And in the end, 'Patty's Last Lap' really was not all that much more than Patty taking his last lap. The week of relentless promotions leading to it may have made it seem like it was going to be a bigger event than it was, but - to be quite honest - I'm glad it wasn't. This is probably selfish of me to say seeing as I'll most definitely be in the building when #26 officially graces its rafters forever, but I'm okay with some fans feeling cheated by a relatively subdued celebration of the greatest forward in New Jersey Devils' history. That's mostly because I think the greatest forward - and arguably most selfless player - in New Jersey Devils' history deserves better than to be treated as a huge distraction from the merciful end to a merciless season.
There were a couple cool moments that created a couple timeless snapshots, Patrik Elias delivered a few quotes that tugged on the heart strings, and - in return - he received some tear-jerking appreciation via a handful of standing ovations. All in all, I think it served as the perfect appetizer for a jersey retirement that is going to leave everyone in attendance stuffed full of emotion. It never got to the point where it felt like it should have been a "win it for Patty" situation, and - considering the circumstances - that was a blessing in disguise. It felt good to see Patrik Elias - albeit casually - skate around for the final time in the uniform he's become synonymous with, but not good enough for fans to forget that it preceded yet another loss in a season that's long felt lost. I guess what I am trying to say is that I'll be glad when the player that never demanded attention with anything other than his play gets a night to himself, and I would hope that night wouldn't end feeling as crappy as this one did. Let's put it this way..."take a lap" couldn't possibly have different meanings for the newly retired player bidding his farewell to fans, and the rest of the bottom feeding team that he's leaving behind.