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Rolston clears waivers, in lineup for Devils

by Mike G. Morreale /
NEWARK, N.J. -- Brian Rolston has been around long enough to know professional hockey is a business.
That's the reason the veteran of 16 NHL seasons didn't seem too preoccupied when surrounded by reporters and asked to comment on the decision made by New Jersey Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello on Tuesday.
Rolston, who was placed on waivers on Tuesday morning but wasn't claimed by another team, will be in the lineup against the Phoenix Coyotes at Prudential Center on Wednesday.
"It's a job and I've been around for a long time, so I'll still prepare and play the way I've have," Rolston said. "Something like this may affect a younger player a little more than me … it is difficult, no question, but you really realize what a business it is and you have to move on and play as hard as you can."
Rolston was unclaimed by another team before the noon deadline on Wednesday. His cap hit would continue to count against the team's since he signed his contract at age 35-or-over. If the Devils decide to place him on re-entry waivers, other teams would be able to claim him for half of his salary and the Devils would be responsible for the other half for the remainder of the contract, which expires after the 2011-12 season.
In 15 games this season, Rolston has 2 goals, 4 points and a minus-6 rating. He was signed as a free agent by New Jersey on July 1, 2008.
"There's a reason I picked this team over other teams (in 2008)," Rolston said. "I wanted to be here and it hasn't gone the way I would have liked it to go, but that's life. You just continue on and do your best. Whatever happens, happens.
"If my being put on waivers is going to bring the chemistry of this team together, then I'm all for it."
Devils coach John MacLean realizes it's a tough situation for Rolston.
"But it's part of the business but we look forward to him being in the lineup," MacLean said. "I had a chit-chat with Brian this morning and he understands. Brian is a team guy and first-class individual. He'll handle it in the proper way and he'll be prepared to play."
The Devils, 14th in the Eastern Conference with 8 victories and 18 points, have lost five straight while being outscored, 19-8.
"I think all of us are aware of the situation we're in," Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner sad. "We feel responsible for it and we should. Watching Rollie go through this now is difficult and should add to that urgency and the thought process that there's something going wrong. Everyone is already in that thought-mode, though."
So what can the Devils do to right the sinking ship?
"Keep on pushing," Langenbrunner said. "I think the message this week has been to keep an upbeat mood as much as possible. We all hate the situation we're in, but you have to be upbeat and can't come dragging your tail to the rink everyday because it'll just keep snowballing worse and worse. You have to have a good mental approach and be ready to go. You have to keep pushing. It hasn't shown in the results, but we've played good games of late and have given ourselves some opportunities but for whatever reason, we're just not getting the breaks. We just have to keep working."
Something Rolston, who has 1 goal in his last 12 games, plans on doing against the Coyotes.
"I think I have a lot to offer," Rolston said. "The guys in this room have been great. I have a good relationship with everyone in this dressing room."
Langenbrunner, who has 3 goals, 11 points and a minus-12 rating in 21 games, admits he's been feeling the heat since the team opened the season with three straight losses.
"That's part of being in this situation (as captain)," he said. "That's the bad that comes with the good of being the captain. You deal with it. I'll try to simplify my game and lead by example as much as possible, come with a positive attitude."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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