Thursday, August 28, 2008
While Greg at Puck Daddy hit upon many of the other additional issues that Felska may or may not be aware of, I think the root cause of the Devils' woes is that not a lot of people in New Jersey know about them. If you're into hockey, then, sure. You know the score. You're a hockey fan. You know these things. You may even be a fan. But if you don't know hockey, you may think the Devils refer to something other has a hockey team. Bizarrely, I've known people of all ages who have been living in New Jersey their entire lives and they don't know who the Devils are. They don't know about any of the three Stanley Cups. They think Scott Stevens is a guy you know from another town and they don't know what Marty is so great at, much less who he's better than. You may say, "Lou made another awesome move today," and you may be greeted with a response of "Who?"
Basically, it's a problem (and a bit of a shame) that the Devils don't get their name out there more. I don't think being a fan of a team should be like a club where you know how great it is to be a Devils fan but at the expense of others not knowing. Ideally, I'd like everyone to know about the Devils. That itself isn't possible; but I have a couple of ideas in my head - some approaches on how the team could raise their profile. I'm certain a lot of them have issues of their own, but it's at least worth discussing. The whole point of all this isn't so much to raise the team's ranking on Felska's list. But it's a catalyst of sorts. The Devils should not be the best kept secret in sports in New Jersey and the tri-state/metropolitan area. The Devils should not have to take a back seat to the Rangers in the North Jersey and the Flyers in South Jersey. And the only way that will happen is for the franchise to get out there and introduce themselves.
I wonder if Lou's dislike of doing thing like having a third sweater actually hurt the Devil. I think people need to see changes to know that the team is still relevant. Even if it is gimmick.
With all that said. I think the potential is their. Having the Rangers, Islanders, Flyers helps the Devils. Also having a new area with easy access and having players that want to play and stay in NJ make for a winning combination.
As for the article, I can't believe they rated Islander fans ahead of us. The description of their online fans being "a close-knit and diehard group" could apply to Devil fans too.