I gotta admit to something. Being sick plays tricks with you. I have a really bad cold right now. It definitely didn’t help watching the way over hyped and overly dragged out NHL Draft Lottery in Toronto.
I had just finished doing a guest spot on my New Jersey friend Madison’s podcast about the first round. Even though I have no voice, that was fun and a good segment. Asked what I felt about tonight, I predicted the Avalanche to win due to how much bad luck Ottawa has. As for a wildcard, I threw in the Red Wings due to their odds and Original Six history.
What we got was a wild roller coaster ride in the metro area. It’s been a while since both the Devils and Rangers were relevant at the same time. Well, after what transpired on NBCSN, that’s about to change. If the final meaningless game between the Hudson rivals was an appetizer featuring three fights in the middle period of a New Jersey home win, wait till Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko become part of it.
The Hudson Rivalry is back! The astonishing part is I was getting ready to propose a change to our hockey blog name if Hasan is okay with it. Hint: It has something to do with both teams.
As Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly started revealing the teams from 15 down, my first thought was oh God when the Blackhawks moved up into the top three. As if they deserve any more potential superstars. At that point, I half expected the Rangers to drop either to nine or seven, and I would be catatonic.
Instead, a funny thing happened. The Kings and Sabres dropped. At that point, it was revealed that the Rangers were in the top three. That’s when I got excited and a little crazier than usual. Think Heath Ledger’s memorable Joker. Poetically, Joaquin Phoenix has his Joker movie coming out later this year when hockey is back in the city and Newark.
I didn’t want to lose to either the Blackhawks or Devils. Especially given the recent 2017 Lottery that New Jersey won to land Nico Hischier. But I don’t think I was rational. I forgot that the Devils had the third best shot to win it. Even if I regrettably tweeted some spiteful things about some of their curious lineup decisions. The emotion came out in the heat of the moment when following the Blackhawks thankfully being revealed as third, Daly announced the Devils had won the number one pick.
Sometimes, you can turn into a basket case like the Green Day epic hit from the Dookie album. I’m basically channeling my college radio days as a freshman at Fairleigh Dickinson in Madison here. That song was played a lot during my show.
Maybe my overreaction to losing to the Devils was like the devastation over Game Six in 2012 when Adam Henrique scored. I walked out of the room and was at my old public school in the dark for a while before congratulating our friend Rob on his team’s big win. Or maybe it was more like my gallows humor when I left FDU for St. John’s by giving my fraternity friends a silly made up sign that read:
Like I said, I have a wicked sense of humor. 😂 I was actually happy for them when they won a year after Stephane Matteau broke their hearts. All this time later, Rangers/Devils has taken on a whole new meaning. The incredible hatred between the players and fans of each side of the Hudson is very real. The former Lincoln Tunnel rivalry is now a Path ride away.
If you thought it was over or dead like many games have been since Martin Brodeur retired, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Things are just heating up.
So, losing out on the soft spoken Wayne Gretzky sounding Hughes initially got to me. I cursed and lost it like any normal fan of this rivalry would. After about 10 minutes, my anger dissipated into excitement. I’m happy that it finally went our way. Even if Jeff Gorton reminded TSN’s David Amber that in the franchise history, the Rangers have never picked first overall.
None of that matters now. Landing Kakko is so worth it. I’m assuming Hughes to the Devils will happen on June 20 in Vancouver. There’s no loser here. Both are unique talents who’ll make the rivalry the best it’s been in a long time. Think back to when these franchises had great players that made these games extra special. On one side, you had Brodeur, Stevens, Niedermayer, Lemieux (Claude), MacLean, Richer and Holik. On the other, you had Messier, Graves, Leetch, Richter, Zubov, Kovalev and Tikkanen.
There is a lot of potential here. In a very competitive division, this is exactly the big break the Devils and Rangers needed. There is sure gonna be a lot more excitement in these parts this offseason than ever anticipated.
It’s only just beginning!