After the Devils won their first Stanley Cup in 1995, Mike Milbury used his pulpit as an ESPN analyst to demand rules and restrictions against the neutral-zone trap, calling it, among other things, "glorified soccer on ice."
Now, with the Devils having captured their third Stanley Cup title last spring, Milbury, as GM of the Islanders, is paying New Jersey the ultimate "if-you-can't-beat-'em-join-'em" compliment.
The Isles, riding their first full-time commitment to a trap-oriented system to an early first-place standing in the Atlantic Division, play host to the Devils tonight at the Coliseum.
It will be the first of five times the Isles will oppose the defending champs over the next 29 games through Dec. 29.
"It's definitely a challenge. We're trying to play disciplined Jersey-like hockey now, the kind of hockey they won the Cup on," defenseman Adrian Aucoin said. "They're one of the teams most teams model their games after, so it's definitely a good test."
You can officially put me on the Isles bandwaggon. Thought that they would be weak again, but so far they have done nothing but prove me wrong. If they can stay healthy and THE RICK continues to play well, they can be a very scary team.