It was “Scout Night” at the Times Union Center and boy oh boy could the Albany Devils sure use some. Perhaps scouting for a goalie or someone who can shoot and score on a 5-on-3 power-play would make for an excellent start. Not that there were any high expectations coming into this game for this bunch but did it really have to get this bad?
It is one thing to be bad or even lacking in one area or another. Maybe one has a prolific offense but can’t keep the puck out of the net. Or has everything rolling but the goalie can’t quite keep it out of the net or the defense can’t lead the rush to get the puck out of the zone. Or there’s the case where maybe a team just doesn’t quite have enough depth to close from wire-to-wire. But what one can’t be is non-competitive, bad and boring and be nearly 40 seconds away from getting shutout in back-to-back games in Albany, getting out-scored 10-1 in the process.
That’s what it has come to folks and it stinks.
The “power-play” numbers are staggering. If one counts the “home game” in Atlantic City against the Hershey Bears, the Devils are 1-29 on the power-play at home dating all the way back to their January 15th home contest against the Springfield Falcons, when Adam Henrique got on the board. Overall during that same time span the Devils are 2-30, the other power-play tally came on January 25th at the Bridgeport Sound Tigers with Henrique again being the beneficiary of the odd-man advantage.
In post-lockout hockey the power-play has become the ultimate inflationary device when it comes to increasing goal totals. Hence it is rather baffling when on a 5-on-3 in the first period the Devils could only register one shot, let alone one goal against the Monarchs.
Of course it wasn’t much prettier on the other end, where other than a giveaway by Michael Swift that led to a breakaway, Mike McKenna was getting beaten like a goalie who has lost that spirit that helped lead the Lowell Devils into the playoffs in the decidedly weaker Atlantic Division last season. Granted there’s not too much a goalie can do no matter how many he gives up if you don’t score period.
Then again just look at how well Michael Leighton has played for the Adirondack Phantoms just 50 miles north of Albany where he once played. Albany fans know his heroics all too well and his history here. Of course when given the chance to pick up a goaltender who guided the Philadelphia Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals just a year ago, while having waiver priority to make a move which could have a.) hindered one of your division rivals and b.) knowing Marty Brodeur is old and banged up along with having three netminders who have been brutal at Albany all year, Chris Lamoriello sat by and let him go to Glens Falls. To be fair so did every other G.M. but still one would think that move would be too logical to pass up.
I wish I had better answers for you folks, but after a 4-0 shutout of their own behind Leighton in Hamilton, the Adirondack Phantoms are only two points behind the Albany Devils. Given their historically bad start, that is just shocking to me, shocking.