Ilya Kovalchuk

Poll: Are the New Jersey Devils the most entertaining team left in the playoffs?


I asked the above question last night on Twitter after the Devils had eliminated the Flyers, and the replies I got from my tens and tens of followers were practically unanimous.

“Yes and I am flabbergasted by that.” — @BAR_DOWN

“100% yes, and it’s not close. At least 3 goals in 7 straight games.” — @ComfortableCam

“Unfreakingbelievable we’re even contemplating such a question.” – @Hibackhand

Nobody called me crazy for asking.

Of the four other remaining teams — the Capitals, Rangers, Coyotes and Kings – only Los Angeles has managed to score consistently in the playoffs.

Now, to be fair to the Capitals, Rangers and Coyotes, the Devils got to play Philadelphia, a team that doesn’t mind trading chances. (Or, against New Jersey, just give them up.)

But what does it say that we’re even wondering whether a team that’s become synonymous with defensive hockey could be the most exciting one of the five left?

Do we credit New Jersey for acquiring a player like Ilya Kovalchuk and employing a slightly more up-tempo style? Remember, signing Kovalchuk to an enormous contract was more than just a hockey move. In many ways, it was a business deal. Owner Jeff Vanderbeek wanted to provide a more entertaining product for the fans in hopes of improving attendance that had continued to languish despite three Stanley Cup championships since 1995.

Or, is it less about the Devils than the trend towards defensive hockey that emphasizes protecting leads, not building on them.

Or, is New Jersey still boring and I’m completely off base here?


Avs unveil new third jerseys

Avs Jerseys
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The Avalanche will be throwing a bunch of different looks at us this season.

Having already released specialized “Mile High” jerseys for February’s Stadium Series game, the Avs unveiled new third sweaters on Friday — less than 24 hours after a bitter 5-4 home loss to Minnesota in their season opener.

(Guess Colorado wanted to send out some good vibes after blowing a 4-1 third-period lead.)

While undoubtedly exciting for the organization, the release of these new thirds isn’t taking anybody by surprise. Last month, several websites published leaked images of Colorado’s and Anaheim’s third jerseys, so the design has been in the public eye for several weeks.

The Avs will debut these new thirds on Oct. 24, in a Saturday night tilt against Columbus.

Related: Roy explains why he didn’t call time out

Report: Escrow set at 16 percent

Gary Bettman, Donald Fehr
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Hey, remember in June when the NHLPA voted to keep the five-percent growth factor in spite of increasing worries about escrow?

Well, here’s why that decision was a significant one, via TSN’s Frank Seravalli:

With early revenue projections in place, the NHL and NHLPA set the escrow withholding rate for players at 16 per cent for the first quarter of the season on Thursday.

That means every player will have 16 per cent of earnings deducted from their paycheque and put aside until after all of this season’s hockey-related revenue is counted to ensure a perfect 50-50 revenue split with owners.

Now, this doesn’t mean that the players will definitely lose 16 percent of their salaries. Typically, they receive refunds when all the accounting is done.

Still, 16 percent is a good-sized chunk to withhold. They won’t be thrilled about it.

Related: To understand escrow, consider Duncan Keith