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Shanahan: 'Burning desire' to help Devils

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
Shanahan hoisted the Stanley Cup three times in Detroit. – Brendan Shanahan wasn't sure when the right offer would come, he just wanted to be ready.

He spent the summer training, then continued his regimen through training camp and into the regular season.

Finally, the opportunity arrived. Shanahan said he spoke Saturday to Devils' President, CEO and General Manager Lou Lamoriello and agreed in principle to return to New Jersey.

"I had been in contact with Lou throughout different parts of the season, and just in the last few days things seemed to pick up some momentum," Shanahan said in Saturday's conference call. "It just seemed to work out."

Shanahan becomes the fourth player on the current roster to have rejoined the Devils after stints elsewhere. Scott Clemmensen, Bobby Holik and Brian Rolston were all reacquired by the club last offseason.

"Obviously I have a history with Lou – Lou drafted me," said Shanahan, the second overall pick in 1987. "I feel fortunate that a situation like this opened up. I remained patient. I had some really good, tempting offers from good people and good teams, but this to me was about finding the right fit."

It turns out the right fit for Shanahan was with the Devils, who sit third in the Atlantic Division behind the first-place Flyers and Rangers. Jersey's Team was set to open a six-game road trip Saturday in Los Angeles.

"I think everybody in the league has had a lot of respect for the Devils," he said. "They have a championship history. Brent Sutter is an excellent coach, and I think that playing against the Devils, you always felt like they were a hard-working, well-structured team."

Shanahan was unsure of when he might make his 2008-09 debut. Though he has maintained a high level of conditioning, he said he expects more hard work as he prepares to get into game shape.

"I feel well-rested and at the same I feel I've got a stronger base than I've had in many years I used the time off to train hard," he said. "How long it takes, I really don't know. But I've got a strong desire to play, and burning desire to get back and help my new team." 

Shanahan will be counted on to add to the Devils' power play, which went 0-for-7 in Thursday's 4-0 loss to Atlanta. New Jersey has been shut out in three of its last five home games.

Though he was slowed last season by a knee injury, Shanahan produced 23 goals, 11 on the power play, while skating for the Rangers.

"I should have just rested [the knee] at the time to finish the season maybe a little bit stronger," he said. "But I really felt at the midway point or right up to Jan. 1, that I was having a pretty strong season, a consistent season."

Shanahan, 11th all-time in league history with 650 goals, won three Stanley Cup titles with Detroit and has made eight appearances in the All-Star Game. Even with a resume that includes 1,490 games, 1,340 points, and an Olympic gold medal, Shanahan said he has been impressed by the resilience of this year's Devils.

"I think that they have, in a lot of ways, with some of the adversity they've had this year with injuries, they've shown a different level of maturity and taken a real stride." he said. "My feeling and my approach is that I just hope to add to their team."

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