Friday, June 1, 2012

To Hell and Back

Today, on TFD, we take a closer look at the New Jersey Devils. The Devils, as you may or may not know, are currently in the Stanley Cup Finals of the NHL, against the Los Angeles Kings. Game two of the 2012 Finals is tomorrow night at 8 P.M., when the Devils get their shot at redemption in this best of 7 series, following a game 1 overtime loss. The Devils, who are currently in their 30th season in the Garden State, are vying for their fourth Stanley Cup Championship in franchise history, let alone the past 17 seasons. 

In this years NHL post season, the Devils have outlasted the Florida Panthers in round one, blown past the Philadelphia Flyers in 5 games in the second round, and even defeated the cross-river rival New York Rangers in 6 games to reach the Finals. This is nothing short of remarkable after you reflect on the undeniable difficulties the Devils have faced: 

1.) Regardless of being perhaps the most successful and talented goalie in NHL history, Martin Brodeur turned 40 years old in the beginning of May. He is also in his 20th season on the ice, which undoubtedly has taken a toll on his mind and body. The teams success this season, and in seasons of past, is a true testament to his professionalism and personal preparation.  

2.) The Devils head coach this year, Peter DeBoer, is in his first season at the helm of the New Jersey franchise. Despite not having an abundance of familiarity with his roster, he managed to lead the team into the postseason with 41 regular season wins, and a 12 and 7 postseason record to this point. 

3.) Lastly, the fore mentioned three series victories in the playoffs so far. In the first round, the Devils were pushed to the brink of elimination by the Florida Panthers. The New Jersey club won back to back overtime thrillers in games 6 and 7 to advance. In the second round the Devils made quick work of the Flyers. After stumbling briefly in game 1, the Devils won 4 straight to close out the series. In the Eastern Conference Finals the Rangers pushed the Devils to the furthest extent of their talent. It took 6 games, but New Jersey was able to advance to the Stanley Cup, topping a 1 seed and perhaps the best team in the league. 

The Devils have certainly paid their dues this postseason, however they most certainly face a worth opponent in the Kings. The Kings have beaten a 1, 2, and 3 seed in succession to make it to the finals as an 8 seed. All we can do is wait to see if the Cinderella story will play its course, or if the glass slipper will remain off the West Coast franchises proverbial foot. 

The cap featured above is a throwback colorway for the New Jersey Devils, dating back to the period in the teams history from 1982-1992. Those were certainly the early foundation stages of a franchise that has risen to prominence through trial and tribulation. The cap features a Devil red brim, and a kelly green crown. Located symmetrically on the front is the Devils logo, which many feel is one of the best sports logos of all time. On the rear, is the NHL Shield shaded with the same kelly green. I found this cap at Cap City, located in West New York, New Jersey. The fitted is not available on the website currently, however that may change so check back regularly if interested. 

Have a great weekend, and GO DEVILS!!!  

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