Video: Scott Niedermayer inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame

After an illustrious NHL career, Scott Niedermayer was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in Toronto. He gave a fantastic speech, as he talked about his beginnings and his time spent in New Jersey where he won three Stanley Cups.

Many former Devils were in attendance including Scott Stevens, Colin White, Ken Daneyko, Jay Pandolfo and Joe Nieuwendyk.

General Manager Lou Lamoriello was also in attendance.

Cory Schneider to start on Tuesday after another strong performance

Following two strong performances, Cory Schneider will be in net on Tuesday when the Devils take on the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Schneider followed up a performance in which he surrendered two goals to Winnipeg, with a shutout of the New York Rangers last night.

Dave Turner

We knew that this could be coming, a situation where Cory Schneider was beginning to take starts from Martin Brodeur, if the former was outplaying the veteran netminder.

The numbers really do speak for themselves:

Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 4.20.29 PMBrodeur has struggled so far this season, especially in the 5-2 loss to Ottawa.  He gave up a tough fourth goal in the third period once the Devils had the momentum that sealed their fate.

Though Schneider may be laying the foundation for becoming the number one goaltender on this team, number thirty will continue to get some starts, especially with the amount of back-to-backs that this team has.

The all time win leader in NHL history has had a history of starting slow over the past few seasons. The Devils will continue to give Brodeur minutes in order for him to get comfortable and into the grind of a long season.

This is no surprise, considering the kind of numbers that Schneider compiled in Vancouver last season. When the former Canuck is at his best, he’s a tremendously sound goaltender who limits chances against with pin-point rebound control. Simply put, if the 27-year-old netminder can continue to play well, the Devils are going to have to go with the hot hand as they try to push themselves back above the .500 mark this season.

Schneider stopped all 22 Ranger shots in the 4-0 victory, but was also quick to praise the defense in front of him.

“We really kept them to the outside, we didn’t give much in the middle of the ice. I don’t think they had any odd-man rushes and not a lot from the slot. When they did get some looks, we were there to block shots and box out and [the defense] let me see it,” said Schneider of the defensive performance. “That’s the identity and that’s how we want to play and I thought we did it to a T.”

This is what the team expected when they traded for the young netminder on draft day. So far the native of Marblehead, Massachusetts has been as good as advertised.

The question may be a tough one for the Devils if he continues to play well. Can you really consider sitting him against Vancouver if he goes out and gives up something like one goal to Columbus on Tuesday?

Is Damien Brunner still on the Devils radar?

Dave Turner

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The name Damien Brunner has been thrown around in regards to the New Jersey Devils almost all summer, and it seems like the speculation is not done just yet. Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press is reporting that the Devils are still in talks with the Swiss winger.

The idea of Damien Brunner is certainly an intriguing one for the Devils.  He’s a young, speedy player who has some upside. In his first NHL season, Brunner tallied 26 points (12g, 14a) for the Red Wings while playing in 44 games. His production tailed off a bit during the regular season, as he scored only twice during the final fifteen games of the regular season. In the playoffs, he regained some of his scoring touch. Brunner finished with nine points (4g, 5a) in 14 playoff contests.

Perhaps the biggest red flag surrounding the 27-year-old winger is his ability to play an 82-game season. The Swiss-A league, where Brunner played prior to coming to the NHL, plays a fifty game season. Brunner actually played a combined 77 games last year between Swiss club Zug, and the Red Wings, but his lack of production towards the end of the season may very well have been due to fatigue. He played 27 more regular season games last year than he ever had prior to 2013.

Can Brunner handle the rigors of a full NHL season? This year, the schedule is somewhat condensed once again, with the Olympics in February. The Zurich native will surely be playing for his country during the Olympics, which will add some additional games for him as well.

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New ownership group prepared to win both on and off the ice

Harris and Blitzer are presented with jerseys (Credit- Contributor Dave Turner)

Harris and Blitzer are presented with jerseys (Credit- Contributor Dave Turner)

Dave Turner

In a deal which had the final touches completed just mere minutes before it was formally announced, the New Jersey Devils are now the property of a group headed by Joshua Harris and David Blitzer.

“I stand here today at Prudential Center with my friend, and fellow co-owner and partner David Blitzer to share with you the sense of excitement we have as the new owners of the New Jersey Devils,” Harris said. “We look forward to building excellence on and off the ice for the fans, this city and the state of New Jersey. We have an incredible opportunity in front of us to revitalize this organization, we can rethink the way business is done and infuse the franchise with the resources and talent, both on the hockey and business side and the experience necessary to give the Devils a chance to achieve long-term growth and sustainability at an elite level.”

The new ownership comes in with not only deeper pockets, but with New Jersey ties as well.

To read more of this story, click here

Andy Greene, Bryce Salvador sound off on the upcoming Stadium Series game

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Dave Turner

In what can only be described as a tumultuous off-season for the Devils, there was a much welcomed positive moment on Thursday from Yankee Stadium. Bryce Salvador and Andy Greene were on hand at the ballpark for the announcement of the upcoming 2014 NHL Stadium Series games to be played at the iconic Bronx venue.

Both players are excited to be playing in the first outdoor game in Devils history, as it adds yet another great chapter to the Devils-Rangers rivalry.

“its going to be one of those experiences that you’ll remember forever and the history here,  you hear all the stories, and to actually say that you played inside Yankee Stadium is one of those things that you’ll definitely remember,” said the Devils Captain. “It’s such a great experience for the fans and the organizations that they’re putting this all together, that it’s one of those things you just feel fortunate to be a part of. “

“It’s one of those great experiences and you can already tell because all of the requests i’m already getting for tickets. People want to come in, and I think it was even more [ticket requests] than the Stanley cup,” joked the defenseman.

Salvador, who grew up in Manitoba, has fond memories of playing outdoors as a child.  “From my house, the rink was a block away and I would put the skates on inside my house and we didn’t have skate guards back then, so i’d walk down the cement and usually there was enough snow on the ground and enough ice that I could skate down the sidewalks and skate down the roads and we’d play when the lights were on and when the lights were off, my parents said I had to come home.”

Outdoor hockey continues to be an integral part of the development of many NHL players, as those who came from snowy climates had the ability to play on frozen ponds and lakes during the winter months. For players, it’s a tremendous opportunity to play outside once again.

“We’re looking forward to it, it’s going to be a fun experience, and having the chance to watch a few of the winter classic games, you can always see the energy and feel the energy through the TV, so it’s going to be a great time and a lot of fun,” said Greene.

Greene, who grew up in Michigan, the site of this year’s Winter Classic at the University of Michigan football stadium, grew up playing baseball as well. “I played all the way up to my junior year of high school, I was center field and shortstop,” said Greene, about his time playing baseball. “I mostly hit for base hits, but hit a few home runs, I wasn’t much of a home run hitter, but I could get my way around.”

Both players spoke of the expected intensity between the two rivals, with 50,000-plus fans expected to be in attendance for the January 26, 2014 game, it should bring a whole different level of excitement to the game.

“I think it’s just another story in the chapter, it’s been a great rivalry between the Devils and the Rangers and it’s always exciting, so it’s an honor to be a part of it,” said Salvador.

Andy Greene echoed that sentiment as well. “It’s always a heated rivalry, it doesn’t matter whats going on with either of our respective seasons, it’s always a very heated game and it should be even more [heated].”

Up next for the team is training camp, which will begin in September. Camp will be a welcomed respite from the constant stream of bad news this offseason, from the losses of David Clarkson and Ilya Kovalchuk, to the current ownership issues. Despite all of that, Bryce Salvador is already looking forward to the beginning of the season.

“Obviously we lost some great players and great teammates, but Lou did a great job of filling those holes. It’s just exciting because we know we’re going to be competitive.”

Some Notes-

- Andy Greene was wearing an “A” on his jersey during the event. Nothing has said by the team yet as to if Greene will be wearing the letter during the upcoming season.

- The rink is going to be set up so that both of the ends will be along the first and third base lines.

- The games will take place during a very busy time for the New York City area. The Super Bowl will be played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on February 2, 2014.

- When NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was asked about reports that the NHL was taking over control of the team, his response was firm. “The NHL isn’t taking over the Devils. Just because there are reports, doesn’t mean they’re true”

(From left to right) Matt Moulson, John Tavares, Dan Girardi, Ryan Callahan, Andy Greene, Bryce Salvador

Put down the bats, and grab your sticks, it’s time to talk hockey at Yankee Stadium

(From left to right) Matt Moulson, John Tavares, Dan Girardi, Ryan Callahan, Andy Greene, Bryce Salvador

(From left to right) Matt Moulson, John Tavares, Dan Girardi, Ryan Callahan, Andy Greene, Bryce Salvador

Dave Turner

On a sweltering, humid August afternoon from Yankee Stadium, it’s usually all about balls and strikes, home runs and put-outs. But on Thursday, it was the NHL’s turn to step up to the plate.

The NHL formally introduced the two upcoming Outdoor Series games to be played at Yankee Stadium in 2014. The first matchup features the New Jersey Devils against their cross-Hudson rival New York Rangers, on Saturday, January 26, 2014 at 12:30 p.m. The second game pits the Rangers against their other metropolitan-area rival, New York Islanders. That game will be played on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

“We are delighted to be here to discuss the playing of two outdoor games in this magnificent stadium,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, from a podium situated just beyond the Yankee dugout. “The Stadium Series is designed to give more teams, more markets, and most importantly, more fans, the opportunity to connect with the excitement of the National Hockey League and to do it with an outdoor game experience, in effect, taking the game back to it’s roots, where so many of our players first learned to skate and play the game.”

In attendance for the event were New York Yankees President Randy Levine, Yankees COO Lonn Trost, NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr and NBC’s Bruce Beck, who was the master of ceremonies.

Each of the three area teams were represented as well, with GM Lou Lamoriello, Bryce Salvador and Andy Greene on the stage for the Devils. For the Islanders, it was GM Garth Snow, along with Matt Moulson and John Tavares, and for the Rangers, Assistant GM Jeff Gorton, Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi.

“This will be our first experience in the outdoor games, and what great a venue to have that experience than Yankee Stadium,” Lamoriello said.  “Our players are excited, our fans are excited and we’re just looking forward to the experience. We know that the games will be heated, we know that we bring competitiveness, and the experience will be something that everyone in our organization will cherish.”

With the players sitting together on the stage, it might be the one and only time that members of the three area clubs will be together and be all smiles at the same time. Come October, the three Metropolitan Division rivals will likely be fighting each other for playoff positioning.

The heated relationships between the clubs certainly adds to the allure of the event. There’s no doubt that the games may have a huge impact in the standings. With the three teams fighting for a spot in the new playoff format, the only way to be guaranteed a playoff spot is to finish third or higher in the new eight-team division.  Finishing fourth runs the risk of losing the final spot in the newly-formed divisional playoffs to a team from the Atlantic Division.

Though there’s always the chance of warmer weather, or a rain storm, all signs point to the outdoor games being a tremendous event for not only the three teams, but the entire NHL. Throwing 50,000-plus fans into a stadium for a rivalry game should yield a fantastic experience for fans.

“The rivalries among the the Rangers, Islanders and Devils are among the most heated in sports, and we will put them on display,” Bettman said.

With the Devils slated to take the ice for their first outdoor game in franchise history in just over five months, it might be a little premature to get the coats and hand warmers ready. With a classic venue and a classic NHL rivalry, the game should be a home run.

Ilya Kovalchuk Is Ridiculous, Does Ridiculous Things With A Puck

Ilya Kovalchuk has amazingly skilled hands. With those skilled hands, come the ability to make shots that only a handful of players would even consider taking. Friday’s game-winning goal was no different.

With time expiring on an overtime period that never should have been and a minute after a power play that should have ended the game came up empty itself, Kovalchuk found himself standing alone, although maybe that was because he was standing a mere foot above the goal line extended. No matter to Marek Zidlicky, who threaded the pass through the high slot and directly to a wide-open Kovalchuk. Most players would walk the puck out in front of the net, trying to go high on the opposite side — one of Kovy’s favorite shots. Instead, with Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth just slightly out of position, Kovy sling-shot the puck past Neuvirth and into the open net, setting off a delirious reaction inside The Rock.

“You need your best players to make plays,” coach Pete DeBoer said after the game.

Even Kovy’s own goalie was amazed at the goal, marveling at how difficult that can be for a goalie to stop.

“It’s hard and as a goalie, you’re almost so far out you want to make sure he doesn’t bank it off of you, not shoot it right in like he did. It’s impressive,” Brodeur said.

It saved the Devils from having to risk an extra point in a shootout that likely wouldn’t have even been an option if not for three bench minors in the third period, one of which came from an unhappy DeBoer’s unappreciated use of the English language.

But that shot — that ridiculous shot from that ridiculous angle. The coach could not have felt comfortable with his player taking aim from such a difficult spot on the ice, right?

To read more of this story, click here

Did Devils Deserve Extra Bench Minor?

Midway through the third period, the Devils took their second too-many-men penalty of the period, handing the Capitals a 5-on-3 on which they would eventually score.What went unnoticed, that is until the Caps erased one of those penalties with their first goal of the night, was a second bench minor and a second 5-on-3. It was a moment that left most of us in press row thoroughly confused. “Wait — why are the Capitals still on a 5-on-3? Is that another penalty? When did that happen?”

Turns out, it was the coach’s fault.

“You know what, really, the guys bailed me out,” DeBoer said after the game. “We had two too many men on our bench minor. So, I think I’m leading the team in penalty minutes.”

DeBoer admitted he said something to the referees after the second too-many-men call, but wouldn’t say what that something was. Captain Bryce Salvador says he doesn’t know what his coach said either, but he wasn’t exactly a fan of the call.

“You know it’s one those calls where I think they coulda maybe let it go,” Salvador said in the locker room. “I don’t know if we deserved the extra two.”

Corey Griffin

Whether he deserved the penalty is impossible to know without knowing what four-letter word he dropped on the ref. However, sloppy line changes have been one of the biggest problems early on in this post-lockout season. There’s been an abundance of them and a lot have resulted in excellent scoring chances for the other team. Luckily, the Devils escaped any damage on the second 5-on-3, although it probably didn’t help a team that has already dealt with seven penalties against them. Not helping DeBoer’s temper was likely some sketchy-at-times officiating (on both sides), but my guess is DeBoer was more frustrated with his team’s inconsistent and sometimes undisciplined play for the second straight game. DeBoer may have fallen on the metaphorical sword, but there’s no doubt he was frustrated with his team and after the game he seemed aware that certain things have to change. It’s part of a season that has yet to see the Devils play a complete game, yet still come away with three wins. At least DeBoer’s gotta be happy about that.

NEWS: Brayden Schenn Suspended 1 Game For Hit On Volchenkov

For his part, Volchenkov told Gulitti that he thought Schenn left his feet, but said, “it’s hockey.” Here’s the video of the hit, complete with an explanation by the NHL’s Czar of Discipline, Brendan Shanahan.

Bryce Salvador’s Winding, Bumpy Road To Captain

Bryce Salvador’s journey the Devils captain is fairly captivating. He spent a full five years in juniors, sandwiched around being a sixth-round draft pick of the Lightning in 1994. After completing his overage year, he spent the next three years playing at the AHL level before finally reaching the NHL in 2000 and spending most of the next seven seasons with the St. Louis Blues. Eventually shipped to the Devils during the 2008 season, Salvador fit in well on the Devils’ blueline until an inner-ear (cochlear) concussion wiped out his entire 2010-11 season and had him wondering if he would every play again.

(Note: I’ve excerpted a small section from the story below, but it’s really worth reading in its entirety.)

Via Tom Gulitti of The Record:

He demonstrated his resilience again two seasons ago, when two hits in a preseason game against Philadelphia triggered headaches and vertigo caused by the problem with his inner ear. He never gave up hope of resuming his career, however, and made it back last season to play in all 82 of the Devils’ regular season games and all 24 of their playoff contests.

…“It’s been a really interesting last two years for me personally to miss a season and not really now what was going to happen, what the future was going to be,” he said. “Then, the team has a good year last year and now to be named captain, I don’t know what the odds would have been for that in Vegas two years ago. But, that being said, it’s the team around you too that builds the captain. This organization, it’s the coaching staff, it’s the players, it’s management, in their own way they all have their say.

Corey Griffin

Salvador, who cited former teammate Al MacInnis as his biggest inspiration, is the first Devils defenseman to wear the “C’ since Scott Niedermayer took it over from a concussed Scott Stevens midway through the 2003-04 season. I like the selection of Salvador, who says his leadership style is much less in-your-face and more of the lead-by-example variety. I thought all week that he would be the one to get the C, especially after the way the whole Ilya Kovalchuk saga unfolded — not that Kovy was ever a real candidate in my eyes.  I think Salvador is a nice short-term captain, holding the place until someone like Zajac or Clarkson (if he re-signs) takes it over on a full-time basis in a couple years.

What do you think of the selection of Salvador as captain? Like it? Dislike it? Vote below!