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The Breakaway: Devils in a funk

by Shawn P. Roarke / NHL.com


* The New Jersey Devils have certainly picked the wrong time to lose their way. They have gone from sitting atop the Eastern Conference to the bottom half of the Eastern Conference playoff bracket.

* If the Devils can't find a way to score more goals, their stay in the playoffs could be very short -- regardless of Martin Brodeur's brilliance. The team has just three goals in its last four games, heading into Thursday's game against the Rangers.

* Staying in the East, the Washington Capitals aren't giving up the chase, are they? It seems this team adopts more of Alex Ovechkin's personality every day.

* Washington's comeback against Atlanta earlier this week might just end up ranking as one of the most important contests in franchise history. We'll see.

* It sure was a classy move for Dennis Maruk to call Ovechkin after AO beat Maruk's club record for goals in a season, which was set in the 1981-82 season.

* It seems that the New York Islanders aren't shy about playing spoilers, which could be bad news for the rest of the Atlantic Division.

* Speaking of the Islanders, you think Kyle Okposo will remember his first NHL goal? He scored the game-winner without his bucket on with a nifty one-timer against Martin Brodeur late in the third period Friday. Not too bad of a first impression.

* The loss of Mike Komisarek, perhaps for the remainder of the regular season, is a huge blow to Montreal, which is trying to hold off a mass of teams and claim the top spot in the East. Komisarek is one of the most underrated defenders in the League.

* Steve Stamkos may have ended thoughts of another player challenging him for the No. 1 pick in this June's Entry Draft. The young gun from Sarnia scored four goals in one first-round playoff game against Windsor. He has nine goals in the first four games of the OHL postseason. How's that for big-game credentials?  

* Patrick Roy sure is taking some heat for his behavior behind the Quebec bench in the QMJHL playoffs. But if he did wave his son, the Quebec goalie, to fight the opposing goalie, Roy deserves all the heat that he is taking.

* The Roy incident was an ugly one that has had all of Canada talking about fighting's place in the junior game for the better part of a week. But the actual fight wasn't much different than the brawls that occasionally crop up in the junior game. The fact it involved the Roy clan made it sexy, so to speak.

* CTN was shocked to see Brian Sutter resign as head coach of the Red Deer Rebels, a team that is owned by his brother, Brent, who coaches the New Jersey Devils.

* Speaking of the Sutter clan, young Brandon just signed an entry-level deal with the Carolina Hurricanes and reported to the Hurricanes' minor-league affiliate in Albany. CTN says this kid is going to be a special NHL player.

* Good luck to Pat Quinn, named coach of Canada's entry into the U-18 World Championships next month. It will be interesting to see the hard-charging Quinn -- who coached Canada in the last two Olympics -- work with a bunch of teens.

The Edmonton Oilers are just three points out of a playoff spot.
* How is it that the Edmonton Oilers are just three points out of the playoffs after Tuesday's games? CTN thought this team was left for dead. I guess there is something to be said for youthful exuberance -- and the shootout, eh?

* The return of power forward Chris Neil sure has the Ottawa Senators looking a little different, doesn't it?

* CTN checked out the USA Hockey Junior National Tournament in Marlborough, Mass., while he was home visiting the family for Easter. The five-sheet facility at the New England Sports Center is a sight to behold.

* The tournament, which runs through Saturday, features the best Tier III Junior A, B and C teams from across the country. It is a hockey nut's dream. Although, CTN must say, it is an expensive dream with single-day passes going for $25.

* Calgary scored three unanswered goals Tuesday night to rally past Vancouver. Jarome Iginla scored the first and assisted the second, which tied the game. Iginla should get some serious consideration for the Hart, by the way.

* It will be interesting to see if the Canucks, just two points up ahead of those trying to muscle into the playoff picture in the West, can survive such a devastating loss -- especially after losing two nights later to Colorado.

* Congrats to the Alberta Golden Bears, who won the Canadian university championship, defeating defending champion New Brunswick in the final to capture their 13th title.

* And as hard as it is for CTN to say this: Congrats as well to Mount St. Charles, which won the Rhode Island state high school championship with a best-of-3 sweep against Bishop Hendricken -- which just happens to be CTN's alma mater.

* CTN is sure that Mathieu Schneider and Brian Boucher, among others, are smiling a little wider this week knowing that their Mounties are back atop the high school heap in RI. The Mount went a long four years without a title.



 


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