New Jersey Devils line combinations shaken up at practice


Peter DeBoer has shaken up the New Jersey Devils line combinations this morning at practice. After a pair of miserable losses at the hands of the Washington Capitals and the San Jose Sharks, the head coach needed to do something. Here’s how the lines looked today:


Dainius Zubrus – Travis Zajac – Jaromir Jagr

Mike Cammalleri – Patrik Elias – Martin Havlat

Ryane Clowe – Adam Henrique – Michael Ryder

Damien Brunner – Stephen Gionta – Jordin Tootoo

Tuomo Ruutu – Scott Gomez* – Jacob Josefson

(*still unsigned)


Andy Greene – Damon Severson

Bryce Salvador – Marek Zidlicky

Jon Merrill – Adam Larsson

Eric Gelinas

I said the coach needed to do something after two atrocious losses, but not this. Right away, you see the top line has been changed like it was at the end of last game. Zubrus has been reunited with Zajac and Jagr… WHY? The whole point of signing Cammalleri in the offseason was so that wasn’t the top line. They had good chemistry last year, but could not score as much as a top line needs to. Now we have Mike Cammalleri. who has five goals in four games playing with Zajac and Jagr, and those three are broken up?! It makes no sense. Then there’s the fact that Zubrus had been playing really well with Elias and Havlat. The top three lines were perfect the way they were except for maybe the fact Damien Brunner wasn’t in them. There’s no need at all to shake them up. None.

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Spreaking of Brunner, he actually gets to play and not because someone got hurt. That’s a great move. He needs to be in the lineup every night, but as a fourth line LW? Huh? He’s with Gionta and Tootoo today for what makes up quite possibly the most mismatched line in history. You have a speedy, skilled winger playing out of position with a gritty defensive-minded centerman and the opposite winger who’s only shown that his value is with his fists. The line is doomed from the beginning. They’re not going to get much ice time, but the time they do get will be a mess. Brunner is going to want to fly up the ice while Tootoo ices the puck a foot in front of the red line forcing Gionta to lose a defensive zone draw. It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. The wrong person was benched up front.

The wrong person being benched is a common theme today as Eric Gelinas was taken off the top 6 of the defense to make way for Adam Larsson. While I’m thrilled Larsson is finally getting his chance, it sickens me that Gelinas is the one who pays the price. I understand why the move was made because Gelinas had a very poor last two games and so the logical thing is to bench him. However, Merrill was equally as poor recently so why doesn’t he ever get benched? But that’s not who should be benched. The person that belongs in the suite during the game is the captain of the team. Salvador hasn’t just been bad for a game or two – he’s been bad for the last two plus seasons. This season, he’s taken his game to a whole new level of disaster. He’s basically on the ice for every goal against and is constantly out of position. The “C” on his chest makes him immune to being scratched and it’s beyond frustrating. Why does a young defenseman with huge potential always have to take a seat so a a washed up veteran gets to play?

There really isn’t anything about today’s line combinations that make sense. DeBoer took his leading scorer off the top line, has the fastest and one of the most skilled players out of position on the fourth line and he benched the wrong defenseman. I see why he made the moves he did, but that doesn’t mean I agree with them.