Tri: would be mildly interesting to see what other pro teams Devils fans root for. I'm not sure if the Mets/Jets link you suggest exists really does...and even if it did, I'm not sure how much Mets and Jets frustration is seeping into their Devils' rooting lives.
Jets have been better over the last 17-18 years than they're often given credit for, but it's the colossal, often unforgettable nature of their failures that lead people to believe that they're constantly going 3-13 or 4-12. I've talked about it in the Jets threads, but they've been largely competitive the last two decades. The Mets are basically competitive for 4 or 5 years, then irrelevant for roughly the same period of time. They're not 20-straight-losing-seasons bad, but their ownership, which often comes off as out-of-touch, incompetent, and amateur, doesn't help matters.
There's a large contingent of the Devils fanbase that has no patience whatsoever...everything has to happen right now, or else. Some fans are already souring on Cory, which is insane to me. Like the OP alluded to, this is a work-in-progress...Lou actually has some young homegrown defensemen to work with! No more dipping into the FA pool for the Tallinders and the Volchenkovs (though he may have to go that route again to find a Salvador-type next season). What Severson has done to date is terrific, but these guys are going to take some lumps here and there. Yes, it would be nice if there were more young forwards with scoring potential. The predictable has happened (Cammalleri and Havlat missing games due to injury), so at least Boucher's getting another look...who knows for how long though.
And yeah, a lot of either newer and/or younger fans just kind of unconsciously assumed that making the playoffs was going to continue to be a sure thing seemingly forever, and they're still adjusting to the fact that the Devils aren't a playoff automatic anymore. Maybe the 3-0-0 start unfairly raised expectations, though there were clear red flags in all three of those games that suggested the Devils hadn't suddenly become an upper-echelon team. I think they are what they are...a bubble team that will delight some nights and frustrate others. A 90-95 point team, depending on how things break.
I'm also a Giants fan, in the past couple seasons since their last beatdown of the Pats (for the second time in the superbowl!) they've had a habit of sh!tting the bed at the worst times in a season. Their biggest problem is consistency, but true the Jets seem to be regressing to the time when they were always a 1-15 team, or close to it.
We have been spoiled growing up with having the greatest goaltender of all time saving our asses even though we have a terrible game, appearing in the playoffs almost as a given each year, and now that it may not always be a given, it's like the sky has fallen and it's a new age of despair... Some just have to take the bitter with the sweet, and not o looking for a witch hunt after a few bad games, or disappointing seasons.
There are tons of tickets on SH that are available for $25 or less for tonight's game. Many of those are $20 or less. Not exactly paying out of the butt, especially when compared to other NHL teams outside of Florida.
Part of the problem filling seats is the price but also of course the economy, everything getting more expensive all the time because, well 'reasons' and some of it has to do with the location of the arena - Newark. Despite what people have said about Newark 'revitalizing' and all that, that's maybe just within a few blocks of the arena, to around Penn Station. I wouldn't venture very far outside that area. Hearing stories in the paper about people being shot all the time doesn't help peoples' fears about going in there. Also, with weekday games especially, if you are like me and don't want to drive in and leave your car where (I at least) don't fully trust anyone near it, you take mass transit, usually a train. Those tickets aren't exactly cheap round trip and are just another expense on top of game tickets, food inside or outside the arena and whatever else. Plus you're at the mercy of NJT's schedule so if you don't make a train, you're probably screwed for at least half an hour. A lot of people working carrer jobs have to work til at least 5 these days if not longer and can't just leave early all the time to catch a train to the game, so they end up there late, or would love to go but aren't going to pay for tickets to a game they're going to miss the first half of. It used to be better back when we played at 7:30 instead of 7, it gave people a little more time to get there. But also, if you bring kids on a school night, you have to deal with getting home really late and all that. And don't get me started with the drunks on the train. Yes, many of them are amusing to watch from a distance, but they're obnoxiously loud, and you know if you make eye contact with them, you'll end up part of their shenanigans.
It's a pick-and-choose, but many times it comes down to people being unable to go during the week because of timing, and the fact they gotta get up for work the next morning, price of everything, but some being able to justify it all if they know there's a good chance to see the Devils win...I hate to see that last one be a real factor but it is, no one's going to want to casually come to a game to watch a team lose.