If the New Jersey Devils don’t make the playoffs, goaltending will be one of the main reasons why. The team’s .905 save percentage is tied for 24th in the NHL, with timely saves being particularly hard to come by, not to mention the issues in the shootout.
With a netminding tandem of Martin Brodeur, one of the greatest ever at the position, and Cory Schneider, one of the top under-30 talents in the game, it wasn’t supposed to go this way.
On the bright side, Schneider’s play has been much stronger of late, and New Jersey’s playoff chances are still alive as a result. The 28-year-old has stopped 107 of 112 shots in his last five appearances, a save percentage of .955 over that time.
“I did it for most of last season (with the Canucks),” Schneider said, per the Star-Ledger. “I played 15 or 16 out of the last 18 down the stretch last year and got us into the playoffs.
“I haven’t done it as much as Marty might have, but I’ve done it before and it’s fun. It’s fun to play these games. This is why you play. You don’t play not to make the playoffs or not have important games. You want to be the guy and have that responsibility, so it’s good.”
Schneider was indeed brilliant down the stretch last year. He had a .937 save percentage in March, and it was .936 in April. By the end of the season, his numbers were significantly better than Roberto Luongo’s.
Schneider’s recent stretch has lifted his season save percentage to .918. He’s expected to start again tonight versus Calgary.
Brodeur, meanwhile, is stuck at .900, as his time with the Devils possibly draws to a close.
‘John leaves a lasting mark’: NHL announces Collins’ departure as COO
One of the driving forces behind the NHL’s growth over the last decade is moving on.
John Collins, who’s served as the league’s chief operating officer for the last seven years, will be leaving his post to embark on a new business opportunity.
More, from the League:
Collins, who joined the NHL in November 2006, had been COO since August 2008.
“John leaves a lasting mark,” said Commissioner Bettman. “His energy, creativity and skill at building strategic partnerships helped drive significant revenue growth for our League. We are grateful for his many contributions and wish him the best in his new endeavors.”
Said Collins, “I’m grateful to Commissioner Bettman for his leadership and friendship over the past nine years. He had a vision for extending the reach of the NHL and supported us completely as we set out to make the game as big as it deserves to be.
“The NHL’s future is filled with promise and potential and I will admire and cheer the League’s successes to come on the global stage.”
Collins, 53, was regarded as one of main presences behind a number of the NHL’s most successful initiatives, including the Winter Classic and Stadium Series, the HBO 24/7 collaboration, the relaunched World Cup of Hockey, Canadian and American television deals and partnerships with companies like SAP, Adidas, Major League Baseball Advanced Media and GoPro.
During Collins’ tenure, the NHL was twice named “Sports League of the Year” by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily — once in 2011, and again in 2014.
Columbus will have some reinforcements up front when it takes on the Devils tomorrow in New Jersey.
Brandon Dubinsky, who’s missed the last six games with an elbow injury, and Alexander Wennberg — who’s also missed the last six games, but with a foot ailment — have both been activated from injured reserve, and should be available for selection on Wednesday.
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)