Lou Lamoriello

So…what do the Devils do now?


In what was a gut punch day for a number of NHL clubs, none may have been hit harder than the New Jersey Devils. (OK, maybe the Predators.)

With Zach Parise bolting Newark for Minnesota — thanks in no small part to a 13-year, $98 million contract — the Devils are now without their captain and three-time leading scorer.

New Jersey was the only team Parise had known since breaking into the NHL after the lockout. Taken 17th overall by the Devils in 2003, Parise played over 500 regular-season contests and led the club to its first Stanley Cup finals appearance in nine years.

So…what happens now? Here are some things to consider.

— The Devils will need a new captain. Ilya Kovalchuk is one of New Jersey’s alternates and formerly wore the “C” in Atlanta. Patrik Elias, another alternate, is the franchise’s all-time leader in points and goals and served as captain from 2006-07. Travis Zajac and David Clarkson could also be in the mix.

— Parise’s a big loss, no doubt, but New Jersey has survived a number of big free agency losses since the lockout. Scott Niedermayer (Anaheim), Brian Rafalski (Detroit), Scott Gomez (New York Rangers) and Brian Gionta (Montreal) all flew the coop and, like Parise, Niedermayer was New Jersey’s captain before signing with his new team.

— It’ll be interesting to see how, or if, GM Lou Lamoriello responds. Regardless, it won’t be easy. Parise had five 30-goal seasons with the Devils, including a career-best 45 in 2008-09. And New Jersey wasn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut last year, finishing 15th in goals per game (2.63).

— As far as goalscoring wingers go, the best left on the UFA market are Alex Semin, Shane Doan and Andrei Kostitsyn.

— Speaking of spending, the Devils currently have 20 players under contract for 2012-13 and are $16 million under the cap.

— Also speaking of spending, there’s the matter of the team’s finances. It’s not known whether they came close to offering what the Wild offered or if Lamoriello just backed up the guilt truck.


So…what do the Red Wings do now?

So…what do the Predators do now?

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?