Sunday, September 30, 2007


End of Preseason

The New Jersey Devils succeeded in being the only team that I support that actually won yesterday, defeating the New York Islanders 2-1 in Bridgeport, Conn. Patrik Elias and John Oduya did not play, resting their respective groins. The game was the final game of the preseason for New Jersey, concluding with a now-meaningless record of 4-2.

With the end of preseason, the Devils' roster is now taking shape. Patricia at 2 Man Advantage has summarized the biggest stories: Matthew Corrente returning to the Mississauga Ice Dogs in the OHL and Colin White potentially being on long-term injured reserve. Tom Gulitti at Fire & Ice continues his hot streak by having further details on those two stories as well as notes during and after last night's preseason game, Mike Mottau, and John Madden playing left wing.

As far as my thoughts are concerned, I can't really say for sure whether or not the Devils are really that prepared for the regular season. Brent Sutter has mixed up the lines quite a bit and with the recent injuries, the line up look a lot different than expected. That said, it has yielded success in the preseason games and I assume that means it's going well - I have been only able to see one game; hence, my hesistation. We'll find out whether it's working, if the moves (e.g. Madden at left wing, Zubrus setting up screens instead of Gionta) have promise and need more time, or whether they were bad ideas to begin with.

I have to agree with the decision for Corrente to go back to junior. Yes, he's done very well in the preseason; but I don't think another year in junior would be the worst thing in the world for him. Ideally, I think he'd be best at Lowell where if the Devils need a defenseman to call up for injury or replacement purposes, he can be available. However, as Patricia at 2MA mentioned, Corrente is ineligible. He'll continue to develop more with playing time as opposed to sitting in the press box as a scratched player.

I am wondering who on the 22-man roster will step out when Patrik Elias and John Oduya return from their injuries. I am hoping that they'll be ready for Thursday's season opener against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. Given that Elias is a left wing, I have to assume it'll be one of the fourth liners from last night's game. If Sutter wants to continue using Madden at left wing, that leaves Mike Rupp as a possible scratch, given he played left wing on the fourth line last night and there's no way Jay Pandolfo or Zach Parise will be scratched. If Sutter switches Madden to the right wing, then Elias will replace some other player. For defense, I would expect Mottau to be the scratched defenseman should Oduya be ready to play. He's the least experienced and a first regular season game with the Devils against a team like the Lightning is not exactly desirable.

Lastly, congratulations to Mottau, David Clarkson, Nicklas Bergfors, and Rod Pelley for making the New Jersey roster. Even if it is for a few games, it is definitely an accomplishment to come out of training camp and preseason to make the first squad. Well done, guys.

The Devils begin their season on Thursday at 7:30 PM, visiting the Tampa Bay Lightning. The game will be the first of a nine game road trip prior to the opening of the Prudential Center in Newark.

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