From the desks of:
RAISE GRESCH WITH THE GREATS & BRICK CITY DEMONS
BATTLE OF THE HUDSON
Game One Final
New Jersey Devils: Life After Marty....
Life after Martin Brodeur has begun in Newark.
With Cory Schneider in net, the Devils opened the season with 3 straight victories. But after last night's O.T. loss to the Rangers, the Devils have now dropped 3 straight.
As a result, the Devils have slipped behind the Islanders and Rangers in the local area standings.
Islanders 4-2-0 8 pts.
Rangers 4-3-0 8 pts.
Devils 3-2-1 7 pts.
The Devils goalie for most of the last 21 seasons, Martin Brodeur is stuck at 688 career victories - just 12 away from an increasingly elusive 700, but with no team to play for. He is yet to strike a deal with any team, and none seem to be beating down his door for an autograph either.
The latest rumors have Brodeur connected with Colorado. That would be something, huh? - if Brodeur wound up playing for Patrick Roy (the goalie whose record he broke).
Jaromir Jagr will turn 43-years old in February. Last season, he played in 82 games for the Devils, averaged 19:10 minutes per game, and scored 24 goals - his most since the 2007-08 season with the Rangers.
Tuesday night against the Rangers, Jagr scored his first goal of the season, and the 707th goal of his career. He is presently 7th on the NHL all-time list. Old Rangers favorite Mike Gartner is next at #6 with 708 career goals. Within potential reach this season, are #5-Phil Esposito (717) and #4-Marcel Dionne (731).
And then there was one....
When the Devils originally came to town in 1982-83, I was 16-yrs old, and all my (Rangers fan) hatred was already directed towards the Islanders. So, by the Devils arrival, my attention was piqued more than anything.
The Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies failed, which of course opened the door for Mr. John McMullen to buy the franchise and relocate them.
At the time, the Nets were only recently resettled into the Brendan Byrne Arena, the New Jersey Generals (USFL) were kicking off, and the New York Cosmos were immensely popular. So, it was perhaps a good time to blend into the Meadowlands and greater metropolitan area sports scene. I merely felt that a big sports metropolis was just getting bigger.
I came to appreciate guys like Pat Verbeek, Brendan Shanahan, Bruce Driver, John MacLean, Kirk Muller, a rookie named Ken Daneyko, then Peter Stastny.
Had the Devils defeated the Rangers in the 1994 conference finals, and not the other way around, I'm sure I would feel very differently about New Jersey's team today. For instance, my son's hatred is primarily directed at the Devils, and less so towards the Islanders. That's understandable considering both team's respective histories ever since the Isles last competed for the Cup.
The Rangers won the Cup in 1994, and so I saw no harm in continuing to appreciate certain Devils players, and the overall success they enjoyed through 5 Stanley Cup appearances, and 3 Cup victories (just as long as they weren't playing the Rangers, because you can't be great, without great opponents).
Besides, with the Rangers, Devils and Islanders, it was just cool to be able to watch hockey (in general) every night.
The thing is, you just can not discount the Devils as some Mickey Mouse organization, as Wayne Gretzky once famously did. And if you're a metropolitan area local of my age, then you watched their entire history (unlike the Islanders, whose earliest years escape my knowledgeable range).
Through those years, Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens, MacLean, Daneyko, Scott Niedermeyer, and a few others held my respect.
Lou Lamoriello is easily among the greatest executives NY/NJ teams have ever known. Scott Stevens is perhaps the toughest defensemen I ever saw play. Martin Brodeur only become the NHL's all-time wins leader, while John MacLean initially set the organization's offensive records.
And then there was one....
Patrick Elias is the man who broke John MacLean's club records, and continues to reset the organizational bar. He is perhaps the last Devil I retain an interest for. He may also be the last. For me at least, what started with Pat Verbeek, may end once Patrick Elias retires.
Was I ever a Devils fan? When they play the Islanders, sure. Otherwise, no. Regardless, my son is intolerant of whatever I call it.
Devils wins and losses have never, and do not factor in my life, or general disposition the way the Rangers/Giants/Mets can, and do.
I'm just a guy who enjoys his surroundings. Heck, I wish the Islanders were good again just to rekindle that rivalry, and elevate area hockey overall.
New York Rangers: Power Play Finally Lights The Lamp...
Yes, my team.
Just the opposite of the Devils, after losing 3 straight, the Rangers have won 3 in a row. They entered Tuesday's game on the heels of an impressive 4-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks.
The Blueshirts scored 3 unanswered goals against the Devils to gain an (elusive) overtime victory. Of course, that would not have been possible without Rick Nash's game tying goal in the 3rd period. It was his NHL leading 8th goal of the season.
The Rangers also finally scored on the power play - twice in fact, against the Devils. They broke an 0 for 17 streak, and are now 2 for 20 on the young season.
Next stop, a true test against the Montreal Canadiens.
Derek Stepan has not skated yet. Dan Girardi was back on the ice.