Posts Tagged ‘Devils’

Penguins 3, Devils 1: Pens Notch First Win Against Devils’ Intramural Team

October 13, 2010

It’s nice to see the Pens finally on the board, and against the unbeatable Devils no less (figured Paper would eventually beat Scissors), but we shouldn’t underestimate how ridiculous/hilarious it was that New Jersey only dressed fifteen skaters for this game. I realize they’re up against the salary cap because of the Kovalchuk deal and they had players injured over the weekend, but the salary cap has existed for five years and I’ve never seen something like this. When the Penguins (or any other team) has players hurt, they’ll do whatever it takes to field a full roster, even if that means chloroforming Wilkes-Barre’s leading scorer in the middle of a shootout attempt and DHLing him to Vancouver overnight in case Eric Godard gets hit with a shot in warmups.

What professional hockey team plays a home game against a division opponent short three players? Are the Devils a college intramural team and a bunch of dudes were just busy that day? Jamie Langenbrunner was in the locker room before the game saying, “Rolston emailed me Friday and said he was around this weekend, I haven’t heard from him since — anyone know if he’s on his way? I know Anton’s got a midterm Monday so he’s out…Hedberg, wanna play up?”

Actually, if they were an intramural team, their name would have to contain more innuendo, something along the lines of, say, the New Jersey Butt-Enders. Maybe they did change their name and that’s why the Pens can finally beat them? Think we’re on to something here.

NEWS IN BR…F: Wednesday, July 28th 2010

July 28, 2010

  • Strasburg Shows Flashes Of Hall-Of-Fame Shoulder Inflammation



  • Bryant: “I’m Not Here To Carry Pads, I’m Here To Field Questions About Carrying Pads For The Next Seven Weeks”



  • Devils Propose Efficient, Hard-To-Watch Defense Of Kovalchuk Contract



  • Bengals Sign Owens To Distract From Distractions



  • Rangers Successfully Convince Frolov The Colby Amstrong Deal Never Happened

Let’s Make Fun Of Stupid Objections To The 17-Year Kovalchuk Deal

July 20, 2010

[UPDATE 7/21: The NHL has tentatively rejected this contract, bringing up a whole new mess of issues. Regardless, here's what I wrote before we learned the NHL was able to do that]

After a lengthy negotiating process, Ilya Kovalchuk has indeed signed a 17-year, $102 million contract with the New Jersey Devils. The length appears striking at first, but the last five years of the deal are all worth $550,000, and $750,000 in the year before that, so in essence, Lou Lamoriello has jumped on the Marian Hossa / Chris Pronger / Henrik Zetterberg bandwagon and taken advantage of the salary cap by dragging Kovalchuk’s average annual cap hit down to just $6 mil with dummy years at the end of the deal that he’ll almost assuredly buy out.

There may be a handful of tricky seasons in between Kovalchuk’s formative years and his inevitable buyout/retirement, but basically, Lamoriello has shrewdly taken advantage of an increasingly-exploited salary cap loophole to keep a bona fide superstar with his franchise at an exceedingly reasonable annual cap hit.

Still, that “17 years” just looks really, really crazy on paper, and it’s brought up a whole series of objections — some legitimate, but most just angrily uninformed — which Scott Burnside lays out in this somewhat-bewildering post. Let’s dissect the four oddest paragraphs:

Some will immediately draw a line between the Kovalchuk deal and the 15-year contract that made netminder Rick DiPietro and the New York Islanders the butt of jokes around the sporting world. Too much. Too long. Those were the prevailing comments in the wake of the much-anticipated signing.

They will? Then “Some” are stupid.

Burnside isn’t making this point himself, fortunately, just relaying the general implication that the Kovalchuk deal is comparable to the albatross the Islanders gave Rick DiPietro (I’m pretty sure they had him sign his name on a literal live albatross), which is completely unfounded. DiPietro’s deal earns him exactly $4.5 million in every year of his deal, for an annual cap hit of $4.5 million — the length of the deal wasn’t deliberately lengthened to drag the cap number down, the Islanders just wanted to lock up DiPietro for fifteen years.

The Kovalchuk deal, by contrast, was deliberately lengthened by the Devils so they could pad the end of the deal with $500k seasons, drag down the average annual cap hit of the contract, and pay Kovalchuk fair market value over the next decade without totally destroying their cap space, giving themselves the option to buy him out with 5-7 years left on the deal once most of the money has been paid and allow Kovalchuk to retire, sign a latter-day NHL contract, or finish his career in the KHL. It’s far more similar to the deal the Blackhawks gave Marian Hossa; the 17-year Kovalchuk deal appears oppressively long-term on paper, but it’s actually far less restrictive to the franchise than, say, a 7-year, $60 mil deal with a $9+ mil cap hit would’ve been.

The Devils will have an awkward decision to make when Kovalchuk turns 36 with 8 years remaining on the contract, about when to precisely buy out his deal — do they take a $6 mil cap hit at age 36, then buy out 7 years, or take another $6 mil hit at 37 and buy out 6 years, or wait further? — but these concerns won’t arise for nearly a decade when the cap will have increased and a new CBA may be in place, and the concerns aren’t nearly as suffocating to the Devils as a shorter-term deal with an $8-10 mil cap hit would have been.

Also, Rick DiPietro is an average goaltender (who’s constantly injured, though he wasn’t before the deal was signed), while Kovalchuk is a perennial 40-goal-superstar. These mysterious “Some” who are comparing the contracts because the number 17 is close to the number 15 are hopelessly uninformed.

Moving on…

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The Devils Should Trade Martin Brodeur, Though Not Really

July 19, 2010

The Devils aren’t going to trade Martin Brodeur. If they did, any positive press they gained by locking up Ilya Kovalchuk to a (really) long-term deal and temporarily loosening Lou Lamoriello’s dubious reputation as an anti free-agent-splash, defense-first-to-a-fault franchise patriarch would be immediately bulldozed by media types declaring Lamoriello more cold-hearted than ever, and the Jersey season ticket vendors don’t need that.

So when I suggest in this post that the New Jersey Devils should trade Martin Brodeur this offseason, I do it with the full knowledge that this suggestion operates in an objective fantasy world free of sentimentality and public perception, and, therefore, I’m not actually suggesting they should do it, just that from a purely analytical hockey perspective, it would make a lot of sense.

Here’s why:

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NEWS IN BR…F: Tuesday, November 17

November 17, 2009

  • Flyers Snap Devils’ 8-Game Win Streak; Lemaire’s Job In Jeopardy



  • College Basketball Begins; ESPN Ticker To Be Useless For Next Five Months



  • Belichick Getting Tired Of Mike Martz’ Texts To Hang Out



  • Knicks Fans Concerned Iverson May Take Shots Away From Whoever’s On Their Team Now



  • Chargers Still Not Totally Sold On Chargers

Devils 4, Penguins 1: Anyone Surprised By The Devils’ Success Should Quit At Life

November 13, 2009

Right now, Dan Byslma is you in college when you were really hungry but it was snowing really hard out so you couldn’t leave your place to get food, so you look in the cupboard to see what you have and there’s a bag of penne pasta, a half-eaten cantaloupe, some sour cream, and a four-year-old pack of baking soda, and you actually think to yourself, “hmm, what’s the best way I can combine these ingredients to make a meal…maybe use the sour cream as a sauce for the cantaloupe and penne pasta? Then pretend the baking soda is Parmesan cheese?” No matter what you do, you’re going to end up vomiting.

That’s basically where the Penguins are right now — there’s just no way to mix and match their personnel or to change their tempo or style of play or flip-flop power play positions or anything to disguise the fact that their healthy, active roster is not the healthy, active roster of a good NHL team. We may be impressed by the occasional Chris Bourque or Chris Conner burst of speed up the wing or hustle play, but these guys are barely 4th line NHL players, let alone guys capable of handling the secondary scoring burden for a team whose remaining primary scorers also aren’t scoring. Even though the Pens played an intermittently dominant first thirty minutes, and the Devils were on back-to-back games, the outcome of this affair shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Speaking of surprises, every hockey writer, broadcaster, and fan who gushes about how “surprisingly” well the Devils are playing right now should be fired from being able to follow the NHL (including the fans somehow). Every single analyst just handed the Atlantic Division to the Pens or Flyers in preseason (besides uhhhhhthisguy), and some people predicted the Devils’ outright downfall, including most prominently Scott Burnside, who had the Devils at #24 in the ESPN Preseason Power Poll.

I’m not sure of any way to phrase this that doesn’t sound patronizing, so here it is: THE DEVILS ARE ALWAYS GOOD, YOU EFFING DUMBASSES.

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Devils Re-Hire Jacques Lemaire In Diabolical Plan To Lure Malkin To Sleep

July 13, 2009

ESPN:

Jacques Lemaire is returning for a second stint as coach of the New Jersey Devils.

Contract terms were not disclosed but the 63-year-old Lemaire said he intends to coach at least two seasons.

“But in reality,” interjected GM Lou Lamoriello, “I’m gonna fire him or have him shadily resign waaaaay before that. Maybe before the end of this season, even. I must feast on blood to sustain my undead existence. Oops, kept talking there, my bad.”

“I’ve heard a lot of ex-coaches say often that it is really hard to get out of this because we love the game and it is exciting and it’s fun,” Lemaire said.

“Come to think of it,”Lemaire added, “I’m not really sure what they mean with that ‘fun and exciting’ part, unless they’re talking about the ‘fun’ of screaming at four out of five interchangably average players to backcheck vigoriously as soon as we have a one-goal lead.”

Lemaire went on, “I’m just gonna get my team to buy into a simple acronym — D-E-V-I-L-S. D stands for “Defense,” E stands for “Even More Defense,” V stands for “Very Responsible Defense,” I stands for “I Always Remember To Play Defense,” L stands for “Less Defense Is What I Do Not Want To Play,” and S stands for “Seriously You Guys, Play A Lot Of Defense.”

Pens Lose Giant, Humorously Oafish Defenseman; Add Giant, Humorously Oafish Forward

July 1, 2009

The Penguins unsurprisingly watched Hal Gill sign with the Montreal Canadiens today for two years, $4.5 million — a price a bit too step for the Pens’ cap situation, which will likely put them on the market for a bargain-basement comeback-type Mark Eaton-ish stay-at-home defenseman should they end up losing out on Rob Scuderi too (an increasingly likely situation, claims ESPN’s Burnside/LeBrun blog). They’ll likely wait a bit longer into the free agency period then audition giant dudes to see who’s best at accidentally deflecting the puck past Fleury.

The Penguins’ only signing of the day was the addition of 6’5″ ex-Devils winger Mike Rupp, who signed for 2 years, $1.65 million. I anecdotally remember Rupp as a giant forward who Jersey occassionally threw on the power play and would score annoying goals against the Penguins, but in his last three seasons with the Devils, he’s only notched seasons of 6, 3, and 3 goals (with a total of 2 power play points). He’s 29, and only has 27 goals in 335 career games, with a career high mark of 6 (twice!) I hesitate to believe there’s even the slightest bit of untapped scoring potential in this player; he looks to be a straight-up fourth liner, with a best-case scenario as an occasional second power play get-to-the-net type guy. Not a terrible depth move, but not much to get excited about.

Canes Beat Devils Again, According To SI

May 9, 2009

My friend Sami pointed out an eentsy little mistake on SI.com’s Top Stories section last night at 10:30 — see if you can spot it!

Canes beat devils_1

In case you missed it, here’s SI’s embarrassing NHL coverage much larger:

Picture 9

Man, kind of inconsiderate of the Hurricanes to call up the Devils, organize another hockey game, and beat them again after they’ve already been eliminated, don’t you think?

I’m glad Sports Illustrated is taking advantage of ESPN’s weak NHL coverage and really snatching up that hockey fan demographic with this immensely detailed, correct NHL journalism — I had no idea this Canes/Devils game even took place last night.

April Fools! Brodeur Was Terrible

April 1, 2009

The Pens manhandled the hopelessly slumping Devils 6-1 tonight, thanks largely to an abysmal performance from really solid goalie who stayed healthy and played a lot of games on a perennial Cup contender in the NHL’s lowest-scoring era winningest goalie of all time Martin Brodeur. Marty has now lost his last 6 starts and allowed 28 goals in that span for a poor but not suicidal 3.5 GA per game, and with only five games left in the regular season Jersey’s running out of time to right the ship; if they end up in a 3-vs-6 game against New York with Ranger fans descending on Newark to give their team a series of 7 home games, they’re hyperscrewed. It’s still a little early in the season for Lou Lamoriello to think about firing his coach though.

As for the Pens, they came in well-rested against a slumping opponent, got to the net, banged in a few quick ones and — wait for it — DIDN’T BLOW THEIR INITIAL 2-0 LEAD!!!! Fleury looked a mite shaky in the First on a couple rebounds, but the outcome of this game was never really in doubt. Being in the NY Metro area, I had to watch the MSG+ coverage, and listening to Devils color man Glenn “Chico” Resch complain about the officiating in a game where the winning goal was scored six minutes and thirty-one seconds into the First Period was just gravy on a wonderful birthday cake of a game (and if you’ve never poured gravy on cake, you’re missing out).

Back to picking on the Devils — we can rip on Ray Shero as much as we want for that Miroslav Satan signing, and lord knows we have, but to understand his thinking behind that one-year deal, you don’t have to look beyond the Devils’ signing of Brian Rolston to a 4-year, $20 million contract this past offseason, which currently stands as the single worst contract currently in the NHL. The Scott Gomez and Rick DiPietro deals are right up there, but the Devils — who, ironically, rarely dabble in the unrestricted free agency maket — are currently locked into paying Rolston, a 36-year-old third-liner with 14 G and 14 A in 58 GP this year, $5 million a year until the next Presidential Election. Makes you want to start French kissing Ruslan Fedotenko, doesn’t it?

The Pens meet their sudden storied archrivals, the Carolina Hurricanes, on Saturday night, a rivalry even more intense and more out of frickin’ nowhere than the Panthers one last month.


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