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Impact
Impact!
NHL.com's Online Magazine
2003 Championship Issue
  • Devils aim for more Cups, not dynasty label

  • Devils' 'Next Generation' has winning feeling

  • First Cup a big thrill for Burns

  • When game's on the line, Brodeur is money in the bank

  • For first-time winners the Stanley Cup is a dream come true

  • Mighty Ducks have come so far, so fast

  • Wigge: Devils pushed beyond weaknesses

  • Photo: Glory

  • Back issues of Impact

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    Jamie Langenbrunner
    Jamie Langenbrunner led all playoff scorers with 11 goals and tied Scott Niedermayer for the League lead in Playoff scoring with 18 points.

    Devils' 'Next Generation'
    has winning feeling

    Young Devils savor Stanley Cup title
    By Robert Picarello | NHL.com



    Through three Stanley Cups in nine years, the core of the New Jersey Devils has been Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens, Ken Daneyko, Scott Niedermayer and Sergei Brylin.

    But the 2003 championship heralded a changing of the guard, as the future of the Devils has been placed in the hands of relative newcomers like John Madden, Jamie Langenbrunner and Jeff Friesen. This younger core inherits the formidable task of keeping New Jersey among the top teams in the NHL.

    And judging by their performances, the Devils are in good hands. During the 2002-03 season, Madden, Langenbrunner and Friesen each came through at crunch time. That was especially true in the Playoffs as the Devils faced stern tests in both the Eastern Conference Finals against Ottawa, a seven-game series, and the Finals against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, that also went the full seven games.

    Langenbrunner arrived in New Jersey with Joe Nieuwendyk and a Stanley Cup ring won with the Dallas Stars in 1999. He quickly became a prime-time player for the Devils and in the 2003 postseason supplied much of the team's offensive punch. He led all playoff scorers with 11 goals and tied Niedermayer for the League lead in Playoff scoring with 18 points. In addition to the 11 goals, four of which were game-winners, Langenbrunner had seven assists in New Jersey's 24 Playoff games.

    "He kind of typifies our team," veteran teammate Jim McKenzie said. "He works hard all the time. When you look at the points that he got or the goals that he got, none of them are lucky. None were free. He's usually got a guy on him and he's getting slashed and he's gotta work. He's gotta grind and get it the ugly way. He earned everything he got and we benefited from that. You can't say enough about a guy like that."

    "Jamie was big for us. He came out strong in the first series and he stayed strong throughout the Playoffs," center Pascal Rheaume said. "He won the Stanley Cup before and he knew what it would take to win."

    John Madden
    John Madden displayed a timely goal-scoring touch, finishing the 2003 Playoffs with six goals and 10 assists in 24 games.
    "Jamie was great. He's a hard-working guy who scores big goals," Friesen said. "He just has a knack for those big-game-type goals. I saw it a lot when I played against him when I was with San Jose. He and Joe (Nieuwendyk) always stung us in the Playoffs and again you saw what type of player he was this year throughout the Playoffs. He's a great hockey player."

    Madden, who signed with the Devils as a free agent in 1997 and played on New Jersey's 2000 Stanley Cup team, also showed signs of greatness this time around. The one-time Selke Trophy winner as the League's best defensive forward, Madden displayed a timely goal-scoring touch, finishing the 2003 Playoffs with six goals and 10 assists in 24 games.

    Madden is doggedly relentless -- hence his nickname "Mad Dog" -- and returned to the ice almost immediately in Game 5 after taking a nasty skate cut on his cheek. By the end of the Finals, Madden sported a black eye that was accented by assorted other colors and the scar on his cheek. They were badges of courage.