When Adam Henrique scored the series-deciding goal at 12:17 this morning to end a Game 7 in double overtime, the sound in Newark was not the goal siren, but a cash register's distinctive "ka-ching!"
I pointed out earlier in this space that the Devils could take a cue from the Panthers' ownership when it comes to raising money — Florida is the same team that essentially rented plastic rats, for $5 a throw, to its fans, and changed its jersey colors to attract a corporate sponsor.
This is from the Star-Ledger's 25th anniversary book on the Devils. Even as a 9-year-old, I knew there was something wrong with having stupefied puck waving at me.
In that same post, I mentioned that I've been a Devils fan for better than 20 years. The first playoff game I ever attended was during the miracle run of 1995, and if you think the Devils' marketing department needs work now, all I can say is the team mascot used to be a walking puck with horns and a smiley face. On Thursday night, I attended a watch party the arena hosted for Game 7, which took place in Florida. That's not the sort of activity you ever saw at the Meadowlands. It was probably costly to have all the lights on and so, but beer sales were brisk, and with a game that lasted nearly four hours, there was plenty in the way of food and merchandise sales, too. The team was pushing season ticket plans for next year, and those folks had long lines, too.
This sort of thinking is a bit overdue, but it's coming at the right time, as the Devils' much-publicized money problems aren't going away. But a deep playoff run would go a long way toward solving some of its worries. A winner will put more butts in the seats next year, and drawing a local opponent in Philadelphia for the next round is a godsend (from a ticket sales perspective — their power-play efficiency is going to give the team nightmares, though). It also might give the highly marketable Olympic hero Zach Parise pause when testing the waters of free agency in July. There's a guy whose face the team should be doing much more with.
The arena has a banner week ahead of it, from a profit standpoint — a Bruce Springsteen show and two more Devils playoff games. Even the NCAA regional games may not have the financial impact those three events will. So keep those watch parties coming, Newark. Who knows — maybe you'll even get Cory Booker to show up.