So without much happening in the last 12 months or so in regards to Puck Mad, there has been a lot happening outside of that. Unfortunately the NHL lockout caused a delay in the NHL season, but thankfully after a delay, the NHL owners and player association came to a new CBA, and the NHL season has begun.
After the roller coaster ride that was the 2011-12 NHL season, the New Jersey Devils not only made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they additionally beat the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final in 6 games. The New Jersey Devils then went on to face the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals, which unfortunately, they lost in 6 games.
It was a great experience none-the-less, and even though the New Jersey Devils did not get to hoist the Stanley Cup, nor have a banner raising at the start of the shortened 2013 season, I am not disappointed. There were several younger Devils players, such as Adam Henrique, Stephen Gionta, Steve Bernier, Ryan Carter, who all stepped up and strengthened the New Jersey Devils core, from the second line down to the fourth line of forwards.
Now that the 2013 season has started, the season has been reduced to 48 games, there hasn’t quite been the flurry of free agency signings or trades that we might normally expect, but the start of the season, just now a week old, is already providing the fast-paced action we all love and expect from a hockey season.
I guess in a way, I can’t help but be biased. The New Jersey Devils have started the season 3-0, and the last time the New Jersey Devils started the season with this winning record was in the 2002-03 season where the New Jersey Devils ended up winning the Stanley Cup. To say I am not hopeful after last season is an understatement to say the least. Adam Henrique is currently out with injury, however has begun skating with the team again, and I look forward to him joining the regular team for games. In the mean time, Mattias Tedenby, Jacob Josefson and Stephen Gionta are out there proving themselves. In the latest game against the Washington Capitals, Josefson and Gionta have made leaps and bounds. After two seasons of Jacob Josefson of getting season ending injuries, if he keeps up his current production and hard efforts, he will prove to be a regular Devil in the lineup. Stephen Gionta is additionally putting in the production with effort. We have our 2012 number one draft pick Stefan Matteau currently in the New Jersey Devils lineup. Once a rookie plays six games, his first year of his NHL contract counts, so it will be interesting to see if he stays in the lineup or if the Devils move him down to the AHL for the rest of the season.
It is still too early in the season, but we look forward to seeing how it pans out, as every game counts, every point counts, and the season will be over before we know it. But we all love hockey, and we all don’t mind that hockey is back.
As for the rest of the 2012 year, I planned a 3 week holiday over in the USA, timed so that I could see my favorite NFL team San Diego Chargers play, the New York Yankees play at Yankee Stadium, and see the New Jersey Devils open the season not only away in Washington against the Capitals, but also see them open at their home rink, the Prudential Center.
Thanks to the NHL lockout, I could not watch any Devils hockey; however I did still go to the USA and do some sightseeing. I visited the Prudential Center during the day and visited the New Jersey Devils home arena; I can now proudly say I visited New Jersey and took photos. I spent two weeks in New York, and it was amazing, an experience I will never forget, with some ever lasting photos.
I spent a few days in San Diego where I witnessed a terrible loss by the San Diego Chargers, however I did fall in love with the city, and can not wait to get back there, for more football (with a positive outcome). I met some great people from the Bolt Talk forums, experienced my first tailgating party, and overall had a fantastic time.
I have now secured a far better job, working directly for the Australian Government, with a better income amount, and general plans to get back to visit the wonderful land of North America again soon.
Stay tuned, as I still have planned for a Puck Mad brand so that we can all promote the awesome sport of ice hockey, not only in Australia but all over the world.