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Posted On Wednesday, 05.30.2012 / 1:11 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Business as usual for Devils on morning of Game 1

NEWARK, N.J. -- Two-time Stanley Cup winner Patrik Elias admitted he is nervous.

"There's a lot at stake here," Elias said after the Devils morning skate Wednesday in advance of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Zach Parise said nothing about the Devils morning routine on a gameday was different, but he expects the afternoon and evening to not feel like anything he has experienced before as a Devil.

"I'm sure once we get to the rink tonight the nerves will be a little different than every other game," Parise said, "but so far it's been the same."

The Devils are going for their fourth Stanley Cup championship in the last 17 years, but of the guys that will be in the lineup for Game 1, only Elias, Martin Brodeur, Dainius Zubrus, Ryan Carter and Anton Volchenkov have experienced the calm before the storm of the Stanley Cup Final.

It's different even for a guy like coach Peter DeBoer, who never reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs as a player or a coach prior to this season.

"Just excited," DeBoer said when he was asked how he was feeling Wednesday morning. "You want to play. You're tired of waiting around. You're tired of looking at film. You're tired of practicing. It's anxious energy.

"Whatever I'm feeling, I'm sure it's doubled for the players."

DeBoer, though, has an experienced coaching staff and front office that he can lean on. Guys like Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello and assistant coach Larry Robinson have been on this big stage multiple times over the course of their careers in hockey.

Lamoriello has won the Stanley Cup three times as an executive. Robinson won the Cup six times as a player with the Montreal Canadiens (he played in the Cup Final seven times), and three times in the Devils organization, including 2000, when he was the team's head coach.

"The one advantage I think our organization has here is the experience we have from the top down," DeBoer said. "They've been there, seen it all, won, lost. Then filtering down (to) my assistant coaches, with Larry Robinson -- we have a wealth of experience all the way through the organization right to the locker room. We've got that in abundance. It makes my job easy."

All that experience, plus his own natural coaching chops, has convinced DeBoer that changing the approach and routine at this stage of the game would be detrimental to the group.

He doesn't plan on doing anything different Wednesday in advance of Game 1.

"I think the natural reaction, when you talk to people, is all of a sudden you have to pull out these great speeches, change the way you've done things," DeBoer said. "Part of the thing that we do well here is, it's business as usual. We've tried not to change a routine. I'm not planning on pulling out any great speeches. We've done our preparation. We're a workman-like team and we'll be ready to play."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Wednesday, 05.30.2012 / 10:39 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Devils expected lineup for Game 1

NEWARK, N.J. -- Johan Hedberg was the eager one. The backup goalie was the first Devil on the ice for the morning skate Wednesday.

He came on at 10:09 a.m. ET, and soon enough his teammates joined him. It's an optional skate for New Jersey, but of the players expected to be in the lineup for Game 1 against the Kings (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS) only Marek Zidlicky is not skating.

The Devils expected scratches (Henrik Tallinder, Petr Sykora, Cam Janssen, Eric Boulton and Adam Larsson) skated on the practice rink with the Devils black aces.

Here is the expected lineup for the Devils:

Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Patrik Elias - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson
Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Anton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold

Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.29.2012 / 6:33 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Kings edge Devils in Miss USA poll

With predictions coming from every angle on who will win the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, the Miss USA pageant saw a unique opportunity. On the eve of the Final, the organizers polled the 51 contestants in the 2012 edition of the contest to see who they favored to win the Cup.

Miss California, Natalie Pack, and Miss New Jersey, Michelle Leonardo, weren't shy about favoring their home-state teams, even posing for photos wearing their respective team's jersey.
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.29.2012 / 5:14 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Providence alum Fayne appreciates playing for Lou

NEWARK, N.J. -- Mark Fayne may have a finer appreciation for being drafted by New Jersey Devils CEO/president/general manager Lou Lamoriello than some of his teammates.

In four years playing at Providence College, the second-year defenseman was inundated with the Lamoriello legend. The man who has headed the Devils front office for over two decades was a fixture in Rhode Island and brought the Providence hockey program to its greatest heights.

Born and raised in the area, Lamoriello was a player and coach on the Providence hockey team and still holds the school record for coaching wins. After coaching a 1982-83 squad considered the best in school history, he stepped down to become the school's athletic director.

In 2009, Lamoriello earned the Vanguard Award for lifetime achievement at the annual Cox Rhode Island Sports Awards. A product of nearby Nashua, NH, Fayne appreciated Lamoriello's legacy long before arriving in New Jersey.

"Being at Providence, there is so much influence he still has there. Just seeing his name all over the rink,"  Fayne said. "The Hockey East [championship] trophy is the Lou Lamoriello Trophy, so that's what I was playing for for four years."

Fayne hasn't been alone in his appreciation for his boss. His former Providence teammate Matt Taormina has also broken in on the Devils defensive corp following four years playing with the Fryars.

"He was actually a partner of mine for two years," Fayne said. "It's really great."



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Posted On Tuesday, 05.29.2012 / 8:10 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Brodeur has no plans to retire

Don't plan the Martin Brodeur retirement ceremony just yet.

While many have speculated that this summer would be a perfect time for the 40-year-old goalie to retire -- especially if his New Jersey Devils defeat the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final, which begins in Newark with Game 1 on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS).

But, Brodeur doesn't necessarily subscribe to that train of thought, at least according to the comments he made after Monday's practice at the Prudential Center. It is a continuation of the storyline he has espoused since January and he says emotional Stanley Cup Playoffs wins against the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers and a unexpected berth in a fifth Stanley Cup Final have done nothing to change his mind.

"I can’t say no, but I doubt it," Brodeur said Monday when the idea of retiring if the Devils defeat the Kings in the Finals was broached. "I'm really enjoying this. Regardless of what happens in this series, I think we made a great step last year at the end of the year and through this year to have a really good team and a good coaching staff together and it’s fun. To me, it's all about having fun coming to the rink.

"I know a lot of people say it's great to retire on top, but at the end of the day, when I'm going to say it's over, it's over, I'm not going to come back. I want to make sure I make the right decision. Right now I'm leaning toward coming back. We'll see."

And, don't think that Brodeur is just being swayed by the magical run he and his team are on this spring. He began entertaining thoughts of playing beyond this year when his team rallied from an abysmal start in the 2010-11 season to almost make the playoffs in stunning fashion last year.

"The way I'm enjoying myself, we jelled as a team," Brodeur said. "Coming to the rink was fun, on the road was fun, that's what I was looking for. I didn't have fun last year. I'm not used to losing. That was tough. To me, I really thought this was going to be my last year, but more and more, it was I can still play."

Wednesday, in Game 1 of the Final, Brodeur will play in his 200th Stanley Cup Playoff game. Only Patrick Roy has played in more playoff games, registering 247 contests. Brodeur's counterpart from the Kings, Jonathan Quick, has played in just 27 postseason games.
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Posted On Monday, 05.28.2012 / 3:04 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Devils are healthy, ready to go

NEWARK, N.J. -- There isn't a team that gets this far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs that doesn't have players with nagging injuries, but the Devils are about as healthy as can be with the Final set to start Wednesday night at Prudential Center.

Of all the Devils on the ice for practice Monday, none were used as extra forwards or defensemen because they were recovering from injury. The team's "fifth line" of Petr Sykora, Cam Janssen and Eric Boulton could all play if necessary, while seventh and eighth blueliners Adam Larsson and Henrik Tallinder are also well enough to play.

Tallinder has been out since Jan. 17 due to a blood clot in his leg, but coach Peter DeBoer said that is no longer an issue.

"He's ready to go," DeBoer said. "I have no apprehension (using him). We can play anyone we have available right now."

According to DeBoer, everyone is available. That's something few teams have when the calendar creeps toward June, but it's also something the just-as-healthy Kings can boast as well.

"This is a war of attrition," DeBoer said. "To be as healthy as we are, to have the luxury of having eight healthy defensemen right now and entire forward group, that's something very few teams have. Unfortunately, L.A. has the same thing, so there's no advantage. It's a nice spot to be in."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Monday, 05.28.2012 / 12:29 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Devils make no lineup changes at first practice

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Devils had their first practice Monday since vanquishing the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday night, and Peter DeBoer didn't make any changes to his line combinations.

DeBoer shuffled his lines during the series-clinching Game 6 victory against the Rangers, and those were the lines on display at Amerihealth Pavilion. The "fifth line" featured Petr Sykora, Eric Boulton and Cam Janssen, all three of whom are likely to be healthy scratches during the Stanley Cup Final. The same can be said for defensemen Adam Larsson and Henrik Tallinder, at least to start the Final, who acted as the fourth d-pair.

Game 1 of the Final against the Los Angeles Kings is still two days away, but here is what the Devils went with Monday afternoon:

Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Dainius Zubrus
Ilya Kovalchuk - Adam Henrique - Alexei Ponikarovsky
Patrik Elias - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson
Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier


Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Anton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold

Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @Dave Lozo
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Posted On Saturday, 05.26.2012 / 6:55 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Mitchell has warm memories of New Jersey

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Willie Mitchell wonders what would have happened if Les Widdifield hadn't seen him play 16 years ago.

Widdifield was a longtime scout for the New Jersey Devils, and he spotted a young Mitchell playing in tiny Melfort, Sasakatchewan. Widdifield, who died last September, liked what he saw and told his bosses to give this Mitchell kid a long look.

"I still remember that phone call," said Mitchell, who was drafted 199th by New Jersey in 1996 and spent five seasons in the organization. "They took a flyer on me – eighth round, 199 in 1996 playing Tier 2 junior. Probably if they didn't do that, I would have never got the chance."
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Posted On Saturday, 05.26.2012 / 6:16 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Richards not surprised by DeBoer's success

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Of the many ties between the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils, one of the stronger ones is between Mike Richards and Peter DeBoer.

DeBoer coached Richards as coach of the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL for four years, from when Richards was 16 to 19. Richards served as captain on some of those teams, and the relationship helped produced a Memorial Cup in 2003 (New Jersey's David Clarkson was also on that team).
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Posted On Friday, 05.25.2012 / 4:42 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Devils vs. Kings Stanley Cup Final blog

Gagne still hoping to return during Final

It’s easy to forget that Simon Gagne was one of the key acquisitions for the Los Angeles Kings in the summer. He was supposed to be reunited with former Philadelphia Flyers teammate Mike Richards, but his season effectively ended when he was concussed Dec.26.

Or has it ended?

Gagne got medical clearance earlier this month and is now available to play. It’s a long shot integrating Gagne back into the team, although coach Darryl Sutter sort of backed off his earlier stance that Gagne had no chance at playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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— Defenseman Torey Krug on signing with the Boston Bruins
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