Brian Gionta was drafted in the third round, 82nd overall, in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft by the New Jersey Devils.
Despite his size, Gionta is one of the swiftest skaters in the league. Standing at only 5’7″, Gionta is the second shortest player in the league (currently Buffalo’s Nathan Gerbe is two inches shorter).
Gionta played seven strong seasons with the Devils, before signing with the Montreal Canadiens in the Summer of 2009. As a fan favorite, one of his more memorable seasons was the 2005-2006 season as a part of the EGG (Elias-Gomez-Gionta) line. That season saw Gionta put up a career high 48 goals and 41 assists. His 48 goals in one season is currently the franchise’s record for most goals in a season. Gionta also holds the franchise record for most powerplay goals in a season with 24.
Gionta currently plays for the Montreal Canadiens with former Devils teammate, Scott Gomez. He was also named team captain for the Canadiens last season. Funny, an American is the captain of the Canadiens. Irony rules.
|Career Stats with the New Jersey Devils|
New Jersey Devils (4-2-1) @ Phoenix Coyotes (3-3-2)
10:00 PM EDT
TV: MSG Plus
Radio: WFAN 660 AM
Tonight is the only game between the Devils and the Coyotes this season. The two teams last met on December 16, 2010 at Prudential Center. That game saw Ilya Kovalchuk score a pair of goals and Martin Brodeur stop all shots, leading the Devils to a 3-0 win.
Devils @ Kings Recap:
In their last game against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, the New Jersey Devils played a complete team game. Passing was tape-to-tape and it appeared that the team was having fun out on the ice.
Dainius Zubrus led the team’s efforts with a pair of goals in the matchup, leading the Devils to a 3-0 victory. Patrik Elias also scored, assisted by Petr Sykora. It appears that not only did Elias and Sykora find their old chemistry again, but Zubrus appears to be the Arnott-style player they needed on the line with them.
Johan Hedberg was completely outstanding again, stopping all shots fired at him. This shutout was Hedbergs 18th career shutout and he now improves to 4-1-1 on the season as Martin Brodeur continues to recover from a shoulder injury.
Zach Parise also played his first game as a center this season, in between Ilya Kovalchuk and Nick Palmieri. The line did not produce any points in the game; however, Parise did have a 64% face-off percentage. Not too bad for his first game.
Devils Claim Carter off Waivers:
On Wednesday, the Devils claimed center Ryan Carter off of waivers from the Florida Panthers. Carter has no points, six penalty minutes and is a -1, so far this season.
Carter had been playing with the Florida Panthers for the first seven games this season. He was acquired by the Panthers last year from Carolina. Coach DeBoer had the opportunity to work with him in Florida and is excited for what Carter can bring to the Devils.
Over his career, Carter has played 189 games and has 14 goals & 21 assists. He has previously played for Florida, Carolina and Anaheim.
Carter is participating in the morning skate at Jobing.Com Arena in Phoenix this morning wearing number 20. He is centering Mills and Janssen, meaning Rod Pelley is the extra forward.
Interesting Trivia: Carter got his first two NHL goals on February 8, 2008 in a 2-1 Anaheim win over the New Jersey Devils, scoring both on Martin Brodeur.
Against the Coyotes:
All-time the Devils are 18-29-7-0 in 54 games played against the Phoenix Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets.
Patrik Elias has the most points in his career, among active Devils with 15 points (6 goals, 9 assists) in 18 games played against the Coyotes.
John MacLean has the most career points, among any Devils player, with 20 points (13 goals, 7 assists).
Johan Hedberg is 3-5-1 against the Coyotes in his career, sporting a 3.54 GAA.
Projected Devils Lineup:
Kovalchuk – Parise – Palmieri
Sykora - Elias - Zubrus
Tedenby - Henrique - Clarkson
Greene – Larsson
Tallinder - Fayne
Volchenkov – Salvador
Coyotes Coming Off A Loss:
Coyotes captain, Shane Doan, reached the 300-goal milestone in front of hometown Phoenix on Tuesday in a game against the Dallas Stars. The third period goal would give the ‘Yotes a 2-1 lead, but they could not hang on as they fell 3-2 in a shootout. Upon collecting his 300th goal, Doan now joins only Scott Mellanby as players to score 300 goals, but never score a hat trick.
Lucky Alternate Jersey?:
The Coyotes will wear their alternate black jerseys every Thursday and Friday home game this season. Currently this season, they’re 0-1-0 while wearing the jersey, but they will look to turn that around tonight. Last season, the Coyotes were 8-5-1 while wearing the jerseys and have put up a total of 21-8-2 since debuting the jersey for the 2008-2009 season.
Projected Coyotes Lineup:
Ekman-Larsson – Aucoin
If you’re wondering where “Best to Wear – #13″ is, well there isn’t one. No one has ever worn the #13 for the New Jersey Devils, ever. Superstitious, much?
This week, you will be voting on the Best to Wear #14 in New Jersey Devils history. I think the choice is pretty clear.
You will have until Thursday, October 27 at 11:59 PM EDT to cast your vote.
Let me tell you. I’m excited for this week’s voting.
There are a lot of great players on this list: former Stanley Cup Champions, a New Jersey hockey great, a current Devils Assistant Coach, and a guy who is responsible for handing out suspensions for the NHL.
You will have until 11:59 PM EDT on Thursday October 13 to place your vote.
Those were quotes I heard upon leaving Prudential Center this past Saturday night after the New Jersey Devils lost their home opener by being shut out against Atlantic Division Rival, the Philadelphia Flyers.
My response: It’s only one game. Chill out. There are 81 more games, and 81 more chances to win. This is not the same team as last season. We just weren’t the best team Saturday night. All will be well.
Personally, despite the loss, I was impressed with the playing of some of the newcomers. Adam Larsson looked calm and collected, and it was his first NHL game. The kid will only get better. I was also happy with the play of Brad Mills. In a way he’s reminding me of a John Madden. Only time will tell.
The Devils (0-1-0) have the chance to put critics to rest today as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes (0-1-1) at a special holiday start time of 1:00 PM.
As Coach DeBoer told the media Sunday after practice, “They haven’t been off to a great start with one point (0-1-1) in their first (two games) and we obviously weren’t happy with our (first game). So, I think you’re going to see two desperate teams going at it tomorrow.”
DeBoer also said the team needs to cutdown on turnovers and up their game speed. He stated he believes the Devils were playing at a practice speed, Saturday night, while the Flyers played at a NHL level speed.
At Sunday’s practice offensives lines were switched around, and are projected to look as follows, as per Tom Gulitti:
Defensive pairings are the same as Saturday’s home opener:
The Devils, in hopes of a win, are desperate enough that they are starting Johan Hedberg, in only the second game of the season in a game that’s not the second of a back-to-back series. Last year Hedberg didn’t get his first start until the eighth game of the season.
As I said earlier, it’s only one game. This team will only get better. Just remember last season. We have to take this one game at a time.
Six long, long months have passed since the New Jersey Devils stepped onto the ice at Prudential Center. A lot has changed over summer. New coach, new players joining the squad, former players re-joining the squad, and a new captain.
October 8, 2011: Game One.
The New Jersey Devils will begin regular season play as they take on the Philadelphia Flyers at Prudential Center in Newark. The Devils will hope to rid horrid thoughts of a dismal start of a season last year, only to become the best team in the NHL when it was too late. A season in which their new captain, Zach Parise, didn’t get much of a chance.
Parise was sidelined for most of the 2010-2011 season due to knee surgery, but after being resigned to a one-year deal in the offseason, and being named the ninth captain in New Jersey Devils history, Parise is ready to bounce back.
New faces joined the club out of training camp, including Eric Boulton, Brad Mills, Adam Henrique and the fourth overall draft pick from the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Adam Larsson. Fans are excited to see what Larsson, who was called the most NHL ready out of any in the draft, has to offer. If pre-season was any indication, it’s going to be exciting to see Larsson and Kovalchuk sharing the points on the powerplay.
One of the biggest surprises going into this season is the return of Petr Sykora. Now wearing number 15 as opposed to his old 17, Sykora opened eyes and showed that he still has it. He re-gained chemistry with old linemate Patrik Elias, and have now formed what some are calling “A-Line 2.0″ with Zach Parise.
The first game of this season, the Devils will get a look at a new Flyers team. The Flyers shipped out sniper Jeff Carter and Captain Mike Richards in order to sign a number one goaltender. They signed Ilya Bryzgalov who showed he is the real deal as he stopped 22 of 23 shots in the Flyers victory over defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Boston Bruins, on Thursday night.
The big story for the Flyers is seeing if Jaromir Jagr was a good sign. So far, he seems to be creating chemistry with linemate Claude Giroux, even netting his 1,600th career NHL point in Thursday’s contest.
This will be a fun contest to watch these two energetic, fast-paced teams. The Devils need to get off to a great start and plan to do so behind Martin Brodeur who is making his 16th season opener appearance with the Devils.
We would love to hear what you think about the Devils going into this season. Leave a comment below telling us what you’re looking forward to most this season, who’s going to have a breakout year, or just your prediction for the game tonight.
Once again, I would like to thank all the voters who voted in Best to Wear # 9. We had a great turnout and a great battle between Parise and Muller.
This week, as we focus on those who wore number 10, voting is more important than ever as there isn’t ONE player who sticks out. Instead, we have a collection of players, including former Stanley Cup Champions, who donned the sweater.
Voting will close Thursday October 6 at 11:59pm EDT.
It’s that time of the week again Devils Army, time to play your favorite game: “Best to Wear!”
Last week Dainius Zubrus pulled out a tight victory over Mike Peluso. This week, we will be taking a look at number nine.
This week should be a close one as well, as there are a couple of players who I believe are deserving of the title.