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Midseason Look: New Jersey Devils

Everything looks good for the Devils at the midway point in the season. Expect The Prudential Center to be rockin’ in the second half.

I dont talk much about hockey and I will never pretend to be a hockey expert or even fan, however I feel the need to talk a bit about the New Jersey Devils.

Its the mid point in the NHL season and Jersey’s hockey team is off to a great start. With a 30-10-1 record, its the best start in franchise history. With 61 points, the Devils are currently the first place team in the Eastern Conference, six points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Despite the franchise best start, this Devils team is a veteran group that knows this means nothing. The Devils have been mostly a playoff regular and the regular season is just a warm up for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

General Manager Lou Lamoriello made some tough decisions in the offseason and those decisions have proved to be successful ones. The signing of veteran center Rob Niedermayer has helped the Devils. Niedermayer has quietly been a leader and set up man in many key situations. He has also helped the team defensively. He has fit in perfectly with the other centers, Dean McAmmond, Dainius Zubrus, and Travis Zajac. Zubrus suffered a knee injury on mid November. The team will need him down the stretch.

Goaltender Martin Brodeur is having another terrific season. He has broken records this season, his first after returning from a major injury last year. Brodeur has started 38 of the first 41 games. In 26 of those games, the veteran goalie has allowed two goals or less. He has five shutouts.

Defenseman Andy Greene has probably been the biggest surprise so far this season for the Devils. Many people thought Lamoriello would need to acquire a defensemen after Paul Martin and Johnny Oduya got hurt, but Greene stepped in and has played very well.

Patrik Elias and Jamie Langenbrunner continue to be very solida contributors for this club. Elias has battled some injuries but seems to be getting back into form. If he has a hot second half, the Devils can be something very special. David Clarkson is another player that has suffered some injuries this season. He is extremely important as well.

Other key contributors have been, Zach Parise, Brian Rolston, Jay Pandolfo, Niclas Bergfors, and Mike Monttau.

At this point in the season, Jacques Lemaire definitely is the top candidate for NHL Coach of the Year. Lemaire has kept this team together through some injuries and have them off to the best start in franchise history.

Things look good in New Jersey. The Prudential Center in Newark should be a rockin’ place in the second half of the season.

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