If you thought that things were going to stop being interesting in New Jersey once Ilya Kovalchuk’s situation was squared away, you’ve got another thing coming. Rich Chere finds out from Devils coach John MacLean that one prominent Devil will be switching his position and seemingly making the left wing a bit crowded this year.
But as the Devils’ new head coach prepared to take part in the team’s annual alumni golf classic today at Upper Montclair Country Club, MacLean did say he considers Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias all left wingers.
If that is the case, one of those very talented players would be a third-liner.
“We’ll see what positions we’re going to put everybody in,” MacLean said. “I think Patty’s going to be a left winger, though.”
Will they be on three different lines?
“Could be,” MacLean said. “I’m not going to tell you one way or the other what I’m going to do right now. You can guess all you want. I’m not going to tell you what my lines are going to be. Patrik is going to be a left winger.”
That sounded definitive enough.
Perhaps there’s more to this and either Zach Parise or Ilya Kovalchuk could slide over to the right wing side to make room for Elias to play the left wing. If shot-handedness is a concern for anyone, Kovalchuk is a right-handed shot so perhaps a move to the right side could work there.
After all, it’s training camp and that’s the time to try new things out. Being loaded up along the left wing side could be a great way to bring scoring balance to three lines. Of course, none of this takes into account any possible moves the Devils might have forthcoming to get under the salary cap. In other words, we’ll wait and see what happens next before breaking things down like scientists.
“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).
Bad news for Boedker: Coyotes won’t face Sens again in 2015-16