Tag:

Alexei Ponikarovsky

Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello gave an update to Rich Chere on some of the team's pending free agents Wednesday.

Lamoriello said pending UFA Steve Sullivan won't be re-signed due to his age and pending RFA Matt D'Agostini will not be retained because of his high qualifying offer ($1.8 million).

The Devils would like to retain defenseman Peter Harrold, who will be unrestricted. Lamoriello also said he'll address Alexei Ponikarovksy after dealing with Patrik Elias, Dainius Zubrus, David Clarkson and Marek Zidlicky.

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Devils, Devs, Matt D'Agostini, New Jersey Devils, News, Peter Harrold, Steve Sullivan
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This is a series of posts on the Devils' pending free agents (restricted and unrestricted). We'll cover their strengths and weaknesses and end up with a final verdict on whether we think the Devils should re-sign the player. There will also be a poll at the end of each post so you guys can weigh in with your thoughts.

Position: Left Wing

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Analysis, Devils, Devs, New Jersey Devils, Editorial Aside
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Even though the Devils' 2013 season is over, we can still look back at some great moments in New Jersey's playoff history.

On May 3...

2001- New Jersey is soundly dismantled in game 4 by the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 at Air Canada Centre, evening the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals at 2 games apiece.

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, New Jersey Devils, Notes, Philadelphia Flyers, Scott Niedermayer, Tie Domi
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Links: Pregame thread | Twitter | NHL.com recap

Did the Devils play an A-plus game? No. I'd argue they played a couple better overall games during the 10-game winless streak. But the important thing is the streak is over and the Devils are back in the win column thanks to a few superlative efforts. It likely won't get the Devils back in the playoff chase, but a couple wins over the last 10 days would be important for their confidence heading into the offseason. Some thoughts...

It's over: Everyone can breathe a big sign of relief. The winless streak is finally over and it didn't even take Ilya Kovalchuk returning to finally stop it. Of course, like I said above, this wasn't a perfect game. They struggled to put pucks on net in the first and had difficulty finishing in the second before Ryan Carter snapped one of Ilya Bryzgalov's shoulder. But the important thing was the Devils kept working in two very important areas: the neutral zone and below the Flyers' goal line. The Devils did a good job in long stretches of stopping the Flyers at the blue line and both of the Devils even-strength goals came as a result of their work in the neutral zone. As for the forecheck, it was strong almost all night long. The Devils generated a ton of chances off their pressure below the goal line and it eventually wore down Philly's defense. While the Devils aren't talented enough to out-skill teams, they are dedicated and strong enough to out-work them. It's a long shot, but wins like this are the kind of victories that send a team to length winning streaks. The Devils worked their way past an inferior opponent to a streak-busting victory and were rewarded after several games in which they played well but didn't win.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Devils, Devs, Flyers, HENRIK TALLINDER, JACOB JOSEFSON, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Philadelphia Flyers, Philly, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta, Steve Bernier
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Adam Larsson took a shot off his leg at practice Tuesday and won't be in the lineup Wednesday night. He'll be replaced by Henrik Tallinder, which is not the only change in Pete DeBoer's lineup.

https://twitter.com/NHLDevilsPR/status/321996163790282752

Once again Pete DeBoer is shuffling multiple bodies in and out of the lineup. It's a trick he's tried multiple times this season to varying effect. There's been games where the "trick" has sparked the club or seen a player skate like his ass is on fire, but that's usually just a one- or two-game fix. Mostly, it's been a short-term, half-torn, blood-stained bandaid over a gaping wound. They Devils have been searching for a left wing on the first line all season. They've been trying to find six reliable defensemen (despite having eight on the roster) all season. They've looked for reliable third- and fourth-line wingers while trying to find anybody with a 20-goal scoring touch (Hello, Matt D'Agostini). None of it works. This is all very "deck chairs on the Titanic" rather than trying to find a combination that works. If there were one, DeBoer would've found it by now.

Tags: Adam Larsson, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Devils, Devs, HENRIK TALLINDER, JACOB JOSEFSON, Lineup Changes, Matt D'Agostini, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer
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Links: Twitter | NHL.com recap

The phrase "well, at least they got a point" is starting to mean something very different for these Devils. Tonight, it was more about the point not earned, much like last night's loss to the Lightning. As the playoffs approach (very quickly, might I add), it's becoming apparent that qualifying for the postseason isn't as much of a sure thing as previously thought. Some thoughts...

Points on the table: In the spirit of Schoolboy Q's "Hands on the Wheel," the Devils are really starting to temp fate here. They should have come away from this two-game trip with at least three points, but instead blew leads in the final 30 seconds both games. Tonight was a game that saw them play physical and play well for the most part and they were rewarded for it with two goals that came as a result of that work. The problem wasn't that the Devils took their foot off the gas. No, the Devils I think played too fast in the final minute. There's a reason why Pete DeBoer called a timeout with the Panthers' net empty. He wanted to the Devils to play calm, relaxed and smart, but instead they ended up running around in their own zone, chasing the puck and the Panthers were able to capitalize. As Steve Politi pointed out on Twitter after the game, the Devils have left at least eight to 10 points on the table this year, which is in direct opposition to the way they closed out games last season. Will those extra points come back to haunt them? It's too early to say. I still think they'll make the playoffs, but it could be a matter of seeding hurting the Devils in the first round. With the bottom of the East so tightly packed together, it's starting to look like six, seven and eight will be separated by two to four points -- points the Devils keep giving away.

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Florida Panthers, HENRIK TALLINDER, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Panthers, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts
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The Devils officially removed Alexei Ponikarovsky from injured reserve Friday, clearing the way for him to return to the lineup tonight against the Lightning. Ponikarovksy hasn't played since March 19. The Devils don't need to make a corresponding move since they never filled Ilya Kovalchuk's roster spot after placing him on IR.

Ponikarovsky has one goal and five points in 17 games since being acquired via trade from the Jets.

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Devils, Devs, New Jersey Devils, Notes

We told you earlier that Stephen Gionta, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Bryce Salvador all practiced with the Devils on Thursday. After the double session, Pete DeBoer announced that it's possible all three players could be in the lineup tomorrow.

We guessed earlier that Salvador and Gionta were likely going to play, while Ponikarovsky seems like more of a wild card. The players themselves had pretty much the same sentiment.

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/317378058778734592

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, BRYCE SALVADOR, Buzz, Devils, Devs, New Jersey Devils, Stephen Gionta
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In one of the better signs the Devils have had recently, the team saw three of its injured players participate in practice Thursday.

https://twitter.com/Ledger_NJDevils/status/317345723408592896

https://twitter.com/Ledger_NJDevils/status/317345801837899776

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, BRYCE SALVADOR, Devils, Devs, Injury Report, Injury Update, New Jersey Devils, Stephen Gionta
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With the trade deadline a week away and the Devils limping toward it, there's a question of what GM/President Lou Lamoriello will do to boost the roster. Will he make a "go for it" deal with Martin Brodeur in possibly his penultimate season? Or will he sit tight and hope players returning from injury give the Devils a spark (or six)? If you take history and Lou's words to The Star-Ledger's Rich Chere on Wednesday into account, it's hard to argue with the latter.

https://twitter.com/Ledger_NJDevils/status/316995444121169922

And then there was this...

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Andrei Loktionov, BRYCE SALVADOR, Buzz, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Devils, Devs, HENRIK TALLINDER, Ilya Kovalchuk, Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer
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Alexei Ponikarovsky and Dainius Zubrus remain out of the lineup and on injured reserve. Neither player is practicing with the team, although Zubrus is likely further away from a return than Ponikarovsky. Overload Lou Lamoriello said Sunday that Ponikarovsky could meet the team in Florida this weekend, although that apparently is less likely now.

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/316637207005888512

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/316637578684162048

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Devils, Devs, Injury Report, Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey Devils
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New of Ilya Kovalchuk's shoulder injury hit the Devils at the worst possible time. With New Jersey fighting off somewhere between five and 37 teams for one of the final three playoff spots in the East, the Devils can hardly afford to lose their best player. After a couple days of collecting my thoughts on the injury, I decided to "empty the bag" on Kovy's absence, the power play and if it affects the Devils' trade deadline plans.

How long we talkin' here?!: Lou Lamoriello is notorious for his half answers and dodgy "day to day" injury tactics. That was no different for Kovy, who apparently has a shoulder injury but no one will say what exactly is wrong within said shoulder. Also, according to Lou, Kovy could miss two weeks or less than two weeks or possibly three weeks or maybe even four weeks. The Devils even waited seven hours after announcing the timeline to actually place Kovy on injured reserve, guaranteeing he'd miss at least seven full days. The Devils didn't even want you to definitvely know he'd miss that much time! The problem with all of this double-talk and ridiculous injury gamesmanship is that it gets old real fast. How fast? Well, keep in mind that Martin Brodeur was day to day with a minor back issue until he was on IR for a month with a pinched nerve that almost required surgery. Of course, there's also the Henrik Tallinder case and his "minor" lower-body injury that has now kept him out since March 7. And there's Dainius Zubrus, whose "minor" upper-body injury turned into wrist surgery that was only supposed to keep him out four to six weeks. Oh, wait, it's been six weeks already? And Zubrus isn't even practicing? You don't say.

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Emptying The Bag, Ilya Kovalchuk, Lou Lamoriello, Matt D'Agostini, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, TRAVIS ZAJAC
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Well, it was only a matter of time. The Devils placed Ilya Kovalchuk on injured reserve Sunday night after announcing he would miss two to four weeks with a shoulder injury earlier in the day.

The Devils didn't make a corresponding move, meaning they now have an empty spot on the roster. Henrik Tallinder will likely be activated at some point this week and Alexei Ponikarovsky, who was retroactively put on IR today, is eligible to be activated Wednesday.

We suspected the Devils might wait to IR Kovy until they got results of the MRI, which he was undergoing at the time of Lou Lamoriello's presser earlier this afternoon -- not that we're likely to find out the results of that test. We'll have an overall piece on the impact of Kovy's injury on the Devils as a whole and their possible trade deadline plans tomorrow.

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Devils, Devs, HENRIK TALLINDER, Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils, News

After updating the world on Ilya Kovalchuk's shoulder injury, the Devils announced they placed Alexei Ponikarovsky on injured reserve retroactive to March 19. Ponikarovsky has been sidelined with a lower-body injury. There was also this regarding Ponikarovsky's injury status:

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/315873671199727617

The Devils recalled left wing Harri Pesonen from AHL Albany to take Ponikarovsky's place on the roster.

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Devils, Devs, Harri Pesonen, New Jersey Devils, News
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The Devils finally announced Alexei Ponikarovsky's injury status Wednesday night, declaring the winger out for Thursday's game in Carolina.

https://twitter.com/NHLDevilsPR/status/314511740253663233

That's a little more detail than we got earlier, although not much more than we already knew considering the timing of everything. It's hard to take the Devils' "day-to-day" diagnoses seriously considering their history -- Henrik Tallinder being the latest example. While Poni hasn't exactly lit it up (one goal, five points in 12 games) since rejoining the Devils via trade, he is a key part of Pete DeBoer's nightly lineup, especially with Dainius Zubrus sidelined and Stefan Matteau in junior. Expect to see Adam Henrique at left wing on the first line tomorrow night with Zajac centering Elias and Clarkson and the CBGB line reunited for a whole game. The fourth line is still a bit of a mystery although I don't expect much out of them regardless of whichever combination DeBoer chooses to throw out there. The Devils can survive a brief time without Poni, but it's just another example of small losses adding up a bigger problem.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Devils, Devs, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils, News

One of the more important developments from last night's game was the injury status of Alexei Ponikarovsky, who left Tuesday's game with an undisclosed injury. Pete DeBoer said after the game that he would know more today. Unfortunately, DeBoer refused to tell what he knows and won't even say whether it's an upper- or lower-body injury.

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/314447847632302081

As for his status for tomorrow's game against Carolina, Tom Gulitti makes a fair point after DeBoer played the "I don't know" card again.

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Devils, Devs, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer
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After missing the entire third period last night, Alexei Ponikarovsky was not present at Wednesday's practice. His injury, along with the return of Andrei Loktionov to practice, forced Pete DeBoer to use some line combinations we've seen before.

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/314433821921652736

I'm sure many Devils fans are happy to see the return of the CBGB line, although all of this was necessitated by the injuries to Ponikarovsky and Dainius Zubrus. Once those two return, unless the Devils want Adam Henrique, Travis Zajac or Loktionov to center the fourth line (they don't), then I wouldn't expect that line to appear except for certain points when DeBoer maybe wants to give the whole team a spark. Also, DeBoer really dislikes using Henrique on the wing and only uses him there when he has to. Assuming Poni isn't seriously hurt, I'd expect him to return to that spot until Zubrus is healthy, at which point all bets are off in terms of line combos. We'll have to see how serious the injury to Ponikarovsky is later today once DeBoer addresses the media. If he's out for tomorrow's game, I'd be willing to bet these are the lines we'll see against Carolina.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Andrei Loktionov, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Devils, Devs, Lineup Changes, New Jersey Devils, Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta, Steve Bernier

As the headline indicates, the Devils suffered another injury Tuesday night, this time to winger Alexei Ponikarovsky. Pete DeBoer was even more tight-lipped than usual postgame.

https://twitter.com/Ledger_NJDevils/status/314196985450229760

I don't want to react too much before knowing what we're dealing with, but safe to say, the Devils can hardly afford another injury to a top-nine forward. We'll see what the Devils have to say tomorrow.

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Devils, Devs, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils

With Martin Brodeur on the verge of returning, Devils fans can now turn their attention to the health of the other walking wounded, namely: Andrei Loktionov, Henrik Tallinder and Dainius Zubrus.

We'll start with the most recently injured, Loktionov, who has one of those wonderful "undisclosed" injuries.

https://twitter.com/Ledger_NJDevils/status/313693507514671104

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Andrei Loktionov, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Devils, Devs, Harri Pesonen, HENRIK TALLINDER, Ilya Kovalchuk, Injury Report, Krys Barch, New Jersey Devils
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Whether you think the Devils are or aren't in trouble, there's one thing we all agree on: New Jersey's forwards are producing far too little offense. In response, coach Pete DeBoer has tried all manner of different line combinations to jump-start his offense. With none of those changes working for more than a shift or two, DeBoer went all the way back at today's morning skate.

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/309687173458829312

We haven't seen those top two line combos since the first games following the Ponikarovsky trade. But wait! There's changes afoot on the back end, too.

Tags: Adam Larsson, Alexei Ponikarovsky, ANTON VOLCHENKOV, Devils, Devs, HENRIK TALLINDER, Ilya Kovalchuk, Lineup Changes, MARK FAYNE, New Jersey Devils, Pete Harrold, TRAVIS ZAJAC
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The Devils have suffered two significant injuries in the past 10 days, first losing Dainius Zubrus to wrist surgery and then Ryan Carter to a likely concussion. Zubrus is out at least another three weeks and possibly as much as five, while Carter is sidelined for at least this weekend. These injuries have led me to seriously reconsider the Devils' realistic ceiling for this season because of one major problem.

They Devils are so frighteningly shallow up front they're one injury away from struggling to ice 12 NHL forwards.

Don't believe me? It's true. With both Carter and Zubrus on the shelf, both Stefan Matteau and Krys Barch are in the lineup tonight and there is no extra forward. Seriously. Since the Devils continue to carry eight defensemen, Carter is the 13th forward. If any of the top 12 get hurt tonight, either Carter would have to go on injured reserve or one of the defensemen will have to go.

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Analysis, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Devils, Devs, JACOB JOSEFSON, Krys Barch, Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Ryan Carter, Stefan Matteau
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My friend Brian Bassett over at SNY's theJetsBlog runs this occasional feature called "The Junk Drawer." He uses it to basically get out a bullet pointed list of thoughts rattling around his head about a specific move or a specific period of time. I'm officially stealing this idea, with all due respect to Brian, and calling my version "Emptying The Bag" -- an allusion to those days when you'd pull all your stinky hockey equipment out of the bag to air it out before it grew mold. The first version is below and basically empties my head of whatever thoughts I had left regarding the Alexei Ponikarovsky trade...

The (no) adjustment bureau: They say familiarity breeds contempt, but in this case, it creates a lack of waiting time. One of the advantages of Ponikarovsky is the Devils don?t have to spend time teaching him the system or waiting for him to get adjusted to new surroundings or hoping he finds chemistry with his teammates. This is all old news for Poni and the Devils, who already have a limited amount of time as it is in the shortened season. For that reason, I would in no way be surprised if he picked up exactly where he left off last season, when he had seven goals and 18 points in 33 games for New Jersey. Will he score on that pace? Probably not, but with this Devils team, any additional offensive input is a bonus, especially when it comes from the first line left wing.

FLLW: I?ve written multiple times about the way station that has been the left side of the Devils? top forward line. I even have a hastily created acronym for it. But the truth is that even Dainius Zubrus wasn?t producing enough offensively to merit his place on the top line. I like the idea of Poni skating there because he brings the size and physicality that Zubrus brought, but perhaps with a better offensive touch. With Ilya Kovalchuk shooting almost every puck he gets his hand on, a big body like Ponikarovsky could be very useful in the front of the net to help clean up the rebounds. Plus, it allows the Devils to play guys like Ryan Carter and Stefan Matteau on the third and fourth lines, respectively, where their minutes won?t balloon too much and where they?re far more comfortable as players.

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Analysis, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Devils, Devs, Emptying The Bag, Krys Barch, New Jersey Devils, Editorial Aside, Stefan Matteau
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Alexei Ponikarovsky joined the Devils for his first skate since rejoining the team via trade Wednesday night. In Friday's morning skate, during which Pete DeBoer generally ices the lines that will start that night's game, Ponikarovsky was on the left wing of top centerman Travis Zajac.

https://twitter.com/Ledger_NJDevils/status/302438420842692608

This isn't all that surprising -- all you have to do is look at the players that have rotated through that spot thus far this season to understand the decision. DeBoer has tried Stefan Matteau, Ryan Carter, Bobby Butler, Jacob Josefson, Adam Henrique and Dainius Zubrus at first line left wing. Outside of Zubrus, Matteau has gotten the longest look there, but mostly for five or six shifts a game max. In a post I'll (hopefully) get to later today, I'll go deeper into the benefits on the Poni trade, but this is chief among them. I don't know if he'll spent the entire game there, especially if the Devils get off to a poor start again, but I imagine he'll get a pretty long look.

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Devils, Devs, Krys Barch, Lineup Changes, lineup changes, New Jersey Devils, Stefan Matteau
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The Devils got back to a full practice today, so I just wanted to pass on a couple notes, starting with how Pete DeBoer plans to deploy Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg this week.

https://twitter.com/Ledger_NJDevils/status/302105086950264833

And the fact that Ponikarovsky is expected to be in the lineup tomorrow against Philly.

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Devils, Devs, Lineup Changes, lineup changes, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
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Alexei Ponikarovsky is back in black (and red). The Devils re-acquired the left wing in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a fourth- and a seventh-round pick in the 2013 draft. You may remember the Devils let Ponikarovsky walk in the offseason after he put up seven goals and 20 points in 33 regular-season games last season. He also had a goal and eight assists during the Devils' run to the Stanley Cup final.

So why bring Ponikarovsky back? You mean besides the gaping hole at left wing on the first and fourth lines? Kidding.

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/301864045521276928

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Andrei Loktionov, Bobby Butler, Devils, Devs, JACOB JOSEFSON, New Jersey Devils, News, news, Stefan Matteau, Trade
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