Mark Dennehy's Late Season Perspective On B-DevilsPosted: Updated:
Binghamton, N.Y. - You know the saying one step forward, two steps back? A frustrating saying but ultimately one that's critical for growth and gaining experience.
Ironically, frustrating has been a word you may use when talking about this year's Binghamton Devils team.
They'll find themselves on a three-game sweep and then back on the losing side after getting swept three games. But with one of the youngest teams in the AHL those inconsistent and more than not, frustrating series are bound to happen time and time again. It's what we like to call part of the 'learning process.'
"There's a lot of firsts for this team" said head coach Mark Dennehy. "I feel like every time I turn around there's a first for this group. But, we're at the point now where there needs to be retention. We've gotta start retaining some of this and use it. It's gotta be our foundation so that we can build and go from there."
Now although most people are taught to never say never, the B-Devils 2018-19 playoff hopes are pretty much non-existent. With twenty-one games left Binghamton sits in last place (8th) in the North Division after losing three straight this past weekend to the Laval Rocket and the Rochester Americans. They also find themselves at the very bottom of the entire AHL (30th) out of thirty-one teams with a 23-27 record.
"You're never as good as you think you are and you're never as bad as you think you are" said Dennehy. "What we've done and I think it's been helpful, is we've broken the game down to five game sets. Now, this is going to sound disastrous but we've won more in those five game sequences than losing."
"Throughout the last 15-20 games, we've won more than we lost" Dennehy said. "We got two games coming up this weekend and that's what we have to be focused on. Playoffs and all that stuff, that's distant future for us. We got to focus on the here and now."
The here and now, is of course, the immediate future and for the B-Devils that's their two home games this weekend where they'll be hosting Syracuse and Belleville.
But, the growth, the learning process, that never stops in the AHL, especially when almost half of your team is younger than twenty-three years old.
"The development and the winning kind of just come together. The reality is we're one of the youngest teams in the league, so some of these guys are learning how to win and how to deal with a three-game win streak, three-game losing streak" said Dennehy.
"You know, listen, you need your vets to be good and I think they have been. But, also working on those young guys getting better and better because they have such a high threshold and that's what we're working on."
The player development has been good this year. Development highlighted by Joey Anderson, Brett Seney and Kevin Rooney who all started their season in Binghamton have made big strides this season in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils.
Seney's averaging 10:22 minutes per game, Anderson's averaging 12:05 and Rooney's amassed 40 hits in his 25 games with New Jersey.
"Whether it's Kevin Rooney or Brett Seney, it's a team effort and we're happy for those guys" said Dennehy.
"That's our job is to make sure they're ready when they get called up."
The Binghamton Devils are back in action Friday, February 22 and Saturday, February 23 both at 7:05 p.m.