Bluelines: Devils' Season a Success No Matter What
Monday, June 4, 2012
By Stan Fischler
• However the Final round winds down for them, the Devils will walk away from the playoffs with some noteworthy bonuses. They already have enjoyed 11 straight standing-room only crowds at The Rock with tangential marketing assets to go with them. On the ice, coach Peter DeBoer has constructed an effective fourth line, which should be intact at the start of 2012-2013. Career minor leaguer Stephen Gionta has demonstrated that he's A-1 NHL material with an offensive touch and a totally fearless attitude toward players 50 pounds heavier and much larger than the Greece, New York native. His linemates Ryan Carter and Steve Bernier each have made noteworthy contributions, goal-wise and otherwise.
• One of the more perceptive profiles of Rangers coach John Tortorella has been written by Newark Star-Ledger special columnist Craig Wolff. Among others interviewed by Wolff was Jack Semler from the University of Maine. Speaking about the Rangers’ coach's intensity, Semler opined, "I never had a player or seen anyone with a will like his!" Meanwhile, Torts' baseball coach at Concord-Carlisle High School where John played shortstop in Concord, Massachusetts, put it this way: "If he [Tortorella] couldn't reach a ground ball, if it mean getting an out, he blocked ground balls with his face. This was not a once-in-a-while occurrence."
• The Buffalo Sabres have decided not to sign three members of their 2010 draft class, sending the forwards back into this year's pool of players who are draft-eligible. Center Steven Shipley and wingers Gregg Sutch and Cedrick Henley all played in Canadian junior leagues, meaning the Sabres had two years to sign them. But Sabres management decided to part ways with the players, leaving the doors open for other, more prepared prospects to get a chance to play in the NHL next season. If for any reason the three players go undrafted later this month, the Sabres could again make the decision to bring them back to training camp as free agents.
• In the case of the Islanders' hopes for a new arena in Uniondale, sometimes the bromide "No news is good news" has at least a small measure of validity, if not sheer hope. Meanwhile, the NHL is playing a watchful and waiting game vis-a-vis a new Coliseum. "They do need a new building," says NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "That remains. [Islanders owner] Charles Wang [has hope] despite tremendous frustration. [He] is looking at all options that would keep the club in the New York Metropolitan Area."
• The Coyotes’ future should soon be determined now that the Glendale politicos are examining prospective owner Greg Jamison's offer and the building management situation. Plus, as Bettman noted last week, Jamison continues to put his equity together. A favorable vote on the management situation should enable Jamison to finalize his equity raise. These factors could be concluded by the end of the month. But, as the Commish has stated, "The process should conclude successfully, but it's not something I'm in a position to guarantee."
• And speaking of "guarantees," without Tim Thomas, the Bruins cannot even come close to assuring fans in Beantown that Boston will have a Cup contender next season. Tuukka Rask is not the answer and the B's brass knows that only too well.
• Easily the best line in print about the Bruins' gamble on Rask's ability to become a number one goaltender comes from the Boston Globe's Kevin Paul Dupont: "We only have to look as far back as Andrew Raycroft to see that glimpses of promise don't always deliver full proof!"