The New Jersey Devils will finally be back in action on Thursday night as they skate against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Prudential Center. However, before returning to domestic action, let’s look at what the Devils skaters did in the Olympic tournament. Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias, and Marek Zidlicky all represented the Devils for the Czech Republic, and Damien Brunner skated for Switzerland.
None of these four skaters returned home with a medal despite putting in hard work for their respective countries. Jagr, the Devils all-around leading scorer (points, goals, and assists), scored twice and had one assist in five games for the Czech Republic, Elias had one assist, and Zidlicky had two goals and two assists. Unfortunately for the Czech team, their Olympic run ended at the hands of the United States men’s hockey team in the quarter finals. Damien Brunner was far less successful than his Devils teammates (finishing the tournament with no goals or assists), but the medal result remained the same as Switzerland left the Olympic Games empty-handed after losing in the quarter finals in an upset to Latvia.
Despite all four players returning without any hardware, and depriving Devils fans of a chance to cheer their players internationally, there are positives to come out of this interlude as well. Jagr is still flying and putting in goals; Zidlicky had a very good scoring touch, and most importantly of all, everyone remained healthy. Another positive for the Devils is that the rest of the team had a chance to take a couple weeks off and rest up, getting ready for the rest of the season. This could prove pivotal as they aim to get back into the playoff race in the Metropolitan Division.
Jagr, speaking to Eric Marin on Devils.com, said “I feel like we have a good enough team to do some damage. We were able to play close games and even beat the best teams in our conference. We play Boston pretty well, Pittsburgh. Once you get in, you never know. The way we play defense, we might surprise a lot of teams.”
If Jagr can keep up his strong play and the rest of the well-rested Devils can put together a strong push down the stretch, there really is no telling what can happen. In the NHL. It’s all about getting on a run —then it’s anybody’s game!