Forgotten in the annals of New Jersey Devils history at times is that of New Jersey’s 3 Stanley Cup victories, only 6 players were present for all 3; one of those players was on the ice for one and behind the bench for the other two. That man is none other than Bobby Carpenter, whose name has resurfaced in the news recently. Carpenter ran the Boston Marathon in 2016, stating he wouldn’t do it again for himself. When the prospect of running it again with and for Denna Laing, he couldn’t pass it up.
Laing for those who may not know, is a forward for the NWHL’s Boston Pride who suffered an injury in last year’s Outdoor Women’s Classic that left her without the use of her legs and with limited use of her arms. She and Carpenter raced as a team, and finished the marathon in just over four and a half hours. They competed for Journey Forward, a Massachusetts based non-profit that helps to improve the quality of life for those who have endured a spinal cord injury.
For today’s TT, I wanted to look back at some memories of Carpenter from when he wore the red and black; they may not be some of the most well remembered moments in our team’s history, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Carpenter was a good (and important) soldier for the team.
1995 Cup Finals
When Bobby Carpenter first came to the New Jersey Devils for the 1993-94 season, he was a 30 year old veteran; he would contribute 33 points in 78 regular season games that year, as well as 8 points in 20 playoff games. His better seasons may have been behind him at this point in his career, and the next season in a lockout shortened year, he appeared in 41 games posting, contributing 16 points. He would make his presence felt in the Eastern Conference Finals against the
Philadelphia Flyers Second Rate Rivals.
With the Conference Finals deadlocked at 2 games apiece, and the fifth game tied at 1, Carpenter broke in on the power play and squeezed a shot through Ron Hextall’s legs. The goal gave New Jersey the lead for the first time in the game, and while Philadelphia would come back to tie it up, Claude Lemieux would send the series back to New Jersey with a late tally to win the game 3-2
With the Devils up 3-1 with under 10 minutes left, Carpenter pushed the puck up ice to (who else) Lemieux who would take almost all of the remaining life out of the Flyers by giving Jersey a 3 goal lead; while Philly would add another goal, it was not enough and the 4-2 victory would send the Devils on to face the heavily favored Detroit Red Wings; we all know how that series turned out.
Maybe they’re not the most important moments or even goals on the first Cup run, but without these moments, who’s to say how the playoffs would have turned out? Carpenter showed grit and poise in a veteran role and helped bring the grandest prize of them all to the Garden State for the first time.
While I have spent time today looking back at Carpenter in a Devils uniform, I think that his career pales in comparison to his recent actions. Carpenter showed himself to be an unselfish human being of amazing character, who teamed up with a fellow athlete to raise money for an incredible cause. At the end of the day, there are things happening off the ice that are way more important than what happens on the ice. The Devils and we the fans should be proud that Carpenter was part of the franchise, as he’s shown to be an even better man. With this recent marathon run, I thought it would be worthwhile today to look back on some great moments involving Carpenter, as well as to have one more article on the internet providing some publicity for he and Laing and their awesome charity work/marathon completion.
Do you have any other Bobby Carpenter memories from his time in New Jersey? Any input on the marathon? Leave any and all comments below and thank you as always for reading!