We have had an entire offseason in which we've discussed the end of the Devils Era of greatness, the departure of the greatest Devil ever, and the establishment of a new leadership, philosophy, and ideals. It's crazy how fast time moves isn't it? In 2012, we had Lou Lamoriello, Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, Martin Brodeur, and an Eastern Conference Championship. Needless to say we have none of those now. But just because the Devils team we see on the ice this year will, in all likelihood, not be great, doesn't mean that we can still see hints of our Great Devils scattered about.
Toronto Maple Leafs
This is the obvious one at the moment. Lou Lamoriello is tasked with the burden of bringing the Toronto Maple Leafs out of the gutters and into a level of success deserving of the franchises fanbase. Lou has already dismissed their longest-tenured scout and director since 2006 and he has also brought in Jacques LeMaire. This is all after having been brought on by team President, and Lamoriello's first draft pick as Devils GM, Brendan Shanahan.
The Maple Leafs have bits and pieces of the Devils sprinkled throughout them. And I wouldn't be shocked if that increased as long as Lou is calling the shots. I don't know about you guys, but if these former Devils managed to bring the biggest hockey city their first Cup in 50 years, I'd find pride in it. Leave your thoughts in the comments.
St. Louis Blues
Similar to the Maple Leafs, there is one obvious Devil here to the aware fans. Martin Brodeur decided to sign a 3-year contract as Assistant General Manager to the Blues. It actually wouldn't be shocking to see him promoted to GM at some point in his tenure if things go well. It's pointless to project that far in advance, but current GM Doug Armstrong was relieved of duties in Dallas after a lot of success, but never getting out of the Conference Finals. Many may say 3 years isn't enough time, but Gath Snow (0 years) Steve Yzerman (4 years), Joe Sakic (5 years) all made the jump with very little prep.
Not to mention they also have Kirk Muller -- the first Captain appointed under Lou Lamoriello -- on board as an Assistant coach. And they just brought in another Devil for a tryout.
I know right? I must be crazy. The Devils in the media? I see where you're coming from. The Devils don't get covered, partially due to them being the 2nd least-watched team. Although somehow, we managed the 7th best TV deal. Weird. But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about one person more than anyone else: Doc Emrick. Doc is a Devil. He was the first voice of the Devils and spent a total of 21 seasons with us. Yet he has also evolved into, arguably, the greatest play-by-play hockey announcer ever. Is that hyperbole? Definitively, no. You don't become the first broadcaster inducted into the Hall of Fame, and a Vin Scully Award Winner by just being really good. You get their by being legendary. Doc is the definitive voice of hockey in America and has been for a while now. According to Wikipedia, He was the voice for "NHL on ESPN," "NHL on ABC," "NHL on Fox," "NHL on Versus," and "NHL on NBC." But he also called 8 Olympic games, 2 of them Summer (he did water polo because he's awesome). One of the most listened-to voices in sports is, in his heart, a Devil.
And sometimes, I feel as though Doc's objective greatness can cast a shadow on our current play-by-play man. Steve Cangialosi has won 2 NY Emmys and broadcasted soccer in the 2012 Olympics. He is not Doc, but he's good.
The Devils are no longer great. But for the fans who are having a hard time letting go, maybe you can take solace in the fact that you are living in a world of sports that is different because of the Devils. This franchise has left its mark on history, and not just in names on the Stanley Cup. The hockey experience, from the management, to the players, to the broadcast, was all-time elite. Those who were lucky enough to take part in that era can feel vindicated that others across the sport are recognizing the greatness and that the Devils will never die.