Running With The Devils - A New Jersey Devils Blog
2009 - 2010 Season Recap: Devils Performed Well Against Division Rivals
Written by AJ Manderichio   
Monday, 03 May 2010 23:10

During the off-season, I’ll take a look at several stories from the past season. In this post, I’ll take a look at the Devils’ performance over their Atlantic Division foes.

We all know the Philadelphia Flyers dominated the Devils this season. They took five of six in the regular season, which didn’t bode well for New Jersey. I believe the Flyers success during the regular season helped them dispatch the team in the postseason as well. Overall, the Devils could only win two of 11 matchups against their Turnpike rivals this season. The Flyers outscored the Devils, 20-13, in the six contests. Clearly, the Flyers were the thorn in the Devils side this season.

The Devils’ inability to beat Atlantic Division opponents stopped with the Flyers. If the Devils ‘abysmal record against Philadelphia is excluded, New Jersey finished 13-6 against the division. They didn’t have a losing record any other opponent, with their lowest record at .500. That’s a pretty good performance, and it’s one of the main reasons the Devils won their ninth Atlantic Division championship.

Overall, the Devils finished 14-6 against their Atlantic Division foes. They scored 73 goals and allowed 53, and a +20 in goal differential will usually lead to a solid record. The team enjoyed it’s most success against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They outscored the Pens, 22-5, and that included two shutouts. The success against the Pens was unexpected, but the Devils’ played quite well against the defending Stanley Cup champions. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see if this trend would contine in the playoffs. But their success against the Pens showed that the Devils can play well against the best in the league.

The Islanders finished near the bottom of the league again this year, and the Devils helped to put them in the basement. New Jersey won the regular season series, 4-2, outscoring the Isles 21-13. In the past, the Islanders had been a thorn in the Devils’ side (think the Baltimore Orioles against the New York Yankees). But the Devils finally took care of business this year, twice putting up 5+ goals on their Atlantic Division foes. This was one of the teams the Devils needed to defeat. We’ve seen them time and time again leave valuable points on the table. But earning eight out of 12 possible points against a division rival always helps put you near the top of the division.

The Devils played well against the Pens and Isles, but they could only manage a .500 record against their hated rivals, the New York Rangers. The teams split the season series, 3-3, with the Devils outscoring the Rangers, 17-15. That close margin says it all about the series this season. Most victories in the series were close, with the winning team winning by one or two goals. The series also went to two shootouts, with each team winning one. The highlight came on March 10, when the Devils scored six goals en-route to a 6-3 victory over their Hudson River rivals. They also chased Henrik Lundqvist in the game, which brought a smile to every Devils’ fan. But the Rangers continued to play the Devils’ tough, and both teams seemed evenly matched throughout the regular season.

A 14-11 record may not seem stellar. But the team needed to win conference games to clinch that second seed in the playoffs. It’s always important to play against the best, and the Devils played extremely well against the Pens, who just happen to be a division rival. The team’s terrible record against the Flyers will stick out like a sore thumb. But the Devils’ success against their divisional rivals shouldn’t be overlooked.

Many Devils’ players rose to the occasion during divisional play. Parise totaled 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) in 23 division games. Travis Zajac followed, putting up 19 assists in 24 games. Patrik Elias tallied 10 goals in 18 games against the teams in the Atlantic Division, and Martin Brodeur went 13-7-2 with a 2.14 goals-against-average and .920 save percentage. Brodeur also set the shutout record against the Pens, defeating them 4-0 on December 21.

While the playoff loss may negate this record to some, it still deserves praise. The Devils took care of the work in the division, and it helped them win their ninth Atlantic Division title. It’ll be interesting to see whether the Devils can repeat this success next season.

Zach Parise Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images

Henrik Lundqvist Photo Credit: Bill Kostroun/AP Photo

Report: Jay Pandolfo To Undergo Shoulder Surgery
Written by AJ Manderichio   
Monday, 03 May 2010 10:20

Jay Pandolfo, who sat out the entire first-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers, will undergo shoulder surgery Tuesday to repair a torn labrum.

Pandolfo missed 17 games early in the season after sustaining the shoulder injury in a game against Pittsburgh on October 24. In that game, Rupp hit Pandolfo from behind, injuring the shoulder.

Pandolfo played with the injury the entire season.

There has been no talk about Pandolfo's future with the team. The winger, who had 131 games of playoff experience, sat out while rookies like Matt Corrente started in his place. Pandolfo admitted being disappointed, but he dealt with the situation.

"When you're not playing in the playoffs you want to try and stay positive and not be a distraction," he said. "On the other side of it, you don't really feel part of it."

Pandolfo, who met with general manager Lou Lamoriello, has not been asked to waive his no-trade clause.

The Devils' Sports Page: Friday, April 30, 2010
Written by AJ Manderichio   
Friday, 30 April 2010 12:15

In an effort to bring you the latest Devils' news and notes from the local media outlets covering the team, we here at Running With The Devils are starting a new feature: The Devils' Sports Page. This daily or every-other-day segment will provide you with links from around the web about the Devils.

It's a little slow right now, so there aren't many links today. But check these out for some more Devils' news:

Ken Hitchcock could be the perfect choice for Devils coach (

Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek focused on ending playoff failures (

Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has more on plate besides search for coach (

Devils defenseman Andy Greene added to U.S. roster for World Championships (Fire and Ice blog)

Devils’ job still coveted by coaches (The Bergen Record)

Kovalchuk noncommittal about future with Devils (The Bergen Record)

2009-2010 Season Recap: Devils Finish First In Atlantic, Continue Impressive Playoff Streak
Written by AJ Manderichio   
Thursday, 29 April 2010 22:26

In a first of many posts, we here on Running With The Devils will recap the 2009-2010 Devils’ season. We’ll cover everything; the good, the bad and the ugly. Took kick off the series, I’ll look at the season achievements of the Devils.

Coming into the 2009-2010 season, the Devils had several questions throughout their lineup. Would an infusion of young talent pan out? Would Jacques Lemaire bring the team success? How would Martin Brodeur respond after missing significant time with a torn bicep injury last season? And, finally, could the Devils make a deep playoff run? The team would answer all of these questions, with some encouraging and disappointing answers.

The Devils opened the season losing two games, and the team looked disorganized and not prepared. But after those losses, the Devils took off. They corrected several problems, and finished the 2009 calendar year sitting 28-10-1. That record included a 9-2-1 record in November and an 11-4 month in December. The team played solid on all fronts, finishing 2009 with 2.77 goals per game (11th in the league) while averaging 29.8 shots on goal (tied for 15th). The powerplay stepped up, converting on 20.8% of their chances (tied for ninth). The defense took care of their end, only allowing 27.7 shots per game (tied for third), allowing 2.18 goals per game (second in the league) and killing 82.6% of penalties taken.

Some individual players also found success early in the season. Brodeur, coming off a serious injury in 2008, played a solid first three months of the season. He made history on December 21 when he shut out the Penguins, 4-0, at the Igloo. That shutout, number 104 of Brodeur’s career, broke a tie with Terry Sawchuk for the most career shutouts. It became another great milestone in Brodeur’s path to an eventual Hall of Fame induction. Zach Parise finished with 17 goals, 25 assists and 42 points, and those numbers came after the left-winger went through a dry spell in December. But it wasn’t all roses for the Devils.

The Devils never played with a healthy roster during the first three months. Patrik Elias missed time recovering from a groin injury early in the season. Paul Martin and Jay Pandolfo joined the injury list after a game against Pittsburgh October 24. Johnny Oduya joined that list later in the month after a game in Boston, leaving with a lower-body injury. All three of the players would go on to miss the entire month of November. Dainius Zubrus, Rob Niedermayer and David Clarkson joined that list in November, and Bryce Salvador missed time in December. Some of the players returned before the end of the year, but the Devils still had to plug holes with young players while dealing with these injures.

But the Devils couldn’t sustain their early season success in 2010. Read after the jump for the rest of the recap, including the Devils’ second half of the season.

With A New Coach Should Come A New Captain
Written by AJ Manderichio   
Tuesday, 27 April 2010 22:36

Soon, Devils’ general manager Lou Lamoriello will begin a search for the 11th Devils coach in the past 13 years. With a new coach comes new changes. One of those changes should be the naming of a new team captain.

It’s never a comfortable feeling to call out the team’s captain. But what has Jamie Langenbrunner shown this year to convince anybody he deserves the “C” he wears on his jersey? Near the end of the season, he refused to speak to the media after a disagreement with then-coach Jacques Lemaire. It seemed to be the boiling point for Langenbrunner, who never seemed to mesh well with Lemaire. This frustration carried over to the playoffs, where he finished with one point in the five game series loss.

I don’t think Langenbrunner gave up on the Devils. But, when the team needed his leadership the most, he seemed to disappear, worrying more about personal milestones than the state of the team. For this, I believe there needs to be a change of the guard. But who can take over the Devils’ captaincy? Below are some of my suggestions:

1. Martin Brodeur

It seems odd that a goalie would be named captain, but it’s already happened in the league. In 2008, the Vancouver Canucks decided to name Roberto Luongo captain. While the move would be unconventional, Brodeur is one of the unquestioned leaders of this team. He wouldn’t be able to discuss penalties, etc. on the ice, and he can’t wear the “C” on his chest. But his leadership, both on and off the ice, would be what counts the most.

Who is more qualified for that leadership but Brodeur? He’s backstopped the Devils to three Stanley Cups, and he’s won four Vezina trophies. He’s a constant competitor, and while it would be an unconventional choice, Brodeur deserves some consideration if a change is made. Brodeur has been so influential, the NHL even created the “Brodeur Rule” after his run-ins with Sean Avery. Brodeur constantly brings his best effort night in and night out. And, while skill doesn’t usually determine the captain, he’s arguably the best player on the ice. Brodeur would also represent the organization well in dealing with any decisions, etc. from the NHL. As I said above, the move would be unconventional. But Brodeur has been the backbone of this team for several years. I believe he deserves consideration if the captain position becomes an open competition.

2. Zach Parise

Parise, who has quickly become one of the best Devils, should be seriously considered for the captaincy if a change is made. Parise, who was drafted in 2003, constantly ranks among the top scorers in the NHL. This past season, he averaged a point-per-game and led the team in assists. It’s not only his offensive output that qualifies him for the captain position. It’s the overall play while on the ice.

Parise never stops hustling and working on the ice. Even during the playoff loss to the Flyers, Parise tried to work through constant double teams and Chris Pronger. He’s taken on more responsibility this season, playing on the power play. And he’s been the assistant captain for two seasons. With young captains like Sidney Crosby emerging throughout the league, it might be Parise’s time to step up and take the reins.

3. Patrik Elias

Elias is another player on this team that has a lot of experience, especially in the playoffs. He also has the advantage over Brodeur and Parise, having experience as the captain of this team. During the 2006 – 2007 season (his only year as captain), the Devils had a 49-24-9 record (107 points), their most wins in the past five years. They also clinched first in the Atlantic Division. But the team couldn’t escape the second round, losing 4-1 to the Ottawa Senators. In 75 games played that season, Elias tallied 69 points (21 goals, 48 assists) during the regular season and 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in the playoffs.

Elias has never seemed like a “ra-ra” type of leader. But the Devils’ all-time scoring leader brings a veteran presence and experience to the locker room. Like Brodeur, Elias is a champion, winning two Stanley Cups with the organization. He’s also been around long enough to know the Devils’ style of play. While he’s never been the same after contracting Hepatitis A, he’s still an above-average player. He’s also got the experience of being a captain. As the leader, Elias helped the Devils advance past the first round, which is more than Langenbrunner has done in his three years wearing the “C”. Elias wouldn’t be a bad pick to captain this team.

I believe that Langenbrunner needs to be replaced as the captain. His listless, uninspiring play contributed to the Devils’ downfall against the Flyers. He began to disappear as the season progressed, and he even created controversy. I’ve always liked Langenbrunner as a player, but I just don’t think he has what it takes to be the captain. Picking either of the three players above would provide better leadership and, hopefully, help to bring the team out of the first round.

Lemaire Calls It Quits
Written by AJ Manderichio   
Monday, 26 April 2010 12:25

After a vote of confidence from the general manager and a still-burning passion for coaching, Devils’ coach Jacques Lemaire decided to call it quits after one season.

“After reflection and 17 years of coaching, I decided to retire,” Lemaire said to Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record. “It’s tough to leave what you like aside, but it’s a decision that I made and I will do.”

Lemaire originally thought of retiring last year, when he left the Minnesota Wild. But Lou Lamoriello went to Lemaire’s house in Montreal, convincing him to come back to coach the team this season.

Lemaire returned because he believed the Devils could win the Stanley Cup this season, a dream that ended Thursday night.

“When I accepted this (job), I thought we had a chance to go for the Cup and this is the reason why I accepted it,” he said to Gulitti. “You talk about frustration, it is. After one series, you’re out when you’re think of maybe making two, three, four.”

Lemaire said the Devils’ first-round exit isn’t the reason for his retirement. He said it was based solely on not having the energy to make it through an entire season.

"The year went really well. It’s not the problems that you have with the players. It’s nothing. It’s part of the game. It’s not the team. It’s not the lack of result that we had in the playoffs. It’s not that at all. I just find that it’s the end of the line. I’ll be 65. It’s just time."

Lemaire will remain with the organization in a capacity to be determined later.

The Devils will now hire their 11th coach since 1997-1998. In the five seasons since the lockout, the Devils have had five different head coaches – including Lamoriello (twice).

Lemaire took over last season for Brent Sutter, who decided to leave the organization to be closer to his family in Alberta, Canada. The former coach took the head coaching job for the Calgary Flames. Lemaire, hired on July 13, 2009, led the Devils to a 48-27-7 (103 points), their ninth Atlantic Division title and second seed in the conference. But the Devils were eliminated in the five games by the Philadelphia Flyers.

The 65-year old Lemaire, who guided the Devils to their first Stanley Cup in 1995, retired with a 588-441-183 record with 1, 213 NHL regular season games. He is the Devils’ all-time leader with 247 wins behind the bench.

Quick Thoughts: Devils 2010 UFA's
Written by Darren S   
Friday, 23 April 2010 12:39

The Devils have been bounced in the first-round for the 3rd straight season which means this off-season should get pretty interesting. Lou certainly bit into the future of this team to bring in Kovalchuk because he wanted to win now and that is exactly what the Devils didn't do. The following is a list of guys that will be available for all teams to grab on July 1st and I quickly have a few thoughts about them. These are my thoughts and I am sure AJ will cover his thoughts at some point on this subject.

Ilya Kovalchuk - He's a player that possesses an amazing ability and any team is lucky to have him but in order to get him, that team will need to open their wallet. I don't see any reason why he would decide to stay in NJ. My feelings are that he won't be back in NJ next season unless it is to play against the Devils. At this point I am not even sure I really want him anyway. Like I said, he is a tremendous talent but the Devils have always been a team made of by the sum of its parts and not by one superstar.

Rob Neidermayer - Let him go, whatever reason he was here, it didn't work out.

Dean McAmmond - He had a decent season, for a guy who's career everyone thought was done. I don't see him returning to the Devils next season but based on the season he had (season, not post-season) I'm sure he'll land somewhere.

Paul Martin - The only on this list I am going to say to keep. He's our #1 D-man and yes he missed a lot of time this season but when he was playing, he played like our #1 D-man.

Mike Mottau - He'd have his moments where he did the right thing but he had a lot of moments where his mistakes hurt us. Never been a big fan so I say goodbye.

Martin Skoula - Why??? Didn't like this pickup when it happened and he brought nothing to the table. Bye bye!

Yann Danis - Honestly, I really don't know about Danis. He only got to play in a handful of games and you can't get any kind of rythmn riding the bench for most of the season. If he wants to come back then why not let him. It's not like next season Marty is magically going to not start 90% of the games.

Like I said, these are just a few quick thoughts of mine on the Devils UFA's this summer. I am sure over the coming weeks and months, we will get much deeper into our UFA's as well as our RFA's and Prospects. Gotta love getting bounced early in the playoffs don't you? It just gives you so much time to focus on stuff like this!!

Thank You Readers!!
Written by Darren S   
Friday, 23 April 2010 07:38

I just wanted to take a moment and say thank you to you, the readers of Running With The Devils. This blog is a very young blog but we've made it thtough an entire season and another playoff run, although we certainly wish it was a longer run. This blog is written because we love the Devils and just want to share that love with other Devils fans, hockey fans and the general public. Bloguin has allowed us to do just that and we are forever thankful.

I brought AJ on more than midway through the season because I wanted as much Devils coverage as I could get and he has done more for us than I ever dreamed of. Thank you AJ, thank you for all the posts and ideas you have brought to Running With The Devils.

ECQ Game Five: Giroux Sinks Devils As Flyers Win Series, 4-1
Written by AJ Manderichio   
Thursday, 22 April 2010 23:28

Another year, another first-round playoff exit for the New Jersey Devils. The team couldn’t find the drive tonight, and the Philadelphia Flyers were able to withstand the Devils pressure in the first period. They even escaped with a lucky break, as Zach Parise sent the puck off the post with the Devils on the powerplay. After that, they put the clamp on, with Claude Giroux scoring two goals to end any thoughts of a Devils comeback. The Devils went down with a whimper, 3-0, and bow out in the first round for the third consecutive year.

Key Moments:

1. Jamie Langebrunner Tripping Penalty – 1:29 of the first period

Daniel Carcillo gave the Devils an early opportunity, allowing the Devils to get the first man advantage of the game. It opened the door to potentially give the Devils early momentum in this decisive game five. Less than 45 seconds later, that opportunity would disappear. Langenbrunner took a tripping penalty in the offensive zone, ending the Devils’ powerplay. The Flyers would use that penalty to their advantage only minutes later.

2. Daniel Briere’s Powerplay Goal Gives Flyers 1-0 Lead – 3:16 of the first period

The Flyers took advantage of their first powerplay opportunity, lighting the lamp to take an early 1-0 lead. With Langenbrunner in the box for tripping, Giroux held the puck in the Devils’ zone. He passed the puck to Briere in the left circle, but the puck skipped off Briere’s skate and between Martin Brodeur’s pads for Briere’s second goal of the series.

3. Colin White’s Double Minor – 4:15 of the second period

With the Devils down, 1-0, the Flyers gave them the opportunity to tie the game with a penalty to David Laliberte at 3:46 of the period. But, once again, the Devils took a penalty in the offensive zone to end the chance. Colin White, playing forward on the powerplay, took a whack at Brian Boucher after the goalie held the puck between his pads. A scuffle ensued, with White and Ian Laperriere trading a few late jabs. Both players went to the box, and the Devils continued to shoot themselves in the foot.

4. Parise’s Shot Hits Post – 5:10 of the second period

The Flyers’ continued to hand the Devils’ chances to get back into the game. With the teams playing four-on-four hockey, Briere saved a goal with a nice stick check on Travis Zajac. But the forward then took a holding penalty, giving the Devils 44 seconds of a 4-on-3 powerplay opportunity. Parise worked himself down to the front of the net. He found a loose puck and tried to stuff it by Boucher. The puck passed the goalie, but tipped off the left post.

5. Giroux’s Goal Extends Flyers Lead To Two – 1148 of the second period

Giroux had been playing a terrific series, and it continued in game five. With the Devils pressuring the Flyers, Giroux gave his team some breathing room with his third goal of the playoffs. Blair Betts took the initial shot, which Brodeur stopped. The puck skittered to the corner, where it was sent in front. Mike Richards, crashing the net, tipped the puck back to the slot. Giroux one-timed the puck over Brodeur’s glove and into the top corner for the goal.

6. Giroux’s Powerplay Goal Extends Flyers Lead To Three – 13:51 of the second period

Giroux lit the lamp again, putting the nail in the coffin on the series with his second goal of the game. With Dean McAmmond in the box for high-sticking, Briere let go a shot from the point. Scott Hartnell, who was screening Brodeur, was hit with the shot on the crease. The puck game to Giroux, who fired a low shot into the empty net for his fourth goal of the series. That goal ended what little playoff life the Devils had left.

Oh No, Not Another Powerplay Chance

I can’t remember a time I hated to watch a team get a powerplay. But, during this series, the Devils made me hate the whistle. The Devils couldn’t figure out their powerplay the entire series. The Devils went 0-for-8 tonight, and they were never able to make the Flyers pay for their mistakes. Overall, the Devils went 4-for-32 (12.5%) during the series. That’s plain unacceptable. There were times when the Devils powerplay looked creative and effective. But those times were few and far between. The Devils powerplay was dull, unimaginative and lacked creativity. They couldn’t take advantage of the Flyers’ aggressive penalty kill or the forwards that dove down to block shots. As a result, they allowed the Flyers to escape with undisciplined hockey time and time again.

Get Me A Magnifying Glass, I Need To Find The Devils’ Offense

Over the final six periods of this series, the Devils scored one – that’s right, ONE – goal. Except for game two, the Devils offense was non-existent. The Devils averaged 1.80 goals per game this series. That won’t win a series, and the results reflect that effort. The Devils scorers were shut down, with Zajac and Parise only scoring one goal in the series. Patrik Elias was held without a goal. Give credit to the Flyers, who stymied the Devils offense throughout the series. But the Devils offense, which looked so promising coming into the series, disappeared. Even with the play of Brodeur, the team wouldn’t be able to last without pressuring Boucher.

Continue reading after the jump for the rest of the recap.

ECQ Game Five Live Game Blog: Flyers Lead Devils, 3-0, In Third Period
Written by AJ Manderichio   
Thursday, 22 April 2010 19:25




The Flyers lead the Devils, 3-0, in the second period of tonight’s game five of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at the Prudential Center.

Giroux's second goal, on the powerplay, at 13:51 of the period put the Flyers ahead by three.

With Dean McAmmond in the box for high-sticking, Briere let go a shot from the point. Scott Hartnell, who was screening Brodeur, was hit with the shot on the crease. The puck game to Giroux, who fired a low shot into the empty net for his second goal of the game.

Giroux's first goal of the period at 11:48 extended the Flyers lead to two.

Blair Betts made took the initial shot, which Brodeur stopped. But the Devils couldn't clear the rebound, and the puck sat loose in the crease. Giroux one-timed the puck over Brodeur's glove and into the top corner for his third goal of the series.

Daniel Briere scored a powerplay goal at 3:16 of the first period to give the Devils a lead.

With Jamie Langenbrunner in the box for tripping, Claude Giroux held the puck in the Devils’ zone. He passed the puck to Briere in the left circle, but the puck skipped off Briere’s skate and between the pads of Martin Brodeur’s pads for Briere’s second goal of the series.

The Devils have played pretty well, and here in the second period, they’ve done everything but put the puck in the net. They’ve had two powerplay opportunities, and Zach Parise hit the post from in close on the second opportunity. They currently lead the shot total, 4-0.

Colin White took the second Devils penalty in the offensive zone tonight. Not only that, but it was the second time a Devil ended the team’s powerplay. Langenbrunner ended the Devils first opportunity with his tripping penalty in the offensive zone. That’s helped the Devils go 0-for-5 tonight with the man advantage.

The Devils were outshot, 10-9, in the first period.

The Devils had some quality opportunities in the first period, but weren't able to convert. They tested Boucher a bit, but not enough to make a huge difference.


Here were tonight's starting lineups:


Daniel Carcillo-Mike Richards-Claude Giroux; Matt Carle-Chris Pronger; Brian Boucher


Ilya Kovalchuk-Travis Zajac-Dainius Zubrus; Paul Martin-Andy Greene; Martin Brodeur


The Flyers come into tonight's game leading the series, 3-1, and can wrap up the series with a win. The Devils are looking to avoid elimination in the first round for the third consecutive season.

Martin Brodeur is on attempt number three to win his 100th playoff game. Patrick Roy leads all goaltenders with 151 career playoff victories.


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