I have spent more than my fair share of time talking about the Devils’ slow starts, but yesterday the fine folks over at In Lou We Trust broke down the Devils’ five first periods of this season. It’s definitely worth a read, so I wanted to pass it on. READ
Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger asks if the Devils are a better team this year than the one that made a run to last year’s Stanley Cup finals — and he makes a fairly compelling argument with support from Pete DeBoer. READ
Hockey’s back and that’s all well and good, but we know this shortened season won’t be anything close to perfect. Dave D’Alessandro of The Star-Ledger makes that very point so poignantly in his column today that I highly recommend you read it. READ
Hey NHL teams, want to know how to win fans back after the lockout? Take a look at what the Senators are doing — giving away free beer to fans who come to the season opener. Seriously. READ
I was planning on writing a long piece outlining the pros and cons of Travis Zajac’s new deal and how it affects the Devils and their cap structure going forward, but then I read this piece from the always fantastic blog In Lou We Trust and I realized I would be speaking vain. I very much believe in giving credit where credit is due and this, sir, deserves a lot of credit. READ
Everyone remembers Patrik Elias’ short-lived stint as Devils captain. It was ugly and it ended with his coach stripping the “C” from his sweater. This time around, with the Devils needing someone to replace Zach Parise, Elias, who is entering the final year of his contract, talks about that experience, who he thinks will be the captain this year and what he sees happening after his contract ends. READ
In a move that is utterly brilliant and makes me feel incredibly old, Stefan Matteau is lockering next to Martin Brodeur in training camp this year. Tom Gulitti of The Record spoke to Matteau (yes, he is the son of the infamous Stephane Matteau) about sitting next to Brodeur and what he can learn from him. READ
Here is a great article that really compares the two goaltenders. Both are great in their own right but in the article it really favors the 40 year old goaltender Martin Brodeur with great evidence. Definitely check it out here.
As the Devils finished off the Philadelphia Flyers I had thought about the beginning of this series and I thought that the Devils were going to be steam rolled by a very physical Flyers team. Since the Flyers had run over the Pittsburgh Penguins with some what of ease, I thought worse for the Devils since they barely could get passed the Florida Panthers. Five games later I was proved wrong and boy was I glad to be wrong.
The personality of coach Pete DeBoer really came through against the Flyers that really has not been seen in New Jersey in quite some time. He is a tough coach to read. The Devils were a tough team to read for the Flyers as they would try to break into the Devils’ zone but would be caught in the neutral zone making it impossible to generate any offense. DeBoer always has a calm look on his face. The Flyers would try to pull the Devils into their game of getting the Devils to play agitated hockey but they had nothing of it. They played whistle to whistle and level headed which didn’t get them into penalty trouble. DeBoer wanted to bring a more offensive style of hockey to a defensive driven team. The Devils had the right mix of offense (scoring at least 3 goals a game in the series) and defense (allowing 11 goals over the 5 games). But what really separates this Devils team from prior playoff teams is the fact the Devils were able to establish a forecheck that I had never seen before. Their forecheck was relentless against a physical Flyers team which ultimately lead to the demise of the Flyers.
You really have to give a ton of credit to coach Pete DeBoer but the job isn’t done yet. They will have to either play the Rangers or the Capitals in the EAstern Conference Finals. Either team won’t be an easy task but if the Devils can continue their great mix of offense and constraining defense they could be making their 5th trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.
ESPN has posted their weekly power rankings. The Devils have moved up 5 spots from last week to the 8th spot. The Devils have been playing better from last week including winning their last 3 games over the Blackhawks, Lightning and Hurricanes. They are hitting stride at a good time right before the playoffs.