This will be a recurring feature throughout the regular season (and hopefully postseason as well). One of the great things about New Jersey Devils fans is that they get very creative with their jerseys. Whether it’s a personalized one or an old-school Devils player, NJ fans sport some great threads at the Prudential Center. Let’s take a look at some of the ones we saw in the last week or so.
Wow…I can honestly say I’ve never seen a Steve Thomas Devils jersey. Much respect, sir. Thomas was a Devil for three seasons in the mid-to-late 90s. The Devils acquired him from the New York Islanders for Claude Lemieux and if you remember, the only way the Devils could trade Lemieux was to put our good buddy Tom Chorske on waivers. While Thomas was a nice player and decent goal scorer, he never lived up to expectations. In three of the four years prior to coming to NJ, Thomas pumped in anywhere from 28-42 goals. He put up 26 in first year with NJ and then just 29 total over the next two seasons. He was disappointing in the playoffs too, putting up only five points in 16 games. This was one of the few times, as we now see, that Lou Lamoriello went after a bonafide scorer. Not too say this one didn’t work out, because he was pretty solid in the regular season, but it never lived up to the club’s hopeful expectations.
One of my favorite Thomas quotes came when he was with the Ducks in 2003 when he actually went against the Devils in the Finals. After winning Game Six with the home teams each taking their three games at their own rink, Thomas said, “It’s time for a change. You could play that game on the North Pole and it wouldn’t matter, because at this point, home ice means jack. We’re going to be ready to play Monday night.” Whoops!!! Devils in 7!
The jerseys with “Stanley” on the back are all-time classics, dating back to the days of people wearing them up in East Rutherford. While I love the dedication to any year, I give MAJOR props to any fan who has one of these jerseys and instead of one year, gets ALL THREE years on the jersey. One year goes on the right arm, the other on the left and the last year getting the big time number on the back of the jersey. Those jerseys are timeless and involve no worrying over whether a player will be traded or sign elsewhere. Three Cheers (literally)!!!
A part of me misses what could have been with Rod Pelley. I remember when he was first called up in 2006-07, there was hope among Devils fans that he could be the next John Madden; a guy who could win faceoffs and shut down opposing players. That never turned out to be the case, however. If he played in the old NHL, he may have been a more useful player, but having very little offensive talent really cut down his ceiling and use in the NHL. Nothing but good things to say about Rod, though. He was the ultimate professional and was a true Devil on and off the ice. When you think about it, Lou eventually helped turn Pelley into Marek Zidlicky. Pelley and Mark Fraser went for Kurtis Foster last season, who was then shipped out for Zidlicky. He played 211 games for NJ and had seven goals and 19 assists. Pelley is playing for the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks in Norfolk.
Yes, who can ever forget the classic image of Mike Peluso crying on the bench during the closing moments of Game Four of the 1995 Stanley Cup Finals? That and being a part of the Crash Line along with Bobby Holik and Randy McKay has forever entrenched him in Devils lore and the heart of NJ fans. Peluso, who the fans loved for his grittiness and fighting, actually scored two playoff goals while he wore the Red and Black. One of them most certainly gets lost in the shuffle. Remember Game Five of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals? You know…before that whole Messier and Matteau thing? Peluso actually scored the game-winner in that contest. Bernie Nicholls put them up 1-0 in the first period and Peluso made it 2-0 early in the third period as the Devils went on to win 4-1. Yes, this fact may or may not affect your daily life, but it’s great party trivia (or something)!!
Jerseys At The Rock is a regular feature on DevilsInsiders.com. See a quirky/funny/great jersey at The Rock (or anywhere)? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll feature it (as well as credit you) on our site!