June 6, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Ilya Kovalchuk (17) celebrates with left wing Zach Parise (9) after scoring an empty net goal during the third period in game four of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals against the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center. The Devils won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Beyond the 'C': The Story of the New Jersey Devils

June 9, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils players Martin Brodeur (30) , Anton Volchenkov (28) and Bryce Salvador (24) try to clear the puck away from Los Angeles Kings right wing Justin Williams (14) during game five of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals at the Prudential Center. The Devils won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Jim O


The New Jersey Devils were part of a terrific post-season this past season. They were there when history was made. This was the first time an 8th seeded team won the Stanley Cup Finals. Sadly, for Devils players and fans, the Devils were not the 8th seeded team. That was the Los Angeles Kings, who captured their first franchise cup as well. Even though they didn’t win, they will be known forever as the team who was defeated by the 8th seed. And then came even more tragedy. Captain Zach Parise called it quits after leading his team to the Stanley Cup Finals to play with friend Ryan Suter (previously played for the Nashville Predators) in Minnesota, as a member of the Wild. This is the Beyond the ‘C’: The Story of the New Jersey Devils.

First off, I am obligated as a die-hard Detroit Red Wing fan to point something out. After losing long-time captain Nicklas Lidstrom to retirement, we were looking for a great defenseman and some good forwards as well. The Wings had offered Suter a 13 year/$90 million offer. Compared to Lidstrom’s last 13 years earning a little over $100 million. If a team that is a Stanley Cup contender every season offers you almost as much as their captain was making, you should jump on it! They offered Parise a big contract for 13 years, too. This was because it seemed that they wanted a package deal. But they decided to go to the Minnesota Wild for only God himself knows why. I had seen a picture that showed two arenas from similar views. The caption was “These two arenas are alike, but there is only one difference. Hint: Look at the rafters.” On the left was a picture of Joe Louis Arena. The rafters were filled with banners and names. There was barely any space left up there. Then there was the arena in Minnesota. It had how many banners? None! Then at the bottom it said “Enjoy your 13 years in Minnesota boys.” I think, even though it may be biased, that that picture perfectly resembles their choice. Maybe they know something everyone doesn’t, like they are sure-win Cup winners next year. Maybe.

Let’s get back on topic. Now that Zach Parise is gone, who is left to fill his shoes? I have two possibilities. One of them, almost everyone will agree with. The other, you will probably throw rocks at me when you see me walking down the street. The first is Ilya Kovalchuk. He is a great player, and after signing a big 13 year deal with New Jersey, the team needs a long-term captain who knows how to handle a team. The other is Adam Henrique. Yes, the youngster. The only reason I could see him being captain is if the New Jersey Devils are trying to rebuild a younger team. Which seems far-fetched, since they just resigned ancient Martin Brodeur and Ilya Kovalchuk. Don’t get me wrong, I love Brodeur, but maybe he needs to face the music and realize he probably isn’t winning another cup. He is a great goaltender and makes exceptional saves, but I think his age will slow him down. Can we give a goalie the captaincy? I would vote for Marty. His slogan could be “Stackin’ Pads and Winning Games!”

Editor’s Corner:

I reached out to Pucks and Pitchforks’ editor Jeff O’Connor on Twitter. He gave me a very brief statement on the next possible captain. Here it is.

“Ilya Kovalchuk needs to be the next captain of the New Jersey Devils. He is going to be here for the next 13 years. It would be nice to have some stability in that leadership role for years to come.”

Closing Argument:

Ilya Kovalchuk is most likely going to be the next captain. After Parise jumped ship, I’m sure he’s been thanking God for this opportunity to be captain. I just hope it works out for him. He deserves it given the way he’s played over the years. Good luck Ilya, and have fun winning another Cup without Parise!

Get at me on Twitter (@NardoneDylan) and tell me who is going to be the next captain of the New Jersey Devils. Until next time! Au Revoir!

Tags: Adam Henrique Detroit Red Wings FanSided Hockey Ilya Kovalchuk Los Angeles Kings Nashville Predators New Jersey Devils NHL Nicklas Lidstrom Playoffs Ryan Suter Stanley Cup Zach Parise

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