The New Jersey Devils organization has undergone a massive overhaul this offseason. They replaced a legendary General Manager that spent nearly three highly successful decades in New Jersey. Hired a young, mostly unknown Head Coach out of the AHL ranks. Brought a new assistant General Manager on board. Said goodbye to many a familiar faces in the locker room. Decided not to renew the contract of the man that has been head of scouting for as long as I can remember. Made a genuine effort in reducing the average age of their roster. Yet somehow, with all that headline news still fresh in my mind, I find it hard to consider Mike Cammalleri wearing #13 next year minor news.
Of all the things that will be different next year, the one thing that might make the biggest impression on me is a player wearing a number that has been considered taboo since the first time the New Jersey Devils took the ice in 1982. Somewhere Dr. John McMullen is rolling over in his grave. I can't help but think that there are some things, no matter how minor they are, that shouldn't be changed. Dr. McMullen brought professional hockey to New Jersey. His one wish was that no one wear 13. Call me sentimental. Call me a sap. However, some of the smallest, most petty traditions mean the most. Perhaps that is because they are the hardest to maintain. Looking down a list of all the players that have been employed by this franchise and seeing not one name next to the number 13 may be some silly, antiquated superstition, but it's a cool, silly, antiquated superstition. It's just another, in a long list of things that will never be the same about this franchise.
No joke, I give Mike Cammalleri two games to score his first goal before I fly back east and set fire to every single one of his jerseys (probably just start some meaningless petition online to have him switch numbers). If we are going to let Mike Cammalleri wear #13 then why don't we just burn the whole building to the ground, bury a bunch of black cats underneath the ruins, and then resurrect the building on top of them. Let's just litter the concourse with a bunch of ladders and instruct people to walk under them. You sure there isn't room for a moratorium next to the locker room? Wouldn't want to leave any negative spirit unprovoked. Luck might be lady, but she can be a real bitch if you don't treat her properly. If Cammalleri doesn't have a career year next year, it is all his number's fault, and there is nothing you can say to convince me otherwise. I wouldn't be surprised if he was on injured reserved before we even reach the ten game mark. You don't spit in Satan's eye and act shocked when you inevitably feel his wrath. Especially when you play for a team named the 'Devils'. As if the Devils didn't already have enough working against them next season without tempting fate? The Devils will likely be hoping for a generous bounce of a ping pong ball in helping to decide the long term future of their franchise next year, and they just lit their only "rabbit's foot" on fire and threw it directly through a mirror. I'd be lying if I said this news didn't directly affect my expectations for next season, as well as make me a little bit sad that apparently no tradition is untouchable.