The slumping New Jersey Devils are shaking things up tonight, but doing it in a surprise fashion — parking second-leading scorer Michael Ryder in the press box as a healthy scratch.
More, from NJ.com:
“Yeah, I’m angry. Of course I’m angry,” Ryder said when asked by NJ Advance Media. “You want to play. Especially when I think I can help the team. If the coach doesn’t feel you can help the team, it’s his decision.”
Ryder said he cannot recall the last time he was a healthy scratch and he didn’t see this coming.
“Nope. It’s the coach’s decision. He’s got to do what he’s got to do,” Ryder said. “Obvioulsy you have to score goals, but the whole team is struggling to score goals. (Pete DeBoer) has decisions he thinks are best and if I don’t fit in, that’s it.”
Ryder hasn’t scored a goal in 11 games, but does have 12 points in 24 contests — just three points back of Jaromir Jagr for the team lead.
What’s more, the 34-year-old hasn’t seen a dip in his ice time recently. Ryder averages 14:13 TOI per game and has received more than that in each of the last two games, including 16:50 in a 5-4 shootout loss to Detroit last Friday.
Related: After ‘disappointing’ road trip, is DeBoer on the hot seat?
Scott Gomez is officially a Devil once again.
Gomez, who joined New Jersey during the preseason and has been practicing with the team ever since, agreed to a contract on Monday “because of the center situation,” per GM Lou Lamoriello.
The situation, you ask? Injuries to Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique, both of whom will miss the club’s upcoming road trip to Pittsburgh and Toronto. Forwards Martin Havlat and Ryane Clowe are also shelved with ailments, which has resulted in the Devils icing a makeshift lineup of:
Patrik Elias-Scott Gomez-Jaromir Jagr
Damien Brunner-Mike Cammalleri-Michael Ryder
Tuomo Ruutu-Jacob Josefson-Steve Bernier
Jordin Tootoo-Stephen Gionta-Dainius Zubrus
As alluded to in the headline, Gomez ain’t making the Devils any younger. New Jersey came into this season with the NHL’s oldest team — an average age of 31.0 — and the 34-year-old Gomez will bump that up a bit.
Gomez, who won two Cups during his eight-year (1999-2007) stint in New Jersey, also becomes the seventh Devils player born in the 70s, joining Jagr, Elias, Zubrus, Bryce Salvador, Marek Zidlicky and Scott Clemmensen.
Updated: Contract details, per Sportsnet…
Vladimir Tarasenko netted his ninth of the season extending his scoring streak to four games as the St. Louis Blues edged the New Jersey Devils 4-3 Thursday night.
With the win, the Blues extended their win streak to a league-best seven games.
Alexander Steen, David Backes and Jaden Schwartz also scored for St. Louis while Jake Allen made 24 saves.
Schwartz and Tarasenko each had a goal and an assist in the win.
Tarasenko now has eight goals and three assists in his last six games.
Allen, who shutout the Devils 1-0 Tuesday night, had his shutout streak snapped at 184:01 when Michael Ryder got New Jersey on the board in the third period. Ryder scored twice in loss.
Marek Zidlicky had the other Devils goal. Cory Schneider, who made his 13th consecutive start, made 19 saves in the loss. He was replaced by Keith Kinkaid in the third period. Post-game Pete DeBoer confirmed Schneider would made his 14th straight start Friday when the Devils visit Detroit.
DeBoer had no update on forward Ryane Clowe, who left the game in the second period.
Per the New Jersey Devils PR team, Jaromir Jagr’s assist on Ryder’s second goal of the night, was his 1,057th career assist – he is now six shy of Steve Yzerman for seventh all-time. The 42-year-old’s next game will be the 1,487th of his NHL career, tying Wayne Gretzky for 17th all-time.