Kukla's Korner Hockey
Martin Brodeur will announce his retirement today at a press conference in St. Louis.
The conference is scheduled to begin at 11:30am ET and you can watch it below...
from Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post,
It’s not too difficult to make the argument that Lamoriello is the best general manager in New York sports history. After taking over in 1987, his first 25 years on the job saw the team win three Stanley Cups, make it to two more Cup finals, appear in two more Conference finals and qualify for the postseason in 22 of 25 tries. But that brings us up to 2012, when they beat the Rangers in conference finals, lost to the Kings in the Cup final — and haven’t seen the playoffs in the two seasons since.
It’s looking now to be a third season in a row, sitting 15 points out of the final wild-card spot, so maybe it was only a quarter-century that Lamoriello was granted his prescience. Or maybe what he’s doing this season, with his three-headed coaching monster — him at the helm, with Adam Oates and Scott Stevens splitting the coaching responsibilities by splitting the ice in half — is the first step in setting the team set up for the future.
But really, the first step should be conceding this year. And that means actively engaging the trade market before the March 2 deadline and getting a head start on receiving some return for a handful of veteran and expiring contracts.
more plus other NHL topics...
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
At some point, Lamoriello will have to pull the plug on 2014-15 and try to get back what he can for the veterans he has on expiring contracts. That list includes defenseman Marek Zidlicky and forwards Jaromir Jagr, Martin Havlat, Michael Ryder and Scott Gomez.
“That's something that has to stay within,” Lamoriello said. “But, right now we're not thinking that.”
He probably will have to soon, though.
Following this three-game trip comes the all-star break and then the Devils will have only 16 games over four and a half weeks leading up to the NHL's 3 p.m. trade deadline on Monday, March 2. Unless the Devils do something very special over that time, it seems unlikely they'll be within realistic reach of a playoff spot at the trade deadline.
Heading into tonight's games they are 12 points out of playoff spot and nine points out of last place overall.
So, while Lamoriello the coach is thinking about winning games, Lamoriello GM will almost certainly be thinking about which players he should move. That might even include considering trading some veterans who are signed beyond this season if he is able to get back a significant piece for the future.
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
The Devils could be hearing from the NHL – if they haven’t already – after some of their players held an informal practice on Dec. 26 on their Prudential Center practice rink.
A source said more than two thirds of the Devils’ players were on the ice for the informal practice, which did not include any members of the coaching staff.
Multiple Devils’ players confirmed there was an informal skate Friday. One said “not that many” players went on the ice, though, and, “obviously, there were no coaches.”...
Another Devils’ player indicated some players who didn’t skate used the team facilities Friday to work out off the ice.
Dec. 26 is a mandated day off by the collective bargaining agreement as part of the NHL’s three-day Christmas break. If any Devils official was involved in organizing or encouraging the informal practice, this might be considered a violation of the CBA and could result in a fine for the organization.
So far, it doesn’t appear the Devils did anything illegal or are in any trouble with the NHL. A league spokesperson confirmed that the NHL is looking into “a few” teams that held informal Dec. 26 practices, but said it is “unclear if any were more than captain’s skates, which wouldn’t be prohibited.”
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said via email there was “nothing I know of on the Devils."
A source said the Rangers were among the teams already questioned about their Dec. 26 activities and were not found to have done anything illegal.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
In his first interview since being let go by the Devils, DeBoer had nothing but praise for his former boss.
"I loved working with Lou, I'll be honest with you,'' DeBoer told ESPN.com Tuesday morning. "I learned a great deal. It was a great investment for me as a person and as a coach to be around him for the last three and a half years.
"I had come from Florida where I had a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth about the NHL, having gone through three ownership groups and three GMs in the three years I was there. Lou was exactly what I needed at that point in my coaching career. I don't have any regrets about coming here and I sure don't have any regrets about working for him.''
The fact of the matter is that DeBoer, like most coaches, saw it coming.
“We know the position we’re in. We also know that you can get on winning streaks. Right now what we have to do is focus in on every game, all the details that have to be done, the systemic changes that are taking place and let the end result take care of itself.
“But there is no team in the National Hockey League that doesn’t believe they want to make the playoffs or think they have the capability. You have to go on a streak. I said that last year. What we didn’t do was go on a winning streak.
“We have to get a couple players back. Despite what our record was, we didn’t have all our players here. It’s been very tough. I say that right up front. But a decision was made by me to make a change.You can’t apologize for doing what you think is right.”
- Lou Lamoriello, President, GM and coach of the New Jersey Devils when asked is it realistic for the Devils to make the playoffs. More from Lamoriello by Rich Chere of NJ.com.
The Hockey Central panel with their take on how the coaching situation in New Jersey will work out.
from Rich Chere of NJ.com,
With teams set to resume play after the NHL's Christmas break, speculation among Devils players is that Paul MacLean will be introduced Saturday morning as the team's new coach.
MacLean, 56, was fired by the Ottawa Senators on Dec. 8 after that team got off to an 11-11-5 start.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post kicked around a few names for the job....
added 1:16pm, via Rich Chere tweets,
Lamoriello: "I will confirm a coaching change. No comment until tomorrow."
Lamoriello: "No further comments until I address the team."
Elias confirmed mumps.
from Rich Chere of NJ.com,
“Do I personally feel it? Whatever pressure I have is what I put on myself,” Lamoriello told NJ Advance Media. “I have to make whatever decision is right, in my opinion, for the best of the team. I can’t allow anything to affect that whatsoever or I’m not doing my job.”
Three Stanley Cups buys a GM a lot of leeway, but has Lamoriello missed the mark on his free agent signings, non-signings and trades over the past decade since the club last won it all in 2003?
Could he have signed Zach Parise long before the winger reached free agency and decided to go home to Minnesota? Or did former owner Jeff Vanderbeek’s financial problems make that impossible?
Should he have let Paul Martin, David Clarkson and/or Brian Gionta walk?
Was there a way to keep Ilya Kovalchuk in the NHL? And did Lamoriello and the Devils have the power, persuasion and the finances to keep Scott Niedermayer and Brian Rafalski from leaving after the third Cup?
All valid questions.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org