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-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-Panthers Postgame Quotes

Here are some of the postgame quotes after Friday’s 4-2  loss by the Devils to the Panthers:

Martin Brodeur:

Are you upset giving away points to a team below you?

“Well, you’d like to win every game; they’re trying to get out of the funk that they’re in and it just shows that you have to play 60 minutes and respect every opponent. I thought we were prepared, but they just beat us tonight.”

Unhappy for you but were you happy for Clemmensen?

“I just lost a game, I don’t think I’m happy for somebody else but, I’m sure he was looking forward to this game.”

What happened on the first goal?

“That’s a long time ago.”

Did Jordan Leopold just beat you high with that shot?

“Oh yeah, (laughs) sorry; I don’t know he just came and walked right in and shot it as hard as he could top shelf.”

On the fourth goal did you guess wrong?

“Eh, he made a pretty good move. I thought he was going to go on his backhand and he came quickly back on his forehand, he still had to get it up over my pad; and he did.”

Surprised to see him that wide open?

“Yeah, I was looking down ice; I didn’t see him coming at all.”

Colin White:

Is it good that you have another game tomorrow night to try and get rid of the bad taste from this one?

“We don’t feel we played very good tonight obviously and we have to come with a better effort tomorrow.”

Was there one thing they did tonight that kept the team off balance?

“They outworked us, and we had a lot of turnovers. They played their game for 60 minutes, and we sat back and instead of dictating the game we didn’t do what our game plan is. We didn’t execute tonight.”

Michael Frolik:
Do you like to play in this building?

“Yeah, for sure, I scored my first NHL goal here, so it’s nice if you come back; I have good memories here, it always stays in your head — I’ll never forget it. I think I really like to play here.”

Can you describe that breakaway?

“I think the d-man on my side; he kind of lost his balance and fell there. I just skated in the middle and Horty (Nathan Horton) saw me up there and passed to me. I got a breakaway and I just did what I did there.”

You guys really wanted to get this win for Clemmensen, right?

“For sure, he was playing here for a while. He did pretty well; he played a really good game and made a couple of good saves.”

Were you surprised you were so wide-open on your second goal?

“Yeah, he fell and I was all alone there (in the middle).”

Did you know what move you were going to use?

“I kind of decided between circles what I was going to do. It’s not my move, but I try to do it sometimes.”


Scott Clemmensen:

How did you feel out there tonight?

“It was good, you know, just all the sights and the sounds of this building really put me at ease. It was good to be back here — I have a lot of good memories in this building; and I put tonight’s win up there with them.”

Was it fun to get the win over Marty?

“Yeah; I respect him and the organization so much, so it does mean a lot for me to come in here and beat them. And I don’t mean that in a negative sense at all, I have so much respect for them that it’s a big win for not only me, but the team as well.”

Was it nice to see an early goal go up there for your team?

“Absolutely, anytime you can jump out to a lead like that, it takes a lot of pressure off, you as a goalie. We had a three-goal lead there at the beginning of the second (period), our guys did a good job getting deflections past Marty. If you let a goal in you know its not the end of the world. I was very impressed with everyone’s effort, particularly our defense tonight. Especially at the end of the game when we were trying to weather their big push there at the end.”

Gets a little hairy in the third when its 3-2?

“Yeah, (laughs), we had some bad losses in the past, but the way we responded – we didn’t change anything, I don’t think anyone was panicking. Then Frolik gets that big breakaway goal and gets it right back; that was a huge goal for us.”

You face the Devils so many times in practice, was it weird when it really counted?

“Yes, definitely; I wish I could explain it better, the only thing I can say is it’s weird. You play against your friends, maybe one or two on a team. Obviously tonight, it was the whole team, it was very strange, very weird, but nonetheless you still have to do your job out there. I’m happy we won.”

Jacques Lemaire:

When it’s a one-goal game, what went wrong on Florida’s fourth goal?

“I think it was Greenie, I didn’t see how it happened. I said ‘how come we got caught there’ and I was told that (Andy) Greene fell. It happened and they scored, but at that time we were coming back and I thought the game was tilting in our favor.”

Do you feel your best players played their best tonight?

“Some of them I know that hey can play better, you’re right. But overall I’m pleased with how the guys played.”

Talk about Dean McAmmond, who’s had some chances and got a goal…

“Well that is a result of hard work, its hard work that he got that goal. You look at that line, that line was solid again tonight, they were on top and played in the other zone quite a bit and spent minutes there.”