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What’s in a Game: WFAN Statistician – JohnCarl Ziegler

JohnCarl Ziegler, Statistician When listening to the New Jersey Devils on WFAN 660 AM, you hear Matt Loughlin and Sherry Ross blurt out statistics with no hesitation at all. While these journalists are incredibly gifted at what they do, they have a little bit of help when it comes to the statistics. No, not the internet, but a man named JohnCarl Ziegler.

Ziegler graduated from St. John’s University in 2008, where he studied Sports Management. Hoping to one day become a broadcaster for the National Hockey League, Ziegler got his break when the New Jersey Devils were looking for a statistician to assist with radio broadcasts.

So what does it take to be a statistician for a NHL broadcast? Ziegler told me that organization and a good memory is key.

Each game day, Ziegler will write down everything he believes is key for the upcoming game for both teams, whether it’s an upcoming milestone, points streak, and even up-to-date stats on the players. He said he really likes looking at trends approaching the game as opposed to how a certain player has played his entire career versus a certain team. One example Ziegler told me was one game he noticed that Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov had four points within his last six games, and he felt this was an important stat to note because how often does Volchenkov have a hot streak like that.

Ziegler says he files away everything from every game just in case he needs to ever go back and check something over again, such as when a team returns to play the Devils at Prudential Center. He will pull out his folder and note what happened the last two times the teams faced each other at Prudential Center.

When it comes to obtaining certain information, Ziegler says he uses the Internet quite a bit, but really utilizes the media guide and his own memory. The media guide includes a lot of statistics, not only on present Devils players, but as well as previous seasons. This year, the New Jersey Devils didn’t print a media guide, but instead chose to use a digital version which is available on their website.

JohnCarl Ziegler, Statistician Not only do the media guide and the Internet help Ziegler when he needs to tell Matt Loughlin about an absurd statistic, but he depends on his own memory as well. Ziegler has been watching the Devils ever since he was a young child, and watches every game. And while he doesn’t know exact stats such as what the Devils record is on Tuesday games, he can tell you what the Devils record was in 1999-2000, and he credits it on the fact that he was there and able to witness it.

“There are a lot of times I’m very confident and I’ll just write it down without checking it because I know I’m 100% right, and I tell myself that I should really double check it, and I shouldn’t get too cocky, but I just know it’s right.”

Before he started working with the team, Ziegler attended every game he possibly could. His favorite memory as a fan occurred on June 9, 2003, Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals (yeah, he told me the EXACT date). He was sitting in Section 103, Row 19, Seats 1 & 2. Not only was it a special moment for him because the Devils had won the Stanley Cup, but he realized that it had been two years to the day, that the Devils lost a Game 7 to the Colorado Avalanche in the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals.

While working with the team, his favorite memory is his very first game during the 2006-2007 while he was still a junior in college. Being a fan, he had always dreamed of working for his favorite hockey team and now that he had the ability, he took it all in. About that game, Ziegler said, “Wow. So this is what it’s like. This is what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life? I like it!”

As with all jobs, being a statistician must get stressful right? According to Ziegler, wrong. Though he admits he has his moments where he zones out and watches the game while he should be getting the next statistic ready to be read over the airwaves, he is always in working, hockey mode 99.9% of the time and is stress-free 100% of the time.

Be sure to catch JohnCarl Ziegler’s statistic work during Devils home game broadcasts on WFAN 660 AM.

Game Preview – Game 27: Ottawa Senators @ Your New Jersey Devils!

New Jersey Devils vs Ottawa Senators

Ottawa Senators
(13-12-3, 29 points) vs New Jersey Devils (13-12-1, 27 points)
7:00 PM EST
TV: MSG Plus 2 
Radio: WFAN 660 AM


First of Four against the Senators this season. Last season, the Senators took three of the four from New Jersey.

Devils Get Back on Winning Side:

The New Jersey Devils were finally able to snap a four-game losing streak on Tuesday night against Toronto at Air Canada Centre. The win came with help from the hometown kid, David Clarkson, who netted two goals including the game winner.

The Devils improved to 7-1 in games needing extra time to be decided. The only problem with this record, only two of the seven wins were in actual overtime. With the way records work now, shootout wins will not count in tiebreakers. Five of the seven wins are shootout wins.

Despite being 2-for-2 in their first two powerplays of the game, the Devils had a hard time hanging onto the 2-0 lead. Phil Kessel put the Leafs on the board in the second period, a period which seemed like the Devils had pulled an all-nighter with how sluggish their gameplay was. Matt Frattin tied the game early in the third.

Luckily, Martin Brodeur had one of his better outings of the season, stopping 29 shots. I cannot stress how important it is for Brodeur to have played this game the way he did after being pulled in his last game against Minnesota on December 2. He was pulled just over eight minutes into the game.

Devils Top Line Producing:

Rookie Adam Henrique is currently on a six game point streak (2 goals, 5 assists).

Zach Parise is on a five game point streak (1 goal, 5 assists).

Ilya Kovalchuk is also on a five game point streak (3 goals, 3 assists).

Against the Senators:

All-time the Devils are 43-22-5-1 when playing the Senators and 22-11-2-0 when playing in New Jersey.

Patrik Elias is the all-time leading scorer for the Devils against the Wild with 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) in 46 games played.

Ilya Kovalchuk, however, has the most career points among active Devils with 38 points (22 goals, 16 assists) in 33 games played.

Eric Boulton has the most career penalty minutes among active Devils with 59 PIM in 28 career games against Ottawa.

Martin Brodeur is 35-22-4 in his career against the Senators with a 2.17 GAA.

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise – Henrique – Kovalchuk
Tedenby – Elias – Sykora

Zubrus – Carter – Clarkson
Boulton – Sestito – Palmieri

Talinder – Fayne
Salvador – Larsson
Volchenkov – Fraser



The Latest on the Ottawa Senators:

The Senators appeared to be on a hot streak as they closed out November by winning five of their last seven in the month. December hasn’t been as friendly to them. Currently, they are 1-2-1 in the month.

The Senators are coming off of a 5-3 loss to Washington on Wednesday night, a game in which they had a 2-1 lead, but could not hold off Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Ovechkin, and the rest of the Capitals offense who scored three unanswered to take a 4-2 lead, and held on for the win.

Nick Foligno is currently on a five game point streak which consists of  three goals, six points and a plus-five rating during the five-game stretch.

Milan Michalek collected his 17th goal of the season on Wednesday night against the Capitals, putting him into a three-way tie for the league lead ( Jonathan Toews and Phil Kessel also have 17 goals).

Projected Senators Lineup:

Greening – Spezza – Butler
Michalek – Foligno – Alfredsson
Daugavins – Smith – Condra
Konopka – Winchester – Neil

Phillips – Gonchar
Cowen – Karlsson
Lee – Rundblad


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Game Preview – Game 21: Your New Jersey Devils vs New York Islanders

New Jersey Devils vs New York Islanders
New Jersey Devils (11-8-1, 23 points) vs New York Islanders (5-10-4, 14 points)
3:00 PM EST
TV: MSG Plus 2
Radio: WFAN 660 AM


Today’s black Friday matchup will see the Devils and Islanders meet for the first of six meetings this season, as well as the first game of a home-and-home series. The Devils won the season series last year, 4-2-0. Two of those four wins came in overtime.

Devils vs Blue Jackets Recap:

On Wednesday, the Devils hosted the Columbus Blue Jackets at Prudential Center and were able to secure their seventh win in 10 games.

Dainius Zubrus scored the only Devils goal in regulation, and Ilya Kovalchuk & Zach Parise scored in the shootout to give the Devils their 11th win of the season. Last year, the Devils didn’t get win number 11 until game 42 of the season.

Martin Brodeur also kept the Devils in the game by making 35 saves on the night.

The Devils, now 11-8-1 on the season, are now tied for third place in the Atlantic Division with cross-Hudson rivals, the New York Rangers.

Palmieri sent to Albany (AHL):

Yesterday was not a Happy Thanksgiving for Nick Palmieri who was informed that he was being sent to the Albany Devils of the AHL.

Palmieri’s play this season has not been up to par with his play last season. Last season, Palmieri had nine goals, eight assists and a plus-9 in 43 games.

So far this season, Palmieri only has three goals, three assists and is a minus-5 in 19 games played.

Palmieri didn’t play Monday against the Panthers and played just over eight minutes on the fourth line in the Devils win over Columbus Wednesday.

Palmieri’s demotion comes when Eric Boulton is also in Albany on a conditioning stint. It also means that Mattias Tedenby can expect some more ice-time as he still looks for his first goal of the season.

Against the Islanders:

All-time the Devils are 74-80-20-1 when playing the Islanders and 29-47-12-0 when playing at the Nassau Coliseum.

Patrik Elias is the all-time leading scorer for the Devils against the Islanders with 74 points (30 goals, 44 assists) in 71 games played.

Zach Parise has 33 points (17 goals, 16 assists) in 36 career games against the Islanders.

Johan Hedberg is 6-6-2 in his career against the Islanders with a 3.02 GAA

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise – Henrique – Kovalchuk
Sykora – Elias – Zubrus

Tedenby – Carter – Clarkson
Pelley – Sestito – Janssen

Greene – Larsson
Tallinder – Fayne
Volchenkov – Salvador



Islanders’ Bad Luck Continues:

The New York Islanders found themselves down 1-0 early to the Philadelphia Flyers Wednesday night, but were able to score three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead.

However, a subpar performance from goaltender Rick DiPietro saw the Flyers tie the game and win it in overtime.

The Islanders find themselves on a three game losing streak, and have dropped the last 13 of 16. 

Random Islanders Stats:

The Islanders have given up a goal on their opponent’s first shot of the game in each of their last two games and a total of five times this season. They are 0-3-2 when this happens this season.

The Islanders are 4-1-2 when scoring first and 1-9-2 when allowing the game’s first goal.

To coincide with the Devils’ third period problems, the Isles have been outscored 15-1 in the final frame over their last seven games, including three empty net goals. So far this season, the Islanders have been outscored 26-8 in the third period.

Projected Islanders Lineup:

Moulson – Tavares – Parenteau
Grabner – Nielsen – Okposo
Martin – Bailey – Niederreiter
Haley – Reasoner – Ullstrom

Streit – Staios
Macdonald – Hamonic
Mottau – Jurcina


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Game Preview – Game 8: Your New Jersey Devils @ Winnipeg Jets Version 1.0

New Jersey Devils vs Phoenix Coyotes

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


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