NJD Notes: Shanahan debuts at The Rock
Wednesday, 01.21.2009 / 3:13 PM / News
By Eric Marin
Shanahan was around the net all game long on Monday, when he put six shots on Nashville's Pekka Rinne.
newjerseydevils.com – Brendan Shanahan was wearing Ranger blue the last time he played in front of a Prudential Center crowd. He hopes his effort in Nashville demonstrated to Devils fans that he's now here to help their team win.
Shanahan made his 2008-09 debut on Monday, scoring a power-play goal in the Devils' 3-1 victory over the Predators.
"They saw last game that I've been working hard and I'm going to do my best to help this team," Shanahan said after Wednesday's morning skate at The Rock. "That's part of sports, something that as professional athletes we all get used to, teams and players moving from team to team."
Shanahan saw 18 shifts for 13:59 of ice time, 1:11 of that coming on the man advantage. Alongside linemates Bobby Holik and Mike Rupp, he registered a game-high six shots on goal.
"I think that those two guys are disciplined players who have a game plan and keep their game simple and that was a good help for me to start," said Shanahan, who was selected second overall by the Devils in the 1987 Entry Draft.
The three-time Stanley Cup champion leads all active players with 651 career goals, and ranks second with 1,491 appearances. He's working to fit in with his new teammates after joining the club 46 games into the season.
"What I've done since I've been here is I've been quiet and watched and I've listened and learned," he said. "I wouldn't go into any situation and expect the team to adapt to me or to respond to me. I'm joining a team and it's my job to fit them."
Shanahan had 23 goals and 23 assists with the Rangers last season, including four points (2g-2a) in eight games against New Jersey. He added a goal and three assists versus the Devils in their opening-round playoff series loss. That's even more reason why Shanahan believes the Devils' faithful will embrace him during his second stint in New Jersey.
"As a player it's usually the guy you dislike playing against the most that you like having on your team the most."
Scott Clemmensen hadn't thought about making an appearance in this year's All-Star Game.
He might have garnered consideration when Carey Price was sidelined for eight games this month by a lower body injury. But Price, who is one of four Canadiens voted to start Sunday's All-Star Game at the Bell Centre, is healthy again and was expected to face the Devils Wednesday at Prudential Center.
"I've always assumed at this level that playing in the All-Star Game is something you earn over time," Clemmensen said Wednesday. "If they just picked the players who were having the best year to date, which would basically be three months – October, November, December – the All-Star Game would have a different look to it and every year it would be very different."
Clemmensen made 33 saves Monday to secure his third straight victory and improve to 18-9-1 with a 2.30 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. He has two more wins than Price (16) and a lower GAA than three-time Vezina finalist Henrik Lundqvist (2.53), who will be making his first All-Star appearance.
Boston's Tim Thomas, the conference leader with a 2.06 GAA and .934 save percentage, will also represent the East.
"The best players over the course of years earn the All-Star spots and deservedly so," Clemmensen said. "These guys have proven themselves not just the first three months of the season, but in seasons past as well."
Parise to compete for fastest skater at SuperSkills
Zach Parise, the Devils' lone representative at this year's All-Star weekend, will race in the fastest skater portion of the NHL's SuperSkills event on Saturday. Parise, a first-time All-Star, will go up against Florida's Jay Bouwmeester, Philadelphia's Jeff Carter and Chicago's Brian Campbell.
"I don't have any strategies, but those are some pretty fast guys," said Parise. "It depends on what kind of a start I get. Bouwmeester's got that long stride – he's huge. Campbell's a good skater too, and Carter's got good acceleration. I hope I get a little head start."
Parise led the Devils in goals (27) and points (53) entering Wednesday's game.
Travis Zajac scored twice on the power play and once shorthanded during the Devils' 5-1-0 road trip. He notched his first career shorthanded tally in the first period Saturday against the Islanders, and nearly added a second on a breakaway just 2:10 later.
Zajac had another prime scoring chance while shorthanded in the third period at Nashville, but was stopped by Pekka Rinne. He finished the trip with four goals and three assists, and matched his total from all of last season by reaching the 14-goal mark.
"We've just been doing a good job on the PK, being a little more aggressive and anticipating plays," Zajac said. "We're forcing [opponents] to turn pucks over and that's given us a couple of chances offensively."