njdtv MyDevils Account
DEVILS TV

Steckel fitting in well after first practice

Centered line with David Clarkson and Vladimir Zharkov

Tuesday, 03.01.2011 / 3:28 PM / News
By Eric Marin
X
Share with your Friends


Steckel fitting in well after first practice

Steckel will make his Devils debut Wednesday against Tampa Bay. GETTY IMAGES
share
email
David Steckel figured his former club was in the running to acquire Jason Arnott. He couldn’t have guessed he’d be a part of the trade.

On Tuesday, the newest Devil took to the ice for his first practice in New Jersey. The deadline day deal that brought him from Washington also yielded a second-round pick in 2012.

“I knew we were probably going to make a play for Arnott, but when the call came at 3:20, I didn’t think it was going to be me that was on the other end of that,” Steckel said.

At practice, he centered the fourth line with David Clarkson and Vladimir Zharkov. That trio figures to have significant responsibility on both penalty kills and key draws.

“I like to get it deep, cycle, outwork other teams and get it to the net,” Steckel said of his playing style. “I think the linemates I had today, we’re going to be pretty successful at doing that.”

Above all, Steckel is superb on faceoffs. The 6-5 centerman leads the League with a 63.7 percent success rate and has never finished worse than seventh in his four full seasons.

What’s the secret to that level of consistency?

“Not letting the other guy beat you, basically,” he said. “The bottom line is, it’s pretty much a battle. I know it’s a coin flip either way. Most people look at it as a pretty overrated stat, maybe. But to most teams, to have a guy they can count on to win a draw at the end of the game or in a key situation, I’d say any coach would be pretty happy with that. There is no secret. It’s just out-battling the other guy, and that’s it.”

It’s kind of exciting, actually, for me. I can’t say enough about what I’ve heard from this organization and about this organization, so I’m really excited to be here. - David Steckel
Jacques Lemaire is looking forward to having a go-to guy inside the circle. Steckel will also lighten the load for Lemaire’s top forwards on the PK.

“That is great,” Lemaire said. “Definitely, he’s a guy that kills penalties. We’ve been using our top four forwards there in a way, which they’re getting a lot of ice time, so now, hopefully with this guy, we can get two more guys to kill it.”

He liked what he saw in Steckel’s game.

“He understands the game well,” said the coach. “Looks like in his own zone, he’ll be able to do a good job defensively. He’s got a good shot, gets it on net, and he’s strong on the puck.”

The transition to a new team isn’t often seamless. But the offensively loaded Capitals had been working recently on tightening up their defensive game, which could fast-track Steckel’s adjustment period.

It also helps that he thinks defense first.

“There’s not too many teams that do anything unique in this League,” Steckel said. “But at the same time [it] fits my game specifically, I’m more of a defensive player. Err on the side of caution, and we’ll keep it that way for a couple of games until I get adjusted to it.”

Rod Pelley, Steckel’s teammate for two seasons at Ohio State, was excited to welcome a familiar face to New Jersey.

They played together on the Buckeyes squad that won the CCHA Tournament in 2004. Steckel was named to the CCHA All-Rookie Team in 2000-01.

“Throughout his college days, he was a very skilled player, scored a lot of goals,” Pelley said. “That’s definitely a side of the game that he can do, too. I’d say overall he’d be a solid two-way guy that can play important minutes for your hockey team.”

Pelley spoke to President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello shortly after the deal was finalized and expects Steckel to be a “great fit” with the Devils.

“I’m sure me just being here and knowing Dave quite well, it’ll make the transition just a little bit easier,” he said. “The little things like rides or directions here and there, or dinner – whatever it may be. It’s definitely easier when you know someone. He’s a pretty sociable guy so I’m not too concerned about him fitting in.”

Steckel has gone from a team preparing for a deep playoff run to one hoping its current run will get them into the playoffs. That suits the Wisconsin native just fine.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s kind of exciting, actually, for me. I can’t say enough about what I’ve heard from this organization and about this organization, so I’m really excited to be here.”

Not that long ago, a coaching change sparked a surprise turnaround in Washington. In 2007-08, after winning just six of their first 20 games under Glen Hanlon, the Capitals turned to Bruce Boudreau, who won 37 games to capture the Southeast Division title.

It earned Boudreau the Jack Adams Award as top coach, an honor that some say Lemaire should receive for leading New Jersey back into the playoff picture. The Devils have won 17 of their last 21 and sit nine points behind Carolina for the final postseason spot in the East with 20 games to go.

For the Capitals, that surprise playoff appearance in 2008 provided a springboard to future success.

“I’ve been in that position before three years ago with Washington, when we were in the exact same position: last place throughout most of the year,” Steckel said. “We made a run towards the end and made the playoffs, and it kind of catapulted the organization for a couple years.”

When he makes his Devils debut Wednesday against Tampa Bay, he'll be hoping they can take another step toward their own improbable postseason quest.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51

CONNECT WITH US

          
(c) New Jersey Devils 2014 - All Rights Reserved
newjerseydevils.com is the official web site of the New Jersey Devils, a member team of the National Hockey League ("NHL"). NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 New Jersey Devils and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy | AdChoices | Advertise With Us | Contact Us | Terms of UseEmploymentNHL.com Terms of Use |  Site Map