Quinton Howden

CloweDevils

Banged-up Devils limp into Buffalo tonight

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The New Jersey Devils desperately need a win tonight in Buffalo, but they’ll have to earn it down a number of key players.

Captain Bryce Salvador, Anton Volchenkov, John Merrill, Stephen Gionta and Ryane Clowe will all miss tonight’s game with various ailments, per NHL.com. Clowe was the most recent to get hurt, as he exited last night’s win over Florida after a hard second period hit from Quinton Howden.

While Clowe won’t play tonight, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello did say the club expects him to play again this season. The gritty winger had been playing well of late, scoring six points in his last six games — including three against the Panthers, before getting hurt.

As for the big picture stuff, the Devils head into tonight’s game three points back of Columbus for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, but the Jackets do have a game in hand. What’s more, New Jersey has to deal with a Buffalo team that’s played them extremely tight this year — the Sabres took the Devils to OT in the first game (NJ won, 1-0) before beating the Devs 2-1 on Jan. 4.

 

Devils’ Clowe leaves game against Panthers, reports he appeared dazed after hard hit

Columbus Blue Jackets v New Jersey Devils
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New Jersey Devils forward Ryane Clowe left Monday’s game against the Florida Panthers and did not return for the third period, the club announced via Twitter.

From NHL.com:

Clowe, who missed 32 games this season with a concussion, was rattled by Howden with 1:09 remaining in the second and the Devils holding a 4-3 lead. He appeared dazed by the hit while being looked over by trainers.

Clowe was having his most productive offensive game as a Devil with one goal and three points. In his absence, Devils coach Peter DeBoer has reinserted Tuomo Ruutu on the top line alongside center Travis Zajac and right wing Jaromir Jagr.

There was no update on Clowe following the game, as per Mike Morreale of NHL.com.

Click here for a link to see the hit from Panthers’ center Quinton Howden that knocked Clowe out of the game.

The 31-year-old Clowe returned from a concussion on Dec. 27. The initially suffered the injury in October, after taking an elbow to the head during a game against the Winnipeg Jets.

The Devils defeated the Panthers by a final score of 6-3, with Zajac scoring his first career hat trick.

Report: Boyes attending Florida camp on PTO

Brad Boyes #24 of the New York Islanders skates against the Washington Capitals at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on March 9, 2013 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Capitals 5-2.
(March 8, 2013 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)
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Veteran winger Brad Boyes is on his way to Florida for training camp, according to CBS Sports Radio’s Andy Strickland.

Boyes, 31, enjoyed something of a career revitalization last year with the Islanders, scoring 35 points in 48 games alongside John Tavares and Matt Moulson.

A former 43-goal scorer, Boyes signed a four-year, $16 million deal with the Blues in 2008 and was traded to Buffalo at the 2011 deadline.

He struggled with the Sabres (see here) and took a significant pay cut last July by signing a one-year, $1 million contract with the Isles. Newsday’s Arthur Staple reports Boyes was mulling over attending Islanders camp on a PTO as well.

The move to bring in another veteran — Florida signed Scott Gomez in late July — makes sense for the Panthers, who are in need of veteran presences. Tallon is on record saying the club expects to “go young” next season and rely heavily on its prospects.

Florida has been stockpiling high draft picks ever since 2010, the year Tallon joined the club, and now appears primed to show ‘em off.

In 2010, it was Erik Gudbranson (third overall), Nick Bjugstad (19th) and Quinton Howden (25th).

In 2011, it was this year’s Calder Trophy winner, Jonathan Huberdeau (third overall) and Rocco Grimaldi (33rd overall).

In 2012, it was Mike Matheson (23rd overall) and at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, it was Aleksander Barkov (second overall).

All told, that’s seven top-35 picks, and a few others selected just outside the top 35 (Alex Petrovic, Vincent Trochek) that are ready to challenge for spots as well.

Should he make the team, Boyes will join a veteran leadership group that includes Gomez (33), captain Ed Jovanovski (37 years old) and blueliners Mike Mottau (35) Mike Weaver (34) and Brian Campbell (33).

Tallon is building the Panthers in a familiar way

Dale Tallon
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Panthers GM Dale Tallon made a name for himself being the guy who essentially built the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup team in 2010.

When he took over the Florida Panthers in the summer of 2010, he knew he had to help build them from the ground up and his design is looking mighty familiar to what he did in Chicago.

Think of the players he drafted in Chicago that became Cup winners: Niklas Hjalmarsson (4th round – 2005), Jonathan Toews (3rd overall – 2006), Patrick Kane (1st overall – 2007), Marcus Kruger (5th round – 2009).

In Florida, he’s had more than his fair share of high first-round picks and looking at how he’s used them, the similarities to Chicago are eerie.

2010: Erik Gudbranson (D), Nick Bjugstad (C), Quinton Howden (F)
2011: Jonathan Huberdeau (F)
2012: Michael Matheson (D)
2013: Aleksander Barkov (C)

Next season’s Panthers roster could see five of those six players suiting up on opening night (Matheson is currently at Boston College).

Barkov is set to be Huberdeau’s set-up man and the parallels to those two possibly being the next Toews and Kane are there. Gudbranson came on a bit last season after getting his shoulder repaired and showed he can be a physically intimidating player.

If Bjugstad and Howden live up to their potential and Matheson emerges when he’s through with school, this Florida team could be very tough to beat… Eventually.

Panthers sign Gomez: one year, $900,000

Scott Gomez
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The Florida Panthers have made their first significant free agent splash of the summer, signing veteran forward Scott Gomez to a one-year deal.

“Scott is a veteran center who adds further depth to the middle of our line-up,” GM Dale Tallon said in a release. “He is a quick and skilled forward, with a wealth of hockey experience including two Stanley Cup titles, who will be a leader for our younger players.”

The deal is reportedly worth $900,000, according to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos.

Gomez, 33, spent last season in San Jose on a one-year, $700,000 deal after being bought out by Montreal prior to the start of the season. He appeared in 39 games for the Sharks, scoring 15 points, and appeared in nine postseason contests, averaging over 15 minutes per night while notching two points.

San Jose head coach Todd McLellan raved about Gomez’s presence on the ice and in the dressing room.

“Gomer has been a very good player for us in a number of different ways,” McLellan told CSN Bay Area in March. “I don’t want to say it’s surprising, but he’s almost like a third or a fourth coach.”

The move makes sense for the Panthers, who are in need of veteran presences. Tallon is on record saying the club expects to “go young” next season and rely heavily on its prospects.

Florida has been stockpiling high draft picks ever since 2010 — the year Tallon joined the club — and now appears primed to show ‘em off.

In 2010, it was Erik Gudbranson (third overall), Nick Bjugstad (19th) and Quinton Howden (25th).

In 2011, it was this year’s Calder Trophy winner, Jonathan Huberdeau (third overall) and Rocco Grimaldi (33rd overall).

In 2012, it was Mike Matheson (23rd overall) and at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, it was Aleksander Barkov (second overall).

All told, that’s seven top-35 picks, and a few others selected just outside the top 35 (Alex Petrovic, Vincent Trochek) that are ready to challenge for spots as well.

Gomez will join a veteran leadership group that includes captain Ed Jovanovski (37 years old) and fellow blueliners Mike Mottau (35) Mike Weaver (34) and Brian Campbell (33).