New Jersey Devils Head Out West Looking to Regroup

levinakl@levinaklCorrespondent IIIJanuary 10, 2009

The New Jersey Devils finished up their recent homestand with about as bad a game as you would expect them to play all season. 

They lost 4-0 to the Atlanta Thrashers, a team that hadn't shut out an opponent all season.  For the Devils, it was the fourth time this season they were shutout, and all four were at the Prudential Center.

According to some sources, including the Bergen Record's Fire & Ice Blog , there have been some issues the team has been dealing with in the locker room.  Perhaps this could help explain why the team has seemed so out of focus of late.  

Maybe going to the West Coast will give this team exactly what it needs, will allow it to regroup, get away from any distractions at home, and get back to where they were a few weeks ago.

Now, don't take this as a sign of panic, the Devils are still in a good position in the standings.  But, with a good road trip, they can move themselves into a very good position, and challenge for a spot at the top of the Atlantic Division.

The Devils play Los Angeles tonight, and then play Anaheim tomorrow night.  The Western part of the road trip concludes Tuesday in Vancouver.  Before returning home, the Devils will stop in Columbus for a Friday night matchup with the Blue Jackets.

The Devils rush back to the New York area for a Saturday night tilt with the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum, and then a quick trip to Nashville on the 19th.  Then it is home for a matchup with Montreal on the 21st, and the All-Star Break follows.

NOTES:  Congratulations to Zach Parise on his first selection as an All-Star.  Watching this man's career thus far, I'd expect it to be the first of many more yet to come.  As for Patrik Elias, the NHL has to find a way to not leave out a top 10 scorer.  It's a shame the NHL disrespected him and the Devils by leaving him off the All-Star

Congratulations to Brian Rolston, who is expected to play in his 1000th NHL game tonight in Los Angeles.  Of the 1000, tonight will be Rolston's 371st in a Devils uniform.  At least surprising to me, that's the most of the teams he has played with in his career.  (Bruins 338, Wild 241, Avalanche 50).

Martin Brodeur has started off-ice workouts and is still set for a late February/early March return.  Let's hope his workouts progress quickly, but most importantly, to the extent it helps Marty return close to his all-time form.