Tag:

Stefan Matteau

 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

The Devils have traded LW Stefan Matteau to the Canadiens for RW Devante Smith-Pelly, reports Tom Gulitti of The Record (Feb. 29).

Matteau, 22, had one goal in 20 games this season for the Devils. 

He was the Devils' first round pick (29th overall) in the 2012 draft.

Tags: Stefan Matteau
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New Jersey Devils center Stefan Matteau is hit by Detroit Red Wings center Tomas Nosek during the first period at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports Images)
New Jersey Devils center Stefan Matteau is hit by Detroit Red Wings center Tomas Nosek during the first period at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports Images)

The New Jersey Devils placed forward Stefan Matteau on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 12, the team announced.

To replace him on the roster, the Devils activated defenseman Jon Merrill off injured reserve.

Matteau suffered a facial fracture that will not require surgery after he was struck in the face by a deflected puck during practice last week.

Tags: Jon Merrill, Stefan Matteau

In a move that was long rumored over the summer, Damien Brunner will be attending training camp, looking to make the club.

This is a no-brainer if you ask me. Give him a tryout, see how he does, and if it doesn't pan out, there's no harm done.

Tags: Breaking News, Damien Brunner, Detroit Red Wings, Lineup Changes, MATTIAS TEDENBY, New Jersey Devils, Roster Moves, rostislav olesz, Stefan Matteau
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As camp begins, the team is starting to take shape. Still, many questions remain about the roster and who will be a contributor this year. Here are five of the biggest questions coming into the season.

1. Can the defense begin to rebound?

Tags: Analysis, ANTON VOLCHENKOV, BRYCE SALVADOR, cory schneider, Eric Gelinas, Jaromir Jagr, Jon Merrill, Martin Brodeur, MATTIAS TEDENBY, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Reid Boucher, rostislav olesz, Stefan Matteau, Training Camp, Training camp
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It's been a strange season for Stefan Matteau. The Devils' first-round pick in 2012 had his first training camp shortened by the lockout only to find himself on the active roster after five games. Once the first year of his entry-level deal was enacted, Matteau stuck around for almost half the season before the Devils returned him to the?Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the QMJHL. Of course, Matteau's return to junior didn't exactly end well.

Matteau reportedly split on the team, taking a fan bus home from a game after he was benched for the third period The team cut him and said he left without permission and there were reports of an altercation between Matteau and the team's brass. Matteau's agent, Pat Brisson, said he left with permission after he was cut because Matteau didn't want to wait for a plane the next day.

Now, Matteau's dad, former NHLer Stefane Matteau, says he doesn't think the junior club treated his son the right way. The elder Matteau is also an assistant coach on the Armada, which makes all of this even more sticky.

Tags: Buzz, Devils, Devs, New Jersey Devils, Stefan Matteau, Stefane Matteau
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The Devils have to give up a first-round pick either this year or next as part of the NHL's punishment for "circumventing the cap" with the original Ilya Kovalchuk deal. Would this year be the year?

https://twitter.com/Ledger_NJDevils/status/328922872988975104

This should surprise absolutely nobody. For one, there's no way the Devils were forfeiting their first-round pick the year they host the draft. Secondly, I'm sure the Devils think they can make the playoffs next season, so why give up a lottery pick now as opposed to a mid- to late-first rounder next year? Finally, thanks to the trades they've made this season, the Devils have really no choice but to keep their first rounder. Of course, this all could've been avoided if they'd forfeited their first rounder last year when it was the second-to-last pick in the round in a very weak draft.? Hopefully, Stefan Matteau was totally worth it.

Tags: Devils, Devs, Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey Devils, News, Stefan Matteau

The Stefan Matteau situation continues to unfold before us. Matteau's agent, Pat Brisson, told The Record's Tom Gulitti that Matteau didn't actually "quit" on his junior club and instead was released by the team following Saturday's game.

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/326442915360550912

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/326443122810830848

Tags: Buzz, Devils, Devs, New Jersey Devils, Stefan Matteau
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Earlier today, we told about Stefan Matteau being released by his junior club in the QMJHL after reportedly abandoning the team after a game in which he was benched. Lou Lamoriello was asked about the Matteau situation Monday, including whether Matteau would now join the Devils for the rest of the season.

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/326395171996569602

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/326395243610132480

Tags: Buzz, Devils, Devs, New Jersey Devils, Stefan Matteau
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Sooooo, Stefan Matteau has gotten into some trouble ever since getting sent back to his junior club in the QMJHL. Apparently, he was benched, then upset, then quit, then was released. I'll let Todd Cordell fill in the details.

Via Hockey Buzz:

The 19-year-old forward has quit his QMJHL team, Blaineville-Boisbriand Armada, according to RDS. Matteau reportedly quit after being unhappy about being benched during Game 2 of the Armada's series against Baie-Comeau.

He traveled back to Blaineville-Boisbriand on the fan bus and not with the team.

Tags: Buzz, Devils, Devs, New Jersey Devils, Stefan Matteau
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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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While the New Jersey Devils goaltending has been a source of recent stress, the Albany Devils have not struggled with such problems.

The three-headed monster of Keith Kinkaid, Jeff Frazee and Scott Wedgewood have combined for an .899 save percentage and 2.65 goals-against average in 59 games.

Toss out Wedgewood's so-so three games, and Frazee and Kinkaid have combined for a 2.62 goals-against and .912 save percentage.

Tags: Albany Devils, Alex Ponikarovsky, Jeff Frazee, Keith Kinkaid, Editorial Aside, Prospect Buzz, Rick Kowalsky, Scott Wedgewood, Stefan Matteau, Tim Sestito
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Pete DeBoer said Monday that he thought the Devils made the "right decision" by returning Stefan Matteau to junior for the QMJHL playoffs. It was a quote that got me thinking because, let's be honest, Matteau's status and handling this year has been one of the bigger issues surrounding this team. So, in the interest of full disclosure, here's DeBoer's quote in full.

Via Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice:

?I think it?s the right decision,? DeBoer said. ?He got great experience, learned a lot. He?s got a big upside and a bright future. I think the league at this time of year goes to another level and it?s tough for young guys their first time around to find that. I think it was the right move.?
You're right, Pete. It was the "right decision" to send Matteau back to junior now. He wasn't dressing, even with the Devils starting some questionable forwards on a nightly basis. With the pace quickening toward a playoff push, Matteau would've been overmatched, even more than he already was. But the question is not whether it was the right decision now, it's whether it was the right decision all along. Should Matteau have even stuck around in the first place?

Tags: Analysis, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Devils, Devs, New Jersey Devils, Editorial Aside, Stefan Matteau
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Stefan Matteau played just 5:11 of ice time in Saturday night's 2-1 loss to Montreal.

Less than 24 hours later, according to Mikael Lalancette of Quebec's TVA Sports, Matteau was shipped back to juniors on Sunday.

Matteau netted just one goal and had two assists in 17 games with New Jersey. The 19-year old was a healthy scratch for three straight games before Saturday and had not recorded a point since New Jersey's loss in Buffalo on March 2.

Tags: Albany Devils, Breaking News, Buffalo Sabres, JACOB JOSEFSON, New Jersey Devils, QMJHL, Rick Kowalsky, Stefan Matteau
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The Devils will be without two forwards for their game Saturday against Montreal.

https://twitter.com/NHLDevils/status/313037908384808961

We kind of thought New Jersey would be without Loktionov tonight-- less than 24 hours from leaving the game in Philadelphia. Harri Pesonen will make his NHL debut and play on a line with Patrik Elias and David Clarkson.

Tags: Andrei Loktionov, Breaking News, Harri Pesonen, Injury Report, Krystofer Barch, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, Stefan Matteau
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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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Ilya Kovalchuk is clearly the high point of the Devils' forwards, but even his game hasn't been all the way up to snuff through the first half of the 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. First up, the forwards.

(Disclaimer: All "grades" articles are usually entirely too general and tend to omit more detail than normal, so apologies in advance if we left a player out.)

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Analysis, DAVID CLARKSON, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Midterm grades, New Jersey Devils, PATRIK ELIAS, Editorial Aside, Ryan Carter, Stefan Matteau, TRAVIS ZAJAC
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As the Devils return home for the second half of a back-to-back, coach Pete DeBoer elected to make a few lineup changes -- at least one of which was initiated by the health of captain Bryce Salvador.

https://twitter.com/NHLDevilsPR/status/310861770317246465

We'll have more on these changes in our game preview shortly.

Tags: BRYCE SALVADOR, Devils, Devs, HENRIK TALLINDER, Injury Report, Krys Barch, Lineup Changes, MARK FAYNE, New Jersey Devils, Stefan Matteau

With no morning skate, the Devils were late to announce their lineup for tonight's game. Johan Hedberg will get the start in net despite his recent struggles and the recently called-up Cam Janssen will replace Stefan Matteau and join fellow Bash Brother Krys Barch in the lineup.

I imagine DeBoer's lineup decision led to a scene similar to this in the home locker room of the Prudential Center:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqV_dBPc4XY

Tags: CAM JANSSEN, Devils, Devs, Johan Hedberg, Krys Barch, Lineup Changes, lineup changes, New Jersey Devils, Stefan Matteau
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The Devils are in a slide. There's no other way to really describe it. Although it was important to get a point Saturday against Buffalo, the Devils have won just one time in two weeks, leading coach Pete DeBoer to start mixing and matching with line combinations. It looks like DeBoer will be changing things up again tonight in Toronto. Here's some of the line combos DeBoer iced during today's morning skate:

https://twitter.com/Ledger_NJDevils/status/308617904214126593

We've seen this before, DeBoer moving Matteau to the first or second line to start a game, only to find him riding the bench for much of the second or third period. The question isn't whether Matteau can hang up there (he can't), but rather how long DeBoer will attempt to keep Loktionov, Zajac and Henrique centering three separate lines. The Henrique-on-the-wing experiment has been tried and failed twice so far this season and I can't imagine DeBoer is anxious to return to that anytime soon. However, it's not like the Devils are overflowing with first line left wings for the time being. Perhaps DeBoer is just trying to buy time until Dainius Zubrus is healthy again, but this team isn't in a situation where it can sit around and wait for help. If I can guess anything, I'd say the lines that start the game are unlikely to be the ones that finish the game.

Tags: Devils, Devs, Lineup Changes, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Stefan Matteau

You may have noticed that a certain 6-foot right wing was almost nowhere to be found after the second period Thursday night. Bobby Butler, who had spent parts of the past three games skating with Ilya Kovalchuk on the Devils' top line, was eventually glued to the bench last night.

He played roughly six minutes in total and took just one shift in the third period. But why the benching? Pete DeBoer wasn't talking.

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/307342018340864000

Tags: Albany Devils, Bobby Butler, Buzz, Devils, Devs, Krys Barch, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Ryan Carter, Stefan Matteau, Tim Sestito
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The Hockey News released their future rankings and the Devils weren't ranked all that strongly, coming in at 20th overall and receiving a B- grade. Here are some of the prospects they listed:

  • Stefan Matteau (64th overall prospect in hockey)
  • Jon Merrill
  • Alexander Urbom
  • Keith Kinkaid
  • Eric Gelinas
  • Reid Boucher
  • Damon Severson
  • Scott Wedgewood
  • Harri Pesonen
  • David Wolhberg
Reid Boucher is putting in serious work in the OHL, something we'll talk about early next week and guys like Merrill and Matteau look like future cornerstones. The Devils have never really been an organization to draft the high-scoring flashy prospect, and seem to build more from the underrated group. What do you think of the rankings? Sound off below!
Tags: Devils, Devs, Jon Merill, New Jersey Devils, Notes, Prospect Buzz, Reid Boucher, Stefan Matteau

The Devils have suffered two significant injuries in the past 10 days, first losing Dainius Zubrus to wrist surgery and then Ryan Carter to a likely concussion. Zubrus is out at least another three weeks and possibly as much as five, while Carter is sidelined for at least this weekend. These injuries have led me to seriously reconsider the Devils' realistic ceiling for this season because of one major problem.

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

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

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Analysis, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Devils, Devs, JACOB JOSEFSON, Krys Barch, Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Ryan Carter, Stefan Matteau
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With Ryan Carter sidelined by some form of upper-body injury (read: likely concussion), the Devils suddenly have a hole on their third line. Enter the Devils' apparent Mr. Fix It this season, Stefan Matteau.

Via Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice:

Rookie Stefan Matteau is skating in Carter?s place on the third line with Stephen Gionta and Steve Bernier. Matteau, who will turn 19 on Saturday, has been a healthy scratch the last three games.

...

Tags: Devils, Devs, Lineup Changes, lineup changes, New Jersey Devils, Ryan Carter, Stefan Matteau, Stephen Gionta, Steve Bernier
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Ryan Carter didn't practice again Wednesday and after this morning's skate the Devils announced he wouldn't be joining the team on it's two-game jaunt to the nation's capital

https://twitter.com/Ledger_NJDevils/status/304295760374149122

Not all that surprising a move considering head injuries normally take at least a week or so to heal up. The interesting part is that Stefan Matteau gets another shot in the lineup and will skate on the the third line, which we'll get into either later today or tomorrow. As for Carter, the next step is whether the Devils reveal he's had a concussion or not. If they decide to eventually call it a concussion, my guess is we won't be hearing from him for a little while as the Devils will likely take him out of the locker room and allow him to heal. Concussed players are often bothered by the bright lights of television cameras and are usually told to rest as much as possible. Also, given how many unknowns there are with concussions, it's more of a wait and see process than any other injury. There won't be much of a day-to-day update, meaning there's no real reason to subject Carter to the same questions over and over again. The next time we'll see Carter might not be until next week after he's cleared to do some skating on his own.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tags: Alexei Ponikarovsky, Andrei Loktionov, Bobby Butler, Devils, Devs, JACOB JOSEFSON, New Jersey Devils, News, news, Stefan Matteau, Trade
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Links: Pregame thread | Twitter | NHL.com recap

That was such an impressive win for the Devils and it came after a poor first 10 minutes that may have been partly due to the earlier start. Regardless, the last 50 minutes of that game were reason for the Devils and Pete DeBoer to smile. Some thoughts...

Huge, Tom, huge: To borrow a phrase from TV car mogul Billy Fuccillo, there's not enough "U's" on the keyboard to describe how big of a win that was for the Devils. Not only because they beat a division rival that was one point ahead of them for first place in the Atlantic. Not only because they shut down the high-powered Pens offense for long stretches. Not only because they sent a message by rebounding from last week's 5-1 win. This was big because of how the Devils played after nearly getting run out of the rink in the first 10 minutes while the Penguins were all over the ice. Part of that was due to the three first period power plays, which took Pittsburgh out of its offensive rhythm, but also because Krys Barch stood up to Deryk Engelland roughly nine minutes into the first period. Engelland was running all over the ice, getting in David Clarkson's face and giving the Devils all sorts of trouble every time they tried to enter the Pittsburgh zone. After Barch fought Engelland, the Devils started to get some offensive momentum going and began to push back against the Pens. I know I'm not always a huge advocate of dressing a guy like Barch, but he was one of the big reasons the game turned around halfway through the first period.

Tags: ANDY GREENE, Bobby Butler, Devils, Devs, New Jersey Devils, Penguins, Pens, Pittsburgh Penguins, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Stefan Matteau
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Dainius Zubrus won't play today. Now comes word that he won't play tomorrow, either. So what sort of injury is bugging the Devils' bulky two-way beast? Why, the ever ubiquitous "upper-body" ailment, of course! But beyond the Devils' broad injury diagnosis comes word that Zubrus' injury might be more serious than originally thought.

Via Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger:

Zubrus, who will miss his second straight game today and will not play in Pittsburgh tomorrow night, is suffering from an upper body injury that has club officials concerned for the long term. Although team officials will not comment on the problem, Zubrus is being treated with medication for what is believed to be a back problem.

While the first-line left winger is considered day-to-day, he may seek an outside opinion to find out whether a different approach, such as surgery, might be necessary.Uh oh. First of all, back injuries are brutal. I've had a few in my day and they're not only extremely painful, but often difficult to fully heal from. The pain lingers and you never know which twist or turn is going to aggravate the issue. If it's serious enough that Zubrus needs to at least check if he needs surgery, then safe to say we won't be seeing him anytime soon. If it's a vertebrae issue, then he'll either need to rest until it heals completely or have it fused surgically, either of which will put him out of commission for at least a month, maybe two. It's obviously better news if it's a muscle issue because of the shorter recovery timeframe. However, muscles injuries are made trickier by the shortened season. With the Devils playing four games a week, Zubrus could miss significant time just by taking seven to 10 days off to allow the muscle to be 100 percent -- which you bet the Devils will want the 34-year old to do.

Tags: Buzz, DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Devils, Devs, Injury Report, Mathieu Darche, New Jersey Devils, Stefan Matteau
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After missing his first game in quite a while, Dainius Zubrus missed Friday's full practice. No word yet from Pete DeBoer on his status this weekend's home and home with the Penguins, but Stefan Matteau again skated on the first line at left wing in his place.

https://twitter.com/Ledger_NJDevils/status/299917326281756673

More as I know it...

Tags: DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Devils, Devs, Injury Report, New Jersey Devils, Stefan Matteau
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Now that Stefan Matteau is officially getting paid like an NHLer, the question becomes how long he'll stay with the Devils. Vote in the poll and weigh in below in the comments!

[polldaddy poll=6887092]

In case you're wondering how I feel, I laid out my expectations on the blog yesterday.

Tags: AHL, Devils, Devs, From The Stands, Junior, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Poll, Stefan Matteau

Links: Pregame thread | Twitter | AP recap

That makes three straight wins for the Devils after Saturday's debacle in Pittsburgh. Tonight wasn't quite the thorough end-to-end effort the Devils put forth against the Islanders on Sunday, but I thought they played a better overall game tonight than Tuesday's win over the Rangers. Some thoughts...

Peak form: After Wednesday's optional practice, Pete DeBoer said he thought the Devils were getting close to their peak form. Tonight's win was pretty good evidence of that. The Devils played one of the more complete games I've seen them play this year and that bodes well as they navigate through a pretty difficult stretch of games. It wasn't perfect -- they played with fire in the middle of the second period -- but it had everything you wanted to see. There was goal scoring from primary players and the second line of Elias, Henrique and Clarkson continued to produce points. The defense even got in on the act. More importantly, the Devils had maybe their most consistent forecheck of the season and were aggressive and physical right off the bat. As usual, Marty was solid most of the game and very good when he needed to be, although his puck handling still gives me agita at times this season. Eventually they'll need to cut down on the penalties (we'll get to that in a minute) and the close wasn't nearly as strong as DeBoer would like, but as the Devils string together good game after good game, it's fair to wonder what the ceiling for this team is this season. Entering the season, many pegged the Devils simply as playoff contenders, but after Thursday night they're only one point out of first in the Atlantic almost a quarter of the way through this shortened season. Dare to dream, Devils fans. Dare to dream.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Devils, Devs, Ilya Kovalchuk, Lightning, New Jersey Devils, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Stefan Matteau, Tampa Bay Lightning
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Ever since Stefan Matteau played in his fifth NHL game, he's been a healthy scratch. That made sense, considering that the first year of his entry-level contract would be enacted as soon as he played his sixth game. Matteau hadn't really shown enough to deserve burning a year of his deal, I thought. Yet after that game, he hung around ... and hung around and hung around. For four games he was a healthy scratch and most of us presumed he was simply biding his time until he returned to junior with his ELC untouched.

Then came this morning's skate, when Dainius Zubrus was ruled out of Thursday's game against the Lightning and Matteau was inserted into his spot as left wing on the Devils' first line. Once Matteau is declared active for tonight's game, that precious first season of the entry-level contract becomes live and suddenly Matteau is one year closer to restricted free agency and eventually one year closer to unrestricted free agency.

One would assume that means Matteau will spend the season with the NHL club, learning on the job as one of the team's bottom-six forwards, scratched for the occasional game and shifted up in the lineup for the occasional shift. Not so fast, says Pete DeBoer.

Tags: AHL, Albany Devils, Analysis, Devils, Devs, Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Stefan Matteau
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There was an interesting development -- to say the least -- at the Devils' morning skate today. Dainius Zubrus did not skate due to an upper-body injury, while Stefan Matteau took his place on the top line at left wing. That would appear to mean Matteau will be sticking around this season.

Via Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice:

Dainius Zubrus is not participating in the Devils? morning skate today at Prudential Center and will not play in tonight?s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning because of an upper-body injury, the team says.

Rookie left wing Stefan Matteau is skating this morning in Zubrus? spot on the top line with Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk. That doesn?t guarantee he?ll play in that spot, though.

Tags: DAINIUS ZUBRUS, Devils, Devs, Injury Report, Lineup Changes, New Jersey Devils, Stefan Matteau
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Ready for your daily Stefan Matteau update? Get ready... Ready?

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/297418483547910144

Yup. Lou is slow-playing the heck out of this one and as I asked a couple people last night -- how long will this go? Only Lou knows.

Tags: Devils, Devs, Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey Devils, Stefan Matteau, Tweets

Greetings from the Prudential Center on this wonderful Thursday morning. The Devils had a morning skate prior to tonight's game against the New York Islanders, which, believe it or not, is a battle for first place in the Atlantic Division. It's only been five games, but who woulda thunk that before the season started? Just goes to show the Devils play in the toughest division in hockey.

There were a couple of notable participants in the skate this morning: Adam Henrique and Stefan Matteau. Now, as of press time (10:40ish a.m.), neither player is locked in to playing tonight, or in Matteau's case, locked in to staying in the NHL this season. Still, in Henrique's case, it's a clear sign that he's as close to returning as he's been all season. We'll just have to see if he's in the lineup tonight.

The Devils defensemen worked on taking shots from the point while the forwards ran dump and support drill that saw one man chase a puck into the corner while the other circled back around the faceoff dot and into the slot. The Devils continue to work on different aspects of their forecheck in every practice I've been to, and rightfully so. It's one of the most important parts of their game -- if not the most important.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Devils, Devs, New Jersey Devils, Practice Report, Practice Reports, Stefan Matteau
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While there's been no official decision made on whether Stefan Matteau will stay with the Devils this season, leave it to GM Lou Lamoriello to exploit the rule book to give himself as much time as possible to make (or announce) his decision. Today, Lou said he hasn't figured out what he's going to do, but noted that he doesn't really any sort of deadline to follow.

Via Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice:

?He will not be going back immediately and we?re not going to let his contract status get in the way,? Lamoriello said. ?We?re going to continue evaluating this and a decision won?t be made at this point.?

Matteau has already played in five NHL games. If he plays in a sixth game, it counts as a full year off his contract, moving him a year closer to free agency. It remains possible Matteau will play in Thursday?s game against the Islanders, but it?s also possible that the Devils will sit him and let him practice for a few days before deciding whether to send him back to his junior team ? Blainville-Boisbriand of the QMJHL.

Tags: Buzz, Devils, Devs, Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey Devils, Stefan Matteau
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Tomorrow is decision day for the Devils and Stefan Matteau. I want to know what you guys think -- should the Devils keep Matteau or should they send him back to juniors?

[polldaddy poll=6864158]

Tags: Devils, Devs, From The Stands, New Jersey Devils, Poll, Stefan Matteau, vote

Links: Pregame thread | Twitter | AP recap

Moose taketh and Moose giveth away: First, let's get something out of the way: Johan Hedberg was fantastic for 98 percent of tonight's game. He was the only reason they were still in it after another slow start (getting tired of writing that) and he helped the Devils keep it close in the third period when the Bruins began to press -- particularly on the 2-on-1 power-play rush. Hedberg also made some fantastic saves in the shootout and that poke check play was so vintage Moose and perfectly timed. All that said, he probably should've stopped the Bruins' lone goal, despite the slight deflection off Henrik Tallinder's stick. He definitely shouldn't have allowed that shootout winner either. It looked like there was about five feet of space in his five hole on the shot. In the end, he had a great game with two mistakes, but those mistakes are what cost the Devils the win.

Ya too close, man!: Thought tonight was too close for comfort? Yeah, get used to that feeling. As long as Lou Lamoriello insists on not adding a top-six forward, the Devils will play in a lot of one-goal games this season. In fact, the only game so far determined by more than one goal was the Devils' 3-0 win over the Flyers one week ago. In order to get by with this kind of play, the Devils need to shore up the poor starts, limit the giveaways while doing a better job picking up trailers (which was a big problem tonight) and get very good to excellent goaltending on a nightly basis. The other thing they have to do is practice their shootouts, which were the Devils' bread and butter last season. However, this year, with a lack of impact skill players, the Devils' top shootout guys will have to be consistently effective. I mean, when Marek Zidlicky is your No. 6 shootout guy, you've got some problems.

Tags: Boston Bruins, Bruins, B's, Devils, Devs, New Jersey Devils, Editorial Aside, Postgame Thoughts, Stefan Matteau
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I'll tackle this more in my postgame roundup and again tomorrow when the decision officially gets made, but for now, I'll leave you with this from the reporters in Boston...

https://twitter.com/Ledger_NJDevils/status/296455438826868738

https://twitter.com/TGfireandice/status/296458861030813696

Tags: Devils, Devs, New Jersey Devils, Stefan Matteau, Tweets

While Stefan Matteau waits to find out his fate, the Devils' stretched-out early schedule means other teams have to make decisions on their high-profile juniors players first.

https://twitter.com/Ledger_NJDevils/status/296325107008278528

https://twitter.com/BuffaloSabres/status/296275406275870721

Tags: News, Stefan Matteau, Tweets
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After Mattias Tedenby's demotion, the Devils' next big roster decision will be what to do with Stefan Matteau. His five-game NHL trial ends after Tuesday's game in Boston, at which point the Devils must decide whether to keep him for the entire season or send him back to juniors.

Via Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice:

Tuesday night?s game could the last with the Devils this season for Matteau. Matteau, 18, has already played in four games this season. If he plays in six or more, it would count as a full year off his entry-level contract and move him a year closer to free agency.

Lamoriello said he?s ?not sure yet? what the team will do with Matteau after Tuesday?s game.

Tags: ADAM HENRIQUE, Buzz, Devils, Devs, Mathieu Darche, New Jersey Devils, Stefan Matteau
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I noticed last night that Stefan Matteau got a fair amount of time on the left wing of the Devils' top line, particularly later in the game after Pete DeBoer seemed to tire of Mattias Tedenby. And so I began to think about the fact that three games into the 2013 season, the Devils have yet to find someone to replace Zach Parise's physical position. So while I watched Matteau skate on the top life, I realized that he was at least the fifth different player the Devils had tried there through three games.

Dainius Zubrus began the year in that spot and played most of the first two games there. Although his size and two-way are pluses, Zubrus is hurt by? an inability to finish, which is particularly noticeable when guys like Kovy and Zajac are creating such great chances. Then, DeBoer decided to give Mattias Tedenby a shot there to start last night's game, but after less a period, it seemed that experiment had been abandoned. Over the rest of the night, DeBoer tried Ryan Carter there for a stretch; Jacob Josefson got a turn; but Matteau was the one that really stood out as bringing a really interesting skill set to that line.

Then, today, I saw this from practice:

Tags: Buzz, Devils, Devs, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Editorial Aside, Stefan Matteau
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As part of the NHL's abbreviated schedule, the league shortened the normal 10-game limit for juniors players to half that. With two games already out of the way, that means 18-year-old Stefan Matteau has only three games left before the Devils must decide whether to keep him with the big club or send him back to juniors. Pete DeBoer is impressed by what Matteau's shown thus far.

"He?s a competitor. You like his size, you like his compete, you like his skating," DeBoer said at Wednesday's optional skate. "You know the details of the game are something we gotta work on with him daily at this level, but there?s a lot of good things there."

But that doesn't mean he's ready to rule on whether the kid will stay.

Tags: Buzz, Devils, Devs, Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey Devils, Pete DeBoer, Stefan Matteau
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Despite a short camp, Martin Brodeur, the wily old veteran, is ready for practice to end and games to start.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpdSI73Po2s&feature=youtu.be

Meanwhile, Stefan Matteau is hopeful he'll get to make his NHL debut tomorrow against the Islanders.

Tags: Devils, Devs, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Video, Stefan Matteau, Watch, watch
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