A Thought: Devils Need Help

I’m not going to even dignify the stunt Sykora pulled with a post.  It was incredibly stupid and I wouldn’t blame the league for fining or suspending him, especially since he has flat out admitted to what he did.  Its downright cheating and I would expect it from sports like Baseball and Football, not hockey.

 

Instead, I need to point out that the Devils need help.  There are three key elements missing from the Devils and if action isn’t taken soon, we might find ourselves mid-season too far behind (a la – last season).

Key element #1: Depth.  Missing someone like Jacob Josefson in the lineup will hurt the Devils.  He sustained a broken right clavicle Friday against the San Jose Sharks.  In addition to missing Travis Zajac, Josefson’s injury will soon take it’s toll on the Devils if they cannot fill the void with a competent player.  Devils go-to move is always to fill with AHL talent, but said talent may not be good enough to to keep the Devils afloat.

Key element #2: PK and PP.  It hurts enough when the Devils take too many bad penalties.  And sure enough that’s what we’re seeing today.  It gives the opposition good chances and, perhaps worse, momentum.  Now sprinkle in the Devils inept-ness on the Power Play and you have a perfect concoction for mediocrity.  Devils GM Lou Lamoriello hired Adam Oates to work with the Devils’ power play unit and to act as an assistant coach.  Guess what folks – it isn’t working out.  I’m sorry, but it’s time to find some new help here.

Key element #3: Defense. I will harp on this until they get it right, I’m sorry.  The Devils must get help on their defense.  Offense is great, but we need talented blue-liners who can get the job done in front of our net.  And having a pair of aging goaltenders in the crease doesn’t help matters either.

Brodeur Watch 2011: Out for 7 to 10 Days

Earlier in the day Devils coach Peter DeBoer declined to make any information on Martin Brodeur’s doctor visit public, instead forwardingt hose requests to Devils GM Lou Lamoriello.

However newjerseydevils.com is now reporting that Marty will be out for the next 7 to 10 days.  The results from the doctor indicate that he will not require surgery, but will need to go through further rehab.

Devils net minding lineup until then will have Johan Hedberg starting in net with recalled Albany Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid as his backup on the bench.  When asked about Hedberg, DeBoer stated "He’s been very good, exactly as advertised.  He’s a great pro, great person. Someone gave me a stat that he’s [12-2] going back to last year in his last [14] games."

That stat is correct.

The 7-10 day estimate isn’t set in stone.  Further evaluation during rehab may push the date back further should sufficient progress not be made.

Brodeur’s Questionable Return

Devils start net minder Martin Brodeur is on the final year of his contract. His fate in the hockey hall of fame is sealed. His presence on the ice is noticeable in every NHL rink with a trapezoid behind the net of where goalies are not allowed to play the puck. And his records broken will take many many years to break, many if ever.

But all this fortune has taken it’s toll, and now Marty is no longer unbreakable. Once again Martin Brodeur is sidelined with an injury of which was previously noted as getting much better, but is apparently still a concern as the Devils have brought up the Devils AHL affiliate’s goaltender Keith Kinkaid to join them against the San Jose Sharks this Friday.

Keith is a solid goalie and may very well be the Devils next go-to man between the pipes in the not so distant future. Current back-up goalie for the Devils, Johan Hedberg, is a solid performer and has proven that he can step in at any time to take over the crease duty when called upon. But even he is only a year younger then our all-star Marty.

Brodeur’s test results will not be known until Wednesday, and even then the outcome may be uncertain.

Devils With Solid Start

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that the Devils are playing like Stanley Cup contenders. I’m not going to type out a line about how the Devils are cruising and are a top team in the East. What I will say is that they are playing a very solid game post game one of the season, and that we should see a good season from them this year.

What has contributed to this start? Goaltending for one. Hedberg is currently filling in for Marty Brodeur, who was knocked out a few games back with what may just simply be a pulled muscle. But at his age the coaching staff isn’t taking any chances and having him sit. The Devils are now in the midsts of a short break before their next game on October 21 against the San Jose Sharks, and you may see Brodeur return to the crease then.

Next up, strong play from all of the Devils. Sure, my instinct is if Kovalchuk doesn’t get a hat trick every night I’m not happy with his performance. But between the top two lines on the ice, the Devils are scoring goals and making a good stand.

Last important point, confidence. Right now the Devils have some. Last year at this time the Devils started to slip in to their worst start in franchise history and confidence was severely hurt. As you can see, however, the Devils came back from a two goal deficit in Nashville and were able to come back, force overtime, and win in a shootout.

It’s certainly not an ideal win, but the point is it easy to get yourself in trouble, it’s hard to dig yourself out of a hole, and if the Devils can accomplish that, they have one very good thing going for them, much better than how they were doing last season at this time.