Monthly Archives: May 2011
After 11 seasons in the NHL, 37 year-old former New Jersey Devil Brian Rafalski announced that he will be retiring. With a couple of injuries and wanting to focus on his family, he decided it would be the best decision.
In 1999, Rafalski was named the best hockey player not playing in the NHL by the Sporting News. Later that year, the Devils signed him as a free agent. He was a pretty old rookie starting the 1999-2000 season at 26 years old, but he had four years of European hockey experience to back him up. He was paired up with Scott Stevens and played with other rookies, Scott Gomez, John Madden and Colin White. White remembers seeing Rafalski for the first time and thinking he had nothing to worry about when it came to the new small D-man standing at 5″10 and 195 lbs – until he saw him play. Rafalski led all rookie defensemen with a +21 rating, ended the season with 32 points and was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team. Oh, and he helped in winning a Stanley Cup, too.
Rafalski went on to win another Cup with the Devils in 2003 before being signed by the Detroit Red Wings in 2007 to a five year contract. In 2008, he was a part of another Stanley Cup winning team. The next year would mark his fifth trip to the Finals in nine seasons – pretty impressive.
Injuries got in his way this season. Rafalski was on the training table every day and said that it got pretty tiring and affected the way he played. This didn’t stop him from picking up 48 points in 63 regular-season games though.
In his career, he’s also picked up two Olympic silver medals playing on Team USA (2002, 2010) and has been selected for three NHL All-Star Games. With an overall of 79 goal and 436 assists, giving him 515 points in 833 career games, Rafalski is definitely going out on top with a Hall of Fame worthy career.
Before Anssi Salmela made it to the NHL, his career started in 2003 playing in Finland. He jumped from team to team and picked up a couple of medals along the way. Anssi received a Bronze World Junior Championship medal in 2004 and a Bronze in the World Championship in 2008. We’re proud to say that Anssi played on Team Finland in this year’s IIHF World Championship and took home Gold!
The Devils signed Anssi in 2008 to a one year contract but didn’t spend too much time with us. He was traded to the Thrashers in 2009 and got him back in February of 2010 in the Kovy trade. He was re-acquired on February 5th, on February 8th he scored against the Flyers.
His first goal of the 2010-2011 season happened to be the game winning goal in overtime to get the Devils a 3-2 win over the Islanders in March. While he isn’t a top scorer, I’d say he’s pretty clutch in going against our rivals and that’s enough for me.
He’s just getting started as a Devil and I see a great career ahead. I’m an Anssi fan, are you?
|2010-2011 Season Stats|
What do you think about Salmela and his career as a Devil? Let us know by leaving a comment!
The Bruins were leading the poll when we asked for your Round 2 picks. But they were up against Philly, so I would hope that every Devils fan would be rooting for Boston! Since Philly was knocked out, let’s see if Boston is still in the lead. Let us know who you want to clear Round 3. Don’t forget, you can pick up to two teams.
The Devils are still without a coach, so I will continue to spew my inane babble on who the new coach will possibly be. Last time around I wrote about
Ken Hitchcock as the new coach. Today we will look at the case for another name widely thrown around…Kirk Muller.
Devils fans since the 80′s (present company included) will remember Muller as a cornerstone of the team at the time. He was the first true superstar the team had in its time in NJ. He was even captain for 4 years, leading the team to their first playoff berth in 1988 with a 94 point season as “Captain Kirk”. After the 1991 season he was traded to Montreal for Stephane Richer and Tom Chorske. That trade was my first experience that star players can get traded too. That day stunk. But the two players the Devils got in return became key cogs in the rise of the franchise in the early 90s with Richer being a goal-scoring machine. Muller didn’t do so bad himself either winning a Cup with the Habs in 1993. Read the rest of this entry
Sean Couturier’s stock has taken a large hit over the course of the 2010-11 season. Once in the running to go first overall on draft day, he finished sixth among North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings, dropping four spots from the midterm rankings in January. A fall that significant can be alarming, but Couturier is still a premier prospect and likely remains coveted by many of the teams selecting early in the first round.
What makes Couturier such an intriguing prospect from New Jersey’s perspective is that he has “prototypical Devil” written all over him. Standing at 6’4, 197 lbs, he’s an intelligent two-way center who is responsible in all three zones, possesses an excellent work ethic, and is good at the faceoff dot. His size and solid all around game have earned him comparisons to former Devil Jason Arnott and Pittsburgh Penguins center Jordan Staal.
There are at least four other centers expected to go in the top-10 this June, but Couturier is unique in that he is particularly conscientious in his own end for an 18-year-old. The Bathurst, New Brunswick native was the lone draft eligible player to suit up for the silver medal-winning Canadian team at the World Juniors this past winter. He only managed to score two goals and an assist in seven games, but was a plus-six and played fairly well in a mostly third-line checking role.
Although his sound defensive play is one of the more impressive aspects of his game, Couturier can certainly bring it in the offensive zone as well. He isn’t the best skater, but gets by with his soft hands. He’s great at distributing the puck, has a good shot, and puts himself in good positions to score goals. He also protects the puck well using his large frame, but will likely need to pack on a few more pounds to be effective in the NHL.
In 58 regular season contests with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this year, Couturier posted 36 goals and 60 assists for 96 points – matching his point production from last season, albeit in 10 fewer games. He also added six goals and five assists in 10 playoff games.
The lack of a significant bump in his numbers may have played a role in Couturier’s tumble down the rankings. After an incredible 2009-10 campaign, all eyes were on the young pivot and expectations were set very high – possibly too high. However, his production this season was still impressive, especially given his lackluster supporting cast. Though he may not be ready for the pros just yet, Couturier still projects as a top-two center. If the Devils do take him at fourth overall, it could ultimately prove to be a very shrewd selection.
HEIGHT: 6′ 3″
POSITION: Right Wing
BORN: July 12, 1989
BIRTHPLACE: Utica, NY
While the 2007 NHL Entry Draft featured names such as Patrick Kane, David Perron, and James Van Riemsdyk, the New Jersey Devils kept a low-key profile without a first round pick in the draft. However, the Devils made a splash in the third round when they selected Nick Palmieri, 79th overall.
Palmieri, born in Utica, NY, was drafted out of the Ontario Hockey League where he had played for the Erie Otters and the Belleville Bulls. Palmieri found himself on the top of the scoring sheets for his teams (92 G over four seasons), and he also displayed a physical element (416 PIM over four seasons).
Palmieri played his first NHL game with the Devils on January 20, 2010, against the Florida Panthers. During the game he scored his first NHL point, an assist on a Travis Zajac goal.
Palmieri isn’t the elite prospect who you can expect 40 goals from, but he is a key ingredient in the Devils future. As seen this past season, Palmieri was placed on the top-line with Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk and he played the perfect complimentary role.
After the 2010-2011 season came to a close, Palmieri was selected to represent the United States of America in the IIHF World Championships in Slovakia. He played in six of the seven games in the tournament and had three points (two goals, one assist), including a game-winning goal.
|2010-2011 Season Stats|
Personally, I met Nick Palmieri once. He’s the kind of person you wish every athlete could be like. He was down to earth, and to be honest, acted his age. You could tell he likes to have fun on and off the ice, and appreciates the support fans give him and the team.
Have any stories or pictures with Nick, send them our way! Leave a comment and send us pictures to email@example.com.
You don’t have to live in New Jersey to be a New Jersey Devils fan. Devils fans can be found far and wide! This is the first of a series of posts featuring international fans rocking their red and supporting Jersey’s team.
Emanuela (@emanupo) lives in Cernusco sul Naviglio, near Milan, in Italy. She grew up watching sports with her dad and would go to A.C. Milan soccer games as a kid. It was her love of soccer that led to her love of the Devils. Her favorite soccer team followed a hockey team called “I Diavoli” – The Devils! It was when she met a few members of that team in the summer of 1999 that she learned about the New Jersey Devils in the United States and our Stanley Cup. Emanuela has been a Devils fan ever since.
Twitter, Facebook and a few blogs help Emanuela keep up with the team. Her favorite current players are Patrick Elias and Zach Parise. Her all time favorite player is Scott Stevens. (We think she has a big crush on him!) Emanuela has only visited the United States once and did not get a chance to make it out to The Rock for a game, but she plans on it!
If you are a Devils fan living outside the U.S. and would like to be featured as an international fan, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today is the 4th Annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in North Jersey and the Devils Army is participating! We have our own team with runners, walkers (and sleep-in-ers) that have donated and helped us raise money for the Susan G. Komen For the Cure Fund to help in the fight against breast cancer. This years race is in the Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex and starts at 9AM – this is why they added the sleep in option!
The North Jersey Affiliate of Susan G. Komen, just like all the other affiliates, is dedicated to beating breast cancer. Up to 75% of the net income goes towards grants for local hospitals and organizations that provide breast health education, cancer screening and treatment programs. The rest of the income goes towards the national Komen Grants Program to fund breast cancer research and world wide educational and scientific programs.
We want to give a big thanks to everyone that is participating in the race and donated to help us raise money on behalf of the New Jersey Devils.