The Day After

It’s been said over and again, by Scott last night, by comments both here and elsewhere, by talking heads on TV.  Last night, simply, was amazing.

I sat down to try to put something up on this blog before heading back to my much-less-thrilling day job, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to say.  I’m 60 words into this thing and I still don’t know, really.

I do know that last night’s game re-affirmed my love for this game, for this team, for that goaltender, for this franchise.  I’ve never been to a Stanley Cup Final game – I can only imagine that the atmosphere in the Rock last night was as close as it gets without Lord Stanley’s mug riding on the outcome of the game.

I love that this game fell on St. Patrick’s Day.  There was a nice, loose atmosphere to the crowd – whether it was the history-in-the-making aspect, the beer flowing pre-and-during game, or (most likely) a healthy combination of both, it made the Rock truly feel like home for perhaps the first time.  Sure, there was the stray Blackhawks fan (and the obligitory guy in a Rangers jersey despite their team actually playing a pretty important game at the same time), but last night, the Prudential Center was the DEVILS building.  That is what it should have felt like during last year’s playoffs, and hopefully will feel like this year.

I love that Patrik Elias’ record-setting assist was a primary assist, and that everyone in the building saw the play and recognized it for what it was instantly.  The eruption for Patty’s assist was worth the price of admission alone, regardless of Marty’s feat.  I love that the response to Patty’s record-breaking point was so intense and so overwhelming that I actually had to look up who scored the goal just now, because for the life of me, I couldn’t remember.  It was Brian Gionta, by the way, and it was shorthanded.

I love that there was no scripted cheesy celebration after the game, that Gary Bettman didn’t hit the ice to shake Marty’s hand and present him with a plaque.  There will be time for that before another game, but the celebration last night was rightfully focused on Brodeur.  As awkward as it became after a few minutes, I love that he was given scissors and cut down the net.  I love that the rest of the team jumped in to help out so Marty could take his victory lap.  Without his team, he wouldn’t have won one game, let alone 552, and without his team, he would still be cutting that net down this morning.

I love that we had the greatest play-by-play man in all of hockey (and arguably all of sports) in house to call the historic game, just as we have the greatest play-by-play man in all of hockey to call every game, historic or mundane.  Doc Emrick, as we’ve stated many times on this blog, is one of the greatest perks to being a Devils fan.  We’re lucky to have him.

We’re a lucky fan base in general, I think it’s safe to say.  We’ve got the greatest goalie of all time.  We’ve got the greatest point-scorer in Devils history on the ice right now.  We’ve got the greatest announcer.  We’ve got three Stanley Cups, four Eastern Conference championships, seven Atlantic Division championships, sixteen consecutive winning seasons, eleven consecutive playoff appearances.  A good number of those will likely go up by the time this season’s over.

We’ve also got among the greatest fans in hockey.  Let’s face it, it’s not always easy to be a Devils fan.  We’re too quiet.  We can’t fill our building most nights.  We’ve got a preoccupation with the team on the other side of the Hudson.  We’ve heard all of that before and undoubtly will continue to hear it for a long time.

But last night – last night I was proud of our fan base.  Proud of our franchise.  Proud of our owner, GM, coach, team, game-day crew, ushers, building, city, state.  Last night was one of the greatest nights I have ever experienced as a Devils fan.  A night I will never forget.  Thank you, Mr. Brodeur.  Thank you, Mr. Elias.  Thank you, Mr. Lamoriello, Mr. Vanderbeek, Mr. Sutter.  Thank you, Mr. Langenbrunner, Mr. Clemmensen, Mr. Weekes, Mr. Martin, Mr. Parise, Mr. Zubrus, everyone who’s ever skated with a Devils crest on their chest.  Thank you to everyone involved in getting that building where it is, to the people who make the games happen every night.

Thank you to those who read what we have to say on this site, whether you like us or…not so much.  Thank you, Devils fans.  Last night was special, because of all of us.  Hopefully, this is not the last time that building feels like it did last night.

…not bad for not knowing what I wanted to say, eh?