NEWARK, N.J. -- Two-time Stanley Cup winner Patrik Elias admitted he is nervous.
"There's a lot at stake here," Elias said after the Devils morning skate Wednesday in advance of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Zach Parise said nothing about the Devils morning routine on a gameday was different, but he expects the afternoon and evening to not feel like anything he has experienced before as a Devil.
"I'm sure once we get to the rink tonight the nerves will be a little different than every other game," Parise said, "but so far it's been the same."
The Devils are going for their fourth Stanley Cup championship in the last 17 years, but of the guys that will be in the lineup for Game 1, only Elias, Martin Brodeur, Dainius Zubrus, Ryan Carter and Anton Volchenkov have experienced the calm before the storm of the Stanley Cup Final.
It's different even for a guy like coach Peter DeBoer, who never reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs as a player or a coach prior to this season.
"Just excited," DeBoer said when he was asked how he was feeling Wednesday morning. "You want to play. You're tired of waiting around. You're tired of looking at film. You're tired of practicing. It's anxious energy.
"Whatever I'm feeling, I'm sure it's doubled for the players."
DeBoer, though, has an experienced coaching staff and front office that he can lean on. Guys like Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello and assistant coach Larry Robinson have been on this big stage multiple times over the course of their careers in hockey.
Lamoriello has won the Stanley Cup three times as an executive. Robinson won the Cup six times as a player with the Montreal Canadiens (he played in the Cup Final seven times), and three times in the Devils organization, including 2000, when he was the team's head coach.
"The one advantage I think our organization has here is the experience we have from the top down," DeBoer said. "They've been there, seen it all, won, lost. Then filtering down (to) my assistant coaches, with Larry Robinson -- we have a wealth of experience all the way through the organization right to the locker room. We've got that in abundance. It makes my job easy."
All that experience, plus his own natural coaching chops, has convinced DeBoer that changing the approach and routine at this stage of the game would be detrimental to the group.
He doesn't plan on doing anything different Wednesday in advance of Game 1.
"I think the natural reaction, when you talk to people, is all of a sudden you have to pull out these great speeches, change the way you've done things," DeBoer said. "Part of the thing that we do well here is, it's business as usual. We've tried not to change a routine. I'm not planning on pulling out any great speeches. We've done our preparation. We're a workman-like team and we'll be ready to play."
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