The Devils eased their way into the start of the latter half of the NHL season with just two games since we last met here.
New Jersey lost their matchup to both the Predators and Stars this past week, but earned a point in each of the two. The week was filled with celebratory moments, regardless of the game's outcomes with the return of the 2000 Stanley Cup-winning team which provided me several moments to talk about in this week's edition of 10 Takeaway's Presented by Ticketmaster:
It's remarkable to me to see the way, 20 years later, a Stanley Cup-winning team pick up right where they left off. How it can solidify a bond for the rest of people's lives. I had the good fortune of helping out prior to the 2000 Stanley Cup Celebrations of spending time at the hotel as players arrived and were checked in. Sometimes, two or three guys would show up at the same time, and from there you'd just sit and watch the way their friendships, comradery picked up right off the hop. Just so much laughing, reminiscing. Every single one of them, in their individual moment, would tell me how tightknit a group they were. Many said it was the closest hockey team they'd ever been a part of, it certainly showed.
It was also neat walking on ice-level at Prudential Center the evening of the ceremony. The 2000 team players all had their jersey's on and groups of them were walking around and laughing with one another. It's quite something to watch first-hand.
There were so many great moments from the reunion weekend but hands-down the one that really sticks out for everyone has to be the reunion between Petr Sykora and the Stanley Cup, 20 years later. It was a moment not lost on anyone, Sykora was the final player announced during the ceremony on Saturday night and he strapped on his skates to finally get his lap with the Cup. The crowd went absolutely wild and Sykora soaked in the moment too, going to each corner of the arena, giving those fans their moments. It really felt, for a brief moment, like we were 20 years in the past and everyone was enjoying it just as much as they did on that day in Dallas.
Video: 2000 CUP REUNION | Sykora's Lap
I had the pleasure of meeting Larry Robinson over the weekend as well. Man, I can see why people adore him. Growing up in Montreal, Robinson is a hero to Canadiens fans, so I grew up with stories from my stepfather about Robinson's legendary play. It was cool to meet him for the first time, and yes, he's just as nice (if not nicer) than everyone says he is. Everyone had only but amazing things to say about Larry Robinson, the coach, and the player.
I didn't ask for a picture, but I got one anyway because his wife Jeanette asked me if I wanted to take one and wouldn't take no for an answer!
The past week also provided a moment of two friends going head-to-head for the first time. Coach Nasreddine versus coach John Hynes of Nashville. The Predators defeated the Devils in the shootout, giving Hynes the edge over his good friend, but there was a certain feel in the air prior to the game. Neither coach really wanted to delve into how they were perhaps truly feeling, seeing each other on different benches for the first time since having spent the last 10-plus years behind the same one.
I always enjoy this part, seeing a coach come back and realize how lost they can sometimes feel in a building they spent so much time in. Hynes had never been in the visitor's coaching room or area, he needed directions. And come to think of it, I would too if someone sent me there!
Of the moment, Nasreddine said "I was looking forward to [the game] all day. What would I feel like over on the other bench? After the national anthem and the drop of the puck, we looked at each other and that was it from there. You just try to focus on the game and what you have to do to help your team win."
There's been a Bauer Nexus ADV Hockey Stick - you know, one of those sticks with the hole in the blade - floating around the Devils bench in practice. Turns out, Jack Hughes has given it a shot and the other day I saw Kevin Rooney having a go at it too. Neither have used it in a game, but I'll be interested in hearing what their thoughts are. I promise to follow up on this!
All the kudos to Devils forward Joey Anderson. Talk about someone earning their callup. On Monday, Joey was called up for the first time this season after having spent 34 games with the big club last season. Anderson currently shares the Binghamton team-lead in goals with Brett Seney (15) and has what he says, "his swagger back."
"That's not to say I didn't have [my swagger] before," Anderson said, "but my confidence with the puck is as high as I've ever had it. I'm confident making plays, defensively I want to be out there in all the situations. Obviously [Binghamton] has had some success the last month or do, and I want to be on the ice. I want to be the guy with the puck on his stick."
There's something about the Devils penalty kill lately, it's been sparking their own offense. The Devils penalty killers have been benefiting from their ice-time over the last month. In their last 11 games, the Devils have scored six shorthanded goals (Blake Coleman (2), Kevin Rooney (2) and Pavel Zacha).
Zacha's shorthanded goal against the Dallas Stars was the start of a three-point night. He finished the game with two goals and an assist, marking just the third time in his career he's tallied three points in a game, and the second time he's accomplished tha this season.
He had one goal and two assists against the Florida Panthers on Oct. 14
Check out the smirk on Nico Hischier's face in the video from post-game in Ottawa. I had just asked Nico about the ridiculous shoot-out goal that Nikita Gusev had just scored to help secure the win right out of the All-Star break. He put his finger in the air and on his chin as to give the impression he had just come up with a brilliant idea, and says:
"I think he faked out our whole bench!" Hischier said. "We thought he was going to go five-hole again. He did at the end, but we thought that he was going to shoot it five-hole. He's that guy who has got to go out there first when we have a shootout! He's a really silky guy."
I for one was really excited to listen to this week's edition of the Devils Official Podcast. It's a real throw-back episode with teammates Patrik Elias and Ken Daneyko sitting down with Matt Loughlin.
I was really excited because I had heard only one-third of the podcast prior to it being dropped on Monday. You see, the podcast studio is located right outside of my office and if we know one thing about Dano, it's that his voice carries like crazy. That deep pitch carried through the walls and into my office, I knew everything Dano said - and all the laughs he had - but I didn't have the full conversation. Finally, I was able to piece it all together!
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