The 113th in our 118-part series.
Tonight we caught a glimpse of the new Devils arena under construction, and it looked decidedly like there were a few certain, special white banners with Devils logos on them hanging from the rafters already. There weren’t seats in the arena bowl yet, but there were banners! We absolutely love our team’s banners; for starters, they’re beautiful. Simple, easy-to-read, without any goofy bells and whistles that some teams like to employ when they go for the random, meaningless, “we’d like to hang something from our rafters, but we’re the Coyotes and have nothing to put up there that reflects any actual accomplishment” commemorations, the Devils’ banners are straightforward celebrations of team accomplishments. Secondly, we love the team’s approach to the banners. Obviously, the Stanley Cups get big, tasteful, elegant celebrations (in as much as any banner-raising can be tasteful and elegant), but hilariously the lesser banners — the division titles, the conference championships — are just quietly slapped up into the rafters without the slightest bit of fanfare. All those years of winning the division but not winning the Cup are like a mark of shame in the moment, but something Lou recognizes will be well worth looking back on with pride years from now, so after each Cupless year we’d show up for opening night of the next season and remark, “Huh. There’s the banner for last season, hanging up already.” But our favorite thing about the banners was the way in 2003, when we arrived for the first game of that year’s postseason, we happened to glance up at the banners and spotted something remarkable. Where previously they had been spaced in such a way that they spread across the rink with no apparent space between them, now they had been shifted. It was the early rounds still, but there was a perfect, Cup-banner sized space cleared in the middle. Lou knew. And that just cracks us up.