Author: James O'Brien

Minnesota Wild v New Jersey Devils

Devils deal with slew of injuries, hope to trade Brunner


It looks like the New Jersey Devils will go into a tough stretch with aches and pains, in more ways than one. In Michael Cammalleri’s case, there’s even a little comic relief (for your inner child, at least).

The Bergen Record’s Tom Gulliti shared a laundry list of updates, with most of the news being negative:

  • The Devils assigned Damien Brunner (pictured) to the AHL, yet they might try to find a potential trade suitor. In the meantime, Gulitti notes that $1.575 million of the 28-year-old’s $2.5 million cap hit will count against the team’s cap even when he’s at the AHL level.
  • New Jersey is concerned that Adam Larsson and Travis Zajac may have suffered from mumps, with Larsson still sick and possibly headed to injured reserve. Zajac’s a little banged up beyond whatever sickness he was dealing with, too.
  • Patrik Elias is dealing with a groin injury, but frequent injury sufferer Martin Havlat may be able to play on Monday.
  • Devils fans might need a chuckle at this point. Perhaps Cammalleri’s pulled butt muscle will suffice?

/Waits for inevitable Twitter handle @Cammalleributtmuscle

Goalie nods: Andersen stays on workhorse duty for Ducks

Frederik Andersen
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All the latest from the blue paint…

Andersen again

The Anaheim Ducks will now trot out Frederik Andersen for a 15th consecutive game. He’s been in net in every contest since Nov. 7, and that patience is paying off lately, as Anaheim’s on a three-game winning streak.

(It almost feels like they could dress Dwayne Roloson as their backup each night and no one would really notice the difference.)

This is a starting situation to witness, as it seemed like the Ducks would enjoy one of the most even platoons in the league. John Gibson and Jason LaBarbera getting injured changed that in a hurry, however.

Andersen’s facing a team that’s enjoyed surprisingly stout goaltending so far in the Winnipeg Jets. It’s not certain, but it seems most likely that Ondrej Pavelec will face the Ducks.

Elsewhere …

Red Wings at Hurricanes: Petr Mrazek will probably start, Cam Ward could go if he’s healthy.

Canucks at Senators: Most likely Eddie Lack, while Craig Anderson’s a sure thing.

Sharks at Oilers: Probably Alex Stalock vs. Viktor Fasth.

Blues get a kick out of Brodeur’s $20K win bonus


Martin Brodeur won his first game with the St. Louis Blues in a rare fashion, as he relieved Jake Allen while the Blues managed a 6-4 comeback against the New York Islanders. More than a few people couldn’t help but note that he got a $20K bonus for winning the game, too.

As part of Brodeur’s contract, he gets $10K for every standings point the Blues produce with him in net.

Money’s probably not a big issue for the 42-year-old, yet that clause opened the door for some humor, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

“I got a call from (Blues general manager Doug Armstrong),” Hitchcock joked. “We’re broke. We’re down $20 grand. He was wondering if I could have pulled him sometime in the third period.”

It’ll be interesting to see how things go forward, as Brodeur may tussle with Allen, 24, for starts since Brian Elliott could be sidelined for some time. Brodeur’s expected to get the start on Monday, which means another chance to make an extra $10K or two.

Ultimately, Hitchcock told the New York Post that he’ll go with the goalie he thinks will grab them a win, and he thinks Brodeur’s capable of doing so.

“I have no opposition to using him any time,” Hitchcock said. “I think he can win for us. We’re in the winning business.”

As they say, sometimes you need to spend money to make money.

Flyers owner thinks playoffs are ‘definitely’ still possible

Paul Holm Gren, Ron Hextall, Ed Snider

The Philadelphia Flyers managed just their second win since Nov. 8 on Saturday, yet owner Ed Snider still thinks they could be a playoff team.

“Yeah, I definitely do,” Snider said. “Of course. It’s early.”

Snider hopes that yesterday’s 2-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings ends up being a “turnaround.” He praised Steve Mason and threw his support behind GM Ron Hextall, as you can see from this interesting interview:

It’s a good time to show some confidence in the team, as they have an opportunity to improve their status. After Tuesday’s road game against the bruised Columbus Blue Jackets, they enjoy a four-game homestand against Eastern Conference teams.

That serves as a good opportunity to approach a .500 record (they’re currently 9-13-4) before they end 2014 with an intimidating eight-game road trip.

At the moment, Snider’s optimism might not seem very realistic, yet he’s seen his team dig itself out of big early-season holes before.


Coyotes coach calls on a goalie to ‘take the ball and run with it’

Winnipeg Jets v Arizona Coyotes

For a while there, it seemed like Devan Dubnyk was the go-to goalie for the Arizona Coyotes, only the team struggled to reconcile sitting far more expensive goalie Mike Smith.

Maybe that’s still the case to some extent, yet Dubnyk’s been shaky enough in his last three starts that things seem that much more broadly troubling for the Coyotes.

From the sound of things, head coach Dave Tippett simply wants one of the two netminders to grab the job, as the Arizona Republic’s Sarah McLellan reports.

“If one of them wants to take the ball and run with it and win a bunch of games, I’m all good with that,” Tippett said.

Dubnyk, for one, thinks that the Coyotes are giving the kind of effort to make waves if they can get their netminding in order.

“It’s the effort that we’ve been looking for as a group in here and you don’t want to be the reason that we’re on the wrong end of it,” Dubnyk said.

The Coyotes are the second-worst team in the West right now with 23 standings points in 28 games played, and to add insult to injury, they’re on an unsettling losing streak at home. Their odds to make the playoffs already look pretty low, but they need at least one of Smith or Dubnyk to turn things around to at least make it interesting.