Despite Adam Henrique's Best Efforts, The Devils Proved Victorious During Retribution Night At 'The Rock'
Truth be told, it was tough to feel anything but good for Adam Henrique last night. As odd as it was to take any sort of satisfaction in the play of someone that took the ice in a jersey that was decidedly not red and black, the man that became lovingly known as 'Rico' handled his return in such a flawless manner that the only type of hostility in the crowd was temporary self loathing. After all, he did exactly what any self respecting ex is supposed to do. He got a little sentimental, showed a lot of appreciation, and - though it will go largely unspoken - came out as ready as ever to flaunt his entire array of goods to the franchise that decided they'd already seen the best of them.
Never mind that it was his picture perfect break out pass that kickstarted the Ducks' second goal of the night...
...because as he followed it up by alleying the puck over the head of the player he was traded for, you couldn't help but feel like Adam Henrique had something gut-punching in store for the oop...
Now, it's fair to ask where that move was throughout the extensive scoring drought he trudged through shortly before being moved, but - if I had to guess - I'd say it was probably tucked neatly into the back of the closet next to the little red dress that's saved for only the most jilted of lovers. In the same way that makes you hesitant to check a former flame's Instagram, that "how you like me now?" moment that completely posterized Sami Vatanen and undoubtedly overshadowed his first point as a New Jersey Devil was annoyingly well deserved.
Unfortunately, for him anyway, it wasn't enough to swing the outcome of a game that proved why Adam Henrique was expendable in the first place. Aided by Ryan Miller's inability to age gracefully, the Devils comeback victory over the Ducks highlighted their depth at forward. Miles Wood Tasmanian'd the Devils back into the game, Jesper Bratt whipped them back to even by putting a little cherry on the top shelf, and Stefan Noesen - with the help of the birthday boy, Brian Boyle - provided a painful reminder to his former team that there were more than two players in the building who were looking to prove a personnel decision regrettable. New Jersey put up five goals and they didn't even need a single point from the three players manning their top line to do so.
Facts aren't as glaring as flash, so it's easy to consider Adam Henrique the winner of the breakup since his complete and utter emasculation of the player that was deemed more valuable by the market will rightfully be rewound on every end-of-year hockey highlight reel. That said, as heartbreakingly true as it is, last night was the perfect example of why both parties are potentially better off without one another.
Adam Henrique won the battle, the Devils won the war, and - in a game that was far too emotional for a mid-December tiff between two out-of-conference opponents - both had their chance to feel better about a split that was somewhat silently imminent. For a fanbase that will forever have a special place in their heart for Rico (and vice versa), that really was the best possible outcome.
P.S. My heart just grew three sizes...