Devils go back in time on March 17, 2010

Both the Star-Ledger and the Bergen Record are reporting that the New Jersey Devils will wear their original colors — red, green and white — on March 17, 2010 against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Rock to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day. The Devils switched to the red, black and white color scheme that they wear now after the 1992-93 season/playoffs. The Devils had been one of the few —  if not the only — NHL team that hasn’t had an alternate, third or throwback jersey over the last 10-15 seasons. I think it’s a good idea if it’s a once a season deal. St. Patty’s Day or in late December would be an appropriate use.

Free Agent Winners/Losers

New story I did this weekend is now up on Maxhockey.com on the winners and losers of this summer’s free agency period. Teams covered are: Chicago, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, New Jersey, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Philadelphia, San Jose and Washington.

Paul Martin

Re-posted old interview I did with Devils defenseman Paul Martin on BleacherReport.com…I will eventually post all of the interviews here in the Den. If there is a player you’d like to read an interview of, or if you have any specific questions you’d like to see asked, let me know via email: drdiablo321@yahoo.com, or in the comments.

Jacques Speaks

Jacques Lemaire spoke with the Bergen Record in his first one-on-one interview since being named the new Devils coach last month. Here are some of the highlights of what the new bench boss had to say:

He said he’s not familiar with the younger players and prospects, but is eager to see and evaluate them once camp opens on September 8.

The only player on the current roster he’s spoken to about anything team-related was Brendan Shanahan.

Unlike when Brent Sutter immediately stripped Patrik Elias of the captaincy, Lemaire has no plans do the same to current captain Jamie Langenbrunner: “I talked a little bit to Lou about it and Jamie will stay as the captain. I’ve heard a lot of great things about him, the great leadership that he has, the work ethic that he has. I think he has all the tools to be a captain”

Brian Rolston who had three consecutive 30-goal seasons under Lemaire in Minnesota playing left wing, will likely play on the wing again, unlike last season when Rolston played center and netted a disappointing 15 goals in 64 games.

He isn’t familiar with either backup goalie — Yann Danis or Jeff Frazee, saying that “I’ll use training camp to look at them.”

Here’s my take:

Good move moving Rolston back to the wing, but it also brings to light the fact that the Devils need at least one more center before camp opens. Right now the centers are: Travis Zajac, Dainius Zubrus and Rod Pelley.

Great move leaving Langenbrunner as team captain. He is very well-respected in the locker room and although he can be soft spoken at times, he leads by example on the ice and that’s the main ingredient of a leader. Expect Elias and Colin White to remain as assistant captains.

What’s your number?

Have a favorite player who changed teams this offseason and you want to be the first on your block to sport his new number and jersey? Well I did a little research and came up with this little list of old faces in new places (with some new numbers):

Scott Gomez # 91, Montreal
Brian Gionta # 21, Montreal

Saku Koivu # 11, Anaheim
Jay Bouwmeester # 4, Calgary
John Madden # 11, Chicago
Marian Hossa # 81, Chicago
Nikolai Khabibulin # 35, Edmonton
Ryan Smyth # 94, Los Angeles
Rob Scuderi # 7, Los Angeles
Martin Havlat # 14 Minnesota
John Tavares # 91, NY Islanders
Marian Gaborik # 10, NY Rangers
Chris Higgins # 21, NY Rangers
Donald Brashear # 87, NY Rangers
Alex Kovalev # 27, Ottawa
Chris Pronger # 20, Philadelphia
Ray Emery # 29, Philadelphia
Mike Rupp # 17, Pittsburgh
Brendan Morrison # 9, Washington
Mike Knuble # 22, Washington

So head on over to your favorite team’s site or NHL.com and order your new jersey for the 2009-10 season today!

Shanny re-signs, Roenick retires…

According to Tsn.ca and The Bergen Record, Brendan Shanahan and the Devils have agreed on a new one-year contract that will keep the 40-year-old in red & black. As I’ve stated before, I like this move and look forward to a full season with Shanny on the team.

In other notable NHL news, one of the league’s most recognizable voices/faces, Jeremy Roenick is calling it quits after 20 NHL seasons. Roenick, like Brett Hull, never met a quote — or a microphone — that he didn’t like. I’ll miss JR; I wish I had the opportunity to talk more with one of the game’s best characters and I wish he could’ve won the Stanley Cup at least once…

Who’s left?

It has been one month and one day since free agency started and there are still some notable unrestricted free agent names who have yet to find a home. These are serviceable players, who if they find the right situation (i.e., linemate, coach, system), they can be a valuable asset to any hockey team and I’d be shocked if they are still not signed with a club…be it in the NHL or in Russia, Sweden, wherever…by September 1.
Here’s the best of who’s left:

PLAYER — OLD TEAM — THE LOW DOWN

Maxim Afinogenov — Buffalo — Could be headed to KHL, thought he’d fit well with Ilya Kovalchuk in Atlanta.
Marc-Andre Bergeron — Minnesota — Has one of the NHL’s hardest shots, but his defensive abilities are questionable at best.
Todd Bertuzzi — Calgary — Big Bert hasn’t gotten an offer from Calgary yet, and won’t. His size could be useful to a team like Detroit, for the right price.
Mike Comrie — Ottawa — After a midseason trade to the Sens, Comrie didn’t do much. Still, a few teams looking for a center could sign the 28-year-old to a one-year deal; he could work out in New Jersey if signed.
Manny Fernandez — Boston — Proved last season he can still tend goal in the NHL, but will he accept another backup role?
Mike Grier — San Jose — Solid, checking line, penalty killing forward is a hard worker who should be signed soon; preferably with the Devils, but could also help the Islanders or Toronto as well.
Robert Lang — Montreal — A risk coming off of a torn achilles at the age of 38, but most teams are in the market for a dependable center. Would Ottawa have enough cash to sign him to play on line two with AK-27?
Manny Malhotra — Columbus — I’m shocked he didn’t end up back in Columbus, as he seemed to really mature and develop under Ken Hitchcock there, but they also signed Sammy Pahlsson, who plays the same role. Would love for him to join the Devils though, Tampa could be an option too.
Miroslav Satan — Pittsburgh — His agent Twitted (or tweeted, whatever) that the Isles are interested, but not buying it. I say he goes to either Vancouver or the KHL. I’ve given up on the dream that Satan would join the Devils (for now).
Mats Sundin — Vancouver — Will he play, or won’t he? At 38, what does Sundin have left? If he isn’t going to give a full season, no one will want him after performing so poorly last season with the Canucks.
Petr Sykora — Pittsburgh — Has bounced around too much for a guy that can score when motivated or in the right situation. I’m thinking he lands in Minnesota or St. Louis.
Alex Tanguay — Montreal — The best of what’s left as far as I’m concerned. Will hate him less for his two-goal performance in Game 7 of the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals if he signs with New Jersey. He’s only 29 and still has some productive years left. Join the Devils Legion Alex, join us.

Hopefully in the coming weeks, some of these guys find work, preferably with the Devils!