I probably should've timed this for June, but just thought about it now. It's been 10 years now that our New Jersey Devils came awfully close to repeating as Stanley Cup Champions.
To this day, I remember where I was for every game of this Final. And I also feel if the Ray Bourque
factor aura was subtracted from it all, the New Jersey Devils would have four Stanley Cups today.
That being said, I do believe the Avalanche was the better team and that Roy outplayed Brodeur. Even with that, the Devils still did almost enough in this series to nearly keep the Cup. Despite the loss, I regard this Devils team as the most stacked in their history, save Ken Sutton on defense.
Game 4 was the most memorable: the late Sykora goal and the Roy gaffe. I was in downtown Chicago, standing in my cousin's wedding and dealing with his groomsmen, 2 of whom were from Denver. We skipped out and watched the 3rd period in the hotel lobby.
After game 4, I bumped into Claude Lemieux at O'Hare (he had been let go after the 2000 Cup win). He seemed surprised New Jersey fans would recognize him after I approached. I got his autograph; my mother cried a little as she thanked him for everything he had done for the Devils. He held back some emotion, looked down, and said he thought the Devils would win again. I can't help but feel he had some personal satisfaction the Devils didn't win that year after being let go.
Game 5 I celebrated from home and was at Game 6 in the Meadowlands. I'll never forget the Gomez disallowed goal which seemed to the the beginning of the end for the Devils in the series.
Game 7 was a raucous loooong night with my friends down the Jersey Shore in Sea Isle City. When the band went on, they heard the Devils lost. The lead singer went onto the microphone and noted they just heard the Final results and gave a "big FU" to the Devils. The guy went onto discuss how much he hated them. There were many cheers of approval from the Philly crowd down the South Jersey Shore. Maybe that was the start of my North-South Jersey theories.
Anyway, I still rank this year as one of my favorites. From Oct. - May the Devils were invincible, no questions. That wasn't the case in 2000. The MapleLeafs series scared me, but this team almost did it all again in 2000-01. That night, after Game 7, remains the lowest point for me as a Devils fan. It was salt in the wound that I was hanging around all Flyers fans who made fun of me (but at least they bought me some drinks).
A year with a lot of highs and one BIG LOW has to have a "silver lining."
What are your memories of the 2000-01 Season and Playoffs? Feel free to add anecdotes from where you were for the Game 7 Final.