Less Is More

Or maybe…it isn’t?

1.  I just had to pull out my trusty copy of the CBA (yet again) because a red flag was brought up by the NHLPA re: a possible violation of the CBA by the Devils (yet again).

Section 16.4(b) states:

Except in case of emergency, there shall be no reduction of the required minimum Playing Rosters of the Clubs, below eighteen (18) skater and two (2) goaltenders.

Next question is…what constitutes an emergency?

Did the Devils find another loophole?  Maybe.

Section 16.11(d) Injured Reserve List states: “during such period of his designation as an Injured Reserve Player he will not count against the Club’s Active Roster limit.”

Section 16.12 Non-Roster Player states: “during such period of his designation as such he will not count against the Club’s Active Roster limit and his Club may replace such Player, provided, however, that the Non-Roster Player’s Player Salary…are each included in calculating a Club’s Actual Club Salary and Averaged Club Salayr, and the Players’ Share for purposes of Article 50.”

But what I find interesting is in the general illustration (p. 227-28) it says: “However, if the unfit-to-play Player once again becomes fit to play, and the Club has not otherwise created any Payroll Room during the interim period, then the Player shall not be permitted to rejoin the Club until such time as the Club reduces its Averaged Club Salary to below the Upper Limit.”

So if Lou doesn’t work on that salary cap between now and the time Bryce Salvardor, Anssi Salmela, and Brian Rolston are ready to return…guess what?  They can’t return to the Club.

I guess the roster is 100% in tact.  Emergency situation is in place…two players were scratched (one of which headed into LTIR), and one player was suspended.  That, in itself, was the emergency on Monday night.

If the other two players were healthy, that would have given the Devils 17 skaters.  With Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (PL3) suspended by the league, the emergency situation allowed the roster to go down by one skater.  Technically, the emergency clause in the first CBA citation above says that the Devils are in the clear with their 15 skaters: 1 suspended, 1 headed to LTIR, other scratched due to soreness/broken nose.

Volchenkov should be returning to the roster soon.  There’s no reason why he should be forced to return so quickly if an injury could be aggravated further.  It’s only the beginning of the season.

When he returns, the roster will be set at 17 skaters (following the addition of Adam Mair to the Devils roster). 

While I personally think that less is more, and I like the reduced roster…it’s also a big gamble.  The Devils cannot guarantee that the remaining 17 skaters will be healthy from here until June.  It’s a very risque gamble.  Maybe a little too hard core of a risky investment than I would make.  In other words, you either win a Cup with this team or you just throw all of your money away.

In this instance, waiting to trade may not have been the wise move.  Playing the waiting game created an obstacle for everyone.  There’s no cushion there for the ‘just in case.’  There’s no back-up plan to the back-up plan in place.

This team is risque…

But I like it.  Why?  Because, if you haven’t noticed, the Devils players…the 16 out on the ice now…are the Elite of the Elite in the NHL.  Every single one of them.  They play like they are the monsters in Space Jam, dominating the game because they are the monster stars that they are.

I prefer this team over the ones I’ve seen post-lockout…because their level of hockey is at the top tier…and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Last night’s game against the Sabres showed a team dominating the puck.  But it’s taken some time for the puck to actually get in the net!  Not sure why that is the case, considering the top line has dominated the pre-season stats.  Why haven’t they dominated again when it really counts?

In the words of Johnny Mac, this whole not winning thing due to a reduced roster…that’s no excuse.  I agree.  These guys are professionals…you do what it takes to win it all.  Adversity is what gains the momentum.  Adversity is where you prove everyone wrong.  If this is the team the Devils take to the finish line…then the focus should be on how to combat the adversities the team is faced with.

Maybe more people need to talk crap about them so that they can say they’ll prove them all wrong.  I remember a story back a few years ago when one of the Rangers (I want to say it was Jaromir Jagr) cut out The Hockey News predictions for the season, and said he was going to prove them wrong.  That season, the Rangers proved THN wrong.  That’s what mattered most.

The Devils have been doing things that are kind of unbelievable and a bit on the rebel side these days, but I like it.  Good girls always love bad boys.  In this case…I love a rebel team.  It’s going to kick some butt in so many NHL ways, it will give new meaning to the term ‘red-headed step-child.’

2.  Ondrej Pavelec.  While sitting in the press box in Prague, we got wind of what happened to Ondrej.  Really sad to see.

From the reports I’ve seen on Twitter, he was released from the hospital the other day.  They don’t know yet what caused him to faint out on the ice.  He said that when he woke up in the ambulance, he couldn’t feel his legs.  He also said that he couldn’t remember anything following the National Anthem.

He also received a concussion when he hit his head on the ice.

Whatever caused him to blackout…I just hope it’s something simple like dehydration and not something worse.  Keeping my fingers crossed that all is okay for Ondrej.

3. No More NHL vs. KHL games.  Rumor has it that Medvedev just made some serious enemies.  According to what the media told me in Prague (that they heard from NHL sources), Medvedev ordered his KHL players to seriously rough up the Carolina Hurricanes. 

It got so bad, that the Canes ended up sitting their stars in the third period.

If it’s true that Medvedev ordered the ‘roughing up’ of the NHL stars, 1) thank God Kovalchuk isn’t one of them, 2) KHL is going down, and 3) that is unsportsmanlike in every sense of the word. 

KHL and NHL relations will completely sour if the accusation is true.  This should make any and all NHL players think twice before heading to the KHL.  I’ve been saying this for how many years?  You go to the KHL at your own risk.

4.  Brian Rolston.  Best wishes for a speedy recovery for Rolston, who has been out with a groin injury (sports hernia) and was scheduled to have surgery. 

5.  Derek Stepan!  Hat trick in his NYR rookie premiere!  Did I call it or what?  This Shattuck’s Saint Mary’s alumni (Zach Parise’s old school) is proving that Shattuck’s alums are still the best hockey players in the NHL. 

Congratulations to the young Ranger on his first game.  It doesn’t get better than this. :)

6.  Inside Hockey.  Well, I guess I did write while I was away. :)  Maybe I should post some of the articles up? 

Devils Play With 15 Skaters

Bruins Take Final Game in Prague

Coyotes Outlast Bruins in Prague

Prague Premiere: Pre-Game Notes

NHL Premiere in Prague

7.  NJD Community Report.  What I find interesting in the picture of Zach Parise…you can tell (or at least I can), why he’s so bad at the game of golf just based on his stance.  Look at Marty…then look at Zach.  See the difference?  I do.

In case you didn’t know…Zach Parise really sucks at golf. Really…he does.

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