New Jersey Devils Introduce John MacLean As Head Coach

Anxious to find out who will coach the Devils? You won’t find out this week

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Aside from Lindy Ruff in Buffalo or Barry Trotz in Nashville, there aren’t many coaches who can say they’ve enjoyed genuine long-term job security in the NHL. Even keeping that general atmosphere of instability in mind, New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has developed a reputation for being an especially reactionary executive when it comes to firing coaches.

(It’s not bad luck alone that explains why he will hire his seventh coach in seven seasons, after all.)

Perhaps that checkered past explains why Lamoriello is taking his sweet time to name a new bench boss this time around, then. The Devils are the only team in the league that is without a head coach, leading to plenty of speculation (some if it even reasonable) during the last few months.

Some thought that Kirk Muller or Guy Carbonneau might inject some new life into the Devils scheme. Others wondered if the team might go with a safer “retread” such as former Pittsburgh Penguins coach Michel Therrien or former Devils foe Ken Hitchcock. All kinds of interesting names have been bandied about, but nothing has come to fruition so far.

Lamoriello told assembled media members that the rumor mill will be able to keep generating hot air for at least the rest of this week, too.

“We will have a coach in the very near future, but not this week,” Lamoriello said.

Lamoriello was also asked if any of the coaches running the team’s camp, including Larry Robinson, Scott Stevens, Adam Oates, Chris Terreri, Jacques Caron, former Trenton (ECHL) coach Kevin Dean or Albany coach Rick Kowalski, would be in line for the position.

“I’m not going to get into discussions with reference to the coaching staff or anything of that nature,” he said. “There’s (no coach) that has been named, so you can interpret it any way you want.”

As usual, Lamoriello is doing things his own way. The most torturous part for impatient types is that he didn’t even commit to making a decision next week, either. That being said, he might want to make that choice soon with Zach Parise’s potential arbitration hearing on the horizon. We’ll keep you informed whether he makes that choice this week, next week or in a month or three.

Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

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The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

More on the statue from the Devils:

The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

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The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

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In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

The Islanders also have a game in hand.

Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

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The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.