Preseason Game Preview: Devils vs Rangers Round Two

September 24, 2018 - Devils Army Blog - View Full Article

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Ty Smith and Sami Vatanen talking on ice.
– Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New Jersey Devils will face the New York Rangers once again for another preseason tune-up. However, unlike last time, the game will be played at Madison Square Garden. It will also not involve a split-squad scenario that occurred last week. Tonight represents one of the last opportunities for fringe players looking to make their mark and stay with the big club.

The game also is another opportunity for other established players to continue polishing their game for the regular season while presenting a chance to build chemistry with teammates. The Devils will look to continue taking another positive step forward in assessing young talent and building a competitive roster this season. They have already announced Miles Wood will not be appearing in the game after signing a four-year contract to stay in New Jersey.

 

Who to Watch

Michael McLeod: The former first-round pick is competing for a roster spot and will have a chance to prove he belongs against the Devils’ arch rival. McLeod did not have the strongest game against the Rangers the first time around this preseason. But he seems to have picked up his play throughout other areas of the preseason. Maybe it was just jitters the first time around. Nonetheless, it is an opportunity to try and show why he should stay with the club this season.

 

John Quenneville: Quenneville’s window to make a step up to the NHL roster is closing. And his play this preseason has shown that sense of urgency. He was very productive the first time around against the Rangers this preseason, where he had a fight and scored a goal. His offensive presence has been showing a little, as he had four shots on goal against the Islanders. It will be interesting to see if Quenneville can keep it up and make the roster as a first-round pick from the Lou Lamoriello era.

 

Ty Smith: The first-round pick has looked impressive for his age. He seems to give the coaches faith that he could actually make the roster this season. This shows not only how much faith and trust the organization has in Smith, but just how talented he is. Most defenseman, even those taken in the first round, typically take a few seasons to groom and develop properly to be successful at the pro level. The fact that the talk of him potentially making the roster this season shows how impressive he is.

 

Tonight’s Line Combinations (via. Chris Ryan of NJ Advance Media)

 

Andy Greene/Egor Yakovlev

Ty Smith/Eric Gryba

Mirco Mueller OR Jeremy Groleau/Sami Vatanen

 

Eddie Lack

Mackenzie Blackwood

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Bye-week babies: How NHL's new break created bigger families for Devils' Cory Schneider, Andy Greene

September 24, 2018 - The Star Ledger - View Full Article

Devils Cory Schneider and Andy Greene each welcomed a child one day apart. The NHL's first bye week was responsible. Watch video

Rachel Greene and Jill Schneider were both waiting to share their big news with each other. The wives of Devils captain Andy Greene and goalie Cory Schneider were both expecting a second child in 2017.

After revealing the pregnancies and talking about how far they were along, things started to fall into place.

"The bye week," Andy Greene recalled shortly after the birth of his second child.

The Schneiders' second child, their daughter Remy, was born one day before the Greenes' second son, Maddox, in October of 2017. Nine months prior, the two players and their families were enjoying the Devils' first bye week after the NHL implemented the five-day break for the 2016-17 season.

Devils make 1st big camp cuts

Oddly enough, the two families spent it vacationing together, getting a winter break in Sea Island, Georgia.

"Me, my wife and Andy and Rachel, we all went away together with our boys at the time, just his son and my son," Cory Schneider said. "I'm not sure what was going on, but sure enough, nine months later, we both had kids a day apart. "

The five-day break was used for the first time during the 2016-17 season, and like past Olympic breaks, it was a chance for players to get away from hockey and spend time with their families for a few days.

Many players used it to take a quick in-season trip, including Greene and Schneider. It didn't take long for the two families to piece together what the first bye week meant for them.

"Once we started backtracking the time and they give you how many weeks along you are, we sort of figured it out," Cory Schneider said. "We kind of shared a laugh and looked at each other a little funny. Must have been a good trip."

The two families spent the 2017-18 bye week together again, and this time, they expanded the groups. Brian Boyle, Drew Stafford and Marcus Johansson all brought their families along to Florida last winter

To Greene's knowledge, no one in the Devils' locker room is expecting a bye-week baby this time around.

"We went down to Disney World and we basically, we had our two kids, Boyler's two kids, Staff brought one and JoJo brought one, but we had six or seven kids there with us, and it was just a fun time," Andy Greene said. "Everyone hung out all day, every day, and it's just a fun to be able to do that, not only with your family, but with other guys on the team."

Chris Ryan may be reached at cryan@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRyan_NJ. Find NJ.com Devils on Facebook.