Devils, Ducks, and Prucha – Oh My!

Some interesting notes out of New Jersey:

Brendan spent last night’s loss to the Caps playing with John Madden and Brian Rolston. It represents a more prominent even-strength role for Shanahan, gives the Devils a strong third offensive line and isn’t a bad checking line, either.

The Devils also traded defenseman Sheldon Brookbank to the Ducks. Brookbank has had trouble cracking NHL line-ups, but when I saw the move, my first thought was that Anaheim was close to or serious about moving Chris Pronger and/or Scott Niedermayer, both of whom are fair trade bait, according to GM Bob Murray.

The definition of optimism? Writing the Blues are heading toward playoff position. After I read Jeff Gordon’s optimistic post, I took a look at the standings to see if the NHL had suddenly contracted six teams out of the Western Conference.

Finally, New York Rangers coach Tom Renney has been pathologically reluctant to play forward Petr Prucha. It’s not like Prucha is such a great player, but he seems to have some potential and he’s taking up cap space, so why not play him? Yesterday, Renney finally said what his objection is, telling Rick Carpiniello his issue with Prucha is Prucha’s size and endurance. I can’t believe it took two years for Renney to give a straight answer to that question.