Fighting through the fog of February. It is never an especially easy task. A task only made more difficult with a slate chalk full of road games, including a recent three-in-three weekend road swing. While they clotted the bleeding Saturday at Utica, the Albany Devils have been scuffling of late.
Albany remains a game over AHL .500 but by virtue of going 2-8 in its last ten contests, has fallen seven points off the pace for the 8th and final playoff spot. Certainly there are some key differences between this squad and the one which stood atop the standings after all hallows eve. In New Jersey are Keith Kinkaid, Steve Bernier and Peter Harrold. Then of course the injuries and various call-ups that all clubs encounter at one point or another.
Yet, one stark difference between this squad and the one which qualified for the postseason a year ago is balance. Mind you this team still has a pair of All-Star scorers in Paul Thompson (23 goals and 41 points) and Joe Whitney (17 goals and 41 points). Plus, Mike Sislo and Reid Boucher have picked it up of late. Stepping up on the blue line, Brandon Burlon has put together a solid campaign. However, the rest of the team is lacking that finishing touch.
Figure this, in 2013-14, Albany boasted nine players with double digits in goals. It was with that balance and a team that had a penchant for picking up one another, that mitigated any prolonged slumps. At the risk of sounding cliche, it truly was a new hero each night, for a team that ultimately netted 213 tallies.
With 22 games left on the docket, these A-Devils hope to find the light at the end of the tunnel and some more red lights along the way.