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Offline Last Active Feb 26 2013 11:06 PM

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Cory Schneider Frustrated About Returning to Role of Backup Goalie for

28 November 2013 - 12:34 AM


Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

During this past offseason, it appeared Cory Schneider had finally escaped the purgatory of being a “kinda-sorta” starting goalie in the NHL. With the Vancouver Canucks, it seemed he was given his shot to start, only to lose it to the much-maligned Roberto Luongo. Then he earned the job again. Then he lost it. For a professional goalie, it was a nightmare scenario. Even worse, the Canucks just couldn’t get rid of Luongo thanks to his monstrous contract that, unsurprisingly, no team was willing to take on. It seemed Schneider was never going to get the chance to be a permanent starter.

However, over the summer he found light at the end of the tunnel. The Canucks made a blockbuster deal that sent the American goalie to the New Jersey Devils. Not only was it implied he would be moving into the starting role, many believed it was a move that would allow Schneider to take the torch from arguably the greatest goaltender of all time, Martin Brodeur. It appeared Schneider would finally be getting his shot.

Well, it did early on at least. Brodeur started very poorly this season, and Schneider was slowly but surely becoming the Devils’ primary starter. At one point, Brodeur even admitted he was accepting the role of backup. Lately, though, the legendary goalie has been playing well. He’s played the last two, and got the start again tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. While it’s a statement towards the fact that Brodeur just seems ageless, it’s also something Schneider isn’t exactly psyched about. Though he openly admitted Brodeur has been playing well, he made it very clear he’s upset about the situation.

“It’s like Groundhog Day for me,” Schneider said. “I can’t seem to escape it.”

He went on to say he was both surprised and frustrated about his lack of playing time. It seemed he left one goalie carousel just to jump aboard another.

If there’s any silver lining in this, it’s the fact that Brodeur most likely doesn’t have a lot of time left in the league. He’s on the final year of his contract, and it’s hard to believe New Jersey will throw a mult-year deal his way, if they even resign him at all. Brodeur is 41 years old, and with practically every relevant record under his belt, it would surprise nobody if he rode off into the sunset at the end of this season.

For now, though, Schneider is stuck in a role he knows all too well. There’s no shame in rotating starts with the best goalie the game has seen. He’s been patient this long, and if he’s lucky it’ll be the last time he has to wait to finally get a permanent place in the spotlight.

Casey Drottar is an NHL writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @CDrottar19 or “Like” him on Facebook

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New Jersey Devils Need To Sweep Next 3 Games

27 November 2013 - 03:43 PM


James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

From being the last team in the NHL to win a game to clawing their way back into the Metropolitan Division, the New Jersey Devils have been tested all season.

Now after a two-game losing streak, the Devils have their backs against the wall once again.  The middle of the Metropolitan Division is so close that a few losses can have you getting lost in the shuffle.  Two wins can theoretically put you in second place, but two more losses can put you in last place.  There are seven measly points between second place and last place.  This division can shake out any way and most in the hockey world would not be surprised.

The way everything is shaping out, barring a collapse by a team in the Atlantic, the Metro will most likely only have three representatives.  The Pittsburgh Penguins are doing their best to become uncatchable, but they aren’t quite there this early.  That leaves two theoretical positions that the Devils can grab.

If the Devils are going to be one of the teams in those spots then they have to win the games against lesser division opponents and lesser opponents in general.  That’s not saying the Carolina Hurricanes are a lesser team than the Devils as right now they have the same exact record, but they haven’t made the playoffs in four years.  They have played better since the return of goaltender Cam Ward, but these next two games are must wins for the Devils.  They are playing a home and home with them.  Carolina is a hard place to play, but the Devils have played there in more hostile situations.

After that the Devils have the Buffalo Sabres, and they are the worst team in the NHL.  You cannot afford to lose to teams you are better than — especially when that team has nothing to play for in November.

The Devils are in a position of strength right now, and the schedule is working out in their favor.  They can really make a move in this division starting tonight through November 30.  If the Devils do not end the month with some kind of theoretical playoff spot then they failed on this stretch of games.

Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports.  He also adds to their NFL and MLB content.  You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your Google network.

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New Jersey Devils Lose Two In A Row, Falling To Winnipeg Jets

25 November 2013 - 11:18 PM


Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The New Jersey Devils could not muster that late-game magic again against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday night.

They ended up losing 3-1 when Devin Setoguchi put one into the empty net with only 28 seconds left in the game. The Jets controlled the first half of the game, but the Devils started to get going after that. The defense started getting shots to the net at will. They weren’t able to get anything past Ondrej Pavelec until deep into the third period. The Devils seemed to be streak busters, but in a negative way for them. Pavelec won his first game in his last four. Evander Kane scored his first goal in 12 games. Mark Scheifele scored his first goal of the season. It was not a good night of firsts for the Devils.

Patrik Elias was finally able to get a puck past Pavelec when he tipped in and Andy Greene shot into the net about half way through the third period. It was retribution for Elias as he had a beautiful opportunity on a 2-o- 1 with Adam Henrique that he rang off the post. They continued the pressure throughout the rest of the game and got big chances from Eric Gelinas and Jaromir Jagr late. It wasn’t enough in the end, as they couldn’t get any more in the back of the net. At the end of the day, the lack of offensive punch for the Devils lately is finally catching up to them.

Martin Brodeur played well coming off the scary sight on Saturday. He was down for a few minutes with a neck injury. Too bad his team couldn’t score enough to get him the win.

This was a game the Devils needed to win. They were coming home from a big road trip and they needed to start this part of the season off right. They lost a chance to jump back into third place when the New York Rangers lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning. They need to do something to shake this team up again because they cannot be losing to teams that they should be beating.

They need to play much better for the next three games to make sure they get the wins that they should. They play a home and home with the Carolina Hurricanes and then take on the Buffalo Sabres. They should win all of these games. If they don’t, then Peter DeBoer needs to re-evaluate things.

Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to their NFL and MLB content. You can follow him on Twitter for more sports information.

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Jaromir Jagr Proving To Be Best Signing For New Jersey Devils

24 November 2013 - 02:27 PM


Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Veteran right winger Jaromir Jagr is truly proving to be the very best signing made by the New Jersey Devils this season, as he has come up huge in the past few games by doing what he does best: scoring when it counts to win games. Whether it be the impressive double he scored on the Pittsburgh Penguins or the game-winner in over time at the Los Angeles Kings, he is continuing to prove that age is nothing but a number, even so at 41

The NHL is growing rapidly with developing young talent, which is brilliant for its future. But with veterans like Jagr sticking around, showing them the ropes will only speed up their process. He truly is a leader on and off the ice, and since the Devils lost Ilya Kovulchuk, he is the perfect replacement, as he inspires everyone around him. His presence in the starting lineup is absolutely crucial for the success of this team, as he has proved it time and time again.

The other veterans are chipping in as well, but none are nearly as helpful as the Czech international. If he can continue to play at this pace for the rest of the season, there should be no reason for the Devils to be absent from the playoffs. They are a very entertaining team to watch, as they always play with heart and intelligence when it comes to that stage of the season.

Jagr can play like this as long as he expends his energy smartly and always gives it his all when he is skating on the ice. His vision, skill and overall knowledge of the game are all what makes him the best asset that this team has.

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Luck Seems To Have Run Out For New Jersey Devils

24 November 2013 - 01:02 PM


Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Before their game against the San Jose Sharks, the New Jersey Devils won two straight games on pure luck. They beat the Anaheim Ducks in overtime when Ben Lovejoy scored a goal in his own net. They then beat the Los Angeles Kings when Jagr got a pass across the middle in overtime that he put past Ben Scrivens.

That luck seemed to have run out against the Sharks. They did their best to attempt a comeback. The Devils played extremely poorly in the first two periods, and could not muster more than one goal in a strong third. Despite another great goaltending performance, the Devils could not come up with the victory. Patrik Elias‘ power play goal just after eight minutes into the third was all the Devils could get in the back of the net.

The Sharks came out and were dominant early. They won every board battle and the Devils’ forwards looked outworked and outplayed. It was something that fans didn’t expect after the way they talked about the poor performance against the Kings. This game could have easily been 4-0 instead of 2-0 after the first period.

Martin Brodeur provided another great performance to try and give his team a chance to win. So much for everyone denouncing his hot streak because of a lack of shots — Brodeur stopped 28 of 30 shots, and was perfect in the second and third periods. Brodeur stopped almost every chance the Sharks had, and there were plenty of them. He even recovered from getting hit in the back of the head to finish the game.

The offense did have a few chances besides Elias’ goal, but none were successful. The team only got 19 shots for the game. If they are going to keep up with the rest of this division, then they are going to need to shoot the puck much more than they did on this trip.

The Devils came back to the East Coast, winning two out of three games. They will not be away from the Eastern Time Zone until December 23 when they play the Chicago Blackhawks. This is a stretch where the Devils need pull away from the lesser teams of the Metropolitan Division. They were jumped over by the New York Rangers and is only one point ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers for fourth place in the division.

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