Should He Stay or Should He Go…

It’s been almost two weeks since the New Jersey Devils 2009-10 season came to a crashing halt at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers. Three days after their elimination, coach Jacques Lemaire announced his retirement forcing the team to search for it’s sixth head coach in six seasons since the lockout ended. Three consecutive first round exits, haven’t made it past the second round since winning the 2003 Stanley Cup.

After having time to digest all of this I’ve come up with some suggestions on how to improve the team and hopefully help them (at least) make it out of the opening round of the playoffs. All salaries I used are courtesy of nhlnumbers.com.

Coach: Hire Mike Keenan. The ex-Ranger coach, (more recently ex-Calgary) would seem like an odd choice at first glance, but he knows how to win and he could work well together with another crafty mind like GM Lou Lamoriello. His first task will be convincing Brodeur to play less games, oh and his career total of 672 wins is good for 4th all-time.

Trade: Jamie Langenbrunner, Mark Fraser (and/or) Andy Greene to Toronto for Tomas Kaberle. Perhaps Lamoriello can convince Leafs GM Brian Burke that he can use a Langenbrunner to lead his young team in 2010-11 as he led Burke’s Team USA to a silver medal. Kaberle has one year left on his current deal at $4.25 mil, so to make it fair salary-wise Lamoriello may have to surrender both Greene and Fraser; Langenbrunner is due $2.8 mil and will also be going into the last year of his contract. Perhaps Kaberle will waive his no-trade clause to skate with fellow Czech Patrik Elias.

Trade: Before the draft call your old trading partner Don Waddell from Atlanta and offer him RFA David Clarkson ($875,000) for soon-to-be UFA Colby Armstrong ($2.4 mil). Maybe he still wasn’t 100% from the leg injury, but Clarkson was invisible versus the Flyers; Armstrong will be a player that plays hard every shift and in front of the opposing goalie he will be a pain in the @$$, something Clarkson has failed to do in each of the last two postseasons. See if Waddell has any interest or room for Jay Pandolfo also, who could help stabilize a young squad.

Free Agency: Let Paul Martin, Mike Mottau, Rob Niedermayer, Rod Pelley and Martin Skoula walk away. Changes have to be made and most of these players were very serviceable, the ultimate results just weren’t there.

Do whatever you have to do to re-sign Ilya Kovalchuk. Quick name another first overall pick that has played for the Devils. Stumped, well as far as I know there is only one other– Bobby Carpenter — and he wasn’t nearly as dynamic as Kovalchuk is. Hopefully Ilya sticks around, but who am I kidding, there’s no way he’ll stay in New Jersey right?

Sign Free Agents : Tomas Plekanec, Marek Svatos and either Andy Sutton or Anton Volchenkov. Plekanec is the center that the Devils have been lacking since Scott Gomez took the money and ran to Manhattan, leaving Travis Zajac as the team’s only legitimate scoring center. Svatos is a talented, scrappy, underachieving winger from Colorado who could fit in on a solid third/fourth line. Either Sutton or Volchenkov won’t come cheap, but they are both worth the money that will be spent on them. They both block shots well, get in shooting lanes and aren’t afraid to get into scrums to protect the front of their crease — a huge lacking element in NJ the last three playoff failures. Both players also have the same downside too — they are both injury prone, so teams may end up being hesitant to throw major cash around.

There’s a saying ‘scared money makes no money’ so I say the Devils need to revamp the current edition to make it look something like this:

Line A: Ilya Kovalchuk-Tomas Plekanec-Patrik Elias
Line B: Zach Parise-Travis Zajac-Dainius Zubrus
Line C: Brian Rolston-Colby Armstrong-Marek Svatos
Line D: Pierre-Luc Leblond-Tim Sestito/Dean McAmmond-Vladimir Zharkov

D-pair 1: Tomas Kaberle-Anton Volchenkov/Andy Sutton
D-pair 2: Matthew Corrente-Bryce Salvador
D-pair 3: Colin White-Anssi Salmela/Tyler Eckford

Goalies: Martin Brodeur, Yann Danis

I know I’ve made some crazy suggestions here, and I have no doubt that I’ll probably be 0.00% right, but hopefully some changes are made so I’m not sitting home watching less-superior teams battle for a chance to get steamrolled next season. Let me know how insane this all sounded, Thanx.

Dan

Devils-Islanders Postgame Quotes [04.10.10]

Here are some of the postgame quotes from the Devils 7-1 win over the Islanders:

Travis Zajac:
A big win to secure the division title…

“It was a really big win for us; we’re trying to get ready for the playoffs here. To get scoring from all the lines, and the power play, it’s good for us going into the playoffs on a high note.”

You had four assists tonight; did you feel particularly well out there?

“I don’t think I should’ve had four, I think Zach (Parise) should’ve had the first one, so I don’t know if I had that. But, like I said, I just want to be playing my best hockey going into the playoffs. I think that’s the focus for all of us right now, make sure our game is sound both offensively and defensively; and if we do that, we’re going to make a run here in the playoffs.”


Dainius Zubrus:

You scored the first goal which got the scoring barrage started tonight…

“You think so? I don’t know; the guys were ready, we knew what’s at stake. We want to finish on top and more than anything you want to play well going into the playoffs. The guys were fired up (tonight) and played well.”

Do you feel like the team is where it needs to be heading into the playoffs?

“Well yeah, we’ve been playing much better; I don’t think you can judge by one game. If you look at the last week or so, even the last game in Florida we had over 40 shots on net, but their goalie played pretty well. I think we’re getting better and today was a good step towards the playoffs.”

You clinched the division, how important is tomorrow’s game with Buffalo?

“Well like I said, it’s important to go in (to the playoffs) playing well. We’re playing one of the top teams in the conference; it’s one of those games where you can measure yourself a little bit again. I think the second or third seed in the East will be at stake, so we want to finish as high as possible and play as well as we can.”

Dean McAmmond:

Talking about his goal…

“It was a good play by Rollie and (Rod) Pelley coming out of our end; I kind of got the loose puck, Rollie got up on their d-man. I just grabbed the puck and their d-man was flat-footed, I just got on an angle, tried to go five-hole and it went to the outside of the net, handcuffed the goalie and the shot went off the net and the back of his knee. Sometimes they go in that way.”

Do you feel the team is playing the way they need to play heading into the playoffs?

“Yeah, we’ve had some better games. You look at the game in Florida, where they worked hard, they skated hard and we just kind of relaxed there; and this could’ve been one of those game tonight if we just relaxed, we would’ve kept them in it. We focused on playing hard — once we got two or three (goals) on them, they knew it was over; I think they let off a bit too.”

What does winning the division mean to you?

“I think it’s a great deal for us, a good accomplishment. We’ve had a stop-and-go type of year where we’ve been going hard and slowly losing it, then getting back on it again. It’s nice to win some games going into the playoffs.”


Martin Brodeur:

Talking about losing the shutout…

“Games like that its going to happen, especially when you give them a power play. Five-on-five I don’t think they would’ve got anything on us; we made a little mistake and the guy hit the puck out of mid-air on the goal line there, so it is what it is.”

Do you guys not realize how hard it is to win the division?

“Well we do, we do (smiles). I think we’ve grown to expect success here and we understand how hard it is. Trust me, we go through ups and downs, you guys see it – but we live it every day; with our organization, our coaches, our GM — they want us to play well every single day. For us the accomplishment means a lot, but they expect us to do it; and we expect ourselves to do it. But we understand how hard it is, it’s not like we dominated our division, only one team – Pittsburgh. The other ones, the Rangers wasn’t that good, Philly we were awful and these guys we were 4-2 I think.”

What do you like about this team?

“I think how good we were earlier in the season helped to set ourselves up for what would happen to us today. It’s been a little more rocky, but I think making the big trade to get Kovy in our lineup, I think in the playoffs we’ll be a different team than maybe past years because of a guy like that. His presence will give Zach a little more room and other players to do different things just because we have a weapon like Kovy there that they do have to respect because he’s a pretty talented player that’s going to change games around sometimes.”

Significant game tomorrow vs. Buffalo?

“Yeah it is; it gives us the opportunity to be at home for at least two rounds if we win. It would’ve been better if they had lost tonight (laughs) to Ottawa, but hey that’s why we play 82 games. If we lose it’s not the end of the world, but it could be something nice to have.”

You’re about to win the Jennings trophy, any significance to you at all?

“I haven’t looked at the numbers, where we’re at, but for us we care about the way we play defensively even though we have a different — that’s what I like we’re more geared towards offense, compared to other years — and we’re still able to dominate in our own zone; in a league that’s more geared towards scoring goals. It’s nice to finish on top, that’s for sure.”

All you have to do is not give up eight or nine goals tomorrow…

“(knocks on the wood column in his locker) You never know my friend, it’s nice. It’s fun for some players who’ve never won one. You go into a building and look up at the banners and you’re like ‘I was a part of this, this, this’ it’s fun. I’ve been here a long time, other guys for them it’s their first one and more to come.”

Ilya Kovalchuk:

Is it a different feeling now then when you made the playoffs with Atlanta?

“Yeah a little bit, I only went once and we lose all four games, but that was a great season and great atmosphere for the playoff games. I remember that and I’m still looking for my first win, hopefully it will be really soon.”

Devils-Penguins Postgame Quotes [03.17.10]

Here are some of the postgame quotes after the Devils 5-2 win over the Penguins on Wednesday night:

Travis Zajac:

What happened on your shorthanded breakaway?

“I just wanted to get a quick shot away, I thought he was going to poke-check (me); I just didn’t get it up and he made the save.”

Did you feel not as bad or better 21 seconds later?

“Yeah, Patty comes down and buries one; that was good it gave us a 3-1 lead.”

You’re 6-0 against Pittsburgh this year, any explanation?

“No, not really; we just seem to save our best hockey for them. Any time you can beat the defending Stanley Cup champions, sweep them in a year, is definitely a good feeling; you can get some confidence off that.”

If you see them in the playoffs would this mean anything or absolutely nothing?

“I think it means a little, just knowing that we can beat them and have beat them. I definitely think it means something.”

How can you carry this success into Toronto tomorrow night?

“We’ve been playing really well at home and on the road is where we have to start being a little better, hopefully we can carry this momentum into tomorrow’s game. If we do the things we did tonight — getting pucks in deep and getting pucks to the net with traffic — then we should have some success.”

Zach Parise:

Talking about his goal…

“It was a good play by Travis to find me in front of the net; I took a couple of swipes at it and I ended up pushing it in. He made the play, he got (Marc-Andre) Fleury down-and-out for me and I just tapped it in.”

You also had another chance shortly after from almost the same spot…

“Yeah, I just couldn’t get it (the puck) settled down to get a good shot on goal.”

Dean McAmmond:

Can you explain the success this year against the Penguins?

“It’s just one of those things I guess. I know a few times this year we’ve caught them on back-to-back games, so I think we had an advantage there. I don’t know, maybe we get up for them because they have very potent forwards there. Tonight they didn’t have (Evgeni) Malkin there, so that hurt them a lot.”

Big penalty kill by you guys at the end of the game…

“We were poised, stayed on our toes, jumped on errant passes. You know what, they seemed to still find some seams and still got some shots, but Marty stood his ground and made some good saves; we’ve had some good fortune against them.”

What did you think of wearing the retro-uniforms tonight?

“I thought it was kind of cool, pretty neat. It’s fun to bring back (memories) from the older days, remembering them.”

Paul Martin:

Describing his goal…

“I just stepped up into a broken play and found the puck on my stick; (Rob) Niedermayer said ‘get going, there wasn’t anyone there,’ so I just took off. I went in (to the zone) and had some room, I tried to put everything I could on it and find a spot, and it went in. I’ll take it; it was definitely a good feeling after such a long absence.”

How do you feel?

“I feel good; better than I thought I would. They (the coaches) didn’t throw me into the fire, they kind of paced me a little bit, gave me some shifts here and there. I felt good, we’ll see tomorrow if I’m sore; it feels good to just be in there. You forget how much fun you have and why you’re working out for four months to get back, it was a lot of fun tonight and a big win for our team.”

Is this the way you envisioned it when you thought about playing this game tonight?

“Yeah that would be nice; I definitely didn’t envision any goal, any points or anything like that. It was mostly just get through the game, try to knock some rust off and eat some minutes — scoring a goal, that was a bonus.”

Your legs felt good out there?

“Yeah, they felt good, I’ve been skating for a while, but it felt good to be out there in game situations. It was fun, I’m glad the way it went tonight and hopefully I can be better tomorrow.”

Dainius Zubrus:

Talking about his goal…

“I came off the bench and there was a turnover in the neutral zone and Patty made a great play, heads up. I don’t know if they were trying to change or what but he made a nice play behind his back to me, I had some speed on it. I initially thought I could take a shot, but with the speed I thought I could get around the goalie too. I gave him a bit of a fake, tried to get around him.”

Fleury started stumbling backwards when you made that fake…

“I’d have to see the replay, but it’s good if the fake works (grins); as I’m faking, I’m kind of looking at him and then thought maybe I could freeze him a little bit — I guess it worked.”

You let out a pretty big yell after you scored too…

“I was pretty pumped; you know, we started slow the first ten minutes or whatever, it was kind of slow for us. We’re playing a good team, in front of a sold-out crowd, so guys were up for this game; we just started a bit slow. It was that first goal that got us going a little bit — I was pretty happy to get that one.”

Jacques Lemaire:

What was so good about the way tour team played tonight?

“Especially after the first three to five minutes where they were all over us; we couldn’t win a battle and then we settled down and started to take over. We got a few goals and after that I thought we played a great game.”

Could you believe Martin scored a goal in his first game back?

“Well, I was happy for him; you could tell he wanted to do well, he was looking for the opportunity to move up the ice and do something. At that point there he decided to go, it was a defenseman there, he went around him and got off a good shot; it was a smart shot.”

Killing a penalty, you get two breakaways and score on one, not too bad right?

“Yeah, usually we don’t get too many opportunities on our PK, but it’s nice to have them. It gives the guys confidence that they could get a goal a different times. But what we’re looking for is not having the opponent to score a goal, more than getting one. But when they go in you take them very easily.”

Will Martin play tomorrow?

“We haven’t decided that yet. We talked briefly about it and we’ll make a decision on the way there or tomorrow.”

Are you surprised you beat Pittsburgh all six times?

“Oh yeah, definitely; it tells us it’s nice to have confidence and beat a team during the year, but playoffs is a different season and you start from scratch.”

Devils-Maple Leafs Postgame Quotes [02.05.10]

Here are some of the postgame quotes after the Devils 4-3 win over Toronto on Friday night:

Travis Zajac:
The game didn’t exactly go the way you planned, are you happy with the result?

“Yeah, we found a way to get the two points; we know we didn’t play good until, maybe the last five minutes of that game. When we got it to 3-2, we started to pressure them a little more, getting in on the forecheck; we got a penalty called in our favor and we were able to capitalize. Then we got one with 20 seconds left so it was a weird game. We didn’t get much going until the end of the game.”

This game was similar to last Friday’s game against Toronto, wasn’t it?

“Yeah exactly, I think the first two periods we didn’t play with a lot of confidence, excitement; I don’t know what it was. We weren’t controlling the puck; we were making terrible plays and turning the puck over. In the third we came out with a little better performance and were able to sneak one away.”

Was part of that lack of energy the overexcitement of having a new player on the team?

“Yeah, maybe; I think this morning we were all pretty excited and we had a lot of energy at pre-game skate it felt like. Maybe we were a little too excited and weren’t ready for the game; but it looked like we didn’t have as much energy or we weren’t working hard or something, but it helps when you get a couple of goals. It was definitely exciting and hopefully we can build off this win.”

Talk about your goal…

“Just on the power play there, Kovalchuk had it at the point and he made a nice play to Dean-o; Dean sent it cross-ice to me and I was just able to get a pretty good shot away.”

You’ve been getting goals like that lately, on slap shots and one-timers, is that something you work on constantly?

“Yeah we work on it in practice; one-timers all the time. I just got all of that one for some reason.”

Kovalchuk jumped on you after that goal; how exciting of a moment was that…

“Yeah (smiles), you could see, just by the first game you can tell he wants to win, he’s a good teammate and he gets excited to score and win games; that’s what we need on this team.”

Martin Brodeur:

Talking about the power play…

“Having Kovy in the lineup, we need to draw penalties because having him is a huge weapon.”

What’s your take on Kovalchuk?

“Well he’s an exciting player; he’s a guy where the opposing team cares about where he is at all times. Eventually it will open up some ice for other people — you saw it on the power play with him faking the one-timer and passing it back to Dean-o. It opened that whole lane because the defender didn’t want to give that shot away from Kovy right in the middle of the ice like that. That’s what hopefully he’ll bring every night to us.”

Last week we talked about recent wild games against Toronto, does this one go right up with that?

“Definitely (chuckles), that was an interesting game; I think we played well for two periods and we were as bad as it gets for the second period, myself included. Turnovers were made and it wasn’t pretty out there, but I was able to make two big saves — one on (Phil) Kessel early in the third period and the toe save I made on (John) Mitchell — that kept the game still within reach and the guys took over in the last five minutes.”

Did the second Toronto goal hit one of your players on its way towards you?

“No it kind of screened me, a scissor-effect with the skate; I think (Colin) White was following the player and it went right through his legs — and I missed it a bit, I thought I was in good position. It just hit my stick and found a little hole in my five-hole.”

Jay Pandolfo:

Talking about his goal…

“I just went to the net, Jamie (Langenbrunner) made a great play in the zone to kind of keep in it, he made a nice pass back to (Mike) Mottau and I just went to the net and got the rebound.”

Similar to last week’s game except this week your team scored the late goals?

“Yeah it was a nice comeback for us, we didn’t have our best game obviously, sometimes that happens when you get a new player and everybody’s trying to get him the puck.”

Jacques Lemaire:

Can you describe what led to the turnaround?

“I cannot (smiles). The whole game I was asking the players to win battles, to make plays, to be better with the puck; we have to be better, we couldn’t do that. We did it only the last two minutes and fifty seconds — then everything was working — we were skating, passing the puck, making plays. How it happened, I just don’t know.”

Did (Vladimir) Zharkov’s pass to (Dean) McAmmond change the whole game there?

“I think it did. The guys on the bench were really excited about that goal and I heard some of them saying ‘hey we can come back, we can come back’ and for the first time in the game I saw that they were excited.”

Talking about the third period…

“We played (only) three lines at the end, most of the time. I was trying to find the combination that could work together; I probably tried everyone with everybody.”

Is Kovalchuk more than just a goal scorer?

“He can pass the puck, you can tell by the plays he’s making; he’ll be fine. He’s a guy that can’t do it on his own all the time; he will sometimes, but he needs help. I thought we played exactly like we’ve been playing lately — not enough energy on the ice, which we paid the price for. Now I’m trying to find the right answer, the right things to do, to make them play as hard as they can.”

Did you know he is getting better in the defensive aspect of the game?

“On the flight from Washington maybe he thought about that (smiles).”

You used (Anssi) Salmela almost twenty minutes, what did you think of him?

“He was fine; he played well. He was not a liability, he moved the puck fine; he just has to get used to the type of game that we’re playing.”

Did Zharkov have one of his better games?

“Zharkov played really well; I have to say that he was one of the best players (for us). He was skating, had puck control, and played hard defensively and offensively.”

Ilya Kovalchuk:

How exciting was this win?

“Very exciting; I took a penalty in the second period and they scored. I was saying to myself that I had to do something because it wasn’t going to be a good debut.”

How many comebacks like this do you remember, this was pretty unusual?

“This year, with the Thrashers, we had quite a few. But it was great to play in front of this kind of crowd, they supported us all game long and nobody left the building.”

You mentioned Brodeur being meaningful, what do you mean by that?

“Yeah, the saves he made in the third period, on their power play, I think that was the key to the game.”

Were you nervous?

“No, not really. First shift, maybe, but the guys were supporting me real well.”

Were you trying to come back and play defense more often tonight?

“I will try always to do that; this year I was plus-1 when I left the Thrashers and that was a big change for me. I think in my career I am minus-95 or something, so hopefully that will change.”

How do you feel you played?

“It wasn’t my best game, but I think it was all right for my first game — especially that we got the two points.”

Can you sum up what the last 24-hours have been like for you?

“It’s not easy, but when you come to this kind of organization, where they’ve won three Stanley Cups, they definitely know how to win and they want to win. To make this move shows that they are serious and hopefully we can do some damage in the playoffs.”

Pandolfo Burns Maple Leafs with Late Goal

Here is the link to my recap of the Devils 4-3 win over the Maple Leafs on Friday night:

Pandolfo Burns Maple Leafs with Late Goal

Dan’s Three Stars of the Game:

#1 – Dean McAmmond (NJ) – goal (6), assist (7)

#2 – Jay Pandolfo (NJ) – gw goal (4)

#3 – Ilya Kovalchuk (NJ) – 2 assists (29)

tonight’s line combos/d-pairings
New Jersey:
Parise-Zajac-Rolston
Kovalchuk-Zubrus-Langenbrunner
Pandolfo-Niedermayer-Zharkov
Leblond-McAmmond-Peters

Greene-Salvador
Mottau-White
Fraser-Salmela

Toronto:
Ponikarovsky-Bozak-Kessel
Mitchell-Hanson-Stempniak
Sjostrom-Wallin-Kulemin
Rosehill-Primeau-Orr

Phaneuf-Beauchemin
Kaberle-Exelby
Schenn-Gunarsson

Devils-Panthers Postgame Quotes [01.20.10]

Here are some of the postgame quotes after Wednesday’s  2-0 Devils win over the Panthers:

Martin Brodeur:

Talking about stopping the losing streak…

“You want to play well, we didn’t really look at the losing streak; we looked at we haven’t played well. We are comfortable playing here, and we wanted to get out of the first period — that’s been a killer for us in the last few games — we get out of the gates really bad. So when we did that today the guys were a lot more comfortable playing the game.”

Was there one particular stop that sticks out for you tonight?

“I don’t know, they had a couple of chances in the 3rd; I think the (Steven) Reinprecht one that (Mike) Mottau took his hooking penalty on, that was a pretty prime shot. But I think one of the biggest plays was when (Nathan) Horton had the puck there in the slot and Sal (Bryce Salvador) made a great block with his stick and threw the puck out of the paint, he had a great opportunity there.”

Do feel lucky there when (Rostislav) Olesz missed the net?

“Never ask that to a goalie (laughs). I’m just kidding, I couldn’t believe it; I’m the one who poked the puck to (Cory) Stillman and he makes a fake pass — I have to respect his shot from there, especially him with having such a great shot — he makes a good play and I just dove across and I just couldn’t believe. It wasn’t even close, it’s not like he hit the post, and it just went wide — so definitely I felt lucky on that one. There was one in the second too that they shot through me and it hit Whitey (Colin White) and came right back. That’s what I was saying that shutouts are tough to get, especially with the luck factor.”

Things were a lot better than they were defensively?

“Yeah I thought so, from my view I thought our defenseman were solid, we blocked a lot of shots, and we had a lot of good sticks in passing lanes, on the power plays and their rushes. It made a big difference, we played really well and we had to play well because we didn’t score many goals in this game. We felt we were in control the whole game.”

Dean McAmmond:

I saw you looking at the clock as you were chasing the puck, did you think you had enough time?

“I wasn’t sure but I took a look to see if there was half a dozen seconds left as comparable to, two. When I saw the clock change from five to four I figured I had a pretty good chance, the puck was right in the middle of the ice. I gave it a pretty good try.”

Was this a good bounce back game after starting slow the last three games?

“We did what we had to do to get a win. We worked hard, I think it took us a little while to get going in the first couple of periods, but I think we are still feeling the effects of the long road trip, long travel and playing every other day. We had yesterday off, but that day off is going to help us.”

Talk about the fact that the team used only three centers tonight, including you…

“You welcome (more ice-time) because you’re staying in it and you know you can go hard, get off (the ice) and you know you are going to get right back in there in a couple of shifts. It keeps you, mentally, on top of your game.”

Nick Palmieri:

First game, first point, how’d you feel out there?

“I felt good, a little bit of nerves in the beginning but I think I kind of settled in after the first shift or two. I found a little bit of a groove out there with the guys that I was playing with, which wasn’t too hard.”

You started off on the fourth line and then you’re playing with Zach Parise and Travis Zajac, how nice was that?

“To play with two of the better players in the league is always exciting, obviously those guys are really good offensively so I was just looking to try and get them some opportunities and knew that if I did it would be more likely that we can get some offense going.”

You had five shots on goal tonight; did you feel like you were in a good groove?

“Yeah I was trying to shoot the puck as much as I could when I was open and make the goalie make a save. Guys were finding me and the puck was bouncing my way a little bit; it was fun.”

Travis Zajac:

Talking about his goal…

“You always want to shoot a rolling puck, I find that they’re harder to pick up (for the goalie); I just kind of got lucky and it went through him.”

When it’s rolling do you have any idea (where your shot will go)?

“I don’t have any clue where it’s going when it’s rolling, I’m sure the goalies don’t.”

Did Panthers defenseman Bryan McCabe get a piece of it as you let it go?

“He might’ve gotten his stick on it at the last second; it looked like it on the replay that I just saw.”

Is it a relief that you scored after you guys were shutout for four, almost five consecutive periods?

“Yeah, we thought we were playing good up until then, we knew we were going to get one eventually because we had a lot of shots on net; we were throwing shots from all over the place, so it was just a matter of time.”

Does it feel good when Marty is in a groove like he has been with the shutouts?

“It seems like its every second game now that he’s getting a shutout, which is pretty amazing. Again tonight he was outstanding making the first save and our D did a good job of not allowing too many shots after that. He’s been like that all year for us and it makes us play with a lot more confidence when he plays like that.”

Jacques Lemaire:

What did the kids add tonight?

“I think they added energy and they were good with the puck, good in our end, good offensively, they protected the puck well, they made good passes; I was really pleased with the way they both played.”

How relieved are you?

“Winning?”

Yes. The way you won.

“Well we still have a long ways to go. I think it was a much better team effort, I think the guys were about 80% of what we can do. I think we can play a lot better than we did tonight.”

Who’d you like best?

“I liked Travis; I liked the two kids, they definitely brought good energy as we spoke of. McAmmond really played well and (Rob) Niedermayer — all three centers.”

How abut your defense?

“I think the four defensemen; definitely they made great plays in our end to get out. They were good in the offensive zone trying to keep the puck in at certain times without taking any risks.”

So what do you want to improve on?

“The overall picture; team, intensity, puck control, scoring chances.”

Power play?

“And power play.”

Marty’s game tonight?

“He was good. I wish he would do this every night; he would make my job a lot easier. When he plays the way he can, he’s going to give you a great chance to win.”

What made you move Palmieri from the fourth line to the top line?

“How he played; he was playing better than the other guy, that’s why I did it. When you get a chance to play, you’ve got to take the chance and play — the kids, they have to know this. They’re called up and they have to show that they are capable of doing it.”

What did Palmieri show you?

“Well it’s his poise with the puck. Before the game I asked him if he knows how we play, when they have full control (of the puck). He said yeah, I asked him to explain and he knew the whole thing — how we play; that’s good. I told him about the defensive zone, and said make sure you stop; if you stop you’ll be in control and I thought he did it. Stopping in his position and then seeing the situation and reading the plays the other team is trying to make. Getting in good position to stop cross-ice passes will help you to get that puck and bring it out.”

What happened with Rod Pelley?

“I thought he was going to play tonight and they told me before the game that he’s not. Then I said he’s not in, we’ll have to play with three centers.”

Devils-Thrashers Postgame Quotes

Here are some of the postgame quotes after Monday’s 3-2  win by the Devils over the Thrashers:

Zach Parise:

Is it a weight off your shoulders (that you scored a goal tonight)?

“Yeah, it definitely feels good. It feels good that something finally went in, it’s definitely a good feeling.”

The goal that they gave credit to Colin White, did you touch it at all on the way in?

“I don’t know; we’ll have to watch it on video I guess.”

Can you talk about the first goal?

“It was a good play by Bergy to keep the puck in the zone there. He found me going in front of the net and I got a couple of whacks at it.”

Were you just waiting for David Clarkson to come back into the lineup to score a goal?

“(Smiling) Yeah that was the secret, that’s what I was waiting for.”

Were you surprised to see Niclas Bergfors get up from that hit before his assist?

“Yeah, you have to give him a lot of credit for making that play; I saw the video and he got hit pretty hard, but he got back up and made a good play. He was talking about it afterwards (on the bench) and he was a little shaken up after the hit.”

The lines were jumbled up after Andrew Peters was tossed in the opening two minutes; did that have any affect tonight?

“I guess we’re kind of used to it by now. I warmed up with Travis (Zajac) and Jamie (Langenbrunner) and then I started (the game) with Dean (McAmmond) and Patty, and then I didn’t see them the rest of the night, so (laughs). You have to make adjustments to how they’re playing and then when Petey got thrown out of the game, we had to mix and match all night.”

Martin Brodeur:

They’ve played you tough in three games this season…

“It’s just one shot that makes a difference; they have two good goalies over there that will make key saves at the right time. When they play us, I’ve seen some of the games they’ve played and it gets pretty wild sometimes, but today they looked pretty sound defensively. Their defenseman were carrying the puck and they made good plays; I thought we just stayed the course all game long.”

What happened to (Bryce) Salvador?

“I don’t know. I didn’t see, sorry I cant help you guys.”

What did you see on that first goal?

“Kovalchuk? It was a bomb. I went across and tried to get as big as I could because I know he was there; (the pass) got tipped and it threw me off a bit. My angle, because I knew exactly where he was, but when it got tipped he changed so I was a little too close to my post and he just hit it as hard as he could in the top of the net.”

The second goal went off of one of your players?

“Yeah it went off of both sticks (in the lane) and it kind of caught me a bit – the way it came up. It kind of handcuffed me (between my glove and my side), it threw me off a bit.”

How did you like the overall performance of the team coming off of a loss?

“A different opponent, playing at home; not as chaotic a day; I think we did what Jacques wanted us to do against that team. It was nice to see Clarkie back out there, getting into a fight, getting himself going. This is the way we have to bounce back after a bad game, with a win.”

After giving up four goals Saturday, how did you feel out there?

“Yeah I felt pretty good; I felt really good in Washington, it’s just that their firepower kind of overwhelmed us. I haven’t played really well against these guys this year in two games — one I got pulled, one I lost — so I just wanted to make sure I was good tonight.”

Patrik Elias:

Is it important for the team to get Zach out of his drought?

“Its good for him, he didn’t have any pressure from anybody because he was giving his best effort every night; it was just a matter of time (before he scored). I told him you only got halfway to what I had — a few years back, 18 games or something, so we kidded about that. He’s so good around the net, he gets himself opportunities, its going to go for him, sooner than later.”

Jacques Lemaire:

Thoughts on the win…what worked and why?

“I think it was a hard fought game, both teams played hard. There was a lot of hitting and not a lot of room to play. This is a team, the way they play with their wingers is tight; they play man-on-man. To get away from this you have to skate, you have to beat people. Otherwise there is always somebody on you if you are not skating.”

Parise came through…

“It’s been a couple of practices now that I feel he has been skating better; maybe his mind is more clear. To me, the biggest difference, Travis played really well, he helped him. On the second goal, Patrik made a great pass to him. Zach, he is always skating, but when he is open and waiting for the puck, somebody has to give it to him — tonight he had people give it to him.”

Was Clarkson too reckless?

“Well I think its only being a part of games and knowing your position in the defensive zone, knowing what to do. I don’t know if you saw the replay (of the first goal), he was wondering where he should go at that time before the goal. He was in front of the net, he didn’t know if he was going to stay down low or go back to his position. When you don’t play for a while, this is what’s going to happen to you. Besides that I thought he was skating fine and on the PP he was good, he missed one chance.”

What can you tell us about Salvador?

“Sal, nothing. He left the game and we won’t know more until later.”

How worried were you when Ilya Kovalchuk had the puck late in the game?

“When he shoots, everybody worries.”

Are you upset with Andrew Peters?

“I don’t want to think about this; I have other stuff on my mind.”

Did his loss screw up your game plan, as far as how you wanted to roll your lines?

“Well we end up playing three lines there in the third period, for sure. I don’t know how it would have turned out had he stayed in the game, but anyway, it’s done.”