The New Jersey Devils resumed their practice schedule today and as always, Tom Gulitti gave fans the exclusive scoop.
Today’s lines consisted of:
Line 1 – Dainius Zubrus – Travis Zajac – Jaromir Jagr
Line 2 – Adam Henrique – Patrik Elias – Damien Brunner
Line 3 – Ryane Clowe – Andrei Loktionov – Michael Ryder
Line 4 – Ryan Carter – Stephen Gionta – Steve Bernier
Extra – Jacob Josefson
Reaction: As the lines reveal, Eric Gelinas was called back up to the NHL squad today as they prepare to start the season up again. It is interesting to see him paired up with Merrill once again and one has to wonder if they will remain together. Also, one has to wonder which of these pairings will see the most ice time. Pairing 1 and 2 will almost certainly be playing on Thursday if those pairs remain.
If I had to guess, I would say Pairing 4 would play over Pairing 3 but this week’s slate of practices could change that.
DeBoer mentioned that the lines that practiced today aren’t necessarily the lines for Thursday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. This is obviously alluding to when he said on Saturday that he would like to keep Henrique, Clowe, and Ryder together.
Pete DeBoer gave some lengthy, quote-worthy things to talk about in his media availability as he typically does.
On NHL Olympic participation and Olympic injuries:
“It’s a tough question,” DeBoer said. “I think if we all feel – and I’m of that school – that the NHL is going to be a global league some time in the next 25 or 50 years, then I think we have to participate. At the same time, God, you feel terrible for John and the injury. It’s once every four years. If we feel it’s just going to be a North American league for the next 100 years, then there’s probably a pretty good argument not to go.”
On Jagr and how fragile he may be at 42:
“You worry, for sure,” DeBoer said. “He got back on Thursday, so we gave him Friday, Saturday, Sunday off. He’s back out here today. I’m probably more worried about it than him. When you speak to him about it, he sees it as a non-issue and his play seems to have backed that up. I think our schedule fits that it should help. We’re not overloaded here the last 23 games, though we have six back to backs left. So, you worry about it, yeah.”
Reaction: It would be an understatement to say that I am relieved all 4 guys returned healthy. The only people that had a health concern were Patrik Elias and Marek Zidlicky. The latter had the same flu the former had but was healthy enough to play. Elias was forced to miss 2 games during the 2014 Sochi Olympics for the Czech Republic.
Pete DeBoer on showing tape of Team Canada’s defense:
“We did some video this morning on Team Canada not because of my bias to them, but because they were the best team in the tournament, they were, and really (played) a lot like we want to play,” DeBoer said. “They were defensively responsible. They didn’t give up anything defensively, especially over the last two or three games of the tournament, and they found a way to generate enough offense to win games. They weren’t blowing teams out 6-1 or 7-1. So, there’s a lot of good stuff there.”
“I think more reinforcement,” DeBoer said. “That’s what we used it for. A lot of things that helped Team Canada win are some of the things that we try to stress here on a day-to-day basis. So, we used it for some reinforcement. We also pulled some things from the Olympics in general, not just Team Canada, but some tweaks that maybe can help us create more offense.”
Reaction: Certainly, Team Canada’s defense were dominant in the Winter Olympics this year. It is one of the main reasons they won gold. Gulitti later referenced in his blog post that DeBoer understands that Canada’s roster is stacked but DeBoer also acknowledged that there are points to take away from how they played.
Time will tell if that will help them win games as the final stretch begins on Thursday night.