Normally, when I write for this page, I find myself having to write about a few poor results, or the importance of an upcoming fixture.
But, as it’s Christmas, I thought I’d give all the Devils fans something to smile about, and perhaps the rest of the league something to worry about.
I don’t tend to stream hockey games when I can’t make it to them, I enjoy the buzz of atmosphere in being at an arena and don’t enjoy missing out on that. But last night I made an exception and boy was I pleased with what I saw.
The Cardiff Devils have frustrated me so far this season, well, up until a few weeks ago that is. Yesterday they claimed their ninth straight league win, and went top of the Elite League for Christmas.
As someone who waxed lyrical about how and where the Devils needed to improve, Andrew Lord and his team have well and truly shut me up.
I watched a game last night, full of energy, speed, skill, and possibly the most satisfying thing of all, confidence. In my opinion, the culmination of a lot of hard work behind the scenes.
If you’d asked me a month ago, who I thought would win the league, I’d have said Nottingham without hesitation, but I now genuinely believe that the League will stay in South Wales this year.
For those who are questioning, yes I know, it’s December, and there’s still a lot of Hockey to be played. But, for possibly the first time all year, I feel confident that the Devils can beat anyone, anytime.
The team was awesome last night, and if there were “Three Stars” awards, like in the NHL, I would genuinely struggle to pick only three players. In my opinion no player came from that game having not played well.
But if I have to place them, I will. I won’t order the players because there’s no point in the discussion, but these are my ‘Three Stars’.
Tyson Strachan, from my perspective is one of the biggest reasons for the Devils current success. Described by many as “the right signing at the right time”, he has found his feet and without doubt is one of the best players currently playing for the Devils. His puck-handling is superb, and you always feel that he goes onto the ice and does what is needed without much effort.
Joey Haddad is back, and back to his brilliant best. Twelve points since his return from injury and a huge burst of energy has been thrown into the Devils team. All of the ‘dirty work’ as it were, that the Devils were struggling with while Haddad was out, seems to now being eaten up the number 27.
Matthew Myers is without doubt for me, the unsung hero for the Devils. So many goals come from the screen he puts up in front of goal, especially on the power play. He’s a huge reason why the Devils’ power play is currently the best in the league. Well deserving of the “A” on his jersey, I could write and write about the influence and brilliance he shows week in, week out.
There are so many names I could justifiably throw into the mix tonight, Luke Piggott, Matt Pope, Jake Morrisette, Patrick Asselin, Layne Ulmer, Sean Bentivoglio, and obviously Joey Martin and Andrew Hotham.
This article might sound like a complete love-song for the Devils, from an over enthusiastic fan. And in a way it is, I’m extremely happy with the fact that the Devils are back to their best. I’m also well aware that it could all change in a weekend, just look at where Nottingham are now compared to a month ago.
But this is a warning too, the reigning champions, and league leaders, are only just hitting their stride.
Header Photo – Helen Brabon