Devils Goalie Problems Continue

Welcome to another edition of the drama that is “Devils Goaltending.”

The team released the news today that Mackenzie Blackwood has tested positive for COVID and has entered into COVID protocol. Team reporter Sam Kasan wrote on the news in a post on the “Inside the Devils Blog.”

Because of that, Jon Gillies will make his second start for the Devils on Thursday at the New York Islanders Kasan writes.

Head coach Lindy Ruff was quoted by Kasan as saying “It’s a greater challenge for us. Gillies will step in and play, we need to play well in front of him.”

Devils defenseman Ryan Graves added “Gillies is a good goalie. He’s a big guy and we trust him. I thought he looked good in the game we played earlier this year.”

Graves continued “This season gives guys opportunities. It’s one of the good things over the last few years, guys that maybe weren’t going to get games are now getting games. He’s one of those guys that will benefit from it. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do. He’s a guy that’s had a longer road. It’s nice to see him get a chance.”

Kasan said that Ruff did not confirm that the Devils will recall Mareks Mitens from Utica, though Kasan feels that they will need him to serve as New Jersey’s backup. This is because of the loss of Jonathan Bernier, who had season-ending hip surgery and with Akira Schmid and Blackwood being unavailable with COVID and Nico Daws out with an injury.

Ruff simply told Kasan “It looks that way yes.”

Devils COVID Update

Some news regarding the Devils and COVID was reported today as the NHL tries to get a handle on the Omicron variant.

According to Sam Kasan of the Inside the Devils Blog, Tomas Tatar and newly acquired goalie Jon Gillies have entered into COVID Protocol. On the other side and in more encouraging news, Nico Hischier, Jesper Boqvist, Ryan Graves, PK Subban and Christian Jaros have all been removed from the Protocol list.

Again, as confirmed by the Devils on Christmas Eve, the game tomorrow (Monday, December 27) at the St. Louis Blues has been postponed to a later date.

In other news as the hockey world continues to turn, today marks the beginning of the 2022 World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta.

The Devils have four prospects playing in the annual tournament: defenseman Luke Hughes of the USA, forward Alexander Holtz of Sweden, who was allowed by the Devils to participate in this year’s tournament after already playing in six NHL games in 2021-22, Shakir Mukhamadullin of Russia and goaltender Jakub Malek of Czechia.

We will have a post up later tonight/early tomorrow morning recapping the first day of action at the 2022 WJC.