New Jersey Devils: What in the Name of Ilya Kovalchuk Is Going on Here?

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New Jersey Devils:  What in the Name of Ilya Kovalchuk Is Going on Here?
Nick Laham/Getty Images
The expression on the face of Johan Hedberg says it all. The Devils can't seem to figure out how to fix the mess they have created.

The New Jersey Devils have played 27 games this season, and are an astounding 8-17-2.  Yes, that's right, the Devils, who have made the playoffs every season since 1995-96, sit at 29th in the standings overall, ahead of only the New York Islanders.  It isn't hard to find numbers that many Devils fans find nauseating.

Where to begin?

  • 53 goals for (including shootout winning "goals"): 30th in NHL
  • 51 actual goals scored in 29 games, an astounding and almost hard to fathom pathetic goals per game of 1.76
  • 88 goals against, which technically is tied for 23rd in the league, not quite up to normal Devils standards to say the least
  • Power-play percentage, 14.6 percent overall, 26th in the NHL


Take a look at the plus/minus category; it's a real eye-opener:

Of the Devils players to play more than 15 games thus far, the best plus/minus on the team is Matt Taormina and Matthew Corrente, both at minus-two.  The worst?  Andy Greene at minus-19, Ilya Kovalchuk at minus-18, followed by Henrik Tallinder at minus-16 and David Clarkson at minus-13, mixed in with Dainius Zubrus and Jamie Langenbrunner at minus-12.  I tend to think plus/minus is an overrated stat, but come on now; it doesn't take much to realize these numbers are very ugly to say the least.

It also doesn't take much effort to realize that these numbers are simply unacceptable, and I don't think the most avid Devil haters could have even come up with this scenario in their wildest dreams.  While it could take days to figure out all the reasons why the Devils are disappointing, let's take a look at the biggest reasons the Devils find themselves in the current mess of a situation they find themselves.

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