Paul Martin says Devils were never a factor in free agency, expects to get booed by fans

Penguins defenseman Paul Martin’s off-season was filled with intrigue as an unrestricted free agent. When teams came calling bidding for his services, he had two serious competitors in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.

The team missing from that list was his former team the New Jersey Devils. Did Martin spurn the Devils to sign with their divisional rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins? According to Martin, it wasn’t like that at all as he tells Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger.

Martin actually thought he might stay with the Devils. But when it became obvious that general manager Lou Lamoriello’s focus was on Ilya Kovalchuk, the 29-year-old defenseman signed a five-year, $25 million deal with the Penguins on July 1.

“There really wasn’t any offer. It was more of seeing where I was at,” Martin recalled. “We really didn’t get anywhere during the time they could’ve offered me a contract. Me and (agent) Ben Hankinson figured out that Kovy was their main priority.

“When the day (July 1) came it was a matter of having to wait to see where the pieces fell and if Kovy would sign here. That would’ve been nice knowing they could’ve signed me and Kovy, but it happened so fast. You don’t have the time to weigh your options.”

Kovalchuk or bust for New Jersey seems rather appropriate considering how their off-season went. Getting to splurge on Anton Volchenkov and Henrik Tallinder seemed like hefty spending after getting things squared away with Kovalchuk.

As for the greeting Martin expects to get in New Jersey tomorrow night as the Devils take on the Penguins, Martin is hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

“I’m sure they will boo. I saw it with Nieder,” Martin said in recalling Scott Niedermayer’s return to New Jersey with the Ducks. “How do you boo a guy like that? I just hope it’s not as bad for me as it was with Scott Gomez when he was playing for the Rangers.”

The parallels are certainly available as far as things between Martin and Gomez go. Both signed with teams within the division for good money (or in Gomez’s case, insane money) but I don’t imagine that many Devils fans were holding out hope that Paul Martin would stick around in New Jersey, especially with Ilya Kovalchuk’s status as a free agent looming.

That said, if they booed Scott Niedermayer in New Jersey, there’s really no hope for Paul Martin to get by unscathed. That is, unless, Devils fans have gotten in touch with their cuddly side the last couple of years.

(Photo: Jonathan Daniel – Getty Images)

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    Bylsma: ‘We need to get more’ out of Reinhart

    EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 16:  Sam Reinhart #23 of the Buffalo Sabres warms up before the game against the Edmonton Oilers on October 16, 2016 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
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    Sam Reinhart has two assists through four games this season, and Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has made a move with the hope of getting the 20-year-old forward going offensively.

    As per John Vogl of the Buffalo News on Sunday, Reinhart has been moved to the middle between Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons, while Matt Moulson was moved to the top line with Ryan O'Reilly and Kyle Okposo.

    Reinhart, a 23-goal scorer from last season, had two assists through the first two games, but has been kept off the score sheet in Buffalo’s last two contests.

    Outside of that six-goal outburst versus Edmonton last weekend, scoring has been an issue for the Sabres early in the season. So adjustments to the forward combinations is to be expected.

    “Sam needs to get a little bit more feet moving, a little bit more speed to his game,” said Bylsma, as per the Buffalo News.

    “He’s made some great plays for us early on – power play and five-on-five for the Okposo goal – but we need to get more out of Sam, moving his feet more, playing a little bit faster, a little bit quicker and providing a little bit more offense for our team.”

    The Sabres, without two key forwards in Jack Eichel and Evander Kane with long-term injuries, which would help explain the team’s early offensive issues, conclude a four-game road trip Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

    The Sabres also called up forward Hudson Fasching and defenseman Casey Nelson from Rochester in the AHL.

    P.K. Subban clearly had a blast as Titans’ 12th man

    P.K. Subban
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    When P.K. Subban shows up at your event, you expect to be entertained. And he basically always delivers.

    His trend of delighting Nashville Predators fans continued on Sunday, as he made a glorious appearance as the Tennessee Titans’ “12th Man.”

    If you close your eyes and picture a scene, you probably wouldn’t be that far off; it still doesn’t make this any less fantastic. (Even if the Titans eventually dropped a 34-26 loss to the Colts.)

    The photo he posted on his personal Twitter account was great:

    This GIF of him using a sword feels like it will get some mileage on Twitter. After totally convincing other people about your sports/political/hot-dog-being-a-sandwich opinion, and then drop the P.K. dagger:

    Was the Titans jersey not lasting for long predictable or unexpected?

    Opinion: this was the Titans game to attend since they fell a yard short of beating the Rams.

    Don’t glare: Heritage Classic start time delayed

    WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - OCTOBER 22: Cam Talbot #33 of the Edmonton Oilers skates during practice in preparation for the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic alumni hockey game on October 22, 2016 at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Oilers play the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 23, 2016. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images)
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    Update: Puck drop is now scheduled for 4:53 p.m. ET.


    It’s not a familiar situation for the NHL, but it has happened before: a weather delay for a hockey game.

    The Winnipeg Jets confirmed that the start time for their Heritage Classic game against the Edmonton Oilers has been delayed. The glare of the sun appears to be too much.

    At the moment, it is not yet known how severe the delay will be. Puck drop was originally scheduled for just after 3 p.m. ET.

    That’s a bummer, but at least it inspired a joke that would probably make Ilya Bryzgalov smile:

    Warm-ups were moved to 4 p.m. ET. PHT will keep you posted if there are any other changes.

    Great news: Jacques Demers back at home after hospital stay

    MONTREAL- NOVEMBER 22:   Former Montreal Canadiens goalie Patrick Roy embraces his former head coach Jacques Demers during his retirement ceremony before the game against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre on November 22, 2008 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Bruins defeated the Canadiens 3-2 in a shootout.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
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    OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Former Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Demers is back at home after going to a hospital Saturday.

    Demers’ Senate office would only confirm that the 72-year-old Demers, a Canadian senator, was at home Sunday, but didn’t provide any details about the reason he went to the hospital.

    Demers had suffered a stroke in April, but he was at the Canadiens’ home opener Tuesday night, smiling in a wheelchair while handing a torch to captain Max Pacioretty to close out a pregame ceremony.

    Demers led the Canadiens to their most recent Stanley Cup in 1993. He also coached the Quebec Nordiques, the Detroit Red Wings and the St. Louis Blues.

    Demers was appointed to the Senate in 2009 by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but later left the Conservative caucus in December to sit as an Independent.

    At the time, he said he was uncomfortable with some of the fallout from the Senate expenses scandal and didn’t like to have to vote the Conservative party line all the time.