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
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.
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
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
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
--Martin Brodeur on Devils' chances of being in an outdoor game.
(Source: Tom Gulitti on Twitter)
Tags: Devils, Devs, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Quote, Quote
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
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
Like I said above -- this makes sense. Marty will have plenty of time to rest, but it got me wondering about whether we'll see Johan Hedberg in net again this season. Brodeur has started every game since he returned from the pinched nerve that cost him a? month's worth of starts (technically all but one since Hedberg started Brodeur's first game after being activated). That stretch has included two back-to-back sets (which he usually always splits with Moose) and a recent stretch of four starts in seven days. I personally thought Hedberg would get at least one start during that seven-day stretch, which included the second back-to-back set. But with the Devils having at least one day off in between every game the rest of the season and the Devils in an absolute dogfight for a playoff spot, I don't think DeBoer wants to have to trust anyone but Marty in net.
Tags: Buzz, Devils, Devs, Johan Hedberg, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
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
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
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
That certainly was not a pretty win by any means, but it was a win nonetheless. The Devils had one strong period surrounded by two sleepy ones and got away with two points against a very injured, very bad team. Of course, none of that matters if Ilya Kovalchuk is seriously hurt, but we'll reserve judgement until we hear something from the Devils. Some thoughts...
Two points is two points: We've talked about the Devils racking up standing points regardless of style and that was precisely what tonight's game was about. The Devils won't admit it, but it looks to me like they overlooked the Panthers. They came out flat and were pretty de-energized in the third period, as well (wonder if that late goal had anything to do with it?). The good news is they had a very strong second period and got just enough goals to beat one of the worst teams in the league. With the Senators winning earlier in the day and the Rangers and Canes each possessing a game in hand, the Devils just have to points on top of points. More importantly, they have to win games at home against teams they should beat -- like the Panthers. Martin Brodeur didn't have to be great -- although he had a great moment here and there in career win No. 666 -- but he was sharp enough outside of that brain fart behind the net at the end of the second period. More importantly, this win puts pressure on the teams around the Devils to keep up, which can only help New Jersey. Hell, at this point, the Devils could be within four points of fifth place with a win over Ottawa on Tuesday and that's ahead of a sweepable two-game trip to the Florida teams next weekend. All in all, the Devils have things to work (the power play, for one), but they can leave the arena tonight knowing they did enough to help their playoff positioning and these days that's really the only thing that matters.
Tags: Andrei Loktionov, BRYCE SALVADOR, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Florida Panthers, Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, Matt D'Agostini, New Jersey Devils, Panthers, PATRIK ELIAS, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Stephen Gionta, Tim Sestito, TRAVIS ZAJAC
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
It'll be a full month tomorrow since Brodeur last started, a 3-2 win over the Capitals in Washington, D.C. Expect him to be a little rusty to start, but he should settle in pretty well after the first 10 minutes of the first period. His return to the net couldn't come at a better time for the Devils, who are suddenly on the outside of the playoff picture looking up at eight other teams with two more teams directly behind them.
Tags: Devils, Devs, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, News
Frazee appeared in one game during his time with the Devils. Brodeur was on injured reserve since Feb. 26.
Tags: Devils, Devs, Jeff Frazee, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, News
Brodeur also told reporters that he woke up "feeling fine" and is "100 percent." He is ready to start any time, he added.
Johan Hedberg will start again for the last time in probably a little while.
Tags: Devils, Devs, Injury Report, Jeff Frazee, Johan Hedberg, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, News, Andrew Vazzano
Well that certainly makes a lot more sense than a tweaked muscle. It also explains why Brodeur was sidelined for so long with so little news on on when he might return. Pinched nerves are the kind of injury that either requires long periods of rest and minimal activity or require surgery. Thankfully for the Devils, this kind didn't require the latter. The other good news is that it's not necessarily an injury that can be aggravated by activity, which means fans shouldn't worry about Marty sliding the wrong way across the crease and tweaking the muscle again, like could happen with a back muscle injury. As evidenced today, Brodeur should make as much of a recovery as one can with a pinched nerve, meaning he should be set to return to duty as soon as he gets his legs under him.
Tags: Devils, Devs, Injury Report, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, News
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
When you're guilty of multiple defensive breakdowns in the first period and no-show the entire second, it's highly unlikely that any sense of urgency in the third is going to save you. That was pretty much the story for the Devils as they went back into the losing side of the ledger Saturday. Some thoughts...
What are you waiting for: Remember when bad starts were the problem? Well, that's not exactly the case now -- the Devils' starts have actually been OK, but they haven't shown any urgency over the past three games until their backs are up against the wall in the third period. Thursday night the Devils did just enough to force OT, but tonight and the time before came up short. And it's not even just about the offensive side of their game. The Devils basically allowed the Hurricanes to walk into their zone time after time and showed absolutely no fight in clearing the crease. Two of the goals tonight were the direct result of Devils defenders allowing a Hurricane forward to stand right in front of Johan Hedberg and play the puck. That's simply unacceptable and has to change, because it doesn't look like the Devils are going to be able to score more than two or three goals on a regular basis. I'm starting to worry this is more than just a bad habit. I'm starting to worry this "is what it is." The defense is slow and sloppy, the offense is pressing and gripping their sticks too tight and Pete DeBoer showed at least four different versions of the "You gotta be kidding me" face tonight. I can only imagine what he said to them between the second and the third period that had them jumping out of their skates to start the period, but it's probably not along the lines of "Good job, good effort." Will things change tomorrow night against Winnipeg? Maybe, but I'm not holding my breath.
Tags: Adam Larsson, Alexander Semin, Canes, Carolina Hurricanes, Devils, Devs, Hurricanes, Jeff Frazee, Johan Hedberg, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Peter Harrold, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, TRAVIS ZAJAC
With the Devils in a serious tailspin, SNYDevils contributor Pat Pickens emailed me this morning with a simple question: Do you think the Devils are in trouble? He doesn't think they are, but I disagree. What follows is an actual email exchange between Pat and I discussing the state of the Devils, how they can fix it and whether they should blow up the system and go for a Stanley Cup this season.
Tags: Corey Perry, DAVID CLARKSON, Debate, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jarome Iginla, Johan Hedbger, Lou Lamoriello, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Pete DeBoer, Point-Counterpoint, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryane Clowe
Predictably, DeBoer was less than forthcoming with answers on Wednesday, saying Brodeur was "feeling better" but also not close to a return. When asked to explain, he confused the public further.
I won't go into this too much -- I have a lot of thoughts for tonight's postgame recap -- but I'm not surprised by this at all. I thought Hedberg just needed a night off and he got half of that tonight. With a full day off to rest between now and Thursday, you've got to go back to the guy who will be your backup for the rest of the season. No matter how long Kinkaid sticks around for, the No. 2 job is still Hedberg's until he absolutely forces DeBoer's hand. The question now is how long will Kinkaid be here? It's been more than a few days since Marty Brodeur was sidelined and this is starting to look and feel exactly like the Zubrus and Carter injuries. First, it wasn't serious. Then, it dragged on a little longer than the Devils made it seem before the player eventually landed on IR. Is Brodeur's back injury worse than the Devils originally let on? Or is his back in worse shape than the doctors originally thought? He was at the game tonight and looked to be in fine spirits, so I still don't think it's serious in nature, but we're starting to get to the point where it's fair to wonder just how serious it is.
?I?m trying not to look at it,? DeBoer said of the team?s schedule. ?I am aware of that. I?ve never put a calendar up on my office Sunday to Sunday and seen five games on it, so this is a first.?
Johan Hedberg will start in net tonight. With Martin Brodeur out at least through Tuesday?s game, I asked DeBoer if there was any chance he would give rookie Keith Kinkaid his first NHL start Tuesday against the Lightning.
Tags: Buzz, Devils, Devs, Injury Report, Johan Hedberg, Keith Kinkaid, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
Then, just before 5 p.m. ET, Brodeur became the third Devil to be place on injured reserve in the last two weeks. After a couple hours to think it over, I've come up with a few thoughts on the injury, the roster move and how this affects the Devils going forward...
Tags: Devils, Devs, Emptying The Bag, Johan Hedberg, Keith Kinkaid, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Editorial Aside
This means Brodeur will miss at least two games (Thursday and Saturday), three if you include Sunday's late scratch. Should we worry that all the miles have finally caught up to Marty or are the Devils just being cautious with their 40-year-old netminder? Maybe a little of both. Outside of Ilya Kovalchuk, Brodeur is the most indispensable player on the roster and you could argue he's more important than Kovy. Expect Johan Hedberg to start one if not both of the games Brodeur has missed with Keith
Kincaid Kinkaid being added to the active roster as a backup. We'll have more on this later, but I wanted to get the news up for now.
Tags: Breaking News, Devils, Devs, injured reserve, Injury Report, Johan Hedberg, Keith Kincaid, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
Not a surprise at all, but still worth noting. If Carter doesn't practice tomorrow, he's highly unlikely to play Thursday. Even as it is, he's pretty questionable to return until he begins doing on-ice work, then practices with the Devils without contact and finally progresses to full-contact practice. That's usually a three- to four-day process, so it could be another week until we see Carter on the ice. As for Brodeur, like we said earlier, they're just resting a 40-year-old back.
The Devils said yesterday that Martin Brodeur's sore back isn't believed to be serious and he's considered "day to day." That's code for: He's old, he's got a balky back and we're gonna give him a few days off. So what to make of them calling up
Kincaid Kinkaid? He's a likely practice goalie who is there to make sure Marty gets that rest and doesn't have to strain himself in practice. The Devils have a rare stretch where they have three full days off, so why bother rushing one of two irreplaceable part[s (Kovy being the other) just for practice? I know the Devils called Dainius Zubrus and Ryan Carter day to day at first, so you have reason to be skeptical, but I wouldn't be (yet) for two seasons. One, Marty didn't seemed concerned after the game, at all. He was completely calm and just explained that he felt a tweak in warmups and didn't want to push it and risk further injury. Two, the nature of the injury isn't the same as a wrist or head injury. If Brodeur had felt the tweak in warmups, then played but left during the game, then that would be reason for concern because it would have meant he likely aggravated whatever muscle was sore. The fact that he felt a twinge and pulled himself means it's probably a minor injury and he just needs some days to rest. Will that rest included Thursday night in Winnipeg? Well, we'll just have to see.
Well, that got out of hand quickly. After a strong first period, the Devils seemed completely overwhelmed by the tempo of the game and just never got it going. All of the textbook problems were there and you have to wonder if Marty's late scratch may have played a factor. Some thoughts...
Funky: I delved into it briefly during the pregame post, but the Devils have been less than stellar over the past two weeks. During that stretch, they've failed to put together an overall game as strong and complete as some of their early season efforts. Is it the injuries and lack of depth catching up to them or is this the Devils team we should get used to seeing? I tend to think it's a bit of both. The Devils probably aren't as good as they showed in the first couple weeks, but they're certainly better than the team that lost 9-3 over the past two days. They're in a funk, which Pete DeBoer has been aware of for a few games now. DeBoer has tried to find a way to spark the Devils out of their funk, specifically using line changes to try to get players out of their comfort zones and force them back into doing some of the fundamentals of the Devils' gameplan. It's worked for some players (Travis Zajac's goal from Patrik Elias tonight), but for the most part the alterations have been unsuccessful in getting the Devils back to playing their basic game of forechecking, taking away the other team's best player and being responsible with the puck in their own zone. Is it time to panic? Not by a longshot, but the time to be concerned has definitely arrived.
Tags: Adam Larsson, Andrei Loktionov, ANTON VOLCHENKOV, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Jets, Johan Hedberg, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Peter Harrold, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Ryan Carter, Winnipeg Jets
Big sigh of relief from Devils fans and from Pete DeBoer, I'm sure. First of all, it was the smart move by Brodeur to pull himself out of a late February game against the Jets rather than risk seriously aggravating his back and missing an elongated period of time. In this shortened season, injuries like that can get much worse very fast if the players/teams aren't vigilant. Also, a sore back is much better than say lingering pain in his shoulder from that ridiculous shot he was hit with a few days back. With the Devils off (game-wise) until Thursday, there was no reason to rush or push anything involving a sore back for a 40-year-old goalie. Brodeur also said afterwards that he's not worried about any lingering issues and my guess is they'll give him a light workload in practice this week before starting him Thursday in Winnipeg.
Instead, the 40-year old netminder left the ice early during warmups and was scratched from his scheduled start against the Jets.
Johan Hedberg will start for the second straight day. Brodeur is sitting on the bench as the backup.
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
That's a frustrating way for the win streak to come to an end, but not all that surprising in hindsight. The Devils have no-showed the first period a few games in a row now and it was only a matter of time before they got burnt for it. Some thoughts...
Swing period: While the slow first period wasn't ideal, it's something the Devils have survived the past few games. The difference tonight was the second period. Each of the last few games, the Devils have come out on fire to start the second stanza, but tonight was the complete opposite. The Devils were manhandled from the drop of the puck in the second and if not for Marty Brodeur, they would have been down much worse than 2-1. As I wrote on Twitter, the Canes' 20-14 shots advantage after two periods was deceptive in that it was not that close. It's one thing to start slow, but to get a break and a chance to regroup and come out worse off is unacceptable. In today's NHL, it's hard enough to survive one bad period, let alone two. There were multiple culprits, starting with the fact that the Canes beat the Devils at their own game. They aggressively pushed the play up ice, forced a lot of turnovers and forechecked like mad. Carolina was all over Jersey's zone for much of the first two periods. There also was a defined lack of energy from the Devils, which Pete DeBoer tried to counteract by switching up the forward lines at the end of the first period and for long stretches in the second. You got the sense that DeBoer knew he needed to find a way to spark his team early on, but unfortunately for the Devils, DeBoer didn't find that spark until sometime during the second intermission.
Tags: Adam Larsson, ANDY GREENE, Cam Ward, Canes, Carolina Hurricanes, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Hurricanes, Ilya Kovalchuk, Kovy, Martin Brodeur, Marty, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta, Steve Bernier
Definitely Sochi bound: Patrik Elias (Czech Republic), Ilya Kovalchuk (Russia), Anton Volchenkov (Russia)
As long as they keep this up: David Clarkson (Canada), Andy Greene (U.S.)
Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Adam Larsson, ANDY GREENE, ANTON VOLCHENKOV, Buzz, Czech Republic, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Marek Zidlicky, MARK FAYNE, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Editorial Aside, Russia, Sochi, Sochi Games, Sochi Olympics, Team Canada, Team U.S.A., U.S.A
On Monday, Brodeur was named the NHL's third star of the week, finishing behind Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane and Stars winger Jamie Benn.
A well-deserved honor for Marty, who continues to confound with his stellar play despite his age.
Tags: Devils, Devs, Martin Brodeur, Marty, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Notes
Heddy will have to be on his game tomorrow. The Penguins are going to come out flying after today's loss, especially being back at home.