After the recent coaching changes that took place in New Jersey within the last 24 hours, I had this idea for a new concept and decided to run it despite the fallout up top. Although here in Binghamton, HC Mark Dennehy’s job seems to be secure at the moment, it doesn’t stop the criticism for the BDevils being in last place while our divisional rivals continue to flourish.
So, here we are sharing our thoughts with others in a glimpse of what’s happening in the early stages of this season’s version of the Binghamton Devils.
In this edition of the Bites, I concentrate on a theme from one of my favorite western movies, The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly. This is then followed by the terrific efforts of Tracey Lake covering the Adirondack Thunder and the potential prospects involved in the NJ Devils’ system.
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
During November, the Binghamton Devils played 12 games, 8 home and 4 away that resulted with a 4-6-2 record. I wanted to take a closer look at how this evolved with the help of several members of The Panel.
Our own Emily Rose kicks it off concentrating on the netminders.
The Good: Gilles Senn’s development continues to impress. For being a younger guy and new to the North American game, he continues to adjust well. He is not by any means ready for NHL action but he continues to get games in which is a positive.
The Bad: Cory Schneider is clearly still plagued by the injury that seems to be costing him his career in the NHL. Without a strong veteran presence, I worry about the future of the Binghamton netminders. Hopefully Cory can instill some wisdom and guidance in the younger guys without playing a key role in future Binghamton games.
The Good: Gilles Senn is becoming the hottest thing among fans. I too am impressed by the rookie goalie’s poise in such a short time. I’m noticing the team gelling and showing signs of leadership from within. Were it not in such a notoriously difficult division, this is a team that could succeed in playoffs with refinement.
The Bad: Said refinement is taking too long. Special teams are non-existent as well as a clear picture for goalies outside of Senn. Schneider is a six-million bust, Cormier doesn’t have the confidence right out of college yet. Worst of all, a team that is top-heavy with vets is relying on them to do the dirty work while the only notable prospects doing their jobs are Brett Seney, Joey Anderson, and Colin White.
& The Ugly: The organization is in a downward spiral. Uncertainty for stars up top is turning into harsh judgments of general management. THAT is also resulting in Binghamton’s consistently poor performance to come under scrutiny, making the job of Binghamton GM Tom Fitzgerald even tougher. Fans are also starting to blame coach Dennehy and calling for his firing. I think Sergei Brylin should follow suit as the special teams and defensive prospects aren’t doing anything new that we haven’t already seen for two years. @crazybazookajoe
The Good: The top line of Brett Seney - Ben Street - Joey Anderson combining for 42% of the offense while ranked near the top in numbers. Defense has shown to help stabilize the blueline.
The Bad: Special Teams. Offense is top heavy scoring 34 goals and the defense letting in 43. Fabian Zetterlund as his adjustment to NA is taking longer than expected, but perhaps for a reason while he rehabs his knee. Still, it’s an ongoing issue.
& The Ugly: The BDevils are in last place of the North Division once again. The trend needs to stop if the Devils want to remain here with the hockey community currently regressing. Blake Speers participated in just four games while recording zero points as he has mostly been a healthy scratch for the past month. Pretty much written off, which is a shame for the once, promising forward. @Ski931
The Good: Improved discipline. Team was among the most penalized last year, but near the bottom this year (including being short the least so far this year).
The Bad: 58% of team’s goals scored by four players (Seney, Street, Connor, Anderson).
& The Ugly: Coach MD refuses to juggle lines, as well as not giving Top 6 opportunities to skill/speed guys like Maltsev, Studenic, Gignac. @RogieVachon30
Tracey’s Updates From Adirondack
It’s been a bit of a struggle for the Adirondack Thunder as a busy stretch to end the 2019 portion of the schedule begins.
After a 4-3 overtime win in Brampton on Sunday afternoon—Adirondack’s first overtime win in three tries--the Thunder have a record of 10-9-0-2 and 22 points, good for fourth place and the last playoff spot in the North Division.
Adirondack is in the midst of 22 games over a span of 41 days, including a 4 game in 5 day stretch last week. In December alone, the team will play 16 games, 8 home and 8 away, including a trip to Toledo for a morning game, two in Newfoundland, and three more against their most frequent opponent, Maine.
The team has seen its share of adversity—they have only won 4 out of 10 home games so far this season. The team power play ranks last in the ECHL at just 8.9 percent (7 goals in 79 chances). Injuries have also taken a toll on the team—forward Shane Conacher announced his retirement on November 14th after suffering a major shoulder injury in the first game of the season. Defenseman Michael Sdao has been out since late October. Other key members of the team, like defenseman Blake Thompson and forwards Conor Riley and Mike Szmatula, have also missed time. Veteran forward Casey Pierro-Zabotel is the only skater to appear in all 21 games so far.
Hockey Fights Cancer Hits Home…Again
Much like the rest of the hockey world, in November the Thunder participated in fundraising for Movember, choosing to focus on testicular cancer. If you recall, midway through last season Conacher had been diagnosed with the disease just after the New Year and made it back into the lineup in mid-March after surgery. Last August, a second member of the team received the same news.
Defenseman Jake Linhart, who had spent time in Binghamton’s 2018 training camp as a rookie, underwent the same procedure in mid-August as Conacher after experiencing similar symptoms. He signed with the Thunder just prior to the start of the regular season and made his season debut on October 30th in Brampton. In 15 games, Linhart has one goal and six assists, including a 4-assist outing on November 10th against Worcester.
(Editor’s Note:) Here is his experience from the team’s website.
The situation between the pipes has become a little less crowded. Just after the last update, the odd man out of the net, Michael McNiven, was reassigned by Montreal to the Jacksonville Icemen, leaving Eamon McAdam and Evan Cormier as the tandem. When Cormier was recalled to Binghamton during the Cory Schneider-Louis Domingue switch, former Rangers prospect Chris Nell, who had appeared in a handful of games for the Thunder during the 2017-18 season, was brought in to backup. It appeared that Gilles Senn would come down for playing time when he was surprisingly reassigned on November 22nd, only to see him go back up the next day after an apparent injury to Cormier.
McAdam appears to be the #1 starter for the time being.
The Teddy Bear Toss That…Wasn’t
Remember Binghamton’s Teddy Bear Toss from last season that had to be redone after the first goal was disallowed?
The same thing happened to Adirondack on Saturday night.
Thunder Goal! Toss those...what do you mean disallowed? Goaltender interference called. So here’s the dress rehearsal video? pic.twitter.com/sNQWqPZ1Wc— Tracey Lake (@trace_1114) December 1, 2019
During the second period against Brampton, while down 2-0 and on a 5 on 3 power play, it appeared that the Thunder had cut the lead in half, and in turn the bears and other assorted stuffed animals went flying. However, halfway through the toss, the lone referee called off the goal due to goaltender interference. Multiple replays on the scoreboard showed that it was not the case. Unfortunately for the Thunder, they were unable to score for the remainder of the contest, falling 4-0 to the Beast.
- Ara Nazarian (AHL deal): Nazarian leads all Thunder rookies in scoring, with 4 goals and 8 assists in 20 games, and leads all skaters with a +8. He had a 5-game point streak from November 16th-27th, with a goal and 4 assists in those games.
- Matt Salhany (camp invite): Salhany has 5 goals and 6 assists in 20 games. He had two assists in a 4-2 home win over Indy on Wednesday night.
- Kelly Summers (camp invite/PTO): Summers has 4 goals and 6 assists in 18 games. He has 5 points in his last 4 games, including 2 assists against Brampton on Friday, and a goal/assist against Indy on Wednesday.
- James Henry (camp invite): The captain has 3 goals and 7 assists in 17 games. He had at least one point in four straight games from November 20th-27th, with 1 goal and 3 assists.
- Nikita Popugaev (AHL deal): Popugaev has 2 goals and 7 assists in 15 games. He returned to the Thunder lineup on November 20th after missing nearly three weeks due to injury and scored his first ECHL goal the next day in Brampton.
- Colby Sissons (ELC): Sissons has 7 assists in 14 games.
- Ryan Walker (camp invite): Walker has 3 goals and 3 assists in 14 games. He had a four-game point streak from November 15th-24th, with two goals and two assists in that span.
- Charlie Curti (camp invite): Curti has 3 goals and 2 assists in 15 games. After a fast start in October, he has been held off the scoresheet since October 25th, and missed three weeks in early November.
- Michael Sdao (camp invite): Sdao has remained out of the lineup due to injury, making his last appearance on October 25th. There is currently no timetable for a return.
- Eamon McAdam (AHL deal): McAdam is 5-6-0-1 with a 3.36 GAA and .891 save percentage in 13 appearances. He broke a personal 5 game losing streak on November 24th in Worcester, stopping 22 of 23 in a 4-1 win. McAdam has won 3 out of his last 4 starts, including a 4-3 overtime win in Brampton on Sunday afternoon, where he had 29 saves.
Thanks for taking the time to check out this edition of The Bites and look forward to the next one in a few weeks!