Only one more day until the Devils take the ice in Calgary to face off against the Flames. Here’s some news to hold you over:
Martin Skoula Joins Team In Calgary Tonight
Newly-acquired defenseman Martin Skoula joined the team tonight in Calgary. Lou Lamoriello assigned him number 28 – the number Valdimir Zharkov had all season. Zharkov has been reassigned number 18, which previously belonged to Niclas Bergfors and Sergei Brylin.
In an interview with Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record, Devils coach Jacques Lemaire seemed high on Skoula, who played for him in Minnesota.
“I think he can play as good as some of the guys we have,” he said to Gulitti. “I think he’s very solid in the defensive zone. He knows the game well. He’s a big body (6-3, 225). He protects the puck along the boards. He can make that first pass. When he’s got his game straightened up, he can do good stuff. It doesn’t mean he’s going to go ahead of our guys right away, but we’ll see what he can do and if he shows that he’s doing more things, then we’ll put him in the lineup. That’s how it works.”
Although Skoula arrived tonight, he is not expected to play in tomorrow night’s game.
Devils Players Don’t Seek Revenge Against Sutter
With the Devils facing their ex-coach tomorrow night, there would seem to be some extra incentive for the players to beat the Flames.
If there is, no one is saying it.
When interviewed today, many Devils players were indifferent about facing Brent Sutter, their coach for two seasons.
“I haven’t quite thought about it,” Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner said after today’s practice in Calgary. “We’re more concerned about starting to get something rolling than doing something him. I think they’ve got their own things to worry about trying to get into the playoffs. We’re trying to stay on top of our division.”
Sutter stepped down after the 2008-2009 campaign to be closer to his family in Red Deer, Alberta. Some players thought it was fishy when Sutter agreed to coach the Flames two weeks after leaving the Devils. His brother, Daryl, is the general manager of the Flames. But players aren’t showing any emotion about that situation either.
“That was a litle weird because we didn’t think (he was leaving) for that,” goalie Martin Brodeur said. “But, knowing the situation with his brother here and everything, if there was a place he was going to go this was it.”
There were some players, like Dainius Zubrus, who felt they were restricted in Sutter’s system.
“I’m happy now,” Zubrus said. “This year I’m way more involved in different things, whether it’s special teams. I’ve had more responsibilities than I had the past couple of years and that’s something I wanted. That’s about it.”
*Quotes from Fire and Ice Blog by Bergen Record reporter Tom Gulitti