Lamoriello says Lemaire will return as Devils' coach

Lou Lamoriello is generally considered the best GM in the business.
He’s created a franchise that has been insanely successful, built on
great defense and goaltending and one that has remained competitive year
after year.

Yet after three straight incredibly disappointing
first round exits, especially this year after losing in five games to
the Philadelphia Flyers, there are thoughts that big changes should be
made. Perhaps the NHL and the game of hockey have passed up the Devils
and the system that was used to win Stanley Cups in two of four years is
no longer successful in the playoffs.

To me, it seemed that the
Devils had the coaching and the skill to be successful this postseason,
this was just a team that was directionless and full of players that
just weren’t motivated to play as hard as the team they were facing. Is
that the coach’s fault? Is Jacques Lemaire to blame for this failure,
after the Devils had been building under Brent Sutter? Should the Devils
just blow it up, trade Brodeur and move forward?

Today, in a conference call with the media, Lamoriello says that
he’s happy with the goaltending and that we should expect Lemaire back
in New Jersey next season. Rich Chere of The Star Ledger has the
transcript; here’s
a taste:

“I am certainly happy with the job
Jacques has done. And I’m not unhappy
with the effort put in. We just didn’t get thinsg done the way it had
to be done. You can go over each and every game and look at the turning
points. What was positive and what was negtaive. I’m looking at myself
right now. I’m nit even thinking about anything else. I’m evaluating
myself the best way I can of what potentially might have been able to be

He says the Devils will work hard to extend
Ilya Kovalchuk, and that he’s happy with Jamie Langenbrunner as captain.
He also said multiple times that Lemaire will be back, and that he
won’t blame the Olympics for the struggles of the Devils.

So the big blow up that some think is needed? Sounds like that won’t
happen anytime soon.

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    Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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    So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

    The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

    No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

    He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.

    Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

    Carey Price
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    There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

    Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

    ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

    So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

    Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

    (But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)

    Lightning lament life as a .500 team

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning have plenty of time to rise above mediocrity, yet it still must be deserving to finish at .500 for two straight months.

    After last night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, that’s exactly where they find themselves:

    Record at the end of October: 5-5-2

    Record at the end of November: 11-11-3

    As of this writing, the Lightning found themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It all stands as a pretty tough thing for the reigning Eastern Conference champs to swallow.

    The uncomfortable-yet-vital question is: can the Lightning break out of this funk?

    Looking at their schedule, it won’t be easy, at least not right away.

    They crawl through California during a three-game road trip to start December, and they also face six of eight on the road from Dec. 2 – 18.

    The Lightning soak up home dates to finish 2015 after that, but what damage will be done by then?

    Frankly, the Bolts will need to dig deep to break this pattern. If nothing else, they’ve fought with their backs against the wall before.

    Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby


    Sometimes a suspension will shame a player, or at least inspire him to change the way he plays.

    That apparently won’t happen regarding Brandon Dubinsky‘s one-game timeout session for cross-checking Sidney Crosby.

    Dubinsky told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he won’t alter his style, whether it’s against Crosby or someone else.

    “Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”

    In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.

    One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.

    Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?

    Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).