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.
Alex Burrows doesn’t want a trade out of Vancouver and he wants to make sure everyone knows it.
On Saturday, Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman reported that Burrows was potentially willing to waive his no-trade clause if a deal came up.
When asked about the report, Burrows went into denial mode.
“There’s no truth to that,” Burrows told beat reporter Ben Kuzma. “I’ve never talked to management or coaches about it.
“Last time I talked to my agent was to wish him Merry Christmas.”
Whether or not Burrows is willing to accept a deal out of Vancouver may be irrelevant.
The 34-year-old has seven goals and 16 points in 53 games this season, and he comes with a cap hit of $4.5 million dollars next season.
That’s pretty steep for a guy who’s on pace to score just 25 points this year.
If the Canucks want to find a taker for his services (assuming he’s willing to go), they’ll likely have to take a good-sized contract back or they’ll have to eat some of his remaining salary.
It makes sense that a swift bit of history happened in a game in which three goals were scored scored on three shots in about three minutes.
Brad Marchand found the net eight seconds in after an icing call, setting a new record for the Boston Bruins.
(You can see that goal in the video above.)
Watch that three-goal burst in this video:
The two teams weren’t done then. Loui Eriksson made it 3-1 while Pavel Datsyuk scored his 900th point to make it 3-2.
Maybe the best moment wasn’t a goal: Torey Krug was seemingly hurt by a Pavel Datsyuk hit, yet he returned without missing much time.
When the New Jersey Devils shut down a team 1-0, it’s usually with Cory Schneider in net.
Their workhorse got the afternoon off against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, yet Keith Kinkaid did his Schneider impression, grabbing his first NHL shutout in the process.
It was a low-event game with just 46 combined shots on goal, but Kinkaid had to work, stopping all 28 shots. To give you an idea of how tight this game was, the only tally was credited to David Schlemko on the power play.
This gives the Devils three straight wins. They managed to climb into third place in the Metropolitan Division, although New Jersey’s edge is a little misleading; the Islanders trail them by one standings point while holding three games in hand.
That leaves the Islanders in the bottom wild card spot, while the Penguins aren’t so far behind either.
Third in Metro: Devils – 65 points with 57 games played
Second wildcard: Islanders – 64 points, 54 GP
First spot outside the East playoffs: Penguins – 63 points, 54 GP
So, the Devils’ hold of a playoff spot is a bit tenuous, yet the bottom line is that they’re staying in the mix.
The Kings, meanwhile, remain comfortably in first in the Pacific.
The Boston Bruins (without Patrice Bergeron) take on the Detroit Red Wings (missing Jonathan Ericsson) on Sunday afternoon.
It’s a matchup between the second-ranked and third-ranked teams in the Atlantic Division, with little separating the two in the standings.
You can watch the game on NBC and also stream it online via the link below.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE