Monthly Archives: March 2011
Well the hope is fading, the drive is dwindling, but there’s still hockey to be played. Tonight YOUR New Jersey Devils will take on the New York Islanders at The Rock. Both teams have had similar seasons. Both have had very tough first halves while the second halves of the season have seen signs of life and promise for next season from both teams. Both teams have had “what if?” seasons. What if the Devils didn’t get off to a 10-29 start? What if the Islanders didn’t have that 14 game losing streak? Both teams would probably be in the playoffs. But as the old adage goes, that’s why they play the games.
Both teams though have a lot to look forward to going into next year. The Islanders have Calder Trophy favorite Michael Grabner leading the charge this year along with John Tavares and Andrew MacDonald. The Devils have found gems in Mattias Tedenby, Jacob Josefson, and Mark Fayne. And both teams will be getting a top 10 draft pick this year. So tonight’s game could be a preview of two of the top teams a few years down the line.
This is uncharted territory for us fans. We don’t know what to do. Here’s a tip…let’s enjoy the hockey game as a hockey game and hope our boys come out on top? We’re all hockey fans. Let’s win our game tonight and end the year on a high note. We all know how great winning feels.
There’s something new going on outside the entrance to the Fire Lounge during the Devils games these days and it’s stirring up a lot of excitement with the Devils fans that already know about it. It’s the Devils Silent Auction!
I was fortunate enough to stumble upon the silent auction as I was walking along the Main Concourse at a recent Devils game. I spotted a huge framed picture with signed 8x10s of Brodeur and Nieuwekdyk hoisting the cup hanging in the middle of the concourse and I knew I had to take a closer look.
The first thing I noticed when I walked up to the table was the “Buy It Now” Langenbrunner and Arnott signed pucks for $20, that night’s special. I knew those guys aren’t with the team any more, but they’re a part of an amazing Devils’ history and for that price how could I pass the deal up?
Moving down the table with my new pucks in my pocket, I couldn’t believe the stuff the auction team was putting up for sale. There were signed 8x10s of players new and old, action figures, bobble heads, pins from their Stanley Cup years, and even pieces of Devils artwork. I decided to try for a Daneyko signed photo and put down the first bid of the night. I was told all I had to do was come back at the end of the second intermission to see if I had won.
I stopped back at the table with a couple minutes left before the start of the third period and I saw that I was still the winning bid. I waited nervously for the next couple minutes, hoping no one would out-bid me. I watched as people bid for the pins and plaques, but as the countdown drew to a close my choice remained untouched and I won!
As I walked away happy with my new signed picture and pucks, I also walked away with the knowledge that part of what I spent that night went to the Devils Alumni Association which helps support youth hockey in New Jersey. I can’t wait for my next Devils game so I can head back to the table and see what cool new stuff they have up for auction.
The Devils Silent Auction is located outside the Fire Lounge entrance at Section 19/20 and bidding is open from when doors open to the end of the second intermission at every Devils home game.
In case you missed it, there was a pretty awesome TweetUp on Friday, March 25th! A great group of fans got together to watch the Devils play the Penguins at McGoverns Tavern in Newark, including some special guests… Does the name Ken Daneyko ring a bell?
Ken Daneyko was one of the fans on Friday – mingling with the group, talking hockey and watching the game. Of course he signed some autographs and took some pictures, too! We gave Daneyko a run down on Twitter and let him answer some fan submitted questions on our @DevilsGenerals account. In response to @21njdevils101, Daneyko’s favorite current Devil is a tie between Kovy and Parise, and said Marty has been a good buddy of his. Another fan, @DownGoesAvery, asked which current Devil/NHL player reminds Ken the most of himself. Daneyko tweeted back with, “No one, I’m one of a kind, but I’d have to say Mark Fraser.”
We also had the guys of Hockey This Week Radio Show do a live broadcast featuring our very own General Carlos, Chris Wassel of The Program and of course, Ken Daneyko. They talked about the Generals and what we’ve been up to, Zach Parise’s return coming up this Wednesday and why it’s okay to wear a Capitals shirt to a Devils game – hey, as long as it’s red!
Unfortunately, the Devils lost to the Penguins 1-0 in a shoot out, but we still had a great time! Thanks to McGoverns Tavern for letting a group of Devils fans watch their team on NCAA weekend! And of course, thanks to Hockey This Week and Ken Daneyko for stopping by and making this TweetUp one of a kind.
Check out the pics from Friday night. I know there’s a couple of familiar faces in there, let us know where you are!
N.J. became the team’s mascot in 1993 after numerous reports of a red figure leading chants at the former Brendan Byrne Arena. He revealed himself as the legendary New Jersey Devil and a die-hard hockey fan. Ever since his debut, NJ has been dancing in the stands, skating on the ice, and leading the Devils Army in cheering for the team.
His favorite part of a Devils game at The Rock is hearing the roar of the fans after a Devils goal and whenever he gets the chance to bring out the drum to start some cheers. But I was more interested in what N.J. is doing when not at The Rock?
Getting this sit-down with N.J. was very difficult as he makes over 200 charity appearances, assisting in fundraisers, skating at clinics, and helping out with the Street Devils team. But luck for me he took the interview in between instilling fear in opposing fans and donating blood with the Red Cross.
N.J. is a very down to earth Devil. He loves interacting with Devils fans and rowdying the fans rowdy to help the Devils win. He grew up playing hockey but often found it difficult to find proper equipment to fit his Devil size body.
What does N.J. like to eat? His favorite place to catch a bite is at local Newark deli, Hobby’s. The hot pastrami sandwich is one of his favorites but don’t expect him to ever order a Philly Cheesesteak. He always drinks Pepsi and his favorite dessert is Devil Dogs. What type of music does N.J. prefer? Anything he can dance to. He’s still waiting for Dancing with the Stars to give him a call.
His fellow mascot friends get together every All-Star Break to share stories and catch up on old times. Pranks are also part of the annual gathering. He shared some of his favorites like in 1998 they tied Detroit Red Wings mascot, Al the Octopus’ arms together, they stole the Buffalo Sabres mascot, Sabretooth’s false teeth and the legendary prank they pulled on the Canadiens mascot, Youppi, convincing him the All-Star Game was in Quebec not Colorado causing him to completely miss that game.
The Hall of Fame is something every mascot dreams of and N.J. hopes that day may come. When asked of his chances, he said he much rather focus on the fans and winning more Stanley Cups. Though, he admitted he would be the best looking bust in the Hall.
If he wasn’t the Devils mascot, what would he do? He is convinced he would be a male model, breakdance instructor or he would take up the family business in the Pine Barrens like his father.
The last question I asked N.J. was what is best part of his job. He said without hesitation it is working for the greatest fans in the world. I must say after conducting this interview I had a newfound respect for one of the greatest mascots ever.
This Spring has been cold and snowy thusfar, but Devils Army, we have good news! You don’t have to be Al Roker to see the April forecast: warm. sunny weather, and the return of Devils Fan Fest on Championship Plaza.
As always, Fan Fest will feature great live music, food, games and of course fun for all. In addition to the traditional fun Fan Fest provides, the Devils will have some very unique additions including “The Tent” at the remainder of Devils home games. “The Tent” will provide an opportunity for Devils fans to purchase a piece of Devils history, include authentic relics of the team’s past and rare, discontinued team merchandise coming directly from the team’s storage vault. Many one of a kind items from the locker room in the 1990’s, autographed merchandise, and items that have never been offered to public will be featured at the sale within “The Tent”.
Section 211 is where I call home. Right around center ice behind the benches, this section gives you an amazing view of all the action on the ice from corner to corner. You can see every face off, every save, and each goal scored. This goes for any center ice upper level section, but I’m a little biased to 211 since I’ve been sitting there all year!
The crowd is great in the upper level. It’s always full of true Devils fans. This is where the fans who attend more than a few games a season like to sit. This is where chants get started, ref’s get yelled at, and players get their loudest support.
You also get to see all the Devils game personalities from your seat. The NJ Devil guy (not to be confused with our mascot, NJ) reigns from Section 211. Across the ice you can see – and hear – Mike Hiller of Section 233 and the Crazies start his DEVILS chant every game. On the other end of the arena, you can see the Devils Dancers in section 16.
More importantly, right behind section 211 is Nathans. Not only can you get the best fries in the arena, but also the best condiments. Hear me out on this… the condiments stand right outside has the full trifecta of Ketchup, Frank’s Red Hot and Cattlemen’s Barbecue sauce. The barbecue sauce isn’t available throughout the arena, you have to search for it but it’s a MUST for fries and chicken fingers. You can pick up a Molson’s Canadian or Land Shark on your way to your seat if the standard Bud Light isn’t your thing. Plus, there’s a Mrs. Fields right outside and their white chocolate macadamia nut cookie is no joke!
You’re also right by an escalator to make a quick trip up from the main concourse to the second level during the game and easy trip down when the game is over.
Section 211 is my home away from home and you’ll find me here every game, Nathans fries and trifecta in hand.
I wish someone could actually tell this team that the fans are proud of them. The Devils Army continues to believe in this team. We all showed our support when everyone else had already counted the Devils out. We fans can’t thank the team enough for this exciting second half of the season. Every game I was at was fun and exhilarating. The team only has seven games left and the fans love to see the team play fun hockey. Not to mention we are excited about Parise’s return. Play the remainder of the games for each other.
Play for your coach who came in and helped turn this team around. If the team wins their remaining games, Lemaire could potentially be named the coach of the year. Why not play for that? Five of the remaining seven games will take place at Prudential Center. Let’s end the season showing other NHL teams the New Jersey Devils are a great team and hard to beat. The fans are loud and love the New Jersey Devils!
After a difficult loss to Boston last game, the Devils need to focus all of their attention on tonight’s game against the Penguins.
Tonight marks the fifth of six meetings with the division-rival Penguins this season. The Devils and Penguins have split the season series thus far. The last game was decided by a thrilling power-play goal in overtime by Ilya Kovalchuk.
Each team has something to play for in tonight’s game at CONSOL Energy Center. The Devils look to rebound from their first losing streak since January, and hope to continue their storybook-like ending. In order to win tonight’s game, the Devils need to continue seeing the hot-streak duo of rookies Jacob Josefson and Mattias Tedenby. Over the last six games, each have six points as the newly formed Tedenby-Josefson-Clarkson line continues to be on fire.
The Penguins continue to surge without captain Sidney Crosby and alternate captain Evgeni Malkin. The team now finds themselves four points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the Eastern Conference lead, with two games in hand. This team has been a surprise as a lot thought the team would collapse without Malkin and Crosby. Surprisingly, the team’s offense has been evenly spread throughout the rest of the team as Crosby still leads the team in goals and points, despite being on Injured Reserve since late January.
The Devils will have some motivation as Zach Parise returned to practice with the team yesterday. GM Lou Lamiorello believed Parise will play again this season, “unless there is something unforeseen that happens.” While Parise will not play tonight, knowing his return is imminent will help the team greatly.
Face off is at 7:00 PM EDT. If you can’t make it to the game personally and are looking for a place to watch the game with other Devils fans, there will be a TweetUp at McGoverns Tavern in Newark. For more information on the TweetUp and to RSVP, click here.
Do you believe? I believe.
One game at a time.
Let’s go Devils!
Of all the things that make being a Devils fan great, becoming friends with other fans has been one of the BEST things to happen over the past few years. Through the organization’s Official Facebook Page, I have been interacting with hundreds of other people, some of them not even from the US, let alone New Jersey! A few of these game time chats and Facebook requests have even turned into real-life friendships.
Although I haven’t had the privilege of meeting one of these fans in person yet, we have had many game day discussions. Through our social networking connection, we’ve bandaged each other’s wounds during the bad times, and cheered our team’s triumphs during the good.
As a tribute to our miraculous team and the friendships he has developed with the various people he has met through online discussion, my friend Joe Schwartz created this video. It is set to The Offspring’s “You’re Gonna Go Far Kid” and features photos of the players on and off the ice, along with photos of all of his Devils related Facebook friends. Joe lives in Florida, yet he wears his Devils Red with pride every chance he gets when they play in Tampa or across the US. I hope you enjoy his tribute to a great team and their dedicated fan base as much as I did.
Sadly, the New Jersey Devils do not play hockey 365 days a year. Sometimes with the way games get scheduled, we’re lucky to get two games a week. There can be lots of downtime in between games leaving us going through Devils hockey withdrawal.
What are we to do in between games? Are we supposed to freeze ourselves like Cartman does in that episode of “South Park” while waiting for the Nintendo Wii to come out? I wouldn’t recommend it.
Personally, I have several things I do in between Devils games.
The one thing I HAVE to do when the Devils are not playing, I also do on days when the Devils are playing. I play NHL 11 habitually. There’s a simple joy in playing against another user online, and winning the game as the New Jersey Devils. Playing this game is sometimes even more stressful than watching the real Devils on television. Video games should not be stressful, but being swept by the virtual Philadelphia Flyers will make any Devils fan mad. Losing to the Flyers or Rangers whether in real life, or virtually, should NEVER happen.
As I’m playing, I tend to pause the game for several minutes as something distracts me: Twitter. Almost every moment of the day, I’m on the micro-blogging site refreshing my feed to find out the latest news. I honestly believe this is the perfect way to pass time between games. What could be better than interacting with fans all over the world, as we discuss the sport that we are all passionate about. Several discussions can happen on the site. One minute we are debating about who should start the next game, and the next we are discussing whether Jacques Lemaire will return as coach next season. You’d be surprised how many users participate in a conversation. While a conversation may begin with only two people, it can end up involving six others.
Last, but not least, I PLAY hockey. Not only do I play virtual hockey, but I also play on the streets. Remember being a child, playing roller hockey with your friends? You would pretend that kid down the street you didn’t like was Eric Lindros and you were Scott Stevens. I’m not ashamed to say I’m 22 years old and I STILL like to imagine being a favorite player as I just shoot a puck around with friends. It’s the closest I will be to ever becoming a NHL superstar.
I’d love to hear about some of the things you do in between Devils games. Post a comment to this blog telling me if you play NHL 11, or if you’re an active Twitter user, or if you like to imagine you’re Ilya Kovalchuk snapping a goal past Henrik Lundqvist, or anything else you do to pass the time. I look forward to reading your responses!