I think each and every player deserves praise for this playoff run, even as it's ending how it is.
Congrats to Zach Parise - if you do leave, please don't go to the Rangers. You'll be set for life wherever you go.
Congrats to Travis Zajac - returning from injury to play a stellar playoffs. Lou, if you miss on Parise, let's get this guy locked up.
Congrats to Ilya Kovalchuk - playing hurt for almost the entire playoffs, he's proven how much he wants to win. Can't wait to see the real Kovalchuk back.
Congrats to Petr Sykora - returning from obscurity to score 20+ goals and contribute some key playoff markers. I suspect your NHL career is over, but you made a much better exit this time.
Congrats to Patrik Elias - he's stuck with the team for so long, he played well even through last year's disaster, and while he hasn't had the best playoffs, he's been an indispensable part of the team.
Congrats to Dainius Zubrus - he won a game in the Cup Finals. He signed here claiming that NJ always had a shot to win, and then they went 4 years without winning a playoff round.
Congrats to Alexei Ponikarovsky - even if he only scored 1 goal during the run, he made some key assists. If he goes, he will be missed.
Congrats to Adam Henrique - a playoff to remember forever. 2 enormous goals, plus a Cup Final game winner. He has got a bright future ahead of him.
Congrats to David Clarkson - he's also made his goals count. I suspect he's been injured all playoffs, but he has really come back from last year's disaster season. He had more assists during these playoffs than he did all last year.
Congrats to Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta, and Steve Bernier - I mention them as a unit because they played like a unit. Bernier too - he will take tons of heat for what he did in Game 6, maybe so much that he can't come back here, but he's been an excellent find, and I wish him luck if he goes elsewhere.
Congrats to Jacob Josefson - his teammates held up their promise that he would play again this season.
For the defensemen:
Congrats to Andy Greene and Mark Fayne - they played brilliant hockey. The NHL unfortunately has seen how good they are.
Congrats to Bryce Salvador - I didn't think he would ever play again. Not only did he play, he contributed several goals and assists to a Cup Finalist team. I don't think he'll be back, but I hope wherever he goes can get a little more of the Salvador magic.
Congrats to Marek Zidlicky - written off in Minnesota, he proved he's still got plenty of hockey left in him.
Congrats to Anton Volchenkov - the team bailed him out for a rough first round series and he acquitted himself well in future rounds.
Congrats to Peter Harrold - an afterthought before the season, he became a reliable third pairing guy. I hope he gets the NHL contract he deserves.
Congrats to Adam Larsson - you didn't play in the Finals, but hopefully you will soon.
Congrats to Johan Hedberg - you got hung with a loss back in Round 1, but who knows where the Devils end up without your play during the season.
...and Congrats to Martin Brodeur. I doubted you all season long, but you proved that you can still be a great goaltender at crunch time. Amazing play in Game 7 against Florida made this all possible.
We beat the Rangers. We beat the Flyers. We didn't beat the Kings - they were a better team. But still, to come back from where they were in December of 2010 to do this is nothing short of remarkable. It's really, really hard to do this.
That's the thing about Kovalchuk. He needs space to be effective. The Rangers with their passive system gave it to him. The Kings are not doing it. I think he's hurt but it's not possible to extrapolate and say he'd be lethal in this series at 100% health. Maybe on the PP, but even then he's not getting much time and space from the Kings. They are taking him out of the game and I am not convinced they wouldn't be taking a 100% Kovalchuk out of the game.
Kovalchuk is able to buy space when he is healthy. Right now he is not trying to beat anyone 1 on 1 because he just can't make the skating/stickhandling moves necessary to do so. When healthy, he's a terror in the neutral zone with the puck - that burst isn't there, he's not able to back defenders off, and as a result he's probably dumped the puck in more during these playoffs than in the rest of his career.
This man worked hard throughout his life to make it in the NHL and now he does this. I do not care if you are being traded or going to be a backup on a team. You are getting paid FIVE MILLION DOLLARS to play a sport you love. This just disgusts me. My team pays $2200 every fall and summer just to play 15 games. If you told me two years ago that Thomas wouldn't show up at the White House and now taking a year off I would not believe it.
Tim Thomas has paid his dues in the NHL more than just about anyone. He spent his mid-twenties bouncing from team to team and country to country.
If I were a Bruins fan, the only thing I'd be upset about is the $5M cap hit that might be left because of his contract, but the Devils disposed of Malakhov's deal and I imagine the Bruins will be able to send the fake Thomas contract somewhere as well. But any player has the right to say he doesn't want to play anymore - it's their life.
please. rags 'fans'. they are back to worrying about whether the knicks can keep their team together, or how the giants' minicamp is going. i bet most of them missed the OT winner 'cause they forgot to switch back from the 3rd inning of a Yankees game
it's the rangers year! they're so good! they're so great! they're just good enough to be sitting home watching the cup finals!
games 5 and 6 were the toughest wins but brodeur played well and the devils came out ahead. hopefully the rest will help out guys like ponikarovsky, kovalchuk, clarkson, zidlicky - the guys who look visibly injured.
THEY BEAT THE STUPID RANGERS IN THE EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
I turned off the game after the Rags scored the second goal and didn't watch the rest of the game. I just couldn't do it, and might even not even watch game 6 or 7 if it gets that far. Just way too nerve-racking, not to mention that I consumed about 10 cigarettes from 8 to 11 last night.
Why couldn't I have gotten into poetry instead of sports?
Because poetry doesn't produce that kind of exhilaration? But yeah, like DM84 said, it has to be the stupid Rangers. If this were against any non-Flyer, non-Ranger team, I could watch this series with some measure of 'Hey, they're in the ECF, people didn't expect this, I love playoff hockey'. If the Devils made it to the ECF and lost to the Bruins, say, I think we'd all be on board for that - obviously there'd be missed opportunities and no one would be 'happy', but hey, it was a fun ride. But it has to be the goddamn Rangers. Still, Friday...
That's interesting. I did notice there being a woman sitting behind the Devils bench who at one point was making some animated gestures. I thought maybe she had been yelling at DeBoer, but I wasn't sure because I had only caught the tail end of it. I even mentioned it to my wife who was watching the game with me but hadn't been paying attention at the time.
Oh, now that you mention it, I also saw this. I figured she just realized she lived in or around Philadelphia.
Good thing about Sestito, like you've all said, is his grit and intensity. He doesn't take too many penalties but does play hard. And I think he'll DRAW some penalties out of the Flyers. He's like a Clarkson from 3-4 years ago, could be good, could be bad... We'll see.
Just trying to stay optimistic.
The guy has 0 goals in 64 NHL games. He's like Clarkson if you removed the goal-scoring talent and added more falling down. The 4th line will get annihilated tonight, it's just a question of whether Brodeur can make the stops.
Like everyone said, Gionta was not an emergency callup because Boulton is still healthy. I hadn't realized that either.
I like Harrold over Larsson in Games 1 and 2 - maybe in Games 3 and 4 the Devils can get the right matchups for Larsson and he can be out there; I did think he looked very good yesterday with some great breakout passes, but I'm not sure he can be trusted in the postseason.