Tuesday, November 27, 2007


What's Around

The first set of leading vote getters in the NHL All Star Game has been announced at NHL.com. A quick look at the tentative starting line up would lead an outsider to believe that the Montreal Canadiens (12-8-3, 27 pts.) are the dominant team in the Eastern Conference. That's hardly true. Needless to say, the fans of Les Habs are stuffing the ballot box. Cristobal Huet is leading the goaltending votes for goodness' sake! We all know he isn't the best goaltender in the conference right now. Fortunately, anyone can vote constantly as long as it isn't for Rory Fitzpatrick. My fellow Devils fans, I shouldn't have to tell you that there is only one Devil who is deserving of starting the NHL All Star Game, and definitely over Cristobal Huet. So go to the site and vote for this guy already!

It could be two Devils deserving of a trip to Atlanta in late January if Zach Parise can step it up. Yes, I know Parise leads the team in points with 8 goals and 14 assists in 23 games. But Parise hasn't been as good in Newark as he has been on the road. Sure, the Devils played more than twice as many games on the road than at home this season. However, Parise only has 2 goals and 1 assist at the Prudential Center. That's hardly impressive, especially considering that Jay Pandolfo is the team's leader in goals at home. The team gets to play 7 of their next 10 games at home. Now is the time for the Devils to truly make home ice their own and get wins. This means that guys like Parise need to step it up.

Speaking of stepping it up, 2 Man Advantage has brought the content. Sure, they won't be live-capping as many games this week; but Interchangeable Parts usually has live-caps of games anyhow. Joe Betchel asserts that the world, in fact, is not ending and that Devils have turned it around. Joe isn't alone in thinking this, Jeremy Kenter of Devils Daily believes the Devils are unconscious (as in they are playing lights-out hockey) right now. I want to agree, but I want this team to play consistently well at home first before talking about how they're back. I got burned saying that too many times already this season after a decisive win, followed by a seemingly requisite big loss. 2MA has a must-read exclusive, however. Patricia Grueter got a chance to talk with John Zdunkiewicz, the emergency back-up goaltender for the Trenton Devils. It's not often that a player will talk with a blog, so it's good to see Zdunkiewicz take that chance.

Speaking of blogs that bring the interesting content, James Mirtle keeps having all sorts of things. Stats? He notes Gabe Desjardins' Behind the Net statistical resource keeping logs of a player's linemates. He also has a number of interesting posts on enforcers (a.k.a. goons and I don't mean Something Awful forum members) and fighting. First and foremost, is a fantastic study as to what happens when the enforcers are on the ice. Mirtle concludes that basically, not much scoring happens for or against the team and shots on net goes way down when they're on the ice. What he found makes sense to me. In my opinion, enforcers aren't out there to create offense, to shore up the defense, or even to play proper hockey, but to bring the pain and fight people. Sometimes that may be necessary, but I have to agree - there are usually better ways to use a fourth line, especially when the best an enforcer is "not a liability" with respect to the game. Second, in a related matter, I get the impression in this post that Mirtle thinks that the NHLPA going after the instigator rule is a fool's errand. The NHLPA should be tackling more vital subjects such as safety, player marketing (or the lack thereof), and revenue sharing. There's plenty of other great content at Mirtle's blog; just keep on scrolling.

Lastly, Jared Ramsden of Hockey's Future has a great round up of the Devils' prospects in Canadian junior leagues. Overall, it's a mixed bad. I'm especially pleased to read how well Matt Halischuk, Kirill Tulupov, and Ryan Molle have been doing. I hope Nick Palmieri gets back on the scoring track after fighting illness, Matt Corrente develops a cool head along with the rest of his defensive fame, and Tony Romano continues to turn it around in London.

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