Throwback Thursday: What If Patrik Wasn’t Precise
My favorite moment in New Jersey Devils history was the culmination of an incredible 1999-2000 season in the winning of the Stanley Cup. I’ve been fortunate enough to witness some incredible players spend most of their careers in New Jersey, one of which has been Patrik Elias. Even as a 37-year-old, Elias played at a pace this year that would have earned him 61 points had it been a full season. No point of his has been as meaningful to me as the last pass he made in the 1999-2000 season: a blind pass towards the net right onto the stick of his line-mate, Jason Arnott, ending Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals and bringing the cup to New Jersey for the second time in franchise history. I had yet to begin my appreciation for hockey in 1995, so this play was the most exciting thing I had witnessed in sports in my entire life.
The 1999 team was arguably the most well rounded team in Devils history. The Devils had an incredible offense, featuring the “A-line” of Jason Arnott, Patrik Elias, and Petr Sykora. This was filled out by the likes of Bobby Holik, Randy Mckay, Claude Lemieux, Alexander Mogilny (acquired via trade), and Calder Trophy winner Scott Gomez. Their defense featured the most famous names in Devils history including captain Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, Brian Rafalski, and Ken Daneyko. Last, but certainly not least, the Devils had Martin Brodeur at the top of his game. The most astounding part of this team and the final play of the Stanley Cup Finals was the chemistry. The infamous “A-line” accounted for three of the top four offensive players that season, and their final act proved just how well they knew each other; it was as if they always knew where the others were on the ice without having to look.
I will always remember my heart skipping a beat as I watched the puck float across the ice from Elias to Arnott, hoping that it would finally end the double overtime marathon and that I could see Scott Stevens hoist the cup high over his head. Even now, I am reminded by the “History Will Be Made” Stanley Cup Playoffs ads. “What if Patrik wasn’t precise?”…well, he was.