I'm certainly not going to compare this Devils team - that is still trying to find it's footing and develop an identity - to the championship level Devils teams of years past. I'm just saying that if the two men that were most responsible for those championship level teams squinted really, REALLY hard then they would probably caught a mean case of deja vu. This current version of Devils hockey has been more of a display of offensive incompetence that's willed primarily by a respectable defense and an exemplary goaltender. However, if you ignore the less-than-passable passing and multitude of mistakes then that 2-1 score could have potentially reminded two men that backed an opportunistic offense with defensive brilliance and goaltending excellence of their glory days.
As long as Marty turned his back to the ice while Cory Schneider was playing the puck (and forcing the entire of the attending fanbase to hold their breath) then it must have felt mighty familiar to see someone that appears unbeatable between New Jersey's pipes. If Scott Stevens was distracted by a fly as his new team took advantage of a net-front breakdown to score their only goal then Saturday night probably brought back that feeling of helplessness that he knowingly gave to oh-so-many foes in the past. They say the more things change the more they stay the same. This Devils team couldn't possibly look any different than it did in the mid 90's-early 2000's, but I'll be damned if they don't look like they love winning games in a similar - albeit far less impressive - fashion.
It was mildly bittersweet to see two players that have since changed organizations come "visit" the franchise whose winning culture they were imperative in molding. Still, watching the guest of honor get immortalized by the team that he was the face of for as long as I can remember made Saturday a little more special. Watching his captain - whose play could often be deemed 'heartless' - get brought to the brink of tears by a video of the memories he created help to remind the fans how lucky they are that their building is the one in which his number is retired. It probably also opened people's eyes to how far this team has to go before they are adding any banners to the rafters, but at least they've already got the close, low scoring victories thing down pat.
Martin Brodeur and Scott Stevens will always be Devils and their home will always be New Jersey. No matter what the circumstances, their homecomings will always bring back a feeling of nostalgia that only their "home videos" could replicate. This past weekend was no different.
"Crying? Who's crying? I'm not crying. YOU'RE crying."