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.