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Devils coach drops Sopranos truth bomb ahead of Stadium Series

New Jersey Devils coach Lindy Rudd at 2024 Stadium Series
Credit: Jim Cerny/Sportsnaut

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — If only the New Jersey Devils had asked coach Lindy Ruff to join them in wearing a Sopranos tracksuit ahead of their Stadium Series game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

But alas, a magic moment was missed. Just don’t blame Ruff.

As is tradition for NHL outdoor games, teams make a special entrance wearing themed outfits. So, the Devils and Flyers followed suit (no pun intended) when each team arrived here at MetLife Stadium.

The Devils paid homage to the classic HBO series by wearing Sopranos tracksuits, with assorted jewelry like pinky rings and gold chains.

Ruff was asked before the game if he was asked to join in the fun.

“That’s a special thing for the players, but if asked, I probably would’ve,” the 64-year-old coach replied, drawing laughs from media members.

Devils online reporter Amanda Stein captured the moment perfectly by replying to Ruff, “That’s a failed opportunity on their part.”

Indeed, it was.

Related: Islanders captain recaptures past football glory at Stadium Series practice

Devils, Flyers make special entrances ahead of their Stadium Series game at MetLife Stadium

Ruff wasn’t finished with the one-liners, though. When discussing how much he likes outdoor games, Ruff reminded everyone that he coached the Buffalo Sabres in the first Winter Classic in 2008. The game was decided on a Sidney Crosby overtime goal and a Pittsburgh Penguins victory.

“I was (coaching the Sabres) when Crosby pushed the puck through the snow there and ended up beating us. But I’ve let go of it now, OK?” he joked.

In stark contrast to Ruff, there was Flyers coach John Tortorella, whose pregame press conference lasted three questions and less than a minute.

Tortorella was asked about his players making an entrance wearing gray sweatshirts and sweatpants like Rocky. Not surprisingly his response was not as flavorful as Ruff’s.

“Doing it as a team.”

Not to be lost in all the fun is how important this game is for both teams in the Metropolitan Division standings. The Devils are fourth in the division, seven points behind the third-place Flyers. Philly is two points behind the second-place Carolina Hurricanes.

The Stadium Series wraps up on Sunday, when two other Metropolitan rivals clash. The first-place New York Rangers, playing without forward Blake Wheeler after he sustained a season-ending lower-body injury earlier in the week, face off with the New York Islanders, who are fifth in the division.

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