If you’re a Devils fan in Albany or New Jersey these days you have to be smiling with a devilish grin. Of course the parent club is now only nine points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot and this past weekend showed how truly special hockey can be in Albany with the Devils bringing in record crowds and tons of excitement.
Old fans, new fans and folks just looking to have a good time and catch some great hockey packed the Times Union Center as the Devils paired up with GE and Time Warner Cable and drew a combined 11,000 fans in the most successful home stand to date for the young new franchise.
Timing as they say in life, love and comedy is everything and the Devils couldn’t have asked more timely finishes. Ultimately these are the types of games where one wants to leave a lasting impression. Games where fans can walk away saying wow, what a rally, what a fight, what a shootout. Games that make you remember why you love this game and for those first timers perhaps a starting point where the love affair with the game began. And the Devils certainly delivered that against Worcester and Adirondack.
The Devils have now recorded points in five of their last six contests. In taking two of three at Charlotte, rallying for a dramatic win against an old rival from Worcester and putting down their new rivals from the north in Glens Falls. Most importantly they were symbolic statement games for the franchise as well.
Additionally the Devils have been energized by recent acquisitions of local products Steve Zalewski and Jay Leach. Zalewski from just outside of Utica, NY has posted five goals and one helper in six contests, while Leach who grew up in Altamont, NY and returns to the organization, has added stability and a veteran presence to bolster the blue line for the Devils.
All in all this past weekend represented what hockey in Albany can be both on and off the ice. A refreshing re-birth perhaps in the throes of a seemingly never-ending winter. If nothing else it is a step and the Devils are taking it… one game at a time.