It is arguable to say the New Jersey Devils needed the break more than any other team (I am sure Vancouver Canucks fans will be the first to argue). They are on a roller coaster season that has seen countless amounts of games slip through their fingers, and the team has let way too many points get away from them.
Now that the Devils are going to have 19 days to think about the first 59 games of the season, they should really look back at some of the mistakes that have been made. While the season is going on, games come too quickly to really linger on any of them. Now they can really scale back and fix some of the serious problems they have been having.
The main component that comes in this is there are no Devils players likely to medal at all. There is going to be nobody who comes home from Sochi happy with the result of the Olympics. Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias and Marek Zidlicky are on the Czech Republic team that currently has a No. 7 seed. They would need to go through Slovakia, USA and theoretically Canada to reach the Gold Medal Game. That is extremely unlikely to happen with Ondej Pavelec in net. Damien Brunner is on the Switzerland team that will likely have to go through the same teams as the Czechs do to make it to a guaranteed medal.
With all of that said, that means everyone is going to come home watching someone else get donned with a gold medal. Martin Brodeur is no longer playing for Team Canada. Zach Parise is not a Devil anymore, so he can’t be their American hero. This is the rare time that most of the Devils are sitting home watching while the best battle it out.
That situation is going to make them hungrier than ever. Jagr is going to come back sick of losing and carry this team on his back. Cory Schneider is going to see what it is like to actually have scoring in front of him when they play motivated on a nightly basis. Not one player on this team is going to be satisfied with how they were playing. Now they are going to show actual changes.
Peter DeBoer has hopefully been working day and night with his assistant coaches trying to figure out a different system to get more goal scoring. With everyone’s mindset coming out of the break exactly where it needs to be, this is going to push the Devils into the final stretch of the season. Expect a different team come Feb. 27.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to the site’s NFL, NBA and MLB content. You can follow him on Twitter here for more on all sports.