A preview of the Devils.
Leading Scorer: Patrik Elias and Zach Parise, 1 point (1 goal).
Last Game: 2-1 defeat of the Islanders last night.
Last Game against the Penguins: 2-0 loss at New Jersey, March 25.
Devils Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Parise. Last season, Parise scored 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in eight games against the Penguins. No team gave up more points to Parise in 2007-08.
Ex-Penguins: Tommy Plasko, massage therapist.
Useless Devils Trivia: The highest double-digit uniform number in team history was issued to former Penguins forward Stephane Richer (44).
Best Devils YouTube Video We Could Find: The Devils' player introductions last night:
NOTE: Our live blogging begins hopefully around 6 p.m. Please tune in.
OUR INNER HOCKEY GEEK IS ASHAMED
EN reader Joe Stiger... check that, EN contributor Joe Stiger..., formerly the executive manager of Army's Pit, sent us an e-mail yesterday that made us feel ashamed of ourselves.
We take a lot of pride in being hockey geeks. There's nothing more satisfying to us than being able to tell who was the 13th overall pick in the 1983 draft. (Dan Quinn, Calgary Flames).
Well Mr. Stiger completely blew our hockey geekdom out of the water yesterday with an amazing e-mail:
"The hockey geek in me, while watching Detroit-Toronto (Thursday), wondered how teams that have won the Cup fare in their Banner Raising Night (or first home game of the next season). So with the use of Hockey-Reference.com, I checked every team's first home game after their Cup win or "Banner Raising Game" to see how they fared in front of their faithful the first time after lifting the grail since expansion. The results are staggeringly in favor of the team who had just won the Cup, by a margin of 28-7-5-1. The Penguins, as I noted, were involved in three banner raising games of the OTHER team. A 10-1 loss to the 1976 Habs, a 9-0 loss to the 1982 Isles, and a 6-4 loss to the 1999 Stars.
Here's a closer examination:
1967- Toronto Maple Leafs- Win 5-1 (1-0-0)
1968- Montreal Canadiens- Win 2-1 (2-0-0)
1969- Montreal Canadiens- Win 5-1 (3-0-0)
1970- Boston Bruins- Win 7-3 (4-0-0)
1971- Montreal Canadiens- Tie 4-4 (4-0-1)
1972- Boston Bruins- Loss 2-4 (4-1-1)
1973- Montreal Canadiens- Win 4-3 (5-1-1)
1974- Philadelphia Flyers- Loss 3-5 (5-2-1)
1975- Philadelphia Flyers- Win 5-4 (6-2-1)
1976- Montreal Canadiens- Win 10-1 (7-2-1) *
1977- Montreal Canadiens- Win 7-3 (8-2-1)
1978- Montreal Canadiens- Win 5-2 (9-2-1)
1979- Montreal Canadiens- Win 3-1 (10-2-1)
1980- New York Islanders- Win 5-2 (11-2-1)
1981- New York Islanders- Win 4-1 (12-2-1)
1982- New York Islanders- Win 9-0 (13-2-1) *
1983- New York Islanders- Win 5-2 (14-2-1)
1984- Edmonton Oilers- Win 5-1 (15-2-1)
1985- Edmonton Oilers- Win 4-3 (16-2-1)
1986- Montreal Canadiens- OT Loss 4-5 (16-3-1)
1987- Edmonton Oilers- Loss 1-4 (16-4-1)
1988- Edmonton Oilers- Win 5-1 (17-4-1)
1989- Calgary Flames- Win 10-7 (18-4-1)
1990- Edmonton Oilers- Tie 3-3 (18-4-2)
1991- Pittsburgh Penguins- Tie 2-2 (18-4-3)
1992- Pittsburgh Penguins- Tie 3-3 (18-4-4)
1993- Montreal Canadiens- Win 4-3 (19-4-4)
1994- New York Rangers- Loss 1-2 (19-5-4)
1995- New Jersey Devils- Win 4-0 (20-5-4)
1996- Colorado Avalanche- Win 6-0 (21-5-4)
1997- Detroit Red Wings- Win 3-1 (22-5-4)
1998- Detroit Red Wings- Win 4-1 (23-5-4)
1999- Dallas Stars- Win 6-4 (24-5-4) *
2000- New Jersey Devils- Win 8-4 (25-5-4)
2001- Colorado Avalanche- Win 5-4 (26-5-4)
2002- Detroit Red Wings- Loss 2-3 (26-6-4)
2003- New Jersey Devils- Tie 2-2 (26-6-5)
2005- Tampa Bay Lightning- Win 5-2 (27-6-5)
2006- Carolina Hurricanes- SO Loss 2-3 (27-6-5-1)
2007- Anaheim Ducks- Win 2-1 (28-6-5-1)
2008- Detroit Red Wings- Loss 2-3 (28-7-5-1)
*- vs. Penguins"
EN: Joe Stiger. Making us want to hide under the blankets and cry.
PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF
Way back in April during the first round of last season's playoffs, we got an e-mail from EN reader Justin Kelly of Birmingham, Ala. asking:
"Do you know where one can find a video of the NHL playoff commercial from about four to five years ago that showed all the playoff overtime goals and had the Lifehouse song, "Hanging By a Moment" playing in the background? I have been trying to find this life-changing commercial for two years and have been remarkably unsuccessful. Any help would be great."
We published the question hoping that one of you would be able to help our man Justin out. Nothing every really came of it immediately and we forgot about it to be honest with you. The next two months or so of our lives would be fairly busy what with the Penguins playing for the Cup and all. Plus we have something like 23 brain cells we've managed to cobble together into a semi-functioning mind.
Well earlier this week a very determined reader sent us this e-mail:
"Back in your April 10, 2008 post, you mentioned that reader Justin Kelly needed help finding video of the NHL playoff commercial featuring the Lifehouse song "Hanging By a Moment".Don't know if anyone ever sent this link in. If not, please pass it on to him. I've been searching for it for years and finally found it. Wanted to share the love."
-Jason Marsell, Denver, Colo.
EN: Jason Marsell +1. We couldn't believe Jason would recall that post and would act on it. We totally forgot about it and it came out of our fingertips. Due to his valiant actions, Jason has been appointed chief of Empty Netters' Denver bureau. All matters pertaining to EN in the Mile High City must go through him.
EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS
-The Penguins have a new marketing slogan as you can see above. We're all for it. First and foremost, it pays homage to "Badger" Bob Johnson and it moves us further away from the "Tions." The "X Generation," "Experience the Evolution," etc.
-Is anyone else still stunned at the idea of Rico Fata being seen as the foundation of any team's future?
-Mike Zigomanis isn't going to make people forget Ron Francis, but he needs to win faceoffs to be valuable as a Penguin.
-Sergei Gonchar says Lightning forward David Koci injured him on a late hit.
-Jon Grecu's overtime goal gave the Nailers a 4-3 season-opening win against the rival Johnstown Chiefs.
-The Penguins signed prospect Joey Haddad to a three-year entry level deal.
-Brandon Dubinsky had a goal and two assists for the Rangers in a 4-2 defeat of the Blackhawks.
-New York defenseman Paul Mara chokeslammed Blackhawks forward Jack Skille last night:
-Rangers forward Petr Prucha was a healthy scratch last night.
-The Islanders pulled a surprising move last night and started Joey MacDonald in net instead of Rick DiPietro.
-Martin Brodeur > Kyle Okposo:
-Devils rookie defenseman Anssi Salmela wasn't nervous in his first NHL game.
-The spectrum (no pun intended) of possibilities involving Sarah Palin and the Flyers is pretty wide.
-A shootout goal by Ales Kotalik (right) lifted the Sabres to a 2-1 defeat of the Canadiens.
-In a shocking development, Sabres forward Tim Connolly is dealing with another injury. He is having trouble with back this time.
-Sabres defenseman Teppo Numminen played in his first home game in nearly 17 months.
-Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson underwent arthroscopic knee surgery to remove a bone chip. He suffered the injury against the Penguins Sunday.
-Bruins forward Chuck Kobasew is dealing with a leg injury.
-The Capitals might be regretting not keeping goaltender Cristobal Huet after last night. His replacement, Jose Theodore was chased in the second period of a 7-4 loss to the Thrashers. Forward Bryan Little led Atlanta with two goals and an assist. Former Penguins forward Colby Armstrong had a goal for Atlanta.
-Two former Penguins, Atlanta's Chris Thorburn and Washington's Matt Bradley, went at it last night:
-Even if it was just one game, the Thrashers restored some hope about their franchise last night.
-Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau wasn't happy about his special teams.
-Former Penguins forward Dan LaCouture scored the winning goal for Carolina in a 6-4 defeat of Florida. Fire Craig Patrick.
-Check out this nifty goal Florida's David Booth scored last night:
-Hurricanes defenseman Tim Gleason had a career-high three points last night.
-NASCAR driver Regan Smith will wear a Hurricanes-theme helmet during a today.
-Former Penguins forward Ryan Malone was bumped up to the Lightning's first line.
-Rick Nash's goal with 20 second left in overtime gave the Blue Jackets a thrilling win 5-4 at Dallas.
-Dallas' Krys Barch had a fairly wild part with Columbus' Jared Boll last night:
-Blues forward Keith Tkachuk dusted off the cobwebs and scored two goals for the Blues in a 5-2 win against the Predators.
-The Red Wings will be paying a visit to the White House Tuesday.
-Can the Red Wings offer the city of Detroit hope despite a brutal economic climate?
-Detroit defenseman Brian Rafalski is dealing with a sore knee. (Another defenseman from the Stanley Cup final getting hurt. There's a curse we tell you.)
-The Canucks signed defenseman Alexander Edler to a four-year contract extension.
-Forward Mikko Koivu will start the season as the Wild's captain.
-New forward Andrew Brunette is popular in Minnesota.
-Check out this hit Calgary defenseman Dion Phaneuf stuck on Vancouver's Henrik Sedin Thursday night:
-Nice to see Steve Bernier coming to his teammate's defense.
-Colorado defenseman Adam Foote is closing in on 1,000 career games.
-The Avalanche put forward Scott Parker on injured reserve due to concussion problems.
-Stars forward Fabian Brunnstrom, one of the most-hyped free agents in the offseason, was a healthy scratch last night.
-Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere says his team needs to be more disciplined.
-Anaheim defenseman Nathan McIver had some work-visa problems cleared up and is eligible to join his team.
-Canadian team are mad all their Loonies are going south.
-Is the NHL's economic system broken again?
-Icethetics, which is truly an amazing blog, has put together a schedule for third jersey appearances this season.
-Random submitted photos of the day from a reader: EN reader Thomas Rubitz of Orlando, Fla. recently sent us two photos:
The first is of a Russian Penguins puck:
The other is a picture he took of a statue depicting Frederick Arthur Stanley, the 16th Earl of Derby (AKA the guy the Stanley Cup is named after) in Stanley Park, British Columbia:
(That's kind of crazy how his arms are in a position hold the Cup. We wonder if that was by design?)
(Photo: Brodeur-Rich Schultz/Associated Press; Kotalik-Don Heupel/Associated Press)