usually not, I’m usually a calmer goalie. I don’t get too nervous. But my confidence level isn’t as high as it could be right now, just because I haven’t played in over a year. I’m just happy we got the two points. It wasn’t the cleanest game from my standpoint, but I’ll take the two points. Hopefully this will help me for the rest of the year.”
“There were not too many chances. I kind of like being a goalie that’s a little more in the game, too. A lot of times, you play a game like this, and whenever they do get a chance, it ends up being a good one instead of just shots from far out or from the angles. And that happened, all of a sudden they got a breakaway out of nowhere. I like to be a little more involved. But the D played well after we gave up those early ones in the third.”
“I’m adapting to the pro life. It’s a little different than college, where you’re busy all the time and everything’s kind of regimented. Now that I’m playing some games, I’ll get to watch some game film of myself and see what I need to work on.”
“I’m happy. I played a full 60 minutes, which was good. We got the two points, which was good. From my standpoint, I can be a little cleaner, but the team played great in front of me. From a team standpoint, that was one of our best defensive games of the year. Hopefully I can get some confidence rolling and keep this going for the rest of the year.”
– Gerald Coleman is legitimately ill. The timing of it seemed suspicious to everyone, I’m sure…but he apparently had some issues over the weekend. He was in the building tonight.
– Also in the building was Chris Lamoriello. I’m sure he enjoyed the win, but…
– That was a tough game to watch at times. I’m actually a bit under the weather myself and the post-game stuff was totally delayed by me being all manly and soaking in the tub because I feel so awesome at the moment so it was a bit tough to focus anyway, but still…
– I thought Lerg played all right. He wasn’t really tested too much, but did make a few nice saves tonight. Lerg really is a good kid, and that seems to be the consensus from the people I’ve spoken with. I don’t judge guys based on one game though…he got his first start against a cupcake team. Let’s see what he can do if he gets a game against the Jackals.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com