It’s time for the Dr. to check you – Dr. Dre
Taking a cue from Dr. Dre’s classic track from his breakout 1992 solo album, it’s time to check the ownership group of the New Jersey Devils. The ownership of the Devils is playing with fire after news broke that the timeless Devils jersey was being altered by Adidas with a jersey overhaul for the 2017-18 season.
When Blackburn was asked whether this was an Adidas decision or a Devils ownership decision, Blackburn replied that was on ownership. Predictably, people were less than enthused by Blackburn’s tweets regarding the matter, with many of them adding another point on the con on their “pro and cons of Devils ownership list”
Since the news broke, there have been a few mock ups of what the new jersey may look like, and viewer discretion is advised:
The fans discord with the Josh Harris and David Blitzer regime began from the very beginning when the duo and the rest of their team decided to move away from Gary Glitter’s Rock & Roll Part 2 goal song because fans would pipe in the phrase “Hey! You suck!” in the middle of the tune. The Devils’ reasoning being, those words were inappropriate for a family environment.
While the sentiment is fine, they also brought in gambling to the Prudential Center, and that kids are coming to watch a sport in which we tell our youth that if you’re in the heat of the moment, dropping your gloves and duking it out with your opponent is the mature and responsible way to settle matters of a children’s sport.
New Jersey has been a franchise that has struggled in the New York market which is dominated by the Islanders, Rangers and the nearby Philadelphia Flyers. All three of those teams were entrenched in the area before the Devils came along, and all three were Stanley Cup Champions before the Devils captured their first in 1995, so through legacy fandom, a lot of people in New Jersey stayed fans of those three franchises.
When you are one of the fan bases struggling for attention in an over saturated market, you hang your hat on the little things such as tradition. After Lou Lamoriello moved on to the Toronto Maple Leafs, it seems that tradition in New Jersey is throw out of the window.
All of a sudden, you have players tweeting, which can be a good thing, if your players aren’t causing a stir, which the Devils players are. There are jerseys for forwards after 29, players are allowed to grow facial hair and now, the final insult, the change of an iconic jersey that has stood the test of time since 1982 with only a color scheme change occurring for the 1992-93 season to the now infamous red and black.
Imagine if the Canadiens or Red Wings changed their jerseys dramatically? That is the company New Jersey sits in to this day when it comes to jersey changes. You have two elite, historic, original six franchises and one scrappy, upstart franchise in a list of teams that do not mess with the jersey.
Lamoriello was so resistant to jersey changes that he scoffed at the idea of a third jersey before finally relenting in 2010-11 by wearing red and green throwbacks that had the look of the original Devils jersey, but they would only wear those on or around St. Patrick’s Day.
That jersey was well received because of a sense of nostalgia, and it wasn’t radically different from what they wore regularly. And anyone who has met or knows Lamoriello, knows that he is a softhearted, kind individual who has a lot of sentimentality, even if he may not show it. With that in mind, the third jersey being the jerseys the Devils wore when he was first named General Manager in 1987-88 would mean a lot to him.
After the losses of Scott Niedermayer, Scott Stevens, Martin Brodeur, Patrik Elias, Ken Daneyko, Sergei Brylin, Lamoriello, David Conte, Doc Emerick and Chico Resch, the jersey was the last connective thread to the glory days the franchise enjoyed from 1993-2009.
For the ownership group, doing away with those jerseys is to do away with the franchise’s past and leave yourself facing a legacy in which your team has no playoff success, a new look, and a fan base that you have ignored and alienated, and nobody’s celebratin’.