Posted January 18, 2013 on AP on Fox
Reaching the Stanley Cup finals hasn't made the New Jersey Devils one of the favorites to win the NHL title in this lockout-shortened season. Far from it. Despite returning Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Brodeur and much of the club that came within two games of winning its fourth Cup, the Devils have a lot of doubters heading into the 48-game regular season, which begins Saturday night against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. A big part of the concern is the loss of former captain Zach Parise. A 31-goal scorer last year, he returned home by signing with Minnesota as a free agent. Not only did general manager Lou Lamoriello lose a face of the franchise, he also decided not to re-sign veteran Petr Sykora, a 21-goal scorer, and faces the prospect of starting without second-year center Adam Henrique (16 goals), who is sidelined with a thumb injury. Indeed, the Devils have a mountain to climb in the tough Eastern Conference if they are to repeat last season's success. Especially...
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