Talking Red

Does Winning All The Time Get Old?

Posted in on by EJ Fagan

Over at my other blogging home, I write about the New York Yankees and baseball. Give  how joyless the 2012 playoffs have felt for many Yankee fans, I wanted to address the general problem of enjoying the game despite enormous expectations for your team. I felt that our experiences as Devils fans might be illustrative here:

I’ve had a little of this myself, but with another sport. The New Jersey Devils hit rock bottom during the 2010-2011 season. After two decades of consistent, nearly uninterrupted dominance, the Devils were the worst team in the league for the first half of the season. They eventually got back on their feet, but missed the playoffs by a significant margin. It was a painful, jarring season that no one expected, even with a fairly miraculous comeback from the cellar in the second half.

All that made the 2011-2012 season sweeter. The Devils were a solid playoff team again, complete with some new young pieces and re-energized veteran players. They made the playoffs, and eventually lost in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Living out of town, I went to a few games that year around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The games were fun and the crowd was excited, but nothing was particularly extraordinary about the Prudential Center. That all changed in the playoffs.

Saving my vacation days, I held out going to Devils playoff games until the Eastern Conference Finals against our hated rivals, the New York Rangers. The experience was insane. The place was as loud, involved, and energized as any hockey arena that I’ve ever been in. I’ve been to Devils-Rangers playoffs games, game 7 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals, Montreal Canadians games, you name it. But this atmosphere was just positively insane. After seeing hundreds of Devils games, it was my favorite ever. The best part? Everyone sitting near me told me that it had been like that for the whole playoffs.

Do I want the Yankees to lose? Absolutely not. But we, as Yankee fans, need to find a way to recapture that kind of joy of watching the sport. The Devils lost in an embarrassing way in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Los Angeles Kings, but I don’t sense that it erased how much fun that playoff run was to Devils fans.

You can read the whole post here. What I’m curious about from this audience is: four months later, does the Stanley Cup Finals loss still sting, or are your memories of the amazing deep playoff run that the Devils put on? Personally, I’m still loving it. Beating the Rangers was amazing, and destroying the Flyers didn’t suck either. I’ll remember those two months for a long time.

  • http://twitter.com/HeinsGalen Galen Heins

    4 months later the Stanley cup loss doesn’t sting too bad. Okay, thinking about bernier’s hit from behind and the calamity that ensued stings bad. But overall losing to that kings team in the finals doesn’t kill me that much. The main reason why interestingly echoes the sentiment of this article. But I’m not too torn up over the loss because the wins over Philly then NYR were so sweet that IMO any devils fan would probably admit they overachieved in the playoffs.

    • David Sarch

      I’ll admit that for a few weeks I still pretty bummed out, like you mentioned especially because of the Bernier play and the call. The rivalry wins and the Bryzgalol will always bring a smile to my face regardless of the cup finals.

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