Monthly Archives: June 2011
The Hockey Hall of Fame announced on Tuesday that Joe Nieuwendyk, Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, and Mark Howe will be inducted into hockey immortality. Pat Burns, who died in November of last year, was left out again despite remarkable credentials.
First, the future inductees. Ed Belfour won the Stanley Cup in 1999 and ranks third all time in the NHL in wins by a goalie. Belfour’s 484 victories and 79 shutouts certainly make him worthy of Hall of Fame consideration. He won a gold medal for Canada in 2002, and a national championship in college. A winner at all levels, “Eddie the Eagle” got the nod.
His Stanley Cup teammate, and former New Jersey Devil, Joe Niewendyk also made the Hall. He was the Conn Smythe winner in 1999 with Belfour on the Dallas Stars and won three cups in total. Nieuwendyk won with Calgary in 1989 and the New Jersey Devils in 2003.
Gilmour, another former Devil, had 127 points for Toronto in 1993 and won the league’s MVP award. Gilmour played 20 NHL seasons including a stint with the Devils. He had 450 goals and 964 assists. Mark Howe had 764 points in his career, which is less than Gilmour’s assist total, due largely to his five years playing professional hockey outside the NHL. Howe played there with his brother and father, Gordie Howe. He had four all-star appearances when he finally joined the NHL.
Left off the list is Pat Burns who died after missing out on the Hall of Fame last year. Burns is the only coach in the NHL to win the Jack Adams award for best coach in the league in his first year with three different teams. He led the New Jersey Devils to the 2003 Stanley Cup championship and won coach of the year with the Bruins and Canadiens as well. Burns made the playoffs in every season he finished except for one, 2000 with the Boston Bruins. He coached over 1000 games, winning more than 500 of them in a career that was cut short by cancer.
What do you guys think of Pat Burns not getting into the Hall of Fame?
What a roller coaster year this has been for us Devils fans. First with the terrible start to the season. Then an uplifting second half with high hopes to get back in the playoff race. Finding, that despite our team never giving up, those hopes are just slightly out of reach. And finally, winning the draft pick lottery, and rising in the ranks to the number 4 spot! For the first time in what seemed like an eternity, the hockey gods blessed us against the odds.
Whatever deities we pleased, apparently were still smiling upon us on June 24th. There was no doubt that the Devils Army was hoping we would snatch up Adam Larsson. The fans packed Lafayette Street along side the Prudential Center to celebrate draft day and those fans who were working checked their phones feverishly for updates. The crowd went through a similar roller coaster of emotions when the teams finally started making their picks – moments of silence followed by cheering and sighs of relief when Adam Larsson was not selected. Our turn finally came, and lo and behold the best puck moving defenseman in the draft was still up for grabs! Everyone exploded with excitement, we got Larsson!
I couldn’t have been more excited that Adam Larsson would be joining us in New Jersey! Reported to be one of the top skaters in the European leagues, and coming in at a solid 6′ 3″ and 220 lbs, he is physically ready and able to join the pros. With his puck moving and smart decision making skills, he has the potential to fill what many feel is a much needed vacancy in our defensive line-up.
I am looking forward to this season getting underway so I can check out his playing style! If he’s anything like our other Swedish players (especially our little fire cracker, Tedenby), I have a feeling I’m going to like what I see!
What was YOUR reaction to our draft day excitement?
Ever since that Sunday in April, Devils fans were chomping at the bit to know when they’d get their hockey back. Well wait no more! October 8, 2011 is the day we can all return to The Rock as the Devils take on the Flyers. In addition to that game I’ve listed some of the more important games to look forward to this year. Read the rest of this entry
The 2011 NHL Awards were not without controversy. Nicklas Lidstrom stole the Norris from Shea Weber and Zdeno Chara despite his -2 differential on the year. Ryan Kesler finally won the Selke, Corey Perry deservedly took home the MVP Hart Trophy, and Tim Thomas got the Vezina. Without further ado, here are the voting results for the finalists of the major awards:
NORRIS: Lidstrom (736), Weber (727), Chara (688)
SELKE: Kesler (1.179), Toews (476), Datsuyk (348)
ADAMS: Bylsma (196), Vigneault (169), Trotz (80)
CALDER: Skinner (1,055), Couture (908), Grabner (497)
GM OF THE YEAR: Gillis (96), Yzerman (61), Poile (55)
LADY BYNG: St. Louis (994), Lidstrom (464), Eriksson (347)
VEZINA: Thomas (104), Rinne (84), Luongo (33)
HART: Perry (1,043), Sedin (960), St. Louis (332)
Roberto Luongo’s season was rewarded as part of some goalie tandem award, and I’m sure drinking from it will be just as sweet as the Stanley Cup he almost won.
Zdeno Chara won the Mark Messier leadership award, but finished third for the Norris. I don’t think anyone feels too badly for him after the way the Bruins’ season finished.
Dustin Brown best embodied the NHL’s core principals and won the NHL Foundation Award.
I got six predictions right, which is better than I did for my Oscars picks. Dan Bylsma did amazing things with a depleted Penguins roster, and I’m glad to see him rewarded. I thought Yzerman filled the holes in the Tampa Bay Lightning incredibly well, and was robbed for GM of the year.
Speaking of rookies, Jeff Skinner won the Calder and he deserved it after an exciting season for the Hurricanes.
Tim Thomas got the Vezina after setting the record for best saves percentage in a season, in what was probably the least surprising award of the night.
Congratulations to all the players that were awarded. Now, on to the draft!
Three of the Devils’ last four first round picks have been forwards from Sweden. So if Director of Scouting David Conte calls Stockholm native Gabriel Landeskog to the stage on June 24, one may be tempted to expect more of the same. However, Landeskog is a much different player than his countrymen, and actually fits the profile of a typical Canadian or American player.
Landeskog began his hockey career with Djurgårdens IF, the same club where current Devils prospects Jacob Josefson and Alexander Urbom got their starts. But after just two seasons, he left Sweden for the Ontario Hockey League and has played for the Kitchener Rangers ever since. As a result, the 6’0, 201 lb right-winger will go into this year’s draft as a North American player, and is second to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, not Adam Larsson, in Central Scouting’s final rankings.
The Devils are already very well stocked up front, but Landeskog has some unique qualities to his game that may allow him to climb up the depth chart fairly quickly. He is a skilled offensive player, but loves to play an aggressive and physical game. In 53 regular season contests with Kitchener, he scored 36 goals and 30 assists for 66 points while racking up 61 penalty minutes and three fighting majors in the process.
Landeskog had a strong showing in the playoffs as well. Although the Rangers were unable to get past the first round, he recorded six goals and four assists in a series that went to seven games. He was also selected to Sweden’s World Junior team this past winter, and was named an alternate captain, but played only one game due to a high-ankle sprain. He did, however, tally a goal and an assist in that game.
In the intangibles department, Landeskog has it all. He is a natural leader who can spark his team with his strong work ethic and intensity. He is also very well spoken, without a hint of an accent, and makes his presence known on the bench and in the locker room. Often compared to former Kitchener Ranger and current Philadelphia Flyers’ captain Mike Richards, he was handed the “C” as a 17-year-old, and could find himself wearing a letter early on in his professional career.
By all aspects, Landeskog is the most NHL-ready prospect in this year’s draft. He already possesses the build, maturity, and talent to play in the NHL. If he does land in New Jersey, it’s certainly possible that he’ll be on the Devils’ opening night roster. He may start out on the third or fourth line, but he could compliment scoring wingers such as Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise on the top two lines in the future.