At this point in the season, there really isn’t any doubt left: the New Jersey Devils are the worst team in the NHL.
You can make arguments regarding their on-paper talent or perhaps you’d rather point to their almost-as-inept Conference mates in Buffalo, but for pure results, it’s no contest. They’ve produced a league-low nine points despite being tied for the second-most games played (15 … only the Chicago Blackhawks played more with 17). They’ve scored only 25 goals and allowed 48, making their -23 goal differential the NHL’s worst by eight. (The closest “contender” is their free-falling division rivals, the New York Islanders.)
So, again, the Devils are the worst team in the league by just about any big picture, objective standard.
Despite these facts, embattled first-year coach John MacLean is saying all the right things. At least, he’s saying them publicly, as he told Rich Chere of the Newark Star Ledger.
“I’m fine. We’ll get through this,” MacLean said today. “As a (coaching) staff we’re going to get through this. We have to keep believing, and we do.
“It’s not easy and it’s not going to be easy. We have to keep our energy up and our enthusiasm up, come in every day and do our workl and get this thing turned around. I have confidence in myself and in the coaching staff that we’ll get this going in the right direction.”
While a few games might skew the numbers, click here for some of the numbers from the Devils’ rocky start. We’ll see if MacLean confidently leads the Devils out of their bleak situation or gets fired soon enough.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: