On Friday night, Toronto forward David Clarkson will face off against the Devils — the team he broke into the National Hockey League with.
And to hear him explain it, he wouldn’t be where he is today without them.
“Mr. Lamoriello and Pete DeBoer are probably two of the biggest reasons I’m in the National Hockey League,” Clarkson said, as per the Canadian Press. “Pete DeBoer is someone that I believe has made me successful in my career by giving me opportunity and believing in me and understanding me as a person.”
Clarkson, 29, signed a massive seven-year, $36.75 deal with Toronto this summer, a financial windfall based largely on his body of work with the Devils, a club that deserves credit for aiding in his development. The Devils signed Clarks as an undrafted free agent in 2005 and allowed him to grow as a player — when Clarkson broke in, he was primarily viewed as a checking/enforcer-type (he fought 41 times in his first two full years with New Jersey) but matured into a good power forward, scoring a career-high 30 goals in 2011-12 (and 12 points in 24 playoff games en route to the Stanley Cup Final.)
“I think I’ll always be grateful to them,” Clarkson explained. “I’ll always be thankful.”
What’s interesting now, though, is that Clarkson finds himself almost back at square one in Toronto. The role he established for himself in New Jersey has escaped him in Toronto — his 10-game suspension to start the year and a rash of injuries to Maple Leaf forwards have forced him to move all over the place, without establishing a true identity.
“I’m trying to get to know my surroundings,” Clarkson said. “I got suspended early in exhibition so I really don’t know much yet. I’m just trying to fit in (as a) piece of the puzzle, wherever that is.
“It has been different, but I’m trying to figure out what part it is that I do fit in.”
Video: Canucks escape Arizona with another win for the moms
With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut
“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
Blashill says DeKeyser has a bruise, not a break. Will know more tomorrow, but probably day-to-day
The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.
But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.
“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.
“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”
7 hours of back and forth legal speak…otherwise known as the Wideman appeal has concluded in NYC.