Work in Sports
Stanley Cup Notebook
Devils celebrate second Stanley Cup in tight quarters
Posted: Sunday June 11, 2000 10:26 AM
DALLAS (AP) -- Martin Brodeur sat slumped in a chair, goalie pads still on, puffing on a victory cigar in the small visitors' dressing room.
The two-time winner finally could relax after the New Jersey Devils beat the Dallas Stars 2-1 in double overtime Saturday night, snatching the prized trophy away from the defending champions.
"This is an unbelievable feeling," said Brodeur, who made 30 saves in his 73rd consecutive playoff game.
Brodeur carried one of his sons, dressed in No. 30 jersey, into the crammed dressing room.
"It's all over," the elder Brodeur said.
It was during the triple-overtime loss that Brodeur's wife Melanie was shown covering her eyes -- too afraid to watch -- and then dejected when a sixth game was forced.
She was in attendance again Saturday night and was mocked on the Reunion Arena video screen by a female fan dressed in similar attire and rubbing her eyes with a crying towel.
The Devils' quartet of Scott Gomez, John Madden, Brian Rafalski and Colin White are now young champions in select company.
The group joined seven teams since 1927 that had at least four rookies on championship squads.
White, who still has rookie status, can do it again next year.
The Montreal Canadiens did it last in 1986 when they had seven rookies, including Devils forward Claude Lemieux and Dallas' Brian Skrudland. Montreal also did it in 1971 with five and in 1956 with four.
The 1952 Detroit Red Wings won the cup with four, Toronto played seven rookies in 1947 and Boston had five in 1939 and four a decade earlier.
Top line forward Petr Sykora was injured in the first period and was in the hospital when linemate Jason Arnott won the Stanley Cup for the New Jersey Devils 8:20 into double overtime.
"He's one of the hearts and souls of our line," Arnott said. "We came into the dressing room and Patty [Patrik Elias] looked at each other and said 'We've got to do this for Petr.' That goal was definitely for him."
Derian Hatcher sent Sykora flying with a hit that the Devils forward didn't see coming. He was wheeled off the ice with his head and neck immobilized. A CT scan at the hospital was negative and he was held overnight for observation.
Elias wore Sykora's jersey while celebrating in the dressing room and planned to go from the arena to the hospital, with the Cup.
"I had real feelings when that happened to Petr," Elias said. "I think every one of us wanted to win this for Petr."
Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock made lineup changes for Game 6, mostly necessitated by the inability of Jamie Langenbrunner to play on his sore knee.
Hitchcock had Blake Sloan in the lineup and scratched Roman Lyashenko. Sloan did not play in Game 5 and the thought was that his fresh legs could help the Stars to stave off elimination for the second time.
It didn't work.
Langenbrunner missed five games after hurting his knee in the conference finals. He returned for Game 4 of this series against the Devils, but could not go in the final two games.
Grant Marshall, who was also in the lineup, Lyashenko, Sloan and Aaron Gavey, all have had limited play in the finals.
Gavey, who was also scratched Saturday night, was tired in the morning even though he didn't play in Game 5.
"I'd pay someone to take my skates off for me," he said.
The Stars' superstitions didn't pan out in Game 6.
Mike Keane's red sportcoat is now 13-1 in the playoffs and Ed Belfour's lucky skates couldn't pull out another overtime win.
It's time for Brenden Morrow to find a new way home. The 21-year-old forward has developed some quirks that he hopes will pay off.
"I have little ones, nothing really strange," said Morrow, who is dating the 18-year-old daughter of 41-year-old teammate Guy Carbonneau. "I drive to the rink one way, if we lose I won't drive that way again. I'll take a different exit or something."
As for Keane's fashion statement, Morrow was amused at first.
"I thought he was doing it just to get a laugh," he said. "I didn't know the record he had with it. I asked around as to what was the deal with this red jacket and somebody filled me in."
New Jersey coach Larry Robinson, who already has six Stanley Cup rings as a star defenseman with Montreal and another as a Devils assistant in 1995, made history with his eighth title Saturday night.
Robinson took over for the fired Robbie Ftorek with eight regular-season games left. He became just the third coach to win a championship after taking over a team in midseason. He would join Toronto's Dick Irvin (1932) and Montreal's Al MacNeil (1971).
He also is the 14th coach to both play and coach a champion.
"This is not about me," Robinson said. "I am happy for those guys that are out there."