All I can say is, I lived it before you, and it looks like I get to live it again (though hopefully with better results). (EDIT: Isn't that the definition of insanity? )
I don't know where your NHL loyalties lie (I don't think you've ever said), and the same with titans04 and the other Trenton fans, but being a fan of both the NHL Devils and one of their farm clubs, I've found myself in the position of simultaneously loving Lou for building three Cup winners and hating his guts for letting the farm system rot. Back when the Devils were here the first time and they were in the middle of falling apart at the seams, a few of us tried to warn the rest of the board that the Devils' failures on the minor league level would come back to haunt the big club eventually. Not to start another argument -- and believe me, this one could probably get its own thread -- but we may have been right.
You and Devils1985 make a lot of great points.
First and foremost I'm a Trenton hockey fan - that's where our ~2k has gone for the last 7 years, during that time they could have rolled out al qadea on the ice and I would have supported them 100%. Not the org but the players. In short the logo on the sweater is meaningless and it's about icing a very competitive team, not pissing away the first half of the season year in and year out. There just isn't enough of a Devils fanbase in Flyers territory that will come just to pay homage to the logo. Frankly it's hard to beleive how they ever even thought that was going to be possible. Change the logo, recarpet and paint the lockerroom, as a result the town will be painted red and fans will just show up. Now to their credit the sth do get free tickets for a Devils game at the Rock. It's appreciated. But this past season they even found a way to lessen the good will of that perk - the very top row on an end for a mid-week game - really?? There were 5k empty seats, previously they were maybe 20 rows off the ice in the attack zone. Even the Trenton front office was horrified when they opened the package and saw where the seats were, they immediately reached out to Newark and were bascially told it is what it is.
I also agree with the fact that after winning the Kelly cup in 04-05 the Bermans were going to ride out their 10 year commitment on the cheap and then fold if they didn't find a buyer. As previously said that's what the Flyers were counting on, at that point they would slide the Phantoms in. So when the announcement came out that the Devils were buying the team and then rode in on their white horse and blew smoke up everybodys collective ass there was a great sense of stability and commitment. Especially for the people that didn't know the Devils minor league track record.
As stated over and over they have failed miserably to met any of the "promises" that were made. The town and area certainly hasn't been painted Devils red. There has been no NHL player sightings which would draw the casual fan. The marketing plan up until now has been to reachout to the ever dwindling season ticket holder fan base and offer them deals to bring along their friends and family.
I think the 5 year commitment to Albany will eventually lead to the Devils disappearing in Trenton in the next 3-4 years. By then literally a few hundred people may show-up on weekends. I think the ECHL as a whole is in big trouble with the teams becoming way to spreadout. Johnstown moved to SC, Wheeling now playing 10 games in Johnstown - flipping off the paper this fanbase in Wheeling. The T-Devils schedule this past season was already junk having played Reading and Elmira 14 times each. There are no real true prospects in Trenton - very very low draft picks (if that) mostly undrafted college kids/ kids from Jrs.
For that matter can somebody please put together a list of players that spent a fair amount of time in Lowell that have been impact players for the big club since the lockout. Clarkson? That's about it and his impact isn't all that much. They foster the development of interchangable parts that have led to virtually no playoff success since the lockout. But that's their motive, obviously they had tremendous success pre-lockout at the NHL level. How many years ago was that at this point?
As much as I loathe everything that's orange and black I still think there is a chance that within the next 4-5 seasons the Phantoms do end up in Trenton if the arena never gets built up in PA. I also think they would draw 4-5k on average just for showing up and as I Trenton fan first and foremost that would be a helluva lot better than where we sit today. I wouldn't be surprised if the novelty of owning a ECHL team had faded so far off the Devils radar screen that they would be long gone having driven the final nail in a once proud Trenton fanbase. Trenton was Lou's idea, when Lou goes the T-Devils go too imo.
The ECHL'ers that make the NHL on the surface would appear to be decent. However when you look at it closer it's over 20+ years and the majority of them had a cup of coffee in the ECHL or on the flip side had a very small handful of games in the NHL under "emergency" type situations, where the NHL rosters have been decimated by injuries. Realistically it's the goalies and goons that have the best odds and even those oddds are very very long.
Edited by titans04, 29 April 2010 - 09:28 AM.