In an ideal world, the New Jersey Devils would be preparing for a New Year's Eve matchup with the New York Islanders right now. At this point everyone and their grandmother knows why that is not happening. The NHL is on the verge of losing a full season for the second time in nine years. By now we are all weary of the esoteric jargon. We are all tired of hearing about collective bargaining, cap benefit recapture and decertification disclaimers. We just want hockey.
Whether an agreement comes this year or the next, nobody can say. Regardless of the length of this stoppage, plenty of damage has already been done. Some repercussions are good, but most are negative. Players have already lost paychecks and the fans have lost the sport they love. There are not many people who sympathize with the owners, but franchises are just as affected by this mess as all other parties involved.
The Devils are a club in a peculiar position, eager to build off a Stanley cup run and at the same time refurbish an identity in the wake of Captain Zach Parise’s departure for Minnesota. Let’s dig deeper and outline all the ways the lockout reverberates in New Jersey.