Wednesday, May 07, 2008


World Championships & Draft Update

The qualification round for the 2008 IIHF World Championships ends tonight. The last few games - France vs. Belarus and Norway vs. Germany - will go on tonight. That means the Devils involved in the WCs are pretty much done. Here is how they are doing.

Patrik Elias - Elias is having a very strong WC for the Czech Republic at left wing. Yes, he's on the left and he's getting the points after a pointless night in a 5-2 win over Denmark. A very rare hat trick in a 4-5 loss against Russia is his big highlight, made even more amazing when you consider all three goals were power play goals. Where was that Elias all season? Well, I shouldn't say that, the Czech Republic squad is a bit more talented and balanced than New Jersey. Elias also picked up a goal and an assist in a 7-2 win over an Italy squad featuring defenseman Michele Strazzabosco and goaltender Guenther Hell. I don't know if they're good; but their names are world class. Anyway, Elias is the team's third leading scorer behind Radim Vrbata (4 G, 2 A) and Tomas Kaberle (6 A).

Karel Rachunek - Actually, I screwed this up. He was invited according to Gulitti; but he's not on the roster. So he's not in the WCs. To correct this egregious error I will...apologize. I'm sorry.

Paul Martin - Martin had a great first game against Latvia, contributing 3 assists and leading the squad in minutes in the team's 4-0 win. Martin continued rolling by being the USA minute leader with 20:29 against Slovenia/Team ANZE and put up an assist in the 5-1 win. His minute total was upped to 22:31 against Canada, but he ended up a -2 in the close 5-4 loss to the home side. Still, the fact that he is getting so many minutes is proof that the team trusts him being The Guy on defense and the assists are further proof of his contribution.

Zach Parise - Parise' run so far is a little quieter. He got a power play goal against Latvia, got nothing against Slovenia, and he put up a goal and an assist against Canada. I sure wish he could play with the likes of Dustin Brown, Jason Pominville, and/or Pat Kane on a more regular basis. Lou, make it happen! (Just kidding.) In any case, the staff must like those Devils - Parise has been the leading forward in time on ice in all three games.

Pat Burns - The assistant coach for Canada had this to say at TSN (hat tip: Devils HFBoards) about rumors to go elsewhere to be a head coach again:
"The press knows more than I do, because I certainly don't know anything," he explained. "That's all going to depend on who's talking to me and what it's all about. You don't jump at the first job because somebody calls you up. It has to be the right situation. I've heard Ottawa, Tampa and Miami - I've heard them all. What's important is that I'm happy working with the Devils. If that situation comes, they have to talk to Lou first and I would sit down and talk to him about it because I really trust his judgement."
"They have to talk to Lou first..." PERFECT.

Other WC Things to Note: Dany Heatley currently leads the tournament in scoring with 6 goals and 4 assists. Sweden lost to Switzerland in an international tournament - and Tommy Salo was nowhere on the rink. Your group winners are Switzerland (A), Canada (B), Finland (C), and Russia (D). The rest should move on save for some movement in groups A and C. Your regulation fighters will be fully determined tonight; but Slovenia and Italy are already guaranteed to be there.

NHL DRAFT: Thanks to Montreal failing against Philadelphia and San Jose failing against Dallas; the Devils will now have the 21st spot overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Tom Gulitti, proving that he is The Guy among Devils reporters, even explains how the draft positioning is set up for this season. I don't know much about the prospects for the draft other than A) there are a lot of good prospective defensemen and B) Tampa Bay has pretty much revealed who they will take at #1. This is interesting because as recent as 2005, I was pretty much in tune with who could go in the first round and hoping that the Devils would draft Mike Green based on what I read about him. Alas, it was not to be (sigh). So if you have some thoughts or opinions on what the draft class looks like or who you think the Devils should go after, let me know. I really am interested at who may be available at 21st.

SHOOTING ANALYSIS: Check the sidebar under Attempts at Analysis. Short version: be smarter on the ice when you shoot, Devils! You'll likely score and win more!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Martin Brodeur is 36 as of yesterday. This should be a good 36th year for him; he's got a good chance at breaking the wins record.

CONFERENCE FINALS PREVIEWS: NHL Fanhouse has your previews. Pat Lackey has the goods on the Battle of Pennsylvania in the East. Bruce Ciskie has what you need to know about Dallas vs. Detroit in the West. Both series should be exciting. Dallas is playing some strong hockey and could provide more of a challenge for Detroit than, say, Colorado. Then again, Detroit is committed for this year and leading the charge is The Mule (ASIDE: In sports, nicknames have given way to shortened names or initials. Johan Franzen has a proper nickname
and other players, pundits, and fans should take note. It's not JF or J-Franz or Franz Ferdinand or Art Rock. It's The Mule and it's a good nickname). If you want stats, Mirtle has quite a bit - keep on scrolling down. My picks? Expect Pittsburgh in the East because Philadelphia has to uphold their tradition of failing since 1976; and expect Detroit in the West because they are on fire right now. Expect an awesome Stanley Cup Finals, is what I'm saying.

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I'm hoping for one of the following players in the first round:

David Toews (C, yes, brother of Jonathan)

John Carlson (D, from Colonia, NJ, supposedly has a wicked slapshot)

Tyler Myers (D, I know nothing about him other than the fact that he's 6'7". I approve on that alone.)

I also think that we should look into signing that Guenther Hell guy you mentioned, in the chance we never pick up Miroslav Satan. I don't care if he was the goalie in a 7-2 loss, we gotta think about the jersey sales sometimes.
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