Adam Henrique’s return to New Jersey went pretty well, despite the 5-3 score in favor of the Devils. The Anaheim Ducks forward was given a nice tribute during the first period, scored one of the goals of the season and then received a truly thoughtful gift after the game from his ex-teammates.
But first, let’s go back to Nov. 2016 when Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid held a contest for fans to design him a new set of pads. Henrique, always the jokester, submitted his entry with Stephen Gionta in the George Costanza timeless art of seduction pose from “The Package” episode of Seinfeld.
One young netminder actually put the design on his pads, much to the delight of Henrique and Kinkaid.
After Monday’s game, the Devils had a present to give to their old mate before he left:
Henrique called it the best Christmas gift he’s ever received, and rightfully so.
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy
Patrik Elias is a two-time Stanley Cup champion who has reached the 70-point mark on five separate occasions and is the Devils’ all-time leader in goals (403) and assists (608). He’s also roughly a month away from his 39th birthday and time is catching up with him.
His role with the Devils is naturally diminishing as a result, but there is a limit to what he will do. With Dainius Zubrus and Stephen Gionta currently serving as his linemates, Elias made it clear where he will draw a line in the sand.
“If they want to play me on the fourth line, I’m not willing to do that,” Elias told NJ Advance Media. “I think that’s a conversation I’m going to have after this season. I know what I’m capable of.”
What would happen if he was assigned to a fourth-line role in 2015-16 even after talking with the Devils over the summer?
“I probably wouldn’t (accept) that because I don’t consider myself a fourth line player and I wouldn’t be useful for this team to play that role. Simple,” Elias said.
He also defended his lackluster numbers (10-18-28, 56 GP) by pointing out that the 2014-15 Devils aren’t a high-scoring team.
He’s finishing off the second campaign on his three-year, $16.5 million deal. He’s confident there would be teams interested in him and what remains of his contract if the Devils don’t want him anymore.
For his part, Devils GM and interim coach Lou Lamoriello defended Elias’ role.
“Right now, look at what he’s doing. He’s playing against the top line of every team every night,” Lamoriello said of Elias. “That says a lot for where he is today. Why are we worrying about tomorrow?”
Elias says Devils never approached him about a trade
Jaromir Jagr battled both the flu and mumps, which forced him to miss the Devils’ last three games.
The 42-year-old is expected to be in New Jersey’s lineup Wednesday when the Devils play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Jagr returned to practice Monday. He last played on Jan. 9.
Tuomo Ruutu, who has also been out of the lineup since Jan.9, has recovered from the flu and will play Wednesday.
Patrik Elias, who was at the All-Star Game in Columbus, received a ride from John Tavares and Jaroslav Halak on a chartered private jet Sunday night. Elias’ scheduled flight Monday morning was cancelled due to a snow storm.
Ryane Clowe (suspected concussion) and Stephen Gionta (fractured hand) did not practice Monday.
Apparently Jaromir Jagr doesn’t believe the New Jersey Devils have earned a Christmas break.
Following the team’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night, Jagr sounded off.
“A break? I don’t believe in this,” Jagr told the Star-Ledger’s Rich Chere. “You can’t have a break and after three days with the holidays and without a practice are we going to be the best team in hockey? I don’t believe that. I believe in hard work, but I’m different.”
The Devils have won just three of 12 games this month.
Stephen Gionta had the lone Devils goal while Ron Hainsey’s goal midway through the third forced overtime.
Chris Terry was the lone scorer in the shootout.
“(It’s) a lack of scoring. I think a lack of confidence, too,” Jagr suggested. “I think it has to do with the practices. We’re going to have less games, so we’re going to have a chance to practice more. I think it’s going to help us for sure. It’s going to help me. I cannot talk for everybody else.”
Cory Schneider saw his record drop to 11-16-4 in the loss while Anton Khudobin made 18 saves for his first win of the season.
The Toronto MapLe Leafs lost 5-3 on home ice to the New Jersey Devils Thursday night.
It was their first loss at Air Canada Centre since Nov. 18 – the night the Leafs were blown out 9-2 by the Nashville Predators.
Eric Gelinas, Stephen Gionta, Mike Cammalleri, Steve Bernier and Adam Henrique had the Devils goals.
Mike Santorelli, Nazem Kadri and Phil Kessel scored for Toronto.
Leafs forward Peter Holland had some interesting analysis post-game.
“Winning is a good deodorant for that stink that creeps into your game,” he said. “Tonight that stink was a little more prevalent.”
Cory Schneider stopped 29 shots in his league-leading 25th start and improved to 10-11-3 on the season.
Jonathan Bernier dropped to 9-6-3 on the season.