The Devils defeated the New York Rangers 2-1 in OT tonight to win their first preseason game of the 2011-2012 season. Being a preseason game, this may not seem like anything to write about. But it is, and here’s why…
First, prior to tonight’s game, no one had actually witnessed the Devils play another team since Pete DeBoer had been named head coach this past summer. Granted, a 2-1 OT win in the preseason rarely guarantees that a team has an exceptional coach at the helm, but after the John MacLean debacle of last season, such a result pretty much guarantees a better coaching situation here in Jersey. That’s not saying much (nor is it much to aim for) but at least it’s something to build some hope around regarding the ever-elusive position of coaching as far as the Devils are concerned.
Second, the Rangers played their all-star starting goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, for half of tonight’s game. Meanwhile, not only did Martin Brodeur not dress for tonight’s game, but neither did Johan Hedberg. Yes, you read that correctly. The Devils won tonight’s game with Keith Kincaid and Jeff Frazee in net. Congratulations to them both for an outstanding win!
Third, the Devils’ first goal tonight was scored by none other than tryout Petr Sykora. If you combine tonight’s tally with the hat trick he scored in Monday’s scrimmage you will see that he has been on fire. Add that to the fact that tonight he was playing center (for the first time in 15 years), and I really don’t see how anyone can’t be impressed with him. Is he old by NHL standards? Yes. Is he a retread? Yes. But have the Devils needed goals like people in hell need ice water? YES! And, if somehow/some way those goals are going to come via a veteran retread by the name of Petr Sykora…then so be it. If Mark Recchi’s presence could help the Bruins win the Cup at age 42, then there’s absolutely no reason why Petr Sykora couldn’t help the Devils do the same at the age of 35. I say, “Give that man a contract!”
Did any of you see the game? What were your thoughts? Please share them with us!
Since the Devils still haven’t named a captain, three players wore the “A” tonight: Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias. If you were Pete DeBoer which of those three would you choose as captain? Patrik Elias has recently gone on record as saying that it should be someone younger than him. This could very likely be Zach Parise’s last year as a Devil. Ilya Kovalchuk has committed the remainder of his hockey life to the Devils, is an all-star player and has experience being a captain. I think the choice is pretty obvious…but, of course (and unfortunately), I’m not in the locker room. Should be interesting to see what transpires, especially since, according to Tom Gulitti, DeBoer plans to name a captain before the start of the regular season.