Hello Devils fans! Welcome to my first post of the new season. I’m thrilled to be back for another season writing for Speaking of the Devils. A lot has happened since my last post. New owners, Kovy retiring, free agent signings, etc. Considering the start the team has gotten off to, I felt the team right now would be a more interesting post. Besides, we’ve all read plenty about Kovy’s return to Russia, Clowe’s big contract, Jagr in NJ and the new owners. I felt it’d be more interesting to go in a different direction.
As the title denotes, I’m sure a lot of us are asking if it’s time to panic about the Devils. Well, in my mind, not really. The reason we should not panic is two fold. One, with so many new faces, and others which are no longer on the team, chemistry will need to be rebuilt. That doesn’t happen overnight. It is going to take some time for the new faces like Ryder and Clowe (provided the later is healthy) to gel with the Pattys and Zajacs of the team. That said, DeBoer needs to be careful of his lines. I get that injuries and stalled offensive production necessitate changing things up but, as I bitched about in the past, you need consistency to develop chemistry. All and all I don’t think this will be a huge issue, provided the team stays healthy enough to leave lines intact game to game.
The second reason not to panic is, honestly, what were our expectations for this team, and is a dozen or so games enough to judge them against said expectations? I’ll be the first to admit they have not played well, and their record reflects that. Except for last Saturday in Boston, they seem to have disappeared at the start of the third period every other game. They break down in their end, especially late in games, take bad penalties, etc.
They don’t score consistently, especially not late (or lately).
All these things might make us panic and feel they’re doomed. But did any of us
expect this to be a top of the heap team? Granted, none of us thought they’d start
this bad. I’m sure we all want them to win a cup every single year. But reality is reality.
This is a team in transition. Do I think they can make the playoffs and go on
a run? Absolutely. But I’m not expecting it. Managing expectations is not only the job
of GM’s and owners, it’s a job for fans too. While we always hope for the best, we have to be realistic.
That realism shows you this is a team in transition. The sky is not falling, but if we’re gonna panic over anything, let’s panic over the right things. Maybe we panic over Zajac and Henrique getting big pay days and not scoring much? Nah, too early for that.
How about Schneider getting dinged up, and not looking great before that happened? Meh, too early as well.
The fact is this team is moving from Marty and Patty’s team to Schneider, Zajac, and Henrique’s team. It won’t be overnight. And we can still compete while it is happening.
We can be heartened by ownerships stated desire to win, by our youth, by our prayers that Gelinas and Larsson can be the second coming of Stevens and Niedermeyer. There is much to be excited about, despite the challenges of this being a team in flux. As fans, all we can do is watch and wait, while always supporting the team we love. We’ll all have opinions, suggestions, and out right demands of what must be done to fix the team – fire DeBoer, bring back the goal song, trade Schneider, etc – but at the end of the day, all we can do is watch and hope for the best. Panicking, even if you think it is justified, won’t get us anywhere.
So I say to you, my fellow fans: Let’s relax and see how the season pans out. It’s a long way to April, especially now that we’re actually playing a full season. Just because the Devils aren’t destroying teams by ten goals, or posting shut outs every night, doesn’t mean things won’t improve this season, or down the road.
Yes, their record isn’t great, but when we look at the big picture, there is a lot to be excited about both this year, and going forward. And we’re 1-0 against the Rangers, so we have that to enjoy. After all, we’ve been spoiled a long time. A little losing won’t kill us.
Thanks for reading, and LET’S GO DEVILS!