Puck Daddy - NHL

Get a few beers in me, and I can bust out this wicked Bobby Holik impression. It sounds like either Hans or Franz speaking briskly with a stuffy nose. I string together an endless collection of loosely organized, barely comprehensible thoughts with the transition phrase "and you know" between them. Accuracy has no home in this impression; oh, but it kills at the right Jersey bars at 1 a.m.

Beat writer Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice caught up with Holik, who returned to the New Jersey Devils for a one-year, $2.5 million in a rather shocking move yesterday. And Holik was ... Holik:

"I'll tell you what, fans in New Jersey are somewhat spoiled and I don't mean it in a bad way. They want their team to be successful. There's nothing more important to them and because it's been a great 12-13 years prior to last year. But if I give my best as I always had and make the team better, I think that's all they (want). Yeah, there are going to be people who have opinions. I have opinions, too. So, we all do. And we're all entitled to them. But the bottom line is I'm on that team to make the team better and I believe I can with whatever role they designate for me."

Nothing like starting out your reintroduction to a fan base with "you guys are spoiled."

Holik returns to the Devils as a player who went from cult icon for Jersey fans to a traitorous free agent who signed with the franchise's most hated rival. Has enough time passed to heal those wounds?

From a tactical standpoint, Holik could help as a third-line center who adds size and toughness to a team that could use a little more of it. From a puckhead standpoint, the euphoria over the Devils finally making a splash in free agency (Brian Rolston for four years was one of the best signings of the day) could initially balance out the Holik hate. At least that's the vibe from Interchangeable Parts, which wonders if there's a difference between a "true" Devil and an ex-Devil:

Bobby Holik is a classic example of a guy we're happy to call an Ex-Devil. He didn't have to come back. Really. But that reality won't sink in until the first "Well, erm, uh, erm, humph, erm, garble, mumble, merm, flumph, grargh" interview with him on a Devils broadcast. In the meantime, we're busy being happy for a change.

Good thing I held onto that Crash Line T-shirt from '95. When the hell are Peluso and McKay signing again?

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