Welcome to my 3rd annual Devils year in review. As I have done the last two seasons, I will be presenting the season in review in three parts: stats, some fun with numbers, and what I learned on and off the ice.
Here we go, the final part: What I Learned. For me, it’s more that just covering the games and recapping. There’s so much more that goes on that makes this fun and actually worthwhile. Now for a few memories of the season:
-Normally, I can handle myself no problem when I’m around any of the Devils (or even some of the opponents, for that matter). But the first night I saw Adam Henrique postgame during the third week of the season…I actually found myself literally starstruck. After all, all he did last season was score two playoff series clinching goals and almost win the Calder Trophy. But yes, I got myself together before he said hello. Sadly his hand injury in late November cut his visit short…and a week before all the fun Booster Club events too!
-Remember last season and #FreeBurlon? This year it went to a whole another level, due to the lockout and the abundance of players on the roster. I have lost count of how many players we requested to be freed on both Twitter and on a number of signs. It got to the point where Harry Young actually wanted us to put up the signs! And yes, that actually made him crack a smile (baby steps!).
-I created a new penalty just for Tim Sestito (know to my Jersey followers as the #ENERGY guy), the Sestito Penalty. Regardless of whether he was guilty or not of whatever infraction he committed, he always had to get the last word in with the referee. Next thing you know…extra 2 minutes, extra 10 minutes on the board.
-Now on to the Yes, That Actually Happened Department:
The douche otherwise known as Zac Rinaldo scored on a penalty shot? Yes, that actually happened. And I think everyone had the same reaction as Jeff Frazee.
Cam and Jay Leach providing a majority of the offense in one game? Yes, that actually happened. I’m still looking outside for those flying pigs.
-I made quite a few road trips during the course of the year. Some interesting events from a few of those stops:
If you’re bored while in Adirondack, you can always watch Marc-Andre Bourdon charm his date (or a random teammate) for the evening. This actually started last season when a friend witnessed the entire date (from introduction, to number exchange, to eventually leaving before the game was over), but with him still on the shelf from post concussion symptoms, seemed like every time I went up he was in the next section over from me charming a new girl.
The other memory from up there was a scary one…being on hand when Mattias Tedenby took the skate cut to his jaw. I don’t think I had ever seen that much blood on the ice in all the years I’ve gone to games. Luckily he recovered and was back out there (and I even got my first good look at his cut last weekend) before the season was out. And thanks to Mike Testuwide (one of the Phantom scratches that night) for giving me the initial update.
The main memory of my lone trip to Hartford was that it was the same day as the Sandy Hook shootings. Every radio station in the Springfield/Hartford area carried the press conferences and news updates. The drive down there was a little numbing, but once I got in the building and got into game mode, it got better.
On a lighter note, after hearing the news that the Whale are going back to being the Wolfpack, I’m kicking myself for not buying those cool Whale socks I saw at one of the souvenir stands…
Ah Wilkes-Barre. Where I always get booed by the same random tall guy and there’s a Tim Hortons booth (always a plus). While the game I saw wasn’t the greatest, there was another story that came out of this trip. On the way back up Interstate 81 towards New York, our bus was treated to the tail end of a fireworks show at PNC Field, where the Triple-A Yankees play. Then I find out the next morning more than fireworks happened. Um, oops?
But the most memorable trips of the year involved two words, one hashtag: #fullcar. Two trips to Binghamton in February and April involved a full car of 5 heading west on Interstate 88 for a pair of games in Binghamton. Whether it was helping out with the B-Sens Power to the Purple cause or hanging out at a pregame party with this guy:
Or racing the team bus down the highway…or late night Tim Hortons runs…the list goes on and on.
With another season in the books, I just want to thank everyone for following along and reading. It’s amazing all the new friends I have found just via Twitter alone and meeting people at games, events, etc. Looking forward to an interesting summer and ahead to the fall to start Year #4!