Here are some quick hits to help stump your dad the next time you watch the game with him.
The Hurting Early Years
- The franchise was founded in 1974 at the end of the first expansion period and began play in Kansas City as the Scouts. The owners wanted to call the team the Kansas City Mohawks, but after the Chicago Blackhawks complained about the similarity the team went with the Scouts.
- After two seasons and only 27 wins in 160 games, the Kansas City Scouts were losing money and moved to Denver to become the Colorado Rockies. That sounds like a pretty good baseball team name doesn't it?
- In the first 8 years of a franchise the Scouts/Rockies teams went through 10 coaches in the 8 years. One of these 10 coaches was Hockey Night In Canada legend Don Cherry who coached the Rockies during the 1979 season. Unfortunately for Grapes, that team was just brutal and won only 19 games as they finished dead last in the NHL. Cherry was canned at the end of the year and has been with the CBC ever since.
- The move to New Jersey in 1982 was a long awaited franchise move that unfortunately didn't help the team on the ice. The team might have moved to the Swamp, but they were still terrible - so bad that after a 13-4 beating by the Edmonton Oilers in the1983 season he Great One had this to say about the organization:
"Well, it's time they got their act together, folks. They're ruining the whole league. They had better stop running a Mickey Mouse organization and put somebody on ice."Ouch, so much for Gretzky being a nice guy. Maybe he should share some of his words of wisdom with Paulina?
In Lou They Trust
- The turning point for the organization was when the Devils hired Lou Lamoriello in 1987 as team president. He quickly added the title of General Manger to his resume and began to build a defensive juggernaut. Posting a winning record in his first season and orchestrating the first playoff appearance for the franchise, Lamoriello turned a lot of heads as the Devils advanced to the Conference Finals and gave us this great video in infamous hockey history:
- The Devils would win their first Stanley Cup in 1995 by sweeping the Detroit Red Wings and hockey fan favourite, Claude Lemieux, would take home the Conn Smythe Trophy. The Devils would win two more Cups in 2000 and 2003 bringing their total to 3 Stanley Cups in 9 years.
- By far their greatest superstar player in franchise history is Martin Brodeur, who holds almost goalie record possible so there is no point in listing them all.
- Little guy Brian Gionta holds the franchise record for goals in a season with 48 in 2005-06. I bet Habs fans are wondering where those hands went.
- You probably only think of him as a killer, but Scott Stevens holds the Devils record for assists in a season when he notched 60 apples in 1993-94.
- Patrik Elias has been a Devil forever, so it's no surprise he is the franchise all time goal scorer (361) and points leader (894). Elias also has the record for points in a season with 96 which he accomplished in 2000-01.
- The Devils have retired three numbers, and how fitting with their style of play that they are all defencemen: #3 Ken Daneyko, #4 Scott Stevens and #27 Scott Niedermayer. Soon #26 for Elias and #30 for Brodeur will be there too.
Overall, the New Jersey Devils franchise have gone from a laughing stock Mickey Mouse organization to one of the most successful NHL franchises today with 5 Stanley Cup appearances in the past 17 seasons.