Steve Sullivan had just played his 1,000 game in the NHL for the Phoenix Coyotes, which is quite an accomplishment in itsself. The Coyotes brought his family out to Arizona for a special ceremony marking the occasion. As an added surprise, he was traded to the organization that originally drafted him the following day.
Now, hockey players are a superstitious lot and many will go to strange lengths to keep their luck going or to change it when they hit a bad streak. The New Jersey Devils have definitely become firmly ingrained in a rut that they are struggling to get out of. If you believe in signs, perhaps it is a bit of destiny that brings Sullivan back full circle to where it all began 16 years ago.
When he got the call, his visiting brother was wearing his old training shorts from his Devils days.
“When he came out with them,” Sullivan laughed, relating the story on Tom Gulitti’s Fire and Ice blog. “I was like, ‘How do you still even have those?’ That’s a long time to hold on to a pair of shorts. It was weird.”
That was only one of the strange coincidences that transpired this week. The number of the flight which the 38-year-old forward took back east was 1994, the year he was drafted. The Ontario native will make his second Devils debut this evening against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team he was traded to in 1997.
He will also have a reunion of sorts with his old minor league teammate from the Albany River Rats, Patrick Elias.
At the very least, this strange week has been a walk down memory lane for Sullivan, but the Devils are hoping he will bring a little bit of the luck of the Irish with him because they really need it.
“Hopefully, he brings what he’s brought his entire career, and that’s energy, speed and the ability to create some offense,” Coach Pete DeBoer said in an interview with The Star Ledger.
Yes, some scoring would be nice as well. The Devils haven’t seen too much of that lately. After 1,000 games in the NHL, Sullivan can certainly stand the heat, but the question is can he still find the back of the net?