Skip to content

Please take note: These Devils are not boring

May 10, 2012, 10:16 PM EDT

Adam Larsson, Ilya Kovalchuk Getty Images

A lot of you might be having horrible flashbacks seeing the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference finals. After all, the last time they were there was 2003 and scoring goals was not all the rage then.

Fast forward to now and the Devils are back. Martin Brodeur is still the goalie but guys like Ilya Kovalchuk, Travis Zajac, and Zach Parise are driving the attack. Yes, the Devils are using offense to make things happen and Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen wants you to know all about it.

They don’t exactly look like the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s, but the Devils’ style is exciting in a relative sense. 

All around them in the playoffs, success has come from teams collapsing around their goaltenders, blocking shots and clearing bodies in front of the net.

Sure, that’s sound, defensive playoff hockey, but at least the Devils are attacking a bit more. 

Think about it, the Devils frustrated the Flyers by forechecking them to death and forcing their defensemen to turn the puck over. Those turnovers turned into offensive chances. The Devils also scored a record number of goals shorthanded this year. Normally an agitator, David Clarkson scored 30 goals.

If you’re thinking the Devils are just going to bore you to death in the playoffs one more time, think again.

Related: Poll: Are the New JerseyDevils the most exciting team left in the playoffs?

  1. micklethepickle - May 10, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    Could’ve fooled me – with how exciting the playoffs have been this year, NJ has been a total snoozefest, against both the Flyers and Panthers. Really hoping NYR or WAS knocks them out quickly and efficiently.

    • underthefish - May 11, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      did you watch the Philly-NJ series at all? You didn’t see them attacking constantly? Or are you bored because they haven’t had a single fight in either series? I’m guessing you’re not entertained unless there are fights and dirty hits left and right. In which case, go watch boxing.

  2. biasedhomer - May 10, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    Even though they do not play a real trap, once they get the lead, you can see the resemblances of the trap. Out of all the remaining teams, they are the least exciting to watch.

    • ThatGuy - May 11, 2012 at 9:02 AM

      Every team plays some version of the trap when they have the lead. Because it works, and it frustrates opponents into making mistakes.

    • comeonnowguys - May 11, 2012 at 9:55 AM

      You haven’t seen Phoenix play, have you?

    • underthefish - May 11, 2012 at 11:22 AM

      I don’t think you know what a trap is, or you haven’t watched any games. There are a lot of teams in the league that play stifling traps, but the Devils generally aren’t one of them. Their series against the Flyers was characterized by an aggressive forecheck, which is quite the opposite of sitting back and trying to trap.

  3. cerealrapist - May 10, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    How was Scott Stevens boring?

  4. quizguy66 - May 10, 2012 at 11:26 PM

    Let people continue to think what they want. When they figure it out it’s already too late – just ask the Flyers.


  5. oruacat2 - May 10, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    The purists won’t like this, but the neutral-zone-trap of the early 1990s is exactly why I became a Devils fan way down here in Kentucky. The more people whined about boredom and about NJ ruining hockey, the more I sat up and took notice. Lo and behold, it reminded me (and please excuse the basketball reference) of the relentless defensive pressure of Rick Pitino’s early UK Wildcat teams. Defense forces the turnover and results in a fast-break/odd-man-rush going the other way which often results in a goal. When I made that connection I was hooked. Sweeping “the high-flying Detroit offense” in 1995 remains one of my all-time favorite sports memories.

    • rainyday56 - May 11, 2012 at 3:21 AM

      Purists should like it. All Lamorellos Devils teams have played no frills no risk hockey, as was played in the original six era just before expansion. You look at some of the vintage replays of games from that era, it was like watching a Devils intrasquad game.

  6. howardforvezina - May 10, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    Boring? Thats kinda messed up…..

  7. DTF31 - May 10, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    Won’t bore me to death. Just to sleep

  8. cerealrapist - May 11, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    I know I may be biased, but don’t understand the perception of the Devils I watched growing up to be boring. They won 3 Stanley Cups in 8 years.

    Scott Stevens provided the best most exciting hits the sport’s ever seen. ( )

    2003 displayed one of the best game 7 finishes of all time. They led the Eastern Conference in goals scored the year they won it in 2000. And the 95 sweep was arguably the best underdog story of my lifetime.

    I guess it’s boring since your team loses and cant score against Marty, Stevens, Niedermayer, Daneyko etc, but it’s certainly not boring if you’re on the winning side.

  9. cerealrapist - May 11, 2012 at 12:26 AM

    In 01, when they lost to Colorado in the championships, they scored soooooo many more goals than ny other team…

    If lots of goals, great saves, big hits, and good teamwork isnt exciting hockey, then I don’t know what is.

  10. thedavesiknowiknow - May 11, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    By comparison to every other team in the NHL, the Devils aren’t any more or any less boring. That said, the league as a whole has regressed to a (slightly) faster version of that same style that everyone still identifies as “Devils” hockey. Pretty much every time a coach, gm, or player uses the word “system” it refers to what has become a universally employed trap/attack hybrid, with a defense that always collapses in front of the net. A few teams have come up with more unique game plans (Tampa’s 1-3-1 worked as a counter for a bit), but for the most part everyone is playing the same style of game at the moment. The “clutch and grab” side of the “Devils style” well, that’s just everywhere now. So, yeah they’re not that boring, I guess.

  11. quonce - May 11, 2012 at 7:37 AM

    If there is hate in heart, let it out!

    -Buck Nasty, Player Haters Ball, Chappell Show

    • thedavesiknowiknow - May 12, 2012 at 12:40 AM

      Wasn’t that Clayton Bigsby?

  12. kneary47 - May 11, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    Hey Enzo,

    What do you think about the how Devils and their new system of layering. Nothing like the trap from back in the good old days of devils hockey.

    • maalea - May 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      I found that funny as well.

      Eddie Olczyk

      “It’s not a trap, it’s layering. It’s a 1-2-2 layering system”

      Hey Eddie,

      A rose by any other name…..

  13. vindicatus - May 11, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    I love the comments by people who don’t actually watch the games, or if they do, don’t understand what they’re seeing, and continue to perpetuate stereotypes that are nearly 20 years old. If you’re a bandwagoner, then I can understand that you will find hockey boring once your team has begun their golf season.

    I also find it amusing how people find shot-blocking teams to be oh so much more entertaining than “trapping” teams.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1814)
  2. P. Kane (1340)
  3. P. Datsyuk (1188)
  4. S. Matthias (1145)
  5. M. Giordano (1046)