In this 48-game season the New Jersey Devils have no time to glorify their impressive playoff performance from last spring. Once they raise the banner to the Prudential Center rafters they might as well forget it ever happened.
A slow start like last season could be doom. There is no honeymoon period. There will be no all-star break to exhale and regroup.
It is going to get late very, very early. Ilya Kovalchuk and the boys have to get off to a fast start. From losing the face of the franchise to having a 40-year-old between the pipes, these Devils have plenty to deal with in a sprint to the playoffs. Let's rank the five issues that will define their 2013 season.