|May 26, 2012||Tweet|
|Written by Ryan Ma|
|Saturday, 26 May 2012 02:03|
Huge and exciting overtime win for the Devils to clinch the series against the Rangers. They’re off to face the Kings for the Cup starting Wednesday night, which would have given the Kings eight days off.
I think it’s too much time to “rest” and right where “rust” will set in.
The Devils, with the better regular season record, will have home ice advantage over the Kings in the series, which might be the edge needed to get the Devils over the line.
I went out on a limb to pick the Devils to win the Stanley Cup as part of the Dobber “Expert” Panel from the very beginning and copped a bit of flack, especially from Dobber. So far I’m looking like a genius! I also told him that if the Devils win, I’d fly to his house ring his doorbell to point and laugh. Dobber Nation want to sponsor me a plane ticket so I can rub it in his face?
Here’s how I broke down the series.
One of the differences for me heading into the series was that the Rangers had the edge on the blue-line. However, Marek Zidlicky and Bryce Salvador really stepped up and held their own as they both averaged 23:09 and 21:49 in ice-time respectively during the series. Del Zotto had a great first three games, but both he and Marc Staal were virtually non-existent in the final three contests.
With the superstar power status of Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac and Bryce Salvador, Adam Henrique has been the most “clutch” player for the Devils. He’s registered two series clinching goals (one last night and one against the Panthers) this post-season.
Dominek Hasek, 47-years young, is planning a return to the NHL. As great of a goalie he is, are there going to be any teams willing to give him another shot? Is there even any room for him anymore? There would certainly be a few people out there that would condemn Martin Brodeur for returning back next season even if he wins the cup, what would they think of a Hasek return?
With a decent amount of “youngsters” ready to challenge for a full-time NHL gig, plus Tomas Vokoun, Cristobal Huet, Dwayne Roloson, Antero Niittymaki, Chris Mason, Michael Leighton, Dan Ellis, Jonas Gustavsson, Johan Hedberg, Scott Clemmensen, Alex Auld, Martin Biron, Ty Conklin, Cedrick Desjardins, Andrew Raycroft, Al Montoya, Brent Johnson, Marty Turco, Justin Peters and Brodeur all under UFA status in the off-season, does Hasek even stand a chance given that he couldn’t even land a KHL gig last season?
When teams decided to circumvent the CBA by completing a plethora of popular long-term (10-15 year) contracts to reduce salary cap hit, I was quite indifferent. On one hand, I thought it was an ingenious plan, but on the other I was quite skeptical because they were giving players such a giant “free pass”. The plan looks inventive if things are “going well”, but when things turn sour like a “Jeff Carter, Rick DiPietro or even Roberto Luongo” situation it becomes a massive headache in order to offload such an albatross of a contract. This stickler is exactly the roadblock that’s preventing TB from acquiring Luongo. TB doesn’t need a goalie to hold the fort for the next 10-years, especially one that is as volatile as Luongo. So what does Vancouver do if it can’t find a suitor? Do they bite the bullet a la Dany Heatley and just get whatever they can for him and move on? Or do they hold onto him and hope that he regains his form? Or do they pay him $6.714 mil to play backup to Cory Schneider? What about trading Schneider instead and giving Luongo what he wants? Either way they’re in quite the pickle.
According to the column, it appears that Steve Yzerman is after a “younger” goalie like a Jon Bernier or Anders Lindback instead.
Lots of news regarding the Justin Schultz situation, I echo what Chris Nichols said yesterday, basically best plan of option for him is to wait till July 1 and test the free agency market to see which teams are willing to make him the best offer. Why short change yourself and just take only what Anaheim is willing to offer?
Rick Dudley joins the Habs as an assistant GM to Marc Bergevin. If you look at his previous track record with the Lightning, Panthers and Thrashers, it’s probably not a good sign for Hab fans moving forward.
Last week, I came up with of an alternative to get NHL players “interested” in the WC. The WJHC generated at least $22 mil in profit. We are a nation that lives and breathes hockey! However, what grounds would we stand on if we finish seventh in the Olympics, or continue to careless about the WC tournament? Surely landing gold at the Sochi Olympics which leads into being able to host an Olympic event down the road would generate 10 times that amount in terms of tourism and infrastructure. Vancouverites, did the Olympics make your city better?
The Oilers’ head coach gig is still up in the air. Many think that Brent Sutter is the likely target, while Oilers Nation throws their hat in the ring to nominate Ralph Krueger, and others are recommending Todd Nelson.
I probably wouldn’t recommend the last option. If you look at the recent list of AHL to NHL coaching transitions comparing them to their successes, it doesn’t paint a rosy picture.
At best, you’re essentially 50/50 in landing a coach that will be effective at translating success from the AHL level into the NHL level.
I’d go with someone with tons of experience who has been there and done it before. Jacques Martin (613 career wins), Mike Keenan (672), Marc Crawford (549), Paul Maurice (460) and Ron Wilson (648) would be the guys on the top of my list.
Seems like there is a bit of a power struggle between club president John Davidson and GM Doug Armstrong in St. Louis with the owner stuck in the middle of it. If the Blues’ owner decides to let him go, the Oilers could certainly use someone of his mindset in upper management.
Scott Mellanby is “moving on” to “explore other career opportunities”. He’s always been a favorite of mine, who has always demonstrated strong leadership skills along with a solid work ethic. If he lands a coaching gig in the AHL he could become a Dan Bylsma in a couple of years’ time.
The Wild signed Mikael Granlund to an entry level contract the other day, Mike Russo debates whether Granlund or Charlie Coyle is the Wild’s top prospect. Either way with Granlund, Coyle, Jason Zucker, Jonas Brodin and this year’s seventh overall pick at the entry draft, the Wild could be a very solid team in two year’s time.
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Henrique's Overtime Scramble goal.
Beautiful tick-tack-toe passing from the Devils on the PP!
|Last Updated on Saturday, 26 May 2012 02:13|