You could make a strong argument that the 2009-10 version of the Trenton Devils should still be playing. In fact, they’d likely be playing in Trenton tonight, in Game 2 of the first round of the playoffs.
Instead, they’ve all returned home…well, not Jack Combs…but they’ve all returned home to sit down and wonder why their season is over.
Where do you even start with this team? They didn’t really come together for the first 60 percent of the season or so, losing 28 out of their first 41 games. The overall team defense was shaky, as was the goaltending, and a lot of the younger players had a difficult time grasping the pro game.
Rick Kowalsky and Vince Williams can only do so much, so the lack of having real, veteran leadership on the team hurt a lot. The Mike Harder experiment just didn’t work out, and the organization — where the majority of the blame should be directed — did nothing to attempt to replace him.
The goaltending was suspect for the first few months of the season as well, and Gerald Coleman couldn’t replicate the season he had in 2008-09, where he played a huge role in turning things around. This year, it was Dave Caruso who tried to get the ship righted, but it was far too little, far too late.
I’ll take a look in a few days at which guys should and shouldn’t come back…but they’ll need more of a mix of veteran and young players next season if they have any hopes avoiding a repeat of this year.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com