Ken Daneyko performed with the New Jersey Devils for 20 years, so don’t even hassle asking who he’s rooting for this postseason. It’s exhausting to fault somebody so concerned within the franchise to say “we” when speaking in regards to the Taylor Corridor-led Devils, even when he’s within the broadcast sales space lately.

Daneyko shall be on the decision for Video games Three and Four of New Jersey’s first spherical collection towards the Tampa Bay Lightning, and if the collection goes longer, you’ll hear him on the decision for Sport 6 and seven as effectively. The Devils may want that lengthy to take down one of many Stanley Cup favorites, however Daneyko defined why he thinks the Devils have an opportunity.

The Devils legend and MSG broadcaster sat down with Uproxx to interrupt down the remainder of the primary spherical on Friday. He’s received loads to say in regards to the strain on the Washington Capitals, whether or not the Pittsburgh Penguins can three-peat as Stanley Cup Champions, and offers his verdict on the commerce with Edmonton that sparked the Devils’ current resurgence.

Uproxx Sports activities: Tampa Bay’s a group that type of lures you into making errors. Is that one thing that, because the collection goes on, as you see that group an increasing number of you get slightly extra used to the best way they play and people errors go away?

Ken Daneyko: I do know the playoffs is a distinct animal, all people is ramped up and the depth and every thing. However the Devils had been so good through the common season at simply being affected person and taking away the high-scoring areas. They usually didn’t try this on Friday night time, and that’s the place they made the errors. So I believe it’s simply extra in regards to the Devils, once more, taking part in a good, extra structured recreation particularly in their very own zone. Enjoying their fashion and never making an attempt to get caught up in chasing Tampa an excessive amount of.

They’re a very good puck place group, the Lightning, and if you happen to get two, three guys chasing, particularly once they’re probably not harmful whether or not it’s within the nook, within the defensive zone, or not in a excessive scoring space. It’s extra about defending the place the hazard space is, and looking out round. They usually’ve received like I stated, puck watching slightly bit, made some errors, however once more I believe Coach (John) Hynes talked about it, and I completely agree, very correctable.

Columbus was in a position to come again from an early deficit and beat one of many favorites out within the East. While you have a look at that got here from a Blue Jacket standpoint you’re thrilled, however if you happen to’re a Washington Capitols fan are you pondering no, not once more?

Nicely look, I don’t suppose there’s a lot discrepancy between the 2 groups. Columbus was probably the greatest groups down the stretch, in actual fact I’m one of many guys that suppose Columbus has received pretty much as good an opportunity as anyone to come back out of those two conferences. So that you could be speaking to the unsuitable man: I at all times suppose there’s going to be upsets however I don’t suppose that may be an enormous upset in anyway.

So from a Caps standpoint I do know, I used to be seeing, it’s a tricky loss since you’re main the sport, it’s at residence, you hate dropping the primary recreation. However you realize, Caps have been good on the highway too — residence ice isn’t enormous in lots of collection however particularly in that one. So it’s a tricky loss, you are taking it in stride, you progress ahead. You may’t get rattled.

The Capitals got here into the playoffs flying beneath the radar. They’re a very good group and that’s in all probability a very good factor for them from the standpoint the place they’re the perennial favorites over the previous couple of years and simply have fallen quick. It’s not straightforward to win they usually’re studying that alongside the best way, however it’s powerful to lose the best way you probably did once you lose in additional time.

You simply need to have a form reminiscence within the playoffs. We’ll see if the Caps can have that for certain, shifting ahead and in Sport Two as a result of I by no means say “should,” however you by no means need to return to Columbus down 2-Zero. And I’m certain they’ll analyze, I count on it to be a protracted collection. I count on that to be one of many higher serves, definitely. I believe each groups are actual good and play a really robust bodily fashion.

The most important factor for Columbus is, why I believe they’re higher they usually can perhaps recover from a hump is as a result of they’ve received a recreation breaker now in (Artemi) Panarin. They didn’t have that earlier than, and that was in all probability what was eluding them. They don’t play groups, even once they performed the Penguins and former playoffs, however they didn’t have a recreation breaker. They don’t want as many alternatives to attain, and the occasions they had been dominant however they simply couldn’t bury the puck. Now they’ve received a man that may try this, and he did it in Sport One, didn’t disappoint in additional time however with an actual good purpose. So I believe that’s what, from my perspective that makes them definitely slightly extra harmful than they’ve been up to now.

I believe you’re proper in regards to the Caps, and particularly as a result of they’re a distinct group than they had been the final couple of years. However it’s straightforward to fall into these narratives. Particularly with a man like Ovechkin, who’s so dynamic and has had a lot success within the league however perhaps hasn’t had it within the submit season. Is that one thing that issues to you? That he has to get it finished, there’s received to be this additional strain on him?

Nicely no, he’s been nice. I imply he’s been one of the vital prolific purpose scorers, if not essentially the most prolific scorers the sport has ever seen, definitely within the final decade. And I’ve at all times preferred him within the playoffs, he’s one of many guys that at all times reveals up. He performs the sport exhausting. Yeah, there’s strain for him to supply and all that’s eluding him is the Stanley Cup, and once more I’m going again to it’s a group recreation. There’s a advantageous line of wining and dropping, it’s not straightforward to win and once more I simply converse from expertise. I used to be very lucky to be on groups that received, and we received 3 times, and went there 4, at all times thought we had an opportunity. Just like the Capitals, type of had been going into the playoffs for a few 10 yr interval, eight to 10 yr interval.

You imagine you’re one of many groups that within the hockey world perhaps outdoors of your locker room thinks has a possibility, and it’s eluded them clearly, however so it does for certain put slightly extra strain on. However that’s why Alexander Ovechkin makes 10 million bucks. Together with that, together with being a star comes some strain. However for me I believe he takes at occasions perhaps an excessive amount of ire. After I watch him and I clearly watch the playoffs carefully when the Devils have been within the final 5 years, he’s a man that competes and performs exhausting. It’s not at all times going to go excellent however I believe he rises to the event. I believe that now it’s in regards to the Capitals generally, if they will recover from that proverbial hump and be a group that may be a Stanley Cup contender.

However a variety of hockey left, like I stated I like Columbus, I like the best way they’re constructed, however I believe that’s a protracted powerful collection that the Capitals can win, definitely. And in the event that they do beat a very good group early then I believe perhaps they cool down and may get rolling/ It’s going to be a tricky job to beat Columbus. However Ovechkin to me you realize, I’m going by the way you play it. That doesn’t work out completely however he competes and performs exhausting in addition to being a star participant and yeah he wants to attain just a few objectives for them to win, and he is aware of that.

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Are the Knights for actual? As a result of I believe if you happen to’re a fan that perhaps didn’t pay a lot consideration this yr, you realize it’s a group that exists and then you definately have a look at the postseason could be shocked they received there. Do you suppose they’re a group that may make some actual noise?

Nicely they’ve proven they will. The Kings are a fairly good group. I believe that’s what makes the playoffs particular. I at all times simply return to reflecting in recollections of the group I used to be on in ’88, after we made the playoffs and no one actually anticipated it. Had a very good group of younger guys, and made the playoffs on the final day on a miracle eight-game run. We went 7-Zero-1 and we’re the final seed, and ended up upsetting the Oilers, the highest seed, then the Capitals, and going one recreation from the Stanley Cup Last. So once you play like a group and once you imagine in your self something can occur.

Are they for actual? I didn’t know what to anticipate come playoff time, you need to see it. Regardless of them being the very best present on ice this yr, and probably the greatest hockey tales you’re going to listen to in a very long time with an enlargement group to do what they did through the common season. However the extra you watch them, clearly they did an awesome job. George McPhee, so far as the overall supervisor, so far as selecting the correct guys, and character guys. And a few talent guys, they’d some, due to the best way the enlargement draft was derived this time round they’d slightly extra benefit than did previous enlargement groups. Extra good gamers uncovered, so there’s some fairly darn good hockey gamers on that group.

However to come back collectively so rapidly is what I suppose perhaps is the shocking or sudden half through the common season. And now they’re simply turning that proper into the playoffs, they’re not overwhelmed. They’re deep group, watching them. They’ve received 4 strains that may play, that may rating. And that’s exceptional for an enlargement group earlier than. To me clearly they’ve received a goaltender that’s received a Stanley Cup alongside the best way, so he’s not definitely overwhelmed in these conditions. Been there, finished that. Marc-Andre Fleury actually kinda solidifies it there in purpose.

And collectively on D, I believe perhaps that’s the place I assumed their weak point could be, however they play good as a bunch. Typically you don’t need to have the family names, if you happen to play good as a six-man unit you get the job finished. They definitely did in Sport One shutting out the Kings. However I do suppose they will make some noise, they’re harmful, they’re going to offer the Kings all they will deal with right here. I don’t suppose anyone’s taking the Vegas Golden Knights evenly anymore, in the event that they had been prior.

With Boston/Toronto, was the Bruins Sport One blowout was only a case of some Sport One jitters from the Leafs? I appear to suppose the 2 groups are slightly nearer than the Sport One rating signifies, however I simply wished to know your ideas.

It was one recreation once more, I used to be slightly bit shocked. You by no means know the way the playoffs are going to begin. Boston type of went in reeling, after a terrific season didn’t play effectively down the stretch. And it considerations all people, effectively they had been in a position to activate the change and get again to taking part in the best way they had been taking part in a lot of the yr and type of manhandle and dominate the Leafs. Leafs bumped into some penalty bother, and also you hand over three energy play objectives, particular groups is so necessary, you’re going to be in bother. I count on that to be an actual good, powerful lengthy collection, regardless of what occurred in Sport One.

However I used to be slightly shocked, you at all times are, you have a look at it a recreation at a time. After which the Leafs had that have final yr so I assumed they’d be slightly extra even with these younger guys, and all of the expertise. However they’d the playoff expertise from final yr, that they’d are available in slightly extra ready for Sport One. It didn’t occur, and you place it behind you, need to have a brief reminiscence within the playoffs.

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With Penguins-Flyers, it’s so exhausting to repeat, let alongside to a few peat and Penguins have struggled at occasions this yr, however it simply appears each submit season they’re able to go. Is there one thing about simply the best way group prepares for the submit season, or are they going to see some struggles this yr as effectively?

You clearly marvel is the fatigue issue going to set in, the Stanley Cup Playoffs is such a grind to go 4 rounds. And that simply is, bodily clearly however as a lot mentally. However will they undergo some troubles? Nicely, presumably, however the Pittsburgh Penguins, when you’ve guys like (Evgeni) Malkin and (Sidney) Crosby main the cost, and all people round them appears to boost their degree of play and throw in Phil Kessel, who flies beneath the radar, who’s an elite participant and terrific scorer. Simply makes him that rather more harmful.

What’s totally different in regards to the Penguins and groups that win, and I performed on groups like that as effectively after we had been at all times the favorites, and received just a few occasions, went to the Cup the final three of my 4 years of my profession, is you win video games that perhaps you get outplayed in. I noticed that lots final yr, they get out performed, however you go “How on earth did we lose that recreation?” They beat you Three-2. They beat you Four-Three or 5-Four, as a result of they don’t want as many probabilities, they clearly don’t squeeze the stick, they don’t really feel the strain on that.

They’ve received guys who can put the puck within the internet, they’ve received elite gamers, a few of the finest gamers on the planet. And you realize, you tip your cap to Sidney Crosby, who’s a man that for a decade now has been perhaps the very best participant on the planet. I don’t know, individually perhaps however not solely Sidney Crosby is a good participant, he is aware of the right way to win, he is aware of the right way to make gamers higher round him, he is aware of the right way to be a frontrunner. And that goes a great distance, so penguins are going to be powerful.

Sport One clearly wasn’t a type of video games the place they received outplayed, they dominated, they buried every thing. Each shot they’d, Flyers didn’t get nice goaltending both. However that could be a little bit demoralizing, the best way they misplaced definitely. And there’s only some uncommon groups, groups which have received and been there, and finished that, and know the right way to win can flip the change on come playoff time. And that’s what the Penguins appear to do time and time once more, so that you go right here we go once more, right here’s Pittsburgh. Followers outdoors of Pittsburgh going, “effectively geeze we’re getting uninterested in the Penguins being so good they’re type of just like the evil empire, the group you need to knock off if you happen to’re going to win the Stanley Cup ultimately.” However they’re that good, and you need to give them credit score, it’s going to take a particular effort to knock them out from some group, they’re going to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins.

When you’ve a core group that they’ve had for awhile, and it doesn’t need to be many however even a core group of Malkin, Crosby and now you’ve received a younger goaltender that has been elite within the playoffs, struggled slightly bit this yr in common season due to harm. However Matt Murray appeared just like the man we’ve seen in a giant recreation he’s as clutch because it will get for such a younger goaltender. You don’t want way more, and everybody contributing, they usually do have supporting forged. However once you’ve had Malkin and Crosby for 10 years, these guys have a variety of talent. Extra importantly within the playoffs they’ve will as effectively, and that’s powerful to comprise.

So Colorado and Nashville, I believe Nashville has fairly massive expectations after a run to the finals final yr, what does Colorado have to do aside from have Nate MacKinnon come up actually massive on this collection, what have they got to do to type of hold tempo with this group?

Nicely they stayed with them early, it was a fairly good recreation and we received to catch slightly however you realize, truly had a 2-Zero lead. However then Nashville stayed affected person after which did what they did all yr and relied on their depth and had been in a position to get the Sport One victory. However it’s going to take lots for Colorado right here, there’s little doubt about it. Nashville has had a style, they’ve come shut clearly dropping the Cup Finals so they’re hungry, they’re targeted. And also you talked about goaltending, effectively their goaltender might need to steal a recreation or two in the event that they’re going to have an opportunity on this collection. However I believe the percentages are powerful definitely and Nathan MacKinnon, a Hart Trophy candidate, goes to need to go wild, definitely, however each group believes it doesn’t matter how massive of an underdog they’re, the Devils towards Tampa, Colorado and Nashville.

If you will get one win, and get that confidence, and put some doubt within the opposition. It’s at all times about making an attempt to place doubt within the opposition, even a group pretty much as good as Nashville. In order that’s what they’re going to need to do, however they’re going to need to get Jonathan Bernier to steal a recreation right here to perhaps get them to imagine that they will truly upset a heavy favourite.

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I believe Minnesota and Winnipeg’s the collection I do know the least about, and I believe that could be the case with a variety of America. Is there any individual in that collection that you simply suppose goes to make a distinction? Who’s the X-factor on both group there?

Nicely, Minnesota was actually harm when their finest defenseman went down for the season. The golden egg was Ryan Suter who lodged essentially the most minutes within the again finish, 26, 27 and generally as a lot as 30 minutes come playoff time. In order that’s powerful, however each groups have wonderful goaltending and that’s what this collection might come all the way down to. Winnipeg, you perhaps don’t hear as a lot about them however that’s as deep a group offensively as anyone within the league. We discuss in regards to the Lightning scoring, and their depth, and the depth of a few of the prime scoring groups however Winnipeg might be as harmful as any group within the league. They will rating with the very best of them, they’ve received one in all finest pure snipers within the league in Patrick Laine. Now they’ve received nice goaltending, a Vezina candidate for my part Connor Hellebuyck.

Which was lacking from the Jets final yr as a result of it was a group that they thought had been, and me too on paper pretty much as good as anyone. However they didn’t discover that constant goaltender, type of alluded what you had been speaking about earlier. Nicely he was terrific this yr, and if he performs the best way he’s able to the Jets definitely have a bonus in that recreation. However Minnesota’s a really tight-checking group, it was an in depth Sport One though I assumed the Jets outplayed them, definitely within the first and third durations. The Jets, if they will recover from that hump, they haven’t received a playoff recreation till Sport One towards the Wild. And I’m certain that makes them really feel slightly higher, be ok with their probabilities. If the Jets get the goaltending, play the best way they will and use their depth, as a result of there’s a deeper group in scoring, that group can go all the best way there’s little doubt in my thoughts.

I’m not saying the Wild don’t have an opportunity, as a result of the Wild are superb at residence. Jets are a dominant group at residence, first rate on the highway however not almost as dominant like I stated. So I believe it’s going to be a fairly lengthy collection, however for my estimation the Jets will in all probability prevail, and I believe they may very well be one of many groups the place I wouldn’t be shocked in the event that they’re knocking on the door of being within the Stanley Cup finals.

San Jose had an excellent Sport One towards the Geese on Thursday. I believe there’s a variety of expectations there for that group already. They went out an a deadline and purchased Evander Kane. He made his first playoff look and confirmed up straight away. , what does that change for the Sharks once they have a man like Kane that is available in and, I believe he’s very totally different participant than lots of people count on.

He paid dividends in Sport One for certain, with a few objectives. San Jose, I watched a variety of that recreation as a result of ours was over. They’re robust defensively, the protection core’s good. Martin Jones was good in that, they didn’t give Anaheim something. They stifled them, and that’s the kind of recreation you win within the playoffs. You may win that kind of defensively, as a result of it actually frustrates groups and also you simply don’t get many beauty. And I don’t suppose Anaheim had a complete lot of excellent appears for scoring probabilities on Thursday night time.

After which Evander Kane provides them once more, a sniper that perhaps they had been lacking. The Sharks had been at all times a deep group, good group. Went to the Cup Finals a few years in the past however lacked perhaps that additional scoring punch. Nicely, their second tier guys have improved this yr, the (Chris) Tierneys, and the Tomas Hertls and definitely has given them extra offense. And I believe that’s what was perhaps lacking slightly bit from their group. They’ve at all times had Couture, and Pavelski, and Thornton who might come again, you realize guys that you would be able to depend on. However you want depth scoring, you want different guys to supply. And also you add Evander Kane who’s the purpose scorer, and has velocity, and is a bodily man and I imply it’s such an enormous aspect for the playoffs. He slot in completely there in San Jose, so they appear good.

There’s a sleeper group, I suppose you’ll say, that’s going to be a group that you simply higher be ready for as a result of I really like their defensive construction, Pete DeBoer does a superb job, I’ve expertise from him when he took the Devils in 2012 to the Cup Finals. In order that’s a very good group, harmful group. Particularly due to how effectively they play defensively, however impulsively yeah, Evander Kane, that offers them one other weapon from a scoring standpoint and goes to make them that a lot more durable to beat.

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