Category Archives: Season Tickets

Calder Trophy Finalists Announced: Devils Rookies Fall Short

In a season that saw us start countless rookies, none of our first-year Devils players cracked the top three for rookie of the year.  The Calder Trophy finalists were announced on Tuesday, and Nick Palmieri, Mattias Tedenby, Jacob Josefson, Mark Fayne, Mark Fraser, Vladimir Zharkov, and even Tim Sestito were left out of contention for the award.

Of the three Calder Trophy finalists, only one is still playing.  Logan Couture had a key role in the incredible four-goal comeback win against the Kings in game three of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.  He scored a goal and had an assist.  Michael Grabner of the New York Islanders carried a mediocre team with 34 goals this season, while Jeff Skinner was the youngest player to ever play in the All-Star game for the Carolina Hurricanes.  No sane hockey mind would argue that the Hurricanes or Islanders are better than the Sharks, but does playing in the playoffs make a difference for Rookie of the Year honors?

Couture had the sixth most goals in the NHL this season on the second-seeded Sharks in the West.  He also notched 24 assists for a total of 56 points in his first season.  The 22 year old center also had an incredible eight game-winning goals this season, which is 7th best in the league.  He led all rookies with 10 power play goals and also led them in game-winners.  Couture played 25 games last season, but still qualifies as a rookie this year.

Jeff Skinner had the most points of any of the candidates with 63.  His 31 goals and 32 assists set him apart from the other two candidates.  The 7th pick of last year’s entry draft, Skinner became the youngest NHL All-Star ever at age 18.  However, his Hurricanes lost the last game of the regular season to be eliminated from the playoffs.  Perhaps Couture’s propensity to win games for the Sharks, and their playoff berth this season, is more important than points.

Michael Grabner likely didn’t expect to make the playoffs with the New York Islanders this year, but he was a bright spot on a mediocre team that surged in the second half of the 2011 season.  Grabner was waived by the Panthers to start the year, but found a niche with the Isles.  He won the Fastest Skater competition at this year’s All-Star game and his speed made him a top-line forward.  His 34 goals lead all rookies, and his six shorthanded goals set the pace for first-year players as well.  His speed makes him one of the most dynamic players in the NHL, but does that mean he should be rookie of the year?

My pick for this year’s rookie of the year is Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks.  It is impossible for me to discount his clutch play during his first year in the NHL.  Eight game-winning goals is an impressive stat.  All three players broke the thirty goal threshold, and all three have a realistic shot at the award.  But Skinner had a chance to make the playoffs and couldn’t will his team past the Lightning while Grabner played for the 14th-in-the-East Islanders.  Couture is still playing, and still contributing.  He is my rookie of the year.

But what about the Devils’ rookie of the year?  We saw contributions from a plethora of young stars with which we can build the franchise around.  We’ll have a lottery pick this year, and the team is as young and promising as it’s been in years.  I probably give it to Palmieri, who woke an under-performing Ilya Kovalchuk and launched his epic streak in the second half.  Who do you think deserves it?

The Greatest Thrill Ride in Sports

The playoffs bring out both the most agonizing and exhilarating feelings in fans.  You pull your hair out hoping that your team can score just that one goal to tie the game.  You have your own little silly superstitions from wearing the same jersey to wearing the same socks at every game (gross, but it happens).  But there is nothing, NOTHING, like overtime in the playoffs.

Playoff OT is so great because there’s only two feelings you have.  Absolute malaise or abundant elation.  There is no gray area.  Well, unless you were in Philly last year when Patrick Kane won the cup and he and two other teammates were the only ones that realized it right away.  That moment aside, it really is the greatest thrill ride in sports.  Nowhere in any sport can you end a game so quickly and turn a series or a end a season.  People have tried to tell me football is like that but there is so much stop and go that you don’t get the same adrenaline rush.

I’ll never forget the game that Grant Marshall ended in 2003 against the Lightning.  It was my first year with season tickets and I personally have never experienced a playoff overtime game, in person, before that year.  On TV growing up, I watched all the great endings (McKay and Broten in ’95) and the heartbreaking ones (some team that beat us in ’94).  And yes, that series had an OT in Game 2 but it was over in two and a half minutes that you never really settled into it.  This game went to three overtimes.  With the “new NHL”, if a game goes into two OTs it’s considered a marathon.  But these were the “dead puck era” days.  The times when each round and seemingly every series had at least one multi-OT game.  And this wound up being the longest multi-OT game at home in Devils history.

As each shot went off a stick I was either cowering that Marty would make the save and hope that John Grahame would whiff with his glove or it would hit someone in front and the puck would go in.  But that didn’t happen until a little after midnight.  Thank God it was  Friday night.  Watching hockey for about five hours can be draining on you.  I can’t imagine what it’s like for a player.  You may have heard the stories of IVs and oranges between OT periods.  I remember noticing fans around me taking cat naps to get through the intermissions.  What made it worse was this was before smart phones so you just had to sit there and ponder what may happen.  It was torture.  Absolute torture.  Then deep into the 3rd overtime, just when thought of “Really?!? another one?” crept into your heads, this happened….

The thing I remember most was jumping up and down out of my seat high up the Continental Airlines Arena screaming “IT’S OVER! IT’S OVER! WE DID IT!” and when my best friend Steve asked who scored I demonstratively screamed “ELIAS!”….Yeah, totally missed it.  Little did I know I was completely wrong but hey, look, sit through three OTs and see what you remember when your team scores the goal to win it and you don’t have the benefit of Doc’s amazing call.  At least they were on the same line!

Hockey playoffs are regarded as the best playoffs in sports.  And OT is the biggest reason why.  It will terrify you, make you happy.  It will make you pray.  It will put fear into your heart and give you the biggest calm after it’s over.  It definitely is the greatest thrill ride in sports.

All Aboard the Bandwagon to D.C. … Literally!

What’s a Devils fan to do when this year’s playoffs don’t include them?  Jump on another team’s bandwagon of course!  Every hockey fan does it. They pick two teams they’re going to pull for during the playoffs, one from each conference, and then see if they’re right.  If not, they just continue to jump from bandwagon to bandwagon.  I’ve made my stance about who I’m rooting for in the East this year, some know who, others do not.  But for one night I’m choosing to jump on the Washington Capitals bandwagon.

You see, my husband is a die-hard Rangers fan.  So, any opportunity I can get to root against our Blue Shirt rivals, I jump at the opportunity. We decided earlier in the week that this would be a great experience for both of us, and one that we would both enjoy.  After all, I did bring him to Chicago for a Devils/Blackhawks game  last season, and he donned a Hawks jersey.  So, it’s only fitting that I go to Washington and  rock my Ovechkin t-shirt.   Therefore , tomorrow morning we’ll head down to the D.C. area to do some sight-seeing,  and get ready for Game 2 of the Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers series.

Having watched a lot of the Rangers/Caps games all season, this is still anyone’s series for the taking.  The Rangers outscored the Caps 17-6 and took the season series 3-1.  They also held Alexander Ovechkin to no goals and two assists.  Last night however, Alexander Ovechkin got on the board and tied the game late in the 3rd period.  The game headed to overtime and the Caps came out with the victory.

The Capitals lead the 7 game series 1-0. Game 2 is tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. and I can’t wait to enjoy some playoff hockey.  I’ll be rocking my red one way or another, even if it is for a different team.

Go Caps Go!

Nordiques Nation invades The Rock!

Nordiques Nation

Nordiques Nation

The Nordiques Nation was in attendance for the Devils last game of the season on Sunday against Boston, all 2,000 of them with their blue shirts, face paint, and resident sasquatch. They took up a few sections in the upper level and were scattered through each section of Prudential, chanting and cheering on the Devils… and The Nordiques Nation, of course.

Their goal is to bring it to the attention of the NHL that they want a team back in Quebec. It’s been 16 years without a team after the Quebec Nordiques moved and became the Colorado Avalanche in 1995. Each period, the Nordiques would start a countdown to the 16 minute mark and make noise for the next 30 seconds of play to mark the importance of 16.  They were loud the entire game, started a pretty successful wave throughout the arena and were very organized! Chico made a few comments about the Nordiques not just being a haphazard group, “they have leaders!” (I know this because I watched the replay of the game later that night.. it’s hard to say goodbye!)

In the last few minutes of the game, the Nordiques Nation left their upper level seats to invade the lower half. Lines of blue filled the aisles of the lower level of the Prudential Center and the rest of the arena in red gave the Devils a standing ovation for the last minute of play as they won 3-2. It was a great game to finish the season. Everyone was happy, light-hearted and there to celebrate the team and its amazing run.

After the post game interview, I lingered in my seat for a few more minutes and got a little sentimental! It’s hard to think I wouldn’t be sitting in seat 10 for another few months – September can’t come fast enough.

Nordiques Nation

Nordiques Nation

Devils Army Rises Up

Devils Army Rises Up

We Earned It

We have had a pretty crazy season. We picked up a great player in Kovalchuk, lost our star Parise to a knee injury, the return of Jaque Lemaire, saw Hedberg make incredible saves while Marty wasn’t looking to hot, had a terrible first half and are finishing it up on fire – but are missing the play offs for the first time since 1996! That’s a whole lot for a fan to handle. But I have to say, we handled it pretty well!

We never give up. We rocked our red, defended our boys and always knew that we had what it took to make a great team. We are all proud of the Devils and proud to be members of the Devils Army. We have a whole section, the NJ Devils Supporters Section, dedicated to those fans who like to be heard and are offering season tickets to join them at every game. We have even taken our fan community to another level with the launch of Mission Control and the Devils Army Generals earlier this year, bringing the fans in closer to the organization instead of leaving them on the concourse.

We are the best fans and the team knows it! They mention how great it is to hear us support them and how much it means to them while they’re on the ice. The Devils employees put together a LIPDUB in honor of us. The annual Fan Appreciation Day is coming up, landing on our last game of the season on April 10th and I think it is well deserved! In addition to the normal Fan Fest with music, food and games, Sunday the fans will have the chance to win great prizes and receive a team poster on their way out.

This is a great team to be a fan of. With 1,000 first time season ticket holders signing up for next season, it’s obvious that people can not get enough of Devils hockey! The Devils Army is growing and next year is our year.

The Rock

The Rock

Last Game of the Season

Well, it’s been a long season and this is the first time since I’ve had my tickets that I will not get to see post-season action. I’m not sure how to feel about this. Should I be angry and upset, should I cry, should I be happy and look forward to our future? I’ve thought long and hard about this and decided that while I’m upset the season has ended, I’m happy to see what the future brings.
The Devils showed some grit and pride when the new year began and it made me so proud to be a Devils fan. It seemed like they had something to prove and showed determination we hadn’t seen at all up until this point. That incredible run from January through mid-March had everyone on the edge of their seats, wanting more and more after each deciding win. Then it came to a crashing halt with two losses to Ottawa and a loss to Buffalo which sealed our fate. What we all thought would be an absolute miracle became the heartbreak we had back in November.
This is our final weekend to cheer and root for this Devils team that has overcome so much. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Wear your Devils red and black all weekend and show everyone why we have some of the greatest fans in the entire NHL. We get a chance to support this team ONE MORE TIME this Sunday against the Boston Bruins. Let’s go Devils Army…RISE UP!

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