The Atlantic Division is my favorite in the entire NHL. The level of skill, the teams, the rivalries and passion played in these games is as good as it gets. Whether it's Rangers v. Flyers, Flyers v. Devils, Devils v. Rangers, Flyers v. Penguins, nearly every contest is one worth watching. (unless of course it's against the Islanders! )
With that being said, here is my look at the Atlantic Division with the season quickly approaching.
Well, its finally back. There is no use crying over lost time, so here are some news, notes and quotes since the news broke the lockout ended in NJ.
Petr Sykora, who played for the Devils last season, is hoping to be invited back to Devils camp again after his contract expired after the previous season. If you remember, Sykora entered the training camp last year and was originally expected to be a long shot to make the team. Not only did he make the team, he contributed 21 goals and 23 assists.
As each day passes it seems as if the PA and the NHL are making some agreements towards a new CBA barring any tremendous setbacks in the negotiations. With that being said, it seems as if there may be an abbreviated season on the horizon (fingers crossed).
The question I pose to all of you is what do you think the quality of play will be if the game is actually to return? Obviously there will be some time for mini camps but the actual season would begin rather quickly. Some players have went to other countries to play while some of the younger guys ventured to the AHL and other leagues. Other players have seemingly done nothing except skate at local rinks and continue to work out. Do you think the overall quality of the game will decrease if the NHL season is to take place?
It was probably one of the first times Martin Brodeur has faced some real action since the Devils skated off the ice after being defeated by the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals. But in the Operation Hat Trick charity game in Atlantic City this past Saturday, Brodeur let 10 goals get by him in a 10-6 loss for Team Hartnell.
Obviously there was no real fore check being used in this game, as it was basically a glorified All-Star game, but every shot that seemed to make it through to Brodeur ended up in the back of the net, causing the Flyers fans in the arena to start the sing-song chant of "Mar-ty."
According to Tom Gulitti's Fire and Ice blog, David Clarkson has agreed to play in Austria with EC Red Bull Salzburg.
According to the team website for EC Red Bull Salzburg, Devils right wing David Clarkson has signed to play with the Austrian Hockey League team.
The story on the site, which shows Clarkson holding Red Bull Salzburg jersey, the 28-year-old Toronto native arrived in Austria earlier today with is wife and daughter and is expected to practice with the team for the first time later today.
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tobias Enstrom currently also plays with the team.
Clarkson was originally unsure whether or not he would play elsewhere during the lockout, telling Gulitti, "That’s something I’ve been thinking about and might end up happening, but I’m somebody that thinks a certain way.”
Per Tom Gulitti's Fire and Ice blog:
Volchenkov was injured while playing for Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod in the Kontinental Hockey League. Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said Volchenkov has a broken ankle and is expected to miss four to six weeks. Volchennkov’s agent, Jay Grossman, said the 30-year-old defenseman fractured “a small bone” on “the inside the part of the foot, in the arch area.”
It is predicted he will miss anywhere from 4-6 weeks, but that time frame is likely to change.
“Their doctors have told him that it’s not expected he would miss that much time,” Jay Grossman, Volchenkov's agent said. “It just depends on how he responds. But, going from the way it’s been explained to me by Anton, it’s an unfortunate situation, but it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be any kind of major, long-term issue.”
Video was tweeted by Dmitry Chesnokov:
Per Tom Gulitti Fire and Ice Blog
SKA St. Petersburg of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League announced on its website today that Devils right wing Ilya Kovalchuk will sign with the team Tuesday. The team plans to make the official announcement of the signing at a Tuesday news conference.
Kovalchuk, 29, would sign a contract that would allow him to return to the Devils when the NHL lockout is over. SKA St. Petersburg tried to lure Kovalchuk to the KHL when he became an NHL unrestricted free agent in 2010 before he re-signed with the Devils.
From Tom Gulitti's Fire and Ice Blog:
"As I reported Friday night, the Devils assigned 17 players to Albany Friday, including 2012 Calder Trophy finalist Adam Henrique and 2011 first-round pick Adam Larsson, who both spent most of last season in the NHL.
Here again is the list of 17 players assigned to Albany Friday: Henrique, Larsson, Mattias Tedenby, Jacob Josefson, Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood, Maxime Clermont, Brandon Burlon, Mike Hoeffel, Eric Gelinas, Alex Urbom, David Wohlberg, Mike Sislo, Harri Pesonen, Dan Kelly, Harry Young, J.S. Berube.
The Devils assigned an additional seven players to Albany today after they all cleared waivers at noon: Bobby Butler, Jeff Frazee, Jay Leach, Bobby Butler, Tim Sestito, Matt Anderson, Chad Wiseman and Steve Zalewski.
Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said Friday he also intends to sign defenseman Matt Corrente to an AHL contract to make him elibigle to play in the AHL during the lockout without clearing waivers. Corrente is eligible to do that because he was on Albany’s clear-day list last season. In addition, the Devils assigned Stefan Matteau (Blainville, QMJHL), Reece Scarlett (Swift Current, WHL) and Damon Severson (Kelowna, WHL) to their respective junior teams today."
It was clear Ilya Kovalchuk was bothered by an injury throughout the playoffs, even taking a game off against the Philadelphia Flyers to rest and seek some sort of relief.
Lou Lamoriello, the Devils GM, said that Kovalchuk is "OK" and is in Russia preparing for the NHL season.
"He's fine," Lamoriello said to Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. "He’s skating. Right now, he’s in Russia working out."
Lamoriello also gave updates on Mark Fayne who had wrist surgery after the season and Patrik Elias who had surgery to repair a torn groin.
"He’s coming along great," Lamoriello said about Fayne. "He couldn’t play tomorrow, but he'll be ready in a couple of weeks. He's OK. It's just making sure it’s 100-percent healed."
Lamoriello also said Elias was coming along nicely, noting that he expects to have a full and healthy camp come the opening of the training season.
About Devil's Advocate
I am an all around NHL fan. I love to watch Atlantic Division, and root for the Philadelphia Flyers. Just because I cheer for the Flyers, doesn’t mean I don’t keep up with the other teams in the division, specifically the New Jersey Devils. Devils Advocate will provide you with the most important Devils news, filled with my opinion about the selected topic.
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