Prudential Center to Serve as Polling Station

Well, it’s been long-time, no-see around here, but we do have some Devils-related news to get to here that I thought I’d throw out in one post.

Firstly, in a relatively minor note, Amanda Stein is reporting on the Devils’ official “Inside the Devils Blog” that prospect Fabian Zetterlund has been loaned to HC Vita Hsten of HockeyAllsvenskan in Sweden.

The 21-year-old forward had just completed his first season in North America with the Binghamton Devils of the American Hockey League. He had 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) over 49 games for Binghamton in 2019-20.

The other news, also reported by Stein, is that Prudential Center will be a polling site for the 2020 General Election. This announcement – which is “pending a final vote by the Essex County Board of Elections” – was made yesterday by Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka and Jake Reynolds, Devils President.

Devils owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer have been doing a lot as of late to combat systemic racism and other societal ills. Baraka had this to say about the two: “Having Josh [Harris] and David [Blitzer] and of course the New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center folks to be engaged with the City of Newark period. They’re always a great partner of ours, whether it’s helping us deliver food or operations for children or hockey in our neighborhoods, all the kind of things that they do, this is just an extension of that.”

Stein reported that Reynolds added: “We’re so incredibly appreciative of the city of Newark in the state of New Jersey, being able to join us as partners in this civic engagement. This continues the commitments that our managing partners, Josh Harris and David Blitzer have made in so many ways to help drive the community.”

Stein said that, in the week leading up to Election Day, the Rock “will serve as a satellite office of the Essex County Clerk. Residents who did not receive their vote by mail ballot and need one” can get one there. She also noted that “on Election Day, Newark residents who opt for in-person voting can cast their ballot or drop their ballot off. In addition, and in conjunction with National Voter Registration Day, Prudential Center will host a voter registration drive September 22 on Championship Plaza.”

Mayor Baraka said that “without the New Jersey Devils commitment to doing this we have no location, so we are indebted to them for always being a part of the city. There’s probably no other place in the county that we could have this other than at Prudential Center, so if [Josh Harris and David Blitzer] didn’t step up to the plate, we probably wouldn’t be here today.”

Election Day is, of course, November 3 this year, it should be noted, which does fall out of the 2020-21 hockey season, which will be starting in December for COVID-19-related reasons.

Stein also said that the “Devils have launched the “Go Vote, Jersey” non-partisan campaign which will center around brand-specific content, including players public service announcements, tutorials on how to proceed to Prudential Center and podcasts among other related content. The campaign is designed as an education and awareness campaign.” Visit https://prucenter.com/vote, to learn more. There are “a myriad of information, facts and deadlines” as Stein said.

The “Go Vote, Jersey” campaign being run through the Devils Care Foundation, which is trying to bring a focus on “social injustice issues and continues the support and impact of working for the betterment of diverse communities.”

Reynolds briefly touched on the subject of what has been going on regarding suppression of voting, especially amongst minority communities, which was greatly affect Newark in a negative way. He said: “I think that’s critically important, whether it’s through what we’ve been going through as it relates to COVID, social equality or this process in terms of being able to give citizens the right to be able to go out and have their voice be heard through the voting process.”

He continued: “The Devils Care Foundation and the Devils Youth Foundation is something that we have put a lot of emphasis and a lot of resources behind in terms of being able to bring our community together, especially the youth side and pave a path for them to understand that their voice matters, and their voice can be heard. This is is one of their fundamental rights, and we are going to partner with them, as well as with the city and the state to continue to make this a better place for them to live and raise their families.”

I will have more on the “Go Vote, Jersey” program in a future post.

Prospects Challenge Kicks Off as Devils Fall to Sabres 6-4

Hockey season has officially started! Kind of.

The 2018 Prospects Challenge got underway tonight at HarborCenter in Buffalo as the Devils took on the Buffalo Sabres in the first game of the rookie mini preseason tournament.

The Sabres came away with the 6-4 win as they looked a little bit more physical than the Devils and threw their bodies around, taking advantage of their bigger size overall. The Devils did a good job of responding generally, especially John Quenneville, who was arguably the Devils’ most physical player.

Two other takeaways from the game that I noticed was the Devils’ ability to respond offensively, as the majority of the game would see Buffalo go up a goal and the Devils immediately tie things up. It remained that way until the third period when the Sabres finally pulled away and scored two to take the 6-4 lead that would be the final.

The other thing of note was the debut of the first overall pick in this summer’s NHL Draft: Rasmus Dahlin, who had a pair of goals and an assist. He seemed to be real deal for the Sabres and gave the Devils some fits all night.

Of a minor note was the condition of the ice. It is still hot and humid out in Buffalo and the ice was not in the best of shape.

Regardless of some of the negatives, the Devils who did stand out were Brett Seney and this year’s first round draft pick, Ty Smith. Smith, especially was praised by the Buffalo announcers who were calling the game for putting a good showing in. Seney recorded a goal in the first period, the one that tied it up at one.

Cole Coskey had the first goal of the game for the Sabres, scoring at the 17:31 mark of the first. Seney tied it at one on the power play at 18:53.

In the second period, Victor Olofsson scored at 7:02 before Nathan Bastain tied things up just over 30 seconds later.

Buffalo then jumped out to a two goal lead as Alexander Nylander scored shorthanded at 10:19 and Dahlin scored his first 59 seconds later at even strength. The Sabres crowd gave the first overall pick a standing ovation following the goal, but his night was just getting started.

The Devils would respond quickly to those two goals, as Colton White scored at 11:53 and Fabian Zetterlund scored at 12:01. Seney had the lone assist on Zetterlund’s goal, giving him two points on the night.

In the third period, the Sabres pulled away when Dahlin put them up 5-4 for his second of the night at 4:28. Dahlin would also assist on Tage Thompson’s shorthanded goal that ended the night. It was the second shorty of the night for the Sabres.

The Devils were a perfect 5-for-5 on the penalty kill but failed to scored on any of their seven power plays.

In goal, Mackenzie Blackwood looked pretty good, making 26 saves on Buffalo’s 32 shots on goal for a .812 save percentage. Buffalo’s Jonas Johansson made 30 saves on 34 Devils shots.

The Devils next play tomorrow at 3 PM against the Pittsburgh Penguins prospects.