I had quite a privilege on Tuesday night.
I was credentialed for the NHL game between the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers in Newark, N.J. New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped 30 shots and forward Marian Gaborik scored two goals as the Rangers won 4-1.
I was credentialed to do a story about the Devils’ pre- and post-game host Deb Placey, who also happens to be a Southport-native. That story will be out in the coming weeks in both the Citizen and Connecticut Post.
But in the interim, a few thoughts from both the game, the Devils and Rangers.
HBO is all the talk. Besides the talk of rivalries and Atlantic Division standings, most of the stories surrounded HBO’s 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic series that features the Rangers. They had reps at the game on Tuesday in Newark and Rangers’ coach John Tortorella wouldn’t talk at length about it saying only “I know they’re there, but I’m focused on coaching.”
Henrik Lundqvist is the goaltending "toast of the town"
Devils coach Pete DeBoer even referred to it, saying his two sons ages 11 and 9 have been ardent watchers and from the show, they are “starting to like (Tortorella) more than me.”
Henrik Lundqvist is the star. The Swedish netminder is a bona fide stud in the cage. Lundqvist is especially potent against New Jersey, as he raised his record against Devils goalie Martin Brodeur to 21-5-5 in his career.
For years, Brodeur was the star of the show in the New York area, winning the Stanley Cup three times, and most years rolling over New York. But Lundqvist is now the guy.
The Devils are sick. Literally. Forward Patrik Elias didn’t play last night because of sickness. DeBoer wouldn’t shake my hand because he didn’t want to spread the sickness on to me.
The Rangers are good and deep. I hate to say it, but New York is one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers run four lines. They block shots, they kill penalties, they score short-handed goals and they have one of the best goalies in the world.
The New Jersey Devils production staff creates the game in this room
The Devils production is first-class. The entire staff made me feel comfortable– like I was a part of the team– they work hard to put forth a terrific product on television.
The Devils production suffered significant losses in the offseason, when they lost USA Hockey Hall of Fame broadcaster Mike Emrick. Steve Cangelosi– who was the pre- and post-game host, as well as, a stand-in play-by-play announcer– was re-assigned to Emrick’s role. Placey was transferred from her job on Long Island to New Jersey.
Cangelosi admitted to me that the broadcast is a work in progress, but it’s coming along nicely.
I couldn’t agree more.
I’m off the rest of the week, but will be back for the basketball tournaments next week. If you’re looking for high school basketball reports, here is Ludlowe’s loss from Tuesday, this is the story from Warde’s loss to Norwalk. Prep improved to 3-0 with a big win over Shelton on Tuesday too.
Pat Pickens is the sports editor of the Fairfield Citizen, a Hearst Connecticut Newspaper organization. Follow him on Twitter here.