New Jersey Devils News & Clips: Dec. 18, 2018

  1. SUMMARY
  2. LOCAL PRINT/WEB
  3. TV/VIDEO LINKS
  4. RADIO LINKS

NATIONAL PRINT/WEB

1) SUMMARY

 

The Devils will face-off against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at Prudential Center (7 pm, MSG+, TSN4). Tonight’s game is the second of three contests between New Jersey and Toronto.  On November 9th, the Devils fell to the Maple Leafs, 6-1 in Toronto.  The Devils are 3-7-2 against Atlantic Division opponents so far this season.

Chris Ryan, NJ.com, spoke to Devils head coach John Hynes about goaltender Cory Schneider being placed on the IR and what it means for him going forward.

“Sometimes it’s just trying to take things in stride and trying to help him make sure he gets better physically to perform,” coach John Hynes said Monday after practice at RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House. “And when he does, we’ve got to find ways — and he has to try to find ways too, with us helping him — to get back to the level we need him to be.”

“In talking with him and working with him it’s been a battle to try and get through just where the inconsistencies of his game are,” Hynes said. “It feels like the first parts of the games, for whatever reason, have been hard for him, but then he kind of settles down and plays if he can get through that. Unfortunately, the other night he didn’t and now there’s an injury.”

“He’s a very athletic goalie, very competitive,” Hynes said. “His size has to be a factor when competing on the puck. Similar to Keith where he’s very athletic and very competitive, but being composed at the same time and making sure the competitiveness and battle doesn’t take you out of position, you use it to be in strong position.”

Chris Ryan, NJ.com, spoke to Devils forward Marcus Johansson about why the team has been so effective on their 6 on 5 play this season.

“Whenever you get guys and bodies to the net, we’re driving the net and getting pucks there,” Johansson said. “Even on the goal, (Jesper Bratt) was driving the net, and I saw a chance for him to get the rebound, and then Boyler coming in on the second wave. It just gives you that many more options, and it’s tough for any goalie to handle goals like that.”

“That’s the mindset you’ve got to have no matter what,” Johansson said. “I think that’s why we’re out there and there’s only one goal when you do that, and that’s to tie up the game. We’ve been successful lately, and that helps with the confidence as well. It kind of shows you that you can score, and lately we’ve been doing the right things.”

2) LOCAL PRINT/WEB

 

1. NJ Devils, Brian Boyle try to pay it forward in holiday hospital visit

By Abbey Mastracco, The Record

https://www.northjersey.com/story/sports/nhl/devils/2018/12/17/nj-devils-brian-boyle-pay-forward-holiday-hospital-visit/2334186002/

NEWARK — Boston Children’s hospital has become a place Declan Boyle dreads.

The 3-year-old has been poked and prodded countless times since his diagnosis in the fall of 2017. It’s difficult for his parents, Lauren and Brian, to watch him struggle and his demeanor turn from that of a typical, bubbly three-year-old to scared and confused.

But one of the prime features of the hospital is a pair of 500-gallon saltwater glass aquarium tanks. Those tanks and the fish that live within them have a way of making kids like Declan smile in a place where happiness comes at a premium.

“Going to the hospital last year in Boston, going through the doors, Declan would be so bummed out and scared,” Devils’ forward Brian Boyle said Monday afternoon at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. “But you take a turn and you walk in and there’s this big aquarium. There’s fish in there and they look like Dory and Nemo and immediately it distracts him and he gets excited.”

Boyle was at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital as part of the Devils’ annual visits to RWJBarnabas Health facilities system- and state-wide. Each member of the Devils, as well as coaches and mascots, visited a facility and handed out gifts, t-shirts, autographs and tickets.

Every hospital visit is meaningful no matter what the situation, but for Boyle it was different. The veteran NHL forward was trying to pay it forward to children and their families after a year in which he and his family had to overcome their own health issues.

The 2017-18 Masterton Trophy winner spent countless nights in hospitals last year while undergoing treatments for chronic myeloid leukemia at the same time Declan was undergoing treatments for his own health issues. The Boyle family was the recipient of gestures big and small from their hospital community, so it’s important for Boyle and the Devils to reach out to other patients going through difficult times in their New Jersey community.

“I just remember being in the hospital with (Declan), with my wife. We’re drained, it’s tiring. We don’t know what the next step is and we don’t know what it’s going to be like the next day. thinking, ‘Are we going to get out?’” Boyle recalled. “And then people would show up with pizza from down on the first floor or something like that and it was more uplifting than I probably realized.”

While the kids, parents, doctors, nurses and hospital administrators were certainly excited by the appearances of Boyle, Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri, it may have been Boyle himself who was uplifted. He was able to hand out posters, toys and game tickets, the latter of which he handed out like candy after he realized how many the team had allocated for the visit.

While touring the newly-renovated Valerie Fund Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders — which was renovated with the proceeds from the Devils’ 2017 Hockey Fights Cancer Night — the group came across one child who wanted to go to a game. After Hall gave him some tips on how to dye his hair to look more like Giants’ receiver Odell Beckham (he wanted blonde tips, but his mother said no), Boyle asked him if he wanted to go to a game. Two tickets materialized, then three when his mother mentioned his brother. Then a fourth when the child said, “Another one!”

“That was really cool,” Boyle said. “That shows you what the team is willing to do. This is an event that the team takes seriously since every guy is out somewhere today trying to do the same thing.”

Perspective is what you hope to gain from charitable visits, but it came in many forms on Monday for many players. Boyle was finally on the other side of things, trying to make other people as happy as they once made him and his family. His teammates got a glimpse of what the Boyle family endured since the double diagnosis of 2017 and they followed in his lead, trying to make an impact on people who needed it.

“You saw the smile on his face and that’s as genuine as it gets,” Palmieri said. “He’s making sure that even just for a few minutes, we put a smile on their faces. I’m sure there are people who came and visited him that lightened the load for him.

“Even if it’s only for a couple minutes, it helps keep you fighting.”

If anyone knows how to fight, it’s Brian Boyle. And if anyone knows how to inspire one to fight, it’s Brian Boyle.

2. NJ Devils’ Cory Schneider dealt another blow with abdominal strain

By Abbey Mastracco, The Record

https://www.northjersey.com/story/sports/nhl/devils/2018/12/17/nj-devils-cory-schneider-dealt-another-blow-abdominal-strain/2334185002/

NEWARK — Cory Schneider has been struggling to find his game all season but he’ll have to put that on pause while he deals with an abdominal strain. The Devils placed the struggling goaltender on injured reserve Monday morning and called up Mackenzie Blackwood from Binghamton of the American Hockey League.

It’s a disappointing blow in a year full of them for the veteran goalie, who was seeing the doctor during practice on Monday, but the Devils are still counting on him to figure out his game when he returns.

“Sometimes it’s just trying to take things in stride and trying to help him make sure he gets better physically to perform,” coach John Hynes said Monday after practice at RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House. “And when he does, we’ve got to find ways — and he has to try to find ways too, with us helping him — to get back to the level we need him to be.”

Schneider returned from offseason hip surgery in October and has played in nine games (seven starts) without results. He’s been the recipient of some awful play in front of him and his own teammates have scored on him four times, three times in one game. He was pulled from the Devils’ game against the Vegas Golden Knights on Dec. 14 after dropping a puck underneath his legs. He allowed three goals in 9:36 but the Devils rallied to overcome the deficit and win in overtime.

Schneider, whose contract is worth $6 million AAV through the 2021-22 season, has not had a regular season win since Dec. 27, 2018. He could go the entire calendar year without one, as it’s unclear when he will be back in action. The 32-year-old is 0-5-1 with career-worst numbers in save percentage (.852) and GAA (4.66).

“In talking with him and working with him it’s been a battle to try and get through just where the inconsistencies of his game are,” Hynes said. “It feels like the first parts of the games, for whatever reason, have been hard for him, but then he kind of settles down and plays if he can get through that. Unfortunately, the other night he didn’t and now there’s an injury.”

The 22-year-old Blackwood joined the Devils for practice at RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House on Monday before the team departed for their annual hospital visits. The 6-foot-4 goalie has been enjoying a bounceback season in Binghamton with a 2.69 GAA and a .911 save percentage in 15 games.

“He’s a very athletic goalie, very competitive,” Hynes said. “His size has to be a factor when competing on the puck. Similar to Keith where he’s very athletic and very competitive, but being composed at the same time and making sure the competitiveness and battle doesn’t take you out of position, you use it to be in strong position.”

Trainer’s room

Forward Taylor Hall (lower-body, day-to-day) practiced in full with the Devils on Monday before heading to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey on one of the team’s annual statewide holiday visits. Hall will be a game-day decision Tuesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Devils will wait to see how he responds to the morning skate.

Forward Stefan Noesen (illness) also practiced on Monday, scoring on Keith Kinkaid during shootout drills. He remains on injured reserve.

3. Why Marcus Johansson and Devils’ 6-on-5 unit have been so productive

By Chris Ryan, NJ.com

https://www.nj.com/devils/2018/12/why-marcus-johansson-and-devils-6-on-5-unit-have-been-so-productive.html

Last-ditch efforts to tie games have been paying off for the Devils.

Through 31 games, the Devils have scored six times while skating 6-on-5 with their goalie on the bench. Four of those goals tied games in the final two minutes of regulation and forced overtime.

Only one such goal came during the entirety of the 2017-18 season, when Taylor Hall netted an equalizer in an eventual shootout win over the Flyers.

Of the Devils’ six 6-on-5 goals this season, five had forward Marcus Johansson directly involved. He netted three of the goals and assisted on two more.

The Devils aren’t running any complex schemes or plays to find the net with the goalie pulled, either. When Brian Boyle tied Saturday’s game against the Nashville Predators with 1:31 left in regulation, Johansson got the assist by simply putting the puck on net.

“Whenever you get guys and bodies to the net, we’re driving the net and getting pucks there,” Johansson said. “Even on the goal, (Jesper Bratt) was driving the net, and I saw a chance for him to get the rebound, and then Boyler coming in on the second wave. It just gives you that many more options, and it’s tough for any goalie to handle goals like that.”

Here’s a look at that basic philosophy at work and paying off when the Devils scored 6-on-5 to tie the Anaheim Ducks on Dec. 9:

The play starts with Kyle Palmieri holding the puck along the goal line in the left corner. Boyle and Johansson already converged on the crease, so Palmieri finds a gap and funnels the puck there. He’s obviously not shooting to score from that angle. He’s shooting for chaos.

The puck gets lost between four skaters, and as the scramble begins, Palmieri, Nico Hischier and Hall, plus three more Duck defenders, collapse on the slot. When all is said and done, 10 skaters are standing within mere feet of Ducks goalie John Gibson, and when Johansson gets his stick on the puck for a shot, he uses that traffic to tie the game.

“It’s getting rebounds and second chances and third chances,” forward Travis Zajac said. “It’s really hard to defend when you get an extra guy, and there’s just too many unknowns defensively, where pucks can go. We’ve been getting in some of those rebound lanes and burying our chances on them.”

While the strategy may sound simple, having Johansson in the fold has been a big deal for the Devils. One of the other keys to 6-on-5 play is possession. Once the other team gets the puck, they can clear the zone and potentially end a game with an empty-net goal.

With Johansson, the Devils can control the puck and set up in the offensive zone.

“He can skate the puck up, he can hold the puck, and then he can wait for help,” Zajac said. “He’s good at buying time and waiting for guys to come up and traffic there. He’s not afraid to make a play, and he’s a great passer. He’s got great vision, so he’s been playing really well for us.”

And like any aspect of the game, the Devils’ 6-on-5 play has the benefit of confidence right now. All six of the team’s 6-on-5 goals have come since Nov. 1, and three have occurred in December, where they all tied the game.

“That’s the mindset you’ve got to have no matter what,” Johansson said. “I think that’s why we’re out there and there’s only one goal when you do that, and that’s to tie up the game. We’ve been successful lately, and that helps with the confidence as well. It kind of shows you that you can score, and lately we’ve been doing the right things.”

 

 

3) TV/VIDEO LINKS

 

1. Practice: Mackenzie Blackwood

By New Jersey Devils, newjerseydevils.com

https://www.nhl.com/devils/video/practice-mackenzie-blackwood/t-277437418/c-64038403

 
4) RADIO LINKS – N/A

5) NATIONAL PRINT/WEB

 

1. Devils goalie Cory Schneider has abdominal strain, goes on IR

By Staff Writer, Associated Press

http://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/25559348/new-jersey-devils-place-goalie-cory-schneider-injured-reserve

NEWARK, N.J. — The New Jersey Devils have placed goaltender Cory Schneider on injured reserve with an abdominal strain.

The Devils announced the injury Monday and recalled goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood from Binghamton (AHL).

Schneider, who lost his starting job to Keith Kinkaid last season, has struggled this season after offseason surgery on his left hip in May. He has a 0-5-1 record with a 4.29 goals-against average and a .862 save percentage.

Schneider was lifted in his last start Friday after giving up three goals on seven shots in less than 10 minutes against Vegas. The 32-year-old goalie is working under a seven-year $42 million contract signed in 2014.

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