McKenzie: Devils can take positives despite Game 1 loss

Bob McKenzie

5/31/2012 1:56:54 AM

Some quick thoughts from the NHL on TSN panel on Wednesday night.

It's never fun to lose in overtime in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final but the New Jersey Devils can take some positives from the loss.

They started very slow and didn't look good at all. But as the game wore on they started to get much more physical, they started to generate a few things off of turnovers.

Yes, the second period was dreadful until they finally started to generate something late. But, there were enough big hits along the way that they didn't get physically run out of the building the way a lot of people thought they could be by the Kings.

Everybody is going to point to the second period when it took the Devils until late in the period to even get a shot on goal as a reason for their undoing in Game 1.

But, for a team that didn't generate a lot offensively, they had their chances to score. 

In the first period, Travis Zajac had a point blank chance on the power play that could have gone in. David Clarkson also had a wide open net in the first but couldn't get that puck in.

In the third everybody saw Zach Parise put the one in with his glove, but before that Quick made a great play to take a loose puck in the crease away and deny him.

And finally, Mark Fayne had a wide open chance and should have buried what could have been the game-winning goal but didn't get it in.

So for a team that didn't really generate a lot offensively they had some pretty good scoring chances.

I think when the Devils break down the game tonight there is going to be a ton that they hate about it but there is going to be an awful lot that they like about it too.

And one thing we know about the Devils is they are a resilient group.
They lost the first game in overtime to Philadelphia and then reeled off four straight wins to beat the Flyers. They were down 2-1 and then 3-2 in the series against Florida and had to go to double-overtime in Game 7 just to get out of the first round. They were also down 2-1 against the New York Rangers.

This team knows what it's like to be in a hole and to claw their way out.

I don't think by any stretch that the Devils are demoralized or broken up or crushed by this loss.

I'm sure they are disappointed but they have lots to work with going forward.

Lidstrom one of the best ever

There's a tendency for people in the wake of the news that Nick Lidstrom is retiring to say that he is the greatest defenceman of all-time.

Certainly Lidstrom is one of the greatest of all-time but Bobby Orr is in a class all by himself at number one.

Doug Harvey, most people would agree is also up there near the top. I only saw harvey play at the tail end of his career for the St. Louis Blues. But Scotty Bowman coached Harvey and also coached Lidstrom and he says their are many similarities between the two.

People always said Doug Harvey made the game look so easy he could play it in a rocking chair and the same sort of thing could be said about Lidstrom.

Harvey was a more physical player while Lidstrom was maybe more naturallygifted offensively.

Eddie Shore I never actually saw play which makes it so hard to compare.

But when you start putting Lidstrom alongside Ray Bourque or Denis Potvin or Larry Robinson or any of those great guys he is as good or better than any of them.

Lidstrom is a certain hall of famer and right in the mix for being one of the greatest of all-time.