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Schwei On Ice: A Terrible 20 For Devils

By John Schweibacher
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"I always approach the season in segments," Lou Lamoriello told me Sunday.

"We'll evaluate everything when it gets to 20 games." Lou Lamoriello to's Rich Chere - Nov. 16, 2010.

The Devils reached that 20-game point in the 2010-11 season Saturday night in St. Louis and are just 5-13-2. The 20-game point total ranks as the 3rd-worst in club history since the team moved to New Jersey in 1982:

· 1983-84 2-18-0 4 points
· 1982-83 3-11-6 12 points
· 2010-11 5-13-2 12 points
· 1984-85 6-12-2 14 points
· 2007-08 8-10-2 18 points

Patrik Elias appeared in his 900th NHL game Saturday night in St. Louis. Elias is just the 5th player to play that many games for the New Jersey Devils:

· Ken Daneyko 1,283
· Martin Brodeur 1,093
· Scott Stevens 956
· John MacLean 934
· Patrik Elias 900

Elias is now in his 15th season as a Devil, only Daneyko (20) and Brodeur (18) have appeared in more seasons for New Jersey.

The Devils host the Washington Capitals Monday night. The defending President's Trophy winners clobbered New Jersey, 7-2, back on October 9th in the Devils' second game of the season.

Former Devils head coach Brent Sutter brings his Calgary Flames to Prudential Center Wednesday night. The Flames defeated New Jersey in their lone meeting last season, 5-3, in Calgary back on March 5th.

Ex-Devil Brendan Morrison is in his first season with the Flames after spending last season with Washington and this year's pre-season with Vancouver. Morrison, who began his NHL career with New Jersey back in 1998, is the 3rd highest-scoring former Devil among active NHL players:

Ex-Devils Player - Goals - Assists - Points
· Steve Sullivan - 261 -  409 - 670
· Scott Gomez - 162 - 481 - 643
· Brendan Morrison - 191 - 371 - 562
· Brian Rafalski - 75 - 402 - 477
· Rob Niedermayer - 181 - 275 -456
· Brian Gionta - 185 - 184 - 369
· John Madden -  154 - 172 - 325

The Devils face the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on the day after Thanksgiving in the first meeting between the two clubs in 2010-11. New Jersey went 4-2-0 against the division rival Isles last season.

Last week, Jack Capuano replaced Scott Gordon as the Islanders head coach on an interim basis. Gordon, who went 4-8-0 in his 12 games against the Devils in his two-year stint behind the Isles bench, was the 1st NHL coach to lose his job this season. Here is a list of the first coaching casualties in each of the NHL seasons since the lockout:

· 2005-06 Ed Olczyk-Pittsburgh 31 games (8-17-6)
· 2006-07 Ken Hitchcock-Philadelphia 8 games (1-6-1)
· 2007-09 Bob Hartley-Atlanta 6 games (0-6-0)
· 2008-09 Denis Savard-Chicago 4 games (1-2-1)
· 2009-10 John Stevens-Philadelphia 25 games (13-11-1)
· 2010-11 Scott Gordon-NY Islanders 17 games (4-10-3)

John MacLean's start as an NHL head coach has not gone well but he is already moving up the tenure list of coaches and managers of the local area pro sports teams:

· NYG Tom Coughlin 1/06/04
· NYY Joe Girardi 10/30/07
· NYK Mike D'Antoni 5/13/08
· NYJ Rex Ryan 1/19/09
· NYR John Tortorella 2/23/09
· NJN Avery Johnson 6/15/10
· NJD John MacLean 6/17/10
· NYI Jack Capuano 11/15/10
· NYM Terry Collins 11/23/10

The Devils and Flyers meet for the first time this season Saturday afternoon at Prudential Center. Philadelphia eliminated New Jersey in five games in the opening round of the playoffs back in April and went on to win the Eastern Conference title. Since the lockout, three teams that defeated the Devils in the post-season went on to the Stanley Cup Finals; Carolina (2006), Ottawa (2007) and Philadelphia (2010). New Jersey went just 1-4-1 against the Flyers in the 2009-10 regular season.

Mike McKenna made his Devils debut this past Saturday night against St. Louis. McKenna and Johan Hedberg will likely split the goaltending duties with Martin Brodeur sidelined for up to two weeks with his recurring right elbow injury. The Devils have now played 61 games over the past two-plus seasons without Brodeur as their starting goalie and have gone 35-23-3.

Schwei's Plus/Minus:

Minus: The passing of Pat Burns (1952-2010).

Plus: The Devils organization and their fans were privileged to have Burns as the club's head coach for two seasons, including their 3rd Stanley Cup Championship in 2003.


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