Hockey is alive and well in the City of Binghamton as the fanbase is energized with the recent thought of making the playoffs for the first time in six seasons dating back to the 2013-’14 Binghamton Senators. If capable, this would be the first for the Devils’ Organization in their third year of existence in Binghamton with 21 games left on the schedule.
Binghamton is 18-8 in their last 26 games after they were at the bottom of the league in the first half of the season, however, they have now turned the corner. This crop of current players is good enough to achieve what was once seemed an impossible task, as they were dead last in the entire league by mid-Dec.
Although there have been some key call-ups by the parent club in NJ with Nick Merkley, Joey Anderson, Colton White, and recently Dakota Mermis, the BDevils continue to march on. Since then, Merkley and White have been returned while Mermis and Anderson will stick up top.
Ready for a playoff push pic.twitter.com/mOgftucTXb— Binghamton Devils (@BingDevils) February 25, 2020
Exciting times for sure, but let’s go back to where it all began. I ran an article about this subject earlier this month and not much has changed with the team winning five of their last seven since that was published on Feb 11th. A combination of a few things since then that need to be addressed with this recent turnaround.
- The Joe Morrow effect. He did not leave the team on a good note whatsoever, as he might be single-handedly responsible the team is where it is currently at. A wake-up call, no less, as Morrow addressed the locker-room before his exit, stage left to the KHL, via Uber in the middle of the night.
- Coach MD is a no-nonsense type of coach with a disciple force while maintaining the style of a player’s coach. That’s refreshing to see, and it is working with this current mix of rookies and veterans.
- Players sticking up for one another has been invaluable on the ice, as well as off, as this team has come together since the departure of a few fixtures in the lockerroom noted above.
- Greater leadership within the locker room. Players like Ben Street serving as the Captain along the like of Chris Conner and the core of Josh Jacobs, Nathan Bastian, and Brandon Baddock have all played a role at some point during this recent roll of success.
- Current NJ GM Tom Fitzgerald is no stranger to Binghamton as he has attended more than his share of games, more than I can count for. Fitzy has a pulse for the Devils’ Organization and is focused on development that begins now, in the AHL, and has delivered this past Monday.
- The adversity in net, as the BDevils have gone through their shares for goaltenders. Louis Domingue, Cory Schneider, Gilles Senn, Evan Cormier have been the revolving four this season and now the addition of Zane McIntyre. The tandem of rookie Gilles Senn and McIntyre will be it for the stretch run with Cormier in the wings just in case.
- Crowds have been a big factor and continue to increase each game, as word has gotten out this team could make the postseason. That is always a plus for not only the players and coaching staff but the community as well, in a form of entertainment that bonds the fanbase to the casual observer.
After the weekend series in Binghamton facing the defending Cup Champs Charlotte Checkers, the Devils managed to ride the coattails of rookie netminder Gilles Senn in his remarkable performance on Friday, followed by a reminder that this Checkers team is good at what they do on Saturday.
But the foot is on the gas moving forward, full-throttle, with 21 games remaining on the schedule. With the recent additions of netminder Zane McIntyre, forward Janne Kuokkanen and soon to be defenseman Fredrik Claesson, this team is more than capable of reaching a post-season berth thanks to what had transpired this past Monday.
In closing, I have mentioned my excitement level through Twitter as the main social media in what has transpired at the trade deadline. Tom Fitzgerald has made an effort to help out the team in Binghamton and I respect that. He shows smarts, as well as a passion for those that are willing to be patient in NJ during a rebuild while focusing his strengths for the Organization that ultimately begins in Binghamton.