A work in progress
Few on the New Jersey Devils wants to throw around the term "dynasty" in the wake of the franchise's third Stanley Cup championship in the past nine years.
Such practiced humility, a trademark of this generation of Devils, was not behind the conservatism of defining the team's place in the pantheon of the League's great teams, however. Rather, the Devils believe they are still in the process of shaping how they will be viewed through the prism of passing time.
In essence, the Devils believe they are not yet finished fashioning their decade-long resume, which received another highlight with the just-completed seven-game victory against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals.
That victory gave the franchise a third Stanley Cup, adding to the championship banners collected with 1995's triumph against the Detroit Red Wings and the 2000 title garnered with a victory against the Dallas Stars.
The Red Wings, who earned back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998 before copping another crown in 2002, are the only other team to claim three Cups since the Edmonton Oilers ended their universally acclaimed dynastic run in 1990, winning five titles in seven years.
Many in the proud New Jersey organization believe the franchise can approach Edmonton's run of success before the present nucleus begins hanging up the skates for good.
"Well, what I said before on that subject, I think it's important to know that it's not over for us and we are going to try to build on this," Brodeur said. "I think that we have a great bunch of guys, we have a great organization.
"Ten years, 20 years down the road, people will look back on what we have accomplished and they will say exactly if they feel that we deserve to be a dynasty or not. Right now I don't think is the time to call ourselves a dynasty. It is whenever we are going to start slumping or not making the playoffs, but right now it doesn't look like any time soon it is going to happen for us, but knock on wood."
With the retirement of Patrick Roy, Brodeur Is considered by most to be the game's best goaltender -- especially in big-game situations. Just 31, Brodeur is now reaching the pinnacle of his personal game, yet he already has three Stanley Cups, his just-earned Vezina Trophy and a gold medal for Canada from the 2000 Olympics to attest to his greatness.
This postseason, he again showed anyone paying attention that his biggest moments come in the clutch. In New Jersey's run to the title, Brodeur posted an NHL record seven shutouts, including three in the Finals series. All told, Brodeur already has 83 postseason wins to his credit, reaching the Eastern conference Finals five times in nine full seasons in a New Jersey sweater.
Seemingly every game, New Jersey received a huge performance from a different player.
Defenseman Scott Niedermayer, also present for all three Stranley Cup triumphs, tied for the Playoff scoring lead with 18 points, including a League-leading 16 assists. On most nights, he was the best player on the ice.
Young forward Jamie Langenbrunner, obtained two seasons ago in a trade with Dallas, also had 18 points. His 11 goals were the tops in the tournament.