So, as most Devils fans should already know, New Jersey will be one of the nine teams participating in this season's six NHL "Stadium Series" games. They will face off against the New York Rangers on January 26 at 12:30 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NY (FYI, individual tickets for the game are slated to go on sale this Thursday). It will be a tilt that means the same as any other game in the standings, but will be receiving about 50 times the hype, given the venue and the spectacle that goes along with the NHL's outdoor features. There has been much argument over whether the league is watering down the whole outdoor game idea with this Stadium Series, but given how slim the Devils' chances at getting into a regular New-Years-Day-edition Winter Classic probably were, you'll hear few complaints from the Jersey faithful for now.
Since starting up the Winter Classic in 2008, the league has added on the HBO 24/7 docu-series/reality show/whatever-you-want-to-call-it to take an inside look at the two teams playing in the game in the month leading up to it. It has been widely praised by fans and critics, and for good reason because it's pretty awesome. 24/7 has made stars out of interesting people like mouth-of-a-sailor Bruce Boudreau (obviously NSFW language) and Mr. Universe Ilya Bryzgalov and has given fans a great look inside the day-to-day lives of NHL teams. Even if you don't particularly like the teams involved (see: Flyers/Rangers), the show has made for a great watch.
Word came from the league yesterday that in addition to the normal 24/7 series, there will also be a series that takes a look at teams/players involved in all of the Stadium Series games as well as the Olympics.Since the Stadium Series is essentially a bunch of mini-Winter Classics, it only makes sense that the league has now decided to have "NHL Revealed," a show similar to 24/7's all-access format to take a small look at all of the different games and teams. Each of the teams in the outdoor games -- including the four US Stadium Series games and Canada's Heritage Classic -- will be highlighted in the series and there will also be some focus on the Olympics.
Yes, that means that the New Jersey Devils or at least some of their players will likely be highlighted in this series. One has to wonder how Lou Lamoriello will feel about TV cameras breaching his 'interesting information black hole' at the Prudential Center. Probably not great, but fortunately for us, he's pretty much overruled by the league in this case. The NHL said it wants to showcase particular players and how they deal with a transition to and from the Olympics, so it's probably safe to say that most of the players featured will be Olympic invitees. So who/what storylines should we possibly look out for on the Devils?
Based on the NHL's desire to have a focus on the Olympics in this series, the Devils' bunch of Czechs figures to be a prime candidate for where the NHL Revealed filmmakers will focus their attention. Patrik Elias, Jaromir Jagr, and Marek Zidlicky all figure to be among the top players on the Czech squad and their transition from NHL teammates to Olympic teammates figures to be a good storyline (the recently sent-down Rostislav Olesz also has an outside chance to figure into things if he returns to the NHL). It would be hard to argue with this group being featured, especially with the way Mr. Jagr has been on fire in his interviews this year. He alone will probably make for some great TV.
Living legend Martin Brodeur and perennial heir-apparent Cory Schneider are locked in a battle for the starting job in New Jersey. After Brodeur started the year very shaky, and coming off several mediocre-to-okay seasons (2012 Playoffs notwithstanding), it appeared that Schneider would move into a number 1 role for the team, with even Brodeur himself saying as much. After his "I'm #2" declaration, Brodeur has become white-hot in net, posting a .964 sv% over his next six and putting him in a statistical dead heat with Schneider, whom the Devils cannot buy a goal for this year. As far as the Olympics, Brodeur is an unlikely invite, but has been to the past four Games with Canada and could be plying himself back into the conversation if he stays hot. As for Cory Schneider, he was at team USA's camp over the summer and, especially with the struggles of some other US goaltenders, is certainly in the mix for a spot on team USA.
The Old Guys
Brodeur and Jagr have already both been touched on, but just in terms of looking at the different narratives the show could choose to follow, this is another possibly compelling one. Both players are surefire Hall-of-Famers, both are pretty interesting guys, and both were born during the Nixon administration, making them super-duper old in NHL terms. Brodeur may not be going to the Olympics this season, but he's been so many times, it might be almost as interesting to see how he deals with not going. Following these two could definitely be an option when the cameras start rolling.
There are some other players who could also figure into the Olympic picture as well. Andy Greene should have an outside chance at team USA, especially if some injuries arise, deserves a look. He also just deserves some credit in general for how good he has been for New Jersey, so I certianly wouldn't mind seeing him featured. Even though he is cold, Damien Brunner should definitely figure into a thin Team Switzerland. Andrei Loktionov, Anton Volchenkov, and Adam Larsson all probably have outside (in Larsson's case, I'd say very outside) chances at an invite as well. For the Russians, there is also the potential for awkward interactions with a certain former Devil, which is always fun.
Who Do You Want to See?
There are certainly a few interesting threads the NHL could choose to follow with this Devils team. The team should be sending at least a few players to the Olympics, so they have some options. Who would you like to see the cameras focus on? Are there any storylines, in particular, you think will be emphasized? Are you excited to get an extremely rare peek behind Lou's iron curtain? Be heard in the comments below and thanks for reading.