The Devils have announced the final roster cuts (not that they cut anyone today) this afternoon. The 2009/2010 NHL season is here!! For a handful of teams it begins tomorrow night but for the Devils, it begins on Saturday night when the division rival Philadelphia Flyers come to town, but we'll get to that.
As for the final roster, it looks like...
Goaltenders (2): Martin Brodeur, Yann Danis
Left wings (5): Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Jay Pandolfo, Zach Parise, Andrew Peters, Brian Rolston
Centers (4): Rob Niedermayer, Rod Pelley, Travis Zajac, Dainius Zubrus
Right wings (5): Niclas Bergfors, David Clarkson, Matt Halischuk, Jamie Langenbrunner, Brendan Shanahan
Defensemen (7): Andy Greene, Paul Martin, Mike Mottau, Cory Murphy, Bryce Salvador, Johnny Oduya, Colin White
that leaves Ilkka Pikkarainen, Mark Fraser and Patrick Elias on IR to start the season. Congrats to Halischuk and Bergfors for making it to the big leagues.
Over the last five seasons, the Devils have a winning record on opening night, going 3-1-1 so I feel pretty confident going into Saturday's game against the Flyers.
October 10, 2008: Devils 2 - Islanders 1 - Brodeur stopped a penalty shot and finished with 25 saves and the Devils spoiled Scott Gordon's NHL coaching debut with a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders. Marty looked good in this game and Devils fans were filled with hope.
October 4, 2007: Lightning 3 - Devils 1 - The Brent Sutter era got off to a very bad start. In fact, if you go back and look at this game, the story in this game would be a major sour note for most of Sutter's career in NJ. The Devils were tied with the Lightning with 3:52 to go in the third when Vinny Lecavalier put home the tie-breaking and winning goal. How many times did the Devils lose a close game late, like this one, during Sutter's tenure?
October 6, 2006: Devils 4 - Hurricanes 0 - The last time the Devils met the Hurricanes prior to this game, the Canes knocked them out of the playoffs en route to their first Stanley Cup. This time, the Devils left Carolina in a much better mood.
October 5, 2005: Devils 5 - Penguins 1 - The lockout is over and its back to watching hockey. Sidney Crosby has dominated at every level of hockey he's played. This night, the night of his life, he wasn't even the best rookie on the ice. Zach Parise, New Jersey's first-round draft pick in 2003, scored a power-play goal and assisted on one of Brian Gionta's two goals in an outstanding debut that led the Devils to a 5-1 victory over Crosby's Pittsburgh Penguins.
October 8, 2003: Devils 3 - Bruins 3 - I remember very little about this game, it was all about the pre-game ceremony as the Devils raised their third Stanley Cup Banner to the rafters. This was the final opening game before the 2004/2005 lockout and before all the rule changes. It's funny, you look back at the schedule prior to the lockout and the tie games look funny now.