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Brodeur: ‘It’s going to be a challenge to make the playoffs’

Jul 13, 2013, 12:01 PM EDT

Martin Brodeur Getty Images

With Ilya Kovalchuk gone and headed to Russia, future Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur says making the playoffs could be a struggle.

Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger spoke with Brodeur to get his thoughts on what life after Kovalchuk will be like and it’s trepidatious at best.

“I think it’s going to be a wait and see. It’s going to be a challenge to make the playoffs,” Brodeur admitted. “Without Kovy, not having the 30 goals that Clarkie (David Clarkson) scored and the departure of Zach (Zach Parise), now it becomes tougher for us. Especially with Detroit coming in and Columbus just fell short last year.”

Roster upheaval of one kind or another is nothing new for New Jersey. Losing Parise, Clarkson, and Kovalchuk in back-to-back years proves that. As Brodeur noted in the story, people are always eager to count the Devils out when these things happen.

With realignment and the semi-late announcement by Kovalchuk, this could be their biggest test to date to overcome drama and make the postseason.

Related: With Kovalchuk gone, Devils pursue Damien Brunner

  1. mianfr - Jul 13, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    Without people currently on the roster significantly elevating their talent level from the previous system, this team isn’t close to making the playoffs…

    They’re not a few bounces away, they’re “Adam Henrique becomes Evgeni Malkin AND Cory Schneider becomes vintage Hasek” away.

    Ask Tampa how hard it is to make the playoffs even when you have two elite players and mostly middling talent elsewhere. The Devils won’t even really have that…

    • nj666 - Jul 13, 2013 at 12:17 PM

      The devils were fine pre kovalchuk, they’ll be fine post kovalchuk. People always seem to look past elias being an amazing offensive producer.

      • cofran2004 - Jul 13, 2013 at 12:38 PM

        yeah, because they still had parise. bad point is bad.

      • nj666 - Jul 13, 2013 at 12:40 PM

        bad point is bad? learn some english pal.

      • mianfr - Jul 13, 2013 at 7:24 PM

        You should learn some English as well, specifically the word tautology.

        Also, the Devils, with Clarkson, Parise, and Kovalchuk were a 6 seed and then missed the playoffs with just Clarkson and Kovalchuk.

        Now they have none of those players.

  2. rpiotr01 - Jul 13, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Now watch them go out and make it to the finals again. I’m not a Devils fan but seems like something this team will pull off.

  3. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jul 13, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    If Schneider and Brodeur have unreal seasons and the D steps up then the loss of offense may not hurt them as much as people think it will.

  4. snipedanglecelly13 - Jul 13, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    I know replacing kovy is impossible but brunner will be a nice pick up if they sign him. He will give the devils 25-30 goals easy! I wish he would’ve resigned with Detroit

  5. martysbetter - Jul 13, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    I think if you wanted to be optimistic – if Henrique and Larsson both have breakthrough years, if Schneider and Marty prove to be a great goaltending combo, if Elias plays like Elias and turns Ryder into a 30 goal scorer again, if a young player suprises, and if nobody gets injured….they miiiight make the playoffs.

  6. 950003cups - Jul 13, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    Here’s the fact. WE ARE TOAST!! Brodeur’s last year (likely) and this is the team he has?

    To put it softly. We’re gonna suck for 2 years.

  7. bronconation7 - Jul 13, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Let’s just hope we don’t panic and do another Clowe-type deal (too long and too much). Say what you want about Kovy but he’s a spectacular talent. He also played hard for us but his move was truly a selfish move of the worst kind considering what we gave up for him and how the fans rallied around him.
    When he’s an old man he’ll regret this decision to not continue to compete against the world’s best. To help me move forward I would hope Parise comes out and says that he was going to Minnesota not matter what and it didn’t matter that the Devils kept on holding out on his deal b/c of Kovy’s monster contract. B/c if it’s the opposite then it makes this situation that much worse. ……

    The reason the wheels fell off last season was a four-prong effect. The first is that not many teams do well coming off a season where they go through the rigors of long Stanley Cup run to the Finals and then lose their captain who happens to be their 1st of 2nd best player. The second was losing Brodeur for a long stretch and having a a huge drop-off in net (the Moose was loose with the awful goals he gave up). The third was Zajac and Henrique playing nowhere near their potential (I’ll give Zajac the excuse of the pressure of a new contract and Henrique an excuse b/c he started the season with ligament tears in his thumb). The fourth was the total lack of production from our defense. Yes, they played solid but we need some sort of offensive threat from them.

    That being said, losing Parise, Clarkson, and now Kovy’s production (about 100-110 goals) will take years to address. Ryder is a start but we signed him to a 2 year deal and he’s 33 so he’s not a long term solution. Our farm system is also terribly weak when it comes to offensive stud forwards (with the exception of Boucher who is only 19). We fixed the Marty situation with Schneider. I think Zajac and Henrique should bounce back, but more focus will be on them by defenses b/c of the hole left by Kovy. Our defense should get some more offensive minded help if Lou truly thinks our young D-men in the minors are ready. They are the strength of our farm system and are mostly offensive-minded with strong shots. A couple of them should be very capable of running the point to help boost our awful PP.

    Usually when you make a deal with the Devil, the Devil wins. Unfortunately it was quite the opposite this time. If Parise truly left b/c of Kovy’s contract situation then we sold the heart of our team and a true Devil for a MERC with no loyalty or honor in the end. I was blinded by the flash of Kovy (helped take us within 2 games of the Cup) and his talent but I it’s time to go back to basics. As Lou has said many times before, “there’s a reason the team’s name is on the front and the player’s name is on the back”. Let’s try that again. Remember that we’re the Devils, a team amongst teams. And as much as the NHL doesn’t want to see it happen the Devils will rise again. Might even be sooner than later. In Lou We Trust!

    One last thing Mr. Lamoriello. Please remember, that on your journey there might be a familiar-looking little old witch at the end of the road with a Big Apple (of course that’s a shot at that other team across the river). She might even have a Russian accent. Just tell her no thanks, and that the last one left a bad taste in your mouth. Mostly b/c it almost killed ya.

    • kevbelz - Jul 16, 2013 at 11:22 PM

      Lots of words… lots of words.
      Clowe will be your number 2 scorer next season – No matter who the Devils sign or trade for.
      You can count on that. The Devils are about to be bankrupt and Kovalchuk leaving just bought them another year possibly. Even if Brodeur retired, freeing up some more salary, Clowe is still the best they are gonna get.

  8. Stiller43 - Jul 13, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Im surprised with this bleak of an outlook, that brodeur doesnt just up and retire right now.

    • bronconation7 - Jul 13, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      You don’t get to be the greatest of all time at your position b/c you listened to all of the doubters and naysayers.

  9. blackheart78 - Jul 13, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    I never got this team out as long as Lou is GM.

    • blackheart78 - Jul 13, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      “Count” I meant.

      • bronconation7 - Jul 13, 2013 at 2:09 PM

        Great clip!!!!

  10. isithockeyseasonyet - Jul 13, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    What are the odds of the devils to make the playoffs now? Might be a good bet to take, always seems like the devils are supposed to fall off the map and they never do

  11. kane987245 - Jul 13, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    Are people aware that The Devils have made the playoffs many, many times before Kovy and have MISSED the playoffs more times in their history WITH him than previously before him? Devils only missed the playoffs once going into 2010. Since acquiring him they missed it TWICE in 4 seasons. Yes, that included a run to the Finals but the Devils were doing tremendous before he came there.

    They will be doing fine without him. Especially long term.

  12. modellforprez - Jul 13, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    ..They can use what the or who i should say and band together adopt that ol adage us against the world crap that works for teams and see what happens. im saying they really dont have nothing to lose at this point. Just prey that Devil worshippers show up david puddy style. you guys ready? LETS GET IT ON. WH

  13. LampyB - Jul 13, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    Trepidacious? Were you just reading a thesaurus or what? Totally out of context for a sports article. Lol

  14. joeyashwi - Jul 14, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    It could be worse Devils fans. You could have a team like my Wild who have been “rebuilding” for twenty years. Even with Parise and Suter we barely snuck into the playoffs last year and have now lost Setoguchi, Cullen, Bouchard, and Clutterbuck. Oh, we picked up Cooke….
    The Devils always seem to find a way to win. Kovy may score a lot but what was his plus/minus? Just curious as I have no idea.

    • bronconation7 - Jul 14, 2013 at 5:39 PM

      A minus 32 as a Devil. A minus 84 as a Thrasher. Steadily, he was becoming a responsible Devils hockey player. At the end of his contract he might have been close to even as Devil.

      We feel your pain Wild fans. Parise’s a great one but he’s going to need some help. It’s unfortunate that you lost so many players but Parise already knew the track record of your Wild. There’s also 98 millions other reasons I don’t feel bad for him. Even typing that out feels insane.

  15. larrybiv - Jul 14, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    If they make the PO’s, it’ll PROVE that their owner made a pact and sold his soul to Lucifer himself.

  16. blackhawks2010 - Jul 14, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Cue Schneider……

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