In Colorado, where they were known as the Rockies, they also failed to fare well with the fans, and in their six-year tenure in Colorado they only made the playoffs once. Not even the hiring of popular, flamboyant coach Don Cherry could save the Rockies, and they moved to the new Meadowlands complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey in 1982.
The team was renamed the New Jersey Devils, a name influenced by the legend of the Jersey Devil, an ominous cryptozoological creature, supposed to inhabit the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey. They continued their losing ways through the remainder of the 1980s, with the exception of a cinderella run to the Wales Conference Final in 1988, where they lost to the Boston Bruins.
Between 1990 and 1993, the Devils made the playoffs each year, only to bow out in the first round each time. In 1994, the Devils started gaining respectablility in NHL circles. A team headlined by defenceman Scott Stevens and Scott Neidermayer; Claude Lemieux, Bobby Holik, Valeri Zelepukin, Stephane Richer and John MacLean on offense; and goaltenders Martin Brodeur and Chris Terreri steamrolled through the regular season, only to lose to the eventual Stanley Cup champion New York Rangers in the Eastern conference final.
Despite the setback, the damage was done. The following year, the same team would win their first-ever Stanley Cup in a lockout-shortened season, sweeping the Detroit Red Wings in four games.
The Devils missed the playoffs in 1996, and failed to live up to expectations through the remainder of the 1990s. In 1999-2000, however, they reached the top again. Stevens, Holik, Lemieux, Neidermayer and Brodeur, all integral parts of the 1995 team, won their second Cup rings, but they were backed up by new blood that the Devils had acquired in the intervening five years: Patrick Elias, Petr Sykora, Jason Arnott, Brian Rafalski, Alexander Mogilny and rookies Scott Gomez and John Madden to name a few.
The team fell short of winning their third Stanley Cup in 2001, losing to the Colorado Avalanche in seven games. In 2002, they were thought to be contenders once again, but lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round. In 2003, they returned to the top, beating the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for the Stanley Cup, four games to three. Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, Ken Daneyko, and Sergei Brylin each won their third cup, and Jeff Friesen, Jamie Langenbrunner, John Madden, and Brian Rafalski were all important contributors.
Players of Note
Hall of Famers:
Not to be forgotten:
New Jersey Devils official web site