Tag:New Jersey Devils
Posted on: August 31, 2011 9:45 am
 

Dail Skate: Vancouver keeps searching for rioters

By Brian Stubits

STILL SEARCHING: I guess the Vancouver police were serious about wanting to bring all of the people responsible for the post-Stanley Cup riot to justice. Some of the offenders already came forward and admitted to their deeds after the Canucks lost Game 7 and the Cup. But plenty more have gone thus far unpunished. That's why the Vancouver police have set up this website with photos of some offenders asking the public for help identifying the people so they can face their punishment.

LENGTHY NEGOTIATIONS: The Kings are still trying to find common ground with defenseman Drew Doughty, so to do so, they are reportedly giving Doughty more options concerning the length of the prospective deal. Helene Elliott at the L.A. Times has the full story, including this take from Kings G.M. Dean Lombardi: "Everything's been amicable. We're waiting to hear back from them. They said they'd get back to us in a day or two." Maybe there's an end in sight after all?

FORMAL FILING: Also from Elliott at the L.A. Times in the same Doughty story, the Kings have filed their grievance with the with the NHL over the deal with the Oilers that had Colin Fraser going to L.A. in exchange for Ryan Smyth. “The Edmonton Oilers have a few days to respond. Commissioner Gary Bettman will then decide whether to hold a hearing, though Lombardi said the Kings can request one.” So it continues.

SPREAD THE LOVE: Yesterday's Daily Skate touched on the Devils considering retiring Scott Niedermayer's number. Now the O.C. Register is wondering if the Ducks shouldn't do the same thing? Niedermayer only played five seasons with the Ducks, but he was a big reason why Anaheim brought home the Stanley Cup.

PROSPECT WATCH: Wondering how the advancement of Rangers prospects is coming along? The New York Rangers blog has an update on defensemen Tim Erixon, who insists he has a true two-way game as he makes a push for the roster. Then there's a little nugget about Dylan McIlrath as well.

A LITTLE LOVE: Bryan Little isn't seeming to have any problems getting acclimated to life in Winnipeg. He is enjoying the passion and support the hyped-up Jets fan base is showing, with Go Jets Go! chants at every turn. From the Winnipeg Sun: “The province is so pumped about having a team back, and that just gets all of us, the players, just more excited to play,” Little said.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: August 30, 2011 9:50 am
Edited on: August 30, 2011 9:56 am
 

Daily Skate: Devils planning Niedermayer night?

By Brian Stubits

NIEDERMAYER NIGHT? It's seems to be only a matter of time before the Devils honor Scott Niedermayer and retire his No. 27 jersey. According to Al Dhalla of Super Agent Inc., it will happen on Dec. 16 against the Stars. Tom Gulitti at the Bergen Record couldn't confirm the plans with Niedermayer, but Scott did acknowledge he has talked about it with the Devils in the past. "Lou [Lamoriello] will do it when he feels it's right to do. In my eyes at least, I don't think anything has been finalized anyway."

BELLY ACHING Alexander Ovechkin is the closes thing to a rock star in hockey because of his following back in Russia, he gets a bit of the paparazzi treatment. That makes this summer's hysteria and analysis over Ovi's seemingly bloated belly that was dissected by many, including Dan Steinberg at the Washington Post. Well maybe this will put fans at ease. Puck Daddy caught up with the Caps star before his upcoming charity game, and the interview included a "look at THIS belly" photo.

TO WHIT: If the Oilers plan on making a few small steps forward this season, they will need to have Ryan Whitney back on the ice. He was having a good season last year before he suffered an injured foot that cost him the remainder of his season. Unfortunately for him and Edmonton, he re-aggravated the injury earlier this summer skating in Boston. "I rolled over on the foot ... caught a rut in the ice. Minor sprain, I think," he told the Edmonton Journal. The good news is that it">

ODE TO LANGKOW: We finish up today with an ode coming from the Matchsticks and Gasoline blog about the exit of Daymond Langkow from the Flames to the Coyotes. I gotta tell ya, parting is such sweet sorrow. Especially when it includes prose like this: Then came that fateful day against Minnesota, Your luck was absent, not even one iota, The puck flew off of Ian White's stick, And hit your neck with the force of a brick.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: August 29, 2011 2:26 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 2:59 pm
 

Eastern Conference spots seem set for some time

By Brian Stubits

Sometimes simple and obvious things just hit you. Things you had realized before but for some reason they jump to your attention again. It tends to happen a lot more often during the lazy hockey days of summer.

That's exactly what happened when I began to think about the makeup of hockey markets/organizations, particularly in the Eastern Conference. What popped into my head was the fact that the contenders this season are likely to be the same as they were last season, and for the most part the same they were the season before that. And it's likely they will remain the contenders for the season after next, too.

At that moment I realized the NHL is starting to resemble the NBA in a way. And that's not good. One of the biggest reasons the NBA is in a lockout that seems to have no end in sight (Ken Berger and the Eye on Basketball guys have that covered) is the very issue that only a handful of teams enter every season with a chance to win the Larry O'Brien Trophy. Everybody's favorite stat about the (lack of) parity in the NBA is the simple fact that since 1984, only eight different organizations have won the championship. That's eight teams in 28 seasons.

Now look at the Eastern Conference in hockey. The Capitals have been atop their division for four straight seasons. The Penguins and Flyers are perennial contenders. Same goes for the Bruins while the Rangers, Canadiens and Sabres are regulars in the 5-8 range in the standings.

Of course that leaves teams like the Islanders (four-year playoff drought), Maple Leafs (six-year drought), Jets/Thrashers (one appearance in franchise history), Hurricanes (perennial contender for first runnerup these days) and the Panthers (10-year drought) to fend at the bottom.

So where do these teams fit? When you have a team like the Islanders seeming ready to step up and compete for the playoffs, who are they going to surpass? The Eastern Conference is full of traditional hockey markets in the American northeast and Canada, big markets either in hockey-crazy cities and ones with rich histories. The West has a few of those as well -- namely Vancouver, Detroit and Chicago -- but not as many as the East.

But have a look at the chart below detailing the past four seasons. Five teams have made the playoffs in each of those seasons and four teams have failed to advance beyond the regular season even once.

Last four seasons
Team Average finish (Eastern Conference) Playoff appearances 2011-12 payroll (capgeek.com)
Capitals 1.75 4 $65,190,128
Penguins 3.5 4 $62,737,500
Bruins 4.5 4 $56,682,976
Flyers 5 4 $64,124,761
Devils 5 3 $58,429,167
Canadiens 5.75 4 $59,770,510
Rangers 7.25 3 $62,935,334
Sabres 7.5 2 $67,895,357
Hurricanes 8.75 1 $49,775,000
Senators 9 2 $51,845,834
Lightning 11.5 1 $59,326,083
Maple Leafs 12.25 0 $59,115,000
Jets/Thrashers 12.25 0 $48,284,166
Panthers 12.25 0 $49,882,042
Islanders 13.75 0 $45,970,166

You get the feeling that at least five spots are locks in the East this year with two more almost assuredly the same. In the lock category you start with four of the five teams that have been staples: The Capitals, Penguins, Flyers and Bruins. Add in the up-and-coming Lightning for good measure. Hard to imagine any of those five not making it this season. In the next two spots I think you can add the Rangers and Sabres. With new owner Terry Pegula, the Sabres seem destined to become another playoff regular. These are teams that all improved (or in the case of Boston, didn't have to improve, but more or less stay in tact after winning the Stanley Cup) and were already playoff caliber.

By my stellar mathematical abilities, that leaves one spot essentially up for grabs. Among the group fighting for it will be the Canadiens (the other team to make it each of the past four seasons), Devils and, well, the rest of the conference. Outside of the Senators who are building for a few years from now and maybe the Jets, every team in the conference looks to be better now then they were at the end of last season.

And here's the thing: I don't see how it will be easy to unseat these teams at the top of the conference. Sure, you will have the occasional team slipping through like the Lightning. To extend the analogy back to the NBA, that's like the Oklahoma City Thunder building after years of struggle to a competitive level. But they still have to fight through the Lakers, Mavericks and Spurs, all of which are almost guaranteed to be in the hunt. It's hard to imagine a time when the Lakers won't be contenders, and when they have been (post-Shaquille O'Neal) they rebuilt in a hurry and won the title shortly thereafter.

That's what I'm seeing for the Eastern Conference, that kind of perennial favorite similarity. It makes sense, obviously. The best free agents will want to go to the best teams in the best hockey cities and the biggest pay checks. That's to be expected. And that's a huge reason why these teams are able to stay above the equator. It doesn't hurt to have the infrastructures they all have at their disposal, too. From fan support to smart organizational minds and moves, they win more often than not. Success begets success. It's no coincidence that these are also the teams most heavily featured on national TV.

Let's look at the Capitals. Owner Ted Leonsis has been mentioned his 10-to-15-year plan ... not a plan that calls for 10-to-15 years to win the Cup (although it's starting to look that way) but instead to keep the Caps a Cup contender for that time. And because Washington D.C. has shown itself to be a strong hockey market and is appealing to free agents, it's easy to see how the Caps can sustain that. You have a young Alexander Ovechkin on your roster? Lock him up! Just throw a 13-year contract in front of one of the sport's best players and he's aboard for the long haul. Try and do the same when you're in Tampa Bay and you have a situation where you are only able to secure Steven Stamkos for five seasons.

The reasons are obvious, much the same as the Yankees in baseball (and now the Red Sox). You can pen each of those teams into the playoffs before the season even starts and you are most likely going to be right. But this isn't supposed to happen in hockey, not with a supposedly game-evening hard salary cap. It's just the inherent advantages are too tough for a lot of teams to compete with. Essentially, the margin for error is razor thin for the lesser markets/organizations.

Toronto is the exception (sorry Leafs fans) to the big-market success model. It is probably the best hockey market in the NHL, has an incredibly devoted fan base and has not been afraid to spend. But even the Leafs are struggling these days to break that glass ceiling and butt their way into the playoffs. They couldn't beat out the Rangers for Brad Richards' services in free agency.

Now this is why they play the game. You can't lock in these teams to the playoffs. After all, who saw that Devils season coming last year? You still have to earn your way into the postseason. But if you are a fan of one of the bottom-feeders in the East, I'd suggest you cool your jets. The East's upper echelon is pretty well full of NHL aristocrats. The competition will be better and the spots will likely be more fiercely fought for, but it will be hard to break through.

In the West you can hear the mid-level teams saying "welcome to our world."

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: August 15, 2011 10:10 am
Edited on: August 15, 2011 10:24 am
 

Daily Skate: 2012 free agents; bald man's hero

By Brian Stubits

FREE AGENT OUTLOOK: This year's free-agent class hasn't even taken to the ice, but Kevin Allen at USA Todayis already taking a look to next year's class. This summer, the Devils' Zach Parise was one of the higher-rated restricted free agents to be had, and next year he'll go through the process again after getting a one-year contract in New Jersey, but this time he'll be unrestricted. On Allen's list for next year, he sits second among the available, behind Predators defenseman Ryan Suter ... the other big-time blue-liner in Nashville.

BALD IS BEAUTIFUL: Mark Messier is a hero, according to Bald Celebrity (hat tip to Puck Daddy). That's the site that dubbed the former Oilers and Rangers star a bald hockey hero, eloquently writing this: "It takes a real man to handle the pressure of leading a New York sports franchise; a real bald man. It takes an even manlier, and an even balder man though, to have led the 1994 New York Rangers NHL Team to a Stanley Cup Championship. Does this epically manly and epically bald man exist? Yes, yes he does; and his name is Mark Messier."

CAPITAL WEDDING: There is always one piece of advice I give to guys who are engaged, and it's not run away or anything like that. Instead I say tell the wife-to-be that you want a wedding theme based on your favorite sports team, or Star Wars. Stick to your guns and you get out of the planning process. But that wouldn't work for this guy as he and his wife went all out with a full-on Capitals theme at their wedding, even having festivities at the team's practice facility and getting the Caps P.A. announcer to introduce them. Pretty impressive.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: August 3, 2011 1:59 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2011 2:42 pm
 

Sharks sign former Devils D White for one year

By Brian Stubits

How's that old saying go: One man's trash is another man's treasure?

A day after the New Jersey Devils parted ways with Colin White (and Trent Hunter) through a buyout, White has already been scooped up. David Pollack of the San Jose Mercury News says the Sharks have signed White to a one-year deal for a price of $1 million.

"A stopper, a physical guy who's also an excellent penalty killer -- you can never have too many of those," Sharks GM Doug Wilson said of White.

White will actually make $3 million next season, $2 million coming at the expense of the Devils after his buyout. For the Sharks it's a very solid investment, getting a servicable player for the defensive corps for a small price tag.

White, a career Devil on the blue line, figured to have a market considering he's not completely long in the tooth. At 33, he figures to still have some gas in the tank. He hasn't been exactly the same player since suffering a very serious eye injury in the 2007-08 season, but he's still a very capable defensive player. In 2008-09, he posted a very solid plus-18.

The Sharks made upgrading their blue line a priority this offseason, giving up a pretty steep price in Devin Setoguchi, a former first-round pick and this year's top pick for All-Star Brent Burns, who they recently signed to an extension. They also brough in James Vandermeer to take some of the minutes. Getting more a bruiser to beef up the back is where White would fit in with his physical style.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: August 1, 2011 1:16 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 2:07 pm
 

Devils will buyout Trent Hunter, Colin White

HunterBy: Adam Gretz

It appears as if Trent Hunter's stay with the New Jersey Devils will be a short one.

Less than a week after he was acquired in a trade with the New York Islanders in exchange for Brian Rolston, Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record reports that Hunter has been placed on waivers with the intention of being bought out if he clears. Along with Hunter, the Devils also waived long-time defenseman Colin White with the intention of buying him out as well.

By finding a taker for Rolston's contract -- a task that seemed like it would have been impossible -- and swapping him for Hunter the Devils saved a little over $3 million against the salary cap for this season. Hunter is under contract through the end of next season and carried a cap hit of $2 million, while Gulliti reports the buyout will be for $2.6 million and spread over four years (which means it will count about $666,667 per season against the cap). When combined with White's buyout ($1 million per season) the Devils will have saved an additional $3 million in cap space for this season.

When the Rolston trade was finalized last week it was pretty obvious it was a cap-related move for both teams (the Islanders needed to add salary to reach the floor, the Devils needed to cut salary) and was quickly followed by a one-year contract for restricted free agent -- and arbitration eligible -- left winger Zach Parise.

White, 33, was signed through next season and had spent his entire career with the Devils, scoring 20 goals in 743 career games while also earning two Stanley Cup rings. He averaged over 18 minutes of ice-time per game last season (third among Devils defensemen, trailing only Henrik Tallinder and Andy Greene) in 69 games.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: July 29, 2011 9:01 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 9:10 pm
 

Devils also support Islanders arena vote

By: Adam Gretz

On Thursday the New York Rangers organization urged their fans to support the New York Islanders and vote yes to the Nassau County referendum on Monday that would help finance a new arena for their long-time rivals.

The third team that occupies the New York/New Jersey market -- the Devils -- released a similar statement on Friday and urged Nassau County residents to approve the referendum.

The statement, which is posted below, was made by general manager Lou Lamoriello and also appeared on the Devils website:
"The New York Islanders are a proud organization with a championship history. Monday’s referendum vote on a new Nassau Coliseum is vital to ensuring that tradition lives on.

Since opening Prudential Center in 2007, we have seen first-hand the tremendous impact that a new facility can have for our fans and the surrounding community. A world-class facility is fundamental to success in the modern sports landscape, and a necessity for both the fans and the players.

Owner Charles Wang and General Manager Garth Snow have assembled a core of talented young players whose future depends on a new home on Long Island. We look forward to continuing our Atlantic Division rivalry for years to come.

The Devils support the Islanders in their quest for a new arena, and urge Nassau County residents to vote yes this Monday."
Along with what I can only imagine is a large portion of their own fan base the Islanders have the support of their two closest NHL neighbors, which is certainly good news. The isssue remains whether or not they have the support of the Nassau County voters that aren't hockey fans ... or at least the support of enough to approve the referendum.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: July 29, 2011 6:28 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 6:49 pm
 

Devils reach 1-year agreement with Parise

Parise

By: Adam Gretz

On Friday evening New Jersey Devils forward Zach Parise became the latest player to avoid arbitration (which has been a common theme this summer). 

It was announced by the club that the Devils and their star forward had reached an agreement on a one-year contract, and would continue to work toward a long-term deal. Parise's hearing was scheduled for August 3. According to TSN's Bob McKenzie the deal is worth $6 million, which is an increase from the $5 million he made last season in the final year of a four-year contract that carried a cap hit of $3.1 million.

Pairse, who just turned 27 this week, missed most of last season due to a knee injury and appeared in just 13 games for a disappointing New Jersey team that stumbled out of the gate, before finally hitting its stride in the second half. He scored three goals before suffering a torn meniscus in a game against the Los Angeles Kings on October 30.

A first-round pick by the Devils in 2003, Parise has developed into one of the best left wingers in the NHL and had scored at least 30 goals in four consecutive seasons before his injury-shortened campaign in 2010-11. His best performance came during the 2008-09 season when he scored 45 goals, good enough for third best in the league, to go with 49 assists.

If the two sides can't agree to a long-term deal Parise will be eligible for unrestricted free agency following this season.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com