A new look in goal and a new forward up front are the lineup changes for the New Jersey Devils Tuesday night as they meet the 4-0-1 Bruins in Boston.
Boston defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-3, in Carolina Monday night, while the Devils are coming off an overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens Sunday night, 4-3.
Johan Hedberg will make his first start of the season and it has been quite a while between appearances for the 39-year-old veteran, dating all the way back to first round of the playoffs, when he replaced Martin Brodeur in Game 3 back on April 17, 2012. As for getting a start, that dates back to a regular season win over the Islanders on April 3, 2012.
So, as you might imagine, Hedberg, signed for this season and next as the New Jersey backup, is delighted that his time has finally come.
“I’m prepared for however they want to play it,” Hedberg told reporters Monday. “Playing or sitting, it’s still a matter of being prepared and being ready when it’s time to play. It’s been a long time. I’m excited to get back and play in a game again.”
And it figures to be a stiff test too, as the Bruins have gotten off to a strong start. But Hedberg has proven to be a very capable performer. No longer "The Moose" of playoff fame with the Penguins earlier in his career, Hedberg has formed a capable partnership with Brodeur and was 17-7-2 in 2011-12 with a 2.23 goals-against average, .918 save percentage anf four shutouts.
"Fifteen years ago, maybe there wasn’t too many guys over 35," Hedberg told the Bergen Record's Tom Gulitti. "Thirty five nowadays, there’s still guys who are 35 that sign four-year deals. If you take care of yourself and work hard and enjoy it, I think you can play as long as your body allows you to. I’m sure there are things that are different from 20 to 40, but you learn other things too on the way with experience to make up for some lost speed or whatever it might be that we lose. But, I don’t feel that I’m necessarily slower today than I was 10 years ago. I hope not at least.”
Forward thinking — Mattias Tedenby has been sent to the AHL's Albany Devils presumably for some playing time and to stop spinning his wheels. Gulitti speculated AHL All-Star Bobby Butler will take his place.
“He’s trying so hard,” GM Lamoriello said of Tedenby. “He’s doing everything asked of him, but he’s trying so hard. He skates so fast. He’s just got to settle down a little and go to Albany and have some success and get his game under control because he’s certainly a prospect. He’s still young. .. Teddy just has to keep the game simple, make the easy play, keep it simple. He wants to do well.”
“It’s tough because he’s such a good kid and he does have NHL skill, but he’s still a young guy and this is the best league the world and sometimes it takes a little longer to learn the trade and where you fit for some guys,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “He’d be on a long list of guys that didn’t make it yet at 22 or 23 on a consistent basis, but still turn into good players at the end of the day.”
Another decision – If you're a betting man, the odds would seem high that rookie Stefan Matteau will be returned to the junior ranks soon. He has played four games so far and not looked out of place. But if he plays more than six games, the first year of his entry level contract kicks in and that isn't a wise move for the Devils who would logically want to see him getting a lot of ice time in the junior ranks rather than be a third ro fourth liner in the NHL with limited ice time.
“Nobody has said anything about it yet,” he said. “I’m guessing I’ll fine out in the next few days. I’ve been taking it day-by-day from the beginning and it’s not going to change because there’s one game left or however you want to look a it.”
Lamoriello said he’s “not sure yet” what the decision will be on Matteau.
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