Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger,
1. Book them on commercial flights to and from Ottawa next week. Private team jet? How about traveling like the rest of us and going through Customs at the Canadian border? And let them get their own transportation to and from the airport. It’s truly fun.
2. An appearance from Lou Lamoriello in the dressing room. That might scare some people, especially this late in the season. Their eyes would immediately zoom in to see if the GM had his skates on. Lamoriello is good at frightening his employees, whether they are office personnel or players.
Update 3:02pm ET: From Stu Hackel at the New York Times’ Slapshot—
In fact, the Devils are having a devil of a time (sorry) on offense. In their current slide, which has now reached five games (!!!), they have only six goals. They’ve lost six of seven, a slump that began after Brodeur broke Patrick Roy’s record for career victories and, when you read Coach Brent Sutter’s post-game statements on their lack of urgency, you have to wonder if the club emotionally peaked to help Marty go on that great run when he returned from injury.
from Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
With the Devils’ losing streak reaching a season-worst five games and only six regular season games remaning, Sutter rippped into his players.
“I’m trying to stay positive and trying to stay positive, but at some point you lose five in a row and you’ve got to recognize that there’s some problems here and there’s some issues,” Sutter said. “Am I (ticked) off? You’re darn right I’m ticked off because I expect more from this group,”
Sutter called on his veterans to straighten out this mess..
“The kind of leaders and experience that should be in that room, this shouldn’t be happening,” Sutter said. “It has nothing to do with anything outside of the fact that you’ve just got to want to have it a little more than the opposition. It has nothing to do with systems. It has nothing to do with anything like that. It’s strictly how motivated you are to want to have success. That’s what it comes down to. I’m disappointed in the whole group outside of our goaltender tonight,
“In the third period, we played with a sense of urgency and a sense of desperation. Why didn’t we have that in the first two periods?”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
This is the night at the Garden on which to focus on the big picture of playoff implications without ever allowing your vision to stray far from Brodeur’s crease whenever Avery is on the ice.
This is the night to keep your eyes on Bobby Holik if he’s on the ice with Avery, to keep your eyes on Lundqvist’s crease if the Devils choose to respond indirectly against Public Enemy No. 1, to keep your eyes on the officials, whose handling of their professional duties will come under strict scrutiny.
This, as always, is the night to keep your eyes on Avery, who has been Mr. Mxyzptlk to Brodeur’s Superman from the moment he joined the Battle of the Hudson on Feb. 6, 2007 and turned it into his own comic strip.
from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger,
Madden and Gionta are two very different players, but they may be in the same boat. Both are proven winners. However, both are also unrestricted free agents this summer and are probably making more money than Lamoriello would be willing to pay to bring back.
Gionta, 30, is earning $4 million in the final season of a three-year, $12 million deal he signed after scoring 48 goals in 2005-06. Since signing that contract, his goals total has gone from 25 to 22 to 18 so far this season.
With the right centerman and some luck, he could be a 30-goal scorer. But how much will the Devils want to pay him?
Madden, 35, is earning just under $3 million this season. His defensive play, faceoff ability and penalty-killing have been at the heart of the Devils’ success over the past decade. But his role hasn’t always been clear this season and he admits he hasn’t played well enough to satisfy himself.
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
“Going into the game, we knew we were going to be seeing a lot of him (Chara), our line was,” Parise said. “A few times, we were able to get in there, but I think we’ve got to do a better job against him. We have played well against him before in the last couple of games, but tonight we couldn’t get much going.”
Devils coach Brent Sutter said it’s up to Parise to fight through that sort of thing and not his teammates to protect him.
“Every time someone gets touched, it’s a big deal because someone gets touched,” Sutter said. “Your best players have to play through some things too. This time of the season and come playoffs, you’re going to have to take punches to the head for the benefit of the team. Did he intimidate us? He certainly didn’t intimidate us out there. He’s a competitor and Zach has to learn to play through stuff too. That’s part of being a good player. You’ve got to play through some things maybe you don’t like. You have to fight through it. I’m not saying he doesn’t. I’m just saying that every time someone gets hit in a game doesn’t mean you have to respond or a positive or negative way either. We know how to handle that. It’s not like we don’t know how to handle these things.”
from Mark Everson of the NY Post,
One giant record broken, the other wobbling. They should attach the replacement netting to Martin Brodeur’s goal cage with Velcro, just to save us all time.
“I think it’s going to be this year,” Devils center Travis Zajac said of the timetable for Brodeur breaking Terry Sawchuk’s 40-year-old NHL record of 103 shutouts.
Fresh from one successful record chase, Brodeur started his second hunt of the month with his fifth shutout in 20 starts this season and the 101st of his career, a 4-0 triumph over the Wild in Newark last night.
“It could be a long time if you guys are going to start that [hoopla],” the Gretzky of Goalies warned.
from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger,
As he was poised to pass Patrick Roy as the NHL’s all-time wins leader, Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur was invited to read the Top 10 list on the David Letterman show this past Monday night.
Brodeur, who would record his 552nd career win Tuesday night to pass Roy, declined to record the segment on Monday.
A court has ruled Martin Brodeur must pay his ex-wife $500,000 a year until 2020.
The AP has the story via USA TODAY.
Update 1:55pm ET: From Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, a look at Brodeur’s history:
Brodeur’s beginnings were not quite as inauspicious, but he certainly wasn’t thought of as a future superstar in the league. In fact, Brodeur was the decidedly second consensus pick in that draft to Trevor Kidd, who went to the Calgary Flames 11th overall.
At that time, our annual Draft Preview edition profiled the top 60 prospects, but only the top 21 – which consisted of the first round of the draft back then – were ranked in order. The other 39 were ranked in alphabetical order and Brodeur, who was projected to be a second-round pick, was among that group.
from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,
Martin Brodeur stands alone.
The New Jersey Devils’ standout goalie earned his 552nd victory, the most wins ever by an NHL goalie, Tuesday night at Prudential Center, besting the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 before a raucous crowd that chanted “Marty, Marty” and “Marty’s better” throughout the game.
After the game, Brodeur, with a little help from his teammates, cut the net away from the posts. Probably will make a very nice keepsake.
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