MAVEN’S MUSINGS: CLARKSON’S IMPACT ON THE DEVILS

*David Clarkson is looking more and more like New Jersey’s new leader. Bryan Salvador deservedly wears the “C” but Clarkson is scoring, fighting and disturbing in the best tradition of the Bruins’ Milan Lucic. And it doesn’t get much better than that; unless, of course, your name is Gordie Howe.

• That the Flyers are in trouble is obvious simply by watching Ilya Bryzgalov stumble and fumble between the pipes. Philly erred in naming Claude Giroux the captain. The “C” on Broad Street belongs to the more mature Scott Hartnell. Another loss or two for the Orange and Black and you can expect owner Ed Snider to take a long, hard look at his g.m. Paul Holmgren, if not the sneering man behind the bench, Peter Laviolette.

• In this Hurry-Up season, the Canucks may finally get rid of Roberto Luongo. Trouble is that back-up Cory Schneider has been no bargain for Vancouver. Then again, Edmonton’s goaltending is about as inept as it gets and there’s a possibility that the Oilers might be forced to part with one of its young talents for Luongo.

• “Home-Ice Advantage” has become THE biggest myth in the NHL.

• Do you believe Martin Brodeur? (Well, he does!)

• One of my buddies who coaches out west insists that the Kings won’t even make the playoffs. (And he made this prediction before the first puck was dropped.) Fancy that!

• There’s talk that Wayne Gretzky may soon be named president of the Maple Leafs. And why not? (As long as he doesn’t make the mistake of coaching again. Ugh!)

• Right now, I defy you to name one ultra-dominant team in the league and don’t tell me the Blackhawks; not with their goaltending.

• Some goalies are temperamental; others are just a delight to talk to; win or lose. Among my favorites: 1. Martin Brodeur; 2. Henrik Lundqvist; 3. Tim Thomas (when he’s not in retirement); 4. Scott Clemmensen. My latest discovery — witty, insightful, candid — is Evgeni Nabokov.

• Speaking of Gretzky, I always liked his explanation of how he became The Great One: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”