Since we are at the Olympic break and things will get a little quiet around here for the next 2 weeks, I thought this would be the perfect time to write some posts that I've been meaning to do for a while. As a side note, Bloguin has a special Olympics Hockey blog up at http://www.olympichockeyblog.com/ and we will also be following the 5 Devils that are playing in the Olympics.
The Olympics break comes at the perfect time for this team, at least in my opinion it does. The Devils, in their last 17 games are 5-10-2 and have lost six in a row on the road. They head into the break with a 1 point lead for the Atlantic Division over the Pittsburgh Penguins who lost 4-3 in a shootout to Nashville yesterday afternoon.
For the guys not playing in Vancouver, it's a time to go home, relax a little bit and get energized for the final 6 week grind to the playoffs. The good news for the Devils is that the team expects to have Martin and Clarkson back in the lineup when they take the ice March 2nd in San Jose. For the guys that are playing in Vancouver, I think most of them can handle not getting any time off. As much as I would like to see Marty represent his country as the number one goalie, most of me hopes that Team Canada chooses Luongo over Marty so that he gets some rest. Even if Marty is picked as the guy for Team Canada, I know he won't play EVERY game for them.
The New Jersey 5 in Vancouver 2010
My biggest concern at the Olympics is the risk of injury. Let's face it, our top guys are playing and this tournament is going to be intense and require these guys to give it their all. We can't afford to see Parise, Eliase, Langebrunner, Kovalchuk or Marty go down with an injury that will impact this team on March 2nd. As much as I hope to see Team USA win a gold medal, I am just hoping our 5 come home without injury. Gold medals are great but I'd much rather get another cup.
The Olympic Schedule that features New Jersey Devils playing over the next few days will be:
Tuesday February 16th
United States vs Switzerland
3:00 PM EST - Ice Hockey - Men's Preliminary Round - Group A Game 1
Canada vs Norway
7:30 PM EST - Ice Hockey - Men's Preliminary Round - Group A Game 2
Wednesday February 17th
Russian Federation vs Latvia
12:00 AM EST - Ice Hockey - Men's Preliminary Round - Group B Game 3
Thursday February 18th
Czech Republic vs Slovakia
12:00 AM EST - Ice Hockey - Men's Preliminary Round - Group B Game 6