Tag:New Jersey Devils
Posted on: July 28, 2011 1:33 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 11:26 pm

Islanders acquire Brian Rolston

RolstonBy: Adam Gretz

It didn't matter how many of their own players they re-signed, at some point the New York Islanders were going to have to bring in a player from outside the organization in an effort to reach the salary cap floor. And that's exactly what they did on Thursday when it was announced that they had acquired Brian Rolston from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for forward Trent Hunter, a swap that gets the Islanders $3 million closer to the $48.3 million floor.

Following the trade the Islanders now have to spend at least $5.9 million and still have a number of restricted free agents to sign, including Blake Comeau and Josh Bailey. Rolston also becomes the highest paid player on the team.

Rolston, 38, has one year remaining on a contract that pays him an average salary of just over $5 million per season. In 65 games this past season he scored 14 goals to go with 20 assists, while he hasn't recorded more than 37 points in a single season since signing a four-year, $20 million deal with the Devils prior to the 2008-09 season. It was a contract that had become somewhat of an albatross for the Devils, and finding a taker for it helps clear additional cap space to finally reach a deal with restricted free agent Zach Parise.

Hunter has two years remaining on his contract and carries a cap hit of $2 million per season. He's appeared in just 133 games over the past three seasons, scoring 26 goals over that period, including one goal in just 17 games last season.

In the end, the focal point of this deal for both clubs is money. The Devils needed to shed some salary, the Islanders needed to take on some, and with a picked over crop of free agents, a trade like this seemed like it was inevitable at some point.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: July 21, 2011 11:53 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 12:07 pm

Mike Emrick leaves Devils broadcast booth

By Adam Gretz

If you regularly watch New Jersey Devils games on TV, you're going to have to prepare yourself for them to have a different voice this upcoming season and in the future.

Mike Emrick, the Devils' long-time play-by-play voice, announced Thursday that he is leaving the broadcast booth after 21 seasons to join NBC/Versus exclusively. He had already worked for NBC/Versus in recent years on a part-time basis alongside Ed Olczyk.

In a letter to Devils fans published on the team's official web site, Emrick writes:
A good friend advised me several years ago that before any major decision, you should look in the mirror and look at your birth certificate.

Since my contracts with MSG, VERSUS, and NBC all expired late this spring, this was another of those times. I discovered that the birth certificate couldn't be changed and it showed me to be 65 in a few days. I've been extremely fortunate to have been able to spend 23 incredible years with the MSG Network channels and 21 equally enjoyable years--including 3 Stanley Cup championships--with the New Jersey Devils.

However, considering the long-term significance of this decision, I was able to construct a lighter regular season-schedule and the usual complement of Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final games for NBC and VERSUS. But that assurance of less travel and fewer games has regrettably led me to end my association with the MSG Network channels and the Devils.
He went on to thank the Devils franchise and the MSG Network for their loyalty over the years, as well as Devils fans for all of the kindness they showed to he and his wife.

Fans can grow attached to unique announcers, and Emrick is certainly one of the best -- and most excitable -- still going in the NHL, and it's sure to be a disappointment for Devils fans that grew up listening to him call their games. Throughout his broadcasting career, he's been awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States in 2004, and he was also presented with the Foster Hewitt Award in 2008.

Here's an NHL Network feature on his work with the Devils from a couple of years ago...

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Category: NHL
Posted on: July 19, 2011 4:26 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 4:55 pm

Arbitration anticipation: Let the pain begin

By Brian Stubits

Nobody wants to go to arbitration. The next time you hear any involved party is excited for arbitration battles will be the first.

It can be dangerous. It can certainly be ugly. It is always contentious.

The nature of the best resembles part of Festivus with the Airing of Grievances. At least there are no Feats of Strength as an arbiter lays down the decision instead of the sides fighting it out. The involved parties are forced to justify their stance in the negotiations, resulting in teams putting down their own player. Not a desirable stance to have to take.

Because of the combative nature, the process has been known to cause strains in relationships between teams and players. It's exactly why teams try to avoid the process more fervently than someone looks to evade root canals.

For that reason arbitration meetings often times don't happen. It's amazing how much easier it is to strike a deal with a deadline speeding up the negotiations. Always worked that way for me to get book reports done in school; nothing like a deadline of two days away to read the first page.

So it is highly likely only a few of the names headed to arbitration will actually have their hearing. That goes for the two biggest names on the list, Shea Weber and Zach Parise. The Predators and Devils respectively will try and hammer out contracts before an arbiter gets to set the reward. This has happened to three players in the last day as the Jets avoided a hearing with Blake Wheeler, the Ducks with Andrew Cogliano and the Sabres with Andrej Sekera, all reaching new deals.

But there will still be hearings. Teddy Purcell and the Lightning will have their case heard tomorrow, the first day, along with Lauri Korpikovski and the Coyotes. The next case will be Brandon Dubinsky and the Rangers. All of those hearings should happen with the potential for the Rangers/Dubinsky battle to be a tough one seeing as the sides still seem to be pretty far apart.

Or you will have the cases where teams just walk away from the award. It happened last year with Clarke MacArthur in Atlanta and more notably with Antti Niemi in Chicago, the teams electing to let the player find another team than pay them the determined amount. It will happen again this year to a Blackhawks player as the team has already said it cannot afford to bring Chris Campoli back.

Last year in total five players got as far as the arbitration hearing. Three of those players' awards were not matched. Teams are only allowed to walk away in a situation where the player filed for arbitration and the reward is $1.7 million or more. Anything less than that and the player stays put, regardless.

Obviously the most interesting cases are those of Parise and Weber. They are both franchise players and are due for substantial raises. The case of Weber is particularly appealing since the signing of Drew Doughty in Los Angeles seems to be waiting for the precedent set by the future Weber contract.

With all of that as the background, here's a list of all the players who, as of now, are scheduled for their turns in the ol' testy tango of arbitration. Expect names to disappear from this list faster than Michael J. Fox in family photos.

Arbitration schedule
Date Player Team
July 20 Lauri Korpikoski Coyotes
July 20 Teddy Purcell Lightning
July 21 Brandon Dubinsky Rangers
July 28 Josh Gorges Canadiens
July 28 Ryan Callahan Rangers
July 29 Jannik Hansen Canucks
August 2 Shea Weber Predators
August 3 Chris Campoli Blackhawks
August 3 Zach Parise Devils
August 4 Mark Fraser Devils
August 4 Blake Comeau Islanders

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: July 19, 2011 12:53 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 4:52 pm

Devils hire former Panthers coach DeBoer as coach

By Brian Stubits

The New Jersey Devils have hired Peter DeBoer to be their new head coach. The team made the annoucement at a news conference on Tuesday.

It's been a long time coming in Jersey for the announcement as their search for a new coach began 14 weeks ago after Jacques Lemaire retired. He was the interim coach after John MacLean was fired after less than a season on the bench. Now it has a resolution.

"I'm very excited about the job, the opportunity, a chance to work in an organization with a reputation of winning and winning Stanley Cups," DeBoer said.

In the end DeBoer is Lou Lamoriello's choice after a plethora of names ranging from Michael Therrien to two-time Devils coach Larry Robinson and former player Adam Oates were in the discussion.

"Technically he's as sound as anyone out there," Lamoriello said.

DeBoer was fired at the end of last season by Florida after three seasons in which he failed to do what no other coach could do in Florida over the past decade, reach the playoffs. He reportedly turned down assistant positions with the Flames and Red Wings since being let go by the Panthers, apparently keen on getting another head spot despite his dismissal.

"While I'm not proud of the actual record," DeBoer said, "I'm proud of the way we played. I can tell you I'm a much better coach having gone through the learning experience down there [Florida]."

Before being hired by the Panthers, DeBoer was a very successful coach in the Ontario Hockey League, leading the Kitchener Rangers to the Memorial Cup in 2003.

He takes over a team that was handicapped by cap contraints last year and sagged to the worst record in the NHL before eventually recovering some under interim coach Jacques Lemaire. But don't expect him to bring much in a new philosophy or anything to New Jersey than what they have become accustomed to in the Lamoriello era.

“I think we [DeBoer and Lamoriello] have the same philosophies, which is that teams play the right way," DeBoer said. "My plan here is I want to keep the defensive structure that has made this organization so successful and also create some more offense."

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: July 14, 2011 4:22 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 2:02 pm

Devils still without a coach: what's the holdup?

By Brian Stubits

What the devil is going on in New Jersey?

Here we are, more than three months after their season finished and the New Jersey Devils still haven't named a coach? General Manager Lou Lamoriello says a decision is coming. Some time soon, even.

"We will have a coach in the very near future, but not this week," Lamoriello said earlier this week.

Feels like that has been the standard response for a few weeks now. He is starting to sound like Chicago Cubs fans: Wait till next year.

The more time that passes, the more questions that are raised: Why is nobody taking what was not long ago a very good job? Why are the Devils going through coaches like kids through Halloween candy? Is Lamoriello tough to work under? Is there a dearth of desirable candidates? Is Lamoriello just being lazy? How many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop? (That's the only one I really know the answer to -- three.)

The list of names that have popped into the search at one point or another seems to be longer than Martin Brodeur's career. There have been retreads (two-time Devils coach Larry Robinson), coaching vets (Craig MacTavish, Ken Hitchcock), college coaches (Wisconsin's Mike Eaves) and everybody in between (hello, Guy Carbonneau and Michael Therrien). But naturally these names are just on a speculative list.

"I'm not going to get into discussions with reference to the coaching staff or anything of that nature," Lamoriello said. "There's [no coach] that has been named, so you can interpret it any way you want."

Then there's the ultimate retread: Jacques Lemaire. He has had three stints coaching the Devils, including the Stanley Cup champions in 1994-95 and last year's underachieving team that he made very competitive in his interim stretch.

Apparently his is one name you can safely cross off the list.

“I’m waiting for Lou to make his decision,” Lemaire told Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record. “I’m excited like the fans, I guess, to find out who it’s going to be. It’s not going to be me."

That has to be a bummer for Devils fans. Lemaire seems like he'd be a good stopgap for another season as he brought out the best in what was an awful Devils team. But it is probably for the good to move on to a new era. Preferably a long-term stay in Jersey, considering the Devils have had 12 coaches since Lemaire first left after the 1997-98 season (counting each visit for Robinson, Lemaire and Lamoriello's own stints separately).

So maybe it's worth it to take your sweet time to hire the right coach. It's just hard for me to imagine it takes this long to find said coach. All the other vacancies in the NHL have been filled and it's been that way for a while.

For more Devils news, click here.

Photo: Getty Images

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

Posted on: July 10, 2011 11:29 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 9:17 am

If you like goals, Colorado was the team to watch

By: Adam Gretz

During the 2010-11 season the NHL averaged 5.59 goals per game, which was the second lowest league-wide average since it came out of the lockout in 2005 (the lowest was 5.57 in 2007-08).

Obviously, some teams are involved in higher scoring games than others due to their system or roster makeup, and you probably know going into a game against New Jersey or Nashville that goal scoring is going to be at a minimum.

But which teams were involved in the highest and lowest scoring games last year (goals scored and goals allowed)? Here's a look at the top-and-bottom 10.

Let's start with the teams that were involved in the highest scoring games…

2010-11 Highest Scoring Games
Team Goals Scored Per Game Goals Allowed Per Game Total Goals Per Game
Colorado Avalanche 2.70 3.50 6.20
Detroit Red Wings 3.13 2.89 6.02
New York Islanders 2.74 3.15 5.89
Atlanta Thrashers 2.66 3.20 5.86
Tampa Bay Lightning 2.94 2.85 5.79
Philadelphia Flyers 3.12 2.63 5.75
Chicago Blackhawks 3.07 2.68 5.75
Calgary Flames 2.94 2.80 5.74
Buffalo Sabres 2.93 2.78 5.71
Anaheim Ducks 2.87 2.84 5.71

If you like a lot of goals, the Colorado Avalanche were definitely the team to watch. In their case, as well as teams like the Islanders and Thrashers, they appear so high on the list because they allowed a ton of goals, not necessarily because they scored a lot. So while their games were lighting up the scoreboard, it probably wasn't the type of excitement you wanted to see if you were a fan of one of those clubs.

Red Wings games, on the other hand, were generally exciting because they were not only the second-highest scoring team in the league, but also because they were eighth in goals allowed. The 2.89 goals the Wings allowed per game was the highest of any team to qualify for the postseason.

At the other end of the spectrum, here's a look at the teams that were involved in the lowest scoring games…

2010-11 Lowest Scoring Games
Team Goals Scored Per Game Goals Allowed Per Game Total Goals Per Game
New Jersey Devils 2.09 2.52 4.61
Nashville Predators 2.60 2.32 4.92
Los Angeles Kings 2.55 2.39 4.94
Washington Capitals 2.67 2.33 5.00
Florida Panthers 2.33 2.71 5.04
Montreal Canadiens 2.60 2.51 5.11
New York Rangers 2.73 2.38 5.11
Pittsburgh Penguins 2.78 2.39 5.17
Minnesota Wild 2.48 2.78 5.26
Boston Bruins 2.98 2.30 5.28

The usual suspects appear at the top (New Jersey and Nashville): teams that struggle to score and also play tight, defensive systems.

How big of a gap is there from the top team (Colorado) and the bottom team (New Jersey)? Look at it this way: If you watched every single Devils game, you would have witnessed 130 fewer goals over the course of the season than a person who watched every Avalanche game.

There are also a couple of unexpected teams in the bottom group, particularly Pittsburgh and Washington. When you look at the Penguins, it's maybe not quite as surprising when you consider they played the first half of the season without Jordan Staal and then played the second half without a pair of former scoring champions in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

But Washington? Involved in the fourth-lowest scoring games in the league? That's certainly not what we've grown to expect from them in recent years, and it offers a nice look into just how defensive that team became last season.

In the three previous years they went from the 11th highest-scoring games in 2007-08 to fourth in 2008-09 to the top spot in 2009-10. How much of a shift was there from being involved in the highest-scoring games to the fourth-lowest? The average Capitals game in 2010 averaged 1.59 fewer goals per game than the previous year.

The second biggest drop belonged to the Penguins whose games averaged 0.74 fewer goals.

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

Posted on: July 9, 2011 9:57 am
Edited on: July 9, 2011 1:36 pm

Daily Skate: Flyers shopping Bobrovsky?

By: Adam Gretz

PHILADELPHIA SHOPPING BOBROVSKY? After a promising start to his rookie season it appeared that Sergei Bobrovsky was going to be the goaltender of the future for the Philadelphia Flyers. Now that the team has acquired Ilya Bryzgalov, and signed him to a nine-year, $50 million contract, Bobrovsky's role with the club is up in the air. According to Frank Seravalli of Philly.com, the Flyers are apparently shopping Bobrovsky in a trade, even though general manager Paul Holmgren denied it. It might be tough to move a goaltender at this point in the offseason given how few openings there are at the position around the league. Last week the Avalanche gave up a first-round draft pick to acquire Semyon Varlamov from the Capitals, who then turned around and signed free agent Tomas Vokoun to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. Bobrovsky started 52 games for the Flyers last season, winning 28, and finishing with a .915 save percentage.

NEW YORK RE-SIGNS ANISIMOV, SAUER The New York Rangers signed a pair of their restricted free agents on Friday, agreeing to terms with forward Artem Anisimov and defenseman Michael Sauer. The 23-year-old Anisimov set career highs across the board last season, finishing with 18 goals and 26 assists in 82 games. His deal is a two-year contract. Sauer, also 23, is coming off his rookie season with the club where he played in 76 games, recording three goals to go with 12 assists while averaging over 17 minutes of ice-time per game.

MARTINEZ AVOIDS ARBITRATION Defenseman Alec Martinez and the Los Angeles Kings avoided salary arbitration on Friday by agreeing to a two-year contract. He had five goals and 11 assists a year ago. Los Angeles still needs to work out a deal with its other restricted free agent along the blue line, 21-year-old sensation Drew Doughty.

ARBITRATION DATES ANNOUNCED All of the scheduled arbitration dates were released on Friday, and you can check them all out at the NHLPA website. Some of the big ones: Brandon Dubinsky (Rangers), July 21; Ryan Callahan (Rangers), July 28; Shea Weber (Predators), August 2; Zach Parise (Devils), August 3. Deals can still be worked out prior to the arbitration dates to avoid the awkwardness -- and brutal honesty -- that often comes during the hearings.

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

Posted on: July 6, 2011 10:42 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 11:05 pm

Devils coaching search continues

By: Adam Gretz

National Hockey League teams go through coaches like normal people go through socks, and no team seems to go through more than the New Jersey Devils. Since the 2000-01 season the club has experienced 11 coaching changes, including multiple stints with Larry Robinson and Jacques Lemaire, as well as two interim appearances by general manager Lou Lamoriello. Honestly, it's an impressive revolving door.

This offseason the Devils are set to go through yet another change behind the bench, and an announcement could be coming within the next few days.

The name that seems to be jumping to the front of the line on Wednesday night is former Canadiens and Penguins coach Michel Therrien, which comes after former Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said he won't be the team's next coach, according to Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger. Sportsnet's Mike Brophy also mentioned Therrien as a leading contender for the job.

On Wednesday night Chere reported that Carbonneau had not heard from the Devils regarding their opening.
But Carbonneau, 51, who stepped down as head coach of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL) junior team he partly owns, was in Montreal tonight and said he has not heard from the Devils despite applying for the job.

"It's not the first time I've heard (the rumors)," Carbonneau said. "I sent my resume to all the (NHL) teams looking for a coach after the season. Six teams I received no answers."

Carbonneau said he spoke to Devils assistant coach Larry Robinson "because he's back with the team, but nobody called me."

Enter Therrien, who last coached in the NHL during the 2008-09 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins only to be replaced mid-season by Dan Bylsma, who went on to lead the team to a Stanley Cup championship.

I've always felt Therrien would be a great fit on a young team in need of direction (and a swift kick in the rear), similar to the club he inherited in Pittsburgh during the 2005-06 season. I'm not sure the Devils fit that mold at this point, but Therrien does seem to be the type of coach they might look for as he's defensive-minded and kind of a disciplinarian.

If nothing else, the possibility of Therrien returning to the NHL means there's a chance we can see more "tell it like it is" post-game press conferences, and that's something we can all get behind.


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