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Triumph

Ruminations on the first 39.02% of the season

33 posts in this topic

Well, we passed the 1/3rd mark 5 games ago and it's 9 games away from the halfway point, but I think there's a lot going on with the team right now that bears mentioning.

1. The Larsson/Foster 'battle' - The Devils may never again have a healthy defense, so this may be a moot question, but I have to wonder who's going to be in the lineup if the top 6 is healthy. Larsson is already an even strength only player, and while he's playing a ton at even strength right now, the Devils are missing 2 of their top 4. Foster already has 8 shots through 3 games, and Larsson has no stretch where he did that during the season. It will be interesting to see how DeBoer deals with this if the D do get healthy - I think we've already seen that Larsson is not ready to be on an NHL power play. I can't see them making any other player currently in the lineup a healthy scratch, nor can I see them sending Greene or Tallinder to the pine.

2. Penalty drawing - I know it's amazing, but the Devils are right now league average at drawing penalties. I don't expect it to last, but the Devils are drawing more calls in recent weeks. It's nice to see and I hope it continues.

3. The offensive surge - I think we all know the Devils aren't going to be scoring 5 and 6 goals nightly, but I think the power play has been improving in recent weeks. I don't track power plays by goals but by shots, and shots-wise they're getting more. Even strength they are still down near the bottom of the league in shots for, but with Zajac's return, I expect the Devils to be middle of the pack.

4. Goaltending - I noted this in another thread, but Brodeur has no shutouts, and only 1 game where he gave up 1 goal in a full game. The Devils' defense hasn't been great, but they've largely nipped that breakaway problem in the bud. We'll see how Brodeur does through January, but if this continues, the Devils have to consider starting Hedberg in 65-70% of the games.

Edited by Triumph

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To point #1, I'd like to see the Devils go to a fairly big defensive rotation. Get guys nights off, keep them fresh. Subbing in Foster or Taormina frequently doesn't really hurt the team and I think keeping the older guys, who may wear down over the long haul due to age, and the younger guys, who aren't used to the workload, fresher will be beneficial in the long run.

A rotation is also beneficial if injuries pop up because players already have some rapport with the guy stepping in.

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I believe Taormina should be our #7 defensmen, It would be more beneficial to have Larsson down in the AHL if we are healthy when Greene is back.

Goaltending could be an issue moving forward. As long as Hedberg can keep it around .910 then I think we make the playoffs, especially if we start limiting shots.

I believe the offense will stay, kind of. When you are able to roll 3 powerful lines you tend to gain momentum for large stretches of the game. That should also give a few extra PP's, especially with this pressure system.

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To point #1, I'd like to see the Devils go to a fairly big defensive rotation. Get guys nights off, keep them fresh. Subbing in Foster or Taormina frequently doesn't really hurt the team and I think keeping the older guys, who may wear down over the long haul due to age, and the younger guys, who aren't used to the workload, fresher will be beneficial in the long run.

A rotation is also beneficial if injuries pop up because players already have some rapport with the guy stepping in.

Sounds great in theory , but for alot of players getting in a groove and playing on a consistant basis is needed. I think it is good that we have depth to push the guys in the bottom pairings and pressure them to perform knowing that their is someone chomping at the bit to get back in the lineup , but a consistant rotating guys in and out would not help in building chemistry with D parings etc.

We are on a hot streak right now so I hope not too many changes are made. Stick with what works for now and if someone starts sucking , sub in the 7th guy.

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I noticed we are shooting over our heads in close situations. Over 11% when the game is close.

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Even strength they are still down near the bottom of the league in shots for, but with Zajac's return, I expect the Devils to be middle of the pack.

When you take away most of the home bias they are actually 11th in league on the road in SF/60 when the game is close. I think the home shot counters really mess up a lot of out metrics.

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Sounds great in theory , but for alot of players getting in a groove and playing on a consistant basis is needed. I think it is good that we have depth to push the guys in the bottom pairings and pressure them to perform knowing that their is someone chomping at the bit to get back in the lineup , but a consistant rotating guys in and out would not help in building chemistry with D parings etc.

We are on a hot streak right now so I hope not too many changes are made. Stick with what works for now and if someone starts sucking , sub in the 7th guy.

Having a defenseman sit once every 8th game or so isn't going to mess up his rhythm, IMO. That would still end up with guys getting about 70 games in a year.

The Devils have already been subbing guys in and out like crazy lately, because of the injuries, Foster, Taormina, and Urbom, so it doesn't destroy the team chemistry to shuffle guys in.

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When you take away most of the home bias they are actually 11th in league on the road in SF/60 when the game is close. I think the home shot counters really mess up a lot of out metrics.

I'm too lazy to go dig up the posts on jlikens on home bias, but it's not as much as you think it is.

Having a defenseman sit once every 8th game or so isn't going to mess up his rhythm, IMO. That would still end up with guys getting about 70 games in a year.

The Devils have already been subbing guys in and out like crazy lately, because of the injuries, Foster, Taormina, and Urbom, so it doesn't destroy the team chemistry to shuffle guys in.

Eh, I would rather have a set 5 on the first power play unit. I'm not a huge fan of shuffling guys in and out unless there are injuries (or poor play).

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I can't see them dumping Larsson in the minors just yet. We'll see what happens in the next few weeks with how he continues to play. It's one of those hypothetical things because when do the Devils have 6 healthy guys mid-season? Greene is out for a few more weeks and Salvador and Volcehnkov are due to miss some time.

As for the penalties being draw. Well par for the course when the team is taking a good amount of penalties too.

Edited by devilsrule33

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Larsson will not be in Albany any point this season except for a rehab assignment if he gets injured.

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:lol: I saw Ruminations and thought who the heck would write that for a title? You're such a clown! I'd have gone with: This season.. a brown study...

ok ok now let me go back and read your profound thoughts!

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:lol: I saw Ruminations and thought who the heck would write that for a title? You're such a clown! I'd have gone with: This season.. a brown study...

ok ok now let me go back and read your profound thoughts!

lol and leave it to tri to include the .02% :giggle:

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I can't see them dumping Larsson in the minors just yet. We'll see what happens in the next few weeks with how he continues to play. It's one of those hypothetical things because when do the Devils have 6 healthy guys mid-season? Greene is out for a few more weeks and Salvador and Volcehnkov are due to miss some time.

No, I don't think they would put him in the minors necessarily. We'll see. Devils fans with longer memories will remember that Petr Sykora basically flamed out at the end of his rookie year and was routinely a healthy scratch.

As for the penalties being draw. Well par for the course when the team is taking a good amount of penalties too.

Eh, NJ was way behind in penalty differential a few weeks ago, and has had years semi-recently where they were way ahead in power plays. I'll still call it a good sign.

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I meant my comment with endearment I like vocabulary and it would be normal if you walked into a room and said it. I wouldn't think twice just struck me funny here

Interesting ruminations. I think theyre more like short term observations - while I don't disagree I don't think they're all that significant. Just kind of they are what they are and we'll see how it plays out

Larssons - he's a rookie and we see things he's got to work on. I agree. Nothing to be done as of yet as far as some roster battle so no reason to ruminate. It's not fun for me to think about alienating players before they have to

Penalty differential. Yeah. Hope it continues too

Scoring. Like you said, it's not a habit. It's 2 games. Good they know they can do it but too tenuous to even comment on

Brodeur. It is what it is and he's sitting enough now that I don't expect he'll scoff if asked to rest even more often. I was hoping his comments to the press would shut down this kind of rumination :evil: he doesn't need it and the team doesn't.

So. My thoughts. A lot is happening but things seem to move in the right direction. 2 steps forward one back. It is what it is

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Heres my 2 cents on those points...

1- sincerelly i dont think we'll ever be healthy so wtv lol... But im not hoping to see larsson in the AHL... And about his shooting... I really think he could shoot more but you can just see that hes always trying to make the smart play and hes really trying to pass more than shoot... Theres some dman like fayne or subban whos gonna shoot almost all the time on any occasions... Obviously once in awhile its hitting a few guys or sticks and going in... Not tooooo sure its always the right play eventho i think we need to get more pucks to the net... its a bit like when im playing NHL12... im waiting for the perfect opportunity or setup to shoot, driving my buddies nuts that im still winning with like 15 shots against like 35 haha

2- without looking at stats i really thought Tedenby would be our top... penalty drawer? anyway its looking at the penalty draw per 60min Clarkson has 2.3, Tedenby 1.7, Parise 1.4, Carter and Zubby with 0.9, Tallinder and Sikora with 0.5... what i like is that if we're drawing lots of penalties that its probably because we have the puck or causing some kind of panic haha

3- Like its been said i think they are finding their offensive game, great chemistry, since the beginning of the season it was obvious that Sykora and Elias were having a blast playing together and thats why they are doing so well. Then Kovy and Zach, at first you could see that it wasnt clicking at all and that they we're REALLY frustrated about it cause they knew that they really had to work well together to be successful but now it really seem like they are having fun, Plus Henrique is a cadillac to play with really. Plus our 3rd line is full of players who are not playing first or 2nd line because we're stacked. Not expecting to keep scoring 5 goals per game but still... its good to see

4- Ive been bitching a lot teams like Mtl playing their backup after a bad game from the starter, to see the backup standing on his head and winning game then after a few game... woooups... lets put back our starter since he's our starter... it's simple play the hottest goalie... i just like how Moose is so aggressive and for Marty i like him and i will always like him but he's the kind of goalie who's gonna make the craziest saves back and forth that no one else would have stopped... but then give a super soft goal that i would have stop myself, and eventhough i know its not fair its that "soft goal" that will stick in the back of my mind.

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extra point...

for our PK... im assuming we all know our setup by now

but with or current setup it just seem like we dont have the best setup to score... its mostly Elias controlling the play on the right side trying to get the puck to Kovy for a one timer... or get the puck to Zach so he can try to go shortside or setup Clarkson in front... so pretty much we're mostly all on the right trying to score other than if Kovy is trying a one timer... thats the only way the goalie is leaving his left post.

looking at our PP goal Kovy setting up Elias, i think thats what it should be. First switch our play... control the play from the left side... have Kovy lower not on the point, have 2 real dman at the blue line... Zach in front and Elias on the other side going from the post to the faceoff circle... its less risky than trying to make cross ice pass to Kovy or having him handling the puck at the point... which lead to a lot of SHGA... so that way we still have Kovy for the one timer or a snipe from where he's scoring a lot, Zach where he's rocking and Elias on the other side, then 2 dman who can actually play defence if we lose the puck. Just think how many goals kovy scored from that position with either a one timer or a quick wrister compared to how many Elias scored from his spot...

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We may have solved our offensive woes with these players but our D is sorely in need. With Parise making it impossible for any player he's covering to get away with the puck,I can see us drawing more penalties than in the past 10 yrs. Same goes for Teddy's energy (I hope he scores some goals). Patty's energy is back up and if he can give us more than half a season of energetic play,we may have something here. At 5 games over .500, I'd have to give them an A+. I was hoping for being close to .500, not over.

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extra point...

for our PK... im assuming we all know our setup by now

but with or current setup it just seem like we dont have the best setup to score... its mostly Elias controlling the play on the right side trying to get the puck to Kovy for a one timer... or get the puck to Zach so he can try to go shortside or setup Clarkson in front... so pretty much we're mostly all on the right trying to score other than if Kovy is trying a one timer... thats the only way the goalie is leaving his left post.

looking at our PP goal Kovy setting up Elias, i think thats what it should be. First switch our play... control the play from the left side... have Kovy lower not on the point, have 2 real dman at the blue line... Zach in front and Elias on the other side going from the post to the faceoff circle... its less risky than trying to make cross ice pass to Kovy or having him handling the puck at the point... which lead to a lot of SHGA... so that way we still have Kovy for the one timer or a snipe from where he's scoring a lot, Zach where he's rocking and Elias on the other side, then 2 dman who can actually play defence if we lose the puck. Just think how many goals kovy scored from that position with either a one timer or a quick wrister compared to how many Elias scored from his spot...

The Devils had 7 short handed goals against all last year. Granted that's a little high, but remember they were using 5 forwards for most of the year on the #1 power play unit.

I'm not sure I understand the fixation with putting Kovalchuk on the half-wall. Whether he's there or up at the point, the distance to the net is about the same, and from up top he has more of the net to shoot at. Obviously his scoring area is around the left circle but it takes player and puck movement to get him open there regardless of where the Devils station him.

The Devils don't have even 2 defensemen who can competently run a power play while being a threat, and we saw that when Kovalchuk was out - Foster helps, but still, the PK facing NJ would collapse down low and defy one of the point men to beat them.

Edited by Triumph

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The Devils had 7 short handed goals against all last year. Granted that's a little high, but remember they were using 5 forwards for most of the year on the #1 power play unit.

I'm not sure I understand the fixation with putting Kovalchuk on the half-wall. Whether he's there or up at the point, the distance to the net is about the same, and from up top he has more of the net to shoot at. Obviously his scoring area is around the left circle but it takes player and puck movement to get him open there regardless of where the Devils station him.

The Devils don't have even 2 defensemen who can competently run a power play while being a threat, and we saw that when Kovalchuk was out - Foster helps, but still, the PK facing NJ would collapse down low and defy one of the point men to beat them.

Basicaly its just that the way were playing it... Elias is the general pretty much he runs it from the side and has the puck for about 60% of the powerplay when we have a good passing going on... But from his spot hes not really a danger hes barely shooting from there and missing when he is most of the time....

So just switch that PP on the other side and if we keep playing the same way and that kovy can have the puck as much hed be in his prime spot to rip shots over the gloves all day long.... I mean nobody can deny how many goals kovy scored from there and made it look so easy...

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Basicaly its just that the way were playing it... Elias is the general pretty much he runs it from the side and has the puck for about 60% of the powerplay when we have a good passing going on... But from his spot hes not really a danger hes barely shooting from there and missing when he is most of the time....

So just switch that PP on the other side and if we keep playing the same way and that kovy can have the puck as much hed be in his prime spot to rip shots over the gloves all day long.... I mean nobody can deny how many goals kovy scored from there and made it look so easy...

Opponents are not going to let Kovalchuk 'set up' and rip shots all day long like you're suggesting. Nor do I think that's a particularly good strategy even if they did, because if he's missing those shots high and wide it will probably result in free clears for the opponent.

I don't think Kovalchuk is a good player when he's stationary and someone's coming at him - a position that he will find himself in a lot over there.

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Opponents are not going to let Kovalchuk 'set up' and rip shots all day long like you're suggesting. Nor do I think that's a particularly good strategy even if they did, because if he's missing those shots high and wide it will probably result in free clears for the opponent.

I don't think Kovalchuk is a good player when he's stationary and someone's coming at him - a position that he will find himself in a lot over there.

While this is true, you would think he should be a good player in that one on one position. Truth is, you're right, he really isn't. He has the hands and the skill to be able to beat d-men one on one, but just doesn't often enough. Still, PK units are going to have to respect him in what my co-host calls, "The Stamkos Spot", leaving other people open down low or at the point. The real problem is that nobody respects or should respect our shot from the point. Fayne has nice low, accurate shot and Foster has the potential, but that's about it. Like you said, opposing D's will just collapse down low, daring out point shot to beat them.

In the end, it's our lack of offense from the point that's really killing our PP. It's improving but that's not saying much considering how bad its been.

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I have to admit the Devils thus far have exceeded my expectations. Henrique has really impressed me, Parise has upped his game since missing the penalty shot a few weeks ago and Clarkson is finally getting used correctly for the first time since Sutter. Elias is Elias: an underrated superstar.

I still don' t think we have a strong enough D to make the playoffs (although with Crosby and Pronger out, they maybe close).

At first blush, I was against the Foster deal, as he hasn't done very well the past few years (Edmonton couldn' t wait to get rid of him and Anaheim didn't think he was good enough to play). But watching him on the PP and putting Kovy at the circle he looks like the PP QB the team has needed for a while.

Kudo's to Lou.

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Opponents are not going to let Kovalchuk 'set up' and rip shots all day long like you're suggesting. Nor do I think that's a particularly good strategy even if they did, because if he's missing those shots high and wide it will probably result in free clears for the opponent.

I don't think Kovalchuk is a good player when he's stationary and someone's coming at him - a position that he will find himself in a lot over there.

yeah you're right on some point, im just not sure we'll keep that pace on the PP, just pointed out another setup that we could try... with how bad we are i can't see why they wouldnt try anything different

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I have to admit the Devils thus far have exceeded my expectations. Henrique has really impressed me, Parise has upped his game since missing the penalty shot a few weeks ago and Clarkson is finally getting used correctly for the first time since Sutter. Elias is Elias: an underrated superstar.

I still don' t think we have a strong enough D to make the playoffs (although with Crosby and Pronger out, they maybe close).

At first blush, I was against the Foster deal, as he hasn't done very well the past few years (Edmonton couldn' t wait to get rid of him and Anaheim didn't think he was good enough to play). But watching him on the PP and putting Kovy at the circle he looks like the PP QB the team has needed for a while.

Kudo's to Lou.

Oh my, something positive. :)

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yeah you're right on some point, im just not sure we'll keep that pace on the PP, just pointed out another setup that we could try... with how bad we are i can't see why they wouldnt try anything different

I don't think it's the setup that's the problem, we're seeing the power play work much better in recent weeks.

The problem is: zone entries and puck movement, and I think we're seeing a lot better puck movement. Larsson was simply not ready to be on an NHL power play. The second unit's a disaster, but that's just how it's going to be.

As for Kovalchuk being poor when he's stationary, I don't really see that as a problem, Bulletproof - that's not where Kovalchuk excels. He can use his speed to get defenders to make mistakes, but he doesn't have an explosive first step, and I think he uses a long stick which makes it harder to stickhandle in tight spaces.

Edited by Triumph

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