Paul Martin waiting for a new coach before talking with Devils

1-pmartin.jpgThe New Jersey Devils have their hands full this off-season to say the least. On their docket they havd to look for a new head coach (again) as well as decide what they’re going to do about negotiating with soon-to-be unrestricted free agents forward Ilya Kovalchuk and defenseman Paul Martin. Paul Martin, however, wants some assurances first.

Meanwhile, Martin told The Post that he and GM Lou Lamoriello agreed to wait until after a new Devils coach is hired to discuss contract. That scenario could be troublesome, considering that Jacques Lemaire was hired last July 13 and other teams could swoop up Martin, who made $4.5 million last season, on July 1.

Martin waiting to see who will be named coach isn’t exactly a subtle shot across the bow for Lamoriello and could provide the first in what may turn out to be franchise method changing decisions for the Devils. We all know the Devils don’t exactly employ the most offensively flexible way of playing hockey. With hugely gifted offensive stars like Zach Parise just itching for some freedom, a puck-moving offensively gifted defenseman like Paul Martin waiting things out to see who the boss will be says a lot for what at least he wants to see happen. Martin also has all the leverage here.

There’s not exactly a lot of greatness to be had when it comes to defensemen on the free agent market this summer as ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun talked about earlier this year. Aside from Martin you’ve got Sergei Gonchar out there and Stephane Robidas as well. The difference between guys like Robidas and Gonchar with Paul Martin is that Martin is decidedly younger. Gonchar is 36 years-old while Robidas is 33 and Martin is just 29. If you’re a team looking to improve your blue line the easy yet expensive way, getting someone with a skill set like what Paul Martin has could and should be the way to go.

Now the question that remains is, will Loophole Lou blink first? If history tells us anything, the answer is a firm, “No.”


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    Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

    Niklas Kronwall
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    When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

    (His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

    It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

    He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

    First, the Kronwalling:

    Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

    It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

    Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

    Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

    Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

    Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

    It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

    To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

    The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

    That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

    They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

    Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


    More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

    In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

    Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

    Jack Eichel
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    The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

    You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

    That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

    Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

    Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


    Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

    While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

    The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?