Keith Kinkaid has been called up from the minors to make his first NHL start on Tuesday and he couldn’t have asked for a tougher assignment. He’ll play against a Chicago Blackhawks squad that has won nine of their last 10 games and is getting back Patrick Sharp.
To make it even more difficult for Kinkaid, the Devils team in front of him will be nowhere near full strength. New Jersey is projected to enter tonight’s contest without forwards Travis Zajac (lower body), Ryane Clowe (upper body), Dainius Zubrus (leg laceration), Patrik Elias (groin), and Mike Cammalleri (pulled muscle in his rear), per the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti. Defensemen Adam Larsson (illness) and Bryce Salvador (lower body) are also unavailable.
Cory Schneider made 27 of the Devils’ first 28 starts, but he will be given a night off after turning aside 39 of 40 shots against Carolina on Monday. New Jersey called up Kinkaid this afternoon and sent Scott Clemmensen to the minors.
Part of the rationale for using Kinkaid over Clemmensen is probably related to how much ice time each of them has gotten recently. Kinkaid has been able to play regularly in the minors while Clemmensen hasn’t appeared in a game since Nov. 22, so rust could be a factor at this point.
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
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…
The New Jersey Devils started Friday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings on a historic note. They couldn’t have ended it much worse as the Devils’ 4-1 edge vanished in a 5-4 shootout loss.
Jaromir Jagr got the Devils on the board first and claimed sole possession of sixth place on the NHL’s all-time goals list in the process. Detroit’s Riley Sheahan evened the game less than two minutes later, but the Wings couldn’t contain New Jersey late in the first period and entered the intermission down 3-1.
Detroit was shorthanded to open the second frame and promptly allowed a power-play goal to Mike Cammalleri.
Red Wings defenseman Xavier Ouellet scored his first career goal just 1:27 minutes later and that proved to be the turning point. Justin Abdelkader found the back of the net midway through the second and Drew Miller tied the contest in the third.
Gustav Nyquist netted the deciding goal in the shootout to complete the comeback. Detroit has now won three straight games to improve to 13-5-5 this season.
The Devils did more than blow a big lead though. They also lost Travis Zajac (lower body) and Adam Henrique (upper body). Their status for Saturday’s game isn’t clear, per the team’s Twitter feed.
The NHL’s 2014 preseason is starting to wind down, which means players are buckling down and/or just crossing their fingers that they won’t get injured with the start of the “real” games rapidly approaching. Here are a few quick hits of tonight’s action and maybe a nugget or two that isn’t necessarily material for a full post.
(Feel free to suggest other highlights/bloopers in the comments, too.)
Travis Zajac was the only player to score in that shootout. Video will be added of that shootout triumph if it’s made available.
Either way, not a great sign for his development. It’s not too late for him at 22, yet many were likely hoping for him to make the jump far sooner.
- Andre Burakovsky’s hoping to make enough of an impact to stick with the Washington Capitals this season. Not many players on the Capitals – or really, in the NHL – can fire off a wicked shot like this:
Barry Trotz essentially told the Washingtron Post that it was too early to pencil him into the lineup earlier this week, but after tonight? Well, things sound pretty favorable:
- Nice save here by Winnipeg Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson:
More than a few people wonder if he’ll be a better option in net than embattled No. 1 netminder Ondrej Pavelec. Will he get a fair shot to prove them right, though?