New York Hockey: Adam Mair

W2W4: Avalanche vs. Devils

October, 15, 2010
A few hours from now the Avs visit the Rock to take on the Devils. Here are three quick factors to keep an eye on Friday night.

Welcome to the Party

The Devils replaced their injured players with a trio of call-ups from Albany: forwards Jacob Josefson and Tim Sestito, and D Matt Corrente. Josefson will center the third line, flanked by Dainius Zubrus and David Clarkson. Sestito will join Adam Mair and Rod Pelley on line four, with Corrente paired with Alexander Urbom. At some point the Devils will actually make some kind of move to provide lasting cap relief (really, I swear). This trio will want to make a lasting impression to show they're capable of sticking with the big club when that time comes.

Fire at Will

Colorado (No. 5 in shots per game this season) and New Jersey (No. 10) have put a lot of rubber on the net in the early season and Colorado isn't too strong at stopping shots against. This could turn into an up-and-down game with the two goalies at the center of the action.

The First of Many?

Ilya Kovalchuk got in the goal column Wednesday against Buffalo and New Jersey would love nothing more than for its highest-paid player to get on track. The Money Line (or, if you prefer, the ZIP line) is intact again. The line came out absolutely blazing against the Dallas Stars but since faded. If Kovalchuk and Co. can't get rolling against the Avs, how much longer can head coach John MacLean wait before splitting it up?

W2W4: Devils vs. Sabres

October, 13, 2010
An 0-2-1 start for the Devils has left some wondering what changes will be made to the cap-constrained roster. For now, however, the Devils will carry on shorthanded when they face the Sabres in Buffalo tonight. Here's what to watch for:

Line combos

In terms of changes on the ice, a few Star-Ledger readers liked the way head coach John MacLean tinkered with his lines against the Penguins, moving Ilya Kovalchuk back to left wing and replacing him on the top line with Jamie Langenbrunner.

But the Zach Parise-Travis Zajac-Kovalchuk was back intact at practice on Tuesday, according to Tom Gulitti.

For his part, MacLean says he still has faith in the top line of Kovalchuk-Zajac-Parise. That could change if the combo doesn't produce tonight.

Still short

It looks like the Devils will only have 10 forwards tonight, as Anton Volchenkov will be out for the rest of the week, including Friday’s home game against the Colorado Avalanche, as well as Saturday’s game against the Boston Bruins. Brian Rolston’s time table is also up in the air while the forward undergoes some tests to see if he has a sports hernia. If he does and is placed on long-term IR, that would free up a ton of cap room for the Devils, but they'd still need to clear that space before bringing Rolston back to the lineup. More immediately, the Devs said Monday that fatigue hasn't been a factor in their winless start to the season. We'll see if that stays the case in the third period tonight.

Welcome to the Team

As expected, the Devils used the cap space saved from waiving Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond to sign Adam Mair. He skated with the team in the preseason, but should have a little extra energy after officially inking a deal ...

Hello Again

... and because the Sabres are Mair’s former team. Gulitti writes that both Mair and Henrik Tallinder are looking forward to returning to Buffalo.

Morning Links

With short roster, Devils need to deal

October, 12, 2010
Three games into the 2010-11 season and the Devils are skating a full line short of a full team and still searching for their first win.

Monday, the Devils dropped their first game to the Pittsburgh Penguins in over a season, falling 3-1 at home. Patrik Elias supplied the loan marker for New Jersey, off to an 0-2-1 start overall.

With as much talent as they have, the victories will come soon enough for the Devils, who have skated without a full complement of forwards in their contests against the Stars, Capitals and Penguins. But the roster issues will continue to linger until GM Lou Lamoriello can find a more permanent solution to the salary cap crisis that has dogged the team ever since the signing of free agent Ilya Kovalchuk.

Throwing a little salt on the Devils’ wounds, since the first seven minutes of opening night Kovalchuk is pointless with a minus-5 rating. A bad turnover at the Devils’ blueline on Monday led to the Penguins’ first goal.

Until Lamoriello makes a move to create some cap space, the Devils figure to continue to skate with a minimal roster, meaning fatigue and injuries will impact the team far more than other NHL clubs. While we wait for lasting changes here's some reading to get you ready for the Devs’ next game against the Sabres Wednesday in Buffalo.

Morning Links
  • Penguins D Paul Martin, showered with boos all game long, said he enjoyed scoring an empty-netter against his former team yesterday, according to Tom Gulitti.
  • Also at Fire and Ice, the Devils are trying to keep their heads up and pointed to their strong third-period play yesterday as an example that the short bench isn’t a factor in the losses.
  • Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond’s exile from the Devils could become permanent. After earning a one-game suspension for instigating a fight in the final five minutes of Saturday’s loss to the Capitals, New Jersey placed him on waivers. He won’t need to clear re-entry waivers to rejoin the team, but the Devils will need to have salary cap space to accommodate him, which is hardly a certainty.
  • Here’s a lengthy recap of yesterday’s loss on In Lou We Trust, which includes the statement that the team should address its cap crisis immediately. If you thought Lamoriello had no leverage at the trade table at the end of the summer, just imagine how little he wields now.
  • Mark Everson of the Post writes that it’s getting late early for the Devils and sums up their start succinctly:
“The numbers are nasty. The Devils have allowed 14 goals and scored six in opening 0-2-1. They have been outscored 11-2 after the first period. Worse, they haven't opened winless in three games since 2001-02.”