Saturday, April 1, 2017

Goodbye to Patrik Elias

I haven't been watching as much hockey of late.
The Devils are in the midst of a terrible,but necessary season (to truly rebuild-bad seasons are part of the price that you pay) and not only are they bad-they aren't all that fun to watch (true offensive stars come through the draft and it can take multiple bad years to do so,but once you do as Pittsburgh and now Edmonton are showing-the fruits are quite immense),so unless you enjoy watching a team that isn't built around defense,waddle around defensively and miss offensive chances,games aren't must see TV.

I did watch the Devils lose to the Islanders in Brooklyn 2-1 in a dull game and at the end of a bad season,losses are easier to take-especially when those picks in the draft continue to rise.
With just a few games to go and a few of those being while I'm away for baseball,I won't be seeing a lot down the stretch,so I wanted to note the big news of the day.
The retirement of Patrik Elias was a anti-climax,but still was a mild surprise anyway.

Elias was still unsigned and as he neared 41,it didn't take a genius to figure out that the rebuilding Devils didn't need the return of an aging winger,who had played just 16 games in 2015-16 and the bigger question was whether Elias would decide to see what he had remaining in the legs with another franchise or not.
Elias decided that he wanted to retire a Devil and I applaud him for doing so.
After 23 seasons in New Jersey after being a second round pick in 1994,Elias was one of the few to spend his entire career with one franchise.
I would guess that Elias watched the experience that Martin Brodeur had in finishing up his career in just a few games as a St.Louis Blue and the decision was made to avoid having a second team notched on his resume',especially when it would be a stopgap measure at best.

Elias was almost the poster child for the Lou Lamiorello Devils for a forward.
Effective,but not overly flashy and as most Devils of that era had to be defensively responsible,Elias was an excellent all around player.
Elias was always one of the more popular players on the team and was known for being not only one of the classier players in the league,but one that liked to show a sense of humor both in the locker room and with the general public-as shown in the picture above when he had a big game on a St.Patrick's Day.

Patrik Elias leaves the Devils with the franchise record for both goals and assists along with the promise that during next season that his 26 will be raised to the rafters of the Prudential Center and with his numbers,he has a decent chance to eventually be in the hockey hall of fame.
I'm not sure if the hockey hall isn't too easy to enter and lots of near greats (like Elias) are in their hall,so considering all of that,I like his eventual chances.
Elias will be missed,but the time had come.
I hope the Devils find a place for him in the organization,as a coach,scout or even a goodwill ambassador of some sort,but if not,Devils fans will still have plenty of memories of the best offensive player to wear their uniform....

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