Kukla's Korner Hockey
I will provide some of the highlights from the Devils portion on 30 In 30 from the NHL per Mike Morreale.
“The New Jersey Devils couldn’t catch a break in the first half of the 2010-11 season, even after the summertime re-signing of Russian superstar Ilya Kovalchuk to a mammoth 15-year, $100 million contract that took nearly the entire summer to complete.
Instead, they suffered subpar performances under new coach John MacLean, lost star forward Zach Parise to injury 12 games into the season, saw Kovalchuk struggle in the early going, and found themselves in last place in the Eastern Conference at 9-22-2 by the time Christmas rolled around.
It was around that time General Manager Lou Lamoriello opted to fire MacLean and rehire Jacques Lemaire in a last-ditch effort to qualify for the playoffs.”
True, the Kovy ordeal did seem to be a major distraction to the team. John MacLean also seemed lost in the shuffle of being the coach for that year. His attention was not entirely on the team as it needed to be, and the results showed on the ice. I had a lot of friends who follow the Devils point out the same thing. He wasn’t able to coach the team the way you thought he was going too. Lou made the decsion he thought he had too, and it worked to an extent. They didn’t make the playoffs, but they certainly improved. If Parise was healthy, they would have definitely contended for the eight seed that year.
All reports are looking as if Adam Larsson SHOULD be NHL ready come this season. He was playing solid defense during training camp for the Devils, and his work ethic seemed to be ready to make the big jump. He could be a big asset for the Devils on the blue line, who will need to be more consistent this year in order to have a good season. The Devils will be happy with an uneventful season in regards to the media surrounding the team, as long as it means that they are winning.
I would not be surprised if the Devils move Larsson down to Albany for the first month or so if he is not ready to go right from the start. If he gets a little seasoning on him in Albany, it should speed up the process to move him back up to Newark. I do not see him playing for the Swedish Elite League; the Devils want to hold onto this ace in their hand. Devils fans will be hoping for nothing but positives from Larsson, as I feel he could have a lot of qualities which will make him become a true fan favorite, especially since he is so young.
This coming season will be an important one for the Devils. After battling out the second half of the season last year, the Devils still were not able to pull back into playoff contention, and found themselves on the outside looking in. Injuries were a big reason that led the Devils on the slippery slope which they could not endure. If the injury bug comes back to bite the Devils again, then the door opens up for some of the AHL players to try to make an immediate impact upon arrival. Vladimir Zharkov and Alexander Vasyunov were able to accomplish that this past season, and will contend for a starting spot this year.
There are three players though who have a particular style about them that make me think one day they could shine in the Devils organization: Stephen Gionta, Matt Anderson and Maxim Noreau.
From John Kreiser of the National Hockey League,
“The 39-year-old future member of the Hall of Fame enters 2011-12 as the NHL’s all-time leader in wins and shutouts—but he’s also coming off the first losing season in his 17-year career. Brodeur’s save percentage dropped to .903, his worst since 1995, and he missed significant time with an injury for the second time in three years. He did look sharper in the second half but wants to prove he’s still an elite goaltender for a full season.”
The Devils seemed to be all smiles this past NHL Entry Draft when it came time for their selection with the number four overall pick. Originally contesting to be the number one overall pick, Adam Larsson, was still on the board. With a Devils defense which was not what it once was, any major boost was a major bonus.
The upside to Larsson is huge, and the downside is minimal, making the pick a no-brainer move. It has been quite a few years since the Devils had the devastating services of Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer. Those names are synonymous with the Devils Stanley Cup victories, and fans will be hoping to add Adam Larsson’s name to that list of synonyms.
Martin Brodeur has done it all. From Stanley Cups to breaking records, his career with the New Jersey Devils has been nothing but spectacular. Something is coming up on Brodeur now that he has no control over, and which may very likely put his career to an end in the next couple seasons – age.
The 39-year-old goaltender has spent 18 seasons in the NHL, all with the Devils. He has won three Stanley Cups with the Devils in 95’, 00’and 03’. His list of awards is long enough that I will spare my readers the drawn out list. Let’s just say it is highlighted by four Vezina Trophies. He has also broken so many records both in the NHL and for the Devils franchise that I would hate to be the one having to rewrite the history books. Not to mention all the double-stacked pad saves, the on-the-back rollover saves and the left-handed glove puck snares from out of nowhere. Let’s not forget he has the ability to send Doc Emrick into a voice elevating shout of approval, and can make Chico Resch melt like butter with an incredible save. He has literally done it all.
The Devils were able to sit back and let out of a sigh of relief the other day. Zach Parise, their always reliable left-winger was signed to a one-year deal. This also means that the Devils and Parise will not have to enter an arbitrational hearing. During this upcoming season, the Devils will be doing their best to sign him to a long term contract to keep him in a Devils sweater.
Parise is an overlooked member of this New Jersey Devils team. The injury to his knee, which required surgery, limited him to 13 games, and it seemed as if everyone forgot he was around, or still a member of the team. Sure, you had Ilya Kovalchuk and his one-hundred million dollar contract and Brodeur’s timeless goaltending abilities to still gaze upon, but Parise has been the heart and soul of this team for many seasons, and his numbers will prove to you how this is true.
Please welcome David Pavlak to KK as the site’s esteemed new NJ Devils blogger.
(And please don’t blame him for the title of this post. That’s all me—it’s the summer and I think I might have heat stroke…)
Let me start off by thanking Paul and the KK team for this opportunity. I am an aspiring sports journalist, but consider myself a fan first. I attend college at Rider University, where my location allows me to view New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers games in my spare time between class projects, newspaper responsibilities, and other side jobs that college throws your way.
Growing up in New Jersey, I was surrounded by Devils fans in every which way. In fact, a Devils game on television was the first hockey I remember seeing, and what also sparked my passion for the game. Nothing was better than the hard hitting, goal-scoring game that was on the TV in my younger years. The Devils have a rich history as an expansion team, but I guess the Stanley Cup’s don’t hurt either. Some of the greatest players have suited up in a Devils uniform, including Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer and Ken Daneyko among many, many others. Let us also not forget the single best hockey announcer ever, Doc Emrick. There is also a new wave of players for the Devils now. Big names such as Zach Parise, Patrik Elias and young Adam Larsson will be sure to sign at “The Rock” for seasons to come.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org