Boxing with the Stars Continues with Devils’ Kovalchuk


(courtesy of Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

There is much to be said about the current state of the New Jersey Devils as it appears the franchise is headed for their first season without a playoff berth in 13 years. With the firing of rookie coach John Maclean just days ago, the lack of defense in front of veteran Martin Brodeur and the team’s new poster boy for it’s misery, Ilya Kovalchuk, the Devils have become the laughingstock of the NHL.

Fans and critics alike have pointed fingers to the contract that was given to Kovy over the summer which will make him a Devil for the rest of his career. The whole “with great power comes great responsibility” spiel has been bestowed on the sniper as his big money contract warrants him to carry the team on offense. While the team spirals out of control it seems most have put the blame on Kovalchuk while ignoring other ridiculous contracts the team has to honor(Brian Rolston anyone?)
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Comrade of the Night – Alexander Ovechkin

Ovechkin gets the best of Brodeur with a penalty shot for his 2nd of the game. (ESPN)

Well Dobriy vecher, it’s been a long time, we have been waiting for you. The most frequent winner of From Russia With Glove’s Comrade of the Night award, it only took Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin three days into the 2010 season to make his first appearance. After a somewhat quiet opening game, by his standards, as he picked up an assist on 8 shots against Atlanta, the Great Eight found himself in the “G” column once more.

Deadlocked at 2-2 at home against the New Jersey Devils, Ovechkin swooped in down the left wing, stick handling around defenders towards the middle of the ice. He then released a dart of a wrist shot with two Devils in front of him, and somehow beat Martin Brodeur anyway. From positions where no other player in the league would even think about shooting a puck, Ovechkin can find the back of the net from essentially any place on the ice.

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Anton Volchenkov Makes a Deal with the Devil(s)

vollie(Courtesy of The Hockey News)

The A-Train arrived in Newark today as the New Jersey Devils announced the signing of defenseman Anton Volchenkov giving the Russian bear a six-year contract worth $25.5 million ($4.25 million per season). Known for more of his stay at home style the 6’1 235 pound Moscow native adds a realm of physicality and shot blocking last seen when Scott Stevens led the Devils defensive corp.
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A Night with the Stars, a insiders take on the NHL Awards

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Last Wednesday I had the opportunity to attend the NHL awards at the Palms Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. Never having gone to one before I certainly didn’t know what to expect when it came to showtime. Prior to the actual show fans were invited to gather around the red carpet where players, their families, and top dogs of the NHL would walk en route to the Pearl Concert Theater.
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FRWG Heads to Vegas


(Courtesy of LasVegasLasVegas.com)

On Wednesday, the NHL will honor it’s best at the annual award show at the Palms Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. Yours truly will be on hand for FRWG’s first big league event and will hopefully be able to land a few minutes with the athletes that matter most to you.
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Ilya Kovalchuk Traded to the New Jersey Devils

kovalchuk

Let’s get right too it.

One of the greatest snipers of the post-lockout era has been traded. Long-time Atlanta Thrasher Ilya Kovalchuk has moved on to what we might call “bigger and better things”, picking up his Warrior sniper rifle and heading to Newark. In need of some offense, the New Jersey Devils shipped a package down south that included talented rookie Niclas Bergfors, veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya, now-suspended prospect Patrice Cormier and the Devils’ 1st-round draft choice in 2010. A kings ransom indeed.

Kovalchuk’s resume speaks for itself. A Rocket Richard winner in 2004, the Tver native and one-time Spartak Moscow product has two 50-goal campaigns to his name and currently sits in 6th place for goals scored with 31. Many experts have speculated that his point totals might even be better if he could escape from the dark shadow of Atlanta, but that hypothesis will be put to the test soon enough.

It makes almost 10 years ago that the Devils went out and added another Russian-born playmaker in Alexander Mogilny.

But several questions immediately arise about the addition. Will Kovalchuk be more than a rental in New Jersey? Can he fit into the defensive-oriented and systematic style of head coach Jacques Lemaire, while Atlanta never even dreamed of putting a harness on him? Will the high price be worth it, come the playoffs?

“The reason we got Alex Mogilny at the time was similar reasons – what he could bring offensively with the shot he had and he could do almost anything individually at times, but still be a team player. I feel Ilya can bring that sort of explosiveness and I also really believe strongly that he wants to win and will fit in.” said Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello. While Kovalchuk is certainly one of the best individual offensive talents in the game today and also thirsts to be part of a winning team, only time will tell how well he fits in with his new teammates.

But one thing that is no question whatsoever is what he potentially makes the Devils.

With two immensely gifted wingers in Kovalchuk and Zach Parise, along with Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur, New Jersey now fields a fearsome combination of explosive offense and highly disciplined defense. That kind of mixture is one that is absolutely necessary for playoff success, and the Devils have not played past the 2nd round in some time.

Cynics will be quick to say that Kovalchuk is only making a stop in New Jersey before testing the waters of free agency, in an attempt to win now. After all, Lamoriello might feel like his team’s window to win another Stanley Cup is closing, at least with Brodeur and other veterans. Meanwhile, an optimist will say that the addition of Kovalchuk could be a new beginning and a new way of life in Newark, as the Devils plan to take more of a high-flying offensive approach in planning for Brodeur’s retirement.

Either way, the Kovalchuk era in New Jersey will begin on Friday night when the Rock plays host to the other big trade deadline player, the Toronto Maple Leafs. In doing so, there is little doubt that the most star power in the NHL resides in it’s most competitive division, the Atlantic.

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Martin Brodeur Ties Patrick Roy for all-time wins

courtesy of the AP.

On Saturday night, Martin Brodeur equaled Patrick Roy’s all-time win record with his 551st win versus his hometown, Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.

With Roy, in attendance and his jersey above the ice, Brodeur put on a show by stopping 22-of-23 shots for a chance to surpass his childhood idol on Tuesday in New Jersey.

Patrick Elias got things rolling for the Devils on a wicked slap-shot that beat Jaroslav Halak for his 28th of the season.

Brian Rolston would add another on the next Devils power play from almost the blue line, which had Halak questioning his defensemen. It would be Rolston’s 300th career goal and with the assist Elias tied John Maclean for all-time points as a Devil.

The Habs would get one back courtesy of Tomas Plekanec who wristed past Brodeur who felt he was run into just moments earlier.

The teams would go into the locker rooms with the game at 2-1.

Both goalies were perfect in the second with Brodeur stopping all 11 shots while Halak getting all 18 off the Devils’ sticks.

Brodeur would make a great sprawling save on Andrei Kostitsyn in latter of the period. He remained perfect throughout the third period with just five shots sent his way.

Halak would try to do the same, but was finally beaten late in the period when Jamie Langenbrunner wristed home his 23rd of the season.

Halak finished with 48 saves.

As the clock expired the once boo’s by the Montreal faithful quickly turned into cheers as those who stayed applauded one of their favorite son’s as he returned to the ice for his first star nod.

The Devils are now riding a three game winning streak and improve their record to 34-3-2 when scoring first under Brent Sutter. They remain six-points behind the Boston Bruins for best overall record in the eastern conference.

Brodeur hopes to make history against the Chicago Blackhawks on St.Patrick’s day as he aims to surpass St.Patrick’s (Roy’s) record.

Elias will too be hoping to become the team’s all-time point getter, as Tuesday will hopefully be a night to remember.

originally posted on Bleacher Report

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