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there was not a robust

in BullyGeister 01.11.2018 04:38
von elaine95 | 412 Beiträge

NEWARK Alex Tuch Jersey Kids , N.J. (AP) The worst season in nearly three decades is just a recent memory, and so is the five-year drought.The New Jersey Devils are back in the playoffs, and again in the hunt for the Stanley Cup. It’s like old times.The Devils completed a remarkable comeback season by beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 on Thursday night to clinch their first postseason berth since making it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012.It capped an offseason and regular season that saw general manager Ray Shero reshape half his 25-man roster through free agency, the draft and trades and have John Hynes make all the right moves to keep his team in a playoff position every day of the season.Not bad for a club that won 28 games and finished last in the Eastern Conference in 2016-17.”This is the best, the best,” said veteran defenseman Ben Lovejoy, who won a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2016. ”My first stint in Pittsburgh and Anaheim and then again in Pittsburgh, I never appreciated what baseball players did. I thought it was stupid when they would come in and have champagne when they made the playoffs. I get it now. Making the playoffs is hard.”The Devils can point to so many players in bouncing back from their worst season since 1988-89. Taylor Hall (39 goals, 54 assists) had a career year that teammates feel merits the Hart Trophy as the league MVP. Top draft pick Nico Hischier overcame a slow start to have 19 goals and 51 points. Free agent Will Butcher set a team record for rookie defensemen with 44 points.The unsung hero was goaltender Keith Kinkaid, who stepped for an injured Cory Schneider and carried the team over the final 10 weeks, going 10-1-1 in the last 12 games and helping the New York-metropolitan area avoid being shut out of the postseason for the first time since the Devils took up residence in New Jersey in 1982. The Rangers and Islanders will miss the postseason.”It’s fun, but playoffs are a new breed,” said Kinkaid, who re-signed with the team in the offseason despite being an unrestricted free agent.There are only two players left from the Devils’ 2011-12 team: defenseman and captain Andy Greene, and Travis Zajac, who centers the line Hynes’ uses against the opponent’s top line.While there have been lean years, Zajac said the Devils rediscovered themselves this season. They practiced and played hard http://www.goldenknightsshoponline.com/authentic-brad-hunt-jersey , and made sure opponents knew they were in for a battle every game.The results have been a 44-28-9 record that includes a 25-8-9 mark in one-goal games. It was a record that reminded many of the old Devils, a franchise that made the playoffs 20 of 22 times and won three Cups between 1989-90 and 2011-12.This group, however, skates faster and is relentless.Last year, the Devils were disappointing underachievers. Their biggest sin was failing to compete every night. And they paid the price, especially down the stretch when they went 3-17-4.Hynes and Shero changed that. It started with the roster makeover that included the signing of veteran Brian Boyle, and an attitude readjustment.”It’s a different skill set and youth,” said Shero, who also strengthened the team during the season by acquiring defenseman Sami Vatanen and forwards Michael Grabner and Patrick Maroon in trades. ”But they had to fight, they clawed and scraped to get what they’ve got and they’ve earned it.”With a game to play, the Devils won’t learn their first-round opponent until Saturday at the earliest. They are the top wild-card team in the Eastern Conference, and they will at least stay there if they win at Washington on Saturday night. They also could go up or down depending on what Columbus, Philadelphia, Florida and Pittsburgh do.It really doesn’t matter. The Devils are just looking forward to the postseason.”You go into this year thinking it’s going to be a bigger challenge,” said Boyle, who provided inspiration by overcoming cancer early in the season. ”Plenty of people were writing us off. It makes it pretty sweet to clinch. I have just tried to tell everyone: `It’s going to be so much fun. You have never played hockey this fun in your life until you play playoff hockey.”’— SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Evander Kane knew San Jose was a good fit when Joe Thornton showed up for a late-night airport pickup following a trade deadline deal.That comfort was only reinforced over the next 10 weeks on the ice and in the dressing room. It left Kane with an easy choice as he headed toward free agency.Kane bypassed a chance at the open market by signing a seven-year deal Thursday worth $49 million to stay with the Sharks for the long term.”It’s good to be wanted and I wanted them just as much as they wanted me Cody Eakin Jersey ,” Kane said. ”The fact that we were able to work out a deal so quickly reflects that. Obviously, when you’re a free agent you have the option to do what you want and I made it clear to them that I didn’t want to go anywhere else.”Kane will be paid $9 million the first year of the deal, followed by salaries of $8 million, $6 million, $7 million, $7 million and two years at $6 million, according to a person familiar with the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity because terms were not released. He also has a limited no-trade clause.Kane, who turns 27 in August, was acquired from Buffalo at the trade deadline in February and became a key part of San Jose’s team down the stretch and in the playoffs.Under the terms of that trade, the Sabres will get a first-round pick in 2019 instead of a second-rounder because Kane signed with San Jose. The selection is lottery-protected, so it could be moved to 2020.The Sharks aren’t concerned about that price.”You don’t find guys like this unless you’re picking in the top three, four guys in the draft, and no one wants to be there,” coach Peter DeBoer said.”When you’re signing free agents, especially elite players and guys that are going to play huge roles for you, you really want to know about them as much as possible. And you really don’t know a player until you stand behind the bench and are around them every day. So that was a nice luxury to have. I think we all felt comfortable that this was a guy that could help us win.”Kane’s status was one of the biggest questions heading into this offseason for the Sharks, who were knocked out of the playoffs in six games in the second round against eventual Western Conference champion Vegas.Thornton is the other prominent potential free agent on the team. But he’s said he’s willing to come back on a reduced one-year deal.The Sharks still have salary cap flexibility to make more moves Youth Colin Miller Jersey , which will be easier now that Kane’s deal is done and he can be slotted in on a top line.”He plays with great speed and fits with not only our game but where the league is trending,” general manager Doug Wilson said.”To get him in place and secured was very important to us. Top-six forwards like that, there aren’t many out there and when you get one you want to make sure that he’s secured. It fills in our roster.”Kane stepped right onto the top line with captain Joe Pavelski after arriving in San Jose and helped ease the loss of Thornton, who went down with a season-ending knee injury in January. Kane used speed and physical play to deliver nine goals and five assists in 17 games and helped San Jose make the playoffs, giving him a first taste of the postseason.Kane shined in the first round with three goals and an assist during a sweep against Anaheim. But he struggled a bit against the Golden Knights, slowed by injuries to his knee and shoulder that lingered from the end of the regular season.He had one goal and a minus-5 rating in five games against Vegas. He missed Game 2 of that series when he was suspended for cross-checking Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.Kane finished last season with 29 goals and 25 assists, his second-most productive season to his 30-goal, 27-assist run for the Jets in 2011-12. Kane has 186 goals and 168 assists in 574 games since entering the NHL as the fourth overall pick by Atlanta in 2009.Despite his credentials, there was not a robust trade market for Kane back in February in part because he had issues off the ice with some teammates during his stints with Winnipeg and Buffalo.Kane also had legal run-ins.In March 2016, prosecutors announced after a three-month investigation that Kane would not face a sexual assault charge. In June 2016, he was arrested for allegedly grabbing three women by the hair and neck during an altercation at a Buffalo bar. The charges were eventually dismissed on condition Kane stayed out of trouble as part of a plea agreement.Also that year, the Sabres suspended Kane for one game for missing practice a day after pictures surfaced on social media of the player celebrating in Toronto after attending the NBA All-Star Game.There haven’t been issues in his brief time with the Sharks.”We really started things off on the right note and it just carried on from there,” Kane said. ”The one thing about this team and this group and this organization is that they allow you to be yourself. They embrace you for that. It’s a very unselfish group that makes it super easy to come into and mesh well with.”—AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow contributed to this report—

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