The Devils have announced that after months of contract talks, they have successfully re-signed center Adam Henrique to a multi-year deal. As per team policy (aka – Status Quo) no other details were made official in the initial announcement, but details soon emerged that the deal was worth $24 million for a total of 6 years. Henrique was a restricted free agent this off-season, meaning that if he wasn’t signed before next summer, he would become unrestricted and the other 29 teams in the NHL could make offers for the young, promising forward. After losing David Clarkson and Ilya Kovalchuk this off-season, the Devils did not want to let that happen.
Despite a less-than-desired performance last season (11 G, 5 A in 42 games) Henrique has very quickly cemented his name as a fan-favorite. In the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he scored two series-ending goals, one in double-overtime in the first round against the Florida Panthers, and more notably in game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Rangers, a goal that sent the Devils to their 5th Stanley Cup Final.
Re-signing Henrique will no doubt help ease fans after a troubling start to the off-season. Signing Henrique was not enough, locking him up long-term will help fans sleep easy at night knowing that one of their promising young stars will don the red-and-black for another 6 seasons.
Start Time: 7:00 PM
Radio: WFAN 660 AM, 101.9 FM
Your New Jersey Devils (8-1-3) will face-off against the Carolina Hurricanes (6-4-1) Tuesday evening for the first of three times this season, and is the only time Carolina will visit The Rock this season. The Devils are coming off of a massively successful weekend, sweeping a home-and-home series with the Pittsburgh Penguins, winning both games 3-1. The Hurricanes are coming off of a 6-4 victory against the New York Islanders Monday evening and are looking to put some more distance between them and the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning for the Southeast Division lead.
Start Time: 1:00 PM
TV: NHLN-US, MSG+
Radio: WFAN 600 AM, 101.9 FM
As the state of New Jersey braces for what will probably be the worst snow storm of the year, the New Jersey Devils (6-1-3) are preparing for what could be one of their most important weekends of the shortened season. Saturday afternoon, the Devils will play the first game of a home-and-home series against their Division Rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins (8-3-0). The Devils enter the game winning their last three, most recently a convincing 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Penguins have won their past five games, consisting of wins against the Rangers, Devils, Islanders, and the Capitals twice.
New Jersey Devils:
One of the key factors to the Devils three-game winning streak is obviously the team’s strong penalty kill. The Devils have killed off all 16 penalties called against them in those three games, with Kovalchuk even scoring a short-handed goal against the Lightning. While averaging over 5 penalties a game is not where the Devils want to be, being able to kill those penalties is a huge boost of confidence for the team. After giving up 3 power-play goals against the Islanders last week, the Devils really started being more aggressive on their penalty kills, pressuring the offense to make mistakes. On top of that, the Devils goaltending has been superb as of late. Hedberg posted a shutout against the Islanders, and Marty let in three goals in his previous two outings, making some truly stellar stops in both games. After 10 games, the Devils are only averaging 2.1 goals against, tied for 5th in the NHL.
What is there to say about the Penguins that hasn’t already been said? Their offense has been as lethal as ever this season, and the Penguins have one of the best goalie pairs in the NHL. Marc-Andre Fleury (5-2-0, 2.38 GAA, 0.909 Sv%) is looking to erase all memories of his terrible performance during last season’s playoffs, and Tomas Vokoun (3-1-0, 2.08 GAA, 0.927 Sv%) has played spectacularly when filling in for Fleury. The Penguins are currently averaging 3.46 goals per game, tied for second with the Chicago Blackhawks, trailing only the Tampa Bay Lightning (4.20).
What to Watch For
Martin Brodeur will start career game number 1,200 Saturday afternoon, yet another milestone in the massive book Marty has written through his career. With the way Marty has been playing lately, I wouldn’t worry about last week’s performance getting to him. Marty’s made a career out of bouncing back from tough losses, and he’s put on a clinic in his past 2 starts. Look for Marty to continue his strong play and for the defense to continue supporting him. While the Devils penalty-kill has been strong, the Devils will want to stay out of the box more, but don’t expect them to play more conservative because of this. The offense has been clicking as of late, with Clarkson (7) leading the team in goals, and tied with Elias for the team lead in points with 13.
The Penguins offense will be fueled by the usual suspects: Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, and Neal. Look for them to test Marty early and often, trying to break through and have another high-scoring game against the future Hall-of-Famer. Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to get the start against Marty on Saturday afternoon. While the Penguins are sporting one of the highest-scoring offenses in the league, don’t expect that to intimidate the Devils. After all, they held the #1 team in the league (Tampa Bay) to just two goals on Thursday.
With the Central/North New Jersey area currently being pounded by winter storm Nemo, don’t expect a sell-out crowd at the Prudential Center tomorrow. Who knows, maybe this generation will get a chance to have their own 334 Club. Regardless, expect Devils fans to show up ready for a good game.
Before I became involved with the organization as a Devil’s Army General, I really didn’t think much about the behind the scenes aspects of running a hockey club. You see the players and coaches on the bench, you can watch the Zamboni crew between periods, you hear about general manager’s making roster changes, and maybe even the owner or president will pop in and out of TV broadcasts and press releases. The truth is there is an unbelievable amount of people behind the scenes, often doing the work of even more people that I never even imagined as a fan.
Your New Jersey Devils (4-1-3) will face-off against the New York Rangers (4-4-0) Tuesday for the first of four times this season, and the first time since the Now-Classic Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. Chances are, if you’re reading this, I don’t need to tell you how that game went down. During the regular season last year, the Devils split the season series with the Rangers (3-3-0) going 2-1-0 at the Prudential Center. Patrik Elias led the Devils in points (2G, 3A) while David Clarkson led the team in goals (3). After a 6-game series with the Rangers in the playoffs, the Devils finished 2011-12 with a 7-5-0 record against their cross-river rivals.
Being one of those people who is probably too honest for her own good, I’m not going to lie. The lockout really upset me. I was mad. Beside myself mad. I was at the point where I was hoping they’d just write off the whole season and let me get on with my life. BUT, being who I am and how big of a fan I am… of course I was first in line to get my tickets to opening night! I couldn’t WAIT to get back to The Rock!