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Lou Not Pressing For A Deal

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devspage    0



Staff Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD - Despite the usual flurry of trade rumors that sprout up at this time of year, Devils' general manager Lou Lamoriello was content to stand pat as the holiday roster freeze took effect at midnight.

Although the Devils have struggled to score goals - their average of 2.5 per game entering Wednesday's 3-0 loss the Ottawa Senators at Continental Arena placed them 22nd in the league - Lamoriello was more interested in the team's place in the Atlantic Division, which was two points behind Philadelphia for first.

That's why he found the stories of his desperation for offensive help so amusing.

"I chuckle because we're in the position we're in and I also know that some of our top players haven't done the things that we know they can and will do," Lamoriello said. "We have total confidence in that and I think it's a positive thing. Quite frankly I'm just pleased with the recovery of some players that maybe had an off-year last year and how they are playing. And some of our other players who might not be doing what a lot of people would like to see them do... as long as their working it's going to come.

"Sometimes these things go in bunches. But I'm pleased with our team. Certainly we'd like to have a couple more points we thought we let slip away, but if we can keep on this pace, I think we'd feel great."

Lamoriello acknowledged that Joe Nieuwendyk and Patrik Elias are among those who have not met expectations, but expressed support for both players, particularly Nieuwendyk, who hasn't scored in 20 games and has just two goals on the season.

"Especially in the case of Joe, it's just not fair," Lamoriello said. "He's working hard. The bounces that have gone the other way are incredible."

But that doesn't mean he isn't looking for ways to improve his team.

"You always try to get better," Lamoriello said.

He can't make any moves, however, until after the roster freeze ends on Dec. 27.

DEVILS BRIEFS: Defenseman Brian Rafalski returned the Devils' lineup after missing three games with sore ribs. ... Right wing Brian Gionta took part in the morning skate, but missed his second game in a row with a sprained right ankle. ... The announced attendance was 11,816 (capacity 19,040) as the Devils failed to break 12,000 for the third time in their last four home games. ... The Devils travel to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins tonight before returning home to take on Jason Arnott and the Dallas Stars on Saturday afternoon.

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