Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun,
New Jersey Devils goaltender and former Maple Leafs farmhand Scott Clemmensen will be having nightmares of Jason Blake for some time to come.
Blake pulled off one of the most spectacular moves in recent shootout history to score on Clemmensen last night at the Air Canada Centre and give the Leafs a 3-2 victory.
Toronto’s fourth shooter, Blake charged in on Clemmensen, slammed on the brakes in front of the net, did the old Savardian spin-o-rama, and then backhanded a shot past the bewildered Jersey goaltender.
“He was either going to be a hero or a bum, because anything can happen (with that move),” Toronto coach Ron Wilson said afterwards. “But I think it took a lot of guts to try that.”
from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger,
Brian Rolston’s ankle wasn’t feeling as good as he had hoped.
Three games into his return from a high ankle sprain, the Devils winger decided to get some firsthand information about what he might expect. So one week ago, after a home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Rolston talked with Sidney Crosby.
“I don’t know if his was the same as mine, but his was an ankle, too. It was good to get a player’s perspective,” Rolston said. “The first few games back, no question I felt it. I didn’t know what to expect, so I had a conversation with Sidney Crosby. He just said it’s going to be sore and you have to try to strengthen it and to keep taping it.”
from Tom Gulitti of the Record,
Devils coach Brent Sutter said after Wednesday’s practice that he’s “assuming” Rolston will play tonight. Rolston said he’s anxious after a seven-week layoff.
“It has been a long time, but that’s the only thing that really heals ankles,” he said. “If I would have broken it, you know in four to six [weeks], you’re ready to go. With ankle [sprains], it’s not that simple. I’ve been patient and the team has been patient with me so I feel 100 percent.
“I’m not used to sitting out.”
Center John Madden also will play tonight after missing the last four games with a bruised left ankle.
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