Sunday, July 7, 2013

Draft Day Moves and the Secret Fantasy of Every Devils Fan

The Devils made a couple of moves at the NHL Draft this year to sure up their goaltending future hopefully for many years to come. They traded their first round pick (number 9 overall) to Vancouver for Goaltender Cory Schneider.

Here's how it looked on TSN:
I remember the booing of Bettman in that video being much much louder as well as the cheering for the trade.

Draft Day

Wow. What a day last Sunday was at Prudential Center for the 2013 NHL Draft.

I really didn't know what to expect, so I want to spend a few sentences (or paragraphs) on the mechanics of it all. These are things you might not see on TV watching at home.

Fan Fest
The Devils had a fan fest out on Championship Plaza with the theme being the Jersey Shore. Early summer, in New Jersey, that seemed fitting. It was sponsored by Stronger Than The Storm, which is an ad campaign here promoting the rebuilding of the Jersey Shore after last October's Hurricane/Nor'easter. There was a boardwalk set up against the adjacent buildings where the Devils had free boardwalk-type games (try to get the ball into the small hoop, try to knock down the milk bottles, etc.) complete with a sand pit on the other side of the boardwalk. There was also a sand sculpture around the hockey player statue in the plaza, music, food/drink, and street hockey set up on the street in front of Championship Plaza. They had promised a Ferris Wheel which was being constructed during fan fest and the B Street Band which I didn't actually see out there.

Seating inside the arena was announced as General Admission in the upper concourse, with fans being allowed inside at 1pm. Season Ticket Holders and their groups (who seemed to occupy most of the tickets) had access around the side of the building at 12:30. The first couple hundered people from that line were given free upgrades to reserved seating in the lower level. The draft stage and video screens were set up on the south end of the arena (the "open" end with the concessions that look back to the action; the end where the Devils defend twice). The concessions on that end were all closed up, but everything else was open. In the Upper Level, it was nothing special except for a table where season ticket holders could pick up commerative tickets from the event. Of course, seating on the end behind the stage was closed off. In the lower level concourse, that end was home to different hockey card vendors as well as team banners for each team in the draft (in order to block off the seating area and concessions). The rest of the concourse was business as usual except for the NHL's trophy collection on display in the corner next to one tower and the Stanley Cup in the corner next to the other tower (in that larger concourse with the big window behind the Fire Lounge).

Draft setup
I mentioned the stage being on one end. The other end had the different TV sets for the different TV coverage and interview area with reserved seating behind it. There was also media tables on the floor and media all around the handicap and ledge seating in the lower bowl. The middle of the arena floor was 30 tables for 30 teams participating in the draft with the potential draftees sitting in the club seats with their families. Each time a player was picked, you'd see him scream with excitement, hug his family, and run down to the floor to meet his new team and receive a jersey. The video display would show highlights of the kid if it was an early round pick and show logos of the team picking on all of the scoreboards and LED ribbons. There was a large video screen behind the stage showing the draft order for that round with some sponsor logos or team logos as they picked. They also had the 30 team's logos on a couple of banners above the stage where a spotlight would shine on the team that was "on the clock".

That is the basic mechanics of the draft. In later rounds, things moved a lot quicker, and more and more people had left. There weren't many of us who had stayed until the end. Gary Bettman was booed every time he went up on stage (which was only through the first round). The Rangers, Flyers, and Penguins were booed for every time their team was mentioned. And the Devils still received cheers all the way until the end.

See all of my pictures from the NHL Draft.

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Welcome Back Draft Party

I've never been to the NHL Draft. Year to year, I don't know who the prospects are. I don't fully understand the Junior leagues (are they pro or semi-pro? are they cutting class in High School in order to play?). But this year, I have more interest in it than normal. This year's NHL Draft will take place in my "home" arena, where I've been a season ticket holder for the past 2 seasons. That would be enough to get me to watch the draft, where I can see how it looks inside the arena that I know so well. The Devils sweetened the pot by giving free tickets to each season ticket holder (2 of them, and allowed us to request additional tickets, of which, they gave us 2 more). So I'm going to watch the NHL Draft in person this year. I'll admit, I have no idea what to expect.

The only other time I had any real interest in the NHL Draft was in 2005. You remember 2005. That was the year with no Stanley Cup Playoffs. Long story short, there was no season in 2004-05, no playoffs, and the lockout wasn't settled until that July. The NHL draft was rescheduled for a Saturday afternoon, July 30, 2005, and it was the first event held by the NHL after the season had been cancelled.

The Devils held a "Welcome Back/Draft Party" to welcome the fans back into the good graces of the organization and of the league. It was just as it sounds. Welcome the fans back to hockey, and come watch the draft together on the big screens at Continental Airlines Arena. Of course, being the hockey-starved fan I was after a lost season, I went. And there were many many others like me who made the trip to East Rutherford on that Saturday afternoon. So many that the Devils and arena staff weren't prepared for the large crowd.

The Devils had set up the arena floor (no ice surface after a year of hockey, or just no ice surface during summer break) with different activities including floor hockey for the kids, autographs of a few players, and a podium near one goal where Stan Fischler and Ken Daneyko were talking about the draft. They also gave everyone a food voucher to use at the 2 center ice concession stands, a voucher for a free ticket to one of two early-season games, and had a hockey equipment sale set up underneath the stands. I wish I had taken a camera to this because I really don't remember all of the activities they had set up for the fans. I really didn't care. It was just good to be back in hockey.

I came in about a half hour before the draft started, and Stan Fischler was just reciting some sort of information at the podium. I really got the sense that nobody was listening to him. Ken Daneyko was with him. The Devils put the MSG Network coverage of the draft up on the big screens (MSG was showing the TSN feed from Canada, where they had real coverage, and MSG would interject their own analysis for the 3 local teams). Around the time the draft started, Stan Fischler left (he re-appeared on MSG about 30 minutes later), and Dano was left alone on the podium. Dano was still new at the TV thing, and he didn't look comfortable up there by himself. Matt Loughlin (the TV "host" of Devils telecasts at the time) arrived shortly after the draft started and took over hosting the event (not for TV, but for the fans in the arena).

This was the draft in which the Devils selected Nicklas Bergfors in the first round and Sidney Crosby was the first overall selection by the Penguins. In fact, quite a few first round selections from that year are still playing in the NHL. I remember Matt Loughlin getting Bergfors on the phone to conduct an interview for the fans in the arena.

I don't remember much else about the draft itself (I know it was conducted over 2 days, unlike this year's draft which is being squeezed into a single day). But at the arena, there were a whole lot more Devils fans than the team had expected. Food concession lines had stretched from both center ice concessions straight across the concourses, into the seating bowl, and all the way down to the playing surface. That's one sight I wish I had a picture of (I think it was before smartphones, and even my dumb phone at the time didn't have a camera). I think the Devils/arena had to call in more staff to handle the crowds.

I think they got somewhere around 8,000 people on a Saturday afternoon in late July to come watch the NHL Draft on the big screen and just be around hockey for the first time in over a year. And that was the only time I was even remotely close to the NHL Draft.

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

So What Went Wrong?

I've had a little more than a week to process the end of the Devils season, and I've probably been thinking about this topic for even longer than that. So what went wrong with the Devils in 2013 after they won the Eastern Conference playoffs a year ago? I think the answer is a multi-part answer.

New assistant coaches

During the offseason a year ago, there were some new assistant coaches brought in to fill out Pete DeBoer's staff. Just look at what I wrote back in July about the new coaches coming in. Okay, I might have been a little bit off in my assessment of Matt Shaw. Adam Oates left for a head coaching job in Washington, and a new coach, Matt Shaw, came in to replace him, and the Devils offense got about 1000 times worse in the shortened season. Meanwhile, Adam Oates, after a slow start in Washington, led his new team to the Division title.

What I think was the problem on offense was the new system they were trying to play. Maybe the short training camp after the lockout didn't give them enough time to learn it, but one would think that over the season, it would sink in. And maybe it did, since the team got off to a real good start and then tailed off over the last 2 months in the very short season. Many times on offense, the Devils didn't look like they knew what they were trying to do. They have the talent, but there wasn't a good system tying it together. The Power Play was god-awful, with many times at home games seeing too many passes and 5-on-3 advantages that had 0 shots on goal and 0 scoring chances (which seem to be a different stat). One of my repeating jokes during the season was that they're a team that likes to pass, and they aren't even good at it. I would see outlet passes from the defensive zone and passes trying to set up plays in the offensive zone that didn't seem to be very crisp. All season long. Matt Shaw needs to go.

There were also some problems on defense, with new assistant coach and former Devils captain Scott Stevens. There was a period of time where the defense seemed to be incoherent as well. The secret to Marty Brodeur's success has always been a strong defense in front of him. And there was a period in the season where the Devils didn't have that. I liked Scott Stevens as a player, but that doesn't always translate as a coach. Maybe he needs more time.


Lots of injuries during the season led to the Devils downfall. A lot of people look at the Kovalchuk injury in late March, and they lost their first 10 in a row while he was out, winning the final game before his return. They went on to win 3 out of 5 after his return. Before Kovy went down, Marty Brodeur missed about a month, and the team lost a lot of games during that stretch too. Not winless, but not good. So, should they have tried to play one of the backups from Albany for a couple games to see what they're made of, both of whom were up during Brodeur's absence? In hindsight, it probably wouldn't have been much worse than Hedberg. But the team didn't step up for Hedberg. And Zubrus was out for a while early in the season. And Henrique was injured at Albany during the lockout and wasn't there to start the NHL season in mid-January.

But one thing that the injuries did expose was a lack of depth on the Devils roster after losing Petr Sykora and Zach Pari$e during the offseason. Maybe on paper, the full lineup looked good, and the injuries happening are largely bad luck, but it hurt the team a lot. There were a lot of line changes and lineup changes during these injuries (I don't think the Devils ever had their full roster until their elimination day), but there was definitely a miss on management's part there not being prepared. So Lou went to so many places to fill those gaps, both inside the organization and a few trades outside that didn't really seem to solve the problems. With more free agency coming this summer, this is going to be a bigger problem for the Devils. With more normalcy this summer (no fear of a lockout and a full season and full training coming after the summer ends), it's time for Lou Lamoriello to figure this one out.


One thing I heard this season was that the Devils didn't practice the shootout very often. And I heard that they did a lot last year. I don't know whose decisions those were, or why it was changed (possibly new assistant coaches, possibly a shorter season leading to less practice time and some things having to get squeezed). But I think it made a HUGE difference. 2-7 record in the shootout. 10 OT losses in total (which include the 7 shootout losses). In the end, they were 7 points out of the last playoff spot. By contrast, they were 12-4 in shootouts last year. Roughly the same percentage of games went to the shootout (remember, this was a short season and last year was a full season), and the record was basically reversed. Practice, practice, practice! Sure, losing Parise hurt, and the time without Zubrus and Kovalchuk also hurt, but there's just no excuse. Shootouts are jokingly referred to as "skills competitions", and the Devils were bad at the skills competition. One of the worst winning percentages in the league in shootouts.


I think there some issues that had an effect on other things during the season. Changing lines, either due to performance, lack of training camp time, or injuries (or probably all of those) has to play on the players' minds. Where is the chemistry? Taking time to find it hurt the club. Did they get down after the different injuries? Who knows. Did they get down after the shootout losses, and giving away games late in the 3rd period? I'm sure they did. Did they get down on themselves while Kovalchuk was out and the team seemingly forgot how to score? I think they did. But if you win just 3 of the shootout losses, and find cohesion in the lines early in the season, I think it would have had a trickle down effect and some of these other losses would be wins, and they would be in the playoffs.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

If the reports are true

Well, if the reports are true (and I've heard it from multiple sources), the Devils not only get to play in an outdoor hockey game next season, but they get to be the "home" team in one as well. It'll be against the Rangers on January 26 (a Sunday, 7 days before NJ hosts the Super Bowl). But here's the catch. It's in New York City. The Bronx. At Yankee Stadium. Yes, the Rangers will be the "visiting" team for a game within their own city limits (while they still have those limits all to themselves) when they play the Devils. The Devils will be a "home" team for a game that's really hosted by their biggest rival. I don't really like this.

Let me touch on the full set of news for a second. There will be six (count 'em...6) outdoor games in the NHL next season. I don't really understand why that is. New Year's Day will be the first, in the "Winter Classic" game in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on New Year's Day, between the Red Wings (their 2nd outdoor game) and the Maple Leafs. I like that matchup. Canada has hosted the "Heritage Classic" game twice (both involving the Montreal team), and they'll get one more (though I haven't heard the name "Heritage Classic" used, but none of this is official anyway) when Vancouver hosts Ottawa. I can live with that one too. I don't think that makes the novelty of an outdoor game watered down in anyway, especially if there isn't one every season (2003-04, 2010-11, and now 2013-14).

But wait, there's more. January 25 will see a game at Los Angeles's Dodger Stadium between the 2 teams local to that area - Kings against the Ducks. I just have to say "Good luck, NHL" with that one. Los Angeles doesn't strike me as an outdoor hockey hotbed. Maybe the fans think they deserve it, I smell a disaster keeping that rink in playable shape. If it matters, it will be a 1pm PT start, so it doesn't conflict with Hockey Night In Canada, which starts at 4pm PT, and a night game in LA would be too late for the viewers on the east coast.

Then there's the game the next day at Yankee Stadium between the Rangers and Devils. But wait, there's more. The Rangers and Yankee Stadium get two games. 3 nights later, on a Wednesday night (NBCSN's Wednesday Night Rivalry series), the Rangers will play the Islanders. I've heard that the Islanders will be the "home" team for that one too. There's a lot of this that smells fishy. But more on that in a second.

The day before the outdoor game in Canada, the Blackhawks will become the second two-time host (after the Rangers, who host both of theirs earlier in the season) when they host the Penguins (a 3rd outdoor game for them) in a game played at Soldier Field (that will make the Blackhawks the first team to host an outdoor game in two different stadiums - they hosted at Wrigley Field on New Year's Day 2009).

So where do I begin? The NHL is completely watering down the novelty of the outdoor hockey game in a total money grab. It's evident that it's become a money grab (and even a money hog because there's lots of teams NOT involved) because they're going to the non-outdoor hockey market of LA, 2 games in New York, 6 games total (it really should never be more than 2), and so many repeat offenders (when it's all over, Pittsburgh and the Rangers will have played in 3 while Chicago will have hosted twice and Detroit will have played in 2 games). I don't even know which of these is the biggest offense. What about Minnesota and Denver and Winnepeg (the only Canadian team not to play outdoors yet)? I'm not saying that every market is suitable for an outdoor game. Washington should get a game. There is no reason why the Devils and Islanders can't actually host games in their own territory and not in "Rangers country". Columbus? St. Louis? All certainly should have a shot at playing, if not hosting the once-a-year event.

Now, I heard that the Rangers are getting two games so that both the Devils and Islanders can be included and that neither one is excluded. The Rangers already played in an outdoor game. They're just a team that thinks they're entitled to this since they play in the biggest market in the league. Getting to "host" two games so their in-market rivals won't feel left out sounds very hypocritical since it now means that they will get more than either of their rivals (when they've already had some to begin with). And if it's true that the Rangers will be the "visiting" team in both games played in within the city limits in which they are currently the only team to call home, then that's one helluva money grab by James Dolan, who runs MSG and the Rangers. More proof that this is all about the money and not about the hockey nor the novelty. Just like Chicago getting another game and getting repeat offender Pittsburgh to play them.

I think after probably 2 outdoor games next season, people will stop watching because it's no longer a novelty. Hopefully it goes back to the once-a-year thing on New Year's Day in 2015 (NBC's contract has it running every New Year's until 2021) and that the novelty is back and peoplewatch it, because if the NHL ruins a good thing by over exposure in 2014, well, that will become their problem because we won't be watching.

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Devils Have Problems

I just looked at my blog and saw that I haven't written since the home opener. I've been throwing in thoughts on twitter, but not a full blog post. I was actually sick for most of the winter, missing several games (and going to others while still "sick"). I also had a poorly timed vacation that took me away from the team for a while. But I'm back for the home stretch, and if work doesn't kill me over the next few weeks, I think I'll be in for the playoffs (and I think the Devils players can say the same thing).

But I was at the game last night, as well as a sprinkling of games this season, sitting in my seats in the back of Section 124. And from there, in the corner to the goalie's right side, looking across to the spot in between the benches, where I've been sitting since Opening Night 2011-12, I can see a lot on both ends on the ice. Things that I don't always notice while watching on TV.

Last season, especially in the playoffs, I saw a very tight defense from the Devils that took away the middle lane in front of the goalie, thereby making it harder for the opposing team to score. It helped lead to great success. This year, save for the first couple games, I really didn't see that. At least not in the pronounced way that it had been there last season. I did start to see a return to that with last night's game (compared to the last game I saw in person 2 weeks ago).

But the bigger one is watching the offence, especially the Power Play (which a few years ago, I nicknamed the "Power Play Kill" because it looked like they were killing time with the extra man on the ice instead of taking advantage of that man advantage). Last night, the power play was getting booed. Last year, I thought the power play was bad. This year, it's looked beyond awful. Now, I never liked Ilya Kovalchuk playing the point on the power play. I always thought he was too sloppy to be playing the point, letting too many pucks slip through out of the zone, and he would be more dangerous to the opposing defense playing up front. Even last year when the whole team looked better, I thought that was the case. But the biggest killer is when they're setting up on offense, they waste so much time passing the puck. And when you pass the puck, defenses can get their sticks in there breaking up passes and clearing the zone. It's not even a power play issue, but offense in general.

The only thing that's changed from last season, with new assistant coaches in charge of the offense, is that they're not good at passing the puck. How many times this season have I seen pucks miss the sticks of the intended recipient or pucks passed too hard go off the stick and have to be chased down. Both of those things affect the rhythm of the offense (and that's when they don't result in turnovers). The stats sheet shows a lot of shots, but whenever the team is trying to set up for a score, it's all passing, and you don't pass pucks into the net.

Zubrus being out for part of the season and Kovalchuk being out right now aren't the reasons why they're not scoring. There certainly has been a lack of depth that I think we all thought was a non-issue after losing Parise last summer. The Devils have the talent on offense, but it isn't clicking. And after a while, I think it got into their heads. It's definitely in their heads. I heard on the radio postgame last night that maybe a sports psychologist is in order (a thought from the radio team and not necessarily the coaching staff). You know the coach doesn't know what to do when the forward lines are being changed up every night. I know injuries are part of that, but still. I don't know which was the chicken and which was the egg as far as injuries and switching up the lines. I think they could have survived without Kovy if they didn't have all these other problems.

Get their heads cleared (okay, I don't know how easy that's going to be), and get some of the hockey skill issues resolved. Make forward lines, keep them in tact, and let them figure out how to play together. Don't pass so much on offense, shoot the puck on net, and have players in place for a rebound. Unfortunately, I don't know how much will be resolved this season. But we can always hope, now that the Devils are on the outside looking in.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Home Sweet Home

This is "home" for me. At least for NHL games. From the back row of Section 124 at Prudential Center.

That was the overwhelming feeling, at least for me, at the home opener on Tuesday night.

The drive to Roselle Park to the train station. The walk from Penn Station through the Gateway Center out to Prudential Center, all lit up for an Opening Night sellout. Riding the escalator up from the first tower into the arena concourse. The same lady greeting you by selling programs and high-fiving everyone as they walked by. Riding the escalator up to the second level. Turning right then left and coming around the curve to my seats. And this view.

Nothing had changed. It was good to be back to watching hockey.

And the people. I think all of the season ticket holders who sat around me came back this year, almost all to the same seats. Even as too many months went by, it felt as if nothing had changed, even though so much had.

We had this hanging (on the other side of the balcony from where I sit). I have no view of it from my seat, but it was one of the first things I had to go see when I got up stairs. One night, I'll bring my real camera and take all kinds of pictures of the new banners and all of the banners on that end.

The concessions change each year. I now have to say "I sit in front of the Rita's stand" instead of the Carvel stand. The players change a bit each year. The Devils have a new captain this season and some new coaches. But for Opening Night, after a long layoff, none of that mattered. It was good to be home.

The post-script to that story is shutout number 120 for the franchise goaltender. It's a shame I had to miss the end in order to catch my train home. Hopefully leaving early like that won't happen too often this season.

Now we're 3-0-0, with the fourth game of the shortened season just a few hours away. There are certainly things they need to work on. They still pass too much, especially on the power play. Friday night against Washington was a prime example of that. There's a new coach for the power play and offense and there's supposed to be a new system in place where they get shots on the net rather than passing to get good looks. That didn't happen. The defense in front of the net in the 2 games I saw in person looked really good. Certainly helped with the shutout on Tuesday against the Flyers. They're changing up the offensive lines every day. That's still the "training camp" mentality. There is also a bit of a void to fill up there. I'd like to think every team is dealing with similar issues. But we're undefeated.

Two other observations from the league from the first week of the new season: A lot of fighting (not that there's anything wrong with that), and a lot of penalty shots. No idea why. Someone will have to look into it.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Game On

Editor's note: I started writing this post in the day or two after the tentative deal to end the NHL lockout was struck. Then I got the flu, and I'm finishing it on the 3rd day of the regular season.

They did it. Despite the best efforts of the negotiating heads of the two sides, a deal was done, and we're going to see NHL hockey in the 2012-2013 season. And I didn't think it was going to happen.

A couple of unrelated thoughts now that the lockout is over.

The NHL owners, teams, and players need to work, for at least the balance of this season, to make this up to us. I don't care if it's hockey hot beds like Montreal and Toronto, or smaller markets like Phoenix and New Jersey. A dispute that us fans had no control over cost us half a season of their product as well as pain and suffering, so they owe us.

And it shouldn't just apply to season ticket holders. It should extend to anyone still willing to buy tickets, and it should really apply to those who aren't going to buy tickets. The NHL is a business. We got that lesson loud and clear over the past 5 months. But a business is no good without customers (that's actually all I know about business).

NHL GameCenter would be good to give away for free this year. NHL Center Ice too (though the cable operators, innocent pawns in this like us, would lose out making money too, but maybe the NHL should cover some of those losses to extend a rather large olive branch to us fans). The ironic thing about that, at least for me, is that I live in a place where I already get full schedules for 3 NHL teams and yet I want more. Some markets only get one team, and it's so far away that it really isn't "theirs".

The negotiations really came down to the wire. Another 2 days of bargaining, looking at how the week before training camp could open went with the legal stuff, and I don't think there could have been a season. I'll give them credit for finishing up on Saturday even though it was just before 5am on Sunday because the Saturday session never actually ended until the deal was done. As it was, training camp was 1 day less than what everyone had speculated (and probably 1 week too short). Another day of negotiations, and I don't think it could have worked. I don't think people realize how close it really was.

Now, imagine if the whole lockout had happened before NEXT season with the Olympics taking place during the NHL season. I know it hasn't quite been settled whether the NHL players will participate in the Olympics, but imagine if the league and NHLPA were negotiating against a deadline to start a season that had to be interrupted for the Olympics. Or that the concession was the players would have to skip the Olympics. A realistic deadline for a stop-and-start season would have been much much earlier (by at least a month). Hard to realistically place the lockout and Olympics together and speculate what might have been, it's also entirely possible that the season could have been lost BECAUSE of the Olympics.

At the end of the lockout, I had the odds up to 20% that the league never played another game. Obviously that didn't happen, but during the lockout, with the almost toxic nature of the bargaining, I really thought there was a possibility that it could happen. I really don't understand the issues, and obviously it was a bit more complicated than a 50/50 split, but the process of getting to the agreement is a bit nuts. I've also believed that there were at least one or two owners who were looking to take everything they could from the players at any expense.
In the end, it was reported that the owners voted 30-0 in favor of the deal which ultimately ended the lockout, but I really didn't trust them. Sometimes, a real commissioner with power would step up and force any owners not acting in the best interest of the entire league (and a work stoppage and another cancelled season certainly would not have been in the best interest of the league) to sell their team. But the NHL doesn't have such a commissioner.

Back to more rational thinking. I don't really know the politics of the NHL or NHLPA or how collective bargaining really is supposed to work, but I did ponder this.

But in the end, they got a deal done, they saved the season, the heads of both sides are still losers...

And I leave you with the build up the Devils gave us before each Playoff game last season.

Game On!

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Good Ol' Hockey Game

There's so much to absorb from today. And I was away from the news for most of the day. I actually made my 4th trip up to Albany to see the Albany Devils (of course, the NJ Devils' AHL affiliate). Along with some other errands, it took me away from things for most of the day after the early early morning reports were coming out.

Let me just say this, while I try to write something more profound during the week. I'm happy that the NHL league/owners and players finally got this thing figured out. It ended better than I had thought and feared.

And I commend all of the reporters who were in NYC during the past week covering the lockout and marathon sessions, especially the ones that stayed up all night last night and well into the Sunday morning period to start reporting on the news. They kept all of us informed on twitter throughout the madness, and they were there to report the good news at about 5am today after waiting and watching all night. They are true professionals.

I'll have more in the next day or two. I don't care much about the details. I just care that they got it right so this doesn't happen again.

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