New York Hockey: Jamie Langenbrunner

Devilish details

January, 12, 2011
With five days between games this week, there’s not a lot of action surrounding the Devils. But the media has still managed to pick up on some pretty interesting storylines. Here's a sample.

Evening Links

For you history buffs, Mark Fraser talks with Tom Gulitti about his war-hero grandfather in the Fire and Ice blog.

Also from Gulitti, Patrik Elias feels uncomfortable with attending the all-star game given the Devils’ struggles this season, but is honored to be selected. And with the new format for player captains picking teams at the event, the gracious veteran says he “can deal with it” if he’s the last player off the board.

There was a time this season when Mattias Tedenby was one of the few sparks among the Devils forwards. But the Star-Ledger’s Dave Hutchinson writes that the rookie’s approach is at odds with the game plan new head coach Jacques Lemaire’s style of play.

Hutchinson also writes up some notes from practice, where Lemaire was a no-show due to last night’s snow storm.

In Lou We Trust looks at former draft picks comparable to the conditional pick obtained for Jamie Langenbrunner.

The SB Nation site also offers a really interesting look into the cap implications of drafting high in the first round, particularly poignant given the Devils’ severe cap difficulties. The average cap hit for recent No. 1 picks? About $3.7 million. That would have a pretty big impact, one way or another, on the Zach Parise negotiations I would think.

Langenbrunner in limbo (UPDATE)

January, 7, 2011
The notion of a devil in limbo is rather ironic, but that’s precisely where Jamie Langenbrunner finds himself after GM Lou Lamoriello asked the veteran forward, and team captain to waive his no-trade clause. And just like the biblical metaphor would suggest, the awkward in-between seems like a vast improvement from the hell that has been the Devils 2010-11 season.

Langenbrunner, who has previously clashed with interim coach Jacques Lemaire, is expected to waive his clause and a trade appears imminent. For now he remains on the roster, though he did not skate in Thursday night’s loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Flyers, in fact, are one team that’s placed an offer on the table for the winger with a minus-15 rating and 14 points in 31 games this season. The offer is thought to be picks in the third and fifth round of this season’s draft. Given Philly’s high standing in the Eastern Conference, it’s likely that those picks will fall very near to the end of each round.

ESPN’s Rumor Central reports that the Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues are also interested in acquiring the veteran’s services, and the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti reported on his blog Thursday night that it was thought Lamoriello already had a better offer than the Flyers’ pair of picks.

The true value of any Langenbrunner trade would come in the form of salary cap relief. The forward will make $2.8 million this season and shedding that weight would allow the Devils to add a new ingredient or two to their roster, though with an NHL-worst 22 points this particular season already seems lost.

UPDATE: Though nothing is official, both ESPN's Pierre LeBrun and TSN's Bob McKenzie are reporting that the likely destination for Langenbrunner is Dallas. Nothing done yet though.

Rapid Reaction: Flyers 4, Devils 2

January, 6, 2011

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: As expected, the best of the East fended off the worst. The Philadelphia Flyers beat the New Jersey Devils 4-2 Thursday night at the Prudential Center. The Devils (10-28-2) have now dropped three in a row.

MOOSE VS. BOOSH: In the battle of goaltenders with sweet nicknames yelled by fans when they make a great save, it was Brian Boucher who notched the victory over Johan Hedberg. Boosh made 18 saves, while Hedberg stopped 16 shots. Hedberg was making his second consecutive start as Martin Brodeur looked on from the bench. And it remains to be seen if he'll make a third.

TAKE YOUR HATS BACK: Tough way to lose your hat, Mr. Fan. After Danny Briere's second goal of the game gave the Flyers a 4-2 lead at 11:34 of the third period, someone thought that the goal was going to be credit to Scott Hartnell, who already had two. But it was indeed Briere who cut to the net and beat Hedberg. And instead of a hat trick celebration, it just became some guy throwing his hat on the ice for no reason. Briere (19th and 20th) and Hartnell (11th and 12th) each finished with a pair of tallies. Briere's first proved to be the decisive one as he ripped a one-timer from the high slot by Hedberg at 2:48, five seconds after a Flyers power play had elapsed.

PLAY ON: David Clarkson snapped his 16-game scoring drought by netting his fifth of the season on a breakaway, making it 2-1 Devils at 17:40 of the second period. Andy Greene sailed a perfect pass to Clarkson, who sped in on Boucher. He roofed a shot over Boucher, but despite putting his arms up to celebrate, play continued. Upon further review, Clarkson's shot hit the bar and the goal counted. It was his first tally since Nov. 24.

NOT AGAIN: Once again, the boards decided to be Hedberg's worst enemy. Just 4:14 into the second period, Villie Leino (three assists) dumped the puck in off the end boards. Hedberg left his crease to go play it, but it took an odd carom and deflected right in front to Hartnell, who deposited it into an empty net. The fluke goal tied the game at 1-1.

FAST START: The Devils generated their first shot early and got the game's first goal when Dainus Zubrus was able to redirect Anton Volchenkov's wrister from the right point into the net. The shots in the opening frame were 7-7 -- or six more shots than the Devils got in the first 20 minutes during the first period of their 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.

POWER OUTAGE: Jacques Lemaire took over as interim head coach, the Devils power play has been non-existent. New Jersey entered Thursday night's action one for its last 19 on the man-advantage. And the Devils went 0-for-1 in this one. Yes, make it 1-for-20.

WHERE'S THE C? Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias were wearing their customary "A's," but there was no "C." That's because captain Jamie Langenbrunner has been asked to waive his no-trade clause. Langenbrunner was out of the lineup as GM Lou Lamoriello continues to search for a new home for his right winger. Langenbrunner said before the game that a trade is imminent. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is in the building and rumors are swirling that Philadelphia has offered a pair of draft picks for Langenbrunner. For the record, the Devils and Flyers have never made a trade with one another.

RECORD-BREAKER: With a secondary assist on Zubrus' goal in the first period, Elias became the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Devils-Flyers rivalry. It was Elias' 65th point. Can you guess who he surpassed? All right, time's up. The answer: his ex-coach, John MacLean, who had 64.

UP NEXT: The Flyers. Again. This time, the two teams will head south to the City of Brotherly love for an afternoon game on Saturday. And it doesn't get any easier from there. The Devils will return home Sunday for a matinee matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Donnie Pucks: Devils' 2011 resolutions

January, 3, 2011
Make some deals.

Jamie Langenbrunner, Patrick Elias and Jason Arnott are players that can be productive on winning teams. No sense keeping them when it appears that this year and next could be rebuilding years for the New Jersey Devils. It is true that these players have no trade clauses in their contracts but it doesn't hurt to ask. It's tough to let great players of the past go. But if you hold on to them, and don't acquire any prospects, then you will never turn things around.

Work with the defense on offense.

Larry Robinson has to work harder to get the D-men to be stronger on offense. It may be easier said then done but, something has to give. The Devils defense has produced just 8 goals this season and 21 assists. That's just 29 points! Come on Larry. Show them how to do it.

Get to work on Parise.

Devils fans can live with a bad year. It's the first really terrible year since '88-89. There is one thing that fans can't stand to think about -- losing Zach Parise. He might be one of the best forwards in team history. To lose him would set this franchise back to the dark ages. Lou Lamoriello needs to make sure a plan is place to get him signed. If not, the Ilya Kovalchuk deal will be even worse.

Figure it out with Marty.

Martin Brodeur was the best goalie in the league. Now he's a shell of himself. If this is what he is, then he can't play every night. Just because he was great doesn't mean he should play every night.

Get Ilya Kovalchuk scoring.

Hey Kovalchuk, there's the net. Score!

Langenbrunner: "Something is going to happen"

December, 7, 2010
The Devils fell (again) 2-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night, increasing their most recent slide to three games and leaving them with just 18 points through 27 games. After the action stopped, captain Jamie Langenbrunner told the Star-Ledger's Rich Chere he believes a change is coming:
"I would hope so. I think we all know Lou [Lamoriello] well enough that something is going to happen," Langenbrunner said. "Deservedly so."

The captain expounded to say that doesn't mean the firing of rookie head coach John MacLean and that he hopes the move is made within the Devils' roster.
"Not at all. That's the furthest thing from it," Langenbrunner explained. "I would hope that he's not. That doesn't deserve to happen. It should be one of us."

Here's a look at the rest of the morning-after around the Web.

Morning Links

W2W4: Canadiens vs. Devils

December, 2, 2010
The Devils look to start a tough stretch of their schedule on the right foot tonight, as they take on the Canadiens just a few days after attending the memorial service of Pat Burns, who helmed both teams over his illustrious career. The Habs got some extra motivation last night, coughing up a 3-1 lead to the lowly Oilers and losing in OT, 4-3. You can bet Montreal will come out gunning at The Rock Thursday. Here's what to watch for.

Offensive Illusion?

After breaking out for five goals against the Washington Capitals, the Devils have again struggled to find the back of the net. New Jersey managed just one regulation goal in wins over Calgary and Philadelphia and was blanked by the Isles. It's got to be nice for the Devils to have six standings points in their past four games, but they haven't quite proven they're pushed past their early-season ailments just yet.

Langenbrunner's Back?

Captain Jamie Langenbrunner said that he feels better after battling a neck injury and is ready to go, pending a decision from head coach John MacLean. Langenbrunner was sidelined Nov. 10 in a shootout loss to Buffalo. He seemed to be heating up before suffering the injury, recording four points in the three games before going down. We'll see if he can carry over any of that momentum Thursday night.

Cold Kovy Fired Up?

The New York Post's Mark Everson writes Thursday about Ilya Kovalchuk's response to rumors he's choosing not to score while MacLean is coach. And we can't really publish that response here. That a player would choose to mail it in and invite global criticism to get a coach ousted is a little tough to buy. The two may have had some differences over the shift to right wing and that healthy scratch against the Sabres, but man, a goal-scorer boycotting goals? That's like a fraternity house boycotting beer. I don't see it. Maybe the whispers will give Kovalchuk a little fuel for his fire Thursday night though.

Morning Links

Just one to share with you from the estimable Tom Gulitti: This past week was a particularly moving one for the Devils' David Clarkson, who departed the Burns service to fly to Kitchener and attend the wake of a five- year-old he'd met through his charity, Clarky's Kids. It's a touching story, and a great reminder that there are athletes whose concerns do extend beyond the game. Hat's off to Clarkson and condolences.

Devils hang tough in win

November, 4, 2010
Rejoice! The Devils are no longer in the NHL cellar. A 5-3 victory over the reigning champion Chicago Blackhawks spurred by Brad Mills’ first NHL goal has finally given the Devs some sunshine to conclude a very gloomy six-game road trip.

Game Story | Box Score

Up 2-0 in the second period, it seemed as though the hockey gods would again crush the beleaguered Devils when Martin Brodeur left the contest with a bruised elbow. With backup Johan Hedberg between the pipes, the Blackhawks knotted the score at 2 and seemed fated to claim a comeback victory, given the Devils’ early-season script. But Mills and Co. flipped it Wednesday night, as New Jersey got goals from five different players in the win.

Jason Arnott’s fourth goal of the season started New Jersey’s scoring, a scarce commodity to this point on the schedule, and a pair of empty netters from Jamie Langenbrunner and Andy Greene capped the win. And even better news: X-rays on Brodeur’s elbow came back negative and he says he believes he will be in net for the Devils’ next game against the Rangers Friday at Prudential Center.

That the Devils didn’t roll over and let the game slip away after the Blackhawks tied it told me a lot about this team. That’s the kind of resiliency you don’t get from a team that has quit in the face of mounting hardship. Come Friday night, Wednesday’s effort will mean nothing. But now there’s something to build off of and a feeling that better days are ahead.

Here’s some more reaction to the win.

Morning Links
  • Mills told The Record’s Tom Gulitti the goal may have been ugly, but it may get a little prettier over the course of a few re-tellings. I don’t think anything could have looked more beautiful to the Devils though.
  • Brodeur is pretty sure he’ll play Friday, according to Gulitti.
  • In Lou We Trust writes that there’s a lot to critique about Wednesday’s performance, but also a lot to like.
  • Here’s a little more on Mills' goal from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger.
  • Puck Daddy gave Wednesday night’s third star award to Langenbrunner.

W2W4: Devils vs. Sharks

October, 27, 2010
The Devs begin their five game Western Conference road swing with Wednesday night’s trip to the Shark Tank. Here are three keys to watch for when New Jersey skates into San Jose.

The Power Play

The Devils are 0-15 on the road when skating with a man up. ‘Nuff said. Their 7.1 percent overall conversion rate just barely outpaces the Montreal Canadiens (6.9 percent). With all of the offensive talent on this team, there’s no reason for the Devils to struggle on the power play. New Jersey will snap out of it if they can keep it simple. Go to the net. Screen the goalie. Put the puck on goal.

Loosen Up

It feels like the Devils have been really tight lately, which is understandable given the pressure to perform and get in the win column. But that tension can force players to try to do too much or to be too tentative, trying hard not make a mistake instead of, as the cliché goes, letting the game come to them. Ultimately New Jersey has to trust in their systems and their ability. An early goal or two would go a long way and help take some heat off three rookie D-men who have been thrown into the fire.

Veteran Leadership

Jamie Langenbrunner, Jason Arnott and Patrik Elias are a combined minus-22. It goes without saying that the Devils need the trio to improve. Heck, Arnott has skated under 12 minutes three times in the last five games, including just 11:06 Sunday against the Rangers. I have to believe the Devils were hoping for more when they traded for him this summer.

With a roster full of rookies, these guys need to step up and lead the charge against a very talented Sharks squad. If they get bogged down or look indifferent on the ice, this could become a very long road trip.

Early stats show Kovalchuk not worth it

October, 26, 2010
New head coach John MacLean received the dreaded vote of confidence from GM Lou Lamoriello yesterday, who stated that firing MacLean has not yet crossed his mind.

If Lamoriello isn’t blaming the coach, then it seems to me that the fault must lie with the players. With that in mind I thought we should take a look at some of the Devils’ individual performances via CORSI to see how dismally the Devs are really playing.

(To any advanced metricians out there, please let me know if I’ve screwed something up. After all, I’m an English major who hasn’t had his morning coffee yet.)

All of these stats are courtesy of Gabriel Desjardins at You can find the Devils stats I’m referencing here.

Blame Not These Men

According to CORSI, which measures even-strength shots-for minus even-strength shots-against while a player is on the ice, Travis Zajac and Dainius Zubrus have been the team’s best players thus far, posting marks of 15.54 and 14.18 respectively. When they’re off the ice, the team struggles mightily. Relative CORSI measures the difference between a player’s performance when he’s on the ice and the team’s performance when he’s off it. When this pair sits, the Devils foes smile. They’re generating almost nine more shots than New Jersey when Zajac sits on the bench and about 7.5 when Zubrus takes a rest.

Those numbers seem to show that Zubrus is more than earning his time on the top line and deserves to stay there for the time being.

Just below them sits Zach Parise with an 8.52 CORSI rating and a 14.2 relative score. Nothing wrong with that.

Brian Rolston’s CORSI rating appears to be phenomenal (21.49) but keep in mind he’s appeared in just two games this season before going down with an injury.

The Rookie D-men

With little cap space, as well as injuries to Bryce Salvador and Anton Volchenkov, the Devs have had to lean on a trio of rookie blueliners: Matt Corrente, Matt Taormina and, most recently, Oliver Magnan-Grenier. Taormina has performed quite admirably with the increased expectations, with a CORSI rating of 5.12 and a Relative CORSI rating of 9.1, the best among defensemen. Corrente, who’s been on board for four games, has been less impressive (-3.13 CORSI) while Magnan-Grenier has been rather lousy (-8.23) in his three games with the club.

To give this some context, heralded rookie D-man John Carlson of the Washington Capitals currently owns a 12.14 rating, while top vet Chris Pronger, has posted a 33.59 mark. Former Devil Paul Martin sits a little below Pronger with a rating of 18.85.

The disparity between the Devs’ rookie D shows how tough it is to break in three fresh faces at the same time. Almost always, one of that group will be going up against an undesirable matchup.

The $100 Million Man

Ilya Kovalchuk was controversially courted by the Devils and finally won over after much labor and hardship. Thus far, according to CORSI, he hasn’t been worth the investment.

Among Devils who have played more than five games, Kovalchuk has posted the third-worst CORSI rating (-10.20), just ahead of Jason Arnott (-12.30) and Jamie Langenbrunner (-18.07). When these three are off the ice, the Devils have performed far better at generating shots and limiting those against Martin Brodeur.

To hone in a little further on Kovalchuk, consider that fellow Russian NHL stars Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin have CORSI ratings of 13.32 and 14.13 to date.

We’re still only a 10th of the way through the season, so it’s not time to panic yet, but Kovalchuk needs to turn it around to make his contract seem like merely an okay investment. But with all the hurdles the Devils had to clear to ink him, and all of the juggling they’ve had to do to fit his salary under the cap, a statistical performance like this one shows the signing to be nothing short of disastrous in the early going.

As cap deadline looms, Devils stay silent

October, 4, 2010
With the Wednesday 3 p.m. deadline approaching, the Devils essentially have 48 hours to shed almost $3 million and get under the NHL salary cap of $59.4 million. How they'll do it seems to be anybody's guess.

With time ticking down, GM Lou Lamoriello has given few clues as to how he'll make room, though he's maintained confidence that the team will be cap compliant by the deadline. For now though, the Devils' roster remains in limbo, with trade rumors teasing players' possible fates.

The cap predicament does provide a silver lining to some bad news, however. D Bryce Salvador is out indefinitely with a concussion, according to the team, but as long as Salvador remains in street clothes on injured reserve, the Devils will be relieved of his $2.9M salary cap hit. They'll need to do more maneuvering before Salvador can suit up for the team though.

In Fire and Ice today, Gulitti caught up with Jamie Langenbrunner and the team captain, whose name has surfaced in several trade rumors, said he had not yet been asked to waive his no-trade clause.

The Newark Star-Ledger's Rich Chere writes that Dainius Zubrus and/or Colin White could be victims of the cap squeeze.

With everyone waiting for the first of the Devils' dominoes to fall, the roster remains at 28 players with rookies Jacob Josefson, Mattias Tedenby, Alex Urbom, Matt Corrente and Matt Taormina still in camp. (Update: Check that, @NHLDevils just tweeted "Devils have assigned G-Mike McKenna, D- Matt Corrente, C- Jacob Josefson, RW-Mattias Tedenby to Albany (AHL). Rob Davison placed on waivers.")

The Devils start their season Friday at home against the Dallas Stars.

Rooks impress, Devs drop opener

September, 22, 2010
New Jersey rookies Alexander Urbom and Jacob Josefson acquitted themselves well in their first NHL preseason game, as the Devils and Flyers worked a little overtime to start the 2010-11 preseason. With nearly all of its top NHL talent dressed for last night’s game in Philadelphia, the Flyers claimed a 4-3 shootout win after Mike Richards potted the decisive marker in the fourth round.

Box Score

The Flyers leapt out to a two-goal lead before Adam Mair put the Devils on the board late in the first period. In the second, Dainius Zubrus may have helped his case to remain on the roster (or his trade stock …) by drawing the Devils even at 2. Jamie Langenbrunner put the Devils up 3-2 on a goal from Henrik Tallinder and Urbom, marking that pair’s second assists of the night.

Goalie Mike McKenna (20 saves on 21 shots), on in relief of starter Johan Hedberg (11 on 13), couldn’t quite nail down the victory, setting up the shootout.

Buzzy prospect Josefson missed his shootout opportunity to equalize after Richards' goal, and finished the night plus-1 with no shots on goal. Head coach John MacLean was impressed the way the rookie held his own against some physical competition. While the Flyers dressed most of the opening-day roster, the Devils traveled light with only a handful of New Jersey’s players skating in the NHL last season.

More on the game, including impressions on the rookies below.

Morning Links
  • The New York Post discusses how Devils vets are actually auditioning for other teams this preseason.
  • The Post article also breaks down some of the training camp battles thusly:
Because of the uncertainty, the Devils are examining an oversized group of hopefuls. There are nine set forwards, possibly leaving Tim Sestito, Pierre-Luc Leblond, Mattias Tedenby, Jacob Josefson, Rod Pelley, Marcus Nilson, Vladimir Zharkov, and Adam Mair in the mix for five roster slots, or more, depending on who exits.

There are five certain defensemen, perhaps setting up Mark Fraser, Matt Corrente, Rob Davison, Alexander Urbom, Tyler Eckford and Matt Taormina for up to three slots, or more if defensemen leave.