Monday, October 01, 2007


Elias and Your Ears and Previews are Good to Go

Tom Gulitti has reported today that Patrik Elias will be healthy for Thursday's season opener. This is excellent news as the Devils can not really afford to have yet another regular injured as well as lose their most talented forward for the beginning of a long road trip. John Oduya also practiced today, which is also welcome news. Groin injuries, as we saw with Scott Gomez last year, can be not only painful but also (unfortunately) re-occur. With Oduya and Elias back, I expect Mike Rupp and Mike Mottau to be scratched for Thursday's game - barring any other injuries. While Rupp brings size and a physical presence, the Devils don't really need that against Tampa Bay. I think David Clarkson would be a better idea on the fourth line than Rupp with his more promising offensive talents and his speed (and OK, he brings some physical play to the table as well). The team is now in Florida in advance of their first game, so the next few practices will be crucial for lines to boost their chemistry and for Brent Sutter to make additional preparation decisions - like which forward to scratch.

Your ears are also ready, unless you're deaf, then my apologies for any insensitivity. Rob Kowal of NY Hockey Talk is talking Devils hockey. For his first show, he has Star Ledger Devils reporter Rich Chere. More pertinent to the blogosphere, Kowal is also talking with Patricia Greuter of 2 Man Advantage. Either link will give you the information you need to listen to the show. Check it out. Who knows, maybe some other Devils bloggers you read may be on the show one day.

Do you need a more in-depth Devils season preview from a Devils fan? If you do, then head on over to On Fire where Trendon Lynch has an in-depth preview including who are the main players for the team and what he thinks the Devils need to do to win. I agree that Elias is the team's best offensive player and that the defense will have to play well as a group since there are no sure-fire studs on the team anymore. That said, I don't think Travis Zajac necessarily needs to have a great season - I think the onus should be on Elias and Brian Gionta to have big comeback seasons. If Zajac falters, at least Zach Parise will still thrive; but Elias and Gionta need to be very productive for the team to succeed. Expecting Martin Brodeur to play near-perfect hockey every night for a second straight year is asking too much. The offense needs to help him out (and thereby helping the team out) and Elias and Gionta need to step it up to lead the offense. In any case, check out Trendon's preview.

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