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The San Jose Sharks are expected to hire Peter DeBoer as their new head coach (LeBrun, May 27).

DeBoer served as the Devils head coach from 2011-2014, leading them to a Stanley Cup finals appearance in 2012. He was fired just 36 games into this season after a?12?17?7 start. Adam Oates and Scott Stevens replaced him on the bench for the remainder of the season in a duel-coaching set up.

Prior to coming to?the Devils, DeBoer coached the Florida Panthers from 2008-2011. He has a 205-183-70 lifetime record as a head coach.

Tags: Adam Oates, Breaking News, New Jersey Devils, News, Peter DeBoer, San Jose Sharks, Scott Stevens
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There have been a lot of questions about the Devils' defense as of late, particularly their younger members. The fans are clamoring to know where Adam Larsson is, and why, in spite of what he brings to a struggling offensive effort,?Eric Gelinas has been sent down to Albany. In the middle of this uncertainty, a true point of stability for the Devils' D-Men has been?Jon Merrill.

In his 31 games since being promoted to the main roster on November 3, Jon has been the most consistent and reliable of any of the vaunted Devils call-ups. After a few early blunders and turnovers during his pairing with Gelinas, which lead to the two rookies being split-up, Merrill's defensive game has continued to progress to a legitimate, NHL level.

In spite of his youth, the 22-year-old rookie from the University of Michigan?plays a smart, confident, hard-working game. He blocks shots, makes the right passes, isn't afraid of contact and doesn't shy away from the hard work in the corners. ?He also shows very strong stick skills for someone so young, and is consistently able to disrupt the opponent's play with a timely poke-check or blocked pass that sends the play the other way. This is made all the more impressive when you consider the fact that Merrill had only 26 games of experience at the AHL level to call upon before being thrust onto the big stage.

Tags: Feature, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer
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New Jersey Devils head coach Pete DeBoer very rarely gets any credit when he does things right. A fair amount of the Devils fanbase criticize him over many little things during the course of a day, nevermind a game. It's time to put aside the little "annoying things he does" and get down to the facts.

Let's start with the things that frustrate Devils fans: Is the Eric Gelinas benching/scratching/sitting annoying? Yes. Is the shunning of Adam Larsson frustrating? No question. Do people get on him about having optional skates/days off? They sure do.

But what is really important? The bottom line for an NHL coach is to win hockey games. He's done exactly that since arriving a few years ago.

Tags: Feature, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer
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Michael Ryder has no goals in his last five games.

We know he?s a streaky guy but outside of a post he hit on Saturday night against Philadelphia, he?s been relatively quiet.? For one, he?s not shooting nearly enough.? He has six shots in the team?s last five games.? Even with these last five contests, he?s shooting at an 18 percent clip.? That?s great.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Analysis, Damien Brunner, Feature, Hockey, michael ryder, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Ryane Clowe, TRAVIS ZAJAC
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It's always great to answer some reader questions, especially now that we have quite a few games worth of information to go on. If you have a question, always feel free to tweet @SNYDevils.

Jonathan Harpula - @Starpula - Larsson for Yakupov? Who says no at this point?

Tags: Adam Larsson, Analysis, cory schneider, Discuss, Emptying The Bag, Eric Gelinas, Hockey, Marek Zidlicky, MARK FAYNE, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Pete DeBoer, Peter Harrold
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With all the player personnel change going on in Newark, it?s easy to forget about the head coach.? Peter DeBoer is entering his third season at the helm of the New Jersey Devils.? His first season was a major success; taking NJ to the Stanley Cup Finals. ?His second campaign was a pretty big disappointment, especially considering how fast of a start they had.? Perhaps it?s a bit too early to discuss it, but it might be a conversation that?s not too far down the road depending on the club?s start; how much pressure is on Pete DeBoer in 2013-14?

Maybe it?s unfair to put last year?s collapse on DeBoer, but there?s no denying it happened on his watch, even if there was a 48-game season and injures to overcome.? In the middle of last year, I mentioned that DeBoer should be in NJ for a long time.? While I still believe he should, this is a big swing year for his job security with GM Lou Lamoriello and new ownership closely watching.

Tags: Analysis, coach, Discuss, Feature, Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer
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By Jeff O'Connor

The New Jersey Devils signed Michael Ryder when free agency started, due to a need of pure goal scorers.? While he didn?t have any goals in Thursday night?s 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders at the Prudential Center, he showed that he has many more tools besides just an ability to shoot the puck.

Tags: Analysis, Feature, Lou Lamoriello, Martin Brodeur, michael ryder, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Pete DeBoer, preseason, Ryane Clowe, Training Camp
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Devils assistant coach Matt Shaw has left Pete DeBoer's staff in order to take the helm of a United States Hockey League team.

https://twitter.com/THsportsfeed/status/340182402267746304

Shaw joined DeBoer's staff last summer as a replacement for Adam Oates, who took the head coach job in Washington. Shaw, who came over from the Sharks, was primarily responsible for the power play -- and we all know how that went this season. Shaw's shoot-first system was drastically different from Oates' "find-the-best-shot" plan and the Devils never looked comfortable in Shaw's scheme all season long. The lockout and subsequent lack of a real training camp likely had a lot to do with that, but it seemed clear that Shaw's view of the power play didn't really match up with the personnel. I wrote after the season that I wouldn't be surprised if the Devils tried to change up at least one assistant on the staff and Shaw seemed the likely scapegoat given that Scott Stevens is the other assistant. Not to get all conspiratorial on you, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if Shaw was "encouraged" to find another opportunity. Either way, DeBoer has to find a power-play specialist to join his staff.

Tags: Devils, Devs, Matt Shaw, New Jersey Devils, News, Pete DeBoer
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While the Devils lost 10 straight and careened out of the playoff chase, there were some who wondered whether general manager Lou Lamoriello would pull the plug on coach Pete DeBoer during or after the season. On breakup day Monday, Lamoriello put those questions to rest.

Via Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice:

Pete DeBoer will definitely be back as head coach of the Devils next season, general manager Lou Lamoriello said today.

?I?ll put it to rest. The season is over now,? Lamoriello said. ?I think getting involved in that stuff during the year and answering all those questions, I?m never going to answer one way of the other. We?re playing. But this coaching staff worked as hard as any coaching staff that I?ve had here.?

Tags: Devils, Devs, Lou Lamoriello, Matt Shaw, New Jersey Devils, News, Pete DeBoer, Scott Stevens
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I got a lot of postgame info last night. Most of it I used in Postgame Thoughts, yet some spilled over into today.

Here are some leftovers from the Devils' 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

For whatever reason, the arena seemed exceedingly quiet until Travis Zajac's second-period goal.

Tags: Andrei Loktionov, Brandon Sutter, DAVID CLARKSON, Ilya Kovalchuk, James Neal, Jarome Iginla, Johan Hedberg, Jussi Jokinen, Notes, PATRIK ELIAS, Peter DeBoer, Ryan Carter, Sidney Crosby, TRAVIS ZAJAC
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The Devils obviously will not be playing postseason hockey this year.

Yet, somehow they still managed to claim the season series from the Eastern Conference's top team.

New Jersey came from 2-0 down to send its home crowd out with a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night at Prudential Center.

Tags: Andrei Loktionov, Brandon Sutter, Brenden Morrow, DAVID CLARKSON, Eric Gelinas, Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jarome Iginla, Johan Hedberg, Jussi Jokinen, Kris Letang, Marc-Andre Fleury, Matt Cooke, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Peter DeBoer, Peter Harrold, Postgame Thoughts, Scott Stevens, Steve Sullivan
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Links: Pregame thread | Twitter | NHL.com recap

As I said on Twitter postgame, this was an impressive win for a lot of reasons. Yes, the Devils probably should've played like this at some point during their 10-game slide. No, two more wins like this won't drastically change how we look at the season. However, there were bright spots in this game that lend themselves toward a positive look for next season and it's possible missing the playoffs flipped a switch in the psyche of a lot of these players, which is another topic for another day. As for? tonight's game, some thoughts...

Fortitude: At least for me, the most impressive part of tonight's win came after the Canadiens scored two unanswered, the second of which came including one in the final minute of the second period. We've seen the Devils melt down multiple times in that scenario, giving up an early goal in the third and going on to lose in regulation or in extra play. It's been one of my biggest criticisms of this Devils team, particularly during their recent slide. This team lacked a strong enough mental edge to their game to rebound from "woe is us" moments. Tonight, though, they didn't need a timeout to correct them and while they struggled to get shots on net in the third, they still kept the Canadiens at bay for long stretches. Also, the Habs came out in the third and tried to bully the Devils, who fought right back. Ilya Kovalchuk, for one, went right at the Canadiens after he got hit from behind. Kovy's response, along with the the energy he's played with and the way he drives the train (so to speak), has me wondering if it should be Kovalchuk with the captain's "C" next season. I know Salvador is respected in the room and a lot of guys like him, but would it kill them to give it to Kovy and have Salvador take an "A?" I think it would be a wise move that would help shape the team's mindset going into next season. Food for thought.

Tags: Alex Urbom, Andrei Loktionov, Brandon Prust, BRYCE SALVADOR, Canadiens, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Habs, Ilya Kovalchuk, JACOB JOSEFSON, Marek Zidlicky, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Stephen Gionta, TRAVIS ZAJAC
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Sticking to their motto of planning to give some youngsters a chance in the final few games, the Devils have decided to give Alex Urbom a chance Tuesday night. Henrik Tallinder will be a healthy scratch to make room for Urbom, who will be paired with Peter Harrold.

Via Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice:

Urbom, a 2009 third-round draft pick, began the 2010-11 season in New Jersey and ended up playing eight NHL games that season. He played in five games last season, but this will be his first game in the league this season, so he?s looking forward to it.

?It?s always fun to play up here,? Urbom said. ?It?s going to be real fun.?

Tags: Alex Urbom, Devils, Devs, HENRIK TALLINDER, New Jersey Devils, News, Pete DeBoer, Peter Harrold
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The Devils were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention Sunday afternoon. On Monday, Pete DeBoer was asked if he thought the Devils "deserved" to make the playoffs.

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/326362208365850624

He doesn't come out and say the phrase "we deserved to make the playoffs," but it's pretty easy to read his meaning. I've never been a fan of players, coaches or fans talking about what was deserved or what should've happened. The fact is the Devils didn't make the playoffs. Obviously, injuries to Martin Brodeur and Ilya Kovalchuk played a big part in that. The two missed nearly two months combined -- a brutal thing to handle in a regular season, let alone a shortened one. However, this team was built poorly to begin with and both Lou Lamoriello and DeBoer mismanaged it at different points of the season. From the Stefan Matteau situation to not signing a veteran scorer before the season began, there were multiple missteps from a roster point of view. Would the Devils have made the playoffs in an 82-game season? Maybe. Maybe they would've overcome the injury issues and had more time to find some secondary scoring, but there's always the possibility the Flyers and Hurricanes would've had time to turn it around. There's no "deserve" when it comes to qualifying for the postseason. We saw 45 games worth of hockey from this Devils team in a 48-game season and they simply weren't good enough.

Tags: Analysis, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer
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Links: Twitter | NHL.com recap

A lifeless start, a couple of bad penalty calls and suddenly the Devils were frustrated, losing and on their way to playoff elimination. All in all, a sad but fitting end (as far as playoff chances go) to a season that was flawed from the get-go. Some thoughts...

Two things: When you combine a lack or energy with some questionable officiating, you usually get one of two results. Sometimes the team will take on an "us against the world" mentality, snap out of their funk and go on a tear the rest of the game. That didn't happen today. Instead, the Devils went further into their shell and seemingly quit on the game and essentially their season. Even Martin Brodeur admitted that he felt his teammates gave up when things didn't go their way. The Devils basically mailed in the first period, negating to forecheck or apply any sort of offensive pressure on the Rangers. It was almost like the Devils came out assuming they were already eliminated from the playoffs. While it was a mathematical eventuality, it's still disconcerting to hear players after the game talk about how they knew it was just a matter of time. When you hear stuff like that, you can understand why you get a first period like the Devils had today.

Tags: Andrei Loktionov, BRYCE SALVADOR, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, HENRIK TALLINDER, Ilya Kovalchuk, JACOB JOSEFSON, Johan Hedberg, Marek Zidlicky, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts
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Links: Pregame thread | Twitter | NHL.com recap

If you didn't watch the first 10 minutes of today's game, you'd think it was one of the Devils' best efforts all season. Despite that (very) sub-par start, the Devils once again managed to "turn it on" after Pete DeBoer's timeout and just dominated the Panthers for the next 50 minutes. Some thoughts...

Wake-up call: The Pete DeBoer First Period Timeout should be sold in pharmacies across the country. It's best wake-up call I think I've ever seen. Why the Devils continue to need it -- especially in the throes of a desperate playoff chase -- is beyond me, but it certainly is the magical elixir this roster covets. The Devils came out painfully slow and were lacking any sort of energy. The Panthers were skating circles around them, getting to every loose puck. Both of Florida's goals were a result of out-efforting New Jersey, but that changed as soon as DeBoer called his infamous timeout. You could see him rotating his hand, signaling the Devils needed to pick up the energy. This wasn't one of those "settle down" timeouts. This was the "well-time expletive" version and it worked. Boy did it work. It took a few minutes but before long New Jersey was all over Florida, like a train that takes time to build up speed and then all of sudden is barreling down the tracks at 80 miles per hour. I know I've spent some time cracking on the Devils for their slow starts this season and their reliance on the P.D.F.P.T. (we might need a better acronym), but at this point, a win is a win is a win.

Tags: Adam Larsson, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Florida Panthers, Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Panthers, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Postgame Thoughts, Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta, Steve Bernier
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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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  • The usual collection of links from New Jersey's 10th straight loss, a 2-0 defeat in Toronto (NJ.com) (NorthJersey.com) (NHL.com) (AP)
  • As NHL.com correspondent Mike Brophy points out, the Devils' and Leafs' fates have reversed this year (NHL.com)
  • According to Patrik Elias, Pete DeBoer and his staff are not to blame for New Jersey's 10-game losing streak, notes Rich Chere (NJ.com)
  • Among Tom Gulitti's notes, it appears Ilya Kovalchuk will rejoin the Devils on Thursday in Philadelphia (NorthJersey.com)
Tags: Around The Links, Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Toronto Maple Leafs
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Links: Pregame thread | Twitter | NHL.com recap

There's going to be a multitude of reactions to tonight's loss. Many will cite "puck luck" or the lack thereof. Others will claim a screwjob from the refs in the third period. Some will say Pete DeBoer isn't doing his job and needs to go, if only to shake up the team. I'll give you the first one. I may even listen to you on the second one, too. But this loss, like most of the last nine have not been the fault of one, Pete DeBoer. This loss, like this skid, is a combination of factors, but the blame resides largely on the ice. Some thoughts...

Car, meet wall: We talked about it in our pregame thread, the idea of a team struggling to score running into a very good goalie in Craig Anderson. We were concerned that if Anderson was on his game, it might not matter what the Devils did -- and after 60 minutes it was pretty clear that Anderson was going to win tonight no matter what the Devils did. Although he got a little help from the iron maidens, he did plenty of work on his own. At times, Anderson used excellent positioning to give the Devils almost nowhere to shoot. The rest of the time he flung his legs or his glove or his blocker (or the butt end of his stick) into the Devils' way (and faces). Flat out -- Anderson was a damn beast tonight. He might have missed too much time with a sprained ankle to still be considered for the Vezina, but he put on the type of late-season performance tonight that usually rockets a goalie's name to the top of the list. You know what tonight was? It was the Coyote vs. the Roadrunner. The Coyote painted the train tunnel on the rock, thinking it would fool the Roadrunner, who of course (through the miracle of dated animation) ran right through that tunnel. When the Coyote tried to follow, he either found himself flattened by a train or up against the rock. Craig Anderson was both the train and the rock tonight, sitting back and attacking and basically steamrolling a Devils team that basically gave everything it had and came up with nothing.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Adam Larsson, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Lou Lamoriello, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Senators, Sens, TRAVIS ZAJAC
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Pete DeBoer announced at Friday's morning skate that neither Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder) nor Bryce Salvador (wrist) will be in the lineup against the Senators tonight. Neither player participated in today's skate.

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/322731344968957954

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/322731626775863298

Tags: Adam Larsson, BRYCE SALVADOR, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Peter Harrold
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The last time the Devils were in the midst of a lengthy losing streak, Pat Pickens and I got together and debated whether the Devils were in real trouble. Pat was a little more optimistic than me, although we both saw a chance for redemption. Then Ilya Kovalchuk got hurt and the Devils went off the rails. With eight games left, Pat and I faced a simple questions: Will the Devils make the playoffs? What follows is a quick answer to that question followed by a debate over why it happened, how to fix it and whether Pete DeBoer should be part of the solution or on the chopping block.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Adam Larsson, BRYCE SALVADOR, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, DAVID CLARKSON, Debate, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, JACOB JOSEFSON, Lou Lamoriello, Marek Zidlicky, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Stefan Matteau, TRAVIS ZAJAC, Zach Parise
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You know the spot you?re in and you have two choices ? you roll over and die or you get up tomorrow and you find a way to turn one win into six or seven or whatever it?s going to take."

-- Pete DeBoer after last night's 5-4 loss

(Source: Tom Gulitti on Twitter)

Tags: Devils, Devs, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Quote, Quote
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Links: Pregame thread | Twitter | NHL.com recap

This one hurts as much as a Zdeno Chara slapshot to the wrist. While the rival (and eighth-place) Rangers won in a shootout to move four points head of the Devils, New Jersey lost what felt like a microcosm of their entire season. There was the awful start, injuries to key players affecting the team and the Devils coming up just short of a tie game and a guaranteed point in overtime. Like I said, this one hurts. Some thoughts...

Fragile: It's a word Pete DeBoer used to describe his team after the Devils allowed three early goals despite the Bruins taking four penalties in five minutes AND Martin Brodeur stopping a penalty shot. It seemed a wildly appropriate description for a team that has been known to cave at the end of periods, surrender goals in bunches and lose their heads in their own zone. There's a reason why the Devils always seem to play better after DeBoer calls a timeout. He can read whether they need a kick in the ass or a moment to breathe and then suddenly, they look like a different team. It happened tonight and it's happened countless other times this season. The team's psyche is fragile and they don't have enough extraordinarily talented players on the roster to carry them through rough patches. Without Ilya Kovalchuk, it's a collection of "guys" -- some with high-quality talent, but most without. A "fragile" team combined with a limited roster is a bad combination and it's why they've gone one two very bad losing streaks this season. This is not a team that can answer the bell and fight through adversity, which is so strange since it's nearly the same team as last year's that basically made adversity its 24th man on the bench. THIS is where we're seeing and feeling the loss of Zach Parise, who's attitude, work ethic and willingness to buy in no matter what would drive the Devils through difficult times. Maybe Travis Zajac or Adam Henrique will get there some day, but they're not there now.

Tags: Andrei Loktionov, Boston Bruins, Bruins, BRYCE SALVADOR, B's, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, Matt D'Agostini, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Stephen Gionta, Zach Parise
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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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In talking with several Devils and head coach Pete DeBoer after their 2-1 loss to Toronto on Saturday, it's patently obvious that they are playing well enough to win.

"We're a confident team, we believe in ourselves," forward David Clarkson said. "We have to continue to keep pushing and working hard every day."

Still, six-straight losses-- three straight in regulation-- have left the Devils searching for answers.

Tags: Analysis, DAVID CLARKSON, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside
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The Devils' frustration level is rising.

On a night when the Jets, Rangers, Islanders and Capitals all won, New Jersey could only muster one goal in a 2-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday at Prudential Center.

"There's some frustration in not winning," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "We have to find a way to win games ... that's where the frustration lies."

Tags: DAVID CLARKSON, Leo Komarov, MARK FRASER, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Peter DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Steve Sullivan, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tyler Bozak
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Links: Pregame thread | Twitter | NHL.com recap

If you can play better in a loss, I'd like to see it. OK, maybe if you scored some goals, but I'm not sure how much more the Devils could've done tonight. They dominated puck possession, neutralized the Bruins' offense and put tons of pucks on net -- all to come up with nothing. Even worse, with the way things are unfolding around the East, they've fallen out of the playoff picture for now. Not a good night, to say the least. Some thoughts...

Everything but the kitchen sink: The Devils did it all tonight. They threw pucks at the net, they deked the Bruins out of their jocks (Andy Greene says "Hi" Shawn Thornton) and they had Tuukka Rask running all around his crease. Yet, at the end of the day, it was a zero on the scoreboard. While I've spent countless posts here lamenting the Devils' lack of a finisher, never was it more apparent than tonight. Say the Devils didn't get "puck luck" and I'll say you're being naive. Tell me the Devils should've scored four times tonight and I'll respond, "But they didn't." None of this is to say the Devils played poorly in the offensive end; it was quite the opposite. The Devils did so many things well tonight, reducing the Bruins (arguably the second-best team in the East) to nothing more than partners in an optional skate. But the one thing they didn't do outweighs all the positive because this time of the year isn't about "building." Just like coffee, April is for closers, which is one thing the Devils have been woefully lacking since January 19. There's no relying on Ilya Kovalchuk's return. It's not coming "anytime soon," according to Pete DeBoer. That means "future Hall of Famer" Patrick Elias, "budding power forward" David Clarkson and promising young centers Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique need to start putting pucks into the net. Devils fans ask if this team can make a run like last season but tonight was 60 minutes worth of reasons why they might not even get the chance.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Andrei Loktionov, Boston Bruins, Bruins, BRYCE SALVADOR, B's, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Lou Lamoriello, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, TRAVIS ZAJAC, Zach Parise
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  • Evidently NHL general managers thought Tuesday was the trade deadline. Jaromir Jagr was traded to Boston. Derek Roy was shipped off to Vancouver. Marc-Andre Bergeron was traded to Carolina. Ryane Clowe was dealt to the Rangers. (NHL.com).
  • The New York Islanders, thanks to a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets, have jumped into a tie with the Devils?for seventh in the Eastern Conference standings. (Newsday)
  • Meanwhile on the Devils' front, Lou Lamoriello does not expect to make many moves on Wednesday, writes Tom Gulitti (NorthJersey.com).
  • In fact, Dave Hutchinson says Pete DeBoer is prepared to battle with the lineup he has now (NJ.com).
Tags: Around The Links, Derek Roy, Jaromir Jagr, Lou Lamoriello, Marc-Andre Bergeron, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Pete DeBoer, Ryane Clowe, Winnipeg Jets
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVKR_KqA7KQ&feature=youtu.be
Tags: Devils, Devs, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Video, Watch
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Links: Pregame thread | Twitter | NHL.com recap

If you had to pick a word for tonight's game, it would probably be disappointing. On a night they could've put six points between themselves and the Islanders, the Devils came out of the gate so sluggish someone joked they thought the game started at 7:30. Is it the end-all, be-all? No, but it's not a good sign after being unable to finish off an opponent the past two games. Some thoughts...

10-minute warning: How many times have we talked about the Devils taking 10 or sometimes 20 minutes to show up in a game? Once again, the Devils seem to have tremendous difficulty generating energy to start a game, something coach Pete DeBoer seemed totally flummoxed by. He admitted after the game that the slow start (a trend all season long) was disappointing and said the Devils didn't take the Islanders lightly. OK, fair enough. DeBoer also didn't seem to have an answer for why things started off so sideways and said that he actually tried to be calm in (yet another) first-period timeout. Think about how differently this game goes if the Devils are at least somewhat present for the first half of the first period. I mean, how many timeouts does DeBoer have to call in the first period? Matter of fact -- does anyone have that stat? The bottom line is I shouldn't have to ask that question. This is a veteran team with leaders galore that has been through the ringer. Their coach knows what it takes at this time of the season; everyone from the goalie out knows what it takes. So why are the Devils still having the same problem in April they had in January? One theory is that there's no one in the room willing to overturn a table or kick something across the room. I'm starting to think that might have some merit. Even listening to the few Devils talk after tonight's game, you get the sense that things are too even-keel for a team that's on the edge of the playoff picture. The problem is that's not something you add at the deadline. That's something you need from the get-go, a player that's been through training camp and the dregs of the season in that room. I just don't think they're suddenly going to "figure out" these slow starts and that's going to cost them, either at the end of the season or in the playoffs.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Andrei Loktionov, BRYCE SALVADOR, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Islanders, Isles, Marek Zidlicky, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, TRAVIS ZAJAC
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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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An old face made an appearance at Devils practice today...

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/317353213844152321

While this normally would make any other Devils coach start shaking uncontrollably, Pete DeBoer's job is about as safe as they come these days. Plus, as Gulitti points out later, Lemaire lives in Florida and often visits the team when they're in town against the Lightning or Panthers. The team still employs him as a "special assignment coach," which is basically fancy language for "Here's some annual retirement money as thanks for saving our ass so many times."

Tags: Devils, Devs, Jacques Lemaire, New Jersey Devils, Notes, Pete DeBoer
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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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Links: Pregame thread | Twitter | NHL.com recap

There's two different ways you could look at tonight's game: Disappointing or gutsy. During their first contest without Ilya Kovalchuk, the Devils fought through in-game injuries to two game players and an awful to start to eek out a consolation point. They also played some good hockey in the second and third periods, although there were mistakes and they were clearly tired in overtime. Some thoughts...

One and one: One game without Kovalchuk, one point for the Devils. This is how it will have to be. Yes, they would've liked to have picked up the extra point and surely played like it in the third period, but any points are important given the state they're in right now. If you'd like to be concerned, the Devils' record in overtimes and shootouts is reason for worry. New Jersey has left a lot of points on the ice this season after excelling in extra hockey last season. Will it be the difference between eighth and ninth? Too early to tell, but for now the Devils simply have to do everything they can to stay stagnant (at worst) in the standings while Kovy is out. Tonight, the Devils managed to overcome a dreadful start and seemingly woke up after being undressed by Pete DeBoer during a first-period timeout. The gears didn't really begin to turn until the second when Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique had some impressive shifts as DeBoer mixed and matched forwards given his limited bench. Over the final two periods, the Devils looked like a good hockey team that couldn't finish -- which is what they've looked like for stretches this season. Except there's no Kovy coming in to seal the deal with a rocket from the point or a perfect pass across the ice. Make no mistake, this is what the Devils will look like for the next two weeks. They could play very inspired hockey game in and game out and it will still be a challenge to score goals.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Andrei Loktionov, BRYCE SALVADOR, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Notes, Ottawa Senators, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Ryan Carter, Senators, Sens, Stephen Gionta, Steve Bernier, TRAVIS ZAJAC
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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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  • The regular slew of links from New Jersey's 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers, Martin Brodeur's 666th career victory. (NJ.com) (NorthJersey.com) (NHL.com) (AP)
  • Though New Jersey won its second straight, Ilya Kovalchuk was injured during the third period. (NJ.com)
  • Tim Sestito was also injured and left last night's game. But, Pete DeBoer reportedly said he'll be fine (Fire & Ice)
  • Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Lightning relieved head coach Guy Boucher of his duties on Sunday (NHL.com)
Tags: Around The Links, Florida Panthers, Guy Boucher, Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tim Sestito
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Depending on the diagnosis of Ilya Kovalchuk's shoulder, the image above could be the lasting one for this season for the Devils. His teammates and coach had some interesting and telling quotes after the game. Here's a roundup of a few of them.

Pete DeBoer: "I think mentally coming into the season we're prepared that we?re going to have to lose key people and be able to survive it." (via Tom Gulitti on Twitter)

Tags: DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Quote
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Links: Pregame thread | Twitter | NHL.com recap

It was almost a storybook return, but history turned out to be too good to be true for Martin Brodeur. Still, after weathering a hectic first 10 minutes, the Devils responded with an excellent overall effort and have ended their most recent losing streak in impressive fashion. Some thoughts...

Marty: It may not have been history, but it was an excellent return for Brodeur, who single-handedly kept the Devils in the game long enough for them to find their sea legs. Brodeur's performance during the first 10 minutes of the first period was the shining example of what we wrote earlier this week. While Johan Hedberg was good enough, he wasn't Brodeur. He didn't have that extra level. Moose was likely to be beaten on the fifth shot of a rapid-fire barrage. Brodeur, on the other hand, was calm, cool, collected and his usual reliable self. Of course, he was blatantly exhausted at the end of that stretch, but thankfully the rest of the team took over from there, shutting the Hurricanes down so well even Drake would've been impressed. But it wasn't just those saves -- or his goal (yes, his goal) -- that stood out for me. It was all the little things that Brodeur does that make him such an excellent netminder even at the age of 40. One of those examples came during the first period when there was a turnover and Alexander Semin came rushing up the gut toward the puck. Moose might've dove at the puck and he might have disrupted Semin enough to be successful. It's a risky proposition we've seen Hedberg both win and lose this season. Instead, Brodeur stayed calm, stayed upright and came out just far enough that he forced Semin to shoot at one of several tiny windows. Semin, of course, nearly scored, rocketing a shot off the post just over Brodeur's shoulder, but that's a nearly impossible shot to make and it's the only one Brodeur gave him. Marty also made at least two or three excellent decision with the puck on his stick, deftly moving the play away from the net and helping the Devils get out of the zone. Brodeur's return will likely be remembered for his incredibly bizarre goal and those frantic first minutes, but it was the things that went unnoticed, things not seen in the box score that impressed me the most.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Adam Larsson, Andrei Loktionov, Canes, Carolina Hurricanes, Devils, Devs, Harri Pesonen, Hurricanes, Ilya Kovalchuk, Johan Hedberg, Marek Zidlicky, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Ryan Carter, Tom Kostopoulos, TRAVIS ZAJAC
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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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Links: Pregame thread | Twitter | NHL.com recap

I won't say the Devils "didn't deserve" to win that one, because that's not what happened tonight. Yes, the Devils allowed too many odd-man rushes and the offensive pressure and possession pretty much died in the third period. But the Devils also ran into a hot goaltender and were also the victim of some unfortunate bounces. All in all, it was a very good hockey game between two rivals fighting for the same land in the playoff landscape. Some thoughts...

Goalie class: First off, let me say that Johan Hedberg didn't play poorly at all. He played well, in fact. Hedberg was victimized by a bad bounce on one of the second goal and some sloppy nonexistent coverage of the trailer on the first goal. Moose managed to keep the Devils in the game on several occasions and his glove work (particularly on Nash in the third) was just phenomenal. The problem with Hedberg is that he's not on Henrik Lundqvist's level and when a goalie not on Lundqvist's level runs into an elite goalie that's playing well, it usually doesn't end well. Right before the third and deciding goal for the Rangers, Lundqvist made about four or five strong saves that only a select group of goalies can make. Devils fans witnessed it for almost two decades with Martin Brodeur, so they know what elite goaltending looks like. There's no denying that Lundqvist was maybe the main reason tonight's game ended the way it did. The good news for the Devils is they're finally getting Brodeur back, possibly as early as Thursday. That will help the Devils even the playing field a bit when they match up with the Rangers, Canadiens and Bruins later on this season and potentially in the playoffs.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Adam Larsson, Blueshirts, Broadway Blueshirts, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Johan Hedberg, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Postgame Thoughts, Rangers, TRAVIS ZAJAC
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https://twitter.com/NHLAdamK/status/312613332911812609

https://twitter.com/NHLAdamK/status/312613496212840449

Tags: New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Philadelphia Flyers, Quote
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If it's not broken, don't fix it.

Pete DeBoer announced after the Devils' morning skate that there would not be any lineup changes for New Jersey's meeting Friday in Philadelphia.

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/312594564835848192

Tags: Harri Pesonen, MARK FAYNE, New Jersey Devils, Notes, Pete DeBoer, Philadelphia Flyers, Stefan Matteau
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How would you grade Pete DeBoer's performance so far this season?

Being that the Devils are at the half-way point of the season (OK, a couple games past it but cut us some slack), we decided to do some ?grades? for this team. Originally, this was supposed to be one full post, but after compiling them, it seems better to break them up into different pieces today. Earlier, we gave you our grades for the forwards,? the defensemen, and then the goalies. Finally, we end with the coaches.

Tags: Adam Oates, Analysis, Devils, Devs, Matt Shaw, Midterm grades, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside
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With Martin Brodeur slowly but surely creeping toward a return, Pete DeBoer was asked whether we might see Marty in net this weekend. You know, because the Devils just played Wednesday and then have a back-to-back set on Friday and Saturday.

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/312272542679322625

OK, so does that mean the 39-year-old Johan Hedberg will look to extend his streak of 10 straight starts in net to 12? Yup.

Tags: Devils, Devs, Jeff Frazee, Johan Hedberg, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, News, Pete DeBoer
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