Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Game: Devils @ Phoenix

The New Jersey Devils go to the Arena to take on the Phoenix Coyotes.

Local TV: FSNY2
Local Radio: 660 AM, WFAN Preview

Take a look at that preview from and note the following line:

Brodeur will have had three days of rest this time as he and the Devils face the Coyotes (6-14-0) for the first time since 2003. He's 7-2 with a 1.67 GAA in his last nine starts against them.

To be fair, this is a game the Devils should win. Trendon Lynch of On Fire breaks it down as to what NJ needs to do. He's right (not surprisingly). Basically, the Devils need to avoid "playing down" to the 6-14-0 squad. Yes, they're banged up, as Shane Doan isn't playing tonight, Steven Reinphrect is hurt, and Mike Comrie is hurt. Read this news about the Coyotes from David Vest of the Arizona Republic. There's a goaltending problem, David LeNeveu may have fallen out of favor in Phoenix though he may play tonight. Wayne Gretzky is looking for a new backup goalie as it is. Special teams are a mess. The Coyotes are 29th in the league on the power play with a 12.4% success rate (worse than NJ!); and they are 28th on the penalty kill with a success rate of 75.9% (tied with Boston). Only the Philadelphia Flyers have let up more goals than the Coyotes (85 to 82) so far this year and are on the outside looking in already in the Pacific Division. The only area where Phoenix has NJ beat is in team goals for (51 to 48), but NJ has been making that work be limiting the other team so few goals as well. Phoenix isn't getting it done in that regard.
So how will NJ avoid doing playing to Phoenix level and making what should be a comfortable win too close for comfort? Well, here's what they could do:

The best option, of course, is to play a solid 60 minutes of hockey. What will motivate them is the triumphant and glorious return of Scott Gomez (as reported by Rich Chere in today's Star Ledger). The Alaskan Ace is back from missing 7 games due to a groin injury, hopefully for good. I got to say, while Sergei Brylin was servicible on the first line and kept up with Patrik Elias and Brian Gionta. The line didn't score much, but that was (is?) due to a slumping Elias and Gionta not so much Brylin's fault. And it wasn't as if the team suffered, they went 7-1 without him thanks to the emergence of the Puzzle Line. That said, I'm glad Gomez is back and now that Elias and Gionta have perhaps gotten over the proverbial hump, they can go back to dropping eggs on opposing defenses and goaltenders. My projected lines are as follows:


Lukowich Hale

Martin Brodeur, of course, starts tonight. While Rasmussen's more physical style is better suited for the fourth line, he's looked good with Pandolfo and Madden in the past stretch of games. Given that untradable Georges Laraque maybe playing, I don't see Cam Janssen not playing - NJ may need his physical presence for another night. Jim Dowd has been playing very well since coming back to the Devils. So Mike Rupp is the odd man out in my opinion.

With the return of Scott Gomez, this should motivate the Devils enough to play hard and aggressive against the Coyotes. As stated earlier, this is a game the Devils should win as it is the easiest road game they'll play on this 5 game stretch (LA, Anaheim, and San Jose are all looming and will be tough).

In Other News: Rob Skrlac and Ken Daneyko have been dishing it out. No, they haven't become boxers, underground street fighting legends, or formed a new version of the A-Team. They've been dishing out meals at the Goodwill Rescue Mission in Newark. The Devils website has the information right here.

In Conte & Lou We Trust: File this under further proof the Devils are excellent drafters. Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal agrees that the Oilers should have drafted Zach Parise instead of trading down. Lou trading up to #17 to get Parise was brilliant. Pierre McGuire's outrage that the Islanders passed on Parise to draft Robert Nilsson was icing on the cake. Good times...

The Hockey News' Adam Proteau complains about, who else, the Devils for, what else, being boring on his blog. I picked this up off of reading the Devils' Boredom Thread on HFBoards. Somebody get the Waaaaaaahmbulance:

I know I’m supposed to value Lou Lamoriello’s first-rate resume above all else, but the more I watch his Devils play the game, the less I want to. Ponderous hockey from young men without either (a) facial hair or (b) something interesting to say isn’t my idea of a hot night in the city. No wonder thousands are steering clear of Continental Airlines Arena - there’s less potential for entertainment inside it than Kenny G’s ribcage.

Notice how it's not the play he's focusing on. If only the Devils had facial hair and gave better interviews! More people would go to games! Adam wouldn't be bored! The sky will rain down golden coins and the sun will spit out rainbows! Now I remember why I cancelled my subscription.

LASTLY: Tom Lycan has an extensive post about the current Devils road trip. Check it out. Happy Thanksgiving to Tom, the other bloggers (Tredon and Mike at On Fire, Joe and Patricia at 2 Man Advantage), all the other Devils fans, the Devils themselves, and to you the reader. Go Devils.


Happy T-Day to you, too!

As for THN, what is even crazier (at least in my opinion) is that the poll on that Adam guy's blog asks the viewers what point system they like the best.

"Three points for reg. win; two points OT/SO win; one point OT/SO loss" is winning.

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