10. Ilya Kovalchuk: He is the future of our franchise and I can't possibly sing his praise better than the fan post: A Paean for Ilya Kovalchuk.
After a fairly flat performance tonight I was of course feeling blue about the team and sharing some of the negative thoughts I saw on the game thread tonight. After some time and a post game drink I thought about all my years of cheering for hockey's #1 team and our evolution into a consistently successful franchise. I'd like to share my top ten "most important to franchise success". I've yet to use a jump, so let's count down after the jump.
9. Chris Terreri: My one pick I can't exactly justify. I always thought the guy was the cat's meow. I remember being treated to a neutral site game against the Rags (remember those, the ones that counted for regular season pts.) in Halifax back in '93 and being upset they were starting some Brodeur guy. Chris did start the 3rd that game.
8. John MacLean: Forget the coach that caused our hiccup for playoff contention, drafted in '83, was with us until 97. Scored a whole lot of points in our leaner years, including 3 straight seasons of 40+ goals. His cousin is also the bartender at my fav. watering hole in Montreal where I go once a year to watch the Devs beat the Habs.
7. Ken Daneyko: The Devils iron man and an all round likeable fella. He over came person demons and was rewarded with 3 Stanley Cups. The fact that Pat Burns dressed him for game 7 after being a healthy scratch says it all.
6. Patrick Elias: All time leading points for our franchise, need more be written? How about the fact he turned down the Rags to stay with us.
5. John McMullen: The man who started it all. Some great stories about him in Tales From The Locker Room Of The New Jersey Devils. He was the one helped Dano battle said demons and at the end of the day Nashville had to wait for their team.
4. Jaques Lemaire: Broke the game down to a science and handed us a cup. Also made us one of the most hated teams in the league. If you ask me hate=fear. A Habs legend but more recently a Devils one; and what happened the most recent counts.
3. Scott Stevens/Claude Lemieux: The guys you hate unless they lead your team in which case they are hockey gods. It may seem silly to have Lemieux's name right next to our beloved captain's but his brilliant play was a major factor in our first cup. Thanks to the invention of the fax machine we missed him for awhile but he was back for 2000. Mr. Stevens erased any thoughts of us being "Mickey Mouse" ask the stars on the Wings, Flyers, and Ducks. His number was raised first for many many reasons.
2. Lou Lamoriello: Ummm duh? Hard not to put him first, there is a reason my fav. Devils site is named after him. Laid the blue prints for success and is often emulated. Nothing but class.
1. Martin Brodeur: Just wiki his name. He can play nets for my team as long as he cares to.
I love my Devils and I consider my self lucky to be frustrated in June as opposed to other teams that were frustrated over a month ago. There are too many honorable mentions to name for my be-loved team, anyone care to insert their own names?