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A Rare Loss For Devils

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#1 Devs25


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Posted 08 February 2003 - 12:31 PM


A rare loss for Devils

Published in the Asbury Park Press 2/08/03

EAST RUTHERFORD -- He leaned back against the glass behind the home bench. There was 1:49 left in the game, his team was down two goals and his teammates were out there on a power play.

Patrik Elias settled in and watched. His coach hovered nearby, but never leaned in with a whisper, nor pressed a hand on his forward's shoulder, nor offered an explanation.

Elias has more goals than any other Devil, more power-play goals than any other Devil and is the closest thing New Jersey has to a go-to scorer.

But Devils coach Pat Burns used Elias sparingly on the power play during that third period. Even with the Devils playing 6-on-4 hockey during the final minute, Elias was not out there until the final 30 seconds. With Elias watching instead of taking aim at the net, New Jersey watched a 14-game point-scoring streak and an eight-game home winning streak end in a 4-2 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers last night at Continental Airlines Arena.

"I wanted to be out there," Elias said.

Thirty-five days had passed since New Jersey last left an arena without at least one point. But Marc Savard and Vyacheslav Kozlov both beat New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur within a 15-second span to burn New Jersey's streak. Savard scored the game-winner at the 13:04 mark of the third period thanks to an odd carom off the boards behind Brodeur.

With the game knotted at 2-2, Andy Sutton slammed a long slapshot that bounced off the back boards. Brodeur went around the left side of the net, prepared to collect the puck. Only the puck never reached Brodeur. It bounced back out in front of the net, leaving Savard with a wide-open net.

"I probably should have stayed in net," Brodeur said. "But there was no way."

Burns said he never felt comfortable, even after his team rallied from a 2-0 deficit. He called his team "badly prepared."

"You could throw the blame at any one of us," Burns said. "Me included."

It would be tough to blame Elias. Seven minutes after the Devils' Stephen Guolla scored his first goal since Oct. 26 to make it 2-1, Elias brought New Jersey even at 2-2. He used a perfect pass from Scott Niedermayer to squeeze the puck inside the left post on a (surprise, surprise) power play.

"I'm not asking anything," Elias said. "I've done that in the past. I got the same answers you guys probably did."

New Jersey had two power-play opportunities during the third period, but Elias was used only on the tail end of the second one. New Jersey had stepped neck deep in quicksand during the first period, allowing Atlanta to take a 2-0 edge. Brodeur made two early stops on All-Star game MVP Dany Heatley to keep things scoreless over the first 14 minutes, but Thrashers forward Dan Snyder, skating toward the right post, ended the drought at the 14:33 mark.

Snyder converted a cross-ice feed from Jeff Cowan to make it 1-0. And Ilya Kovalchuk, a young star who had already scored 28 goals entering last night's game, added his 29th when he ripped a shot that bounced off Brodeur's left pad and into the cage. The Devils rallied from that first deficit thanks to a power-play goal from Elias.

As for the second deficit? There was no rally. The 14-game point-scoring streak is over. You can spread the blame around.

But don't blame Elias. He was just watching.
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"The older you get, the more appreciative you become," Elias said. "You sometimes hear stories where players might be happier playing somewhere, but maybe they are miserable.
"Our goal as hockey players is to win the Stanley Cup. I'm 28 and I've played in 100 playoff games. I love it here. I would love to be a Devil forever." ---Patrik Elias

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#2 GetReal



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Posted 08 February 2003 - 12:38 PM

Is there a problem brewing between Elias and Burns? I thought in the past the answer was yes, but it seems to be continuing as last as yesterday.

This isn't good for the Devils if there is a problem.
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#3 NJDevs4978


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Posted 08 February 2003 - 12:40 PM

I hope Elias isn't sulking now that he's been placed on the "checking" line. Even Matt and Stan seemed to be a little worried about that last night. We shall see I suppose.

Far be it for me to question Burns, but I would have Turner on that line and keep the top two lines the way they were. It's not like Madden's never played with Turner; they were a decent line last year. It seems as if Burns wants to get a scorer on the checking line but really I don't see a Gomer-Bicek-Turner line creating much in the way of O? :unsure: So you're basically experimenting with one line and sacrificing another.
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#4 Risky


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Posted 08 February 2003 - 02:32 PM

I agree - and we know from empirical evidence that when Gomez and Elias are separated, both production totals decrease. We need the top line right wing. That will bring Elias & Gomez back together and unite them with Mr. X.

The Brylin injury screwed up the lineup more than I thought.
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#5 Elias Sports Bureau

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 04:46 PM

Whenever anyone speaks their mind, unless it's Madden, it's called sulking.

I'll sulk too, if that's what it is. I want our top scorer on the ice for the power play.
ESP. when he converted on one to tie up the game by storming into the crease after a pass at the blue line.

I think Burns' M.O. with Elias might be to keep him off-balance and uncomfy. Which is fine if that's what it is. But I still want our top offensive threat out there.
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#6 SueNJ97


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Posted 08 February 2003 - 06:24 PM

Don't like Elias on the checking line. I know Burns likes to switch up the lines, but TURNER on one of the top lines and ELIAS as a checker??? So yes, Pat, I do think you bear some responsibility for the loss last night (although it had to come sometime) because 2 of the lines don't make any sense.
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#7 NJayDevil


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Posted 08 February 2003 - 06:39 PM

But at times, our checking line is our #1 line.

I say have Elias go back with Gomez for Sunday's game and if that isn't working out for whatever reason then move him back with Madden and see what happens.

But not putting Elias out there for the final PP is unexcuseable.
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#8 Jas0nMacIsaac


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Posted 08 February 2003 - 10:18 PM

I think Burns knows a bit more what to do then us, he was Jack Adams winner 3 times I think, you have to do something wright to get that award. What Burns was trying to do is get three lines producing, the NFL line usually scores most games and he tried to get the checking line to score along with the #1 line. It is only one game, he is trying to tinker to find the best chemistry, or maybe Lou told him to do it to showcase a player like Gomez's ability to produce no matter who his linemates are, is he on the block, who knows.
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#9 Elias Sports Bureau

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 12:17 AM

Well I know Burns knows what he's doing. But he's not God and he's not perfect and he is capable of making mistakes. Which is why he's been also fired from all those jobs that he won all those trophies at...

I want the marquee guy on the ice. He produces, he's paid to produce and I want him out there.
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#10 ontariorat


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Posted 09 February 2003 - 01:13 AM

I guess I just dont understand Burn's point in constantly shifting lines, especially when the lines are producing. Maybe it is just the way I was brought up on hockey, and that is the same line being used, so long as they produce giving both team and fans a sense of consistency. Don't get me wrong, Burn's way is working. But come on, Elias has skated with every forward on the team so far this season, or so it seems. At the beginning of the season, his first session with Gomez there was production, but he pulled them apart, later tries again, some production, then pulls them apart AGAIN??????????? And I dont think one can even use the logic that the checking line was a mess and needed tinkered with.
And Elias not on the ice for the pp, that is just wrong, that is Elias' JOB, that is like pulling Marty for the pk?!?!?!?!?
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#11 Derek21


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Posted 09 February 2003 - 03:06 AM

I have to agree with a lot of your sentiments here. Why does Scott Gomez always get the shaft when a Devil gets injured?

He meshed well with Elias and Bicek and all of a sudden, he gets demoted because Burns wants Elias with his two checkers???

That doesn't make much sense.

If I were Gomez, I'd be pretty confused.

Madden's good and all but I think you should keep your best sniper with your best passer/playmaker.

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#12 Elias Sports Bureau

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 10:35 AM

I too love Madden and Elias has played really well with him.

But as I've said before, no one gets themselves into position for Gomez's passes (obviously one of our best assets) like Elias does.

He should DEF be on the PP. And ESP. when he earned that right that night by working very hard and crashing the net AND getting the goal to tie up that game.
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#13 Triumph


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Posted 09 February 2003 - 10:44 AM

(N)Đ„verson says Elias was with Gomez and Bicek in practice yesterday.

I don't mind taking the chance with Elias on the checking line.. Detroit's been doing it with Fedorov, off and on, for years.
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#14 Elias Sports Bureau

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 11:48 AM

The Red Wings can sort of afford it more than we can...

He plays very well on the checking line. We just kinda need him on the scoring line. Esp. since it leaves Gomez at loose ends on his line.
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