Schedule Posted

So it’s a little late, but the entire schedule and pre-season schedule have been posted on njdevils.info.  You can take a look at the entire thing in beautiful list form here or in elegant calendar form here.

So what are the highlights of the schedule?  Are you really that bored that we need to pick apart the schedule and make news out of it?

Alright then, here goes:

The Devils open up the pre-season against the New York Rangers – get that out of the way early.

Interesting, the Devils only play on Sunday 4 times this year – ensuring they have no chance of being seen on NBC’s Game of the Week.

The Devils also see the following three Western Conference teams twice this year:

  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Nashville

Thanks to the Olympics and the NHL’s schedule format, with two weeks off in February the Devils will see back-to-back games a whopping 19 times this season.  I won’t go through each one, but you will see 2 in October, 3 in November, 4 in December, 3 in January, 2 in February, 3 in March and 2 in April.  This can be disastrous as the season drags on in March and April as the team will become more and more fatigued and the Devils should really consider using their backup netminder, whoever it will be, slightly more frequently.

Lastly, the Devils will see important Atlantic Division games on the following days:

New York Islanders

  • Friday, November 6
  • Saturday, November 28
  • Monday, January 18
  • Saturday, January 23
  • Saturday, March 13
  • Saturday, April 10

New York Rangers

  • Monday, October 5
  • Thursday, October 22
  • Tuesday, January 12
  • Saturday, February 6
  • Wednesday, March 10
  • Thursday, March 25

Philadelphia Flyers

  • Saturday, October 3
  • Monday, November 16
  • Saturday, December 12
  • Monday, February 8
  • Wednesday, February 10
  • Sunday, March 28

Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Saturday, October 24
  • Thursday, November 12
  • Monday, December 21
  • Wednesday, December 30
  • Friday, March 12
  • Wednesday, March 17

July Recap: Coach Change, Goalie Signing, and Some New D

I leave you guys for two weeks, and all hell breaks loose.  Great job guys.

Little stuff first, the Schedule and Pre-Season schedule was released and as soon as I can get acclimated to the Eastern Time Zone again, I’ll have it posted at njdevils.info.

Now literally the day I leave, the Devils finally decide to name a head coach.  So this news is a little stale: former Devils coach Jacques Lemaire will be returning behind the Devils bench as the new head coach.

My thoughts: not a bad deal.  I’m not entirely sold on it, but the Devils need help of defense and this guy turned our defense around and won a cup out of it in 1995.  The question in my mind is if he’s still effective in the more offensive minded NHL today?

In addition to this, John MacLean will be departing as the assistant coach to take a "promotion" to Lowell as their head coach.

My thoughts: a little odd – was there something between Lemaire and MacLean back when he was a player?  I believe he was given the option to stay or take head coach job up in Lowell, but perhaps being a head coach at the AHL level is the right direction to take to then become a coach in the NHL level.  Brent Sutter did that and look at how well that turned out! 😉

Some mixed emotions linger on a defensive signing of Cory Murphy, who has played a total of 79 career games in the NHL.  He’s 5′ 10" and at 185 pounds, he’s one of the smaller players on the ice for the team.

My thoughts: this seems like a step backwards compared to our entry draft signings – I assume he’s going to start the year out in Lowell but we’ll have to see what comes of training camp.  Maybe he fits the new system Lemaire is working on…

Travis Zajac was also slated to enter salary arbitration with the Devils for the 2009-10 season.  The two sides however came to a deal before this occurred and he has been signed to a 4 year deal.

My thoughts: with the loss of important offensive players, the Devils need Zajac, but I wonder if he’s being set up for a trade.  His contact goes from $2.5 for next season to $3.5 in 2010-11, and then $4.5 the following season.  Those are some hefty pay raises and he could possibly be on the trading block next season if he doesn’t live up to his $1 million raises.

Kevin Weekes, although not official, appears to finally be out of a job.  Devils GM Lou Lamoriello says decisions are still being made, but the Devils signed Islander goalie Yann Danis to a one year, $500,000 contract.  It’s the league minimum contract amount so it’s possible the Devils are just trying to keep their options open.

My thoughts: I personally like the guy, but we need to drop Weekes.  He’s not a solid backup for the aging Martin Brodeur, but the likes of Danis, who played with the official NHL Goalie Injury Team, the New York Islanders, last season has yet to prove himself as a solid NHL netminder.  I smell the likes of a Clemmensen-ish situation occurring all over again: new untested goalie comes in, performs magic, sits on bench when Brodeur returns, signs a good contract with someone else next season.

Okay, I think we’re all on the same page now.  Time to fix this jet-lag!

Going to get Married

So today is a big day for me. And I’m sitting with a netbook and for whatever reason feel the need to type everything out.

Today has nothing to do with the New Jersey Devils or the woes of free agency. Today is about something else that means a lot more to me (see that, there’s something else that means more than hockey!)

Jennifer Kathleen MacDonald, known here as Strawberrie, agreed – for whatever reason – to marry me. Crazy, huh?

That day was nearly a year and a half ago. And today, July 11, we will officially be tying the knot.

For anyone not in the position of being married, it’s a very strange feeling. Jen and I are having a very traditional lifestyle in that we chose not to live together until we were married. So today has an even deeper set of emotions knowing that in addition to geting married, we are truly separating our old lives to form a new one together.

Please don’t misinterpret this as saying you shouldn’t live together before you get married. This is just the way Jen and I felt about it and what we chose to do.

In any event, this feeling I have is a little tough to describe. People at work the past month or so have been asking me if I have been getting nervous.

Truth is, I wasn’t. But the past couple of days I now understand why they were asking. I have this feeling in my stomach that is – I feel – unexplainable.

Why should I be nervous? Jen and I have been together for over 9 years!!
But for whatever reason I had a tough time sleeping last night and have a stomach that is a little too excited for my liking.

One thing, though, sticks out in my mind. I am very happy. My stomach might be trying to persuade me otherwise, but it is so exciting to know that as of today at around 2:30, we will officially be married.

So that’s my story. I know it’s strange to read this on a Devils blog, but I felt the need to share this to my fellow visitors. Take care and I will be back in a couple of weeks after the honeymoon!

Devils Slow Out of Free Agency Gates

Not for nothing, but I’m really starting to dislike July 1st.  But like a good Devils fan, I drink the kool-aid Devils GM Lou Lamoriello serves and smile and nod.

Maybe this year is a rebuilding year.

First, we have no coach.  And without a coach, we have no one looking at the team with a plan in place as to how the team needs to play.  And without that plan in place, we are going to be in sad shape once the puck drops.

But Lou knows what he’s doing… right?

 

Lets look at what we have.  Defense.  Lots and lots of defense.  The defense from last year is in place for next year… great.  That’s the defense that lost that horrible game 7.  How about goaltending?  Nope, the aging Brodeur is still the only netminder slated to play next year, and backup Scott Clemmensen has taken his services elsewhere to the Florida Panthers – which, speaking on behalf of those who are due, good for you Clemmy – I truly wish you luck and I think you’re going to have a bright career.  You deserved this.  Oh and that other guy, Weekes, well, we don’t have him signed and I think the Devils are sort of hoping someone will take him off of our radar.

Speaking of defense, remember that draft thingy they had not that long ago… yeah, five of their seven picks were defensemen, all with size, all over 6′, the middle 3 – 6′ 3", 6′ 4", and 6′ 5".

Okay, that sounds great.  We’re building up our farm system with big defense so in the future we’re not in the predicament we’ve been in since our defense was injured, retired, and left to go play with little brother (that’s Stevens, Daneyko, and Niedermayer, respectively).  Does anyone else not realize that this should have happened four years ago?!?

 

Deep cleansing breath…

 

Alright, so defense is slowly coming back in to the picture – in a few years our defense should be as solid as it was several years ago when the Devils got past the first round of the playoffs.  But former coach Brent Sutter started to instill an offensive edge that gave the Devils some new life in the new NHL.  We’re still working on developing that, right?

And in the short amount of time the free agent market opened, the Devils lost Mike Rupp, Brian Gionta, and John Madden.

I guess Jay Pandolfo will have a spot on the team still.  Maybe Sergei Brylin is free?  How about Randy McKay?

Lou made the following statement to Tom Gulitti on Wednesday:

"It will be different, but we still have the core there," he said. "You’ve got Zach (Parise), Travis (Zajac), Jamie (Langenbrunner), (Patrik) Elias, (Brian) Rolston, (Dainius) Zubrus, (David) Clarkson, (Jay) Pandolfo. We’ve still got players, but we have to bring players in like (Pierre-Luc Letourneau-) Leblond, (Rod) Pelley. They have to get that opportunity, just like John got it when (Bobby) Carpenter left. So, we’re very comfortable with the players that we have."

 

I’m going to take a vacation.  A long vacation.  I’ll be back at the end of the month, and when I do, I better see a coach, more than a single offensive line – maybe some young skilled offensemen, maybe a backup netminder for when Brodeur breaks a hip.

 

Okay, the Brodeur comment was not fair, but come on Lou, at least pretend you want to get us past the first round of the playoffs.  The kool-aid is starting to wear off… where’s the punch bowl?