Rangers defenseman John Moore suspended 5 games for nasty hit (VIDEO)

October 30, 2014 - The Star Ledger - View Full Article

John Moore delivered an iilegal and vicious check to the head of Minnesota Wild forward Erik Haula on Monday.

The NHL suspended Rangers defenseman John Moore five games without pay for his vicious and illegal check Monday on Minnesota Wild forward Erik Haula. Moore was assessed a match penalty for his hit during the game, when he used his elbow to drill Haula in the head.

The league considers Moore a repeat offender, having earned a two-game suspension during last season's playoffs for an illegal shot to the head. He will forfeit $51,859.75 in salary, which will go to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

Mike Rosenstein may be reached at mrosenstein@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @rosenstein73. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

5 reasons the Devils should not panic after their blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins

October 29, 2014 - The Star Ledger - View Full Article

It's too early in the season and the conference has no dominant teams

NEWARK — There was a mixture of anger (Travis Zajac), shock (Cory Schneider) and annoyance (Jaromir Jagr) in the Devils' dressing room Tuesday night following their 8-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

No one, including coach Pete DeBoer, really knew what to make of the lopsided loss. Was there reason for worry? Or was it simply a bad night they should shrug off?

Nine games into the season, there is no reason for panic. Here are 5 reasons why:

1. There are 73 games left.

And, besides, the Devils are 4-3-2 and right about where everyone thought they'd be in this season-long race for a playoff spot. Did you really expect them to be 9-0-0?

2. Travis Zajac won't be this bad all season.

This is an unusual stretch for the veteran center. He hasn't played very well yet this season, to the point where DeBoer (his biggest backer) has issued a challenge on several occasions.

Zajac was demoted to the fourth line in Pittsburgh, prompting some observers to offer this zinger: "Well, they've finally found a fourth line."

It might be time to move Adam Henrique to center on the top line, but Zajac will bounce back and be a significant contributor.

3. The coach is not on the hot seat.

DeBoer has his critics. Lots of them. But the plain fact is, his job is not in jeopardy. He'll have to mess up a lot over the next few weeks to have management consider making a change.

Lamoriello wanted him back and he'll stick with DeBoer, who is well aware that unless he gets this team into the playoffs he is probably not coming back next season. Stability is a plus.

4. The Eastern Conference isn't very strong.

The Hurricanes and and Sabres are in trouble, but there seemingly aren't many teams capable of assuring themselves a playoff spot early. Maybe Pittsburgh or Tampa.

Despite everything that has gone wrong, the Devils stand one point from being in the top half of the conference standings. Imagine that.

5. Odds are the penalty killing will improve.

They rank 30th in the league. Dead last with 14 power play goals allowed in nine games (66.7 percent). Considering their recent history, the Devils can't remain this bad beyond Thanksgiving.

If their penalty killing improves, and they all believe it will, and Mike Cammalleri isn't sidelined for long with a jaw/neck injury, the Devils will be in the thick of the race all season.

Rich Chere may be reached at rchere@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Ledger_NJDevils. Find NJ.com on Facebook.