In Memoriam: Michael Rosinski

My Devils fandom has a Big Bang moment.

It was December 28, 1991. The Meadowlands Arena, Devils versus Sabres. The Devils won and my family and I were hooked.

There were people behind all of this. Pulling the strings if you will, hockey enablers turning us into Devils fans for life. Inadvertently creating this blog 25 years down the road.

They were neighbors and friends of ours: the Rosinskis.

And two nights ago, the Devils family, and, more importantly, the Rosinski family, lost someone particularly important to them.

That was Michael Rosinski, a son, brother, grandson, uncle. But most importantly to me, a friend. He passed of complications from Covid.

I had not seen Michael for a few years. There are certainly people much better qualified to eulogize his later life. We last met at Patrik Elias’ jersey retirement night.

He was hard to miss, well over six feet tall, and my brother, his fiancée and I talked with him for a few minutes. He was as polite as ever, a true gentle giant. It only made that night at The Rock that much better. To see an old friend on a night honoring a player we grew up watching.

And that is where I can eulogize Michael correctly: childhood.

My brother, sister and I had a wonderful childhood growing up by the Jersey Shore. But Michael, his brother Chris, my brother Matt and myself were not interested in surfing, swimming or hanging out on the boardwalk.

No, our pursuits echoed winter. Sure, we loved all sports and we were competitive, spirited basketball games in the driveway, home run derby between Little League games, soccer, football (the Arctic Bowl – our only game of tackle football during the year’s first snowfall is a story for a whole other post!), golf. You name it, we played and we enjoyed it.

But there was only one sport that truly had our hearts. Hockey.

I would often joke that our neighborhood was a little piece of Canada transplanted to New Jersey. Maybe it should have been a “neighbourhood”?

Everyone played hockey in some form be it organized ice hockey, roller hockey or just having a team to root for. This was during the most heated era of Devils-Rangers, so everyone had a stake – whether they followed hockey on a day-to-day basis or not.

(Just to show the extent of our hockey fandom and a sign of the times. We all collected NHL POGS, almost exclusively! Like trading cards, but in POG form!

This meant that hockey was everywhere. Roller hockey in my family’s driveway all year round, pond hockey when the fickle New Jersey winters would cooperate and, of course, knee hockey.

Knee hockey was just that: us “running” around on our knees in my parent’s carpeted basement smacking a foam rubber ball at each other with makeshift goals and goalie equipment.

The games got competitive, and limited space made things physical. Michael would play goal and he was great with those taped-up, broken souvenir sticks.

There were trips our families took together to Lake Placid, New York. Truly a Mecca for hockey and winter sports fans. Skating, skiing, just taking in a place where the Miracle on Ice happened. It was a frigid paradise for us and we would have it no other way.

There were the hours spent watching hockey videos. Our particular favorites: The Devils 1995 Cup Championship video, the Flames 1989 Stanley Cup video and “Ice Hot” a compilation of great moments in NHL history and then-current highlights.

And before I forget, the Demons. The picture up top is Michael in net for our neighborhood hockey club: The Demons. It’s the thing only creative, hockey obsessed kids could come up with. We ran practices with drills. It was a true brotherhood.

And now one of our brothers have fallen.

On behalf of my family and myself, our condolences to Michael’s mother, grandmother and brother, sister-in-law and nieces. Not to mention his friends and extended family.

I feel this writeup does not entirely pay justice to a great friend, but I really hope it can let those reading know just how much Michael and his family meant to my family. And just how much our lives would be different were it not for December 28, 1991.

Rest in Peace Michael. Your life will live on in the memories of your many friends and loved ones.

Devils Acquire Siegenthaler from Washington

The Devils made a different kind of move today, sending a third-round pick to the Washington Capitals for defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler.

The Devils traded the Arizona Coyotes’ conditional third-round pick in the 2021 Draft (acquired in the Taylor Hall deal on December 15, 2019 according to the press release put out on the subject).

The condition for the pick is “if Arizona’s third-round pick for the 2021 NHL Draft is not transferred to New Jersey, New Jersey will instead trade their own third-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft to Washington.”

The Devils acquired Siegenthaler, presumably to fill in on the blue line for the veterans they will likely be trading (think Dmitry Kulikov and Ryan Murray). Siegenthaler is 23-years-old.

He has not really gotten an opportunity to crack the Washington lineup this year, playing only seven games this season. He played 64 games in 2019-20, logging two goals, seven assists (nine points) and 43 penalty minutes.

He has played 97 career NHL games since 2018-19 and has a total of those two goals plus 11 assists (13 points) and 55 penalty minutes.

He is 6-foot, 2-inches and 210-pounds and a left-hand shot. The native of Zurich, Switzerland has played in 11 Playoff games, including seven in 2020.

He shares a birthday with Devils’ great Martin Brodeur, born May 6, 1997. He was the Caps’ second-round pick (57th overall) in 2015.

Prior to coming to North America to play for the Caps’ AHL affiliate in Hershey – where he played from 2014-15 to 2017-18 – Siegenthaler played in his native Switzerland with ZSC (National League A) and GC Kusnacht.

He has represented Switzerland internationally in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 World Championships. The press release notes that in 2017, he played with current Devils’ captain Nico Hischier. The two finished top two in scoring for the Swiss – Hischier with four goals, three assists for seven points and Siegenthaler with one goal and five assists for six points.

Despite Valiant Effort, Devils Fall to Penguins

With both teams coming into this game off of victories (the Devils over the Sabres and the Penguins over the Rangers), it was primed to be a good matchup at Prudential Center as the Pittsburgh Penguins visited.

And it was, especially towards the end, as the Pens won the game 6-4.

There was no MSG+2 pregame show tonight with good reason. Both Erika Wachter and Bryce Salvador are in COVID Protocol. Best wishes to both of them for a speedy recovery.

Nico Hischier did not make an appearance tonight either. He will make his return on Sunday at the earliest. Coach Lindy Ruff wanted him to get in a few more practices before coming back.

In goal, the Devils went back to Mackenzie Blackwood after Aaron Dell got the start on Thursday. Blackwood made 21 saves on 26 Pens shots for an .808 save percentage. He stopped 17-of-20 at even strength and stopped 4-of-6 on the power play as Pittsburgh went 2-for-4 on the man advantage.

For the Pens, Casey DeSmith got the start. He stopped 25-of-29 total for an .862 save percentage. He stopped 22-of-26 at even strength, was one-for-one shorthanded an stopped both of the Devils’ power play shots as the Devils went 0-for-1. S

Some calls that should not have been made were made against the Devils, and some that should have been made in the Devils’ favor were not made. It was a rough night from a Devils’ perspective in terms of the officiating.

The Devils had taken 2-of-3 from the Penguins this season, but there was a new wrinkle. Travis Zajac used to take the Sidney Crosby assignment, but without him, the Devils would need to find a new way to stop him.

Miles Wood got the scoring kicked off 3:01 into the game when Pavel Zacha won a draw deep in the Penguins’ zone. Jesper Bratt got on the boards to retrieve the puck and got it on net after faking a pass to the point. Wood was camped out in front and fought off a Pens defender to get the puck in the net. It was 1-0 Devils.

Zacha’s assist made him the first Devils to get to 25 points on the year.

Before the period was out, Pittsburgh would take the lead, however.

It began at the 10:00 mark when Jared McCann scored on the power play. Ty Smith and Blackwood had just stopped a Pittsburgh 3-on-1, but New Jersey took a too many men on the ice penalty during the play.

On the power play, Bryan Rust got the puck to Crosby at the point. Crosby blasted one, and Blackwood made the save. The rebound sat right down in front of McCann on the doorstep. He put it in and the game was tied up at one.

Brian Dumoulin would give the Pens the lead with 47 seconds to go in the first. Cody Ceci got the puck to Dumoulin and he took a quick shot on net. It deflected in off of Janne Kuokkanen, going in under and through his left arm. That made it 2-1 Pens going into the first intermission. Sam Lafferty had the secondary assist on the goal.

In the second, neither team could pull away. Jack Hughes tied things up with his second goal in two games after breaking a ten-game goal scoring drought in Buffalo. The goal came 5:39 into the second when Yegor Sharangovich took a shot that was turned aside by DeSmith. Kuokkanen then got the rebound and shot, with the save being made again and the rebound coming to Hughes below the goal line. He shot from this impossible angle and it went in to tie the score at two.

But the Pens would retake the lead at 17:36 when Colton Sceviour scored. Kris Letang took a shot and the rebound popped up with Sceviour batting it in (under the crossbar, so with no high stick) past Blackwood. Mark Jankowski had the secondary assist.

And that took us into the second intermission, with Pittsburgh leading 3-2.

But the scoresheet was about to blow up in the third.

It began with Rust at 4:06 into the new frame. This one came on the power play when Crosby passed to McCann who sent to the right side for Rust, who blasted one off the post and in. Jake Guentzel was the screen in front. That made it 4-2 Pens.

At 10:02, Crosby made it 5-2 when John Marino passed from the point to Guentzel behind the Devils’ net. Guentzel fed Crosby in the slot and he whipped the puck in, making it 5-3 Pittsburgh.

But things were not done. At 11:34, Jesper Boqvist got the puck in the far corner and threw it towards the Pittsburgh net. It deflected in off of Letang and in. The Devils still had life on Boqvist’s unassisted goal. It was now 5-3 Pens.

The Devils would pull Blackwood with about 3:45 to go in regulation, wasting no time. And it would pay off in form of a weird goal.

At the 18:24 mark of the third, Wood hounded Dumoulin behind the net. Dumoulin, trying to get rid of the puck, threw it in front and it went in off of DeSmith’s leg. The goal was unassisted and credited to Wood (his second of the game). That cut the Pens’ lead to one: 5-4.

The Penguins’ coaching staff briefly mulled over challenging for goalie interference, but replays showed there was none and they did not risk it.

Rust would add an empty net goal at 19:35 (assists to Guentzel and Letang) and that iced it, giving us our final: 6-4.

It was a strange one with the Devils outshooting the Pens 31-27. The Devils winning 51-percent of the game’s faceoffs. The Penguins outhitting the Devils 18-12. The Pens with more blocked shots at 12-10. And the Devils with one more giveaways at eight to Pittsburgh’s seven.

Zacha won 62-percent of his faceoffs to lead the centers in that department. Smith led in time on ice with 23:45. Hughes led the forwards with 21:30.

Wood led in shots on goal with three. Dmitry Kulikov led in hits with three. Bratt, Sami Vatanen and Kulikov led in blocks with two each. And takeaways were le by Michael McLeod with two.

Next up, the Devils will finish off this two-game set with the Penguins at home on Sunday. Puck drop is 7 PM for that one and we will have a post up as soon as possible on Sunday night (I apologize for the last game – site troubles preventing me from getting the post up in a timely fashion).

Before we go, our condolences to the family and friends of Dennis “Red” Gendron, a Devils assistant coach in with the Cup winning clubs in 1995 and 2000. He passed away suddenly earlier today. He had been serving as the head men’s hockey coach at the University of Maine. May he rest in peace.