USA Blows Out Slovakia, Hughes Notches Seven Points

The United States took on Slovakia earlier today at the U18 World Championship in Sweden and it was not pretty if you are a Slovakia fan. But, if you are rooting for Jack Hughes – as most Devils fans would be – it was nothing short of beautiful.

The projected number one overall pick notched seven points, including four goals in the Americans’ 12-5 rout of the Slovaks.

Cole Caufield got the US rolling at the 7:42 mark of the first off assists from Hughes and Case McCarthy. That made it 1-0 USA. In less than ten minutes, it would be 2-0 when Alex Turcotte scored at 17:27.

The Slovaks would cut the American lead in half when Samuel Krajc scored with 29 seconds left in the first period. That goal came on the power play.

Team USA would regain their two goal lead just 10 seconds after the Slovakian goal at 19:41 when Matthew Boldy scored to make it 3-1 going into the first intermission.

Beginning the second period, Hughes scored just 59 seconds into the frame to make it 4-1 USA. Dominik Sojka found the back of the net on the power play at 5:42 to make it 4-2, but Caufield countered with his second of the game at 19:47 to make it 5-2. That was on the power play after Slovakia received a too many men on the ice bench minor.

Then, in the third period, the floodgates really opened for Hughes and the US. He scored his second of the game 1:55 in and never looked back. That made it 6-2 USA. Owen Lindmark would make it 7-2 at the 3:15 mark.

Then a bit of a breakdown from the US penalty kill. At 4:22, Slovakia’s Frantisek Gajdos took a hooking penalty. The Slovaks countered with not one, but two shorthanded goals. Adrian Valigura scored at 5:09 and Martin Chromiak scored at 6:21 just as the penalty was about to expire. After all of that, it was 7-4 USA.

But the Americans immediately got back on the horse. At 10:34, Caufield completed his hat trick to make it 8-4 as Team USA had doubled up Slovakia. Hughes had the lone assist on that goal.

Not to be outdone by his teammate, Hughes notched his hat trick at the 12:13 mark to make it 9-4. This goal came on the power play as well.

Slovakia’s Juraj Elias scored the final goal for them at 14:12 to make it 9-5, but the US was not done.

Hughes beat goaltender Patrik Kozel with exactly five minutes to go in the game to notch his fourth of the night and the US was still not done. Cam York scored 32 seconds after Hughes’ final goal and Caufield scored his fourth of the game on the power play at 17:17 to make it 12-5, our final. Hughes had the primary assist on that goal to give him a whopping seven points on the evening.

In goal, Kozel stopped 35 of 47 US shots while Cam Rowe made 30 saves on 35 Slovak shots against.

Hughes’ stat line read: four goals, three assists for seven points, nine shots on goal and a plus-4 plus/minus rating.

The USA will now faceoff with Russia on Easter Sunday, the 21st, in continued Group B action.

Next up, on our tour of Devils’ prospects, we take you to Drummondville, Quebec as the QMJHL semi-finals got underway between Jocktan Chainey’s Halifax Mooseheads and the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

This one did not go exactly as the Mooseheads had planned, as they fell 3-1 to go down 1-0 early in the best-of-seven series.

Pavel Koltygin gave Drummondville the early 1-0 lead when he scored 9:55 into the game. However, before the first intermission, Halifax would get even.

Keith Getson scored with about 3:30 to go in the first period. Jake Ryczek and Chainey had the assists on this goal, which would be the only time the Mooseheads would solve Voltigeurs goalie Anthony Morrone. This goal came on the power play to even the score at one.

But Drummondville would get back out in front late in the second period when Pierre-Olivier Joseph scored what would be the game-winner at 14:59.

The Voltigeurs would add another one with three seconds remaining in regulation as Halifax tried desperately to tie things up. That would kill off any comeback and Drummondville took the early 1-0 lead in the series.

Drummondville outshot Halifax by almost a two-to-one margin, 41 to 24. Of the 41 Drummondville shots, Mooseheads goalie Alexis Gravel got 38 of them while Morrone turned aside 23 of the 24 Mooseheads’ shots.

Chainey’s stat line read: the assist for a point, a minus-2 plus/minus, a shot on goal (which was a dangerous shot attempt according to the QMJHL scoresheet) and hit.

Game two of this series will take place from Drummondville tomorrow night at 7 PM.

We now move west as Ty Smith and the Spokane Chiefs were at the Langley Events Centre in Langley, British Columbia to take on the Vancouver Giants in game one of their WHL semifinal series.

The scoring was kicked off 6:25 into the first period when Lukas Svejkovsky put the Giants on the board to make it 1-0 Vancouver. That one came on the power play when Matt Leduc had been sent off for tripping at 4:50.

Dawson Holt doubled the Vancouver lead at 8:37 of the first, scoring from Owen Hardy to make it 2-0 going into the first break.

Coming out of the break, the Giants continued their onslaught when Hardy scored less than a minute into the second frame (57 seconds) to make it 3-0 Vancouver.

But the Chiefs would break up the shut out for Vancouver goalie David Tendeck at the 5:30 mark of the second. Adam Beckman scored from Ethan McIndoe and Jack Finley to make it 3-1, where it would stay through the remainder of the second period.

It would remain that way through the third period too until, with about four minutes remaining in regulation, Spokane pulled goaltender Bailey Brkin in an effort to get the game tied up.

Instead, Bowen Byram (a highly-ranked prospect for this year’s Draft as well) iced the game with an empty net goal to make it 4-1 Giants, which was our final.

Bailey ended the game with 26 saves on 29 shots faced (Vancouver finished with 30 shots because of the empty netter). Tendeck stopped 30 of 31 Spokane shots as he got the victory in game one.

Ty Smith’s stat line saw him a minus-2 plus/minus rating with one shot on goal.

Game two of this series (with Vancouver up 1-0 in the best-of-seven) takes place on Saturday, April 20 at 10 PM ET. We will have coverage of that for you here along with game two for the Oshawa-Ottawa and Halifax-Drummondville series as well.

USA Wins First Game of U18’s

The United States entry into this year’s IIHF U18 World Championship from Sweden got off to a great start, winning 6-1 over the host country in their first game of the tournament. Jack Hughes, most likely to be a Devil come late June, had an assist on the sixth US goal.

Simon Holmstrom got Sweden on the board first when he scored at 14:16 of the first period. From then on, Team USA took over the game.

Cole Caufield scored his first of three when he tied the game up at 4:47 of the second. Less than a minute later, at the 5:26 mark, John Beecher scored to give the US the lead for good.

The USA exploded in the third period, scoring four more times. Case McCarthy scored just 21 seconds into the third frame, followed by Caufield again at the 3:02 mark.

Caufield completed the hat trick at the 5:15 mark, scoring to make it 5-1 Team USA. Alex Turcotte scored with 3:01 remaining in the game with Hughes getting the primary assist to cap off the 6-1 victory for the US. That final goal from Turcotte came on the power play.

In goal Sweden’s Hugo Alnefelt made 36 saves on 42 US shots while the Americans’ Spencer Knight stopped 29 of 30 Swedish shots.

Hughes’ statistics read: the assist for one point, two penalty minutes (an interference call 2:13 into the second period), four shots on goal and an even plus/minus.

Next up in the tournament, Team USA takes on Slovakia tomorrow (April 19) at about 3:30 PM local time. We will have something up along with game one of the Halifax-Drummondville and Spokane-Vancouver series also starting tomorrow.

Now on to the Ontario Hockey League, where the Ottawa 67’s and Mitchell Hoelscher take on the Oshawa Generals in the third round of the playoffs. The game was played at TD Place in Ottawa and what a thriller it was for the home fans, with the 67’s winning by a score of 6-4.

Brett Neumann of the Generals got the goal-fest kicked off when he scored 12:47 into the first period. Oshawa would take the first lead of the game, 1-0.

But Ottawa would roll back into things when Marco Rossi scored two goals in a span of 2:23. He first beat Oshawa goalie Kyle Keyser at 15:47 to level the game and then scored again at 18:24 of the first to put the 67’s ahead 2-1.

Ottawa would then relenquish the lead in the second period, going behind 4-2. Danil Antropov scored on the power play at 1:33 of the second. Rossi had been nabbed for kneeing to set up the power play. Then Brandon Saigeon notched two in less than a minute to give the Generals back the lead. Allan McShane had the primary assist on the Antropov goal and the only assists on the two Saigeon goals.

In a back-and-forth game, with Oshawa taking over in the second period, the 67’s absolutely owned the third period.

It began when Hoelscher, the Devils prospect, scored at 7:34 of the third frame to pull Ottawa within one. That just opened the floodgates and the 67’s scored four unanswered to win the game.

Sasha Chmelevski found the back of the net at 14:04 to tie the game at four. Noel Hoefenmayer beat Keyser 49 seconds later to make it 5-4 67’s on what would go down as the game-winner. That came on the power play while Oshawa’s Nico Gross was off for kneeing.

Ottawa’s Kody Clark added an empty netter at 19:20 to ice the game for the 67’s. Ottawa now has a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

In goal, the Generals’ Keyser made 31 saves on 36 67’s shots (Ottawa had 37 shots total with the empty net goal). For the 67’s, Michael DiPietro made 16 saves on 20 shots against.

Hoelscher ended the game with the goal for a point, an even plus/minus rating and a shot on goal. He was also 12-for-18 in the faceoff circle.

The 67’s have still yet to lose a game this OHL playoff and will put that streak on the line again on Saturday, April 20. That game is a 2 PM start time and we will have a write-up here for you then.

Palmieri is Devils’ King Clancy Nominee

Each season, every NHL team nominates a player for the King Clancy Award, which goes to the player “who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to his community.” This year’s Devils nominee, according to Marc Ciampa of NewJerseyDevils.com, is Kyle Palmieri.

Palmieri’s ties to the military are well known, as is his penchant for giving back to that community. Ciampa mentioned that Palmieri started Squad21 in 2016 in order to help bring members of the armed services to Devils games. He then spun Squad21 into The Kyle Palmieri Foundation, which Ciampa describes as “a full-fledged charitable organization that supports three military nonprofits.” Ciampa also stresses that the “original Squad21 program still lives within the foundation.”

Squad21 hosts active military as well as veterans at every regular season Devils game and includes “complimentary tickets, a special Squad21 t-shirt and a post-game meet and greet with the” military personnel by Kyle Palmieri. Ciampa also mentioned that Palmieri will also meet with military members on the road “regardless of their team affiliation.”

In addition to this, Palmieri also hosted the Military Ball this past winter to benefit The Kyle Palmieri Foundation. It was held February 23, 2019 at Nanina’s in the Park in Belleville and helped raise over $100,000 for the Foundation and it’s causes.

Every Devils player was in attendance to help Kyle out and the Ball hosted active and retired military. Ciampa mentioned that “several NHL players and teams from around the league supported Kyle with the contribution of signed memorabilia” for the silent auction.

The three nonprofits that The Kyle Palmieri Foundation supports are the National Military Family Association (NMFA), Service Women Action Network (SWAN) and Pets for Vets.

Congratulations to Kyle Palmieri on this honor and also to Cory Schneider, who is the Devils Bill Masterton Award nominee as well.

Devils Ink Goaltender Senn

The Devils have signed 23-year-old Swiss goaltender Gilles Senn to a two-year, entry-level contract according to a press release put out by the team.

Senn, the Devils’ fifth round pick (129th overall) in the 2017 Draft, had been playing the last five seasons with HC Davos of the Swiss National League A. According to the press release, Senn was “the NLA Youngster of the Year… during the 2016-17 season, when he finished with a .910 save percentage and a 2.64 GAA in 34 games played.”

He also “finished his career with HC Davos with a .901 save percentage and played in 16 playoff games.” In addition, this past season, “Senn also helped lead HC Davos to the semi-finals at the Spengler Cup held in Davos, Switzerland, posting a .937 save percentage and” a 2.03 GAA “in two games played.”

Senn’s contract will kick in for the 2019-20 season. He will only help to strengthen the position for the Devils. Last season was rough in the early going as Cory Schneider and Keith Kinkaid struggled to find their form. Once Mackenzie Blackwood was called up, things began to straighten out. Cory got some time on the IR to rest his injury and then a rehab stint in Binghamton and got his game going from there.

Senn may have trouble at first cracking the New Jersey lineup with Blackwood seemingly the future for the Devils and Cory locked up in a long-term contract. Injuries are always a way to the NHL for a goalie and hopefully when called on to perform for the big club, Senn is up to the challenge.

One other housekeeping note is that the third round for the OHL playoffs has been set with Mitchell Hoelscher and the Ottawa 67’s taking on the Oshawa Generals starting tomorrow (April 18) at 7 PM at Ottawa. We will have coverage of that for you here tomorrow as well as the opening of the IIHF World Under-18 Championship, which also starts tomorrow. Team USA and Jack Hughes will take on Sweden in the American’s opener in the tournament.

Smith Tallies Two Assists as Chiefs Eliminate Silvertips

The Spokane Chiefs eliminated the Everett Silvertips from the WHL playoffs with a 2-1 win tonight. Ty Smith had the primary assists on both Spokane goals as the Chiefs knocked off Everett four games to one and will now face the Vancouver Giants in Round 3.

Robbie Holmes struck again for Everett, getting the Silvertips up 1-0 on the big board just 1:32 into the game. But a discipline meltdown in the middle part of the first period tied things up for Spokane.

Riley Sutter and Matt Leduc went off for fighting at the 8:24 mark of the first and Sutter was also assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to go along with the fighting major. The Chiefs capitalized on the ensuing power play when Nolan Reid scored off an assist from Ty Smith at the ten minute mark of the first period.

That made the score level at one going into the second and it was another power play that Spokane would convert to take the lead for good. Sahvan Khaira was called for slashing at 4:22 of the second. Riley Woods potted one during the man advantage from Ty Smtih and Jaret Anderson-Dolan at 5:24 to make it 2-1 Chiefs.

And that Woods goal would prove to be the game-winner. Everett ended the night with 15 minutes in penalties while Spokane largely stayed out of the box, ending up with only the fighting major to Leduc and a Luc Smith double-minor for boarding at 16:33, which made for quite the finish as Spokane was killing that off to end the game along with the Silvertips pulling goaltender Dustin Wolf for the sixth attacker with just under two minutes to go in regulation.

Everett ended the game 0-for-2 on the power play while Spokane was 2-for-5, which ended up as the difference in the game.

But the Chiefs held on and got the win, knocking off Everett in the process. Ty Smith had the two assists for two points on the night, was an even plus/minus and had one shot on goal in the game.

Between the pipes, Wolf made 19 saves on 21 shots against while the home town Chiefs’ Bailey Brkin stopped 34 of 35 Everett shots against.

The Chiefs will now move on to round three to take on the Vancouver Giants at a date and time to be decided.

Across Canada in the QMJHL, there is a date, time and opponent set for game one of the Halifax Mooseheads’ third round series. They will begin a series with the Drummondville Voltigeurs on Friday, April 19 at 7:30 PM from the Centre Marcel Dionne in Drummondville. We will have coverage of that series for you right here as well as the continuing adventures of the Ottawa 67’s and the Spokane Chiefs.

Silvertips Hang On To Win, Stave Off Chiefs Sweep

The Everett Silvertips avoided a sweep at the hands of the Spokane Chiefs with a 4-1 victory at Spokane to make the series 3-1 in favor of Spokane.

Robbie Holmes got the scoring kicked off when he beat Chiefs goalie Bailey Brkin at 6:21 into the first period. One minute and twenty-six seconds later, Zack Andrusiak doubled the Everett lead to 2-0. The second Silvertips goal was a power play goal, scored while the Chiefs’ Bobby Russell was in the box, serving a tripping minor.

Before the first period expired, Spokane would cut the lead in half when Adam Beckman scored with just over a minute left in the frame. This one came on the power play while Sahvan Khaira was off for Everett for tripping.

However, Everett would get two more from Connor Dewar to seal it. His first came at 6:41 of the second period and the other went into an empty net with about 1:16 to go in the game.

Just after the empty net goal, things got messy for Spokane. Bobby Russell took a cross-checking minor at 18:56, followed by a bench minor for too many men on the ice (the team’s second such penalty of the game) at 19:09. All of that was followed by a Filip Kral game misconduct with 32 seconds left in the game.

Ty Smith’s stat line read: a minus-2 plus/minus rating and two shots on goal in the contest.

In goal, Bailey made 22 saves on 25 shots against for Spokane. The Silvertips ended the game with 26 shots due to the empty net goal. For Everett, Dustin Wolf saved 27 of the 28 shots he saw.

With the man advantage, the Silvertips were 1-for-5 while the Chiefs were 1-for-3.

Game five between these two teams will take place Saturday night, April 13 at 10:05 PM ET from Spokane. The Chiefs will once again look to wrap things up and avoid going back to Everett for a game six.

In other news involving a Devils’ prospect across the CHL, the Ottawa 67’s and Mitchell Hoelscher will face the winner of the Niagara IceDogs-Oshawa Generals series. That second round series is currently tied at three games apiece. The winner will get the 67’s, who have yet to lose a game this playoff season in the OHL.

67’s Survive Three OT Thriller to Eliminate Wolves

It took almost six full periods of play, but the Ottawa 67’s and Mitchell Hoelscher have advanced to the next round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs. They defeated the Sudbury Wolves 3-2 in three overtimes to sweep the second round series.

Hoelscher got Ottawa on the board first when he scored 4:19 into the second period. Sudbury would respond with two of their own in the second period. Adam Ruzicka scored at 13:33 and Nolan Hutcheson potted one at 16:41 to give the Wolves the lead heading into the final period of regulation. Ruzicka’s game-tying goal came on the power play.

Sudbury seemed headed towards a sure-fire win and forcing a game five until the 6:40 mark of the third when Kyle Maksimovich scored for Ottawa to knot the game up at two.

And then began the marathon. One OT down, no winner. Two OTs down, no winner. Then, at 9:18 of the third OT, Owen Gilhula of the Wolves was called for a rare playoff overtime penalty. He was sent off for slashing and the 67’s were on the power play. It took about a minute, but Tye Felhaber took the air out of the Sudbury Community Arena when he scored the series-clincher from Austen Keating and Sasha Chmelevski at 10:15 of the third OT period.

The goalies were the real stars in this one. Michael DiPietro of Ottawa stopped 58 of 60 Sudbury shots in 110:15 minutes of play. For the Wolves, Ukka-Pekka Luukkonen was equal to 60 of the 63 he faced also in 110:15.

Hoelscher’s stat line saw him tally the goal for a point, end up a plus-1 rating, have three shots on goal and go 12-for-25 in the faceoff circle.

Ottawa will now advance to round three of the OHL playoffs.

Tomorrow is game four of the Everett Silvertips versus Spokane Chiefs series at 10:05 PM ET. We will have some coverage of that right here for you then.

Chiefs, Smith Inch Closer to Sweep With Win

Ty Smith and the Spokane Chiefs defeated the Everett Silvertips 3-1 in game three to come within a game of sweeping their opponents in the second round of the 2019 WHL Playoffs.

Spokane’s Ethan McIndoe scored on the power play just 7:42 in to the game before the Silvertips’ Robbie Holmes tied it just under two minutes later. But that was all the Silvertips would muster.

Adam Beckman broke the tie at the 2:21 mark of the third and Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored into an empty net with less than 30 seconds remaining to ice the 3-1 win.

Smith finished with a plus-1 rating, a shot on goal and two penalty minutes (an interference call at 3:58 of the second period that was killed off). Everett went 0-for-2 on the power play while Spokane was 1-for-3.

Chiefs’ goalie Bailey Brkin, who stopped 29 of the 30 shots he saw, was named the game’s first star. Dustin Wolf of Everett made 17 saves on 19 shots while the Chiefs finished the game with 20 shots on goal with the empty net goal. Adam Beckman was the second star and Noah King was the third star, all three from Spokane.

Game four, with the possibilty of a Spokane sweep takes place on Friday at 10:05 PM ET from Spokane.

Two other Devils’ prospects that are still active in the CHL playoffs that I have been neglecting to cover have been Jocktan Chainey of the Halifax Mooseheads and Mitchell Hoelscher and the Ottawa 67’s.

Chainey and the Mooseheads (who are actually hosting the Memorial Cup this May) got by the Quebec Remparts in a seven game series in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs. They lost the first two games at their home rink of Scotiabank Centre, including game two in overtime. They then bounced back and won games three and four at Centre Videotron in Quebec City before losing game five in the same location. However, they stormed back to win games six and seven on home ice as Quebec just could not kill them off.

They advanced to round two to take on the Moncton Wildcats, who they dispatched in four straight. They took games one and two (5-3 and 3-2) in Halifax before finishing things off at the Avenir Centre in Moncton, beating the Wildcats 4-2 in both games three and four. They move on to the next round and we will try to get some more coverage of that series for you here.

Moving over to the OHL, Hoelscher and the 67’s took care of the Hamilton Bulldogs in the first round in a four game sweep. They won game one by a rout, 9-3 on home ice at TD Place. Game two was won 5-2, game three 2-1 at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton and game four 7-2.

They are currently facing the Sudbury Wolves, up three games to none. They won game one at home 8-5. Game two (also at home) 5-0. They then moved to the Sudbury Community Arena where they won 8-5 again to go up three-zip in the series.

Game four is tomorrow night from Sudbury and, again, we will try to get coverage of the series up here on the site.

Devils Win Draft Lottery, Will Pick First in June

For the second time in two years, the New Jersey Devils will pick first overall in the NHL Draft. The Devils won the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery tonight in Toronto and will now have the rights to pick centerman Jack Hughes in Vancouver in June.

The Devils had an 11.5-percent chance of moving into the top position, a 33.9-percent chance of getting a top three pick and could drop no lower than the sixth pick.

The Rangers will pick second and the Chicago Blackhawks third – they were both teams that moved up in the Draft as well.

Hughes, who plays at John Hynes’ old stomping grounds of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program in the USHL according to Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com, is the number one rated player by NHL Central Scouting among North American skaters. The 17-year-old 5-feet, 10-inch, 170-pound center led the USA “NTDP with 86 points (23 goals, 63 assists) in 41 games” this season according to Morreale and “holds the NTDP records for assists (139) and points (202) in 101 games over two seasons.”

Morreale quoted Dan Marr, who is the director of NHL Central Scouting as saying: “Jack is an elite skater who plays the game at top speed both with and without the puck, he sees the ice tremendously well and finds open space to create scoring chances. He has a complete package of skills that suggest he will be a franchise NHL player and game-changer.”

Of course, the Devils could always use the pick on Kaapo Kakko of TPS of Liiga in his native Finland. Kakko was the number one rated International skater by NHL Central Scouting. He is 6-feet, 2-inches tall and weighs 194 pounds and “scored 22 goals in 45 games, a record for a first-time draft-eligible player in Liiga” according to Morreale. In addition, Morreale said that “Kakko’s 0.84 points per game ranks fourth on the single-season list of under-18 players in Liiga.”

According to Goran Stubb, NHL director of European Scouting, as told to Morreale: “Kakko has excellent offensive instincts, is dangerous around the net and also a good passer and playmaker. He could be NHL-ready as early as next season after playing two seasons (51 games) in the men’s league.”

We will get a chance to see Kakko play again, as he is going to play in the 2019 World Championship in May for Team Finland.

That being said, the Devils will likely use the pick for Hughes and the Rangers will use theirs on Kakko, which should add even more of an edge to the rivalry. This will be reminiscent of 2017 when the Flyers ended up with the second pick (taking Nolan Patrick) while the Devils got the first overall pick and Nico Hischier.

No matter what, though, rejoice Devils fans because tonight our rebuild just a major shot in the arm!

The 2019 NHL Draft takes place on June 21 and 22, 2019 from Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

Shero Signed to Extension; Hynes Named to Worlds

According to Marc Ciampa, who writes for the Devils’ official website, “General Manager Ray Shero has been given a contract extension.”

Ciampa said that it was “a multi-year contract extension” announced today by Devils Managing Partner Josh Harris. He quoted Harris as saying: “I’m incredibly optimistic about the future. My optimism starts with what you can’t see, what goes on off the ice with our front office and coaching staff.”

He continued that Coach “John (Hynes) did an excellent job creating a culture, players that care who want to win. I’m incredibly optimistic about continuing to work with Ray. We’re investing across the board in every area. More scouting out there, hiring analytics people, hiring sports science people. That’s how you build a winner. You start with excellence off the ice and then you get it on the ice. We extended Ray and as you know we extended John. We have a good young core with Nico and Jesper. There are no shortcuts to the top, there are only shortcuts to the middle. Ultimately, we’re going to get where we need to be which is an elite team who can compete for the Stanley Cup.”

According to Ciampa, Harris concluded: “Thank you for your trust and we’re not going to let you down.”

This is good news, I feel, due to Shero’s insistance on getting things done the right way. Not to point fingers at a rival, but the Philadelphia Flyers are a team that was on track to do things similar to how Shero is doing it (build through the Draft, be patient, etc.) under Ron Hextall.

Then ownership went into a panic, wanted to win now and fired Hextall. Now their GM Chuck Fletcher is vaguely talking about blowing things up and starting over. Not a reflection on Fletcher, just that the Flyers’ ownership went into panic mode too early and did not allow things to develop in an organic manner.

Shero and the ownership group is doing things slowly (maybe too slow for some fans, but that’s another story for another time) and letting the young players develop and building through the Draft and not exclusively through free agency. Shero is absolutely correct when he says that free agency should be a supplement to a team built through means that are less of a crapshoot.

The Devils are in good hands for the time being and that stability is something that we should all appreicate as Devils fans.

In another bit of Devils-related news, head coach John Hynes has been selected as an assistant coach for Team USA at the upcoming IIHF World Championships. He will serve under Detroit Red Wings’ coach Jeff Blashill (who takes the post for the third straight year) along with Dan Bylsma and Kevin Reiter. The news comes via USA Hockey.

In addition, Devils equipment manager Chris Scoppetto will also be working with Team USA at the Worlds. Congratulations to both men on this honor.

The World Championships take place May 10-26 in Kosice and Bratislava, Slovakia.