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Donnie Pucks: Relax Devils fans

I don't know where the Devils will end up this year. Maybe they will miss the playoffs for the first time since 1996 -- or maybe they will lift the Cup. The one thing I will not do is panic after a 0-2-1 start. Why? Just look at the past.

  • 2001-02 -- Started 0-3-1, finished 41-28-9-4 with 95 points

  • 2003-04 -- Started 1-2-2, finished 43-25-12-2 with 100 points

  • 2005-06 -- Started 2-3, finished 46-27-9 with 101 points

  • 2007-08 -- Started 1-3, finished 46-29-7 with 99 points

See what I mean? It's way too early. Now I would still be concerned. Their blue line is very young. Mark Taormina and Alexander Urbom are just kids. Andy Greene, a solid d-man, had to play nearly 25 minutes on Monday with Anton Volchenkov out.

Also John MacLean is a head coach in the NHL for the first time. Can he push the right buttons to get them through the tough times? He says that this is not a crisis, but if it turns into one, can he handle the heat?

Keep an eye on Ilya Kovalchuk. He's got the weight of a whole franchise on his shoulders, will he try and do to much? In 3 games he has just 2 points, no goals and is a minus-3. We saw it in the playoffs last season. He presses. You would too if a team broke the bank to lock you into a contract.

Let's check in on N.J. in about a week or so. All the seasons, listed above saw the Devils turn things around quickly. If the Devils stumble into November, the same way as they started, this could be a long season.