NEWS

Steckel excited for Devils debut

Brodeur to start tonight against Tampa Bay

Wednesday, 03.2.2011 / 1:27 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Steckel excited for Devils debut
David Steckel
With a new club, new teammates and linemates, David Steckel has had a lot to process in a short amount of time.

He was acquired Monday from Washington along with a second-round pick for Jason Arnott, and will make his Devils debut tonight versus Tampa Bay at the Rock.

“It’s the first trade in my career, so it’s pretty unique in that regard,” Steckel said following the morning skate. “Everything about it, it’s just been kind of a blur to be honest with you. Everything happened so fast. I was up here and kind of the solace is coming to the rink and being on the ice and I don’t have to worry about anything else. I’m sure it’ll settle down in the next couple of days, but for right now I just have to worry about one thing, and that’s the game tonight.”

For the second straight day, Steckel centered a line of David Clarkson and Vladimir Zharkov. He had one full practice on Tuesday to try and get a feel for the new trio.

“It was a fast pace and trying to break in new equipment,” he said. “Just trying to get used to it. I was pretty nervous out there, jittery, and I hadn’t skated in two days. [The Capitals] had a day off before, then I didn’t skate, I kind of tweaked my back so I came off the ice early from practice a couple of days ago in Washington. I’m sure the travel didn’t help, running around. Felt better today, and hopefully each day I’ll continue to feel better.”

Considering that this the first time he’s been traded, he expects to feel a little nervous tonight.

“Yeah, I’m sure,” he said. “First day of school. I’m not really nervous now, just hopefully I can live up to expectations more than anything. I’m sure once I get to the game tonight, there’ll be a little nerves creeping in.”

Steckel has six goals and six assists in 23 career games against the Lightning, the most against any team. But he laughed off a suggestion that he had to measure up to Arnott’s Washington debut. In his first game as a Capital, Arnott set up the tying goal in the final minute of regulation before Alex Ovechkin capped a 2-1 win over the Islanders in overtime.

“I’m not going to make any predictions,” Steckel said with a smile. “Hard work. We’ll bring that to the table first. That’s a good starting point.”

Jacques Lemaire cautioned against players trying to do too much in their first game with a new squad.

“He’s got to play within his game, what he’s good at, what he’s capable of doing, not trying all kinds of stuff to try and impress,” Lemaire said. “Stuff that he doesn’t usually do. He just has to play hard. He’ll be fine.”

Steckel plays a two-way game, but his greatest asset is his face-off proficiency.

“You need that on a team,” Lemaire said. “You look at it, and it starts with the power play, penalty kill. Your guys on the power play, especially with the new rule, you start in the offensive zone. So if your top centerman goes on and wins the draw, it’s a big plus.

“Same thing with the PK. Penalty kill, you get the guy that wins the draw, you send it down, you just start well. As we all know, there’s moments in the game that are crucial and you’re in your zone and you need a faceoff guy.”

Notes
Martin Brodeur will make his second straight start tonight. … Lemaire did not anticipate any changes to tonight's lineup. … Devils lost 2-1 at Tampa Bay on Feb. 25, and Lemaire said he'd like to see a better start: "I didn't like the start. What we do well now, is even [when] we don't start well, defensively we're fine. It's just adds a little more stress, but besides that, we're OK. We're in the zone and trying to get shots and goals, but we're defending well – better than we used to."

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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