BlastCasta News Widget

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Who am I to blog about the Devils?

A little history

First of all, let me introduce myself. In order to get it over with: I am French. "Oh my God he is French!!!" Don't run away just yet, that's the French's job. Well actually I am just revealing my nationality so you know where I am located and you are aware that English is not my mother tongue. So I hope you will not be too harsh on my writing because I am trying my best to write in proper English.

I was born and raised in Normandy. I know it will probably sound stupid to most of my readers but I like to say I am Norman (as in from Normandy)... And no my name is not Norman. Normandy is located in the north of France and is a region full of history. In recent history, recent as in last century, Normandy has been on the map when allied troops landed on the Normandy beaches to start what would be the end of 5 years of war and occupation.

In most distant history, Normandy was the Dukedom of William the Conqueror who in 1066 crossed the Channel and invaded and Defeated King Harold to take over England.
The Dukedom was created when a French king (Charles the Simple) gave some land to Vikings who kept on invading France. That originated the name Normandy. The Normans were men who came from the North: Northman.

At this point you probably think I have lost it.

But here is the cool fact about Normandy: there are a few islands outside Normandy, which we call Anglo-Norman Islands and the English call them the Channel Islands. One of this Island is called Jersey and I believe that New Jersey got its name from that island. Like Orleans (French city) gave its name to New Orleans or York (city in the North of England also conquered by Vikings) gave its name to New York, whose name used to be New Amsterdam... OK I will stop now.

The point is notwithstanding disagreements we all have things in common whether it is history or experiences and everyone is entitled to respect whether you are blue or red, tall or small, French or Canadian (or both) or American. This blog will be fair and respectful of my principles.

My first hockey memory

As far as I can remember, my first hockey memory dates back to 1980 or 1984. I can not quite remember which year. It was the Olympics and hockey was on TV. France is a bad place for a hockey fan. There is hardly ever any hockey on TV. The Olympics is the only exposure hockey gets on regular TV, even to this day.

I remember being shocked that a hockey player could play and end up in what we call "prison" in French. Prison being the French for jail. It sounds better in English: penalty
box or "sin bin". I remember being horrified by the amount of people on the ice wearing what looked like prisoners' outfits (black and white stripes... must have been the referees).

So I forgot about this game and got back into it years later when I started playing video games. I remember playing NHL95 or NHL96 on the old megadrive. And even though I had no references to the game I was able to enjoy it. It was also when I started picking NHL Power Week on my old satellite dish. I remember seeing highlights of Owen Nolan when he called the shot when he beat Dominik Hasek.

I remember being impressed by the game of hockey then. It was and still is a fast, physical game requiring incredible physical and skating skills. How can you not like hockey?

My first hockey game

My private life gave me the opportunity to go to my first hockey game in December 1999. And that was a great experience. It was a win against the Flyers. The game is even more impressive when you see it in person. The speed and the skill is even more obvious when you see the big picture. I have been returning to Continental Airlines arena many times ever since. As often as I can despite the fact I am in France.

I was fortunate to go see the Devils and I decided to stick to the Devils and become a Devils fan ever since that game. I started following the Devils on the web after that, reading articles and taking part in message boards. It was quite an experience because I had no hockey knowledge before that and over the past eight years I have been reading, watching and learning the game. Today I still don't consider myself a hockey expert but I believe I have some knowledge that allows me to discuss about the game.

My best memory

Following that first hockey game I followed the Devils the best I could. Listening to games on the radio via the internet was quite an experience too. Slow internet connections often caused the radio signal to break up. Major delays were bound to happen. The goal was called 2 minutes after it was actually scored. My best hockey memory though: Jason Arnott scoring that double OT goal in game 6 against Dallas (ESPN coverage of the finals). It seems so long ago and I don't remember the exact time but it must have been 7 am when the goal was scored. I was so excited and it was so overwhelming to win it all in my first year following the team. It looked so easy... The following year was quite a different story

My worse memory

The Devils were such a talented bunch in 2000. They were pretty much the same the year after except they didn't win it all. The finals against Colorado have to be my worse memory. An up and down series. Blowing up a chance to win it all in game 6 when they were up 3-2 and having to play game 7 back in Colorado. I had bought subscription to a channel that showed the Finals and even to this day it hurts to remember that series.

Now you know my history and you know me a little more. Like any other fan I am passionate, love to win, hate to lose but like a real fan I am always behind my team.

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