I love the Flyers, and no other team. I want us to win a Cup, and there is no other team that I accept as an alternative. There are 29 other fanbases that feel the same way about their own club. We all have one goal, and we all have an effect on one another. Since our Fansided Network is doing a 30 day preview to get ready for the 2011-12 season, I’ll be looking at how much of a threat each team is to our own Cup hopes. Today, we have the New Jersey Devils.
The Devils might be one of the hardest teams to get a read on this season. Where they the loser, POS scumbags from the first half of last season, or where they the barely stoppable force from the second half? Most likely they fall somewhere in between, but which extreme are they closer to? I always felt that GM Lou Lamoriello was the best in hockey because he kept his team on a budget, sprung only when necessary, and developed prospects very,very well. For that reason, I feel that the Devils should be more of a contender than a pretender. Kovalchuk is one of the few wings in history that doesn’t need a great center in order to help him light up the scoreboard. They dumped a few older and unproductive players, and got a bit younger. Regardless of talent level, adding youth is always an improvement.
This team will once again enter the seasons relying on offense from the wings, rather than the centers. And the way this league works, it’s a rather unconventional approach. The defense hasn’t been reshaped, but should see an improvement simply because the man behind the bench is no longer a complete idiot. DeBoer had been in charge of the Panthers the last three years. He didn’t do much there, but at least he has some experience, unlike MacLean from the first half of last season. Goaltending is definitely a question mark in NJ, as it has been (at least in my eyes) for a few seasons now. Brodeur is way past his prime, and aside from a few games here and there, is nothing to be feared. Ditto for his backup, Hedberg.
Us, the fans, are very familiar with the Devils. Half of the Flyers, however, are brand new to the rivalry. But 6 meetings this season will change all of that, starting very quickly. We face them on October 8 and November 3, before taking a small break. It’s the next 4 games that make things interesting. We face them 2 weeks apart on January 21 and February 4th, followed by a home and home on March 11-13. Every one of these games is crucial, for various reasons. For one, it’s a division foe, meaning that if a few things go right for each team, they could be fighting for the Atlantic crown. No matter who they have, the Devils always play a defensive style, and it always feels good to beat the hell out of them. I hate this team more than anyone else, so I’m looking forward to every game against them. Maybe their history makes them seem better than they really are. But if they do play some shutdown D, then all it takes is Kovy to ignite the offense and make them very, very dangerous.
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Tags: 2011-12 Nhl Season 2011-12 Season Ice Hockey Ilya Kovalchuk Johan Hedberg John Maclean Lou Lamoriello Martin Brodeur Mike Fisher New Jersey Devils NHL Pekka Rinne Peter Deboer Philadelphia Flyers Preview Previews