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With the first games of the Men's Olympic Hockey Tournament set to begin on Wednesday, it's time to break down the competitive field.

The Devils sent four players to Sochi, with Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias and Marek Zidlicky representing the Czech Republic and Damien Brunner representing the Swiss.

While the host country, Russia, s one of the favorites, the Canadian team is loaded. Of the 12 teams in the field, there are at least six teams that can make a pretty good case as to why they'll take home the gold medal.

Tags: Damien Brunner, Feature, Jaromir Jagr, Marek Zidlicky, New Jersey Devils, olympic hockey, Olympics, PATRIK ELIAS
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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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On Tuesday night the Devils defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 at Bell Centre. Boring!

Martin Brodeur stopped all but one Canadiens' shot. It was like watching paint dry while listening to a presentation about a timeshare.

Mark Fayne, a defenseman, who didn't record a point, was the third star of the game. Taking the SATs is more exciting than that.

Tags: ANDY GREENE, ANTON VOLCHENKOV, boring, BRYCE SALVADOR, Defense, Feature, Hockey, Marek Zidlicky, New Jersey Devils
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2013 may go down as one of the most challenging years in the history of the New Jersey Devils. To recap some of the events:

- There was the season that started not in late 2012, but 2013, after the NHL lockout.? The Devils did so without their captain from the previous season, after Zach Parise departed for Minnesota. The 48-game slate was none to kind to the Devils, as they failed to reach the playoffs just one season after making the Stanley Cup Finals.

Tags: Analysis, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Feature, Jaromir Jagr, michael ryder, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS
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In recent years, the New Jersey Devils have struggled to draft and cultivate talent. You have to scroll all the way back to the 2004 NHL Draft to see the last time the Devils drafted what turned out to be an impact player. ? That was Travis Zajac in the first round.

Since then, the Devils have essentially drafted no impact talents. Before freaking out, let's preface with this: some draftees of the last few years were flipped for guys like Ilya Kovalchuk and Marek Zidlicky. So, give props to GM Lou Lamoriello for turning marginal talent (at best) into a Top-5 player and the puck-moving defenseman Devils fans craved for the longest time.

However, in terms of drafting players that become core pieces of the franchise, it simply hasn't been there over the last decade.?As much as everyone loves Adam Henrique, he's only showed flashes of being consistently solid. Let's not forget he's a third-round pick, so he's certainly not a sure thing to be a top-flight player.

Tags: Eric Gelinas, Feature, Jon Merrill, New Jersey Devils, Reid Boucher
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As far back as July and August, there was belief that the Devils would be sellers at the trade deadline.?That was certainly a realistic idea given that the team's best player had just "retired" and their other top scorer flew the coop to Canada for the duration of his career. All this after losing their captain in the summer of 2012.?We're now past the one-third mark of the season and it's fair to say that the Devils will absolutely NOT be sellers at the trade deadline.

As of Tuesday afternoon, they are one point out of a playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division.?This is a Devils team that is under .500.?That doesn't speak highly of the rest of the division and the other teams below them.?Besides the Capitals and Penguins, no other team is that much of a threat to run away with a playoff spot.?The way the team has traditionally operated, the Devils would have to be 20 points out of a playoff spot for GM Lou Lamoriello to consider having a firesale.

The other point is, they really don't have any assets to ship off.?As far as players that would actually be attractive on the trade market that the Devils would realistically part with, the only guys that come to mind are Jaromir Jagr and Michael Ryder.?And Martin Brodeur (I kid, I kid).

Tags: Feature, Jaromir Jagr, Lou Lamoriello, michael ryder
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With the Sochi olympics just over two months away, it's almost time for the hockey teams to solidify their roster. Though team USA has a clearer picture in terms of skaters, the goaltending is still a question. We'll make our picks and debate who should be the starter for team USA when they hit the ice looking to avenge their 2010 loss and bring home a gold medal.[sny-box]Cory Schneider - 12 games played - ?1.72 gaa, .927 save % - 2 shutouts

Craig Anderson - 17 games played - 3.51 gaa, .894 save % - 1 shutout

Jimmy Howard - 19 games played - 2.54 gaa, .913 save % - 2 shutouts

Tags: Discuss, Feature
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Ryan Carter?seems to raise his game when the Devils play the Rangers. Whether it's the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, or the 2013-2014 regular season, No. 20 brings it against the Blueshirts.

What Carter does night-in and night-out epitomizes the Devils system of hard forechecking and defensive responsibility. Sure, he's a fourth-liner in terms of minutes, but he brings so much more to the table.

What the former Minnesota State star brings is grit and determination. He might not score highlight reel goals at will, but star players don't score the type of goals that he scores. Why? Because it's all about hustle. Take Tuesday night for example. It was the end of the period and it was a puck that was lazily drifting into the Rangers zone. How many players would have gotten a change or just pressured the Ranger player to the puck? Instead, Carter dove on the puck and used a power move towards the net and fired a quick shot that?Henrik Lundqvist?wasn't ready for.

Tags: Analysis, CAM JANSSEN, Feature, New Jersey Devils, Ryan Carter
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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 easy for fans to still be mad at old No. 9, even an entire year since he left. The fact is, there are some who will never forgive Zach Parise for going back to his home state of Minnesota to play with the Wild.

Tags: Feature, Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, Zach Parise
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Two years ago, the New Jersey Devils fell two games short of their fourth championship. ?Last year, the Devils missed the playoffs for the second time in three years. ?In a 14-month span, they lost their top three players to free agency and "retirement." ?Now they have a roster with mostly stop-gaps and aging veterans. ?There's no question the franchise in in a transition period. ?With all that said, the question remains, what's a realistic goal for the 2013-14 season?

Transition or not, this team needs to make the playoffs. ?I think that's a fair starting point. ?In a salary cap league, no team should be down in the dumps that long. ?Consider that outside of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Boston Bruins and the Detroit Red Wings, the Eastern Conference isn't exactly a powerhouse. ?So even with all of the roster turnover, I don't think a return to the playoffs is asking too much of this Devils team.

Tags: Feature
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By Jeff O'Connor

It appears there are only a few days remaining until there is a consistent goal song for the 2013-14 New Jersey Devils season.? After playing a completely new song on Opening Night and surprising over 17,000 people, the Devils gave their fans the opportunity to cast their vote for a new song.

The top three choices made a trial run at each of the last three home games.? Now the vote is on over the next few days for their new tune to make its debut on Saturday night versus the Flyers.

Tags: Discuss, Feature, Prudential Center
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We're only 12 games into the 2013-2014 season and already there have been a fair share of both positive and negative moments for the Devils. Perhaps the most polarizing "issue" so far has been the split between the two goaltenders.

Make no mistake, New Jersey has a very good problem on its hands.

Tags: Analysis, cory schneider, Feature, goalie, Hockey, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
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Eric Gelinas was recalled by the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday due to Bryce Salvador returning home because of a death in the family. It?s a great opportunity for Gelinas, who had a great camp, but don?t expect him to stick with the big club.

Gelinas had a great preseason, showing all the necessary tools to be a reliable NHL defenseman. Poise, physicality, speed, long reach and awareness. He looked like a 10-year NHL veteran when he was on the ice. Everything he did looked smooth. That?s a great sign. He has a shot to be the best all-around defenseman the Devils have had in years because of his raw talent. I?m not saying he?ll be exactly like him, but his stature, build and traits appear to be in the mold of a Zdeno Chara. Devils fans can only hope he?ll be close to his caliber.

Tags: Adam Larsson, Analysis, BRYCE SALVADOR, Eric Gelinas, Feature, New Jersey Devils, Peter Harrold, Prospect Buzz
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The range of emotions last night was stark. Early in the third period the team was laughing on the bench, enjoying what was at that point, a very good effort.
Then, the?Ryan Nugent-Hopkins?goal?opened up a pandora's box and the game snowballed out of control.

Some may think the sky is falling.

Take a deep breath and say this three times: "It's only three games."

Tags: Analysis, cory schneider, Damien Brunner, Feature, Hockey, michael ryder, New Jersey Devils, NHL, TRAVIS ZAJAC, Vancouver Canucks
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By Jeff O'Connor

There?s nothing like a five-game road trip over 11 days for a team to get to know each other better.? While the sky may be falling for some Devils fans, there?s more reason to believe than there is to worry.

After being shut out in the first game, they answered back with three goals on Friday.? The defense had a bunch of breakdowns on Thursday.? In Game No. 2, they played a much cleaner contest in their own third of the ice.? The special teams have been sharp as well.? The penalty kill is perfect thus far and the power play looks a lot smoother to this point in time.

Tags: Analysis, Damien Brunner, Feature, Hockey, Jaromir Jagr, Martin Brodeur, michael ryder, New Jersey Devils, NHL, PATRIK ELIAS, Ryane Clowe
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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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It is said that a picture says a thousand words.

One can only begin to imagine eloquent prose that the timeless images of Denis Brodeur express.

Tags: Denis Brodeur, Feature, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, NHL, photography, Read
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By Jeff O'Connor

It felt like the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals all over again on Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center, as the New Jersey Devils downed the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1.? The game featured sharp goaltending, a fancy Marek Zidlicky, goal and relentless forechecking.? More importantly, there were two players that looked like their 2012 selves: Bryce Salvador and Anton Volchenkov.

Salvador logged 24:24 of ice time with a plus-1 rating and five blocked shots.? Volchenkov was just as brilliant as he posted 17:10 on the ice to go along with a plus-1 rating and two blocked shots.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Analysis, ANTON VOLCHENKOV, BRYCE SALVADOR, Feature, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, NHL, preseason, TRAVIS ZAJAC
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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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By Jeff O'Connor

For the last two decades, Martin Brodeur has made jaw-dropping saves and dominated his rivals while being serenaded to chants of ?Marty?s Better! Marty?s Better!?

Tags: Analysis, cory schneider, Feature, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, NHL
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Martin Brodeur has seen it all during his illustrious NHL career. From Stanley Cup victories and Vezina winning seasons, to crushing defeats. There's no doubt that this offseason was a trying one for the Devils, but Brodeur is ready to forge ahead.

"i think its a great challenge, i know I'm excited to come back and see the little puzzle that Lou put together this summer, how it's going to pan out," the 41-year-old netminder said. "We got bigger and we got some good experienced players coming in, it'll be interesting."

Tags: cory schneider, Feature, Jaromir Jagr, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Notes
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No Albany Devil has recorded more points in two years than Joe Whitney.

The 5-6, 170-pound winger's game is tenacious and feisty. Playing such a game has enabled him to record 85 points in 122 AHL games in Albany.

"He's playing with intensity, he's competing," Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said Sunday after Albany's 2-0 loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. "He's not a big guy, but he's strong on the puck. He's been doing it all for us.

Tags: AHL, Albany Devils, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Feature, Jeff Frazee, Joe Whitney, Keith Kinkaid, Martin Brodeur, Matt Anderson, Editorial Aside, Rick Kowalsky
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The Albany Devils' power play ranks 28th out of 30 American Hockey League teams-- firing at just 11.4 percent. Albany entered Sunday's game in Bridgeport having scored just 1-of-its-last-20 man advantages.

Yet, somehow Albany's power play found a way to be worse.

Albany was 0-for-3, failing to score on a 5-minute first-period major. Plus, when given a third-period man advantage, the Devils surrendered a shorthanded goal-- the game-winner in the Bridgeport Sound Tigers' 2-0 win.

Tags: Albany Devils, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Brock Nelson, CAM JANSSEN, Chad Wiseman, Eric Gelinas, Feature, Joe Whitney, Keith Kinkaid, Matt Anderson, Nino Niederreiter, Phil DeSimone, Prospect Buzz, Raman Hrabarenka, Rick DiPietro, Steve Zalewski
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