|"Hey, remember when we played in New Jersey? Yeah, me neither."|
As many players have moved on from New Jersey in their careers, Devils fans never forget them. That's why, when the players return to New Jersey, we don't forget what they did and we usually give them some kind of acknowledgement. Sometimes we cheer, sometimes we boo, and other times we didn't care enough about the guy to give a crap. On Thursday, Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott (if he's healthy) will return to New Jersey. Let's take a look at past Devils and how they were treated (or should have been treated) when they returned to New Jersey.
Brian Gionta - Gio signed a free agent contract with Montreal, and when he came back to New Jersey for the first time, Devils fans tried to cheer him when he was on the ice, but nobody could find him.
Scott Gomez - Gomer committed the unthinkable crime: he left New Jersey to sign a free agent contract with the rival Rangers. Devils fans booed him mercilessly and have successfully laid the Curse of the Devils on him. He no longer possesses the ability to score goals. Job well done, Devils fans.
John Madden - When Madden returned to New Jersey with Minnesota, Devils fans wanted to give him an ovation, but the glare of his Stanley Cup ring from Chicago blinded many fans.
Brendan Shanahan - Shanahan's return to New Jersey was with St. Louis in 1991. Devils fans cheered him and thanked him, because he became the franchise's MVP...for leaving.
Tom Kurvers - Kurvers was forever cheered and thanked, similarly to how Shanahan was honored, when he returned to New Jersey.
Scott Clemmensen - Clemmer saved the Devils' season in 2008-09 when Martin Brodeur went down, but when he returned with the Panthers, his goals against average was about 5.00, so we laughed. And then cheered. Then we laughed again.
Kirk Muller - Muller left the Devils as the team's captain. In the fall of 1991, Lou Lamoriello traded him to open up the captaincy and the #9 for Zach Parise...20 years later.
Mike Rupp - There were many fights in the stands when Rupp returned to New Jersey as a Ranger, but it had nothing to do with Rupp returning.
John MacLean - After MacLean's Devils career, he returned as a New York Ranger. Devils fans weren't kind to him, and MacLean responded by saying "someday in the near future, I will screw you guys over big time."
Scott Niedermayer - When Niedermayer returned to New Jersey, it was the organization that insulted him by having the worst possible player replace his number: Mike Mottau.
Valeri Zelepukin - Once Zelepukin returned to New Jersey, Chico Resch had finally figured out how to pronounce his name.
Mike Peluso - Devils fans honored Peluso's return to New Jersey by sitting in their seats and crying during the third period.
Sheldon Souray - Devils fans brought shields with them when Souray returned to New Jersey to avoid being killed if his slightly wild slapshot ever went into the stands.
Colin White - Earlier this season, Colin White returned to New Jersey. Having fans wear eye patches seemed a bit cruel, so nobody really did anything.
Alexander Mogilny - Some Devils fans wanted to cheer Mogilny, but they didn't want to go up to Albany just to watch a minor league game.
Brian Rolston - When Rolston returned to New Jersey after his second stint as a Devil, fans greeted him by holding up dollar bills, doing nothing for a while and then throwing the bills as hard as they could. That was a fitting tribute to Rolston.
David Steckel - Devils fans didn't really care when Steckel left New Jersey, but the organization cared. It meant they didn't have to bring half of the Secret Service force with them every time they went to Pittsburgh.