When the Devils brought back tough guy and fighter Cam Janssen yesterday it was a sign that the Devils weren’t going to take kindly to getting pushed around by the likes of the Flyers and Rangers anymore. Janssen’s signing on top of today’s signing of former Thrashers and Sabres ruffian Eric Boulton should mean that the Devils are going to be doing more of the pushing than taking it.
New Jersey signed Boulton to a two-year, one-way contract and while Boulton is better known for the work with his fists, he had his career best game against the Devils last season. On December 18th 2010, the same night former Thrashers star Ilya Kovalchuk made his first appearance in Atlanta for the season, Boulton recorded a hat trick as the Thrashers rolled to a 7-1 over New Jersey. Boulton’s offensive output was shocking especially since those three goals made up half of his season total for goals scored.
Boulton won’t be coming to New Jersey for his sneaky and rare goal scoring ability though, he’s being brought in to provide protection on the ice and leadership in the locker room off of it. Boulton was a strong leader in the community for the Thrashers even going so far as to speak up against the Atlanta Spirit Group when they failed to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta.
At 34 years-old, Boulton’s been through it all and with how young part of the Devils team will be next season, having his presence there will help them all out both on and off the ice. Boulton can do a bit more than fight and he does play a physical, defensive game. Last season he racked up just 87 penalty minutes, his lowest total since 2006-2007 when he played in just 45 games and had 49 PIMs. Back in 2008-2009, Boulton had 176 penalty minutes, his second highest amount over a ten year career, only eclipsed by the 178 he had in 2002-2003.
One thing’s for sure next season, if you’re going to start anything with the Devils, you’d better be prepared to finish it as with Boulton, Janssen, David Clarkson, Mark Fraser, and Colin White there’s a few guys that can handle themselves well physically all around on the ice. Let’s just say that our interest in Devils games against the rest of the Atlantic Division just got a lot more interesting.
What a story Joseph Blandisi‘s been for the New Jersey Devils this season.
The 21-year-old played in his first NHL game on Dec. 11 and has stayed with the Devils ever since.
It took him five games to pick up his first career point, but he’s done a whole lot more damage since then.
Blandisi came into Saturday’s action with 10 points in his last 12 games and he added to that against the Flyers.
He opened the scoring with this beautiful between-the-legs goal on goalie Michal Neuvirth (top of the page).
That’s Blandisi’s fourth goal of the season.
Some Twitter reaction to the goal:
The Boston Bruins will be without center Patrice Bergeron in Saturday afternoon’s matinee against the Minnesota Wild.
It’s unclear how Bergeron suffered the undisclosed injury, but there’s reason to believe it occurred after he dropped the gloves with Jets forward Blake Wheeler (above).
He’s considered day-to-day at this point.
Losing him for an extended period of time would be devastating for Boston.
“You don’t like seeing your star players (fight), but you also understand that it’s an emotional game and that stuff happens and at one point a player says, ‘Enough is enough and I’m going to stand up for myself,’” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said after the game, as per the Boston Herald.
“From what I gathered there was a lot of slashes behind the legs behind the play and stuff like that. He took things upon himself. As much as you don’t like it, you can’t tell him he’s not allowed. He’s a big boy and he can certainly make some decisions on the ice. And it’s not the first time that he’s fought. But I like the fact that he doesn’t fight much.”
After this incident, there’s no doubt that the Bruins will tell Bergeron to keep his gloves on from now on.
Jets captain Andrew Ladd still doesn’t have a contract for next season and with the Feb. 29 trade deadline approaching, something’s gonna have to give.
According to TSN’s Gary Lawless, the Winnipeg Jets will make one last push to sign the forward before making him available on the trade market.
Ladd doesn’t want to leave and the team wants to keep him, but after Dustin Byfgulien got an extension earlier this month, there may not be enough money to go around.
At one point, the Jets reportedly made Ladd a six-year offer worth $6 million per year, which he obviously didn’t accept.
Can they top that? Time will tell.
Waiting to trade Ladd is probably the smartest decision.
Keeping the captain around would be great, but if the two sides can’t agree to a new contract, there’ll be no shortage of suitors for Ladd’s services.
Lawless mentions the Penguins, Panthers and Blackhawks as potential landing spots for the 30-year-old.
The Kings have also been mentioned as a potential destination for Ladd.
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff will have to make some crucial decisions over the next few weeks.
Michal Neuvirth will make his first start of the month in Saturday’s game against the New Jersey Devils.
The 27-year-old missed five games with a lower-body injury. He was activated off the injured list earlier this week and served as Steve Mason‘s backup in Thursday’s game against Buffalo.
Neuvirth has an 11-6-2 record with a 2.14 goals-against-average and a .933 save percentage in 2015-16.
He’s put up some solid numbers against the Devils in his career. Neuvirth has a 5-2-4 record with 2.03 goals-against-average and a .927 save percentage in games against New Jersey.
Steve Mason, who’s coming off a 41-save performance in a win over Buffalo, hasn’t been as good against Saturday’s opponent.
Mason is 0-7-0 lifetime against the Devils.
Puck drop is at 1:00 p.m. ET.