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Prudential Center Hosts First-Ever Liberty Hockey Invitational

2013 Liberty Invitational, BrownEven though the Devils were on the road this weekend in Boston, some fans were at the Prudential Center watching hockey. College hockey, that is. Defending NCAA champion Yale University, Princeton University, Brown University, and Dartmouth University started their seasons by playing in the inaugural Liberty Hockey Invitational at the Prudential Center.

Brown went 2-0 and were crowed the champions of the Liberty Hockey Invitational. Brown defeated Yale on Friday afternoon 4-1. Yale scored the first goal, but Brown went on to score four unanswered goals for the victory. On Saturday afternoon, Brown beat Dartmouth 5-3.  Brown sophomore Mark Naclerio scored the game winner and was named the Invitational’s MVP. Defenseman Brandon Pfeil was also named to the all-tournament team.

Princeton, who played host for the tournament, went 1-1 for the weekend. Friday night, the Tigers won a 3-2 OT thriller. Darmouth tied the game with less than a minute to go, but Tucker Brockett won the game for Princeton with his first career NCAA goal. However, Princeton with fall to Yale on Saturday night 3-2. Brockett and goaltender Sean Bonar made  the all-tournament team.

With the loss to Brown and the win against Princeton, Yale started its championship defense by going 1-1 in the tournament. Forward Stu Wilson was named to the all-tournament team. Dartmouth was winless on the weekend, with the losses to Princeton and Brown. Defenseman Brett Patterson made the all-tournament team.

Photo by Matthew Lowell Thompson


It’s That Time Of The Year Again

The first Devils pre-season game is next Monday. Can you believe it? Hockey season is quickly approaching and while most people are getting ready for Fall, it’s time for us to get ready to spend our time living and breathing hockey. Here are few things to keep in mind in preparation for the best months of the year.

Prudential Center, Devils Banners1. Sorry, I’m Busy
Have your non-hockey fan friends refer to the NHL schedule for your availability since your social life will revolve around it. If they want to hang out with you, they’ll have to have the game on.

2. It’s Not The TV’s Fault
You should have a nice talk with your TV,  it’s going to start hearing some pretty harsh things from you. Try to not throw that remote too hard either.

3. What’s For Dinner
Forget about dinners home with mom, you’ll be munching on arena food a few times a month.

4. Get Out The New Wardrobe
Everyone will be getting their sweaters out, ours just happen to have numbers on the back. (Does anyone else hang them up according to their current favorites?)

5. The Shirt Under The Shirt
Your superstitious personality is about to come out in full force. The perk? Less laundry to do.

6. Fall Clean Up
There will be no time to rake the leaves, you’ll be focused on sweeping the competition.

7. Get In Character
Red and black face paint is easier to come by now that Halloween stores are starting to open, so stock up!

8. Pumpkin!
We do get to enjoy pumpkin coffee with everyone else, those west coast games can run pretty late.

Prospect Profile: Reid Boucher – Forward


The New Jersey Devils are looking for a forward who can put up big offensive numbers. But, they may not have to sign a big free agent or make a blockbuster trade, as the person who could potentially put up those numbers is currently attending the Devils’ Prospect Camp, and coming off a strong season in the Ontario Hockey League with the Sarnia Sting. That man is Reid Boucher.

Read the rest of this entry

Prospect Profile: Eric Gelinas – Defenseman


GelinasThe Devils have always built their team around strong defense. This next prospect is another hopeful to break into a NHL role this season.  Similar to Jon Merrill, Eric Gelinas is a potential top blue-liner who can produce.  Drafted in the second round in 2009, 54th overall, Gelinas is working hard to get back into top shape.

Last season, Gelinas suffered a fractured jaw and lost the first quarter of the season for Albany. After his return, the 22-year old picked up where he left off from the previous season, putting up 22 points in the remaining games including 6 goals. During the 2011-2012 season the 6’4” lefty put up 37 points in 75 games for Albany. Read the rest of this entry

Prospect Profile: Jon Merrill- Defenseman


At 6’3’’and 209 lbs, Jon Merrill is an imposing figure. With his offensive prowess and ever-strengthening defensive game, the 21-year-old blue-liner is poised to make a splash and compete for time in New Jersey this season.

Merrill is a four-way skater with the poise and skill to make strong breakout passes out of the defensive zone. The most polished aspect of his game is his play from the point, specifically on the power play.

MerrillThe Michigan product has the ability to be a power play quarterback at the NHL level. He possesses a strong shot and is an adept passer. He has almost Ryan Suter-like potential in that regard.

As a freshman at Michigan, he notched 25 points, (7g,18a) becoming the first Wolverine defenseman since Jack Johnson, currently of the Columbus Blue Jackets, to break the 20-point plateau. Merrill also added 70 blocks that season and scored two goals in the outdoor game at “The Big House.”

After a rocky sophomore season, the slick defenseman bounced back for a solid junior campaign, where he recorded 11 points (2g, 11a) in 21 games.


New Jersey Devils Then & Now

Ilya KovalchukFrom before the lockout until now, I’ve seen a good amount about how this year’s Devils team was going to be much worse than last year’s team. I was curious to see what the stats said about how the two teams compared. So for those who are not very fond of math, you may want to stay away from this post because I’m about to throw a lot of numbers your way. Ready? OK, here we go. The Devils are now 64.58% through their season this year. In comparison to last year’s full season, that’s roughly 53 games into the season. Actually its 52.95 games, but I’ll be nice and round it off to 53 games. Game 53 was on February 7th, 2012. Here are a few stats at that point last season:

  • The power play was operating at 16.39% (Scoring 30 goals on 183 power play opportunities)
  • The penalty kill was operating at 88.71% (Allowed 21 goals on 186 times shorthanded)
  • The Devils had allowed 2 or more power play goals in 3 games (5.66% of their games)
  • The Devils were shorthanded 4 or more times in 26 games (49.06% of their games)
  • Their goals against average was at 2.75 GA/G*
  • Their goals for average was 2.66 GF/G*
  • They had picked up 61.32% of possible points

Now here are some stats from this season so far:

  • The power play is operating at 17.8% (Scoring 21 goals on 118 power play opportunities)
  • The penalty kill is operating at 79.66% (Allowing 24 goals on 118 times shorthanded)
  • The Devils have allowed 2 or more power play goals in 5 games (16.13%)
  • The Devils have been shorthanded 4 or more times in 16 games (51.61% of their games)
  • Their goals against average is at 2.61 GA/G*
  • Their goals for average is 2.45 GF/G*
  • They’ve picked up 54.8% of possible points

So doing some subtraction, you can see that:

  • The power play has picked up 1.41%
  • The penalty kill has dropped 9.05% (Of course, last year was a NHL record setting PK)
  • They have allowed 2 or more power play goals in 10.47% more of their games
  • They have been shorthanded 4 or more times in 2.55% more of their games.
  • They are allowing .14 fewer goals per game
  • They are scoring .21 fewer goals per game
  • They’ve picked up 6.52% less of possible points

New Jersey Devils 2012 vs 2013 Stats

Click for larger view

As you can see, the Devils have bettered their power play and goals against average, but their goals for, penalty kill, and discipline have gone down. And, overall, are picking up points at a slower pace. Now, none of these stats jump out as a reason to hit the panic button (aside from the penalty kill, but come on, did we seriously expect them to break their own record?) but their performance has dipped just a bit. Injuries and offseason losses have played a big part in this. You can almost attach each dipped stat to a specific player. Martin Brodeur’s absence is going to affect things like the penalty kill and power play goals allowed per game, and losses of Zach Parise to free agency, not resigning Petr Sykora, and Dainius Zubrus to injury have affected the scoring (albeit not by much). Overall, the Devils’ performance has gone down, but not necessarily by all that much, or at least, not as much as most thought it was going to. Now, with Marty Brodeur back and a few other pieces hopefully getting healthy within the next few days it’s crunch time. With only 17 games (or 35.42% of the season) remaining and hovering around the playoff bubble, every game and every point is critical.

*I decided to not count the goals scored in the shootout. That is, for a game that goes to a shootout after being tied 2-2, the final score would be 3-2 in favor of the team that wins the shootout. I chose not to count that extra “goal” as part of the goals against or goals for average. I’ll include them here, though, in case anyone wants to know the numbers with those included: 2011-2012: 2.79 GA/G, 2.83 GF/G | 2012-2013: 2.74 GA/G, 2.52 GF/G

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