Kukla's Korner Hockey
Brendan Shanahan is a New Jersey Devil—sort of.
Sources says the unrestricted free agent winger is joining the team, but has yet to agree to terms on a contract and it isn’t clear at this point when that will happen or when he will be ready to play a game with them.
But sources say Shanahan will start skating in New Jersey today and the details of him officially becoming part of the team will be worked out in the days to come. The Devils are in Los Angeles starting a six-game road trip.
added 4:47pm, via Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
The Devils have brought left wing Brendan Shanahan back to the organization, signing the 39-year-old left wing today to what is believed to be a one-year contract. There is no timetable yet for when Shanahan will join the team and begin playing in games.
“Brendan Shanahan has agreed in principle to join the New Jersey Devils,” general manager Lou Lamoriello said in a statement. “He will begin skating on his own. Brendan will join the team at a date to be determined.”
added 5:12pm, from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger,
Although there has been contact with Shanahan since September, Lamoriello said he had no intention of signing Shanahan until the team’s recent struggles.
“No. We had spoken to him, like a lot of other people, in September and throughout the year,” Lamoriello said. “We met face to face (Friday) and we spoke again today….”
The Devils will host “Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick Night’ during their Atlantic Division contest vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins at Prudential Center on Friday, January 30 at 7:00 PM. On November 10, 2008, Emrick received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame for his outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster. The announcement was made by Devils’ President/CEO/General Manager Lou Lamoriello.
“Mike Emrick is the consummate professional who is the best at what he does, and is passionate about the game of hockey,” said Lamoriello. “We are extremely fortunate to have Doc Emrick as our play-by-play announcer.”
from Mark Everson of the NY Post,
A team that bumped, ground and won has gone Fancy Dan, not dumping the puck regularly to make defenses retreat, the platform from which their game begins. They’re carrying, lugging, and losing, and foes don’t have to go 200-feet to attack.
“The players know what it is, and it well get resolved. They will have to be the ones to dig in and respond,” Sutter said, without declaring the team’s specific failure.
Comeback kids, the Devils aren’t. They have lost every game when they’ve trailed by two, an imperfect season-long streak of 13, unable to put even one past Kari Lehtonen, who notched his first shutout of the season.
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Tonight’s 3-2 loss to Carolina was the Devils’ fourth sloppy effort in their last five games.
“That’s four out of five games, so that’s not a good thing,” Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner said. “We’ve gotten away with a couple of them, but it’s something we definitely have to stop. We have to get back to playing game sharp from the drop of the puck all the way through, especially going on the road trip we’re going to be on. We’re going to have to be sharp every night.”...
“There’s no question that to the coaching staff that’s something that’s alarming,” Sutter said. “Yet, you can [yell] until you’re blue in the face and go through things, but it’s up to the individuals to put it into that gear again. I’ve said this before. You’re not going to win every game. But we haven’t played all that well. We’ve had one decent game in the last five and we’ve been fortunate enough to win two out of those ones that we didn’t play.
“But when you play a team like this tonight, you’re not going to get away with it.”
more on the Devils…
from Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated,
Are they still responsible defensibly? Sure. Do their forwards track back with purpose and passion when the opposition has the puck? Absolutely. But they skate forward just as passionately and purposefully when attacking, and even unleash a forecheck from time to time for good measure.
Yes, defending is central to the Devils’ identity. But today under second-year coach Brent Sutter, they’ve modified with the times.
“I’m very comfortable with this group,” Sutter says. “They’re more comfortable with me. A lot of what we went through last year is in place regarding systems and expectations. I don’t even have to bring up accountability anymore. The players in the room handle that.”
“I’ve never been through it, I’ve coached him (in juniors with the Red Deer Rebels), but I’ve never coached against him. To be honest, I don’t know how I’m going to feel and I’m not sure I’m going to like it that much.”
“The way I look at it, I’m excited for him, yhis is a dream of his and he’s living it and trying to fulfill it to the best of his capabilities. I happen to be his dad that’s going to be coaching against him. I don’t want him to worry about that at all. It’s just that his old man happens to be on the opposite side. He just needs to go out there and be a good player and play well to help his team and I’m going to do my job coaching to help ours.”
-Devils coach Brent Sutter on coaching against his son Brandon tomorrow when the Devils play the Hurricanes. More on the Devils from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice.
via the Stat Wizards at Elias Sports Bureau,
When Detroit defeated Chicago yesterday at Wrigley Field it marked the 879th time that Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios played on the winning team in a regular-season game, tying the NHL record held by Scott Stevens. Chelios’ first win came in his first game, a 3-2 victory by the Canadiens over the Hartford Whalers at the Montreal Forum on March 8, 1984.
from Mark Everson of the NY Post,
It could be a major temptation for Lou Lamoriello, but at the March 4 trade deadline he’ll likely pass on picking up a significant piece of loot.
He’ll probably have to resist renting Scott Clemmensen to the highest bidder, unable to depend on an immediate and full contribution by Martin Brodeur Martin Brodeur , who would barely be back in action by then….
The Devils could likely demand significant bounty for Clemmensen, perhaps even a first-rounder from an injury-struck contender, as he heads toward certain summertime departure as an unrestricted free agent.
from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger,
The economy is bad and could get even worse.
Even many fans who would have been willing to dig deep into their pockets were unable or unwilling to get to the Devils’ past two home games because of snowstorms.
Still, Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek remains optimistic fans will support a team that has been surprisingly resilient on the ice and that the club will be profitable for a second straight season in the Prudential Center.
“The health of the Devils is fine,” Vanderbeek told The Star-Ledger Monday. “Certainly we saw the light (financially) last year, but we need to continue to grow. I haven’t seen specific numbers, but I think our attendance is just a touch up (from last year at this point). I think the prospects are good.”
from Mark Everson of the NY Post,
They not only survived, the Devils prospered, their plague of injuries becoming a plague on their opponents. And they’re all the stronger for it. The players are the biggest heroes, but significant credit must go to coach Brent Sutter, this recent prodigy of junior coaching no longer unproven at the NHL level.
Sutter doesn’t go around telling everyone what a genius he is, quite the opposite. He sometimes feigns not being taken seriously, pretending he’s wrongly regarded as a rube from the prairie, when he’s not being so viewed.
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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.
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