Erik Carlson (I also answer to “Tenth Wonder”)
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Why The Devils?:
This kinda extends back to how I started following hockey in the first place. There were times in school (5th grade we‘re talking) where I was bored during class. I would reach over, grab the sports section of his copy of USA Today, and look through it. I particularly was reading the hockey part of the page, especially since it was near playoff time. I also happened to notice behind my teacher‘s desk in a small bookcase a series of Encyclopedia Americana yearbooks, so during “free study” times, I pulled one of those books and read through the hockey parts in those. The series started with the 1955 book, so very quickly, I learned about the glory days of the Montreal Canadiens. I did rib at it a few times on this assignment that was called “penmanship,” but I did come to respect their legacy. To this day, they are my #2 team.
By the start of the 6th grade, I became interested enough to start following it. While the Rangers and Islanders at the time didn’t have bad teams, there was just something about them that didn’t really pull me in… The Whalers were an option, too, since I also live close enough to Hartford as I do New York to follow them, but no TV availability for them where I lived hurt those chances.
With the Devils, sure, there was the logo that I had to ask my brother about the first time I saw it back that spring. What drew me in was that it was a bunch of lunchpail kids just looking for respect. That was something I could identify with.
That year also happened to be the first year the Devils ever made the playoffs.
Greatest Personal Memory:
(a game that was perhaps meaningless to others, but holds a special memory for you)
Two come to mind:
For the first, I would probably have to say that it was the first time I ever went to a Devils game, also the first time I’ve been to a hockey game. It was the middle of January, 1989, and the Devils defeated the Detroit Red Wings, 5-2 that night. For me, just being there, being as loud as I wanted to be, talking about how the Devils should trade Craig Billington because he was the third goalie and was ready for the NHL with a couple other people sitting nearby, etc. put me at ease and helped me enjoy the game even more. (And somehow, I still remember that Steve Rooney scored a goal that night… of all people to remember.)
So why did it take me 18 years to go to my second game?
That game was the Rock’s opening night, which is the second one that comes to mind. Being a part of history there is all the “greatest personal memory” I need to explain for that night.
Greatest Team Memory:
-The Miracle of 88. All three memories that I’m gonna list are strong, but to me, this one is probably the strongest because what the Devils were doing was all new ground, and it still chokes me up every time I think about John MacLean’s OT winner in Chicago to clinch the playoff berth.
-The 95 Cup win. Let’s face it. You NEVER forget your first.
-The 2000 Cup win. This one has the most personal attachment to me because while everybody can sum up Game 6 in a huge blog or a 30-second spot for MSG Plus, I only need 4 words to do it… Happy Birthday to me.
What Makes YOU a Crazy Devils Fan?:
Oh, God, people think I’m crazy enough withOUT this section. lol
Actually, there is this one thing: It’s a little pregame “shoutout” that I have done on message boards in the same vain as famous boxing announcer Michael Buffer called “Let’s Get Ready To Pitchfork.” The first time I did it, it was improvised and inspired by someone asking “Are you ready?”
I felt compelled to make a video of me doing it on YouTube, by the way. I refuse to post it
here, though, because not everybody (including Devils fans) that has seen it looks at it in a good way. (One person even called me a moron.)
Favorite Current and Favorite All-Time Devil:
Currently, I would say Marty Brodeur and maybe Zach Parise. My all-time faves include Kirk Muller, Bill Guerin, and Scott Niedermayer