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Jacques Lemaire has tried to make two somewhat major changes to the way this team plays, and I think both are rather interesting, because I'm not sure they should be made.

The Devils are trying to become a better team in transition; they are trying to force more odd-man situations.

PRO: I don't have any evidence for this, but watching the Devils the last two seasons under Brent Sutter, they were categorically terrible at forcing odd-man situations. The defensive zone breakout seemed designed to ensure that everyone was on the same page for the inevitable dump-in. Breakaways and odd-man rushes are one of the best ways to score goals, and the Devils pretty much punted on that in favor of simplicity.

CON: The Devils players aren't very good at odd-man situations. Only Zajac and Elias can really be trusted to make the right play, and only Parise has a great ability to finish on them. The Devils should stick to their strengths and not go mucking up the defensive zone breakout.

The Devils are trying to involve the defense more in the offensive zone.

PRO: The Devils got 20 goals out of their defense, i.e. a totally pathetic number. Sutter had them basically anchored to the blueline and skating backwards at the first sign of trouble. And since the team was largely dump and chase, there were few opportunities to join the rush. This makes the Devils a very predictable team in the offensive zone.

CON: The Devils' defense are terrible in the offensive zone. Paul Martin can make plays but has a terrible shot, Johnny Oduya has a good shot but can't really make plays, and that's about it. The less they're involved in the play, the better.

Just thought this was interesting whether or not the Devils should try to change their style - either Sutter was masking deficiencies, or just not paying attention to potential strengths. We shall see in the weeks to come whether the Devils stick with some of these changes.

Edited by Triumph
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They should stick with it.

Reagrding the title of this thread, Point-Counterpoint, here's the first thing that came to my mind:

"They bought their tickets. They knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash!"

Can anyone name the film?

Airplane.

I think they should play a style which suits their personnel. It'll take more than a week to see if that's correct, but it doesn't look likely. As Triumph said, they want offensive d-men, but they maybe have 1; they want to have a better breakout, but only one of their lines can do it.

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Tri

I think this direction is something Lou, Conte, Jacques and the rest of the staff concluded was the best direction for the team moving forward not just this year, but beyond. What people have to understand is applying a systematic change to an organization is often bumpy and riddled with a few losses.

The "simplicity" way wasn't working with the core we had. This is a new way, and it'll take some time. It'd be comfortable to revert to the way the Devils have been playing for a long time, and to say "well this is the players we have, so we should tailor it to them." I think the time has come for a new way, and the remolding of the roster.

To me, it would seem to be the case that Lou is evaluating just who can play in this new system and who won't. Only then can they go from there, and begin to mold the roster into the type of players they need.

At least I hope this is the case, and I'll be patient if this is so.

Edited by HellOnICE
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Like its been said, this team doesn't have the personnel to pull of that amazing transition game that the Devils had in the early 00's. There is no Rafalski or Nieds. The other side to that like Tri said is the passive defense of recent times had the other teams just focusing on the down low forwards. I seem to recall a lot of laser beam shots becoming goals but it was rare that a defense led charge happened.

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Tri

I think this direction is something Lou, Conte, Jacques and the rest of the staff concluded was the best direction for the team moving forward not just this year, but beyond. What people have to understand is applying a systematic change to an organization is often bumpy and riddled with a few losses.

The "simplicity" way wasn't working with the core we had. This is a new way, and it'll take some time. It'd be comfortable to revert to the way the Devils have been playing for a long time, and to say "well this is the players we have, so we should tailor it to them." I think the time has come for a new way, and the remolding of the roster.

To me, it would seem to be the case that Lou is evaluating just who can play in this new system and who won't. Only then can they go from there, and begin to mold the roster into the type of players they need.

At least I hope this is the case, and I'll be patient if this is so.

well, i mean, we've been over it before, literally no one on this team can be traded, half the team has no-trade clauses (which scuttle their trade value), or they're a cheaper player who can't be traded because there's not enough cheap players. it is amazing to me how glen sather keeps turning over his roster every year, i mean, every year there's at least 5 new guys, it must be a skill.

i like seeing paul martin trying to get his bearings in the offensive zone and i think he might do well at it. i mean yeah ending up at the dots on his backhand like he did last night is not going to work, but letting him roam a bit isn't the end of the world.

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I just don't agree with the way things are happening.

With Gionta and Madden still in the lineup, we would have been in a position to compete again. Who knows how far the Devils would have gotten if it weren't for the game 7 collapse.

Gionta

Madden

Holik

Havelid

Clemmensen

Rupp

Weekes

Vrana (left to Europe for lack of a CHANCE thanks to 4 minutes of ice time per night by Sutter)

Shanahan

Those are the players that have left us.

The departure of Weekes and Clemmensen weren't really a big deal. Yann Danis is a very VERY capable backup and is younger than the two we had. The only thing lost is a big cheerleader in Weekes.

Holik wasn't much to lose. Slow, not a lot of point production. Losing Havelid and Rupp weren't a big deal either.

I was upset over losing Vrana because I thought he could have been a decent center if he was given a good chance.

Now comes Madden and Gionta. Madden was getting older, yes. But he is a fast skater... and even if he couldn't score a lot of goals he was still one of the better defensive forwards in the game. His chemistry with Pandolfo was terrific. His departure affects our PK, GAA, and Pandolfo.

Gionta... oh boy... I wanted him to be re-signed so bad. EVEN at the 5 mil price tag that Montreal gave him. He didn't even get an offer from Lou!

My big problem is how things are being run at the moment.

There is no REBUILD going on. Yet we are also not equipped to go anywhere in the post season.

Our Additions:

Andrew Peters: WHY? He's almost 30 and has scored 4 goals in 5 years. He isn't even fighting and hitting which is what he is supposed to do. His play was dwindling even before he left Buffalo.

Ilkka Pikkarainen: again, WHY? 7th round draft pick in 2002 with no NHL experience. He is also coming up on 30 years old in a year or two. He has little offensive ability.

Corey Murphy: He is an okay defenseman but if he's going to be our #6 then why is it him over Corrente, Eckford, Urbom even. At least Urbom could have provided size and youth.

Rob Niedermayer: He had a good game last night... if he is supposed to be John Madden's straight up replacement then I am cool with that. He's a year or two younger and a lot cheaper.

We have Pelley as our 4th line center... chance after chance and Pelley has never proven to deserve a spot here.

If Lou refuses to make a trade or sign a big free agent which he won't do.... then stop filling the lineup with older slower players.

Lou said Shanahan had to go because the kids are ready? Well we have Bergfors... What other kids is he talking about. Halischuk? That's it?

Because of this... Clarkson is getting seriously misused... Putting him on a line with Pando/Pikachu and Nieds is limiting his offensive ability.

When Elias gets back there needs to be a serious line re-adjustment....

Parise-Zajac-Langenbrunner

Rolston-Elias-Bergfors

Halischuk-Zubrus-Clarkson

PL3-Niedermayer-Pikkarainen

With the fourth line rotate Pandolfo and Pelley in and out and maybe Peters. But keep Nieds there.

But again, after typing my fake lineup, I'm not even happy with it.

This team needs SPEED. I would even say that Cormier should have gotten a regular season shot along with Zharkov.

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njdevil26:

gionta COULD NOT STAY. geez. at 5 million you may as well say goodbye to paul martin. that would've been an absolutely disastrous signing, thank god lou didn't pick up the phone and get stupid on july 1. and cormier didn't deserve a shot at all.

Am I the only one who think Martin has looked like pure garbage in these first two games?

His puck handling is atrocious.

everyone's puck handling has been atrocious - last night the ice was absolutely terrible. hopefully that gets fixed in the coming weeks.

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And we have to take a step back and look to the direction the league is going, the team is going and decide whether Lou is doing this type of systematic change on a whim thinking he'd have the pieces on the current roster to do it...or is putting the system in first, seeing how his players fit in and then going from there.

I'm hopeful for the latter.

Who knows what's going to happen.

Yes, Tri we have some players who have little value, but we'll see what happens. Lou isn't Sather who throws it at the wall every year and hopes to get lucky.

What's clear, arguably speaking, is that the old system wasn't working that well. Was it a roster problem? Systematic problem? Who knows. You could argue both.

Edited by HellOnICE
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Tri... I'm not being unrealistic and thinking that Cormier or Zharkov would have been awesome...

I just don't understand putting someone like Pikkarainen or Peters in the lineup... like I said, guys a little older and slower... Peters proven to be sort of useless and Pikachu getting his first NHL game 7 years after being drafted and not looking that great.

So why do they get the nod?

Someone WILL offer Martin 5 mil this offseason. Then what? Lou won't match... and won't sign a big UFA... so we are left with our top Dman as Oduya?

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Cormier didn't look great in the preseason and it would make him an UFA one year earlier to get him as a 4th liner this season where his contribution really wouldn't matter.

He has 4 points in 5 games so far in the QMJHL, so he isn't exactly lighting 17 year olds on fire yet, so imagine that against 28 year olds.

Lou would match Martin for 5 million, that's why the Devils are leaving cap space open.

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my argument, HOI, would basically be that the devils got the most mileage possible out of the system they employed last season. they were middle of the pack in scoring. that system totally misused rolston and didn't make great use of elias either, but it certainly 'worked' - but there's limits to its effectiveness. i don't think the 2nd half meltdown was a result of said system, either, so let's keep that whole thing buried.

Tri... I'm not being unrealistic and thinking that Cormier or Zharkov would have been awesome...

I just don't understand putting someone like Pikkarainen or Peters in the lineup... like I said, guys a little older and slower... Peters proven to be sort of useless and Pikachu getting his first NHL game 7 years after being drafted and not looking that great.

So why do they get the nod?

zharkov made a fair number of poor decisions in the two games i saw him play. he's only a first-year north american pro. pikkrainen adds a physical element which if you haven't really noticed is kind of gone from new jersey so far. he's played 7 minutes and already people want him off the team - why is there absolutely no patience around here? why is no one excited to see new names in the devils lineup and hope about what they can do? nope, it's just 'boring this guy SUCKS he's terrible get him off the team'. i don't understand this attitude. peters is a whole other thing, fighters exist in their own class.

Someone WILL offer Martin 5 mil this offseason. Then what? Lou won't match... and won't sign a big UFA... so we are left with our top Dman as Oduya?

who knows what the future will bring.

Edited by Triumph
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my argument, HOI, would basically be that the devils got the most mileage possible out of the system they employed last season. they were middle of the pack in scoring. that system totally misused rolston and didn't make great use of elias either, but it certainly 'worked' - but there's limits to its effectiveness. i don't think the 2nd half meltdown was a result of said system, either, so let's keep that whole thing buried.

zharkov made a fair number of poor decisions in the two games i saw him play. he's only a first-year north american pro. pikkrainen adds a physical element which if you haven't really noticed is kind of gone from new jersey so far. he's played 7 minutes and already people want him off the team. peters is a whole other thing, fighters exist in their own class.

who knows what the future will bring.

I think we agree Tri, that the system got the most mileage possible of the lineup we had. I'm saying perhaps the Devils are employing a new system as a way of saying "the 'most-mileage' system was not good enough" and will go forward EVEN IF IT MEANS A STEP OR TWO OR THREE BACK if they believe this new system will get them more mileage in the future.

But people are very scared when it comes to bringing the word "rebuild/retool" to the forefront.

However, I am of the belief that this team with Parise, Zajac, Martin, Oduya, Elias, Langer, Zubrus,and Rolston for the next few years have a decent forward core. A center and another defenseman would help this team a long way...but that's the kicker.

Edited by HellOnICE
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Someone WILL offer Martin 5 mil this offseason. Then what? Lou won't match... and won't sign a big UFA... so we are left with our top Dman as Oduya?

I like this question even though it has more to do with next year.

Forgetting for a second the possibility that the cap might go down dramatically, what does Lou do if another team makes Martin a ridiculous offer? IMO, he would almost have to sign a big-name free-agent D man -- something that, like you said, Lou NEVER does. Either that or he would need to pull off a major trade that brings back a big name. I mean, how long can we keep going on without bringing in a big name, or even a semi-big name -- on offense and on defense?

That being said, maybe Martin can really elevate his game this season, seeing how he stands to cash in this coming off-season.

EDIT: Oops, I guess we could count Rolston as a big-name free agent that Lou signed recently. So I'll limit my comment to strictly D men.

Edited by 95Crash
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Don't forget, Martin already makes 3.8 million as his cap hit, I believe, so even going to 5 million only requires 1.2 million more in space. So if the cap comes down a good amount and Martin was offered a 5 million dollar deal the Devils should still have space.

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Every new coach and coaching staff brings change. Change is difficult to implement. So let's give it some time to see what will work. When Elias comes back that will bring more change and when Elias is up to speed there will be more change and if he has problems there will be more change. Change is always happening it's those that can best adapt to change that succeed.

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I think we agree Tri, that the system got the most mileage possible of the lineup we had. I'm saying perhaps the Devils are employing a new system as a way of saying "the 'most-mileage' system was not good enough" and will go forward EVEN IF IT MEANS A STEP OR TWO OR THREE BACK if they believe this new system will get them more mileage in the future.

But people are very scared when it comes to bringing the word "rebuild/retool" to the forefront.

However, I am of the belief that this team with Parise, Zajac, Martin, Oduya, Elias, Langer, Zubrus,and Rolston for the next few years have a decent forward core. A center and another defenseman would help this team a long way...but that's the kicker.

i think lemaire is in a very unique position to do this, also, which is why i won't be totally miserable if the devils miss the playoffs this season. lemaire is old and he doesn't have to prove anything to anyone, and this is probably his last NHL coaching job. most coaching jobs are partly an audition for other NHL jobs - jacques doesn't need that. just hope this isn't setting up for john maclean, who i think is way more in the sutter camp of doing things.

so yeah like you said. it is funny how people on this board are like 'oh wow the devils can't get it done in the playoffs', then when they bring in someone who might change things up a bit, it's 'why is he changing what works?'.

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i think lemaire is in a very unique position to do this, also, which is why i won't be totally miserable if the devils miss the playoffs this season. lemaire is old and he doesn't have to prove anything to anyone, and this is probably his last NHL coaching job. most coaching jobs are partly an audition for other NHL jobs - jacques doesn't need that. just hope this isn't setting up for john maclean, who i think is way more in the sutter camp of doing things.

so yeah like you said. it is funny how people on this board are like 'oh wow the devils can't get it done in the playoffs', then when they bring in someone who might change things up a bit, it's 'why is he changing what works?'.

I think it's much too early to start picking things apart. If this team is, say, a few games under .500 at the 30-game mark, then I'll start to worry a little...but even then, it's not like the season's going to be lost...still plenty of time to recover. I was there last night, and ordinarily I'd be pissed, as I almost always am after a loss to the Rangers, but I went there kind of expecting what I saw. Yet another new coach and yet more new faces and yet more free agent defections to recover from, and yet another key injury early on. That part of it is aggravating (it seems like every season starts like this), but the Devils have recovered from shaky starts before. 0-2 is no reason to start pressing panic buttons (clearly you aren't, but I heard far too many fans from yesterday acting like the season was already over).

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