Losing in the first round of the playoffs has become an all too common occurrence for the New Jersey Devils the last few seasons. Sure, they make the playoffs and have a great amount of success in the regular season, but bowing out in the first round has been a reality for the Devils the last three seasons.
After the Flyers eliminated the Devils in five games last night, the most surprising thing to come about is that there is some speculation courtesy of The Sporting News’ Ray Slover that if big changes are going to come to the Devils next season the first person to possibly be shown the door is future hall of famer Martin Brodeur.
GM Lou Lamoriello already has had a temper tantrum, and as architect of the Devils he is ultimately responsible not just for the team’s failure now, but where the franchise must go after this disappointment.
Changes are coming. Big changes.
And they could begin with Martin Brodeur. We must ask: Is it time for the Devils to part company with the man who carried them to three Stanley Cups and holds most of the NHL’s goaltending records?
That’s a mighty big can of worms to go opening up while Devils fans are sore as hell about losing. If you’re thinking that the Devils lost their series to the Flyers because of Brodeur, then perhaps some perspective is needed. The number of goals scored by the Devils in the series: Nine, and five of those were in the Devils Game 2 victory.
Is this the right climate to sell high on Martin Brodeur though? Ah, there’s the rub, especially with players like Evgeni Nabokov and Marty Turco destined for unrestricted free agency this summer. Finding a good goaltender via free agency, while definitely risky, can be done. The catch though for Lou Lamoriello if he was to think of moving Martin Brodeur is that some teams might want to roll the dice with a younger (Brodeur turns 38 in May) more easily accessible guy from the unrestricted free agency pile or take an even bigger risk on a restricted free agent (Jaroslav Halak or Carey Price for instance).
Getting what he might think would be an appropriate package for a Hall of Fame goaltender who can still perform at the highest level could prove difficult. All that aside, of all the people who might leave New Jersey, Brodeur is probably lowest on the list of candidates with head coach Jacques Lemaire and soon-to-be free agent Ilya Kovalchuk ranking out a bit higher.
Brandon Dubinsky has been suspended one game for his cross-check to the back of Sidney Crosby‘s neck.
The incident took place during the second period of Friday’s game.
Crosby did head to the locker room after the play, but he was able to return.
When deciding on the number of games to give Dubinsky, here’s what the NHL took into account:
- Dubinsky delivered a clear cross-check.
- Dubinsky has been fined before, but never suspended.
- Crosby wasn’t seriously injured on the play.
“In this case, while Dubinsky’s cross-check isn’t overly violent or forceful, it is an intentional strike to an opponent’s head using his stick,” the NHL said in their explanation of the play. “This is not a case where the head contact was caused by a sudden movement by Crosby or by a stick riding up a player’s back or shoulders and making subsequent contact with the head.”
Click on the video at the top of the page to watch the NHL’s full explanation.
The Blue Jackets take on the Blues in St. Louis tonight.
The Edmonton Oilers activated defenseman Justin Schultz off injured reserve and assigned Griffin Reinhart to the minors.
Schultz has missed the last 14 games because of a back injury, but he’ll suit up in Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The 25-year-old has one assist and a minus-6 rating in nine games in ’15-16.
Here’s his interview with Oilers TV from earlier today:
Reinhart was acquired in an off-season trade with the New York Islanders this summer.
The former fourth overall pick has no points and a minus-1 rating in 12 games with the Oilers.
James Reimer (lower body) won’t be available to play in Saturday’s game against Washington.
Reimer was injured during a team practice earlier this week and although the injury didn’t appear to be serious, it will prevent him from suiting up in at least one game.
The Leafs originally thought that the 27-year-old would be good to go for this tilt, but head coach Mike Babcock said Reimer didn’t feel good enough to play.
Reimer’s emerged as the go-to-guy for the Maple Leafs this season and for good reason.
He has 7-3-4 record with a 2.07 goals-against-average and a .934 save percentage in 15 games.
Another reason the Leafs have been counting on him so much is because Jonathan Bernier‘s been awful.
Bernier will get another opportunity to prove himself on Saturday night, but he faces a stiff test against Alex Ovechkin and company.
The 27-year-old has an 0-7-1 record with a 3.17 goals-against-average and a .895 save percentage in ’15-16.
In a corresponding move, the Leafs sent defenseman Scott Harrington to the minors and recalled goalie Garret Sparks.
Sparks was Toronto’s seventh round pick in 2011.
The 22-year-old has an 8-2-1 record with the Toronto Marlies this season.
The Rangers are getting ready for their second straight matinee game on Saturday, but head coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t done addressing yesterday’s loss to the Bruins.
After Friday’s game, Bruins coach Claude Julien wasn’t pleased with Henrik Lundqvist‘s “acting” that led to a goalie interference penalty being called on forward Brad Marchand (above) and he let everyone know it in his postgame press conference.
On Saturday, it was Alain Vigneault’s turn to lash out.
“Well, (the Rangers public relations staff) filled me in a little bit on what was said after the game,” Vigneault said via the New York Daily News. “I mean it’s a little disappointing. Obviously everybody saw the knee to the head. The comments on Hank were very inappropriate. The way Hank conducts himself, on the ice, away from the rink, off the ice, the example that he sets. Who would you rather have as a son, Henrik Lundqvist or Brad Marchand? For him to say things like that about Hank, totally wrong, and probably Claude is getting a little older and needs to check his eyesight.”
The Rangers will take on the Flyers at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.