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Hockey Fights Cancer

Devils reflect on strong start with fans at Rico's Soirée

Henrique host of event to raise money for Movember Foundation

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

HOBOKEN, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils forward Adam Henrique and some of his teammates were happy for the opportunity to break away from the grind of the NHL season and discuss their great start with more than 200 fans during his inaugural Rico's Soirée to promote the Movember initiative at the Cadillac Cantina on Tuesday.

The Devils, who next play at the Colorado Avalanche on Friday (9 p.m. ET; MSG+ 2, ALT, NHL.TV) are third in the Metropolitan Division with 32 points, one behind the first-place Columbus Blue Jackets. At 14-6-4 in 24 games, they're off to their best start since 2009-10 when they were 17-6-1 after 24 games.

"You saw it the first day of training camp," Henrique said. "Everyone was prepared and the compete level was really the highest I'd ever seen it since I've been here (since 2010-11). Guys came in, proved themselves through rookie and training camp, and it's been awesome to see."

The Devils have been bolstered by four rookies: forwards Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt and Blake Coleman, and defenseman Will Butcher. Hischier, the No. 1 pick of the 2017 NHL Draft, is tied for fourth among NHL rookies with 18 points (five goals, 13 assists), and Bratt is tied for eighth with 15 points (seven goals, eight assists). Coleman has four points (two goals, two assists) and is second on the Devils with a plus-9 rating. Butcher is tied for fifth among NHL defensemen with 18 points (two goals, 16 assists).

"We're building a real culture here where everyone wants to get better every single day and we're never satisfied even coming off a big win," Henrique said.

Henrique, captain of the Devils' Movember movement promoting men's health, was joined by seven teammates to serve as guest bartenders for fans to help raise money for the Movember Foundation. His efforts have helped raise more than $60,000 for the Movember Foundation, and he has raised more than $12,100 through his donation page since 2015.

Forward Brian Boyle, who was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia Sept. 19 but made his season debut Nov. 1, was on the mind of every player at the event.

"Unfortunately, it seems everyone knows of someone affected by cancer in some way," Devils captain Andy Greene said. "It's always good to raise awareness, be able to contribute something and hopefully raise funds for people affected by this disease. When it hits close to home, it's great to be able to bounce back, and [Boyle] has been an inspiration for everyone."

Greene also has been inspired by the start of the season.

"I've been so impressed with our resiliency, work ethic and compete," he said. "There's no quit in our team and that's very important. No matter what happens, whether we're playing good or bad, we still fight. We fight to the end and give ourselves a chance to win every night."

The highlight of the evening was one fan bidding $5,000 to have his son, Robert Dellanno of Colts Neck, New Jersey, shave off Henrique's mustache.

"I'm so glad we were able to have this event for the fans; it's just a great cause for men's health," Henrique said. "Growing a mustache is an easy thing for us to do, and depending on who you ask some take that mustache very seriously. But in the end, people see it and it raises awareness and that's the biggest thing. We need to get the message out there. I'm just doing my part and help."

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