The NHL season is nearly upon us, and there is a multitude of Cornellians in the league, including commissioner Gary Bettman ’74. Here is a preview of some teams with a Cornell connection.
New Jersey Devils: Congrats, you won your third Stanley Cup in nine years. It’s too bad no one was there to see it, as the Devils have the eighth lowest attendance in the league. Maybe it’s because New Jersey fans are apathetic or don’t care for hockey. Or maybe it’s because the Devils employ the mind-numbingly boring trap system.
Cornell Connection: Joe Nieuwendyk ’88 was a member of last year’s Cup winning team.
New York Rangers: For once, the Rangers didn’t break the bank with free agent signings over the summer. They did, however, commit the heinous act of drafting Dartmouth sophomore Hugh Jessiman with the 12th overall pick. With a roster full of over-the-hill all-stars, maybe the Blueshirts will finally make the playoffs. Maybe.
Cornell Connection: The Rangers drafted Cornell rival Jessiman and recently signed former Harvard captain Dominic Moore.
Pittsburgh Penguins: They should just rename the team “Mario Lemieux and the Random Scrubs.” Seriously, can you name another player on the Penguins? The team dumped most of its payroll and traded away its starting goalie. It also traded up in the draft to grab goalie prospect Marc-Andre Fleury at No. 1, who would probably have been available at No. 3.
Cornell Connection: Kent Manderville ’93 is a member of the Penguins.
Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs have the youngest GM in the league in 36-year old John Ferguson Jr. and recently signed Nieuwendyk. After not waiting three hours in line to see the Stanley Cup this summer, I’m rooting for the Leafs so that Joe will bring the Cup back to Ithaca and maybe the line will be shorter.
Cornell connection: Ken Dryden ’69 is the vice chairman of the Leafs.
Atlanta Thrashers: The Thrashers are one of the youngest and most talented teams in the league with stars like All-Star Game MVP Dany Heatley. Hopefully for him, he’ll avoid the Madden Curse as he is on the cover of EASports’ NHL 2004.
Cornell Connection: Stephen B