The Waiting is Over…

After 65 days of being held hostage….yes 65…. the Ilya Kovalchuk saga is over. The NHL finally approved Kovalchuk’s 15 year, $100 million dollar deal with the New Jersey Devils and the rest of the hockey world can now move on with their lives. Personally, I was finally able to wear my ‘Kovalchuk 17’ t-shirt that I purchased after he signed the first contract that was rejected by the league and then rejected again by an independent arbitrator.

So what’s next for the Devils? Kovy’s deal puts them about $3 million over the salary cap limit with only 21 of 23 players on their roster, meaning they will have to shed at least two contracts (perhaps Bryce Salvador and Dainius Zubrus) and sign some other players to small money contracts to fill out the roster. By the way, has anyone else noticed that on the Devils official website that Jay Pandolfo is no longer listed on the team’s roster? Other candidates to be moved include Colin White and Brian Rolston, but both have no-trade clauses in their contracts and both are undesirable to other teams as of this moment. If Salvador is moved, I would expect them to bring defenseman Mike Mottau back on a one-year, cheapie deal. If Zubrus is shipped out, expect the team to add some depth by signing a solid veteran such as Richard Park, Brendan Morrison or Jeff Halpern.

With the players they have under contract now, assuming Salvador & or Zubrus are moved, here is what the opening night lineup could look like:

Zach Parise-Travis Zajac-Jamie Langenbrunner
Ilya Kovalchuk-Jason Arnott-David Clarkson
Patrik Elias-Brian Rolston-Vladimir Zharkov
Pierre-Luc Leblond-Richard Park-Mattias Tedenby

Anton Volchenkov-Andy Greene
Henrik Tallinder-Anssi Salmela
Colin White-Mark Fraser

Martin Brodeur-Johan Hedberg

spares: Mike Mottau?, Rod Pelley, Tim Sestito

Who are the teams left that can afford to add a contract like Salvador ($2.9 million) or Zubrus ($3.4 million) this late in the summer?
The Islanders, Thrashers, Blues, Hurricanes, Coyotes, Panthers, Lightning, Stars, Ducks, Predators & Kings all have $9 million or more in cap space.
Time will tell how GM Lou Lamoriello is going to shape and mold his 2010-11 roster and all we can do is sit back and wait; this time it won’t be 65 days because training camp starts for New Jersey on September 17, but they don’t have to be under the salary cap until October 8.

How do you feel now that the second best goal-scorer in the NHL will be a Devil for the next 15 seasons?

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Devils-Blues Postgame Quotes [03.20.10]

Here are some of the postgame quotes after the Devils 1-0 loss to the Blues Saturday night:

Paul Martin:

What went wrong tonight?

“We came out flat, we turned the puck over quite a bit; we got away from what makes our team successful. They played well, we didn’t turn it on until the second period, the third period — which was too late; we couldn’t put the puck in the net.”

Is it hard playing against a team you don’t see too often?

“Yeah it’s a little tough; we’re not used to seeing teams like that too often. At the same time we have to do a better job not worrying about what they do, but worrying about our game.”

How do you feel after your third game in four nights after missing 59 games?

“Good, a little sore, but I feel well; better than I thought I would. It’s sore, it’s going to be every day, it’s still has to get stronger and some more motion. It’s getting better everyday and hopefully soon it won’t be sore.”

Martin Brodeur:

How tough is it to lose a 1-0 game as a goaltender?

“It’s two games in a row now, the same thing happened in Toronto. They’re tough, I think defensively we did our job — only allowing one goal — if we do that all year, we shouldn’t lose too many games. Getting a goal, sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Our power play looked good (tonight), just no results tonight.”

What did you see on the lone goal tonight?

“He made a pretty good shot, a really hard shot; he was coming in and looking at a teammate going to the net. I thought I was in good position, I was in good position; he just beat me clean – a hard shot. I don’t play much against these guys; sometimes the speed of (their) shots surprises you a bit.”

Ty Conklin:

It’s been a while for you since you started a game, now you get back-to-back wins in back-to-back starts…

“Yeah, it’s nice anytime you can help out (the team) especially this time of year.”

Did you feel good out there from the outset?

“Yeah I felt better in the early going than I did the other night. I don’t think they got too many shots early. The first period was kind of not too many opportunities for both teams. It got a little tighter obviously in the second and third periods, we did a good job staying out of the box and when we did have to kill penalties, we did a good job.”

Big stop by Brad Boyes for you on Ilya Kovalchuk’s wraparound attempt…

“Wasn’t that (Roman) Polak? Was that Boyes that did it? Ok, well there ya go; definitely a key stop.”

Erik Johnson:

An important two points for you guys tonight right?

“They’re a really good team, one of the best in East; lucky for us we were able to hold onto a 1-0 lead and played good.”

How important was this win for the Blues’ playoff push?

“It was really important; we have to win almost every game going forward and can’t afford to have an off-night. Fortunately tonight we had a good goalie and got the one goal that we needed.”

Jacques Lemaire:

Bad luck, bad game, both; how do you look at it?

“I felt like the first period we were a little flat, we didn’t show as much as we did in the second and third. Meaning we didn’t show that we were going to work hard to win the game; we didn’t show that at the start. The second we played better and the third, but the puck was bouncing. You have to start at the very beginning — first shift — play hard, otherwise you won’t get the bounces. You have to work all the time; you work all the time, you’ll get the bounces.”

Bad line change for your team on the goal?

“Yeah, well again, that was the first period. You’re changing, you wait until the other team gets the puck and then you change. If you want to change, you just have to skate and go to the bench as hard as you can; and there won’t be any mistakes. We did that three times before the goal; you just have to be sharp. I’ve said all along, there are no easy games. This team is one of the best teams on the road — they have a better record on the road than at home.”