- New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils 2011–12 New Jersey Devils season Conference Eastern Division Atlantic Founded 1974 History Kansas City Scouts
New Jersey Devils
Home arena Prudential Center City Newark, New Jersey Colors Red, black, and white Media MSG Plus
Owner(s) Jeffrey Vanderbeek General manager Lou Lamoriello Head coach Peter DeBoer Captain Zach Parise Minor league affiliates Albany Devils (AHL)
Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL)
Stanley Cups 3 (1994–95, 1999–00, 2002–03) Conference championships 4 (1994–95, 1999–00, 2000–01, 2002–03) Presidents' Trophies 0 Division championships 9 (1996–97, 1997–98, 1998–99, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2008–09, 2009–10)
The New Jersey Devils are a professional ice hockey team based in Newark, New Jersey, United States. They are members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The club was founded in Kansas City, Missouri as the Kansas City Scouts in 1974, moved to Denver, Colorado as the Colorado Rockies after only two seasons, and then settled in New Jersey in 1982.
The franchise was poor to mediocre for most of its first 13 seasons, only making the playoffs once. However, under current president and general manager Lou Lamoriello, the Devils have made the playoffs for all but two years from 1987-88 to 2009–10, including 13 in a row from 1996-97 to 2009-10. They finished with a winning record every year from 1992–93 to 2009–10, tied with the Detroit Red Wings as the longest such streak of any team in America's four major sports. They have qualified for four Stanley Cup Finals in their history, winning in 1994–95, 1999–00 and 2002–03. Among American NHL expansion franchises only the New York Islanders boast more Stanley Cups. For their first 25 seasons in New Jersey, the Devils were based in East Rutherford and played their home games at Brendan Byrne Arena/Continental Airlines Arena. Prior to the 2007–08 season, the Devils relocated to Newark to play their home games at the newly-constructed Prudential Center.
The Devils are known for their defensive-oriented style of play, but have recently excelled in their offense as well. The Devils have a rivalry with their cross-Hudson River neighbor, the New York Rangers, as well as a rivalry with the Philadelphia Flyers. Since the division's creation in 1993, the Devils have won the Atlantic Division season title nine times, most recently in the 2009–10 season.
- 1 History
- 2 Season-by-season record
- 3 Team identity
- 4 Players and personnel
- 5 Home arenas
- 6 Broadcasters
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Kansas City and Colorado
In 1974, the NHL ended its first expansion period by adding teams in Kansas City, Missouri and Washington, D.C. The Kansas City franchise was to be called the Mohawks, since the Kansas City metropolitan area includes portions of Missouri and Kansas. However, the Chicago Black Hawks objected to the similarity. The team was renamed the Scouts after The Scout, the iconic statue located in Penn Valley Park that overlooks downtown.
On October 9, 1974, the Scouts hit the ice for the first time at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto and lost 4–2 to the Maple Leafs. Due to a rodeo being held in Kansas City's brand-new Kemper Arena, the Scouts were forced to wait nine games before making their home debut. Although they lost that game to the Black Hawks 4–3, the next night they beat their expansion brethren, the Washington Capitals, 5–4. Like most expansion teams, the Scouts were terrible, garnering only 41 points in their inaugural season. The next season, they won only 12 games (including only one win in their last 44 games)—still the worst in franchise history. The Scouts failed to make the playoffs in either season in Kansas City and won only 27 of 160 games.
Although they were better than the Capitals (who won only eight games in their inaugural season), the Scouts began to suffer from an economic downturn in the Midwest. For their second season, the Scouts sold just 2,000 of 8,000 season tickets and were almost $1 million in debt. The Scouts' owners did not have the resources or the patience to handle such massive losses, and decided to get out after only two years. After the 1975-76 season, the franchise was moved to Denver and was renamed the Colorado Rockies.
The team made a fresh start in Colorado, winning its first game 4–2 over Toronto. They picked up momentum and looked like a possible playoff contender, but things collapsed in February, and the Rockies finished the 1976–77 season with a record of 20–46–14; good for 54 points. The next season, they seemed to regress, finishing with only 59 points and 21 games under .500, the sixth-worst record in the league. However, the Smythe Division was so weak that year (only the Black Hawks finished above .500) that the Rockies were able to edge out the Vancouver Canucks for second place in the division by two points. In those days, the division runners-up were guaranteed a playoff spot. They didn't last in the playoffs long, though; the Philadelphia Flyers eliminated them in a two-game sweep.
A lack of stability continually dogged the team. In their first eight years, the Scouts/Rockies went through ten coaches (including eight in their first seven years), none lasting more than one full season. While in Denver, the team changed owners twice.
Prior to the 1978–79 season, owner Jack Vickers sold the team to Arthur Imperatore, who announced that he wished to move the team to the New Jersey Meadowlands. The NHL vetoed the move since the Brendan Byrne Arena was still being built, and there was no suitable temporary facility in the area. In 1979, the team hired Don Cherry as head coach and traded for Maple Leafs star Lanny McDonald. Despite these moves, the Rockies still posted the worst record in the NHL. They played the next two seasons with the possibility of moving until May 27, 1982, when New Jersey shipping tycoon John McMullen purchased the team and announced that the long-expected move to New Jersey would finally come to pass.
The team would now be playing right in the middle of the New York–New Jersey–Connecticut tri-state area, home to the three-time defending Stanley Cup champion New York Islanders, as well as the very popular New York Rangers. The Devils had to compensate the Islanders, Rangers and Flyers for "invading" New Jersey.
1982–1993: Building a Team
On June 30, 1982, the team was renamed the New Jersey Devils, after the legend of the Jersey Devil, an ominous cryptozoological creature supposed to inhabit the Pine Barrens of South Jersey. Over 10,000 people voted in a contest held by local newspapers to select the name. The team began play in East Rutherford, New Jersey at the Brendan Byrne Arena, later renamed the Continental Airlines Arena and now the Izod Center, where they would call home through the 2006–07 season. The Devils' first game ended in a 3–3 tie to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Their first win, a 3–2 victory, came in New Jersey at the expense of their new trans-Hudson rivals, the New York Rangers. The team finished with a 17–49–14 record, putting them three points above last place in the Patrick Division.
In the following season, the Devils were publicly humiliated by Wayne Gretzky after they were blown out 13–4 by his team, the Edmonton Oilers. Gretzky was upset that former teammate Ron Low played for what he considered an inferior team, and in a post-game interview said:
“ Well, it's time they got their act together, folks. They're ruining the whole league. They had better stop running a Mickey Mouse organization and put somebody on ice. ”
Later, Gretzky publicly admitted that his comment went too far, but privately maintained that his comment was accurate. In response, many Devils fans wore Mickey Mouse apparel when the Oilers returned to New Jersey.
In the 1983–84 season, the Devils hosted the annual NHL All-Star Game at the Brendan Byrne Arena. Chico Resch was the winning goaltender, and Devils defenseman Joe Cirella tallied a goal as the Wales Conference beat the Campbell Conference 7–6. However, the team did not achieve much success. Head coach Bill MacMillan was fired midway through the season and replaced with Tom McVie, and the Devils won only 17 games. After the season, McVie was replaced by Doug Carpenter.
Meanwhile, with stable ownership at last in place, the Devils began a slow journey to respectability. They assembled a nucleus of young players; John MacLean, Bruce Driver, Ken Daneyko, Kirk Muller, and Pat Verbeek all complemented the veteran leadership of Resch. The team's record improved each season between 1984 and 1987. However, playing in a division where the same three teams—the Flyers, Capitals and Islanders—made the playoffs every year for six years running meant that the Devils found themselves in a losing battle with the Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins for the division's last playoff spot. The Devils actually finished last in the Patrick in 1986 and 1987 despite improving their record.
Hoping to light a spark under the team, McMullen hired Providence College coach and athletic director Lou Lamoriello as team president in April 1987. Lamoriello appointed himself general manager shortly before the 1987–88 season. This move came as a considerable surprise to NHL circles. Although Lamoriello had been a college coach for 19 years, he had never played, coached, or managed in the NHL and was almost unknown outside the American college hockey community.
The 1987–88 Devils garnered the first winning record in the franchise's 14-year history. On the final day of the regular season, they were tied with their nemesis, the Rangers, for the final playoff spot in the Patrick Division. After New York defeated the Quebec Nordiques 3–0, all eyes were on the Devils, who were playing the Blackhawks in Chicago. The Devils were trailing 3–2 midway through the third period when John MacLean tied the game, and with two minutes left in overtime, he added the winning goal. Although the Rangers and Devils both finished with 82 points, the Devils had one more win, sending them to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
The team made it all the way to the conference finals, but lost to the Boston Bruins in seven games. In that series, head coach Jim Schoenfeld verbally abused referee Don Koharski after the third game, screaming obscenities. During the exchange, Koharski slipped and fell against the wall. He immediately claimed that Schoenfeld had pushed him, but Schoenfeld retorted that Koharski had fallen down. As Koharski snapped that Schoenfeld was "gone," Schoenfeld replied, "Good, 'cause you fell, you fat pig. Have another doughnut!" League disciplinarian Brian O'Neill ordered Schoenfeld to sit out game four. The Devils demanded a hearing, but O'Neill refused. Claiming their rights as well as Schoenfeld's had been violated, the Devils appealed to New Jersey Superior Court judge James F. Madden—an unprecedented appeal to authority outside the league. Forty minutes before game time, Madden ordered the suspension overturned pending a formal league hearing. In his order, Madden pointed out that the NHL's investigation consisted of two phone calls—one to Koharski and one to Schoenfeld—and criticized O'Neill for not reviewing the videotape. In protest, referee Dave Newell and linesmen Gord Broseker and Ray Scapinello refused to work the game. After more than an hour's delay, three off-ice officials—Paul McInnis, Jim Sullivan and Vin Godleski—were tracked down to work the game. McInnis served as the referee, while Sullivan and Godleski worked the lines wearing yellow scrimmage sweaters. Notably, league president John Ziegler was away on personal business and could not be contacted, leaving Chicago Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz, as chairman of the league's board of governors, to give the order to play the game with backup officials.
Ziegler conducted a hearing on May 10, and suspended Schoenfeld for game five and fined him $1,000; the Devils were fined $10,000. Schoenfeld later admitted he regretted his comments. Nonetheless, Devils fans and broadcasters claimed that the officials shortchanged them for several years afterward.
The next season, the Devils once again slipped below .500 and missed the playoffs. Lamoriello made several postseason player changes, notably signing of two Soviet stars: Viacheslav Fetisov and Sergei Starikov. The Devils drafted Fetisov years earlier in the 1983 entry draft, but the Soviet government did not allow Fetisov, who was an Army officer as well as a member of the national team, to leave the country. Shortly after, the Devils signed Fetisov's defense partner, Alexei Kasatonov.
The team changed coaches midway through each of the next two seasons. Schoenfeld was replaced with John Cunniff in 1989–90, and Tom McVie was re-hired midway through the 1990–91 season and helmed the team through its third-straight first-round elimination in 1991–92. Herb Brooks, who coached the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" team, was brought in for the 1992–93 season, but when the team yet again was eliminated in the first round, he was fired and replaced with former Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Lemaire.
Under Lemaire, the team roared through the 1993–94 regular season with a lineup including defensemen Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, and Ken Daneyko, forwards Stephane Richer, John MacLean, Bobby Holik, and Claude Lemieux, and goaltenders Chris Terreri and Martin Brodeur, who was honored as the league's top rookie with the Calder Memorial Trophy. The Devils' first 100-point season earned them the NHL's second-best record behind the New York Rangers. However, due to the NHL's new playoff format, the Devils were seeded third in the East, behind the Atlantic Division champion Rangers and Northeast Division champion Penguins. The Devils and Rangers met in a memorable Eastern Conference Finals match up, which went seven games. The Devils had lost all six regular season meetings to the Blueshirts, but were up for the challenge, after Richer scored the game winning goal in the second overtime of Game 1. Going into Game 6, the Devils led the series 3–2 after having dominated Game 5 in Madison Square Garden. Before the game Rangers captain Mark Messier made his famous guarantee that the Rangers would win Game 6. Keeping true to his word, Messier led his team back, netting a natural hat trick, and leading the Rangers to a 4–2 victory (after the Devils were up 2–0). In Game 7, the Devils' Valeri Zelepukin tied the game with 7.7 seconds remaining, but the Devils were defeated in double overtime, on a goal by Stephane Matteau. Devils fans, however, claimed that Esa Tikkanen was in the crease, and the goal should have been wiped out. Nonetheless, the series is viewed by many hockey fans as one of the best playoff series in NHL history.
Despite the setback, the team returned to the Eastern Conference Finals during the lockout-shortened 1995 season and defeated the Philadelphia Flyers four games to two. They swept the heavily favored Detroit Red Wings to win New Jersey's first-ever Stanley Cup, and the first major professional sports championship in the state's history, as they brought the Stanley Cup across the Hudson River from "the Garden to the Garden State," with the Rangers having won the Stanley Cup the year before. Claude Lemieux was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoffs MVP. The Devils established an NHL record by posting 11 road victories in one playoff season. The success also came amid constant rumors that the team would move for the third time in its history to Nashville (which eventually gained their own NHL expansion team).
The Devils missed the playoffs by 2 points the following season, with a 37–33–12 record. They were beaten by the Tampa Bay Lightning for the last playoff spot in the East on the last day of the season. It marked the first time in 26 years that a defending Cup champion failed to reach the playoffs. For most of the remainder of the decade, the Devils failed to live up to expectations. Despite annually having one of the best regular season records in the league, they were ousted by the New York Rangers in the second round of the 1997 playoffs, and were eliminated in the first round by the Ottawa Senators and the Pittsburgh Penguins the next two seasons.
During the 1999–2000 season, New Jersey was in the midst of a late-season swoon. Despite having one of the best records in the league, Lamoriello feared another early playoff collapse and made the controversial decision to fire head coach Robbie Ftorek and replace him with assistant Larry Robinson. The move paid off, as New Jersey defeated the Florida Panthers, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Philadelphia Flyers to make the Stanley Cup Finals. In the Finals, the Devils reached the top again, defeating the defending champion Dallas Stars in six games to win the Stanley Cup for the second time. Stevens, Holik, Niedermayer, and Brodeur, all integral parts of the 1995 team, were augmented with new players acquired in the intervening five years including Patrik Elias, Petr Sykora, Jason Arnott, Alexander Mogilny, and rookies Brian Rafalski, John Madden, and Calder Trophy recipient Scott Gomez. A highlight of the Devils' second championship run was their come-from-behind victory in the conference finals. They trailed the Philadelphia Flyers three games to one, but rebounded to win three straight games and the series. This was both the first time in Devils playoff history and in NHL Conference Finals history that a 3–1 deficit was surmounted. This series was also remembered for the hit that captain Scott Stevens laid on Flyers center Eric Lindros, effectively ending Lindros' career in Philadelphia. Stevens was named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy, and assisted on Jason Arnott's Stanley Cup-clinching goal in double-overtime of Game 6 in Dallas.
Shortly before this victory, McMullen sold the team to Puck Holdings, an affiliate of YankeeNets, for $175 million. The owners wanted to use the Devils and the New Jersey Nets (also a tenant at Continental Airlines Arena) for programming on what eventually became the YES Network and move both teams to a new arena in Newark. Neither of these proposals became reality under Puck Holdings' ownership. The new owners largely left the Devils' operations in Lamoriello's hands. For the start of the next season, Lamoriello was appointed CEO of both the Devils and Nets. He remained at the helm of the basketball team until it was sold with the intention of moving it to Brooklyn.
2001–2004: Another Cup and the Lockout
Led by the Elias-Arnott-Sykora line (The A Line), Bobby Holik, and the goaltending of Martin Brodeur, the Devils reached the Stanley Cup Finals for the second straight year in 2001. They lost the series to the Colorado Avalanche despite leading 3–2 and having Game 6 on home ice; Brodeur had a subpar series, with a save percentage under 90%, and was bested by Colorado Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy. The team's strong regular season was recognized at the NHL's annual awards that year, with Madden becoming the first player in franchise history to win the Frank J. Selke Trophy (for top defensive forward), along with Brodeur and Stevens named as finalists for the Vezina Trophy (top goalie) and Norris Trophy (top defensemen) awards respectively.
In the 2001–02 season, they were expected to be contenders once again, and they finished the season as the 3rd best team in the Atlantic Division, with 95 points. The Devils entered the playoffs as a 6 seed, but lost in the first round to the number 3 seed Carolina Hurricanes.
In 2003, the Devils finished first in the Atlantic Division with 108 points, earning the number 2 seed in the East. Their playoff run included a seven-game conference final series victory, decided in the final three minutes on a goal by newly acquired forward Jeff Friesen, over the Ottawa Senators, who won the President's Trophy that season. In the Stanley Cup Finals, the Devils and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim had a back and forth battle, with both teams winning only their home games. This was the first time since 1965 that all the games in a Stanley Cup Final were won by the home team. The Devils brought the Stanley Cup to New Jersey a third time, defeating the Mighty Ducks in the 7th game of the Finals in New Jersey. Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, Ken Daneyko, and Sergei Brylin each won their third Cup, and after the series, Daneyko, a long-time fan favorite, announced his retirement. Despite Anaheim not being able to complete their Cinderella run, the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP was awarded to their goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere who was the first player not on the championship team to be named playoff MVP since Ron Hextall in 1987. Some hockey writers speculated a New Jersey player did not win because there were multiple candidates, resulting in a split vote among the sportswriters who select the winner. However, Brodeur was awarded the Vezina Trophy as outstanding goaltender in the regular season for the first time in his career. The New Jersey Nets were in their finals at the same time the Devils won this Stanley Cup, but lost to the San Antonio Spurs in six, which denied the state of New Jersey from having both NBA and NHL championships in the same year.
In the 2003–04 season, Martin Brodeur took home the Vezina Trophy again. Despite the permanent loss of long time team captain Scott Stevens the Devils finished second in the Atlantic Division with 100 points. With the sixth seed in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Devils lost to the Philadelphia Flyers four games to one. In March 2004, near the end of the season, Lehman Brothers executive Jeffrey Vanderbeek purchased a controlling interest from Puck Holdings and resigned from Lehman Brothers to assume full-time ownership. He had been a minority owner since the 2000 sale. Like Puck Holdings/YankeeNets, Vanderbeek has largely left the Devils in Lamoriello's hands.
Vanderbeek was a strong proponent of the proposed arena in Newark, which first received funding from the city council during Puck Holdings' ownership in 2002. After legal battles over both eminent domain and the city's financial participation in the arena project, the final deal was approved by council in October 2004, and the groundbreaking occurred almost exactly a year later. Nonetheless, in January 2006 financial issues threatened to halt the deal, as the Devils did not provide the city with a required letter of credit until the last possible day.
Though construction was well underway, in late summer 2006, Cory Booker, who had recently taken office as Mayor of Newark, promised to reevaluate the deal and considered backing out. In October Booker conceded there would be "a first-class arena built in the city of Newark, whether we like it or not", and soon after the Devils struck a deal including both property and monetary givebacks that appeased city officials. The arena, which was named the Prudential Center when Newark-based Prudential Financial purchased naming rights in early 2007, opened shortly after the start of the 2007–08 season.
During the 2004–05 NHL lockout, many Devils players played in European leagues and in the hockey world championships. Patrik Elias, who was playing in the Russian Superleague, contracted hepatitis A. Faced with Elias' indefinite recovery timetable, plus the loss of defensive stalwarts Scott Niedermayer to free agency and Scott Stevens to retirement, Lamoriello signed veteran defenseman Dan McGillis and two former Devils — winger Alexander Mogilny and defenseman Vladimir Malakhov, none of whom finished the season on the ice. In July 2005, the team announced that head coach Pat Burns did not return for the 2005–2006 season after being diagnosed with cancer for the second time in little more than a year. Assistant coach Larry Robinson, the team's head coach from 2000 to 2002, was promoted to start the season.
The Devils struggled early in the 2005–06 season, ending the 2005 calendar year with a 16–18–5 record. Robinson resigned as head coach on December 19, and Lamoriello moved down to the bench. Once Elias returned from his bout with hepatitis, the team quickly turned around, finishing 46–27–9 after a season-ending eleven-game winning streak capped with a dramatic 4–3 win over the Montreal Canadiens. During that final victory, which clinched the Devils' sixth division title, Brian Gionta set a new team record for goals in a season with 48, topping Pat Verbeek's 46. The win streak to close the year was also an NHL record.
On April 29, 2006, the Devils won their first round Stanley Cup playoff series against the New York Rangers four games to none, extending their winning streak to fifteen games and marking the first time the Devils defeated their cross-river rival in a playoff series. The team's season ended in the next round with a 4–1 Game 5 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, who eventually won the Stanley Cup.
In the offseason, the Devils hired former Montreal Canadiens coach Claude Julien to replace Lamoriello behind the bench. However, in the last week of the 2006–2007 Devils season, with just three games left, Julien was fired, and Lamoriello once again reprised his coaching role. The move is reminiscent of Robbie Ftorek's firing with eight games left in the 1999–2000 season, after which the Devils won the Stanley Cup. Lamoriello defended the move saying, "I don't think we're at a point of being ready both mentally and [physically] to play the way that is necessary going into the playoffs." The Devils went on to win their seventh Atlantic Division title and earn the second seed in the Eastern Conference after finishing ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins by two points. They defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games in the first round, but struggled against the third-seeded Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals and lost to them in five games. Their final loss of the series on May 5, 2007, marked the final game of the Devils' 25-year history at the Continental Airlines Arena.
2007–2010: A New Home in Newark
During the move to Newark, the Devils lost a few prominent members. On July 1, 2007, long-time Devils Scott Gomez and Brian Rafalski left the team as unrestricted free agents; Gomez to the rival Rangers, and Rafalski to the Detroit Red Wings. Back-up goalie Scott Clemmensen went to Toronto, and local favorite, forward Jim Dowd signed with Philadelphia. The Devils, however, were able to sign Buffalo forward Dainius Zubrus, and Rangers defenseman Karel Rachunek. On July 5, the Devils signed Rangers goalie Kevin Weekes as a backup to Brodeur, as well as Nashville Predators defenseman Vitali Vishnevski on July 10.
On July 13, 2007, Brent Sutter was named the 14th head coach of the team. Previous coach Larry Robinson was named to aide John MacLean as the second assistant coach. On August 7, 2007, the Devils signed former Islander Arron Asham. As the Devils preseason came to an end, prospects Nicklas Bergfors and David Clarkson made the final roster. The Devils opened their new arena, the Prudential Center, on October 27, 2007, against the Ottawa Senators, after opening the season with a nine-game road trip. The game ended with a 4–1 win for Ottawa.
On October 31, 2007, the New Jersey Devils won their first home game at the Prudential Center by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning, 6–1. In a dramatic last game of the season against their rivals the New York Rangers, the Devils won in a shootout, giving them home ice advantage over the Rangers in the playoffs, though the Devils lost the series against the Rangers 4–1, losing all three games at home. Brodeur did win the Vezina Trophy for the fourth time in five years for his performance in the regular season.
For the 2008–09 season, the Devils signed Brian Rolston, Bobby Holik, Brendan Shanahan, Mike Rupp, and Scott Clemmensen, all making their second stints with the team. The Devils' season looked to be in jeopardy after Brodeur tore a biceps tendon in November and was sidelined for four months, but strong play by scoring leader Zach Parise and backup goalie Clemmensen kept the Devils atop the NHL standings. Brodeur would return strong and make history. On March 17, 2009, before a sellout home crowd, Brodeur broke Patrick Roy's record for regular season wins with his 552nd victory, while Patrik Elias became the franchise's all-time leading scorer with his 702nd point. In the opening round of the playoffs, the Devils suffered two losses to the Hurricanes within the final minute of regulation play. In Game 4, the Devils overcame a 3 goal deficit, only to lose on a goal with 0.2 seconds left in the game in which Brodeur claimed he was interfered with. The team was eliminated in a Game 7 loss in which the Hurricanes scored 2 goals in the last one minute and twenty seconds of the game to erase a 3–2 Devils lead.
On June 9, 2009, the New Jersey Devils announced that head coach Brent Sutter was stepping down from his position, citing personal and family reasons. However, in a controversial move three days later, Sutter was introduced as the new head coach of the Calgary Flames.
After the free agency period opened on July 1, 2009, career-long Devils John Madden and Brian Gionta left to sign with the Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens, respectively. Scott Clemmensen signed with the Florida Panthers and Mike Rupp signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins. All four had won the Stanley Cup with New Jersey.
After several weeks of fruitless contract negotiations late in the season, the Atlanta Thrashers traded star left wing Ilya Kovalchuk, along with defenseman and former Devil Anssi Salmela, to the Devils on February 4, 2010 for defenseman Johnny Oduya and forwards Niclas Bergfors, young prospect Patrice Cormier, and a first round draft pick in the 2010 draft. The teams also traded second round draft picks for 2010.
The Devils finished the season in first place in the Atlantic Division, second in the Eastern Conference. Their seeding matched them up against Philadelphia in the first round, who eliminated the Devils 4 games to 1. Kovalchuk was held to two goals in the series.
2010–present: Coaching Changes Continue
After head coach Jacques Lemaire retired from coaching, the Devils announced that the team's all-time leading scorer, John MacLean, would become their new head coach. Former team head and assistant coach, Larry Robinson and former NHL all-star Adam Oates joined MacLean as assistants.
During the offseason, the Devils signed Ilya Kovalchuk to a seventeen-year contract, keeping him in New Jersey until the conclusion of the 2026-27 season. The contract was the longest contract ever held by an NHL player, beating out Rick DiPietro's fifteen-year contract with the New York Islanders. The NHL rejected Kovalchuk's 17-year contract for allegedly circumventing the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement and Kovalchuk became a free agent for two months before the NHL officially accepted a fifteen year contract worth $100 million.
John MacLean led the team to a record of 9-22-2, and sitting in last place in the NHL on December 23 he was removed in favor of Jacques Lemaire,coming out of retirement for his third stint as head coach of the Devils and second in less than two seasons.
During the tumultuous season, the Devils lost superstar Zach Parise to a meniscus tear in November and he finally returned in March for just one game in which the Devils were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Adding to the team's woes, goaltender Martin Brodeur suffered two multi-game injuries, an elbow injury in November and a minor knee sprain in February.
Following the trade of captain Jamie Langenbrunner to the Dallas Stars, the Devils managed an astonishing turnaround with an impressive run of 26-7-3. They saw a dramatic increase in offensive production, in addition to the outstanding performance of backup goaltender Johan Hedberg. On March 12, the Devils found themselves just six points out of a final playoff spot. The other major trade of the season was Stanley Cup hero Jason Arnott to the Washington Capitals for center David Steckel and a second round draft pick.
During their astonishing late winter run the players did not talk about any playoff aspirations and maintained the motto of "one game at a time." Jacques Lemaire also refused to talk about the team's playoff potential and told reporters to ask him about the Devils' chances once they were five points back. The Devils ultimately came within one point of Lemaire's benchmark but were eliminated by the Montreal Canadiens on April 2, 2011, thus missing out on the playoffs for the first time since the 1995-96 season. After winning their last game of the season, Jacques Lemaire announced that he would not return as head coach for another season with the Devils. Overall, this was the first losing season for the Devils since 1990-91. Lemaire was replaced by former Florida Panthers head coach Peter DeBoer.
In the 2011 offseason, the Devils drafted defenceman Adam Larsson 4th overall along with several other key prospects at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. In addition to drafting and later signing Larsson, the Devils signed Zach Parise, Cam Janssen, and Eric Boulton to one year contracts. There were only 2 trades made during the offseason. The first came when Brian Rolston was traded to the New York Islanders in exchange for Trent Hunter, who was quickly bought out of his contract. The second was the trade that sent Pierre-Luc Létourneau-Leblond to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a 5th round pick in the 2012 Draft.
Last five seasons: Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against
Season GP W L OTL Pts GF GA Finish Playoffs 2006–07 82 49 24 9 107 216 201 1st, Atlantic Lost in Conference Semifinals, 1–4 (Senators) 2007–08 82 46 29 7 99 206 197 2nd, Atlantic Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 1–4 (Rangers) 2008–09 82 51 27 4 106 244 209 1st, Atlantic Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 3–4 (Hurricanes) 2009–10 82 48 27 7 103 222 191 1st, Atlantic Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 1–4 (Flyers) 2010–11 82 38 39 5 81 174 209 4th, Atlantic Did not qualify
The Devils' logo is a monogram of the letters "N" and "J", rendered with two devil horns at the top of the "J" and a pointed tail at the bottom. The monogram is red with a black outline, and sits inside an open black circle. The logo lies on a field of white in the middle of the chest on both uniforms. Prior to the 1992–93 season, the black circle and outline were green.
The current team colors are red, black and white, and they can be seen on both the home and road jerseys. The home jersey, which was the team's road jersey until the NHL swapped home and road colors in 2003, is dominantly red in color. There are three black and white stripes, one across each arm and one across the waist. The road jersey (the team's former home jersey) is white in color with a similar design, except that the three stripes are black and red. The shoulders are draped with black on both uniforms. Before the 1992–93 season, the uniforms were green and red with slightly different striping leading some fans to affectionately refer to them as "Christmas colors". The Devils have yet to introduce a third jersey and are one of only two NHL teams (Detroit is the other) never to have worn one. GM Lou Lamoriello has stated that he does not ever intend to introduce a third jersey for the Devils, saying, "I don't believe in it," Lamoriello said. "I strongly believe that you have to have one identity as a team. We want to create a feeling that our home and away jerseys are special and that it means something special to wear one." Unlike most teams, the team kept the same uniform design when the NHL switched to the Rbk EDGE jerseys for the 2007–08 NHL season.
On August 25, 2009, Lamoriello announced that the Devils would wear their classic red, white, and green jerseys on their Saint Patrick's Day 2010 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Lamoriello stated, "The original red, green, and white jerseys are a part of our history here in New Jersey. We have always been an organization that takes great pride in its tradition. This is something we believe our fans will enjoy for that one special night." The Devils defeated the Penguins, 5-2. Martin Brodeur wore a special replica helmet of the one from his first NHL game.
The current mascot is "NJ Devil", a 7-foot (2.1 m) tall devil who plays into the myth of the Jersey Devil. NJ Devil keeps the crowd excited, signs autographs, participates in entertainment during the intermissions, skates across the ice, and runs throughout the aisles of the arena to high five fans.
Prior to 1993, the mascot was "Slapshot", a large Devils hockey puck that interacted with the fans. However, the man inside the costume resigned after he was accused of touching three women inappropriately while in costume. The lawsuit and all charges were dropped as nothing could be proven. However, to remove the stigma of the lawsuit, Slapshot was retired and has not returned since.
Style of play
The Devils have been known as a defense-first team since Jacques Lemaire's first tenure, although the Devils have twice led the Eastern Conference in goals scored, once leading the NHL in goals scored (295 GF in 2000–2001). Lemaire gave the Devils their defensive mantra when he implemented a system commonly called the neutral zone trap. This system is designed to force teams to turn over the puck in the neutral zone leading to a counterattack. This style of play led the team to be chastised by the media and hockey purists for "making the NHL boring". Nevertheless, the Devils were successful using this style of play, and Devils coach Larry Robinson asserted that the Montreal Canadiens (who also won the Cup many times) he played on in the 1970s used a form of the trap, though it did not have a name.
Under Brent Sutter, the team adopted less of a trap and more of a transitional, aggressive forechecking style of play which also emphasized puck possession and instilled the cycle to start the 2007–2008 season. This led to many high scoring games early in the 07–08 season for New Jersey. New Jersey went on to score 244 goals in the '08–09 season, the most the team had scored in eight seasons. However, with the return of Jacques Lemaire as head coach, the Devils have resumed a more defense-oriented playing style, scoring just 222 goals and allowing only 191, an NHL best in the 2009–10 season, earning Martin Brodeur his fifth William M. Jennings Trophy.
Players and personnel
Updated November 11, 2011.
Retired Numbers The Devils have retired two numbers. A third number will be retired during the 2011–12 season.
- 3: Ken Daneyko - D, 1983-2003, number retired on March 24, 2006. Daneyko holds the record for most games played in a Devils uniform with 1,283 (and spent his entire career with the team).
- 4: Scott Stevens - D, 1991-2004, number retired on February 3, 2006. Stevens spent 13 seasons with the Devils, captaining the team for 12 of those seasons (1992-2004).
- 27: Scott Niedermayer - D, 1991-2004, number to be retired on December 16, 2011. Niedermayer spent the first 13 seasons of his career with the Devils, winning the Norris Trophy in 2004.
Daneyko, Niedermayer, and Stevens all won 3 Stanley Cups each on the same Devils teams in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Numbers taken out of circulation
- 99 Wayne Gretzky, number retired league-wide February 6, 2000 at the 2000 NHL All-Star Game.
Hall of Famers Nine members of the Hockey Hall of Fame have had experience with the Devils upon election; five players, one coach, and one executive. One broadcaster has been honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame.
- Peter Stastny, a former center and one of the top goal scorers in the 1980s, played for the Devils from 1990 to 1993 and was inducted in 1998.
- Defenseman Viacheslav Fetisov, one of the first two Soviet players in the NHL, played for the Devils from 1989 to 1995 and was an assistant coach from 1999 to 2002; he was inducted in 2001.
- Scott Stevens was inducted in 2007, his first year of eligibility.
- Igor Larionov, a member of the team during the 2003–04 season, became the fourth Devil elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2008.
- Doug Gilmour, who played with the Devils between 1997 and 1998, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2011.
- Joe Nieuwendyk, who played with the team between 2002 and 2003, was also elected to the Hall of Fame in 2011.
- Herb Brooks (1992–1993), who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic team to victory in the "Miracle on Ice", was inducted in 2006.
- In 2008, longtime Devils broadcaster Mike Emrick won the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award and was honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame.
- In 2009, Lou Lamoriello was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, as part of the Builder category.
- Additionally, Devils head coaches Jacques Lemaire (1993–1998, 2009–10, 2010 – 2011) and Larry Robinson (2000–2002, 2005) had been elected as players prior to joining the Devils organization.
* President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello took over as interim head coach twice in the middle of the season: after Larry Robinson resigned for health reasons in 2005, and after Claude Julien was fired in 2007.
** Jacques Lemaire took over as interim head coach in the middle of the season: after John MacLean was fired.
- Scoring leaders
These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history. Figures are updated after each completed NHL regular season.
Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game * = still active with the team
Active player stats as of the completion of the 2010-2011 season.
Player Pos GP G A Pts P/G Patrik Elias* LW 961 335 481 816 .85 John MacLean RW 934 347 354 701 .75 Kirk Muller LW 556 185 335 520 .94 Scott Niedermayer D 892 112 364 476 .53 Bobby Holik C 786 202 270 472 .60 Aaron Broten C 641 162 307 469 .73 Scott Gomez C 548 116 334 450 .82 Scott Stevens D 956 93 337 430 .44 Bruce Driver D 702 83 316 399 .57 Jamie Langenbrunner RW 564 142 243 385 .68
- Regular season records
- Most goals in a season: Brian Gionta, 48 (2005–06)
- Most assists in a season: Scott Stevens, 60 (1993–94)
- Most points in a season: Patrik Elias, 96 (40 G, 56 A) (2000–01)
- Most penalty minutes in a season: Krzysztof Oliwa, 295 (1997–98)
- Most points in a season by a defenseman: Scott Stevens, 78 (1993–94)
- Most points in a season by a rookie: Scott Gomez, 70 (1999–2000)
- Most wins in a season: Martin Brodeur, 48 (2006–07) (also the NHL record)
- Most shutouts in a season: Martin Brodeur, 12 (2006–07)
- Most power play goals in a season: Brian Gionta, 24 (2005–06)
- Playoff records
- Most goals in a playoff season: Claude Lemieux, 13 (1995)
- Most goals by a defenseman in a playoff season: Brian Rafalski, 7 (2001)
- Most assists in a playoff season: Scott Niedermayer, 16 (2003)
- Most points in a single playoff game: Patrik Sundström, 8 (3 G,5 A) (April 22, 1988) (also the NHL record)
- Most points in a playoff season: Patrik Elias, 23 (9 G,14 A) (2001)
- Most points by a defenseman in a playoff season: Brian Rafalski and Scott Niedermayer, 18 (2001, 2003)
- Most penalty minutes in a playoff season: Perry Anderson, 113 (1988)
- Team records
- Most points in a season: 111 (2000–01)
- Most wins in a season: 51 (2008–09)
- Longest season-ending win streak: 11 (2005–06) (also the NHL record)
This list does not include the former arenas of the Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies.
Television: MSG Plus
- Steve Cangialosi – Play-by-play
- Glenn "Chico" Resch – Color commentator
- Ken Daneyko – TV analyst
- Stan Fischler – TV analyst
- Kevin Clark – Public Address Announcer
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- New Jersey Devils Official Site
- Sports E-Cyclopedia.com
- Madison Square Garden's Official NJ Devils Online News Hub
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