Tag Archive | Mel Bridgman

Flashback – 1983–84 New Jersey Devils season

Flashback – 1983–84 New Jersey Devils season

83-84[1]

Head Coach: Bill MacMillan
Assistant Coach: Marshall Johnston

Goalies:

Glenn “Chico” Resch, Ron Low

Forwards:

Rocky Trottier, Mike Antonovich, Dave Cameron, Rick Meagher, Bob MacMillan, Mel Bridgman, John MacLean, Rich Chernomaz, Larry Floyd, Pat Verbeek, Garry Howatt, Jeff Larmer, John Johannson, Glenn Merkosky, Kevin Maxwell, Hector Marini, Grant Mulvey, Yvon Vautour, Gary McAdam, Tim Higgins, Paul Gagne, Don Lever, Aaron Broten, Jan Ludvig

Defence:

Alan Hepple, Bruce Driver, Rob Palmer, Mike Kitchen, Ken Daneyko, Dave Lewis, Bob Lorimer, Bob Hoffmeyer, Murray Brumwell, Phil Russell, Joe Cirella

The article below is taken from an article written by Dan Rosen:

1983-84: Growing Pains Lead to Promise By DAN ROSEN


The statement will never be forgotten by the organization and its fans, and unfortunately it defines the Devils of 1983- 84, year two of this 25-year old franchise. Given by Wayne Gretzky, arguably the game’s all-time greatest player, the Devils were referred to as a “Mickey Mouse organization” after Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers downed them, 13-4, in Edmonton on November 19, 1983.

“Well, it’s time they got their act together. They’re ruining the whole league,” is what Gretzky actually said. “They had better stop running a Mickey Mouse organization and put somebody on the ice.” “I know the team was not happy with his comments, to be frank,” former Devil Aaron Broten recently said. “I know there was a general feeling around the organization that they weren’t happy with the comment, and that’s being politically correct.”

Still, at this point in their second season, the Devils were 2-18 en-route to a 2-20 start. They finished the season 17-56-7, still the worst single-season record in franchise history. Things were looking bleak, because as Broten said, “the honeymoon year was over. “The first year you’re around you’ll get some leeway because it’s a new environment and everybody has to get used to the conditions,” Broten added. “The second year it’s like, ‘Alright, now you’re here and used to it, let’s see you get better.’ There were more expectations.”

Despite taking a step backward and losing seven more games in their second year than their first, the Devils of that generation felt as if they were improving.

“We were maturing, and we knew that because we watched what the Islanders were doing,” said ex-Devil Pat Verbeek, who was a rookie in 1983-84. “We kept getting better. The one thing about that is we still expected to win every night. We’d lose games, and sometimes we just couldn’t take it. It was part of the maturation process.”
Oh boy, did this team have to mature. The Devils, as Verbeek said, had no inbetween players in 1983-84. They were either seasoned veterans or fresh-faced junior players. Mel Bridgman (11th NHL season), Don Lever (14th), Bob MacMillan (12th), Phil Russell (13th), Dave Lewis (12th) and Chico Resch (12th) were all contributors, but all in or nearing the twilight of their careers. However, youngsters such as Verbeek (19 years old), Ken Daneyko (19), John MacLean (19), Joe Cirella (20), Paul Gagne (21), Bruce Driver (21), Jan Ludvig (22), and Broten (23) were just starting to dull their blades on NHL ice.

“To this day, I still see Phil Russell and Mel Bridgman, and those guys don’t understand the influence they had on me,” said Verbeek, now a scout for the Detroit Red Wings. “Those guys took me, Kirk (Muller), Mac (John MacLean), Cirella, and they showed us how to become good pros.”

The mixture, though, was toxic in the beginning of the 1983-84 season. After 20 games and just two wins, coach Bill MacMillan became the franchise’s first coaching casualty. On November 22, 1983, MacMillan was replaced by Tom McVie, who led the Devils to a 15-38-7 record to close the season.

“It was getting better,” Verbeek said. “Confidence is a tough thing. Your entire morale is the toughest thing, and we tried to get back our morale and pride. The second half we stopped looking at the record and started just to focus on getting better.”

McVie was replaced after the season by Doug Carpenter, who coached the team for the next three-plus seasons before being replaced 50 games in the 1987-88 campaign by Jim Schoenfeld. “We went through quite a few coaches in the first number of years I was there,” Broten said. “It was a bit difficult because you don’t know what the new guy is going to expect. Everybody has a little different idea.

They would always tell us, ‘A new broom sweeps clean.’ You don’t know who is going to be around after they watch tape.” At the time, the fan base in New Jersey was still blossoming. Verbeek said it was still tough to compete for fans in the same market as the New York Rangers and the Islanders, who were wildly successful and had their streak of four straight Stanley Cups snapped in 1984 by Edmonton.

“It was still growing, and the state hadn’t identified with us being their team yet,” Verbeek said. “That’s a process. It was a process for the players and for the fans. “You have to start with the kids when you build a fan base,” he continued. “You always hear it, ‘Are you a Rangers’ fan or a Devils’ fan?’ The answer is, ‘Well, I grew up a Rangers’ fan because my dad was.’ We had to start with the kids, and you can see that now, 25 years later. Now there is a fan base built.” Those fans, though, at least had a sense of humor.

When Gretzky and the Oilers showed up at Brendan Byrne Arena on January 15 (a 5-4 victory over the Devils), many fans wore Mickey Mouse apparel. These same fans were also treated to the NHL’s mid-season show as the All-Star Game made its only appearance at the Meadowlands.

Cirella tallied a goal and Resch was the winning goaltender as the Wales Conference beat the Campbell Conference, 7-6, in front of a capacity crowd of 18,939. Once the season resumed, it was back to watching last place hockey. At least with the youth, there was a tomorrow for these Devils.

“As an older player, the losing would have been extremely tough on me,” Verbeek said. “On a personal level, I was just ecstatic and happy to be in the NHL. The losing bothered me, but I knew down the road we’d get better.”

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So in case anyone is seeing this.

Here is the complete list of all players that have played for the Devils since 1982-2013, there is a lof of them.

But hoping to get this list completed one day.

Any help would be much appreciated.

 

Greg Adams
Tommy Albelin
Matt Anderson
Perry Anderson
Dave Andreychuk
Mike Antonovich
Jason Arnott
Arron Asham
Brent Ashton
Krys Barch
Dave Barr
Nicklas Bergfors
Christian Berglund
Steve Bernier
Eric Bertrand
Jiri Bicek
Craig Billington
Timo Blomqvist
Doug Bodger
Brad Bombardir
Laurie Boschman
Joel Bouchard
Eric Boulton
Josef Boumedienne
Neil Brady
Andy Brickley
Mel Bridgman
Martin Brodeur
Sheldon Brookbank
Bob Brooke
Alex Brooks
Aaron Broten
Neal Broten
Doug Brown
Sean Brown
Steve Brule‡
Murray Brumwell
Sergei Brylin
Sean Burke
Bobby Butler
Dave Cameron
Anders Carlsson
Bobby Carpenter
Ryan Carter
Shawn Chambers
Rich Chernomaz
Alain Chevrier
Tom Chorske
Jeff Christian
Chris Cichocki
Zdeno Ciger
Joe Cirella
Noah Clarke
David Clarkson
Scott Clemmensen
Danton Cole
Mike Commodore
Pat Conacher
Bob Corkum
Matt Corrente
Troy Crowder
Matt D’Agostini
Pierre Dagenais
Jean-Francois Damphousse
Ken Daneyko
Scott Daniels
Yann Danis
Mike Danton
Craig Darby
Patrick Davis
Rob Davison
Kevin Dean
Don Dietrich
Dan Dorion
Jim Dowd
Bruce Driver
Mike Dunham
Tyler Eckford
Patrik Elias
Dave Ellett
David Emma
Chad Erickson
Jim Fahey
Mark Fayne
Viacheslav Fetisov
Larry Floyd
Corey Foster
Dwight Foster
Kurtis Foster
Mark Fraser
Jeff Frazee
Jeff Friesen
Karl Friesen
Paul Gagne
Bruce Gardiner
Eric Gelinas
Doug Gilmour
Brian Gionta
Stephen Gionta
Ray Giroux
Sascha Goc
Scott Gomez
Andy Greene
Stanislav Gron
Bill Guerin
Steve Guolla
David Hale
Matt Halischuk
Ben Hankinson
Peter Harrold
Niclas Havelid
Johan Hedberg
Adam Henrique
Alan Hepple
Uli Hiemer
Tim Higgins
Bob Hoffmeyer
Bobby Holik
Phil Housley
Garry Howatt
Jan Hrdina
Cale Hulse
Jamie Huscroft
Dave Hutchison
Cam Janssen
John Johannson
Mark Johnson
Jacob Josefson
Valeri Kamensky
Hannu Kamppuri
Alexei Kasatonov
Steve Kelly
Keith Kinkaid
Mike Kitchen
Ken Klee
Jim Korn
Tom Kostopoulos
Ilya Kovalchuk
Viktor Kozlov
Vlastimil Kroupa
Tom Kurvers
Dan LaCouture
Sasha Lakovic
Darren Langdon
Jamie Langenbrunner
Igor Larionov
Jeff Larmer
Adam Larsson
Jay Leach
Claude Lemieux
Jocelyn Lemieux
Tim Lenardon
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond
Don Lever
Tapio Levo
Dave Lewis
Claude Loiselle
Andrei Loktionov
Bob Lorimer
Ron Low
Jan Ludvig
Brad Lukowich
Shawn MacKenzie
John MacLean
Bob MacMillan
John Madden
Jeff Madill
Olivier Magnan
Adam Mair
Vladimir Malakhov
David Maley
Merlin Malinowski
Troy Mallette
Olli Malmivaara
Dave Marcinyshyn
Hector Marini
Gord Mark
Grant Marshall
Paul Martin
Stefan Matteau
Richard Matvichuk
Kevin Maxwell
Gary McAdam
Chris McAlpine
Dean McAmmond
Dan McGillis
Randy McKay
Mike McKenna
Jim McKenzie
Kirk McLean
Peter McNab
George McPhee
Rick Meagher
Rollie Melanson
Glenn Merkosky
Lindsay Middlebrook
Corey Millen
Jason Miller
Brad Mills
Willie Mitchell
Jaroslav Modry
Alexander Mogilny
Mike Moher
Jon Morris
Brendan Morrison
Mike Mottau
Bryan Muir
Kirk Muller
Grant Mulvey
Cory Murphy
Sergei Nemchinov
Bernie Nicholls
Rob Niedermayer
Scott Niedermayer
Joe Nieuwendyk
Lee Norwood
Jack O’Callahan
Myles O’Connor
Sean O’Donnell
Lyle Odelein
Johnny Oduya
Janne Ojanen
Krzysztof Oliwa
Rob Palmer
Nick Palmieri
Jay Pandolfo
Zach Parise
Denis Pederson
Scott Pellerin
Rod Pelley
Mike Peluso
Ricard Persson
Harri Pesonen
Andrew Peters
Dave Pichette
Randy Pierce
Tuomas Pihlman
Ilkka Pikkarainen
Walt Poddubny
Alexei Ponikarovsky
Jukka Porvari
Rich Preston
Joel Quenneville
Deron Quint
Karel Rachunek
Brian Rafalski
Erik Rasmussen
Jeff Reese
Glenn “Chico” Resch
Pascal Rheaume
Stephane Richer
Steve Richmond
Brian Rolston
Steve Rooney
Reijo Ruotsalainen
Mike Rupp
Phil Russell
Jason Ryznar
Anssi Salmela
Andreas Salomonsson
Bryce Salvador
Bob Sauve
Corey Schwab
Alexander Semak
Tim Sestito
Brendan Shanahan
Vadim Sharifijanov
Richard Shulmistra
Peter Sidorkiewicz
Reid Simpson
Jarrod Skalde
Martin Skoula
Rob Skrlac
Richard Smehlik
Jason Smith
Sheldon Souray
Sam St. Laurent
Sergei Starikov
Peter Stastny
Dave Steckel
Scott Stevens
Turner Stevenson
Alan Stewart
Alexander Suglobov
Doug Sulliman
Brian Sullivan
Steve Sullivan
Patrik Sundstrom
Peter Sundstrom
Ken Sutton
Petr Sykora
Barry Tallackson
Henrik Tallinder
Steve Tambellini
Matt Taormina
Mattias Tedenby
Chris Terreri
Steve Thomas
Jim Thomson
Esa Tikkanen
Kevin Todd
Rocky Trottier
Sylvain Turgeon
Oleg Tverdovsky
Alexander Urbom
Carol Vadnais
John Vanbiesbrouck
Alexander Vasyunov
Yvon Vautour
Stephane Veilleux
Randy Velischek
Pat Verbeek
Claude Vilgrain
Vitaly Vishnevsky
Anton Volchenkov
Petr Vrana
Ben Walter
Ed Ward
Kevin Weekes
Eric Weinrich
John Wensink
Colin White
Jason Wiemer
Mitch Wilson
Craig Wolanin
Paul Ysebaert
Travis Zajac
Steven Zalewski
Valeri Zelepukin
Peter Zezel
Vladimir Zharkov
Marek Zidlicky
Dainius Zubrus
Andrei Zyuzin