Ken Daneyko

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Devils legends Stevens and Daneyko together on TV

SECAUCUS, N.J. (AP) — The familiar red-and-black uniforms are gone, replaced by suits and ties, and lapel microphones and pens are in place instead of skates and sticks. On a nearby wall is a reminder of their successes over the years – their names, inscribed with others who have won the Stanley Cup.

Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko sit beside each other on set at the NHL Network and it feels like the good old days when they played for the New Jersey Devils and won the Cup three times. After 12 years of playing together and developing on-ice chemistry at hockey’s highest level, the two retired defensemen are reprising their relationship as television analysts.

”On the ice, we could beat people up a bit, and that was a lot of fun,” Stevens said as Daneyko sat a few feet away and laughed along. ”It’s different. Now we’re doing a different thing. We played hard together and we had a lot of good years together killing penalties and were fortunate to win Stanley Cups, but it’s fun to work on TV. I think we both love the game, we love to talk about the game and watch hockey.”

They are both 55 now and long enough removed from the game to appreciate how much it has changed since their halcyon days of delivering bone-crushing hits, some of which would be suspension-worthy today. Their chatter on the air is cleaner now – maybe not so much during pre-show meetings – but the dialogue is much the same as when Stevens and Daneyko manned the blue line and killed penalties together for the Devils dynasty.

”We talk more like analysts when we’re looking at a play, but we did that in the (locker) room,” Daneyko said. ”That’s why our team had some success: We had great leadership, we had guys that understood the game.”

More than anything else, Stevens and Daneyko understand each other as they finish their second season together at the network. Daneyko calls Stevens a ”coach at heart” – evidenced by his stints as an NHL assistant – but thinks he’s probably too intense to be a coach. Stevens lauds Daneyko’s broadcasting skills from years of experience as the Devils’ color analyst.

”I paid him to say that,” Daneyko chirps.

NHL Network senior coordinating producer Josh Bernstein said his two former players have ”almost a ‘finishing each other’s sentences’ kind of chemistry,” though the network likes to mix up the pairings, so it is not always Stevens-Daneyko.

”But when we do and it’s the two of them, it’s certainly special just because of their great history together,” Bernstein said. ”They’re a great team.”

It’s 90 minutes before air time and the team heads upstairs to look at video of plays that will be broken down on the show. This particular night, it’s Matt Duchene‘s Game 2 overtime winner for Columbus against Boston and a handful of goals from the Colorado-San Jose series.

Stevens points to the screen and motions like he’s drawing on the screen, showing where Boston’s Sean Kuraly should have been and what Zdeno Chara was trying to do. The two go back and forth.

”I just think the one guy’s got to be a little lower, Scotty,” he said. ”Maybe I’m nitpicking. That’s probably good execution.”

The former teammates look as comfortable on set next to host Scott Braun as they did in front of Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur. Braun opens the show and declares, ”The champs are here!” before Stevens and Daneyko debate everything from the likelihood of a team winning a series when up 2-1 to whether an MVP has to come from a playoff team.

Equipment repairs are necessary here, too. Instead of a dull skate or a broken stick, Stevens’ earpiece has echoing audio problems and Daneyko jokes during a commercial break that his pops out of his ear when he gets animated.

They get plenty animated, too, especially at playoff time.

”Sometimes when we get into it or it gets intense watching a playoff game or commenting, doing analysis of the game, it’s like when we were playing because we’d talk in the dressing room or we’d talk on the ice and you get that feel again of that intensity,” Daneyko said.

The intensity is measured for a TV audience, of course, and the comfort level for two is clear. Just as they learned how to know where the other would be on the ice, a familiarity that made New Jersey such a hard team to score against, they are now trying to perfect their latest collaboration.

”We’ve been through a lot of wars and battles together,” Daneyko said. ”But now we talk about the battles and try to relay our insight on what those teams are going through, players are going through situations and certainly what it takes to win.”

Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Video: Daneyko says Kings’ depth makes them team to beat

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One aspect of teams going deep into the Stanley Cup Playoffs that’s often talked about is depth. Being able to sustain injuries and a lack of production from players makes the run for the Cup so daunting.

Former Stanley Cup champion Ken Daneyko says the Los Angeles Kings have enough depth to make them the team to beat as he shared in his chat on Edward Jones Face Time.

The Kings face the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 at 8:00 p.m. ET from United Center in Chicago on NBCSN Sunday night. Will that depth show through or will it be all about the superstars taking control?

Video: Daneyko says little things matter getting to Stanley Cup Final

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The New York Rangers already booked their spot in the Stanley Cup Final and now the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks will face off in Game 7 on Sunday night to see who they’ll face.

You can have talent, scorers, and plenty of goaltending to lead you to the Final, but sometimes it’s the little things that help get you there. That’s just what former New Jersey Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko discussed in his appearance on Edward Jones Face Time.

PHT Morning Skate: There’s panic in Winnipeg

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

See what happens when you lose three in a row? People start to get nervous. Fortunately for the Winnipeg Jets, the Hurricanes and Capitals aren’t doing much to catch them in the Southeast. (Winnipeg Free Press)

Welcome back, Bobby Ryan. He snapped a six-game goalless streak against the Stars last night. (Orange County Register)

Former Devils like Ken Daneyko, Stephane Richer, Claude Lemieux, Slava Fetisov, and Sergei Brylin will play an alumni game for Sandy relief. Pretty cool. (Fire & Ice)

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff says they can be both buyers and sellers at the deadline. That’s not confusing at all. (Winnipeg Sun)

They’re ready for the rebuild in Buffalo after seeing Jordan Leopold and Robyn Regehr dealt the last two days. (Buffalo News)

Turns out Ryane Clowe’s impending trade wasn’t a distraction for the Sharks last night. Still, pretty crazy he’s getting the Jarome Iginla treatment. (CSNBayArea.com)

Big decisions await Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk at the trade deadline. (Dallas Morning News)

Speaking of Dallas, Brenden Morrow wanted to be a Star for life. D’oh… (DMN)

Finally, from the college ranks: The Denver Pioneers fired 19-year head coach George Gwozdecky. He’d only taken the team to 20 wins each of the last 12 years and has led them to two national championships. What a bum, right? Sheesh. (Denver Post)

Devils to retire Scott Niedermayer’s “27” on December 16 vs. Dallas

It’s an honor that’s been rumored for some time now, but Scott Niedermayer will officially get his due from the New Jersey Devils having his number retired.

Niedermayer’s no. 27 will be lifted to the rafters at Prudential Center in Newark on December 16 against the Dallas Stars. Niedermayer will join former defensemen Ken Daneyko and Scott Stevens as those honored by having their number retired by the team and proving that the Devils of the 90s and 2000s were all about being tough along the blue line.

Fire & Ice’s Tom Gulitti has the word from Devils GM Lou Lamoriello as to what Niedermayer meant to the organization and why he’s being honored by the team.

“Scott Niedermayer’s talent and leadership played significant roles in each of our three Stanley Cup Championships,” Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said in a statement released by the team. “We look forward to welcoming the Niedermayer family back to New Jersey as we retire Scott’s no. 27.”

Niedermayer’s career started with the Devils as part of one of the more inauspicious deals in NHL history. While the Devils selected Niedermayer third in the NHL draft in 1991, it was a pick the Devils acquired from Toronto in exchange for Tom Kurvers in 1989. The Leafs’ blunder turned into New Jersey’s ultimate gain as Niedermayer went on to have a, likely, Hall Of Fame career in New Jersey and Anaheim while Kurvers lasted just 89 games in Toronto before being shipped off to Vancouver for Brian Bradley late in 1991.

Niedermayer went on to win four Stanley Cups in his career, three with New Jersey and one in Anaheim but his career in New Jersey is what made him a legend in NHL circles including a Norris Trophy in 2003-2004. Niedermayer won the Conn Smythe with Anaheim in 2007.  It’s an honor for the former Devil that comes a bit overdue since his retirement in last June.

Some Devils fans didn’t like how Niedermayer left the organization signing as a free agent with the Ducks after the lockout ended in 2005, but anyone thinking the Devils would’ve been as successful without his play is out of their mind. Niedermayer is one of the best the team and the league has seen over the years.