All Hell Breaks Loose in Jersey

I will be taking a break from posting after this, but it must be said.

For years under Lou Lamoriello, the New Jersey Devils have been one of the most stable franchises in the NHL. They have been successful (on the ice) and they have managed to stay in New Jersey despite having the highest prices in the league, an old arena, and competing with the likes of the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers for fans.

What has happened in the past 48 hours?

First, let me take a step back. This aint the old Devils. No Stevens, no Neidermeyer hurts. This isnt as much of a “team” as it used to be. There are players that exhibit the same work ethic as before: Madden, Pandolfo(amazingly NO PIMs), Gionta. Some additions are playing well: Brown, Kozlov, and whatever rookie comes in to play.

The Devils recently announced that Patrik Elias is back practicing. For him to be on the team when ready, salary needed to be dumped. They shipped McGillis to Albany. Here is the timeline.

1) McGillis shipped to Albany. Elias returns to practice.

2) Larry Robinson calls it quits.

3) Vladimir Malakhov retires.

4) Lou Lamoriello coaches Devils at practice.

5) McGillis returns to the Devils.

This has been the WACKIEST day I have exerpienced as a fan of the Devils. I cannot believe all of this has happened in such a short time span. The model of consistency on and off the ice has just broken down.

Maybe this is the moment I have been waiting for. The Devils have finally hit ROCK BOTTOM. There is no other place to go than up right now.

Why can they only go up?

1) CAP PROBLEM SOLVED. No one is waiting to be traded. There might be trades by the deadline, but no one is concerned about being the “salary cap casualty” anymore. This should let the whole team settle down. The players are here to stay (like em or not) and that should help boost team morale and maybe get them to gel a bit.

2) They have been playing like absolute crap this whole month. No regulation wins (2 shootouts). The PP has been TERRIBLE and the main reason why they haven’t won without going to SO (blown 2 OT PPs). With the players knowing they are staying, they can work on whats wrong.

3) Lou Lamoriello behind the bench. It is working in Calgary, why shouldn’t it work in Jersey? Every player has respect for this man. Well, McGillis might not, but he knows the situation and should be pleased hes not in the minors. There is nothing worse than failing in front of the coach…let alone if he is the GM as well. Now he will know exactly who to move (if necessary) and exactly WHAT he needs in return. This is a huge help.

I can accept the Devils losing games if they play well, especially for the next few days. Their loss to Ottawa was hard to take because they played their hearts out. The Devils have finally hit rock bottom. Their play smells as bad as Fresh Kills (staten island, NYC…had to) on a humid day. Maybe now they can turn it around. The turmoil is behind them. There will be no “cap casualties.” The players can relax and just get back to fixing what is wrong.

In Lou I trust. If the Devils miss the playoffs, they will make it next year. If the Devils make a run, they are in good enough position to make the playoffs.

Time to put it behind me too, and let other people submit news!


44 Responses to All Hell Breaks Loose in Jersey

  1. wingerxxx says:

    I still haven’t found any news items about Malakhov retiring. The only thing I’ve found is news on Robinson. If it is true, then it doesn’t really surprise me, as he really came back for the money, by his own admission. It’s pretty evident that the booing was getting to him in New Jersey. He’ll probably be remembered for having Norris Trophy caliber skills and incredible potential, but never really putting it all together for long stretches. When he was on, he was a very good defenseman and could play physically as well, but that wasn’t often enough. In his first full season with the Rangers, he played great hockey for the first half of the season paired with Leetch. Then the Olympics happened, and he kind of lost it mentally.

    His age certainly didn’t help matters, as a lot of folks forget that he is 37 years old. Even with his solid run in Philadelphia, he was given too much of a contract, and therefore too much to live up to. It’ll be interesting to see what he does from here on out.

  2. NjDEVSFN says:

    Robinson said during the press conference that Malakhov has retired. here is the link and the quote.

    “Robinson also said — later confirmed by Lamoriello — that defenseman Vladimir Malakhov, who was not at practice, has retired.”

    http://msgnetwork.com/content_news.jsp?articleID=v0000msgn20051219T163717879&newsgroup=ap.sportsml.columnist.article&sports=ice-hockey&team=Devils&league=nhl

  3. wingerxxx says:

    Gotcha, I hadn’t seen that. Malakhov really did them a favor by hanging up his skates. He has won his Stanley Cup with the team…just nothing to play for anymore, and his salary alone was hurting things.

  4. jacksheit says:

    every regime has its fall

    I think NJ will have the biggest problem changing styles to fit the new NHL

  5. NjDEVSFN says:

    sure was. I wonder why LL didnt just waive Malakhov instead. Well, I guess if he had seen this coming, he would have. Hopefully he sits with McGillis and smoothes things over, because that HAD to be weird.

  6. mikster says:

    This was bound to happen. I always said that each team has its Golden Years, and it’s Dark ages.

    Well…the Flyers went through that, Isle’s went through that, Rangers went and slowly coming to the end of it, the Pens, and now…. the Devils.

    Nothing lasts forever.

    I know Lamoriello is a great GM and i am so proud of his work that he manages to find American born players and develop them well. He is part of the reason why US college hockey has emreged and has gotten much more attention by the other 29 teams. Before it was all about the Euro leagues and Canadian Junior leagues.

    But, Lou is at fault with the Devils organization. I like the current topics circling around the NHL, so i may as well come up with a new CM article.

    Malakhov was a major mistake, they can try to cut Mogilny as well (Keenan will take him), open up salary…. set up a firesale for D(deadline)-Day and acquire youth and picks…. plus make the scouts work hard for this year’s draft, which is packed with very good American kids.

    I knew the Devils demise was on the horizon before the season started, i said it!

    Lou should not be coaching, he should be managing. Let McLean handle it…give him experience as he is looking at a coaching career. You got Sutter, Francis, Cassidy….. now Olczyk, all available…. take the time to hire a good coach for the new era of the Devils.

  7. wingerxxx says:

    My two theories are that 1) He knew that if he waived Malakhov, no team would dare touch him with that salary. And 2) He is a better all-around defenseman than McGillis..when he’s on his game. Combine those two facts, and you have McGillis being waived, over the Russian. You’re right though, it’s a very strange situation.

  8. NjDEVSFN says:

    you did say it mik, but even YOU couldnt predict that all this would happen in such a short period.

    the Devils “regime” hasnt plummeted, so its not as sorry as the states of the Rangers, Isles, and Pens had been. That may be the Devils fan in me talking, but they ARE above .500 and they are fighting for 8th with 11 games against TOR and NYI (the two above them). Of course, if their special teams don’t improve, they wont make the playoffs.

    One of their major problems just retired. Good, thats a step in the right direction. Mogilny hasnt been as bad as you keep saying, however, 27GP, 23 pts, -3. Overpaid, perhaps, but thats about it. He will not be traded unless LL feels that the Devils are not making the playoffs as of the deadline.

    McGillis is inconsistent. He took a penalty, perhaps bad, but he did what should have been done: PROTECT MARTY. If it was regulation and they scored on the PP, no one wouldve cared as much. He did it and I’m glad he did. Now he doesn’t have to worry about being a Cap casualty. I expect his play to settle. Actually, NO ONE needs to worry about being a cap casualty, and thats the best thing thats happened (until Elias returns). They can finally build that cohesiveness that has been missing.

    LL is not going to coach the team for the rest of the season. From what I’ve read, he will until he finds a suitable replacement: “I won’t make a decision just to make a decision.” Wise words.

    He has traded his picks before, but he knows the current state of affairs in Albany. He’ll keep his draft picks (especially 1-3) for a while.

  9. wingerxxx says:

    I also think that Lameriello would be much better off finding someone else to coach the team. He needs to concentrate on his GM responsibilities right now.

    When Elias comes back (and IF Mogilny stays), they will be able to put two good scoring lines on the ice in Elias-Gomez-Gionta, and Brylin-Kozlov-Mogilny. I just don’t think that Rafalski is cut out to be true number one defenseman right now. Malakhov, while definitely not the answer, at least provided some depth. And now he is gone. Then again, it could very well be a case of addition by subtraction. Rafalski, Martin, Matvichuk, White, Brown and McGillis will have to carry the load now on the blueline now, so some rebuilding is definitely in order on that front. I like Martin though, he is going to keep getting better.

  10. NjDEVSFN says:

    For pure fun:

    Gomez-Elias-Mogilny (GEM)

    Kozlov-Gionta-Brylin (KGB)

    I do, however, agree with keeping the Russians together. Somehow, it always works.

    Now to respond:

    LL will not coach the team forever. It is not his duty nor does he want it to be. Rafalski should be able to handle himself in this league. He did fine with the USA team twice. Might just be a confidence thing. I think he can turn it around.

    Rafalski, Martin, Matvichuk, White, Brown, McGillis with the big club

    Hale, Ference in the minors. Albelein now a reserve.

    9 NHL defensemen on one team. They should all be scared that a bad game(s) means they will sit. It is a good type of scared because it has nothing to do with being traded.

    I have faith in my team. Call me crazy, but maybe I am.

  11. mikster says:

    If you’re crazy to have that kind of faith for your Devs, then what what you call us Rangers fans? hehe.

    Stay tuned for what i really have to say. But hey, i hope you are enjoying two Rangers fans having good discussions about your struggling Devils as we’re not trashing them!

  12. NjDEVSFN says:

    its very hard to find “class-act” rangers fans on message boards. I for one, who do enjoy going to many Devils games, do not partake in the “Rangers Suck” chants. I also dont do “Lets Go Devils” since the last time I did, they lost! Damn superstitions.

    i enjoy this board because the majority are fans who would rather talk and suggest before trash. however, i must admit, a good trash-talk now and then is a good thing!

    i do hope you are enjoying the success as much as I am despising the failures. heres a good jab: isnt it about time you can talk down to Devils fans? hehe

  13. thatleafsguy says:

    lol sorry dude but we here in Toronto get raped harder for the cost of a ticket than Jersey, Leafs = most overpriced ticket in hockey for the least amount of enjoyment and excitement. Devils will be alright.

  14. Frank181 says:

    True Fact. I live in kitchener and last time i checked

    for the crappyiest seats its 189$

    I payed 189 for my O”neill Jersey soo do the math 😐

  15. NjDEVSFN says:

    Devils still have the highest FCI according to Forbes. I am going to NJD v TOR on New Years Eve.

    I’ll apologize now for the sign (if they let me bring it in)! I just cant think of anything more suitable than “Leafs Die in Winter” or “Leafs Burn in He!!”

    I havent seen (attended, rather) the Devils beat the Leafs since 2002! I’m ready for it! All out front row.

  16. habsoverserver says:

    The core of the Devils – Madden, Gomez, Elias, Gionta, Rafalski and Brodeur are still good players. But since winning the Cup, they lost their top faceoff center, a top wing, two HOF defensemen and some veteran depth.

    They need to replace the lost pieces one at a time to get back in contention. They need to trade their experienced grinders for future upside.

    Guys who have been on one or more Cup winners like Langenbrunner, Brylin and Marshall are worth a lot to teams on the cusp. They remind me of guys like Corson, McPhee, Keane, Skrudland and Gilchrist from the Habs of the early 90’s.

  17. nordiques100 says:

    arnott, sykora out, niewy friesen in and now nothing to show for it.

    holik, nieds left, stevens retired and again nothing to show for it.

    and almo left too only to come back a shell of his former self.

    it happens i guess but still hurts i bet for devils fans

  18. kicksave856 says:

    Is McGillis playing bad, or was he sent down for some goofy reason? When he was a Flyer he wasn’t anything spectacular, but he hit an awful lot and seemed to play with heart most nights.

    When I saw him getting bumped down, I immediately thought about the Flyers current situation on D (injuries to Desjardins and Pitkanen) and that maybe it would be nice to have McGillis back. It’s been a while though and I haven’t really seen him play too much.

    I guess it’s all moot now, but I’m still wondering what the deal is with his play. Is he a liability now, or does he still play pretty well? And does he still hit as much?

  19. wingerxxx says:

    I’m not a obscene trash-talk kinda gal, although I love my Rangers. I do like it when our rivals are good teams and are doing well, it makes for better hockey games! Plus, it’s just not cool to wish harsh misfortune on other clubs. Especially when your coach has to leave for health reasons.

  20. wingerxxx says:

    He and Malakhov were paired up in the games I watched, and they were not playing well together. McGillis seems to be getting caught flat-footed a lot, but he still plays with a physical edge. I don’t know how much offensive upside he has anymore, but compared to when I used to watch him play a lot, he is not that same player anymore.

  21. RangerSteve says:

    It goes both ways. Any board you go to you are going to find a bunch of trolls that can’t think up a legit hockey argument when discussing with other fans.

    your ‘jab’ as you say, really wasn’t much of a jab at all. I’m not saying you, but I’m tired of some Devil fans coming out and blaming Clarke and Sather for their team’s early season misfortunes. Just because they adapted better to the new NHL than the Devils doesn’t mean it was set up that way. Sometimes people have to look in their own backyard or even look at themselves in teh mirror. We did that in NYC, and now we have something to show for it.

  22. NjDEVSFN says:

    Mogilny is 3rd on the team in points. I didnt expect him to lead the team, especially considering age and health.

    One of the strengths for the Devils since LL came to power is their drafting ability. For the past few years, he has traded draft picks. With the current state, I cannot see him doing this. the Devils have the skill to avoid “complete rebuild” if they decide to play hockey. they are not serious Cup contenders w/o Elias, but they can be good enough that you don’t want to play them when theyre hot. luckily for the league, that hasnt happened. luckily for the league again in that the Devils score when theyre hot.

  23. NjDEVSFN says:

    thats my point, it wasnt nasty or rude, just pointing out something I see. quite true, you are leading the division and have bragging rights.

    i will bet that non-good-puck-handling-goalie-teams wanted the trapezoid rule put in so that when they play against Brodeur or DiPietro, the impact of the stick handling is minimized.

    did they set up the rules to go against NJ? no, but it “seems” that way, since the rules are anti-NJ style. however, i digress. I know the reason for the rules is to spur offense and the Devils have shown they can score in this league (albeit not lately).

    The Flyers picked up Forsberg. Theyre gonna score and it is gonna look like Clarke set it all up. But he got FORSBERG. OF COURSE THEYRE GONNA SCORE. He is one of the best in the NHL for a reason.

  24. Viller02 says:

    Why in hell no one picked up McGillis on re-entry is beyond me, he would be a bargain for 1.1million.

    I seriously hope for him that he gets picked up by a cup contender, hes the type of defenceman that would do a great job in the playoffs in my opinion. He just needs to stop using his stick so much.

  25. Viller02 says:

    Flyers should have picked him up on re-entry, simple as that. Sure Hitch***** doesn’t like him at all, but christ hes alot better than Freddy Meyer will ever be.

  26. NjDEVSFN says:

    I had a response, but the good ole internet screwed up.

    I think McGillis had that cloud over his head about being traded or waived because of the cap issues. But now those are over. Time for him to move on and realize he IS a part of this team now and he IS here to stay as a Top 6.

    His stats arent that bad for THIS Devils team:

    6A 6Pts -3.

    He can play better, of course. I’m glad he stuck up for Brodeur the other day even though it led to a OT PPgoal by ATL. At least he did something!

  27. Viller02 says:

    “The Flyers picked up Forsberg. Theyre gonna score and it is gonna look like Clarke set it all up. But he got FORSBERG. OF COURSE THEYRE GONNA SCORE. He is one of the best in the NHL for a reason.”

    Jealous?

  28. NjDEVSFN says:

    he never actually reported to Albany, so I’m not sure what his status is with re-entry waivers and such.

    but, obviously, no one picked him up and youre right, a dman like him at $1.1m is a bargain.

  29. Viller02 says:

    I wanted to see Philly vs Toronto when I was down there, nothing under 300$ was available. Scalpers were about double that price.

    You gotta be *****ing nuts to pay that amount of money to see a shitty team like the Leafs… Not that people actually pay that much because 3/4 of the arena are corporate seats.

  30. Viller02 says:

    he cleared waivers, so he should go through re-entry… I dont see why that hasn’t happenned yet…

  31. NjDEVSFN says:

    i’m not jealous for the obvious fact that he would never come to NJ, even for the $7.8m max

    just the truth, really.

  32. Neely4Life says:

    For all you DEVIL FANS, that shit on me at the beginign of the pre-season, when i wrote an article about the Devls being in for a long year, EAT IT! Most hockey people saw this coming, and those who didnt gave the Devils way too much credit. This is the begining of a long next little while for the Devils and their franchise.

  33. thatleafsguy says:

    until the price of tickets come down dramatically, (highly unlikely) i will never EVER go to a leaf game…..unless some one gives me a freebie. Hey I hate the Ottawa Sens team but atleast you can go to a game rather affordably.

  34. habsoverserver says:

    they got neiwy and lagenbrunner for arnott

    they got friesen for sykora

    madden replaced holik

    they won a Cup with neiwy friesen neids and stevens

    they lost neiwy and stevens and could not win a playoff round.

    they lost friesen and neids and may not make the playoffs

    the problem is that lou still hasn’t replaced playres he lost three years ago, now he’s got too many holes to plug.

  35. wizard36 says:

    First of all, the Devils are a game over .500 and 2 points out of the playoffs, so statisticly they are far from rock bottom and are still in the hunt…statisticly. They have played horribly, but all the things you’ve listed are valid points for why they can pick it up. I don’t know, but i would assume

    Malakhov’s salary is fully removed from the books, which is a good thing because he wasn’t worth what he was making.

    As for the coaching situation, I felt from the begining that Robinson was the wrong guy for this team, and when he complained about the rules in pre-season, i felt it was a bad sign. When he coached the Devils to 2 consecutive finals, that team had tons of talent and plenty of leaders. It’s obvious this years team dosn’t have that kind of offensive or defensive skill, and they don’t have a Daneyko, Stevens, or Niedermayer to help the players police themselves and Robinson couldn’t handle being a teacher and a motivater for the whole year. I think the GM coaching will give players extra motivation, but they need a hard nosed coach who will hold people acountable. I don’t know who is available, but that’s what they should be looking for.

    I think the Devils, with the new coach and the hopefuly soon return of Elias, they will be able to stay in the hunt and, maybe this is the loyalty and optimism talking, they make the playoffs. Unfortunatly, I can’t see them making it far even if they do.

  36. UWSensFan says:

    All out, eh? You doing the whole face makeup, jersey and crazy antics to go with it? Those are always the best fans to see on the TV cast 😛

    Oh, and if that game’s in Toronto, don’t worry about the fans. I went to game 7 of the last playoff series the Sens played (in TO) and the fans inside the stadium really impressed me with how humanely they treated fans of the opposing team. Outside the stadium, well, idiots galore 🙁

  37. Resmo112 says:

    I disagree with them being the most stable franchise, in 1995 they won the stanley cup then didn’t even make the playoffs the next year. On their wins after that they were eliminated in the first round. it’s just kind of wacky how the same team can goto a stanley cup finals win it then not make the playoffs.

  38. miker183 says:

    I realize the trapezoid works against Brodeur’s game, but you have to admit the elimination of the red line plays to his strengths as well. For him, these rules seem like a wash. But, they need to find ways to keep all the goalies from being CRASHED.

  39. NjDEVSFN says:

    i didnt necessarily mean going 2 rounds deep every season. a day like yesterday has NEVER happened since i started watching Devils hockey. for a long time, you could always count on Brodeur, Stevens, Daneyko, and Neidermeyer to be on the ice.

    Now all thats left is Brodeur and the team is without a Captain for the first time in 13 years (+/-). In terms of playing and playoff success, the Devils weren’t perfect, but off the ice, this never happened. Lemaire didn’t retire because of “stress” and Ftorek ran out of benches to throw.

  40. NjDEVSFN says:

    i dont have any facepaint…my sign isnt gonna be that big, actually (they usually take em at the gate) so it must fit under my jersey. i have an old “Happy new Year” hat, so i’ll probably wear that.

    i hope there are at least 17000 there. it will be enough to have a good atmosphere, especially if the offense kicks in gear quickly and theres a fight (unlikely, but im front row, i wanna see it up close).

    BTW, the area i’m sitting in is visible when the puck goes along the boards where the benches are (where the TV camera faces)….maybe i should put “hockeytraderumors.com” on my sign somewhere!

  41. Deadman says:

    Nothing against Lou, but being GM is a HUGE task, especially this year trying to navigate the new NHL. It isn’t that I am saying he couldn’t be a good coach, if that were his only job, but trying to do both is too much. You simply can’t be trying to restructure a team to fit the new NHL in the front office, and still be expected to be running on ice practices and designinig plays at the same time. I say they have 72hrs to find either a new coach or new Gm and leave Lou with only one job

  42. cgolding says:

    zero chance of McGillis ever being a Flyer again with Hitch here…

    did you not here McGillis yell at the bench, “Shut the F*** up you fat F***!”?

  43. EmptyNetter says:

    What’s Jim Schoenfeld up to these days? NESN (New England Sports Network) has been showing highlights from Cam Neely’s career lately, including the 1988 playoff series against NJ. Good times. . .

  44. kicksave856 says:

    No, I didn’t hear that. He really said that? That sucks. Well, it doesn’t really SUCK. I’m sure they can find better than McGillis anyway, but I was just wondeing if it was worth it to give him a look. All moot now with what’s going on in Jersey now, I guess. I think McGillis is staying for at least a little while now, and he isn’t exactly getting glowing reviews now so if the Flyers are going to go looking for a defenseman I guess they can do better. I was just thinking in terms of another warm body back there until Desjardins and Pitkanen get back.

Leave a Reply