Fighting through a Slump

      Every body loves to go out and catch fish but sometimes the fish don’t seem to cooperate. One bad day could turn into two bad days, which could turn into three bads, and before you know it your in a slump. Right now im in a slump ive caught one 11″ bass in the last two trips. Believe me it gets frustrating!! But don’t let that get to you.
    Even though most fisherman are too stubborn to admit it, One of the most common mistakes people make while in a dry spell is to question there abilities as well as over think there tactic and approach to getting over the hump and landing a quality fish.

      Here’s a couple tips to get out of a slump.

   Never question your abilities and remember you had to be in a wet spell first in order to be in a dry spell. Instead take a step back and think about what was working for you in the past. Get back to basics of what has always worked for you while making a few adjustments.
      People tend to be creatures of habit and when we catch fish in one spot we go right back to it the next time out and repeat the pattern. Well guess what, the fish don’t know the pattern, they move up and down a body of water in search of food or the next cool hang out. Instead of switching your lures every 3 casts and beating the same dead horse, use the lures that have always worked and explore a new part of the lake. Chances are you have the right set up but are casting at nothing. Be patient, slow down, don’t let frustrating set in.

   Always keep in the back of your mind that dry spells end, sooner or later You go crashing through the barrier you thought was unbreakable and catch the fish of a life time. I like to call it “paying your dues”. Stick to it don’t give up, don’t let frustration kick in, and sooner or later your dues get paid and the slump is over.

Devils 0-2 against Blues

         The Devils lost 4-3 to the Blues last night, though a comeback seemed unlikely during the 3rd they nearly pulled it off. Here is some of take aways from the game.

1. Clowe was injured in the first period. If you rewatch the play it appears to be a head injury. This isn’t good for multiple reasons, Clowe is actually a good locker room presence, and really isn’t a bad player when he gets going. We can probably replace his skill with Stephane Mattuea. Mattuea may even be better at this point but it’s mostly the locker room presence that will be tough to swallow if this is long term.

2. Turnovers, all game long I saw everyone on the Devils make terrible turnovers. No one is excluded from this. You can not win a game with that amount of turnovers against a team like the Blues.

3. It’s time for Zajac and Jagr to be split up. They played great together last year but it’s not last year. Jagr held the puck far too long when he had it and Zajac can’t finish to save his life right now. Perhaps Jagr would be better suited with Henrique when he his back.

4. Again i saw no attitude from this team. In the first period when Schneider was knocked over, and the goal by the Blues wasn’t allowed, no one stepped in and came to Schneider defense. Obvliosly Schneider wasn’t hit on purpose but it doesn’t matter. They need to make teams second guess going to the net hard. There is no tenacity in this team.

5. Too slow. We all know the Devils are an older, slower team and it really really showed these last two games. Almost everyone except Brunner and Sislo was caught up to when they had the puck. It’s definitely time to get faster and younger.

6. Ruttuu is basically the same player as Zubrus except he is faster with more skill and plays with a physical edge. I don’t care what Deboer says, neither are first line players but Ruttuu and Zubrus should be reversed on the depth chart.

7. Ryder had a pretty good game. He was generating chances all game long and finally at the end he put 2 in the net. He is a streaky scorer and always has been, maybe he’s ready for a few more goals.

8. Patrick Elias looked lost last night. I don’t know if he has an injury he is keeping a secret but he doesn’t look right. There is no jump in his step and he is turning the puck over more then he is doing good. I’m for giving a player like this a chance to find his groove but if he has a game tonight like last night its time he gets dropped to the 3rd line.

9. One thing I did like is that the Devils never gave up. Sure they seemed out of it and beaten but they almost pulled off a huge comeback. This doesn’t absolve them from the loss but at least they showed an effort through the end.

Tonight the take on Detroit. Hopefully they can pull off the road win and get back on track.

By Steve Vullo
Follow me on Twitter @ussfishkiller

Devils take on the Blues in St. Louis

Here are some notes on tonight’s game.
Devils 6-4-2.     Blues 8-3-1

Projected lines for New Jersey

Forward lines
Clowe – Zajac – Jagr
Zubrus – Elias – Ryder
Brunner – Josefson – Bernier
Ruuttu – Gionta – Sislo

Defense lines
Greene – Severson
Gelinas – Larsson
Salvador – Zidlicky


Projected lines for St. Louis

Berglund – Backes – Jaskin
Steen – Stastny – Lindstrom
Schwartz – Lehtera – Tarasenko
Ott – Lapierre – Reaves

Defense lines
Bouwmeester – Pietrangelo
Gunnarsson – Shatenkirk
Cole – Jackman


Keys to the game

– Shut down Tarasenko, the Devils need to shut this guy down. He’s been on fire lately and scored the only goal two nights ago at prudential center. One way to stop the Blues is to stop Tarasenko.

– Watch the turnovers, the Devils had too many turnovers in the last match up. they need to play a smart sound game and breakout of the zone better and get there transision game going. Doing this will let them gain the zone with control of the puck instead of dumping and chasing.

– I touched on this before and I’ll do it again. STAY DICIPLINED!! The pk is awful right now, and though it has showed signs of improvement it’s still a work in progress. They can’t afford to spoon feed the Blues chances.

– Salvador needs to do a better job plane and simple. Too many fans see it to just be a coincidence, he sucks. Every time I see a goal go in I see Sal out of position or just standing there, screening his own goalie. I also have not seen any of the physical play Deboer speaks of, unless you count missing checks as being physical. You want to beat teams like the Blues then get the captains head out his ass or scratch him.

– last game I saw Damian Brunner get hit twice after the whistle and no body responded. This team needs to start showing they won’t be pushed around and they should start that tonight.

– Schneider again is going to need to be sharp. He played one of his best games of the season, as long as he duplicates that performance the Devils will have a chance to win.

– Tonight completes the home and home series with the Blues. Tomorrow night the Devils face the Red Wings in Detroit.

By Steve Vullo
Follow me on Twitter @ussfishkiller

Lou Lamorielo’s successor

   For as far back as I can remember the only person at the helm of the NJ Devils is  Lou Lamorielo. He has been the general manager and president of hockey operations since 1987, he’s also the longest tenured GM in an NHL organization.

      When Lou, first arrived to the Devils he inherited a team that had no success, what he has done with NJ has made him one of the most respected GM’S in hockey. His resume includes 3 Stanley Cup Championships and 5 finals appearance’s. In 2009 he was inducted into Hall of Fame, In the builder category, in 2012 he was inducted into the USA hockey Hall of Fame. At this point in his career you have to wonder when will he retire and who will take over the reigns of the New Jersey Devils.

      It’s tough to predict, but at this point I’ll say his son Chris Lamorielo, will become the next GM of Devils hockey. Chris, is currently vice president of hockey operations and GM of the Albany Devils. This to me says he is being molded into the future president of hockey operations and GM of the NJ Devil’s. He would have mighty big shoes to fill but he has no better teacher than his father.

      It’s any ones guess as to when Lou will retire, it’s also any ones guess if ownership has there own person in mind. At this point let’s just enjoy having one of the best and respected GM’S in the game steering the ship. Let’s also hope Mr. Lamorielo has a few tricks up his sleeve for this season and can maybe get the Devils back to the finals once again.

By Steve Vullo
Follow me on Twitter @ussfishkiller

Devils lose 1-0 to Blues

        Last night the Devils played one of the better teams in the league and didnt play a bad game but it wasn’t good enough. Here are some notes on the game.

-Tarasenko is on a fire lately and it showed last night. He had multiple chances in the first period and if not for Schneider he could have had two early.
His persistence paid off as he had the eventual game winner on the power play in the third.

-Corey Schneider played a hell of game. If it wasnt for him the Blues would have been up a couple early. After the game he blamed himself for the go ahead goal, maybe he could have stopped it, maybe Zidlicky shouldn’t have taken a stupid holding penalty in a 0-0 game in the third period. The blame here isnt on Schneider he gave the team a chance to win.

-Speaking of Zidlicky’s penalty, what the hell was he thinking? That was as bad and untimely penalty you could take. A 0-0 game and he takes an unwarranted holding penalty in the third period, against a top 10 power play. You just don’t do that. Last year the Devils had the topped ranked PK and probably would have killed it off but it’s not last year. You HAVE to be more diciplined with the way the PK is struggling.

– The Henrique- Elias – Ryder line was the best line for NJ last night. They generated a scoring chance almost every time they were on the ice. Unfortunately they are a bit snake bitten right now. Henrique and Elias should stay together for a while and when Havlat Is back I think that turns into a very dangerous line.

– Zajac needs to finish these chances. I don’t like beating up on Zajac because he does a lot of other things right and plays the game the right way. However and it’s a big however, if you are going to be the teams top center you need to produce as the teams top center. He is just not doing that, last year he struggled early and then found his game but if the Devils want to remain in the playoff hunt he needs to produce, now. With Cammalleri and Havlat out he needs to step up.

– Steve Bernier I thought played a good first game. He was physical, played smart and was hard on the forcheck. He is definitely an improvement over Tootoo. Speaking of the 4th line Gionta played a good game but that line was better when Josefson was on it. I think the Devils should waive him and sign Gomez. Gomez would make that line better and perhaps a scoring line. He could also be moved up and down the line up throughout the game. Gionta just doesn’t cut it againts better players.

– All in all the Devils played one of the better games they have played this year. The result just wasn’t there. After the goal they became a bit unraveled and couldn’t generate a real scoring chance. The Blues are very well coached and shut the door once they took the lead. The Devils needed to get on the board early and they couldn’t convert and against good teams it’s very hard to come back.

– Tomorrow night the Devils complete the home and home series with the Blues. They need to show up hungry and determined to win. Beating the Blues in St. Louis and snapping the winning streak will go a long way for this groups confidence.

By, Steve Vullo
Follow me on Twitter @ussfishkiller

NJ Devils vs. St. Louis Blues

Here are some notes on tonight’s game.
Devils 6-3-2.     Blues 7-3-1

Projected lines for New Jersey

Forward lines
Zubrus – Zajac – Jagr
Henrique – Elias – Ryder
Clowe – Josefson – Brunner
Ruuttu – Gionta – Bernier

Defense lines
Greene – Severson
Merrill – Larsson
Salvador – Zidlicky


Projected lines for St. Louis

Forward lines
Schwartz – Backes – Lindstrom
Steen – Lehtera – Tarasenko
Jaskin – Berlin – Ott
Reaves – Lapierre – Porter

Defense lines
Bouwmeester – Pietrangelo
Gunnarsson – Shatenkirk
Cole – Jackman


1. For the Devils to win this they will need to stay out of penalty trouble. Through out 11 games they have given other teams too much opportunity on the man advantage. It’s only a matter of time before there power play stops bailing them out.

2. Get pucks deep and keep them there. ST. Louis is a fast team good off the rush, to combat that the Devils need to get pucks deep, work the cycle down low, and not let ST. Louis come through the neutral zone with speed. If they can do that they should be ok.

3. Get on them early. ST. Louis is playing it’s second game in two nights. Last night they played the NYR and it went the distance. ST. Louis won in a shootout. I watched a lot of that game and it was fast and physical. ST. Louis should be on there heels early and the Devils need to take advantage of that before they find there legs.

4. The Devils first line needs to find the back of net. Zajac has gotten off to slow start and needs to start contributing offensively. It hurts not having Cammalleri around but someone on that line needs to score and tonight would be a good night to do it. It’s time Zajac started scoring some goals.

5. Corey Schneider. ST. Louis is going to get chances and probably good ones. Schneider is going to have to be sharp and make some key saves. It’s no coincidence that ST. Louis is on a 5 game winning streak and to snap that it’s going to have to start with Schneider.

By Steve Vullo
Follow me on Twitter @ussfishkiller

Setting the line up

       Today forward Steve Bernier was recalled from Albany and Reid Boucher was sent back down. Here are some quick thoughts on the line up.
        Bernier was inserted on the 4th line with Ruutu and Gionta and Josefson was moved up to the 3rd line with Brunner and Clowe. I think the move for Josefson was warranted as he has earned a shot in the top 9. Bernier on the other hand is a tough one here. He is on a 1 way deal and would have to clear waivers to be sent back down. I’m not against him being in the lineup when we have some injuries but he could be claimed for nothing when Cammalleri and Havlat come back.
That being said 2 people will sit when they return to active duty. This is where things get tricky, who sits?

          At this point I don’t think it should be either Brunner or Josefson as they have brought speed and energy to the line up. They have also more than earned there stay. The best bet to sit is Bernier and in my opinion Gionta. I would move Zubrus and Clowe to the 4th line with Ruuttu. My line combos would look something like this.

Cammalleri – Zajac – Jagr
Henrique- Elias – Havlat
Brunner – Josefson –  Ryder
Clowe – Zubrus – Ruttuu

I think that puts the most skill in your top 9 and most grit on the 4th line. The 4th line would be big, physical and could chip in offensively from time to time.

What do you think the lines should be when everyone is healthy?

BY Steve Vullo
Follow me on Twitter @ussfishkiller



Damon Severson leads Calder race

Early Calder candidate

          So far throughout 10 games we have seen some promising rookies. Some have played well enough to start Calder trophy speculation.
          Tanner Pearson is lighting it up early with 7 goals, 2 assists, and 9 points through 11 games. While impressive in its own right, it helps that he plays on star studded LA Kings team. Closely behind him with 8 points each is Andre Burakovsky and Filip Forsberg. In 4th place in the rookies scoring race is defenseman Damon Severson with 7 points.

           Severson, 20 has 4 goals, 3 assists, is a +6 and is averaging 22 minutes a game. He is doing all of this while playing on the Devils top pair and in every situation. So far through his young career he has been given the job of defending the likes of Ovechkin, Stamkos, and Crosby. Not only did he do it but he put up offensive numbers in the process. This kid shows the poise of veteran, whether it’s leading the rush, quarterbacking the power play, or defending odd man rushes.

             Some notibale plays include his read on Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson cross ice pass. Karlsson took the puck along the right boards and began up ice, upon hitting his own blue line he sent a cross ice break out pass. Instinctively Severson read the play, stepped up, and cut the pass off, he blew down the ice into Ottawa’s zone and from the left circle blasted a slapshot far corner for the tying goal. This happened 1:20 after Ottawa scored the go ahead goal and was no doubt the momentum changer. The Devils went on to win. Two nights ago against Winnipeg late in the third, while the Devils were trying to tie the game Severson again stepped up. New Jersey was pushing hard and gave up a 3-1 odd man rush, as the camera panned out you see the loan defenseman. Severson, skating backwards he stayed in position, at the last second he blocked the pass coming across, kept possesion and sent it out of harms way. The Devils went on to tie and win the game.

              Perhaps Severson’s legendary teammate describe him the best. Jagr said that Severson is “fearless and plays like a 10 year veteran”.

             This early in the season Severson leads the Calder race. He has played the most minutes, against the toughest competition and so far instead of looking like a rookie he has looked like the best player on the ice. His potential has no limits and to Devils fans everywhere he has brought flashbacks of the defense they once knew.

By Steve Vullo
follow me on Twitter @ussfishkiller

DEVILS post game thoughts.

       Some thoughts on the Devils 2-1 shootout win vs Winnapeg.

1. The Devils finally won a shootout! I’m not a fan of shootouts and quite frankly don’t think they are how a game should be decided, that however doesn’t take away from the excitement of finally winning one and snapping the streak. Let’s hope they keep winning them through out the season.

2. Corey Schneider was the reason we won this game. He mad some huge stops after allowing the the first goal to Blake Wheeler and kept it close. He also turned aside all three in the shootout. The Devils didn’t play there best game and the credit goes to Schneider for this one.

3. Jacob Josefson deserves to stay in the line up and possibly be moved up a line. In my eyes he still has potential and really hasn’t been given a fair shot. Since being called up he has a goal (short handed vs Penquins) and an assist. Tonight he remained off the score sheet but potted the winning shootout goal. No doubt he makes the 4th line better but he should move up a line. To me he has a new found confidence/attitude this year and I think he is finally going to show it.

4. Zajac and Jagr desperately need Cammalleri back in the line up. Playing with Zubrus just doesn’t help anyone. Cammalleri scores goals plane and simple and this line is missing that. Zubrus obviously has good possession skills but so does Zajac and Jagr. A scorer on that line is needed and it showed tonight.

5. The kids rose to the occasion. Defensively Severson, Merrill, and Larsson all stepped up when they had to. Severson stopped a few odd man rushes late in the game, showing the poise of a veteran. Merrill also played a sound defensive game and assisted on the tying goal. Larsson, playing less minutes then the others was still affective. He played smart and was physical. If he keeps getting chances his confidence will grow and he will only get better. Remember he is 21 and the sky is the limit.

6. Salvador. It’s almost hard to start there is so much wrong here. Let’s start with the one positive, he only played 12 minutes. This was the lowest total of the season for traffic cone Sal and for good reason. Deboer says it was because we were down and if we were up he would have played more. To me those are just words to not bash the captain. It’s no coincidence that after his abysmal turnover in the 3rd that he never saw the ice again. Larsson took a good hit in the corner to move the puck up the wall and what does our fearless leader do, throws the puck in the middle right to an opposing player. If not for Corey that would have put the Devils behind 2 and a comeback would have been hard. I cross my fingers that Deboer is finally realising this guy just can’t play, that we are better off with kids learning and improving.

      Saturday night we face Colombus at home. They have a depleted line up do to an above average number of injuries, perhaps this is just what the doctor ordered for NJ to stay in the win column.

Deboer gets it wrong.

    I just saw the defense pairings for tonight’s game vs the Jets and as usual Deboer got it wrong.
     Every young player has a bad game and without a doubt Merrill had a poor showing against the Penguin’s. In my opinion he should be the one in the press box while Larsson gets another Crack at it, instead Gelinas will sit.
       Obviously the best candidate in my eyes to sit is Bryce Salvador. How ever If you are making these decisions based on the previous game then it should be Merrill. He was a -5 and probably played his worst game to date. This isn’t anything to panic over as all young players especially defenseman have a rough night from time to time.
       Why Deboer likes to hold only a select few accountable is maddening at this point. This coach needs a wake up call by managment and in a hurry. This coach does not give certain players equal opportunity to stay in the line up and someone needs to change that.