Thank You, 2010-11 Edition

It’s around 1:45 AM on a Saturday morning, and I finally have some time to really put together a halfway decent post that puts a bow on the 2010-11 season from a personal standpoint.

Covering a bad team has the potential to not be a whole lot of fun, and this was a bad team.  Thing is, I’m still not sure I understand why.  Maybe I’m too close to the forest to see the trees, but I honestly believe there was enough talent on this team for their fate to be a lot better than what it ultimately was.  Fact is, though, that 15 teams in a 19 team league make the playoffs, and Trenton didn’t.  That’s a bad team.  But there’s time to talk about that at a later date.

I actually ended up covering more regular season games this year (29) than I had my first year in 2008-09 (28) or in 2009-10 (27).  And, for the most part, I did have fun.  For me, that’s the most important factor.  Outside of some low-paying freelance work, I get paid in “thank you’s” and my own enjoyment of being fortunate enough to see professional hockey for free.  But covering the team with Mike Radano of The Times and Hockey.org’s Josh Burke was a pleasure this season, and it certainly made some of those bad losses go by a little quicker.

The interactions I had with the fans who do follow the team was a pleasure as always, and although I can’t blame a lot of you for being negative with the way things have gone for the franchise over the past few seasons, I do hope that our conversations and my coverage have been a bright spot over the past three seasons.

I can say that for me personally, my interactions with the Trenton front office has been a bright spot.  There are a lot of good, hard-working people there; from Jim Leahy to Dan D’Uva to everyone inbetween, and that’s one of many factors that’s made the 45-minute drive each way from my home a bit easier to take for the past three seasons.

Of course, my job would be significantly more difficult, if not impossible, without the cooperation of the players and coaching staff, and they again could not have been better to deal with as a whole.  Kevin Dean was as accommodating as you could possibly be in his first season as the team’s head coach, and this year’s group of players was always very willing to both talk to me and help me find the players I needed to talk to if, by some stroke of luck, it wasn’t them who I needed to bother with my ridiculous queries.

There’s a lot that can change between now and October, but I’d like to come back for a fourth season.  I think the growth that I made professionally as a hockey beat writer was immeasurable — from getting more than a few NHL opportunities through ECHL.com to the progression of my work covering Trenton — and I’d at least like to give it one more season before I hang em’ up, so to speak.

So thank you.  Thank you for all of your support over the past three years…I can assure you that everyone’s kind comments and e-mails and personal conversations have meant a lot more than you might realize in making the sacrifices that go into doing this every season a little easier to deal with.

I can always be reached at mashmore98 AT gmail.com, and I hope everyone has a safe and healthy off-season.  As of now…see you next season.

-Mike-

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43 Responses to “Thank You, 2010-11 Edition”

  1. chiarams Says:

    Good stuff Mike – were it not for your coverage, I’m not sure where folks would get any news about the T-Devs.

    Couple former Titans in the news:

    Matt Zultek helped Mississippi win the SPHL championship – 6 points in 8 playoff games as the elder statesman on the team.

    Jerred Smithson likely becomes the first former Trenton player to score an NHL playoff OT goal. Good stuff.

  2. red devil Says:

    Mike, It’s a pleasure reading your blog. Keep up the good work and I’m sure more good things will come your way. Have a good summer!

  3. trentondevilsfan Says:

    Thanks for another great year Mike, hope you’re back for another go!

  4. Hawks2010 Says:

    Mike,

    As a stealth reader of your blog it’s important to acknowledge the tremendous job you do in keeping the fans in the know. Even though Trenton has sucked these past few years I’m a sucker for hockey and will continue to attend games and follow them through your coverage. Without this blog I wouldn’t know where to turn for coverage of the team we love to hate.

    I also want to give props to that little group of fans who also keep this blog entertaining with their comments. It’s nice to know I don’t suffer alone. At the same time I crack up at their comments which is needed salve to help get through these trying times.

  5. DevilDawg Says:

    Great stuff Mike, your blog was good fun to read this season.
    Every now and again, the team was good fun to watch too 🙂
    We had some good nights, a game is what you make it sometimes with the people around you and we met some lovely people at the arena.
    If nothing else, we’ll always have the night we tried to get Dan D’Uva to trend on twitter…. and of course Jeremy Akeson was finally traded away.
    Keep up the good work! Might see you at some Thunder games.

  6. Bob Smyth Says:

    Mike –

    Thank you very much for your superlative coverage all season long. If a team has some talent, but it can’t produce, then that failure has to be placed at the coach’s door. He’s got to be able to motivate the club. This is just one old hockey horse’s view – but I think Vinnie should have gotten the job. Chris L. has the chance to correct the error by naming Vinnie coach for the coming season. C’mon, Chris, give him a shot – he’s earned it.

  7. trentondevilsfan Says:

    I definitely wonder if Kevin will be back next year. My gut feeling is…yes…

  8. titans04 Says:

    Rich Lisk GM of the new FHL team in NJ, pretty interesting.

    http://www.northjersey.com/sports/pro_sports/122135138_NHL_alternative_in_Wayne.html

  9. Titans04 Says:

    Season Ending Roster – pretty meaningless but looks like Rogers for Akeson and Versteeg for Coutu – at least on paper.

  10. TrentonPwnedFlorida Says:

    Thats a pretty good return for two players who werent working out here. I guess it really depends on if they are even here next year tho

  11. Titans04 Says:

    agreed. These lists are pretty meaningless imo though, the qualifying offer list which is up next is a little more meaningful but even then if I guy doesn’t want to sign he won’t sign. Sometimes you get something for them in the end sometimes you don’t.

  12. njdnhlfan Says:

    Any guesses on who will/won’t be back? Mike can we expect your grades on players like you’ve done on the past?

  13. Shtikl Says:

    What, nothing about the new schedule?

    Ash, RUOK?

  14. Shtikl Says:

    OT but maybe you’ll laugh anyway.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20110620/sc_livescience/romangladiatorsgravestonedescribesfatalfoul

    Even in ancient Rome, the refs were blind?… Thousands of years later, we know this guy’s name and we know the ref blew the call — if they took up a collection for this guy’s epitaph, his fans got their money’s worth!

  15. Titans04 Says:

    Shtikl check your messages on the devils board.

  16. chiarams Says:

    From the sportslogos.net blog:

    “Anyone remember the Trenton Titans? They used to play in the ECHL? Became the Trenton Devils? Anyways, out of nowhere the ECHL registered the Trenton Titans name again on June 21, 2011 – no logo in the registration but it was described as such, “The mark consists of a hockey player wearing a helmet and carrying a hockey stick leaping over a bridge over the words “TRENTON” and “TITANS”.”

    Either the ECHL is getting in the business of selling retro merchandise or the Devils are becoming the Titans once again!”

    Bizarre.

  17. afratt Says:

    Heard the t-devels have been disbanded. Is that true?

  18. TrentonPwnedFlorida Says:

    No, the “T-DEVELS” have not disbanded….

    *facepalm*

    Devels?….Really?

  19. titansman Says:

    http://shop.echl.com/

    ECHL vintage jerseys. Looks like they are getting into the business of selling retro merchandise.

    odd.

  20. Langhorne Devil Says:

    Nah, they have lots of old stock from the clubs that went defeunct that is all. I bought a few last year from them. The mystery continues..

  21. chiarams Says:

    Yeah that part of the ECHL’s web store isn’t new – as Langhorne said it’s their way of selling off old stock.

    That said, it could just be a CYA on the part of the ECHL – I can’t imagine it’s anything sinister, though the rumors/rumblings coming out of the BOG meeting aren’t positive.

  22. trentondevilsfan Says:

    Things are getting deep, seeing talk about both Trenton and Albany being sold…….

  23. chiarams Says:

    It doesn’t sound promising for sure. The silence is deafening.

  24. trentondevilsfan Says:

    Already paid up for next year, hope there is one

  25. Titans04 Says:

    anybody wanna bet at this point?

    Appears they have worked their magic like never before..

    taking a decade plus of minor league hockey failure to a new level. GTFO thanks for nothing.

    Lets start the 10 year lease chant.

    Feel bad for the Trenton staff that’s for sure. Great people.

  26. Devil Dawg Says:

    I’ve also heard Trenton and Albany have both been sold…not good….

  27. chiarams Says:

    Per today’s Times:

    http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2011/07/trenton_devils_skating_on_thin.html

    Just turn out the effing lights and be done with it.

  28. JB Says:

    If the franchise(s) is/are being sold, that should be a good thing for both markets. Both franchises are locked into long leases in their current arenas. The T-Devils’ lease at SNBC runs for another eight seasons. A new owner would have to pay a very hefty penalty – likely well over $1 million – to get out of that lease before he/she could even consider moving the team. So if the T-Devils/Albany Devils are being sold, both should remain in their current markets for at least a few more years.

    The scenario neither market wants is the franchise simply being shuttered and dissolved. But Jeff Vanderbeek is incredibly wealthy and minor league hockey franchises do not cost a ton of money to operate. Why would he simply close down either franchise?

  29. Titans04 Says:

    Let’s not be so negative it’s all probably a big misunderstanding there’s still plenty of red paint to be spread.

    Massive failure at the minor league level, nobody could have expected that. Shocking to say the lease. Our friends in Albany should sleep well, something like this could never happen to them, they have the security of a five year lease.

  30. trentondevilsfan Says:

    Let’s talk about the best case scenario and how realistic it is or isn’t. Some of rumblings indicate they found a buyer. So let’s go with that one.

    They found a buyer who inherits 8 years of a 10 year lease. If they have that hefty penalty, could they be a buyer that realizes that maybe, if they revert to Titans and market the hell out of it, they could bring some folks back? I mean the arena is golden. It’s a nice joint, it’s easy to get to, easy to park. It’s an extremely attractive piece. It’s not like people don’t care about hockey in the area; just not the type the Devils brought.

    I am beginning to doubt they would sell both franchises to the same folks only to have those folks shut the ECHL deal down. That’s a hefty penalty to pay…unless it’s put in the deal the Devils eat the penalty. In that case though…it’s pointless since the Devils could just shut it down themselves and pay the penalty, no?

    So….hmm. To me..being sold is what we want. Otherwise they just turn out the lights and pay to be able to go away.

  31. Titans04 Says:

    The days of hockey being in Trenton were numbered the day the Devils came to town somewhere I totally agree with you that the only hope is new ownership that actually gives a crap. Certainly hope you’re right. I also don’t see why somebody would buy and fold them. Maybe we’ll find out what the deal is before the end of august.

  32. trentondevilsfan Says:

    Well they said this week so end of August seems likely, LOL…over on the Devils board someone said Lou probably didn’t allow them to market northward because it would compete with the big club. And yet they weren’t provided the big guns needed to compete with the Flyer base southward…I still believe they could’ve carved out a niche had they cared. As it was….doomed to fail pretty much sums it up.

  33. titansman Says:

    Didnt Ron Berman maintain a minority interest in the team when the Devils bought the Titans? What kind of factor could that be?

  34. chiarams Says:

    From TG’s blog:

    “I’ll have the Trenton story later regardless, but the short story is that the Trenton team is probably going to cease operations unless the ECHL finds someone willing to buy the team.

    The Devils gave the ECHL a limited window to try to find a buyer, but the window ends this week.

    It goes deeper than that, but that’s all I can tell you at this time.”

  35. JB Says:

    Chiarams, do you have a link to this blog?

  36. chiarams Says:

    http://blogs.northjersey.com/blogs/fireice/comments/could_guy_carbonneau_be_the_devils_next_head_coach/#comments

  37. JB Says:

    Thanks chiarams. I look forward to reading the full story.

    Though I can’t understand what the Devils would have to gain by flat-out shuttering the franchise. They could get a tax write off, but wouldn’t that be offset by the penalty they’d have to pay the arena for breaking the lease?

  38. chiarams Says:

    I have no doubt the Devils were shrewd in their lease negotiations – have to wonder what sorts of out clauses there were.

  39. Titans04 Says:

    they’re probably going to get out under the status quo clause that says, once we completely blow up the market we can walk away.

    TG’s post sure makes it seem like the talk of the team having been sold is wishful thinking on our part.

    How cool is it to say “hey ECHL find a buyer or we’re bailing”

  40. chiarams Says:

    It’s sorta like Slap Shot.

    Well except the fact that the Chiefs put an entertaining product on the ice.

  41. trentondevilsfan Says:

    Speaking of entertaining…Scorch’s facebook page is MIA.

  42. Langhorne ?????? Says:

    So It looks theybare done. Any chance we see our cash back??

  43. JB Says:

    TG just reported that the T-Devils have ceased operations effective immediately.
    http://blogs.northjersey.com/blogs/fireice/comments/trenton_devils_to_suspend_operations_beginning_in_2011-12/

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