Odds of a Devils’ Stanley Cup Win

Fans of the New Jersey Devils have had a lot to celebrate over the past few regular seasons. They’ve been one of the most dominant teams on the ice leading up the playoffs, giving the home-team faithful months of chest-painting, white-knuckled, devil-shouting opportunities.

When the Stanley Cup Playoffs roll around, however, the Devils have a nagging little habit of being a habitual one-and-done squad.

What are the odds that all changes this year? It’s still very early in the NHL season, but based on the offseason moves, the current momentum the team is carrying, and the weight of the Devils’ competition, it’s the perfect time to lay down the lines and to call things like they are.

New Jersey has an extremely talented team. With their 38-year-old lock-down, never-say-die staple goalie, Martin Brodeur, the Devils rarely have to put up big offensive numbers to win. And forward Ilya Kovalchuk was a great addition when he came along halfway through last season.

They’ve also won four of the last five Atlantic Division titles. But don’t risk it all just yet. This isn’t a casino online; we’re talking about hockey. Sure, the Devils are regular season juggernauts, but out of those four division wins, they’ve only won two playoff series and, out of five straight postseason appearances, haven’t made it past the first round in three years.

Kovalchuk couldn’t get the Devils over the hump last year. Some say the mid-season acquisition was the reason, and that things will flow more smoothly this year. But it’s hard to forget that five-game beat-down New Jersey took from the Flyers.

Overall, the Pittsburgh Penguins are favored to win the Atlantic this year, at -150, but are essentially a .500 team to date. This does leave the door open for New Jersey to knuckle-up and handle business in the regular season, surpassing their +300 odds and taking down the title again, but they have to prove it out on the ice.

To get to the Stanley Cup Finals, we’re looking at a completely different set of odds. The fact that the Devils fall short year after year has to be factored in, even if you’re approaching it through pro-Devil bias. The odds of hitting a big win playing slot online are better; New Jersey is +1500 to get to the Finals.

Nothing is outside the realm of possibility. New Jersey is a great team with a few weak runs on their schedule that could bode extremely well. However, the team has to show up during the playoffs and prove that they’re worthy of a Stanley Cup. Until then, all the odds in the world won’t help the Devils.

I Just Couldn’t Resist. Again.

Ya know, it really is funny. It seems like the newest fad in the hockey blogosphere is to grab a keyboard and wax poetic about how the Devils just destroy the game, disappoint hockey naturalists, sport lousy attendance, and simply aren’t getting it done anymore. But as we learned last time, it’s probably a good idea to make sure you have at least…I don’t know… watched a live hockey game before you plunge right in and scrap together a literary abortion. After all, it really isn’t fair to ask someone to resist temptation twice.

Let’s take a little trip over to Arthur Staple’s latest, shall we? Go ahead… I’ll give you a few.

Ok. Changed your underpants? Good, let’s go.

As a Devils’ fan, I’m obviously used to reading such poorly-written, devoid-of-substance attacks against one of the NHL’s most successful teams. However, I must admit that this is the first time I have read a piece focusing on playoff success in November. Really, Arthur? You’re going to sit at your little cubicle and write an article about the NHL Playoffs… in November?!

Brilliant. Well, your first self-contradiction comes with a statement that Lou Lamoriello “has it wrong” and that he’s “had it wrong since the lockout… even though the Devils have won three Atlantic Division titles in those four seasons.” (Could this be a test market for Microsoft’s new “does-this-make-sense?” feature?!) But wait, it gets better: Mr. Staple even makes his very own “trap” comment.

Arthur, seriously — you wouldn’t know the ol’ 1-2-2 if it kicked in your bathroom door and video-taped you reading Parade Magazine while you were waiting for the generous amount of Rogaine you graciously applied to your testicles to dry. I know this because had you recognized any trace of the “trap”, you would have easily detected it when the Rangers, Islanders, Penguins, Flyers, Capitals, Bruins, and Panthers executed it all year long. But no, no criticism of the sexy NHL clubs.

Oh look, kids — Brodeur comments, too?! How original, Arthur. Oh! You realized he got hurt last year, very good!

But Lou didn’t have a backup plan?

Really? I thought Scott Clemmensen came in and won a few games (or twenty-something) for the team and led them to an Atlantic Division championship? But ya know, Lou had no idea what he was doing. After all, Clemmensen was just signed to be a towel boy that happened to be an NHL-caliber goaltender. Who knew.

But when it’s down to the playoffs, the Devils only have Parise, Zajac, and Martin. No other Devils capable of taking a game on their shoulders, you say? My records show Langenbrunner, Pandolfo, Greene, and Clarkson — in addition to Parise and Zajac — all with registered playoff game-winners since 2006. Not to mention many from ex-Devils Gomez, Madden, and Gionta.

Sure, roster moves and player exits have caused holes to be “plugged” in New Jersey and Brian Rolston and Dainius Zubrus have filled those roles. Why? Because they want to be here. It isn’t about the money or the Broadway lights. It’s about playing a system that year after year proves itself to be one of the best in the league. Sure, the Devils have fallen on dark times in recent playoff years. But as I recall, the same string of disappointments befell the team in the late 90’s. After all was said and done, and numerous carbon-copied recycled bullcrap from “writers” like yourself — the Devils would go on to advance to the Stanley Cup finals in three of the next four seasons, winning the Stanley Cup twice.

Arthur, you can’t look me in the eye and tell me that Lou Lamoriello has no idea what he is doing. While the goal and the philosophy may stay the same year in and year out, master plans aren’t instantaneous in professional sports. Could these Devils be a part of a bigger puzzle? Who knows? I don’t have ESP, and neither do you.

Which is why you shouldn’t be writing this type of crap in November.

I Just Couldn’t Resist.

Clearly, I need not remind you that updates around here have been few and far between this off-season. So given the fact that I am suffering from a writer’s block that could easily be mistaken for the after-effects of a lobotomy, you could imagine how I reacted when I read this.

It was too good to be true… just the thing I needed to get myself going!

But where oh where do I begin?? Maybe I should compliment the author on his prodigious use of the English language and befitting grammar. Perhaps I could chalk his argument up to the rose-tinted glasses he so blatantly dons. Tempting? Yes. However, doing so is far too pellucid. That being the case, allow me to generalize my rebuttal: Michael M. Ramos, you are a cretin.

use it, don't abuse it!

I should have halted my eyes when I realized that the opening argument against New Jersey was the ol’ “Mickey Mouse” comment. (Although I can’t blame the poor chap, it was either that or the infamous attendance crack…). Granted that 1983-84 season was dismal… but since tallying 7 Division Titles, 4 Conference Championships, 3 Stanley Cups, and a four-year winning streak over the New York Rangers, I think it’s time to put that comment to bed, eh? If those credentials make the Devils a “Mickey Mouse” franchise, then the New York Rangers should be branded as the NHL equivalent of John Holmes with Erectile Dysfunction — nothing more than a marquee name that can’t live up to the glitz and glamor.

As if citing a 25-year-old Wayne Gretzky faux-pas wasn’t bad enough, now we have to deal with the Barry Melrose factor. First of all… the words “Barry” and “Melrose” are meant to be used solely in conjunction with “pompous ass” at all times. Yes, Mr. Melrose did make a comment to the effect of “Don’t carry your wallet with you when visiting Newark“. But how convenient of you, Michael, to conveniently forget to mention the part about Barry admitting, after the fact, that he had never even been to Prudential Center and thusly accepted a tour of the city from Mayor Corey Booker that he thoroughly enjoyed. I guess it’s fitting you find his words worthwhile.

On a somewhat related note, the “closing” of Prudential Center this summer that you refer to was merely due to technicalities because of documents not being turned in on time, not for “endangering the lives of all those who attend.”

Wow…all this, and we haven’t even hit the ice yet!

Now, I cannot sit here and say to you with a straight face that I am not disappointed by watching the likes of Scott Niedermayer, Brian Rafalski, and Scott Gomez leave the team after such memorable moments. What I can say to you, is that they (with the exception of Niedermayer) left for a big paycheck elsewhere. I would rather have a group of guys that are willing to compete fiercely every shift for a shot at glory than have a roster full of Scott Gomez’s that feel they deserve a $10 million paycheck for 13 goals. While I admit that Lou Lamoriello hasn’t exactly struck gold in the FA market since the lockout, and I won’t sit here and feed you some bullsh!t about me liking Vlad Malakhov, I will point out how you graciously opted to ignore the addition of Brian Rolston not even a month ago. Not a wise move. Not a wise move at all.

Others like Grant Marshall, Brad Lukowich, and Richard Matvichuk were victims of the new Salary-Cap era, not roster eviscerations. Speaking of the Salary Cap, I’d be a little worried if I were you, Mr. Ramos, as it seems that the Rangers have over $145 million combined tied up in 5 players until the 2013-2014 season. Not to mention The Rangers will be paying Bobby Holik even more than we are this season, and he’ll be playing for US! What were you saying about ludicrous signings? 2002 wasn’t that long ago.

It’s obvious that down in Lowell things haven’t been all roses, but saying that the team is filled with “old AHL players without any chance to make it to the NHL” is a little much… I mean, you did just sign Aaron Voros didn’t you?? Delving further into the minor leagues, I’d like to point out that the Trenton Devils of the ECHL will not be kicked out of their building… it is nothing more than a rumor. And a weak one at that.

Allow me to end this with some blogger-to-blogger advice… An article meant to ridicule a rival that is devoid of facts and supporting arguments is about as effective as a mesh condom. The next time you are going to write a whole bunch of smack, it might be a good idea to at least do your homework.