Monday, March 28, 2011

How have past Devils of the past faired in their first game returning?

Wednesday night will likely mark the first time Zach Parise played in a Devils game since he missed 63 games after tearing his meniscus in Anaheim.  He's not the first player to miss an extended period of time and return to the Devils lineup.  Let's take a look at some of the other notable returns:

David Clarkson (missed two shifts in a game during the 2010-11 season due to a broken skate blade): David Clarkson's skate simply fell off his skate, forcing him out of the game for a few moments.  When he returned, it was business as usual: take the puck behind the net and fail miserably while trying to score a wraparound goal.

Ilya Kovalchuk (healthy scratch for one game in the 2010-11 season): After Devils' coach John MacLean felt the best way to get Kovalchuk scoring was to bench him, Ilya responded with a goal at Madison Square Garden.  To scrap MacLean's brilliance, Kovy went 7 games before he scored again, and only had one goal in the first 16 games after being scratched.

Jamie Langenbrunner (healthy scratch for 82 games one game in the 2009-10 season): That's funny, it says Langenbrunner missed just one game in 2009-10.  I could have sworn he didn't show up for 82.  Weird...

Andrew Peters (scratched for 3 games in the 2009-10 season): After losing a spot in the Devils' lineup to a player who actually had enough talent to try out for the Mighty Ducks' team for the movie, Peters returned by fighting an Oiler, and then making chicken-like gestures to the Oiler.  Luckily for the Devils, he failed to tie his jersey down, and was thrown out of the game.

Martin Brodeur (missed 4 games during the 2006-07 season due to "rest"): Scott Clemmensen actually played 6 times during the 2006-07 season, including 4 starts.  It didn't matter though, even though he missed an entire 4 games, Brodeur still led the NHL in wins, saves, shutouts and won the Vezina trophy.

Colin White (missed two months in the 2007-08 season): After returning from his eye injury, White recorded six hits in a 2-1 win over Pittsburgh during his first game back.  His vision was blurry at best, so you'll believe me when I say he really didn't mean to hit anyone that night, including a fan in the parking lot after the game.

Patrik Elias (missed 44 games in the 2005-06 season): Patrik Elias had 8 points in his first four games back in the Devils' lineup upon his return from his illness.  Geez, with a recovery that fast, you'd think it was in the food he ate or something...

Paul Martin (missed 50 games in the 2009-10 season): Returned for Retro night against the Penguins.  Prior to the game, Martin made a deal with Ray Shero agreeing that if the Penguins conveniently turned a puck over in the neutral zone and had Marc-Andre Fleury allow a bad goal, Martin would sign with Pittsburgh that off-season.  In a crazy turn of events, that exact senario played out.

Martin Brodeur (missed 55 games in the 2008-09 season): Brodeur took 55 games off during the 2008-09 season, but in fact, it was he that dressed up as Scott Clemmensen and won 25 games in his own absence.  What he did was get Clemmesen a contract with the Florida Panthers, only to have a goals against average over 4.50 during the first half of the 2009-10 season.

Vladimir Malakhov, Richard Matvichuk and Alexander Mogilny (mysteriously disappeared after the 2005-06 season): I guess we'll never know what these players would have done in returns to the Devils.  What I do know is that these players were buried in the minors at one point or another to "manage the salary cap."  Hmm, Russians and salary cap problems...why does that seem like a familiar story?

Brendan Shanahan (missed 1,328 games between 1991 and 2008): When Shanahan returned to the Devils' lineup after a 17-year absence, he made his presence known right away, scoring a power play goal in Nashville.  I wonder what he did during those 17 years...

Bryce Salvador (missed entire 2010-11 season due to concussion): He hasn't returned yet, but when he does, I doubt he'll be able to do what he did against Ottawa on December 18th, 2009 (skip to 4:45):