The New Jersey Devils are not known for making headlines in the summer. However, this off season has been anything but “status quo” since ending in an embarrassing Stanley Cup Final loss.
The term ‘status quo’ simply means the current state of affairs remain as they always have been. For years this has been a mantra the Devils have lived and died by. Not so anymore.
There was a time, not so long ago that I loathed the boredom of hockey summers, especially in New Jersey. I used to cringe every time I heard those two simple words…”status quo.” Lately though, things have been anything but normal in New Jersey.
The last few weeks have seen a whirlwind of changes in Newark.
Since losing to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final, the Devils have been making headlines on a regular basis and not all of them have been good.
- The Devils draft the son of one of the most infamous personalities in the history of the Devils and New York Rangers rivalry. Stefan Matteau joins New Jersey 19 years after his father’s double-overtime goal eliminates the Devils in the Eastern Conference finals and only weeks after New Jersey exacts its revenge by sending New York packing in the 2012 ECF’s.
- Martin Brodeur, a Devils mainstay, made news when he hired an agent and opted to test free-agency. Many believed Marty was simply jumping off a sinking ship. Although shocking, Brodeur re-signed and will finish his legendary career in Newark.
- Captain and life-blood of the Devils, Zach Parise, bolted for the comfort of home. Parise joined the Minnesota Wild, leaving his spurned former team in his dust. The shock of Parise’s departure sent shock waves through any already jilted fan base. Despite all the reservations surround life after Parise, his departure is not a death sentence for the franchise.
- Assistant coaches Adam Oates and Larry Robinson left the coahing staff to pursue other opportunities. Oates takes over as the Washington capitals head coach and Robinson went west to join the San Jose staff to be closer to his grandchildren. In my opinion it was time for a change and in the long run the Devils will be better off. Just watch.
- Lou Lamoriello was finally inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Better late than never but the timing of it was odd. Lamoriello is stilling strying to pick up the pieces after Parise’s departure and most of the coaching staffs exodus. As id he hasn’t already done enough, Lamoriello will once again come through this mess with flying colors. After all, he is a Hall of Famer.
- The Devils all of a sudden become one of those teams tied to almost every hockey rumor on the planet. As of now nothing has come of it, still interesting nonetheless and a stark contrast from years past. At the very least it keeps fans on their toes.
- Devils great Scott Stevens and former San Jose Sharks assistant Matt Shaw are named as Pete Deboer’s new assistants, filling the vacancies left by Oates and Robinson. Stevens finally assumes the role of defensive coach. Not only will this help New Jersey’s tremendous crop of young defenders it brings back a taste of the good ‘ol days. Perhaps Stevens can reignite a fire in the club that has been absent since he retired in 2004.
- Among the plethora of summer story lines remains the teams financial short-comings . Is the broke hockey team destined to be handed over the league for their control? This has yet to be determined. While un-nerving it is simply another stepping stone in the evolution of the Devils franchise. They will come through this mess stronger and more self-reliant than ever before.
All this and it’s only mid-July! Can you imagine if the NHL has a work stoppage next season? We might very well see the first documented case of a Devils’ fans head exploding from all the attention. A little too far fetched? Maybe. But, after what has transpired so far this off-season, nothing surprises me anymore.
Just ask the Nashville Predators.
It seems trivial to write a satiric hockey blog on a day when our country mourns yet another senseless act of violence. My thoughts go out to all the victims on their families of the horrific shootings in Colorado.
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