Severson comfortable in return to action

Damon Severson made his return to the Devils Tuesday night in his first game since Dec. 15, and it felt good (Fire and Ice, March 3).

“I felt pretty comfortable out there,” Severson said. “I think that’s the main thing with me as a player and as a person, just being confident on and off the ice and just doing my thing no matter what. The coaches put their trust in me and the management put their trust in me to put me right back in the fire and I just tried to do my thing out there and have some fun.”

Severson, who missed time with a fractured left ankle, ended the night playing 16:21 in the Devils 3-1 victory over the Predators while posting two shots on goal. Interim coach Lou Lamoriello was happy with the rookie’s return performance.

“For being off for the time he was off and he’s still not there in game shape the way you get by playing, but I thought he did an outstanding job for the first night,” Lamoriello said.


Devils get good looks, need to ‘put them in the net’ says Lamoriello

The Devils squeaked by with a 2-1 shootout win over Buffalo, but despite 35 shots on goal, the squad still struggled to pick up a win in regulation (Fire and Ice, Feb. 19).

The team posted 30-plus shots for the first time in 10 games, but it came down to Scott Gomez, who netted the deciding goal in the shootout.

“We had 20 (scoring) chances,” said Devils GM and interim coach Lou Lamoriello. “The first thing you look at is chances to score and chances against. We had plenty of opportunities and that’s all you can ask for. The win, I was pleased with the way we did a lot of things tonight: the penalty kill and the power play had a lot of good looks and 5-on-5 we were creating chances. We just have to put them in the net.”

Adam Henrique, who missed the net on a penalty shot in the third, echoed those sentiments.

“I think we had a lot of looks tonight,” said Henrique. “I think the goalie played well. I had a bunch of chances, a bunch of shots on net from good scoring areas. I think our D did a good job getting pucks through. We’ve just got to keep pushing. There’s some games we get 15 shots and we get three goals. I think we’ve got to stay with that mentality to shoot pucks, get pucks to the net.”

Ultimately, the Devils are happy to kick off their six-game homestand with a win, even if it’s in a shootout.

“If that’s the way we’re going to win, that’s the way we’re going to win. It’s two points in the column,” said Gomez. “We want to make it interesting and to start the homestand like that, we’ll take it.”


Gionta cleared for contact, might play Tuesday

Stephen Gionta participated in a full practice with the Devils Monday, having been cleared for contact following a broken hand, which had sidelined him since Dec. 29 (Fire and Ice, Feb. 16).

Gionta is unsure if he’ll suit up for Tuesday night’s game against Buffalo, but it hasn’t been ruled out.

“We’ll see how he is. We’re not sure yet,” interim coach Lou Lamoriello said Monday. “We’ll just see how he feels. We won’t know that until tomorrow.”

Gionta started skating on his own for a week before he was able to work into the first 15 minutes of practice twice last week.

“It’s felt good for the last week or so and it’s just getting the conditioning back,” Gionta said after practice on Monday. “It’s been a long road back. It was good to get out there with the boys today.”

No surprise, the center has been itching to get back on the ice, especially while his squad has been struggling to turn things around after the coaching change on Dec. 26.

“It’s difficult any time you have to watch your team play,” Gionta said. “You want to be out there with them. You want to be in the middle of it. You want to be in the mix. You want to be able to help the team out and, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to for the last seven weeks. And it’s always tough just watching. No matter whether you’re winning or losing, it’s tough watching.”


Mark Fraser recalled from Albany

The Devils have recalled defenseman Mark Fraser from Albany (Chere, Jan. 3).

Fraser adds some much needed depth to the position with Eric Gelinas being ill and Peter Harrold going down with an injury in last night’s game against the Canadiens. Harrold was the victim of a high stick and is possibly suffering from a concussion.

“Mark has experience. He has the most NHL experience down there and he’s been playing very well. That worked out, so he’ll get a chance.” GM/coach Lou Lamoriello said.

Fraser has played in 185 NHL games for the Devils, Maple Leafs and Oilers.


Brodeur returns to ice in blue and gold, not red and black

Christian Arnold

Martin Brodeur was back in a familiar venue in an unfamiliar uniform.

The future Hall of Famer has visited Nassau Coliseum on many occasions, but only ever wearing the red and black of the New NHL: St. Louis Blues at New York IslandersJersey Devils. On Saturday afternoon Brodeur made his first appearance with the St. Louis Blues and helped propel them to a 6-4 win over the Islanders.

Brodeur came into the game in the second period after Jake Allen allowed three goals in the opening 20 minutes. The newest member of the Blues made 14 saves and allowed only one goal in relief.

Saturday afternoon was the first time since January 8, 2011 that Brodeur entered a game in relief of another goalie.

“I didn’t expect to play,” Brodeur told a throng of reporters gathered around his stall after the game. “To be able to come in and the team respond the way they did definitely makes me feel good. I didn’t get much work, but in the third there were a couple close ones.

“It’s nice. First win out of the way so definitely excited about that.” To read more of this story, click here


Mike Sislo sent back to Albany

The Devils have sent forward Mike Sislo back to Albany (AHL affiliate).

Sislo was recalled just two days ago after forward Adam Henrique suffered what was being called a “lower body” injury. Henrique was listed as day-to-day and Sislo was to fill in during his absence (Chere, Nov. 6).


Olympic Picks: Where Will Team USA Finish in Sochi?

With the first games of the Men’s Olympic Hockey Tournament set to begin on Wednesday, it’s time to break down the competitive field.

The Devils sent four players to Sochi, with Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias and Marek Zidlicky representing the Czech Republic and Damien Brunner representing the Swiss.

While the host country, Russia, s one of the favorites, the Canadian team is loaded. Of the 12 teams in the field, there are at least six teams that can make a pretty good case as to why they’ll take home the gold medal.


Jeff’s Picks:

(Bold teams receive byes)

Group A –
USA 2-1-0-0  7 pts
Russia 1-1-1-0  6 pts
Slovakia 1-0-1-1  4 pts
Slovenia 0-0-0-3  0 pts

Group B – 
Finland 3-0-0-0  9 pts
Canada 2-0-0-1  6 pts
Norway 1-0-0-2   3 pts
Austria 0-0-0-3  0 pts

Group C – 
Czech Republic  2-1-0- 7 pts
Sweden  2-0-1-0  7 pts
Switzerland 1-0-1-1  4 pts
Latvia 0-0-0-3   0 pts

Bronze Medal Game
USA over Russia

Gold Medal Game
Czech Republic over Finland

Dave’s Picks:

Group A –
Russia 2-1-0-0  8 pts
USA 2-0-1-0  7 pts
Slovakia 1-0-0-2  3 pts
Slovenia 0-0-0-3  0 pts

Group B – 
Canada 3-0-0-0  9 pts
Finland 2-0-0-1  6 pts
Norway 1-0-0-2   3 pts
Austria 0-0-0-3  0 pts

Group C – 
Sweden  3-0-0-0  9 pts
Czech Republic  1-1-0-1 6 pts
Switzerland 1-0-1-1  4 pts
Latvia 0-0-0-3   0 pts

Bronze Medal Game
Russia over Finland

Gold Medal Game
Sweden over Canada

The Outlook for Team USA – 

Jeff OConnor

It seems to most everyone that Team USA is not as good as the 2010 version.  We’ll see.  The forward pool is mostly the same although I do fear about the defense.  There’s a lot of new faces on that backline and a lot of young guys too.  Reading between the lines of what head coach Dan Bylsma has been saying, it sounds like this is going to be a one-goalie team.  I think that one guy is going to be Ryan Miller, although I’d like to see Jonathan Quick in there.  We know Quick is great and he’s had a great team in front of him for a few years now.  Can Miller jump back to that same level he did four years ago, now that he’s surrounded by Olympians and not the slug players on the Buffalo Sabres?  To a degree yes, but I’m not sure how much is left.  Yes, USA does not have as much talent as others, but I think they are a well-built TEAM.  There’s scorers, playmakers as well as your glue and grit guys who can also put the puck in the net.  It seems like they are being written off already, but nothing would surprise me with this team.

Dave Turner

This is a different Team USA in 2014, but a team that certainly has enough talent to get it done. Offensively, they can score with the best. Phil Kessel, Patrick Kane, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, the list goes on. Defensively, that’s what should have you worried. Are guys like Cam Fowler and John Carlson ready to step up? Can Dan Bylsma products Brooks Oprik and Paul Martin contribute? Perhaps an even bigger question is in goal. I believe that Ryan Miller deserves the first start and should be allowed to take the job and run with it. Should he falter, then it’s Quick’s turn. Miller’s performance in Vancouver should at least give him the benefit of a fair chance to play. This squad is different than some of the other Olympic teams because they went for a team-first mentality. Canada has an all-star team and even Sweden and Russia leaned that way. Team USA is built like a team that’s ready to scratch and claw it’s way through the Eastern Conference playoffs. Whether or not that translates into success remains to be seen, but they had a clear top-six, bottom-six in mind when they created this roster. I had them off the podium mostly because of the question mark in net, but if they get strong goaltending, this team will have every chance to compete for a gold.