TORONTO -- For parts of two seasons ex-NHL goalie Curtis Joseph got an up close and personal view of one of the wonders of the National Hockey League -- Adam Oates' passing ability.
Joseph and Oates were teammates in St. Louis from 1990-92 and the goalie vividly recalls the Gretzky-like ability he saw from Oates every single day in practice.
"He was such a deceptive player," Joseph told NHL.com Sunday at the Legends Classic. "He changed speeds and always had the other team off balance. Obviously everybody knows about his passing ability, but he sees the ice like very few."
After putting his future on hold for more than a week, longtime Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan is ready to figure out where he wants to play next season and beyond.
Doan's agent, Terry Bross, told the Arizona Republic that 11 teams have expressed an interest in signing Doan, an unrestricted free agent whose priority has always been to return to the Coyotes. However, Doan wanted to wait until at least Monday to start his negotiation process because that is when he hopes to gain more clarity on the situation surrounding Greg Jamison's bid to buy the Coyotes.
Jamison has been approved by the NHL. A 20-year lease agreement between the City of Glendale and Jamison was approved in a 4-2 vote by the city council on June 8, and subsequently held up in Maricopa County Superior Court by Judge Dean Fink 20 days later. However, two Glendale residents have been trying to gather signatures in an attempt to push the lease agreement onto the ballot in November.
According to the Arizona Republic, it is not clear if the required number of signatures has been gathered or if the residents will submit them to the city by Monday, which is 30 days from the date that the lease agreement passed. The Arizona Republic also reported that the organizers of the referendum say paperwork on the ordinance wasn't available until June 15, so they should have an extra week to gather signatures.
Regardless, Doan is ready to get serious about signing a new contract either with the Coyotes or one of the other teams interested. Bross told the Arizona Republic that he plans to speak with Phoenix general manager Don Maloney on Monday.
"I would think if they don't have the signatures and it looks like the Jamison thing is going to go (through), then Don and I would get a little more serious in our dialogue about a new contract," Bross said. "If they do have the signatures or something throws a wrench in it and they say we're looking at two months before we can make a decision, I think we have to listen to some other offers."
Bross added that nothing is imminent right now, but if Doan is going to explore his options outside of the Coyotes, "there are two or three that he'd take a long hard look at, and it'd break his heart to do so."
Zach Parise did not sign with the New Jersey Devils before the free-agent market opened at noon ET Sunday, officially becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Parise, who is the top forward and arguably the top unrestricted free agent available, met with Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello in Toronto on Saturday night, according to a tweet from TSN's Bob McKenzie. However, McKenzie tweeted at 11 a.m ET Sunday that while the Devils are not out of the running, Parise wanted to test his value on the open market.
Parise is good friends with Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who is expected to sign his 12-year, $104.4 million contract extension Sunday. The Penguins are roughly $12.26 million under the $70.2 million salary cap, according to capgeek.
LOS ANGELES --Peter DeBoer and the Devils don't feel the situation they're in now is any different than the one they were in the last time they prepared for a game at Staples Center last week.
"I think it's the same feeling as when we were down 3-0," DeBoer said. "I think the hockey world pretty much wrote us off, and I think we feel we've played with no pressure because of that. I don't think that has changed because all of a sudden it is 3-2 now."
What has changed is the Devils confidence, which naturally rises after winning a couple of games in a row, especially against an opponent that seemed invincible before finally being cracked.
They say they're not overconfident heading into Game 6 Monday, but certainly it is something to watch out for.
"Now we won a couple of games we know that obviously we can beat these guys, and that can be very dangerous," Patrik Elias said. "This is the time when we have to take a step back, relax and again, just play the same way. We just gotta make sure that we're playing within our structure, that we don't get too worked up. This is going to be the toughest one."
Devils captain Zach Parise said his sense is that the team is loose, energetic and maybe even a little bit relaxed now that it has two wins under its belt in the Stanley Cup Final. He can say all the same things about himself as well now that he finally scored a goal in Game 5 for his first point of the series.
"When you work and work and you're doing the right things and you're not getting the results, it does get frustrating," Parise said. "It starts to build up, and then when you're able to break through and win a couple of games, that does a lot for the psyche of the team."
However, Parise added that the still dire predicament of having to win or watch the Kings parade around with the Stanley Cup is enough to keep the Devils grounded before Game 6.
"We still know how great of a team they are and how much better we still need to play to make this thing go further," he said. "We're still in a really tough spot having to win a road Game 6 to extend this thing."
The Devils will stick with the same lineup that worked in Games 4 and 5. Here are the likely line combinations and defense pairs:
LOS ANGELES -- The New Jersey Devils will try to stave off elimination for the fifth time this postseason in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Each time they have been in this spot, including twice against Florida and twice against the Kings, they feel they have responded because they have been able to raise their game and properly handle the adversity.
"Every time everybody has stepped up and brought their best," Devils rookie Adam Henrique said. "In every single one of those games everybody has stepped up their play."
They'll all have to do it again Wednesday at Staples Center (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS) or the Stanley Cup will be awarded to the Los Angeles Kings.
"That's gut-check time," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "There are clues during the year. At different points you get those pressure points in the season, a must-win, a big game to end a losing streak, to see how your team responds. Until you're actually facing the fact of going home for the summer unless you win, you're not really sure how you're going to respond."
The Devils have responded with two overtime wins against Florida after falling behind 3-2, and two tight wins over the Kings after losing the first three games of the Cup Final.
Devils captain Zach Parise credits the coaching staff for preparing the team for these difficult elimination situations, but he also said there is an element to this team that enables it to thrive through adversity.
Martin Brodeur has a 1.33 goals-against average and .945 save percentage in games when New Jersey is facing elimination.
"Our team must just play well when we're in a pressure situation, and I think that starts with our goaltending," Parise said. "You've got a person that has played in bigger games than any of us have ever played in and he has that sense of calmness back there and is making big saves when we need it. When we've had to play well we've done it for whatever reason."
NEWARK, N.J. -- Devils rookie Adam Henrique knows this feeling of crawling back into a series after falling into a 0-3 hole. He savored it two years ago in the OHL playoffs when he was playing for the Windsor Spitfires against the Kitchener Rangers.
Kitchener went up 3-0, but Henrique, Taylor Hall, Cam Fowler and Co. won the next four games and eventually went on to win the Memorial Cup.
NEWARK, N.J. -- If it turns out that the goal that flipped momentum in the Stanley Cup Final indeed was the one that Patrik Elias scored in the third period of Game 4, well consider Devils coach Peter DeBoer among the people least surprised about that.
DeBoer praised Elias on Friday for being "a Hall of Fame player." He said Elias "does it all," and that "he's a coach in the dressing room." DeBoer even wondered what type of fame Elias would have if he were playing in a high-profile hockey city like Toronto.
"He knows how to win. He knows how to find another level at key times," DeBoer said. "He had some struggles early in the playoffs, but you can see, I think he's been our most consistent guy here through the Final. There's a reason he's got multiple Stanley Cups."
If Elias is going to have a chance at another, he and the Devils have to win Game 5. They will likely go with the same lineup that was good enough to win Game 4. Here it is:
NEWARK, N.J. -- Devils captain Zach Parise reiterated after participating in New Jersey's full practice Friday that his left ankle is fine even though he appeared to injure it in the third period of Game 4 on Wednesday.
"It just twisted a little bit, but it's OK," said Parise, who did not have any noticeable swelling in the ankle.
Parise, who was again skating on a line with Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk, said he still has not seen the replay of him falling awkwardly into the boards late in the third period.
"My brother watched it and he said, 'I don't know how you didn't break it,'" Parise said.
Parise definitely winced after he went hard into the boards, but he did not miss a shift.
LOS ANGELES -- Devils coach Peter DeBoer inserted Petr Sykora into the lineup for Game 4 because he was searching for offense after getting shut out in Game 3 and getting held to one goal apiece in Games 1 and 2. Sykora didn't factor into any of New Jersey's three goals, but he was on the ice for Patrik Elias' goal in the third period.
It was one of many solid shifts by the Devils' reunited second line of Sykora, Elias and Dainius Zubrus -- a trio that combined for a goal, an assist and five shots on goal in the 3-1 win.
"I thought he had a very good game, a very good game," Zubrus said of Sykora. "We played together for most of the game. I thought he was good. He stepped in and played good minutes and did everything the coach was asking for. He jumped in right in there and I thought as a line we had some good chances and puck possession. I thought he had some good looks and good chances. I thought he was good."
Sykora, who hadn't played since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Rangers, was pleased with his game as well. He said the key was just keeping it simple and getting a feel for the puck early.
"It's always good when on the first shift you get the puck twice and make a play," said Sykora, who played 18 shifts totaling 12:19 of ice time. "I was pretty happy about that."
Henrik Tallinder, the other Devil to return to the lineup Wednesday night, told NHL.com following the game that he "feels really good, excellent."
Tallinder hadn't played since developing a blood clot in his leg in mid-January. He played 29 shifts totaling 19:21 and had two shots on goal, a hit and a blocked shot.
We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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