With the way fans of the New Jersey Devils have been acting this season, you would think they were Union Army soldiers in the middle of December 1862 with Ambrose Burnside at the helm. Okay, so Lamoriello and Lemaire are not too far off from that level of ineptitude, and that has caused fans to turn a blind eye to how terrible the team has been this season. We could sit here and joke around all day that the Devils never really had a large fan base to begin with, that aside from games against the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers, no one bothers to risk their life trekking through the streets of Newark to that beacon of false hope known as the Prudential Center.
It’s a shame that with such a beautiful arena, the Devils have no one to sit inside and watch them play. They had all their glory at that crumbling piece of concrete and asbestos Continental Airlines Arena, which included three Stanley Cup victories, but at this new arena, they have only three playoff wins. If they would not mind, I would contact Mega Movers and see if they can put the stadium on a truck and haul it over to New York so the Rangers can use it. At least in their mediocrity over the years, there were still fans in the seats.
Even when the Rangers missed the playoffs for seven straight years, there was still a good amount of people who ventured down to Madison Square Garden. They might not have sold out, but they certainly had more than the average 7,000 degenerates who show up for Devils games. The reason I say that is because they are just not too bright; they seem concerned about other teams before their own. It is because they have an inferiority complex, knowing that their team is smack in the middle of the New York and Philadelphia markets. To the north is Rangers’ fans, to the south, Flyers’, and they just cannot get it through their thick skulls that no one cares about New Jersey Devils hockey. This drive to be recognized and make people think that the Devils fan base is wide-ranging is what prompted them to move to Newark in the first place, because fans could now take the train in from New York City, but what they did not realize is that there are no Devils fans in the City. Hell, there aren’t many Devils fans in New Jersey. But I applaud their management for being so considerate to Rangers fans for providing them with an easier way of transportation for three games a season.
This complex is what prompts them to chant “Rangers suck!” rather than “Let’s go Devils”. They whistle their stupid little tune and then all ten fans in attendance scream out against their neighboring rivals. This would not be so bad if it was just at Rangers-Devils games, but they do this 41 times a year. Every single game, old and young fans yell at the top of their lungs about how the Rangers suck. I guess they haven’t taken a look at the NHL standings in the recent months.
Needless to say, I am extremely happy with the way this season is evolving. The Devils sit in dead last place, the laughingstock of the entire NHL, made so by their undying summer quest of trying to lock up Ilya Kovalchuk for eternity. We have all been predicting this for many years, you know, and of course Devils’ fans wanted no part of the truth, because they thought Martin Brodeur was going to stay spry and agile into his 40′s. Now he’s 38 and he is starting to look like a 38-year-old. The unbelievable saves he made in years’ past are now easy goals, while even mediocre shots have been able to find a way past him—just ask Brian Boyle about that one.
The funny part is, it is entirely his fault. Rather than be a team player and focus on championships in later years, he has tried to play as many games as possible, only so he can own every NHL goaltending record. The Devils embarrassing playoff exits three seasons in a row, to the Rangers, Hurricanes, and Flyers have been proof of that, because Brodeur has been on of the main culprits, showing how tired he is. Looks like the Devils won’t have to worry about that this season.
Anyway, what angers me is that the fans are not sticking by to watch this disaster unfold. Even last night, at the cusp of yet another loss, there were no boo’s in the crowd. Oh silly me, that’s because there were more Rangers’ fans than Devils’ fans—poor example on my part. Instead of booing and showing frustration, fans are choosing just to not show up, but that really is not making an impact because they never really showed up to begin with. Even some of my friends, who have been fans their entire life are not even watching the games on TV. I asked one last night if he watched the game and he responded, “Oh, they were playing?” He wasn’t be sarcastic either. These fans genuinely don’t care anymore. It does not matter how bad your favorite team is, but to not turn on a rivalry game? That’s just pathetic. I have only one friend who watches them on a nightly basis. He sits in his recliner with his infant son on his lap, and a glass of hard liquor on the rocks in one hand, to try to teach his kid how to not play hockey. The glass just makes it more easier.
I tell my one friend all the time, who I always ask if he is watching, that it isn’t fair. Other teams have had seasons like this (cue the Flyers in 06/07) and fans actually stood by the team, even if they booed more than cheered. The Devils are going to be bad like this for the foreseeable future because they have no farm system, more importantly, no goaltender who can fill Brodeur’s shoes (before you bring up Jeff Frazee, let’s be real here), and half the aging veterans have no-trade-clauses. In other words: you’re stuck. The Devils enjoyed success for so long, which you could argue was false success because of their boring, trapping ways, but it was success nonetheless. Now they are having a bad season, their first since 1996 and fans can’t take it. They are showing what kind of fans they truly are, and what they have been all these years.