Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
- The biggest problem that’s bothered the Bruins on defense all season is their inability to protect the house consistently. Their coaches repeatedly stress the importance of stationing at least one man in front of the net to disrupt shots, block pucks, and lift sticks. If the Bruins occupy the net-front area correctly, it leaves others to work their way out from there and cover the rest of the defensive zone. It’s been easier said than done. The Bruins have been too quick to leave the space open to hunt down loose pucks or close on opponents. “The front of the net is the main area,” Adam McQuaid said. “That’s something that’s a team thing. It’s five guys coming back and getting in the right positions, then working from there.”
- Chatter around the league pegs New Jersey as a franchise that could seek a new general manager. Lou Lamoriello is in his 28th season at the Devils’ helm. They have good young pieces in Cory Schneider and Adam Henrique. But too much of the roster has gone gray.
many more hockey topics...
from Rich Chere of NJ.com,
"It's a transition. It's not a rebuild," Lamoriello said Friday morning when the subject was raised by NJ Advance Media.
So what is the difference between rebuilding and transitioning?
"Rebuilding is a totally different word. Transition means the amount of time it takes for that chemistry to get together or that new person to get comfortable in what he's doing within the system. That's a transition," Lamoriello explained.
"When you try and build and try and do things, it's always for that championship situation. Along the way there are some growing pains. We made a transition and that's on me with the young defensemen earlier in the year. Unfortunately, one of our young defensemen who played a key role (Damon Severson), got hurt... In the big picture, it's going to be a foundation."
"I feel I don't have to ask. If it's good for the team, I'm gone. If they feel like they've got a good offer, they'll trade me. I don't have to ask.
"Do we still have a chance (at making the playoffs)? I don't know. Regardless, it's out of my control."
-Jaromir Jagr of the New Jersey Devils. More from Rich Chare of NJ.com.
Brodeur deserved the same grand sendoff that Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom got in Detroit, that Mike Modano got in Dallas even after leaving for the Red Wings, that Daniel Alfredsson got in Ottawa even after an apparent fracture with management and ownership.
Maybe Brodeur’s ego was still hurt that he wanted to play one more year and Lou Lamoriello wouldn’t make it happen. Maybe Lou was just being stubborn Lou and didn’t feel it was important enough to make sure Thursday’s event was in Newark, not St. Louis.
But it’s a real shame it did. It was the most unemotional presser you’ve ever seen for a player as great as Brodeur. The Devils were barely mentioned, his Hall of Fame career almost glossed over.
-Michael Russo of the Star Tribune on Martin Brodeur. Read more from Russo plus other hockey topics...
from Jeff Blair of Sportsnet,
It seldom ends in a nice, neat package any more, because we are in sports Viagra era.
We live longer and our idols tend to perform at passable or better levels for longer periods of time because of better training, nutrition, medicine, travel — and, drug-testing often being half a step behind the cheaters, sometimes chemical intervention.
Go hard, don’t worry about going home.
It’s still said that if Wayne Gretzky can be traded, than anyone can be traded. True. The addendum is that if Gretzky can play out the string with the New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues, than anyone ought to be able to play out the string for whomever and for however long they want.
Still, watching Martin Brodeur retire from the NHL on Thursday surrounded by the logo and colours of a team for which he’s played all of seven games seemed a little much, even by todays standards of disposability.
He’s a New Jersey Devil — no, he IS the New Jersey Devils.
continued which includes an interview Elliotte Friedman did with Brodeur today...
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.
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 email@example.com