Pavel Zacha, Steve Santini, And Miles Wood Making Their NHL Debuts Tonight Proves That The Devils Finally Get It
I am not going to lie to you, it's difficult to praise Ray Shero for the way he's run the New Jersey Devils franchise without indirectly criticizing the way Lou Lamoriello ran it for so many years before. I think I speak for all Devils fans when I say that I will always hold a special place in my heart for the man we simply call 'Lou', but the truth is that his management style had grown antiquated by the time of his departure. I appreciate everything he built in New Jersey, and had no problem with his undying desire for control (that often bordered on stubbornness) when it resulted in the Devils winning Championships and perennially competing in the postseason. However, when the team isn't successful it becomes mighty hard to justify blatantly ignoring the best interests of the fans.
That's where Ray Shero has made a difference. He has made it pretty clear that he knows just how anxious the Devils faithful are to see this team become a contender again, and nothing speaks to that like the effort he put in just to get Pavel Zacha, Steve Santini, and Miles Wood in New Jersey for one meaningless game to close out the year. As much as they earned their opportunity, these moves were made on behalf of the fans. The players don't stand to gain too much from one single outing. John Hynes and the coaching staff aren't going to be able to judge all that much away from a one game performance. Still, signing these guys and having them here in time for Saturday night's season finale was worth it strictly because it reminds the fans exactly what they to look forward to. This is not something that would have been done before this year, and it's something that really shows a true dedication to 'Fan Appreciation Week'. I can definitively say that this is the first time I have been excited to attend the Devils 82nd game of a non-playoff season. That has everything to do with Ray Shero and the trifecta of prospects he worked diligently to get on the roster for no other reason than to send his supporters into the offseason in high spirits.