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
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
“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.
For two periods, the San Jose Sharks couldn’t solve Pekka Rinne.
Maybe it was because of that black cat that found its way on to the ice prior to the start of Friday’s game, or the video review that didn’t go in San Jose’s favor in the opening period.
But that all changed in the final period. It started with Tomas Hertl on the power play finding room just under the glove of Rinne to get San Jose on the board. Joel Ward followed that up with a gorgeous deke, tucking the puck in behind Rinne just as he started to go behind the net, as San Jose was able to take advantage of a defensive breakdown.
Logan Couture added the eventual winner. Within the span of 13 minutes, the Sharks had completely taken over, cashing in on two Nashville penalties and a defensive lapse.
When the onslaught was over, the Sharks skated off with a 5-2 win in Game 1 of this second-round series with the Predators, who only wrapped up a seven-game series win over Anaheim on Wednesday.
Ryan Johansen made it interesting, cutting into San Jose’s lead with under two minutes remaining, but any further comeback attempt was quickly halted by a pair of empty net goals from the Sharks.
The game ended with a dust-up along the boards, before cooler heads did prevail.
Another day, another University of North Dakota player deciding to enter the professional hockey ranks.
This time, it was 21-year-old forward Luke Johnson who turned pro following his junior year, as he signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.
In 43 games with the NCAA champs this season, Johnson scored 11 goals and 21 points, just shy of his college career high of 24 points set the previous year.
Johnson will forgo his senior year at North Dakota, making him the fourth member of that program’s junior class to turn pro since the end of the season. Keaton Thompson signed with the Anaheim Ducks, Troy Stecher inked with the Vancouver Canucks and Paul LaDue signed with the L.A. Kings.
Senior forward Drake Caggiula, now a free agent, has reportedly narrowed down his list of NHL suitors to six teams.
Brock Boeser, Vancouver’s 2015 first-round pick and coming off an impressive freshman year, will return to North Dakota for his sophomore year, as per Canucks general manager Jim Benning earlier this month.
Perhaps it’s an ominous sign of bad luck to come, but for which team?
Prior to puck drop between the host San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in Game 1 on Friday, a black cat hit the ice at SAP Center, taking a nervous stroll along the boards.
Not sure exactly where it came from, although it’s possible someone was feeling extra superstitious before the start of this series.
Official update on the really important story of the evening:
The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.
Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.
As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.
The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.
Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.
Elliott was furious after the Stars opened the scoring in the second period, as Antoine Roussel tallied on a rebound after yet another nice Dallas passing play in the offensive zone.
Stars forward Patrick Eaves left the game early in the third period and didn’t play another shift after being hit in the lower part of his leg with the puck from a point shot.