Highlights have become important. They have become events to share, moments to cherish or wrench over, grounds for discussion, and, most of all, memories. We can remember games by their score, their stats, and their result. Yet, none are as powerful as the highlight, which shows the very point of how a game was decided, how a team failed or succeeded, and how a player became immortalized. If I want to show someone why I care so much about the New jersey Devils and/or hockey in general, then the first thing I would try to do is to show them a relevant highlight video if possible. There, they can see it as it happens and begin to understand the appeal among other aspects.
As part of Samsung's "Favorite Sports Highlights" campaign and as we wait for a crucial Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, I had a hard time trying to figure out what is my favorite Devils highlight. With me, it's like music. I don't have a single favorite song that I can easily point to and say "This is the one." I may have one for some time but then it changes depending on the mood, on my tastes, on how I'm feeling, and so forth. For the Devils, there are just so many wonderful moments that I've seen over and over.
Were you to demand one right this very second, my initial answer would be Jason Arnott's Cup winning goal in 2000. Everything about it is fantastic from Patrik Elias' backhand pass to Arnott collecting it in open space on Ed Belfour's flank to the finish to the massive importance. One can't ask for much more. Or can you? I sometimes favor Scott Niedermayer's goal in Game 2 against Detroit in 1995. He went end-to-end, put the first shot off the end-boards, and slammed it back in for a glorious goal. It defined the early part of his career and helped the Devils get to their first Cup. Jeff Friesen's game-breaking goal late in the third period of Game 7 in the 2003 Eastern Conference Finals to eliminate Ottawa was huge, not just because Gary Thorne yelled "NO!" a few times at first. Grant Marshall and Friesen of all people knocked out the Sens and sent the Devils on their way to Stanley Cup Finals.
Then there are times where I got to look to Martin Brodeur for a highlight. He's had so, so many. There's the goal he scored against Montreal. There's also that crazy no-look glove save he had against San Jose. He may have topped that this year with his scorpion maneuver on Marian Gaborik in Game 2 in Eastern Conference Finals. You could fill entire hour-long videos of Brodeur stops. I don't think this top ten video is enough.
Of course, I would be remiss to talk about legendary Devils highlights without talking about The Hit. It re-defined Scott Stevens. It re-defined Eric Lindros. It reminded everyone that you never keep your head down entering the Devils' zone when #4 was on the ice. After all of the huge hits Stevens ever threw, that shoulder check became the gold standard of bodychecks. The hit didn't change Game 7 of the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals; in fact, the Devils were leading at the time and the Flyers would equalize. However, it was so gloriously vicious that it overcame Elias' game-winning goal as the moment of that entire series. Call me barbaric, but I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it then and didn't enjoy it now.
This is all just off the top of my head. It's so hard to pick just one, really. Tonight, the New Jersey Devils will be looking to extend the Stanley Cup Finals against L.A. for one more game. We will be hoping for another Devils highlight to add to the long list of past Devils highlights. As we wait, please share your favorite Devils highlights - be it a hit, a goal, a save, that time Robbie Ftorek threw a bench on the ice (Aside: He did that was because there was no penalty for a severely cut Pandolfo and he was understandably upset, IIRC), whatever - in the comments and tell us why it's your favorite. Thanks to SB Nation partner Samsung for the campaign, and thank you for reading.