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Policy change helped Devils feel more at home

Sunday, 04.18.2010 / 10:06 AM ET / News
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Policy change helped Devils feel more at home
NEWARK, N.J. -- There was certainly no place like home for a few of the New Jersey Devils' veterans on the eve prior to Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday.

According to coach Jacques Lemaire, an unexpected change in team policy enabled players the option of going home rather than spend the night in a hotel on Thursday. The Devils defeated the Flyers, 5-3, on Friday and will travel to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4 on Sunday and Tuesday. The series is tied, 1-1.

Players had always been required to spend the night prior to a home playoff game in a hotel. The time-honored tradition did allow players to go home on nights after a home playoff game. The players were required to remain at the hotel on Tuesday night prior to Game 1 of the series opener on Wednesday.

But that all changed on Thursday when most players, including captain Jamie Langenbrunner, Brian Rolston, Zach Parise and goalie Martin Brodeur, opted for their own beds. When he played for the Dallas Stars, Langenbrunner admitted players were given the option to stay in the hotel or return home on the night before a home playoff game.

"I gave my opinion on this subject at the end of last year but I have no bearing on the change," Langenbrunner said. "I'm sure it was a management decision and it did its desired effect. I think it gave a breakup of the same old thing and the rut that we seemed to have gotten in of not playing so well and not getting results. Some guys went and some stayed (at the hotel). I'm sure it will continue."

Brodeur joked with the media following his team's morning skate at Prudential Center on Saturday, claiming he almost woke up at noon Thursday and drove to the hotel. The Devils held a practice on Thursday at 3 p.m.

"We begged for it for so long that we didn't even think about asking anymore, but I think you have to put it in perspective," Brodeur said. "It's not going to happen every time. They had a feeling and went with it. Guys appreciate having the option to do it and it's nice that they know we're responsible enough to go home and get your rest. But it's early in the playoffs. I don't know that, if in Round 2 or 3, families and friends are more involved in the playoffs because there's less and less teams and it gets more important. It's important for us to have our heads where they need to be."

Brodeur, who slept in his own bed on the night before a playoff game for the first time in his 16 seasons, felt having the option was nice and did break the monotony.

"I remember in 1994-95, going to the hotel after games. Only guys who were married and had kids, at one point, had a window to do something," he said. "This is a lot different. It's a big sacrifice nowadays. It doesn't last long if you don't play long, but you want to make sure you last as long as you can (in the playoffs)."

Lemaire admitted the organization discussed the issue as a group.

"I remember when I played, the only time you went home was if you win in four and had to wait for the other group," he said. "That's tough to do today. It's more seven games today.

"I understand why they don't like staying at a hotel -- I don't know if they don't like it. It depends how you think, how much you want to sacrifice because it is a sacrifice to go in the hotel. On the other hand, they might go there and think too much about the playoffs. You go (to the hotel) to rest, get proper sleep, but if they think going doesn't permit you to achieve that, you might as well stay home."

Contact Mike Morreale at mmorreale@nhl.com

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 75 16 27 -6 43
M. Cammalleri 68 27 15 2 42
P. Elias 69 13 21 -20 34
S. Gomez 58 7 27 -10 34
S. Bernier 67 16 16 2 32
T. Zajac 74 11 14 -3 25
A. Larsson 64 3 21 2 24
A. Greene 82 3 19 1 22
E. Gelinas 61 6 13 -2 19
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 31 9 .925 2.26
K. Kinkaid 6 5 4 .915 2.59