I’ve been avoiding talking about the Devils on this blog this year for a couple of reasons. 1) I wanted to focus mainly on the book project and the happiness project; and 2) the Devils weren’t winning and that didn’t jive with the happiness project.
But now that they are on an 8 game win streak, most of us are too afraid to predict the end result. We’re afraid that the impossible will not become possible if we say something about it. We’ll jinx it. That’s why everyone’s focusing on one game at a time. Taking one right step in the right direction. No one wants to look at the other side of the chasm. They just want to concentrate on taking one right step onto the next plank that will safely see them across that bridge of death and into Hallelujah land.
Will the Devils make it? Why would I be dreaming of heading to Montreal with the Devils unless that means…
That’s as far as I’ll take that conversation. I already know who’s winning the Cup. Only a few people know that prediction. All I can say is…ask what team keeps coming up strangely in my universe again and again and again. That’s the team I felt was making it back in August last year.
There is that feeling again in the Devils locker room…that strange magic that something important (and good) is happening. I haven’t felt that feeling since 2005-2006…and again in 2008-2009.
Last year, I didn’t have that feeling. I could look at one person in that locker room and tell you, we’re not winning this one. We’re bowing out of it. I could tell one month before the playoffs even began. It was one person in that room that predicted that outcome. He will remain nameless.
The year before, everyone could feel that magic. It was strong. Players talked in whispers about it…for fear that they’d jinx what was happening. It’s that same fear that everyone’s afraid to jinx once again. One game at a time…that’s all that matters. One game at a time…
I know a lot of fans that read my work know what I’m thinking…and I don’t have to say it. There are reasons for this turnaround. So instead of rehashing over a year’s worth of blog entries on the Devils, I’ll talk about this from a different vantage point.
I’m glad the Devils lost like they did in the first half. The complete failure of the team, breaking them down to barely scraping themselves up from the bottom of the pit, allowed them to get rid of that bad karma they generated and brought into the season.
This total breakdown allowed them to institute a theory I’ve had for years. Now, I get to watch it happen before my very own eyes.
Here’s my theory…teams that win from the start tend to breakdown at the end. They lose the passion and fire in their game. Their strategies are so down pat that by the time they arrive at the finish line, all of the other teams know exactly what they’re going to do. Ergo, they can beat their system.
When a team fights for survival, they play differently. Their passion and drive is different than that team that won all throughout the season. They are going in with a different mindset. They are going in as if they are getting ready for the playoffs…because they have to prove themselves worthy to everyone, including themselves. They start to play playoff hockey because they are fighting just to make it in.
Their newfound passion allows them to beat those teams that won in the first half of the season. The underdog team is fighting tooth and nail just to survive…and that means winning every single game.[You always put your best foot forward when you are trying to prove to everyone that you deserve to be there.]
Success is my only mother fucking option, failure’s not.
A team that loses the first half, and succeeds in the second half is the team I want to watch in the playoffs. The Philadelphia Flyers were just like that last year. Where did it take them? To the FINALS.
The Devils never switched into the playoff mode last year. The Flyers, on the other hand, switched into that mode a couple of months prior to game 82. Why? Because they were fighting tooth and nail at the end just to grab that 8th seed in the Eastern Conference.
That was the team to watch in the playoffs.
Now, we sit and wait for the Devils to repeat that history that the Flyers had last year, but do one better.
I’ve said since day one that I’m not writing that book on the Devils until I witness them win the Cup with my very own eyes as one of their reporters. IF this were the year…at least they made the story very interesting. From the summer of Kovalchuk…to sitting at the bottom of the league (#30)…to all of a sudden creating NHL history by coming back from the biggest margin ever in the history of the NHL…this would be the miracle on ice story to write.
My first year, I watched the Devils create records. The second year, I watched them crumble. The third year…I watched them rebuild themselves.
People always say that the losing years are the years of rebuild. That’s a dumb excuse. A rebuild is the year that they actually rebuild themselves in that season from dead last to a winning team.
This is the team you take to the playoffs…that is, so long as they continue doing what they are doing RIGHT NOW, and continue to correct themselves and get better. They are far from being a playoff champion. They still have a lot of work to do to become a better team…and they know it.
It’s that kind of team you invest in. That’s why the hockey gods have favored them by pouring some magic their way. But you know how finicky those hockey gods are…one mis-step and bye bye magic.
The way the Devils have to play this out for now…they’ll have to worry about the finish line when they get there.
One right step in the right direction. One second to play. One game to win. 2 points to gain.