Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Rich Chere at the Star-Ledger,
When the Devils started this season with their nine-game road trip and a roster that had some around the league holding back smirks, it seemed unthinkable that they would have the best record in the Eastern Conference with 10 games to play.
Few doubted that a Lou Lamoriello team would be competitive, even one that lost its No. 1 center via free agency, was missing a top defenseman with a serious eye injury and had a plan in place to use goalie Martin Brodeur less often. But first place in the conference?
“If you looked on paper at our roster and compared it to some other teams in the conference, possibly not,” captain Jamie Langenbrunner said. “But I think some guys on this team are underrated as far as putting up numbers.”
I mentioned to a friend last night that I would not be surprised to wake-up this morning to find this game was in the 150th round of the shootout, with the score still tied 0-0.
from Fire & Ice,
That was one of the strangest games of the season. It reminded me of the Devils’ 3-2 shootout win in Buffalo on Jan 12. They fell behind 2-0 in that one too and probably had no business winning and found a way to pull it out.
This time, the 4-3 shootout win over the Minnesota Wild was good to put the Devils back in first place in the Eastern Conference, just one point ahead of Pittsburgh, Montreal and Ottawa.
“It means we control our destiny in the last 11 games,” said Jamie Langenbrunner, who scored the shootout winner. “We’ve got to play better first periods coming down the stretch here. We’re not going to get away with that, but we took the positive in the big game and we were able to get the two points out of it.”
more on the Devils…
from Kent Youngblood at Russo’s Rants,
Lemaire was asked Wednesday where Brodeur ranked among goaltenders he had seen in his time in the league as a player and coach.
No. 1, Lemaire said.
‘’I’m thinking, you know,’’ Lemaire said. ‘’(Ken) Dryden, he was really good for a short time. And I know, at a time, he couldn’t get ready to play and that’s why he stopped. This guy (Brodeur), he’s been doing it for a long time, and he’ll do it ‘till he’s 40. So he’s got to be the one.’’
Better, even, than Patrick Roy? ‘’Patrick was good at a time,’’ Lemaire said. “You’re talking about (Wayne) Gretzky, (Mario) Lemieux, Bobby Orr. Who is the best player? Every opinion is good.’’
read on and Wild talk too…
from Fire & Ice,
Parise’s fight came 3:47 into the third period against Tampa Bay defenseman Dan Boyle. Parise actually inadvertantly started the altercation by kicking Boyle’s left skate out from under him in the right corner.
“If I did, I didn’t try,” Parise said. “I wasn’t trying to slew foot him or anything. I was just going for the puck. We got back in front of the net and he tried to slew foot me and he got me in the face, so it just escalated from there.”
Parise said he had not been in a fight since midget. “First and probably last for a while,” he said. “I don’t see it happening again anytime soon. It was all kind of a blur when it happened…It was fun. Something you’ve got to do.”
from Tom Gulitti of the Record,
After a down 2006-07 season, Madden decided to make some changes. With some guidance from his wife, Lauren, who is a nutritionist, he refined his diet last summer and dropped 10 pounds.
“The main reason was just to be healthier,” said Madden, who will try to help the Devils snap their three-game losing streak tonight in his native Toronto. “The game has changed, so I had to change a little bit. When you get older, in general, you have to change your eating habits.”...
He cut out fast food and switched from drinking soda to cranberry juice and water. He also learned the importance of a good breakfast. In the past, he might have skipped breakfast at home and grabbed something unhealthy later in the day.
from Fire & Ice,
Although he faces a possible fine from the NHL for criticizing the officiating, (Brent) Sutter did not hold back.
“Both calls upset me,” he said. “The fact that the first call was called five seconds after the incident happens and because the fans yell. If it’s a penalty, call it right away. And I just watched the video and i still don’t know where the second call came from. To put a team down two men with seven minutes to go in a game like tonight, that’s why I don’t get paid the big money to be an official.”
The New Jersey Devils have bolstered their defence for the stretch run, acquiring defenceman Bryce Salvador from the St. Louis Blues.
continued… *Cam Janssen going the other way, to the Blues
fom the NY Post,
Lamoriello is believed shopping for a Top Two defenseman and a top center, or at least at Top Six forward. The rumors about Barret Jackman, Jay McKee, Rob Blake, Brian Campbell, Pitkanen and John Liles have been long in place, and up front, Robert Lang, Martin Havlat, Brad Richards, Ladislav Nagy and Olli Jokinen as well.
A couple of new names joined the list yesterday, notably Chicago center Jason Williams, injured most of this season but nearly a point-per-game man and an upcoming unrestricted. Atlanta’s Alexei Zhitnik was mentioned speculatively as a possible rental target.
more and some Ranger talk too…
Anaheim Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne, Calgary Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff and New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending February 24.
from the NY Post,
When Blues defenseman Barret Jackman goes on the league-wide market today, it will be a signal that the Devils couldn’t come up with a satisfactory package to land the 2003 Rookie of the Year, an upcoming unrestricted who doesn’t turn 27 until March 5.
The asking price will be a first-rounder, a star prospect and a valuable veteran, and that would probably be too much for Lamoriello. Instead, the Devils’ GM would more likely turn to Jay McKee from the Blues’ backline by tomorrow’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.
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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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