As we race around the NHL rinks to get a look at what the upcoming season has in store, we come across two Eastern conference clubs that appear very different in outlook and structure. The New Jersey Devils, who made some noise down the stretch, but were unable to secure a playoff spot, are looking to carry some of that momentum into this season. There are some very interesting new faces, and competition at training camp should be quite
high, if not downright entertaining. Drew Friedman from Pucks and Pitchforks has the entire layout of the land, including the goods on a new coach, and some of the faces, new and old, that Devils’ fans can expect.
“Well, the day has finally come. The day when Pucks and Pitchforks proudly presents your New Jersey Devils 2011-2012 season preview (sorry if I got you too excited over that)! In case you didn’t know, the Devils are 17th out of 30 teams in alphabetical order- alright, I’ll stop wasting your time now. Please read on for an outlook of what should be an intriguing year, to say the least.
Last season was one of the most peculiar I have ever seen in my years as a sports fan. Going into 2010-2011, I was convinced this Devils team would compete for a Stanley Cup. With two straight division titles (in what I believed to be the best division in hockey), a new contract for star left winger Ilya Kovalchuk, and a new, more offensive-minded coach than we’ve had in past seasons (we all know how that turned out), it seemed as though the Devils had a great chance to win, at the least, one or two playoff series. Instead, not only were the Devils not the division leaders after half the season, not only were they not a top six seed, not only were they not even in the playoffs, not only were they not even bordering a playoff spot, but the Devils, the team who had made the playoffs in 13 straight seasons, were an absolutely putrid 10-29-2, those 24 points earning them a spot in the NHL’s basement after 41 games.”
Just a ferry ride away, the New York Islanders are enjoying some attention in the press, some positive, but not all. With their owner vying for a new arena to ice his product, and the subsequent close vote leaving them without a new deal, some very interesting things are developing in a once rich, storied hockey environment. To give the reader and fan the lowdown on ALL things previewing the Islanders, check out Gary Harding, John Panarese and Rob Finkelstein’s Eyes on Isles collaboration.
“The Islanders 2011-2012 slogan is not just four words. It is going to be the culture of the team. With the issues of the new arena, and the subsequent defeat at the polls in the summer, along with the constant rumors of the team going somewhere else, I can state with all certainty, that the Islanders WILL be on Long Island this year. They will be at the Coliseum for the next three years after that, and I know that they will be ready to commit themselves to take on the best of the NHL head on. This team has every intention to prove to the pundits and naysayers that Long Island is NOT an inferior place to play and this team that is a solid hockey club, ready to move up the NHL ladder.
When you look at the Islanders 2010-2011 Season, you see a tale of two halves. The first involved lengthy trips to the disabled list to two key players. Mark Streit’s shoulder at the first team practice at last year’s training camp that lost him for the entire season and Kyle Okposo’s shoulder issues, kept him out of the lineup for over half the year. Then, the most troublesome item was the ‘one win in 20’ scenario which led to the firing of Coach Scott Gordon. This was a hockey team that, at times, appeared to just be going through the motions; looking listless and tired.
Then along came a “Gremlin” to save the day and the second half of the season.”