Listen, I don't wat to take undue credit. I am just saying, the last Devils game I attended was when Patrik Elias netted the 400th goal of his illustrious career. Maybe it's a coincidence that the next one I am attending happens to be the one where he is returning from an injury that has sidelined him for the entirety of the season up until this point. Maybe it's a coincidence that only minutes after packing my 'Elias' jersey, instead of my 'Larsson' jersey, for the trip home to New Jersey it was announced that he was making his return to the lineup. It's very possible that this is completely serendipitous. However, the thing about a coincidence is that it takes a little bit of luck, and you need to be lucky to be good, so maybe I am just that good? I don't know, I am just spitballing here.
Personally, I can't wait to welcome Patrik Elias back to the ice. Let's forget about the actual game for a second. Let's forget that Patrik Elias could solidify a 3rd line that has only been offensive in it's prolonged ineffectiveness. At the end of the day the Devils are just welcoming back a 39 year old who is coming off an injury after one of the worst seasons of his career. However, tonight is about more than hockey. Admit it, as surprising as this start has been for the Devils, it's also been extremely weird. Not just because the Devils were supposed to be terrible, but because the team were watching is completely foreign (and I don't just mean European). Outside of a couple overtime playoff goals by Adam Henrique, the team we have seen thus far literally has no ties to the most memorable moments in Devils history. While that has certainly been refreshing given the how stale the team had become in mediocrity (that's definitely being generous), it will still be nice to see a friendly face....
A friendly face that now solely represents this franchise's greatness. A friendly face that has never made it about him. A friendly face that is the personification of "play for the logo on the front, and not the name on the back". A friendly face that will always be underrated, despite being a borderline Hall Of Famer, because of what he sacrificed to stay in New Jersey. A friendly face that has sat out and been almost eerily quiet (must still be drinking leftover Lamoriello 'Kool-Aid') about his status. Tonight is going to be special. Not 'Martin Brodeur Retirement Night' special, but special none-the-less. Let's face it, the number of which he claims ownership will eventually be the next one raised to rafters. But for now I'm more focused on watching him play out the rest of a career that only Devils fans can truly appreciate. Not just because Patrik Elias is still one of the top 5 most talented players on this team, but also because he will always embrace what it means to be a New Jersey Devil. That can only help a team that is already overachieving. I feel like watching Patrik Elias step on that ice tonight will be like walking into your favorite watering hole that just underwent a full renovation and seeing the same old bartender, and I am prepared to 'Cheers' him when he does. He may be experiencing some 'Growing Pains', but I can't wait for him to show me that smile again...