Now that the Devils won't be playing another game as a team until exhibition games start in September, the season is now over. I think we all can agree that it came too soon. But like life, we don't get a say in when it happens - it just does.
I don't want to argue or discuss the team in this post. Instead, I would like to offer my gratitude to all those who made this site what it currently is right now.
It goes without saying that I thank my subject: the New Jersey Devils. Right now, I'm not really thrilled with you all; but the support and thoughts I have about how you perform and how you stand remains as a main reason for starting this blog to begin with.
Within this past season, ILWT has moved away from Blogspot's Blogger platform and signed on with SBNation. I especially thank James Mirtle for getting me on board and Blez and the SBN staff for getting me set up here. It's been fantastic and I'm very glad I made the choice to cross-over back last fall. Especially as the SBN Hockey crew has continued to expand, I would like thank all the other hockey bloggers across the network for the support - be it through a comment, providing information for a preview, or even a link. Not to mention the network wide promotions like the NHL Trade Deadline coverage or the ongoing NHL Playoff coverage. If you haven't, I highly, highly, highly recommend visiting the other blogs on the SBN network - it's all quality stuff out there.
Speaking of links, I would like to give a big, big, big, big thank you to Yahoo! and the NHL. Earlier this year, SBN has set up an agreement with Yahoo! Sports, which has increased the exposure of ILWT and all of the other sites on the network by linking to them through team pages and team stories. Moreover, NHL.com has been providing links to selected posts at SBN Hockey among the playoff teams and I certainly have noticed their links here once or twice. To put in perspective, the previous high in terms of visitors was 6,408 in July 2008. That total was topped in February with 6,844; topped again in March with 14,111; and again now with 18,937 this month. I certainly thank both entities along with SBN for making all of this possible.
I also thank all the other Devils bloggers and site-owners out there like the guys at 2 Man Advantage, the Ookies at Interchangeable Parts, Chris at The Program, Frisby at Frozen Fiend, Hal Stern at Snowman on Fire, Rich at Hell on Ice (who's really commenting here more), Jersey at Imperfect Dynasty, the regulars and posters at Hockey's Future Devils, and the other fan sites like NJDevs, Devils Rule, and all the other places out there that slip my mind right now. The fan presence of the Devils has grown since I started in 2007 and I hope it continues to grow.
I would like to thank our man in France, Tibbs, for continuing to provide and dump any and all Devils related stories on a regular basis. Thank you for joining up with the site and for keeping people informed or aware of some story during the day - be it from a newspaper, one of the beat reporters' blogs, or a post on another site.
I especially and wholly thank and appreciate Tom Gulitti and Rich Chere for providing excellent coverage of the New Jersey Devils. They get the news, the quotes, and even some analysis to detail what's going on. Both blogs are daily must-reads for Devils fans and for anyone who wants to learn what's going on with the Devils.
I also thank and appreciate all the other Devils fans out there who ever had the fortune (or displeasure) to sit near me in Section 1, conversed on the main concourse, had a chat at Newark Penn station, shared words going to or from the Devils game on the NEC Line, or even just received a high-five or a fist-bump. Be it all season or for only a game, I thank you all if only for putting up with me and what I had to say about the Devils! I apologize for being so bad with names and there are so many that I would probably get someone angry for messing it up or forgetting, I do not intend to offend anyone. I truly appreciate talking hockey with anyone - especially my fellow Devils fans.
Most of all, I would like to thank you. You, the commenter. You, the one who puts up a FanPost or a FanShot. You, the one who finds this site and tells other people about it. You, the one who sends an e-mail or a Tweet or some way of saying that you like my site. You, the one who quotes what I write elsewhere - be it on a message board or in the Star Ledger. You, the visitor. You, the reader. I am truly blessed to warrant some of your attention, be it on a regular basis or once in a while. Anytime I feel down about something, be it about the Devils or something personal, just the fact that you are even reading this picks me up - if only a little bit.
I could continue going on and continue using the phrase over and over, but it all really points to the same message of thanks. While the Devils season has ended on a note so sour that it's bitter, it was a banner year for In Lou We Trust - all thanks to you all. I wish it could continue like this; like most of you, I truly wish there was more Devils hockey to discuss and analyze and preview and recap and write many, many words over.
Yet, the sun will continue to rise in New Jersey. The Devils aren't going anywhere and neither is this site or myself. There's work to be done. There's another season to prepare for. Let's continue supporting the New Jersey Devils into the next season and beyond. Continue trusting in Lou.