And never say a team is “out of the playoff race” halfway through the season, no matter how far behind they may be.
The New Jersey Devils had a lot going for them when the season started. They had the most successful goaltender of all time in Martin Brodeur and they had acquired superstar Ilya Kovalchuk after making headlines and creating drama within the NHL by attempting to sign a contract spanning almost 2 decades (the NHL and the Devils settled on a 15 year contract). But their glee was short-lived. As we were all ringing in the New Year, sipping Champagne and celebrating the start of 2011, the Devils were a team that had nothing to celebrate… They were the worst team in the NHL, almost 30 points out of the playoff race. The rest of the world had counted them out of any hopes of a post-season Cup run…
But it’s been just a little over 2 months since that date, they now sit within 8 points of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They have had only 1 regulation loss since the beginning of February. Since the “emergency take over” by Devils ex-coach Jacques Lemaire, the Devils have pulled a total 180. It’s absolutely crazy to think that this is the same team it was in December. Insane really.
But it’s started the buzz among the sports world…If they make a run in this last month and find themselves with a playoff spot, is this the greatest sports season comeback of all time?
Is it greater than the comeback of the 1978 New York Yankees? Or how about the Red Sox coming back to sweep the Yanks in 2004? Remember when the Spartans beat the Northwestern Wildcats solely in the 3rd and 4th quarters, coming back to score 38 points in a little over 20 minutes of play — the biggest comeback in NCAA history? Or Kerri Strug’s dramatic gold metal winning vault attempt while Bela Karolyi screamed his infamous “YOU CAN DO IT!” from the sidelines? Greater than Bobby Thompson’s “shot heard round the world”? And then… Who can forget the miracle on ice?
No, probably not. The Devil’s comeback is quite an amazing ride but until they get a Stanley Cup out of this run, you can’t count out all of the other amazing comebacks in sports history. And that’s the great thing about the sports world… There’s always a team or a player on the verge of a history making comeback.