Lou Lamoriello announced today that he’ll be handing over the general manager’s job to Ray Shero while retaining his position as team president. Shero appreciates all that Lamoriello has done since taking over in 1987, but in light of New Jersey’s recent struggles, he also wants to do things a bit differently.
“Lou and I have discussed a lot of things as far as philosophy. I’m not Lou and I’m not like Lou. And he’s not like me. We’re different,” Shero told NJ Advance Media. “There are a lot of different philosophies that we do share, but when you look Pittsburgh and New Jersey they are certainly different teams.
“You look at the Devils and it’s about his defensive philosophy. That’s been very successful for them. But in terms of where the are now and moving forward to be successful, let’s be honest. There has to be a complement of that with a philosophy of offensive hockey and scoring more goals. If not, there is not much room for error. Without that, goaltending and team defense can only take you so far.”
Shero has a lot of experience with offensively gifted teams from his days with Pittsburgh, but then, he had plenty to work with in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The Devils ranked 28th in goals per game last season, but it’s not as if their defense-first approach has always gone hand-in-hand with offensive anemia. New Jersey was a middle-of-the-road team offensively in 2011-12 when it last made the playoffs and went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.
Back then the Devils had Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias, and Zach Parise leading the charge though. Parise and Kovalchuk have since left the team while Elias turned 39 in April.
Filling the void left by the departure of superstars is an extremely difficult task, but it’s the one Shero inherited. He’s already got a strong goaltending tandem in Cory Schneider and Keith Kinkaid and a promising blueline. Whether or not he is able to elevate the Devils’ offense to at least respectable levels could determine how his tenure with New Jersey will ultimately be viewed.
Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd, Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, and Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf have been selected as the finalists for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award.
The trophy, which seeks to award those “who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season,” is chosen by Mark Messier. All three of this year’s finalists led their respective clubs to the playoffs.
Toews has played a major part in Chicago’s rise to power since the start of the 2008-09 campaign. Going into this season, Chicago had reached the Western Conference Final in four of its last six years and won the Stanley Cup twice over that span.
Getzlaf, who also won the Cup back in 2007, played a key role in Anaheim winning its division for the third straight year. For Ladd and Winnipeg, making the playoffs was itself an accomplishment after the franchise’s struggles over its first three seasons in Winnipeg. Like the other nominees, Ladd has his name on the Stanley Cup, although he hasn’t accomplished that feat with his current team. He won it all with Carolina in 2006 and then Chicago in 2010.
Since the award was first presented in 2006–07, no player has won the annual version twice and that tradition is now guaranteed to continue this year.
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov’s wife, Marta Varlamova, doesn’t want to testify against her husband as he faces domestic violence charges. In a pretrial hearing on Monday, Judge Eric Taylor warned her that she might be found in contempt and fined under $1,000 if she won’t answer questions. With that in mind, she has agreed to seek domestic violence counseling through the NHLPA to see if she might change her mind.
“I’d prefer not to find her in contempt if we can give her a chance to decide if she is willing to testify,” Taylor said, per the Daily Breeze. He also warned that this might end up having an impact on her immigration status.
Voynov, who is suspended indefinitely by the NHL, allegedly beat his wife and at one point shoved her into a flat-screen television during an incident on Oct. 19. Both Voynov’s attornys and his wife’s lawyer, Michael Walsh, have claimed that her injuries were caused by an accident. She was hospitalized and needed eight stitches to close a gash above her eye.
Based on interviews between the hospital workers and police, Varlamova reportedly told them that this wasn’t the first time this has happened.
Walsh stated in a memo in March that Varlamova has “legitimate concerns about her privacy and her personal well-being and desires to avoid the emotional trauma, embarrassment and destruction of her privacy that would result from being compelled to testify in this case.”
Verdict in Voynov case ‘won’t determine’ his playing status
This is the fifth playoff series between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals since the start of 2009 and of the previous four meetings, three of them went all the way to Game 7. This series has the potential to be just as close.
The first two contests were decided by only one goal and each squad took one of those games. That’s a net positive for Washington though as the series began in New York. Now the onus is on the Rangers to win at least one contest on the road and their first opportunity will come tonight in Game 3.
The game will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET and air on NBCSN, but you can tune in at 6:30 for the pregame coverage. You also have the option of streaming the contest via NBC Sports Live Extra:
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Here are some relevant links:
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Five team stats you may find interesting
Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for tonight
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Lundqvist caught by surprise on spectacular Ovechkin goal
The Anaheim Ducks haven’t advanced past the second round of the playoffs since 2007. There’s no guarantee that they’ll do any better this year, but they’ve put themselves in a very good position with their 3-0 victory over Calgary Sunday night.
Flames goaltender Karri Ramo made his first career playoff start at the age of 28 and at times it looked like he might steal this game for Calgary. The Ducks bombarded him with 20 shots in the first period, but he turned aside all but one of them.
The exception was Matt Beleskey’s one-timer on a 2-on-1 opportunity:
That proved to be all Anaheim needed because at the other end of the ice, Frederik Andersen was also at the top of his game. The Ducks goaltender kicked out all 29 shots he faced to earn his first career postseason shutout. He has a commanding 1.64 GAA and .942 save percentage in six playoff contests this year.
He’s a big part of the reason that Anaheim swept the Winnipeg Jets in the first round and possesses a 2-0 series lead over Calgary, but he’s far from the only reason. Corey Perry has a league-leading 13 points in the playoffs while Ryan Getzlaf reached the 10-point mark with his two assists tonight.
The Ducks have a long road ahead of them, but they couldn’t have asked for a better start.