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'Twas the Night Before Devils Hockey

A festive scene from the Prudential Center in Newark.

Al Bello

Twas the night before Devils hockey, and all through the Rock,
Not a scoreboard was stirring, especially not the shot clock.
Zubrus's glowsticks were hung in his locker with care,
In hopes that Saint Avicii would soon would be there.

The lineup cards were nestled all snug in Pete's drawer,
With visions of benched Swedes in their future for sure.
As I wandered the halls in my Devils cap,
The arena settled itself for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the ice there arose such a clatter,
I ran from the concourse to see what was the matter.
Down to the boards I flew like a flash,
Past all the black seats that cost way too much cash.

The lights on the breast of the freshly laid ice,
Gave the lustre of game-day to a surface so nice.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But Jaromir Jagr, in full practice gear.

With the big old Czech still skating with grace,
A look of awe must have been glued to my face.
Then, more rapid than eagles his teammates they came,
And Coach whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Zubie! now, Travis! now, Patrik and Bernier!
On, Greenie! On, Rico! on, Ryder and Boucher!
To the top of the crease! now toward the half wall!
Now skate away! skate away! skate away all!"

Between the pipes at both ends, the goalies they flied,
When they were met with pucks, they turned them aside.
Back-and-forth through the neutral zone, the skaters they flew,
Flinging rubber at Marty, and Cory Schneider too.

And then, in a moment, I heard on the stairs
The steps of a man that took me unawares.
As I drew in my head, and was turning about,
I saw a stoic face and nearly let out a shout.

He was still in a suit, from his head to his feet,
And in his pinstripes and tie, he then took a seat.
A binder of papers, he tossed left to a chair
And Lou Lamoriello gazed toward the ice with a stare.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his scowl how merry!
His arms remained folded, his tie like a cherry!
His trademark frown was drawn down like a bow,
And the hair left on his head was as white as the snow.

Then back toward the ice, the both of us looked,
As Janssen fell down, and Zidlicky hooked.
There were hits from Volchenkov and point shots from Gelly,
When play got sloppy, I feared Lou might throw the jelly.

But he didn't flinch, not even a bit,
Then he looked my way and told me to sit.
A look of his eye and a nod of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

I expected no words, but to my surprise he did speak,
Of his memories of the game, and what he expected this week.
As I sat there still shocked to be hearing his prose,
Without much warning, from his seat he then rose.

As Lou left the seats, Coach Pete gave a whistle,
And away the players skated like the down of a thistle.
But one bellowed from the tunnel, as they walked out of sight,
"LET'S GO DEVILS to all, and to all a good-night!"

Merry Christmas, everyone.