Lemaire touts success of 6-on-5 offense

NEWARK, N.J. — Jacques Lemaire’s radical new 6-on-5 approach to offense is paying dividends early and the New Jersey Devils coach says it won’t be long before other teams begin mimicking his strategy, much like the neutral zone trap in the 1990s.

“I’m amazed no one thought of it earlier,” Lemaire said ahead of Monday night’s game with the Philadelphia Flyers. “Six skaters on the ice at a time. It’s so simple and effective. It’s overpowering.”

The Devils will be vying to tie a league record 10th straight road win to start the season Monday and are riding an 8-game winning streak overall, which Lemaire largely attributes to having more players on the ice than his opposition at any given time.

Lemaire acknowledged that there have been some growing pains to playing the unorthodox style of hockey. The Devils have taken a league leading 647 too many men on the ice bench minors just 18 games into the season.

“Yea, the refs, they don’t really know what to do with it. They’ll come around though,” Lemaire said. “That’s what happens with every new idea though. Soon everyone will be doing it. If that happens, I might have to start throwing another goalie out there. Maybe send Arlette out to sing during penalty kills. There’s a lot of options with this.”

Devils leading scorer Zach Parise said it was tough to get used to a new system and a new coach, but believes the players have really bought into the system.

“It was weird at first,” Parise said. “At first, if you were the extra guy, Jacques would have you kind of hang back near the bench and act like you were talking to [Devils backup goaltender Yann] Danis, you know like you didn’t even realize you were on the ice. Then when the refs weren’t looking we’d just act like we’d been there the whole time.”

The Devils will skate without Patrick Elias on Monday, who is still nursing a bottle over the fact that Martin Brodeur didn’t invite him on his private jet to Lou Lamoriello’s Hall of Fame Induction. Additonally, center Travis Zajac will miss at least six months after farting without leaning and tearing both his MCL and ACLs, further compounding the team’s injury woes.

The team also put out a press release Sunday stating that the ban on Patricia Greuter, who has been repeatedly caught attempting to swap Martin Broduer’s MB30 mask for his old one, remains in effect and have asked Devils fans who see her near any games to report her whereabouts immediately.

Editor’s note: On the off chance anyone took this seriously..don’t. It’s fake. Get a sense of humor.

2 Man Advantage Free Agent Signing Day Happy Fun Time & Box Social 2009!

10:57 PM: Kay, this looks like a good place to end the night. Thanks for tuning in everyone, check back for any (or no?) Devils signings as they happen!  -Josh & Patricia

10:55 PM:
Aaand we have numbers for the Havlat deal. Looks to be six years at $5-million a year.

10:30 PM:
Apparently the Wild are also closing in on Saku Koivu.

10:26 PM:
TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that Havlat and the Wild do have a verbal agreement in place.

10:23 PM:
Unconfirmed report that Martin Havlat has signed with the Minnesota Wild. More to come.

9:58 PM:
Okay folks, we’re going to stay live until 11PM ET and then call it a night. Josh and Patricia are quite tired after a hectic July 1st. Naturally, if anything breaks, we’ll be sure to report it. Thanks for sticking with us tonight!

9:42 PM:
Report out of Montreal indicates Saku Koivu, Alex Tanguay, and Alexei Kovalev will not be re-signed. Lou, GET ON IT. KOIVU. NOW.

9:19 PM: I now dub thee John “Chicago Style” Mad Dog.

9:03 PM:
Confirmed, Madden to the Hawks. One year at $2.75-million.

9:02 PM:
We can confirm that Madden will NOT be returning with the Devils next season.

9:00 PM: John Madden
may have signed with the Chicago Blackhawks. Working on it.

8:57 PM:
The Phoenix Coyotes have signed Jason LaBarbera to a two-year contract. Financial terms undisclosed.

8:53 PM:
Rich Chere is reporting that prospect Jeff Frazee may very will be the backup to Martin Brodeur next season for the Devils. Looks like we might not get to use the Weekes Laser picture anymore…sad face.

8:51 PM:
The Calgary Flames have signed Frederik Sjostrom. Terms undisclosed.

8:47 PM: Chris Neil
has decided to stay in Ottawa after all, re-upping with the Senators for a four-year, $8-million contract.

8:35 PM:
Indeed. Gio has been reunited with Scott Gomez in Habs-land. Five years at $25-million. Uh…Saku, wanna play in Newark?

8:33 PM: Reports indicate Devils winger Brian Gionta has signed with the Montreal Canadiens. Working on confirmation.

8:23 PM: Marian Gaborik
has signed with the New York Rangers  for five years at $37.5-million total. Overpay much? So, let me get this straight. Rangers get rid of Gomez as a salary dump, then spend seven ba-gillion dollars on an oft-injured winger? Genius.

8:07 PM:
Good ol’ Tom Gulitti reports that we might hear within the next few hours where Mr. Brian Gionta will land.  Montreal has been the number one talked about team for the good part of the day.

7:28 PM:
The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed Mathieu Garon to a two-year, $2.4-million deal.

7:19 PM: Jason Strudwick
has re-signed with the Edmonton Oilers for $700,000 over one year.

6:54 PM:
Things seem to have quieted down a bit. We’re still here though, ready to report any free agent signings or trades!

6:24 PM: Samuel Pahlsson
has signed a three-year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets worth a total of $7.95-million.

6:15 PM: Steve Sullivan
has re-signed with the Nashville Predators. The deal is worth $7.5-million over two years.

6:11 PM:
The Bruins have signed Steve Begin to a one-year, $850,00 contract.

6:01 PM:
Bob McKenzie is reporting the Komisarek deal to be worth five years at $4.5-million a season.

5:55 PM: Mike Komisarek
has signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Working on terms.

5:54 PM:
Little bit more info on the Kubina deal: Colin Stewart also goes to the Leafs in exchange for the rights to Tim Stapleton.

5:49 PM: Vernon Fiddler
has signed a two-year deal with the Phoenix Coyotes that will pay him $1.1-million a season. Byron Bitz has also re-signed with the Boston Bruins. Terms not disclosed. The Ottawa Senators have re-signed Mike Brodeur to a one-year, two-way contract.

5:46 PM:
The Minnesota Wild have signed Greg Zanon to a three-year deal worth a total of $5.2 million.

5:42 PM:
Still very quiet in New Jersey. I know one 2MAer who would love to see Saku Koivu inked by Black ‘n Red.

5:36 PM:
Cammalleri is confirmed per Darren Dreger. The Hurricanes have also re-signed Michael Ryan to a two-way deal.

5:28 PM:
We’re hearing five years at $30-million for Cammalleri, while Garnet Exelby is Toronto’s return for the Kubina deal.

5:26 PM:
Several outlets are reporting Mike Cammalleri has signed with the Montreal Canadiens while the Pavel Kubina-to-Atlanta deal has finally gone through. Working on terms for both deals.

5:25 PM:
The Carolina Hurricanes have re-signed Patrick Dwyer to a two year, two-way deal. Blockbuster.

5:11 PM: The San Jose Sharks have re-signed Kent Huskins to a two-year, $3.4-million contract while David Koci has gone to the Colorado Avalanche for a one-year, $575,000 deal.

4:46 PM:
Devils bruiser Mike Rupp has signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins, two years at $825,000 a year.

4:42 PM: Hal Gill
has signed with the Montreal Canadiens  for two years at $4.5-million total while the Florida Panthers have inked Ville Koistinen.

4:40 PM:
The Philadelphia Flyers have signed Ian Laperierre to a three-year deal at $3.5-million.

4:33 PM:
We’re hearing three years at just over a million per season for $3.6-mill total. Good for you, Mr. Clemmensen. Good for you.



4:27 PM:
Unverified reports indicate Devils netminder Scott Clemmensen will be signing with the Florida Panthers for a multi-year deal. Working on confirmation.

4:22 PM: Adam Pardy
re-signs with the Flames.  Meh.

4:12 PM: 2 years, $2.8 million and $3 million for Cole.

4:09 PM: 4 years, $15 million for the Bulin wall, according to TSN.  Cole’s looking at a 2 year deal from Carolina.

4:01 PM: TSN reporting Nikolai Khabibulin to the Oilers, no word on years or dollars.  Erik Cole also said to be re-signing with the Hurricanes.

3:50 PM: Jaroslav Spacek to the Canadiens, three years, $11.5 million according to the Boston Globe.  With every new Canadiens signing, I get a little more hopeful the Devils will wind up with Saku Koivu…

3:42 PM: Signings have dried up over the last half hour or so.  It’s getting kinda boring.

3:28 PM: Hello 2000! Brian Boucher has signed with the Philadelphia Flyers for two years at $925,000 a season.

3:16 PM: Joel Ward
re-signs with Nashville, 2 years, $1.5 million per.  Aaron Rome signs with Vancouver for $550,000.

3:12 PM: Why can’t anyone with an easy name do anything today?  Lukas Krajicek re-signs with the Lightning.  One year deal.  Financials undisclosed so far.

3:08 PM: Scott Niedermeyer re-ups with Anaheim, one year, $6 million + bonuses.  Drats.

3:05 PM: TG says that both Gionta and Shanahan are fielding offers.  Guess no one cares about poor John Madden.

2:54 PM: Donald Brashear to the Rangers.  Me no likey that. Two years, $2.8 million.

2:50 PM: Andy Strickland reports that Mike Knuble‘s signed with Washington, two years $2.8 million per season.  Nothing official on Gio yet.

2:46 PM: Steve Montador signs with Buffalo.  2 years, $1.55 million per.

2:41 PM: Get your height jokes in while you can, boys and girls, rumors are that Gio’s nearing a deal with a new team.

2:39 PM: TSN just listed the Devils in a laundry-list style rundown of teams that may be interested in Scott Niedermeyer.

2:32 PM: Forgive me for the pun I’m about to make, but…Twitter is all a-Twitter that Brian Gionta is apparently a hot commodity this afternoon.

Been nice knowin’ ya, shorty.

2:23 PM: Dwayne Roloson to the Islanders, 2 years, $2.5 million per according to NY Newsday.  Tomas Kopecky to Chicago for two years, financials not yet known.

2:15 PM: Final numbers on Andy Greene’s contract:  Two years, $1.475 million.  $725,000 in year one, $750,000 in year two for a cap hit of $737,500 per year.  All of this info via TG at Fire & Ice.

2:12 PM: 12 years, $62 million for Hossa from Chicago.  Hot diggity the ‘Hawks better hope he’s healthy and not cursed.

2:11 PM: Conkblock himself, Ty Conklin has signed with the Blues, two years, $1.3 million.  Prepare yourselves for an outdoor game, St. Louis.  Ty likes those games.

2:05 PM: Matt Walker to Tampa Bay, four years/$1.7 million per according to TSN.

2:04 PM: Apparently Chicago’s looking to deal Huet now.  I think they don’t have much of a choice.

2:02 PM: Hossa’s a done deal in Chicago, rumored to be TWELVE years at 5 million a year.

2:01 PM: Darren Dreger reports that the Lightning were in the running for Hossa too.  Which just proves that yes, the Lightning really were given cap immunity.

1:56 PM: Craig Anderson, goalie extraordinaire, to Colorado for two years, financial terms undisclosed.

1:47 PM: A big name!  Finally!  TSN is currently reporting that Marian Hossa will make it to the Stanley Cup Final and lose with the Chicago Blackhawks this year!  Terms undisclosed.  Also, David Booth re-signs with Florida for 6 years/$25.5 million.

1:46 PM: Pavel Kubina rumored to be being traded to Atlanta.

1:45 PM: Pierre LeBrun of ESPN says otherwise on the officialness of the Kovalev deal.  So, it’s still rumored.

1:40 PM: Kovalev deal is now official (or not…), he re-ups with Montreal for 2 years, $8.75 million.  Greene’s a two-year deal, still waiting on the dolla dollas.

1:32 PM: It’s a very slow go of it so far.  Only three signings in the first hour and a half.  If I recall correctly, it picked up between 2 and 3PM last year.

1:18 PM: Kovalev re-signing with Montreal is still just a rumor.  Deal has yet to be signed, according to TSN.

1:13 PM: Tough guy Colton Orr has inked a four-year, $4-million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

1:07 PM: Okay Devils fans, we can all breathe easy.  The official Devils Twitter feed reports that the Devils have re-signed Andy Greene.  Thank God that’s taken care of.  Since it’s the Devils, terms are, naturally, undisclosed.

12:59 PM: Rumors flying that Alex Kovalev has re-signed with Les Habs for 2 years and about $8.8 million.  Not confirmed yet, though.

12:49 PM: Radek Dvorak re-ups in Florida.  Two years, $3.4 million. n Ohlund’s deal is indeed frontloaded, Darren Dreger tweets that Mattias will take home $22.5 million of the $24.5 million in the first five years of the deal.  Speaking of tweets, why not follow us?  @2MAblog

12:27 PM: Ohlund terms disclosed:  SEVEN YEARS, $3.75 million per.  Gotta be frontloaded.  Just has to be.

12:15 PM: First signing!  Perennial Devils trade rumor Mattias Ohlund has signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Terms yet to be disclosed.

12:03 PM: No free agents have signed yet.  What’s taking them so long?!  Jerks.

12:00 PM: Let the festivities commence!  The floodgates, they are being opened.

CLICK TO READ MORE!!! —> [Read more…]

I will not congratulate the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Is it drafty in here?

Oh, it’s almost July. Never mind. Just a weak Entry Draft joke huh. My apologies.

So, it’s that time of year again. The future of the NHL will be determined by the calls of crusty general managers, granting the dreams and wishes of  scrawny framed, baby faced boys far and wide.

How I love the Draft.

Nothing too spectacular going on right now. Mr. John Tavares ended up going first overall to the New York Islanders, while picks two and three saw Victor Hedman and Matt Duchene go to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche, respectively.

Tavares, I’m sorry.

In other news, Chris Pronger was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers for the Flyers’ entire roster plus seven hundred draft picks. Fancy.

Okay, okay, so I’m a little weak in the knees merely thinking about Pronger in the same division as Black ‘n Red, but come on — two firsts, a (conditional) third, Luca Sbisa, AND Joffrey Lupul? Highway robbery I say!!!!!!!!!!!!

And yes, I did just use an obscene amount of exclamation points.

So maybe I’m trying to defer my sheer fear in the solidity of Philadelphia’s 09-10 defense by mocking the deal, but WHATEVER. That’s a lot for a defender that will only play, what, a couple more seasons?

Yeah, I know. The Flyers are going to be a good team next year, ‘specially with Pronger’s elbows flying at Devils forwards left and right. Sigh.

Alas, we have a little way before pick number twenty-three greets us. Barring any last minute moves, Lou Lamoriello is expected to pick a skilled center to usher in a new era of awesomeness in Newark.

Check back for any late breaking news involving the 2009 Draft here at 2MA!

EDIT 8:02 PM: The Islanders are serious. Snow ‘n co just traded, like, 8393 of their picks for Columbus’s #16 pick. Wow. Serious, serious stuff here. Serious.

EDIT 8:52 PM: Long Island just got even more serious. Pick #12 goes to the Isles while Minnesota gets, uh, a bunch of picks. They won’t have any picks left at this rate!

EDIT 9:36 PM: Quebec native Louiiiiiiis Leblanc to the Montreal Canadiens. How fitting. Who the heck goes to Harvard for an education anyway? …not that I’m jealous or anything. Whatever. Leave me alone!

EDIT 9:48 PM: Calgary up to pick at 20 but there is word of a trade. Likely a giveaway to the Devils for the whole Brent Sutter debacle. Let’s see.

EDIT 9:50 PM: Yup! Calgary gives pick #20 to New Jersey in exchange for picks 23 and 84.

EDIT 9:58 PM: Another trade to report: Anaheim sends pick 21 to Columbus for picks 26 and 37.

This will probably make your brain hurt.

So here we sit, on the brink of the 2009 playoffs.  Y’know,  the playoffs the Devils had no business being in after the events of November 1st, 2008 – the awkward-looking elbow injury heard ’round the world.

With one more game left in the regular season, the Devils are locked into the number three seed, having clinched the Atlantic Division championship by way of the Flyers loss to the Rangers (or the win over the Senators if you refuse to believe that any Rangers win could help us).  The only mystery left is who will be shipping up to Newark come Wednesday or Thursday.

There’s only three possibilities – The Carolina Hurricanes (whom the Devils face in the regular season finale at The Rock tomorrow), the Philadelphia Flyers (who travel to Long Island then finish off their season at home against the Rangers), or the Penguins (in Montreal Saturday night for their final game).

All three teams sit at 97 points, and will finish fourth, fifth, and sixth in the division when all is said and done.  Obviously, we get the team finishing sixth while the other two get each other in the first round.

So, here comes the fun part:  How can this all break down?  Who will the Devils get in the first round?  Let’s have a look-see (make sure you’ve got some coffee handy, this is gonna be a doozy):

We’ll start out slow and easy.  If the Devils cannot beat the Hurricanes tomorrow, they cannot face the Hurricanes in the playoffs, regardless of what happens with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. And let’s face it, if we lose to the Hurricanes tomorrow, they’ll have swept the season series, and it’s probably a good thing we’d be avoiding them in the first round.

Philly needs to gain three of four points to guarantee themselves the number four seed and home ice in the first round, guaranteeing the Devils a first round date with either the ‘Canes or the, uh, ‘Guins.

Now to make things slightly more interesting:  If the Flyers manage to lose in regulation both to the Islanders and the Rangers, we get Philly in the first round. We also get Philly in the first if all three teams finish with the same number of points OR if Philly earns only one point while Carolina and Pittsburgh earn at least one each.  Unlikely, yes, but stranger things have happened.

If all three teams win all of their remaining games, we’d get Pittsburgh in the first round (as previously mentioned, this would also happen if the Penguins and Hurricanes win and the Flyers gain three of four points as well).

Now we get to fun part:

If Philly wins out, we beat Carolina Saturday (regulation or otherwise), and Pittsburgh beats Montreal, we get the Hurricanes.  Other ways the Devils can play the Hurricanes in round one: Flyers gain two of four, Pittsburgh gains two, and the Hurricanes lose to the Devils (regulation or otherwise); Philly gains two, Pittsburgh gains one, Carolina loses to NJ in regulation.

The Devils will catch a first round date with Sidney Crosby and all the NBC cameras money can buy IF: All three teams earn the maximum number of points; Philly earns a minimum of three, Carolina earns at least a point, and the Penguins earn exactly one point; Philly earns two, Carolina earns a minimum of one point, and the Penguins earn exactly one point; Philly and Carolina earn exactly one point and the Penguins earn exactly zero points; Philly earns exactly one point, Carolina earns a maximum of one point, and Pittsburgh earns zilch.

Got it?  Good, there’s a test tomorrow.

So who should we be rooting for, and to do what?  I wish it was that simple.  All three teams scare me a little, honestly:  Carolina because we have yet to solve them this season, Philly because it would be an intense, hard-hitting rivalry series, and Pittsburgh because they have scary-good talent and the black-and-white stripes on their side.

For purely selfish reasons, I will say that I personally hope the Devils avoid Pittsburgh in the first round, because I like MSG+’s coverage more than NBC and Versus, and there’s no chance in hell a series featuring Sidney Crosby doesn’t get at least two nationally televised games.

Beyond that, it doesn’t really matter who the Devils get in the first round, it’s going to be a tough series no matter what.  The way the boys in red n’ black have been playing lately, there are no cupcake opponents from here on out.  Ultimately, it’s up to the Devils to take care of Carolina at The Rock on Saturday, head into the playoffs having won four of five games, and let the rest of the chips fall where they may.

Oh, and if there really is a possibility of the Devils opening the postseason with home games on Thursday AND Friday as has been rumored (rather than Wednesday/Friday or Thursday/Saturday), well then, I hope we face whatever team prevents that.  Yeah.

That wasn’t a game, that was a statement.

And thus ends the saga of Brodeur V. Avery, at least for the time being. A 5-0 thrashing by the Devils, with every single player wearing the NJ crest looking spectacular. Check out Scott’s analysis below – even he couldn’t come up with someone to chew out!

As Scott mentioned, Andy Greene looked stellar, putting up two assists and bringing us back to the Andy halcyon days of the 2007 playoffs. Dainus Zubrus clearly is as upset as we are that the Zubbie Counter remains in the cob-webbed cellar of 2MA and is working to change that. Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond had a wicked hit late in the game to go with his first career NHL point. Zach Parise continued his stellar start, adding another goal and assist to his growing point totals. And of course, John Madden finally scored on a fast break-like situation!

Perhaps most importantly though, is that – save for a bad penalty by Clarkson in the first period – the Devils FINALLY figured out how to keep Sean Avery from getting under their collective skin. In fact, I submit that the Devils/Clarkson/Brodeur gave Avery a small dose of his own medicine. Even ESPN took notice of the little shoves and the clearing attempt by Brodeur that whizzed by Avery’s head. The Devils frustrated Avery and made him a non-factor. My only question is why they needed a thirteen-game study session last year to figure it out.

So now, with a 5-1-0 record, we move on to a home-and-home with our dear dear friends, the (still winless) Philadelphia Flyers. This could be fun.