The Devils spent some extra time in the confines of the Air Canada Center after their latest loss last night. Long after the final horn had sounded and the teams skated off the ice after the Maple Leafs handed the Devils a 3-1 loss, Devils players held a closed-door team meeting in the visiting locker room. I suppose it’s comforting to know that the players are unhappy with their play thus far, but the only sign that this meeting was a success will come in the form of the Devils on-ice efforts. Hopefully we will see a different Devils team in St. Louis on Saturday; a team that needs to begin to play with a sense of urgency before it’s too late to orchestrate a turnaround.
One aspect of the team that may be different on Saturday is the starting goaltender. Martin Brodeur had to leave last night’s game after two periods due recurring pain in his injured elbow. Reports out of New Jersey say that he is going to return to the Garden State to have his elbow re-examined by a doctor. Part of me is beginning to believe that this injury might be something more than just a bruise.
If there is any silver lining to this, it’s the fact that Johan Hedberg has pretty good numbers against the Devils next opponent, the St. Louis Blues. In seven career games against the Blues, Hedberg is 5-2 with a 1.96 goals-against average, a .937 save percentage, and one shutout. The Blues have been struggling lately, having lost their past five contests, so each team is going to be desperate for a win come Saturday.
Getting back to the players-only meeting last night: in my opinion, this meeting shows that the players are aware that a change is needed. Whether it’s a change in attitude or strategy, it doesn’t matter. Something needs to be done to jump start this team. The Devils are the only team in the NHL that hasn’t won two consecutive games. The fact that they can’t put together two strong games is startling.
Hopefully the meeting brought the players closer together and made them realize that they need to play together on the ice. This meeting was also important for the host of rookies that the Devils have on the roster. It’s important that they see that despite the struggles of the team, the veterans are not packing it in and are committed to turning this team around. The Devils are not short on talent; they just have understand how to use their talents in unison, as a team.
About the Author
Written by Matt Pellicane
I am currently pursuing a master's degree in Journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. I graduated from Quinnipiac in May 2010 with a bachelor's degree in print journalism. While at Quinnipiac, I covered various sporting events on campus for the online newspaper The Quad News. I was born and raised in Bridgewater, New Jersey and have been an avid sports fan all of my life. I am a fan of the New Jersey Devils, New York Giants, New York Yankees, and the Boston Celtics.