Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Still In The Twilight Zone

It's been 10 days since the Timo trade.  I have been through a gamut of emotions over the past week and a half.  At this point, it still hurts, but I've been feeling better about it.

The thing that has softened the blow the most is seeing how much New Jersey loves him.  We heard through the grapevines that Devils fans were literally chanting "We want Timo" during games before the trade happened.  And he organization also made it very clear that they wanted to be his trade destination.

Since the New Jersey Devils acquired Timo, I've become a part-time Devils fan.  (Just like when Joe Pavelski signed with the Dallas Stars.)  I even started following them on Facebook and Instagram.  Their social media loves him.  I swear every other post for the past ten days has been about Meier.  (Not that I'm complaining about it.)  They have photographed him at practice, interviewed him a few times, and made sure to include him in pretty much any and every post that they can.

It's nice to see how excited everyone is that they have him.  Sure, there are a few people who doubt how good he actually is.  And I can't say much; I'm still skeptical that we didn't completely blow this trade.  But most people are super pumped to have him.

It's been a weird transition since he's still been recovering from the upper body injury that's kept him out of the Sharks line up the later part of February.  Eliot and I were at least glad to see that he was injured.  Not that I wanted him to be hurt, but I would have been more upset if he was being "bubble wrapped" before the trade deadline.

Thankfully, he's finally recovered though.  He was able to participate in his first practice as a Devil on February 28th.  (But I think he was just doing individual drills in a no contact jersey at that point.)  Then, Timo made his debut with the New Jersey Devils in an away game against the Arizona Coyotes this past Sunday, March 5th.  It was so weird to see him skating for another team, but Eliot and I were excited to see him on the ice playing again.  And it didn't take long for him to bring "Timo Time" over to New Jersey.  He ended up scoring a goal on his third shift of the game!

The announcers spent most of the rest of that game talking about him.  We must have heard that he scored his first goal as a Devil in his first game as a New Jersey Devil about 15 times.  They also spent a good portion of the game with the camera on him- whether he was on the ice or the bench.  (Again, not complaining.)

But I have to imagine that all of this attention has put a lot of pressure on Timo.  He's never struck me as the type of guy who loves the limelight.  Now, he's got all of these people practically fawning over him and singing his praises.  And he deserves the praise because he's a great player.  But it must be a little bit nerve-wracking too.

And from watching him play, it's clear that he's going to have an adjustment period to get used to playing in their system.  He wasn't in his usual position on the wing, or on the power play.  It was really weird for us watching him play different positions.  I can only imagine how different it is to be the person playing in them.

It's been an adjustment for me and Eliot too... I won't lie, it is really weird to watch him in a red New Jersey Devils jersey, but at least he's in Swiss colors.  That's made it a lot less painful.  I keep reminding myself that it could have been worse... he could have been in Vegas Golden Knight colors, and that would have broken me.

Another adjustment is trying to track him out on the ice.  Not only has he been playing in different positions than what he (and us) are used to, but he's wearing 96 instead of 28.  (One of the other guys on the team already had his number.)  For both the San Jose Sharks and Switzerland, Timo has always been 28, so it's been weird for us to see him wearing that.  However, he used to be number 96 when he was playing in juniors for the Halifax Mooseheads, so it's like he's going back to his roots.

I think having him be in a different number has also softened the blow a little.  It's like his jersey number has been memorialized to me in way.  And ironically, the same thing actually happened when Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns both left the Sharks.  Pavelski is wearing number 16 in Dallas (instead of 8) and Burns is wearing number 8 (instead of 88).  It probably sounds weird, but that's taken the sting out of losing them all a little bit.  It's never easy to have your favorite players leave your team, but I'll always be crazy about my 8's... no matter the numbers or jersey colors they're now wearing.

I guess you could say that this new reality is sinking in, and I'm starting to be more ok with it.  So, we're still in the twilight zone... but at least I'm getting more used to it.  °o°

All photos from the New Jersey Devils Facebook page.

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