I think each and every player deserves praise for this playoff run, even as it's ending how it is.
Congrats to Zach Parise - if you do leave, please don't go to the Rangers. You'll be set for life wherever you go.
Congrats to Travis Zajac - returning from injury to play a stellar playoffs. Lou, if you miss on Parise, let's get this guy locked up.
Congrats to Ilya Kovalchuk - playing hurt for almost the entire playoffs, he's proven how much he wants to win. Can't wait to see the real Kovalchuk back.
Congrats to Petr Sykora - returning from obscurity to score 20+ goals and contribute some key playoff markers. I suspect your NHL career is over, but you made a much better exit this time.
Congrats to Patrik Elias - he's stuck with the team for so long, he played well even through last year's disaster, and while he hasn't had the best playoffs, he's been an indispensable part of the team.
Congrats to Dainius Zubrus - he won a game in the Cup Finals. He signed here claiming that NJ always had a shot to win, and then they went 4 years without winning a playoff round.
Congrats to Alexei Ponikarovsky - even if he only scored 1 goal during the run, he made some key assists. If he goes, he will be missed.
Congrats to Adam Henrique - a playoff to remember forever. 2 enormous goals, plus a Cup Final game winner. He has got a bright future ahead of him.
Congrats to David Clarkson - he's also made his goals count. I suspect he's been injured all playoffs, but he has really come back from last year's disaster season. He had more assists during these playoffs than he did all last year.
Congrats to Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta, and Steve Bernier - I mention them as a unit because they played like a unit. Bernier too - he will take tons of heat for what he did in Game 6, maybe so much that he can't come back here, but he's been an excellent find, and I wish him luck if he goes elsewhere.
Congrats to Jacob Josefson - his teammates held up their promise that he would play again this season.
For the defensemen:
Congrats to Andy Greene and Mark Fayne - they played brilliant hockey. The NHL unfortunately has seen how good they are.
Congrats to Bryce Salvador - I didn't think he would ever play again. Not only did he play, he contributed several goals and assists to a Cup Finalist team. I don't think he'll be back, but I hope wherever he goes can get a little more of the Salvador magic.
Congrats to Marek Zidlicky - written off in Minnesota, he proved he's still got plenty of hockey left in him.
Congrats to Anton Volchenkov - the team bailed him out for a rough first round series and he acquitted himself well in future rounds.
Congrats to Peter Harrold - an afterthought before the season, he became a reliable third pairing guy. I hope he gets the NHL contract he deserves.
Congrats to Adam Larsson - you didn't play in the Finals, but hopefully you will soon.
Congrats to Johan Hedberg - you got hung with a loss back in Round 1, but who knows where the Devils end up without your play during the season.
...and Congrats to Martin Brodeur. I doubted you all season long, but you proved that you can still be a great goaltender at crunch time. Amazing play in Game 7 against Florida made this all possible.
We beat the Rangers. We beat the Flyers. We didn't beat the Kings - they were a better team. But still, to come back from where they were in December of 2010 to do this is nothing short of remarkable. It's really, really hard to do this.
Great post Tri. Congrats to all the boys on a great season, and a great playoff run. I can't even tell you how much I love this team and how proud of them I am.