New Column Debuts on NYCSN

My new column debuted today on NYCSN as the NHL season is about to get underway.

http://nycsportsnews.com/articles/details.htm?id=1014

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Devils Post-Game Quotes [09.26.09]

Here are the transcripts of my post-game interviews after last night’s 1-0 Devils win over the Flyers at the Prudential Center.

Andrew Peters:

Your thoughts on the game?
“Don’t you want to talk to Dainius Zubrus? It was a good game, big win. Marty (Brodeur) played great. We came out a little bit slow, but as the game went on we got a lot better and sometimes….”

Good bounce back after losing to Philly 2-1 in OT on Thursday night?
“It was a tough loss the other night, you hate losing in overtime. But I think there’s a rivalry here and guys really get amp’d up to play against each other. There was some good energy put there.”

How are you doing, as far as getting in shape?
“I feel better every day. I came to camp big and strong; I put on 15 pounds over the summer, so at first it was tough to adjust (playing) at that weight. You know, as much as you skate back home, it’s not the same as being in a game. So it’s an adjustment when you’re carrying that much extra weight around. I think I’m adjusting just fine and my goal is to continue to learn Coach Lemaire’s system and play the system the best I can.”

How has your experience been with Coach Jacques Lemaire been so far?

“Great. He’s a great teacher. He really takes time to make sure you understand and he wants to make sure that everyone is on the same page; the way he explains the game, he makes it so simple. I think that’s why he’s had so much success as a coach in this league.”

Paul Martin

Thoughts on the game?
“We were a little streaky. We had some chances we didn’t score on. I think we had a little lackadaisical second (period), but I thought we played better in the third. So it was good to finish strong.”

The PK was good tonight, going 5-for-5.
“Yeah, we did well, Marty played good. We have to get the puck out (of the zone) though – we gave them a couple of extra chances. Otherwise the PK did good tonight.”

Good response after a loss to Philly on Thursday?
“Yeah, it’s always feels a lot better when you win, and you’re doing things right, so that helps.”

Thoughts on the new coach?
“It’s been good so far. He’s come in and changed some things up, so it takes a little time to adjust; but so far guys are buying in and working hard, so with time I’m sure it’ll be good.”

Zach Parise

Your thoughts on the game?
“I think we played pretty well at certain times in the game. I think our PP could be a little better; we can try and get some more chances. There are still areas that we need to improve on – but that’s what training camp and preseason games are for.

PK was good tonight, and you played 3:08 in the game on it, something you haven’t done too often here in New Jersey. Your thoughts on both?
“I thought our PK was really good. I like penalty killing, its helps you stay in the game more – every 15, 20, 30 seconds you’re out there, you get your legs going a little bit. I think our PK has been good. We’ve been aggressive, and aggressive at the right times.”

Your thoughts on the new coach?
“It’s been really good. He’s a really good teacher, I’ve learned a lot. He makes suggestions on things we can do better and gives the explanation why. Its good, so far we’ve learned a lot.”

Jacques Lemaire

“I didn’t like that second period. We set the puck up, we didn’t control it, and we just sat back.”

Are you close to where you want to be offensively?

“I think there’s a lot of improvement for us to get to where we want to get to. You know I felt we made good steps from game to game, but this game was step back.”

Consistency?

“We didn’t work hard enough and we weren’t at our best at skating tonight. Our thinking cap wasn’t on, and that’s why we played, in the second period we sat back a little too much. In the third, we came back and you could see that there was more intensity, but we want to play more like the third period than the second.”

Jay Pandolfo?

“He’s sore, not sick.”

Brodeur’s game tonight?

“Very solid; very focused, that’s the goalie that I know. He controlled the puck well, he made good plays. On the PK he sent the puck down a few times. He looked good.”

Zubrus?

“It’s not one player that makes a line. And that line didn’t go as well as I would like to and its the chemistry of the 3 guys that has to be better. The chemistry could be to support at the right time, the right play. I remember one time they had a great chance to make a play and they shot instead of making the play. They make the play…it’s a goal. That type of chemistry I’m talking about. Good support offensively, skating at the same time; not one guy, not two guys, but all three. Back the defensemen up when its time to back them up; be consistent in all this. That’s what we’re looking for. They do it, but not all the time. That’s why the line is not working; they don’t have success right now. At times it’s everyone. It’s every line that has to do a little more, or working better as a line, it’s everyone. “

What about the Parise-Zajac-Langenbrunner line?

“No, no, no. Not as much as I’ve seen (in the past).”

Brodeur, Devils Blank Flyers 1-0

Here is the recap of last night’s game:

http://nycsportsnews.com/articles/details.htm?id=1013

2009-10 Fearless Forecast

The NHL season is almost upon us and I’ve decided to take a stab at predicting what will happen this year. So without further ado, here is what I think could happen this season:

Hart Trophy: Alex Ovechkin– Washington

Art Ross Trophy: Alex Ovechkin– Washington

Rocket Richard Trophy: Ilya Kovalchuk– Atlanta

Norris Trophy: Nicklas Lidstrom– Detroit

Vezina Trophy: Tim Thomas– Boston

Jack Adams Trophy: John Anderson– Atlanta

Calder Trophy: John Tavares– NY Islanders

Selke Trophy: Pavel Datsyuk– Detroit

Atlantic Division: Pittsburgh Penguins

Northeast Division: Boston Bruins

Southeast Division: Washington Capitals

Central Division: Detroit Red Wings

Northwest Division: Vancouver Canucks

Pacific Division: San Jose Sharks

Eastern Conference: Washington Capitals

Western Conference: San Jose Sharks

Stanley Cup: Washington Capitals

Worst team: Phoenix Coyotes

Surprise team: New York Islanders

Breakout Player: Milan Lucic– Boston

Comeback Player: Erik Johnson– St. Louis

Olympic Medals: Russia (Gold), United States (Silver), Canada (Bronze)

Dan Rice covers the New Jersey Devils & NHL for NYCSportsnetwork.com is a contributor to Maxhockey.com. He can be reached at DRdiablo321@yahoo.com.

Devils Win Preseason Opener vs. Rangers 3-2

The New Jersey Devils just topped the New York Rangers 3-2 in a shootout in their preseason opener at the Prudential Center. Here’s what I liked and didn’t like about the Devils first game since losing a stunning Game 7 last year to Carolina.

Positives:
David Clarkson — Scored two PP goals and is well on his way to becoming this team’s version of Randy McKay. He is poised to score between 20-25 goals this season if he sees an increase in ice-time.

Yann Danis — Played a great game in his Devils’ debut, despite blowing the two-goal lead. Both goals were a result of questionable defensive plays and in the shootout he was very good, stopping five of the six Rangers’ shooters — only surrendering Matt Gilroy’s goal in round three.

Zach Parise — From the drop of the opening puck, Parise was very noticeable every time he was on the ice. He showed me that despite having a remarkable season in 2008-09, he is still hungry to be even better.

The power play — They scored twice with the man advantage and that’s a big deal in Devil-land. There weren’t too many games last season that they scored more than one PP goal in.

Negatives:
Dainius Zubrus — Once again looked slow and failed to do much of anything offensively. He really needs to step up with Patrik Elias being sidelined for the next 3-6 weeks after groin surgery.

Brian Rolston — Same as above, will have to score more in Elias’ absence. He doesn’t look as lethargic as Zubrus on the ice, but the results are the same as far as producing points goes.

Blowing a two-goal lead — After last postseason, the Devils should be very protective with any type of lead, so it was a little disheartening to see them blow a two-goal lead in the 3rd period. Thankfully Danis was sharp in the shootout and Parise and Travis Zajac were able to score on Rangers goalie Chad Johnson (no not Chad Ochocinco!!).

New Jersey is off for a week until their next preseason game on Wednesday in Long Island against the Islanders.

Southeast Division Preview

My latest story has been posted on Maxhockey.com — a preview of the Southeast Division, home of Carolina, Washington, Florida, Tampa Bay & Atlanta.

Almost time for training camp…

With the open of training camp on September 13, many of the Devils players have started to make their way to New Jersey for some scrimmages and workout sessions. Here’s whats been going on according to the Fire & Ice blog by Tom Gulitti:

Brendan Shanahan will now wear no. 14 which was vacated when Brian Gionta signed with Montreal; Shanny previously wore 14 in Detroit and with the NY Rangers. He is also experimenting with wearing a visor for the first time in his career.

Jay Pandolfo became a first-time dad when his wife gave birth to a baby boy on July 2, the day after his longtime linemate John Madden signed with Chicago. He admitted it will be weird not seeing Madden when camp opens, but is looking forward to playing for coach Jacques Lemaire again. Pando is one of only four current Devils (Brian Rolston, Martin Brodeur, Patrik Elias) that has played for Lemaire in New Jersey.

Ilkka Pikkarainen is wearing no. 17 which was last worn by Mike Rupp who’s now in Pittsburgh.

Zach Parise took batting practice with his hometown Minnesota Twins last week and almost hit a home run to right field, falling just short of the wall which is 340 feet away from home plate.

Elias won the Czech player-of-the-year award, had successful surgery on his hip in June and obtained his level B coaching license from the Czech Ice Hockey Federation according to his website.