White Bear Lake native Ryan Carter is giving Devils just what they need

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 29, 2012 - 6:32 AM

He has played a key role in New Jersey's gritty run to the Stanley Cup Final.


New Jersey's Ryan Carter squared off with former Gophers defenseman Stu Bickel during a fight-filled Rangers-Devils game March 19.

Photo: Barton Silverman, New York Times

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

It doesn't matter if you're a team with a Hall of Fame shoo-in in goal like Martin Brodeur, a model captain like Zach Parise or a sniper like Ilya Kovalchuk, there's little chance of getting where you want to go without that unexpected hero jumping to the forefront.

That's the beauty of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

For the New Jersey Devils, who open the Stanley Cup Final at home Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Kings, Ryan Carter was as pivotal to the Devils' ability to knock off the rival New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals as the Devils' household names.

The White Bear Lake native scored three times in the series, including in the Game 6 clincher. And it was Carter's winning goal with 4:24 left in Game 5 that kept the Devils from blowing a 3-0 lead and gave them a stranglehold in the series.

But maybe Carter prospering on the big stage shouldn't come as such a shock.

After all, Carter's NHL debut came in 2007 when the former Minnesota State Mankato standout was hurled into the Western Conference finals against the Detroit Red Wings by the eventual champion Anaheim Ducks.

"I thought I was there to practice all playoff and soak up the experience, and lo and behold, there was a need and they put me in," Carter, who played three games in the conference finals and once in the Stanley Cup Final against Ottawa, said by phone Monday.

"It all happened so fast. Nerves, jitters, you name it, so I don't think there's a scenario I can be put in now that would be as nerve-racking as that."

Carter credits that experience as to why he has looked so poised all postseason for New Jersey. He learned what playoff hockey was all about before he even tasted a regular-season game, so the ramped-up intensity and increased media attention haven't intimidated him.

Of course, the guy still can't grow a playoff beard. Instead, Carter, 28, has taken much grief for his weak playoff mustache -- one that's a lot thinner than that of his father, Mike, who has sported one his entire career with the St. Paul Police Department and now Ramsey County Sheriff's Department.

"Obviously there's no chance I could ever be a police officer with this mustache," Carter said, laughing. "I just lack the genetic capability to grow a beard and really mustache, too. This is what I got. I'm taking a lot of heat with the fellas, but I'm running with it.''

Carter has thrived on the Devils' high-energy fourth line, playing left wing alongside Stephen Gionta and Steve Bernier. After getting four goals and four assists in 72 games for New Jersey and Florida, Carter has four goals and two assists in 17 playoff games. The six points have come in six victories.

"But that's why I love hockey," Carter said. "It's not about who scores the goal. It's about winning games, especially this time of year."

Still, not bad for a hockey player who was allowed to pass through waivers by 29 teams at least twice in his career and was acquired by New Jersey via waivers from Florida in October.

"Waivers are a stressful experience," Carter said. "It's a good thing it's only 24 hours because it seems like 24 weeks."

It has worked out for Carter, a high school quarterback until he was told by former White Bear Lake football coach Bob Jackson to pick between football and hockey entering his junior year.

"I had to choose that day, so I said, 'I don't know if I can play football then,'" said Carter, an eventual 2002 Minnesota Mr. Hockey finalist.

In 2007, Carter brought the Stanley Cup back to the White Bear Lake Sports Center, as well as to Mankato and Patrick McGovern's Pub in downtown St. Paul. What will he do this time for his day with the cup if New Jersey's fortunate enough to win?

"You don't want to get ahead of yourself," he said. "We've got to win four more games before we can really focus on that."

  • related content

  • NHL playoff schedule

    Monday May 28, 2012

    Wednesday: at New Jersey, 7 p.m., Ch. 11

  • Ryan Carter’s beard might not be playoff-worthy, but his clutch play certainly has been for the Devils.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Milwaukee 115 FINAL
Orlando 100
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 103
Denver 69 FINAL
Memphis 99
Chicago 118 FINAL
LA Lakers 123
Montreal 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 0
Winnipeg 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Boston 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Arizona 3 FINAL
Toronto 1
Dallas 6 FINAL
Ottawa 3
Detroit 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 5
Columbus 2 FINAL
Florida 3
Nashville 4 FINAL(SO)
St. Louis 5
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Calgary 0
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Anaheim 3 FINAL
San Jose 6
DePaul 72 FINAL
Providence 83
Michigan State 71 FINAL
Rutgers 51
Boston Univ 67 FINAL
Army 71
Fla Atlantic 61 FINAL
Charlotte 86
Youngstown St 87 FINAL
Detroit 93
East Tenn St 55 FINAL
Furman 59
Saint Louis 60 FINAL
George Mason 68
USC Upstate 78 FINAL
Jacksonville 65
High Point 72 FINAL
Liberty 53
Central Conn St 55 FINAL
Long Island 67
Western Ky 56 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 69
Dayton 64 FINAL
Massachusetts 66
Chattanooga 72 FINAL
Mercer 75
Wofford 58 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 42
Maryland 56 FINAL
Ohio State 80
Old Dominion 71
Fair-Dickinson 65 FINAL
Robert Morris 87
Mount St Marys 67 FINAL
St Francis-NY 73
Bryant 68 FINAL
St Francis-PA 75
Northern Ky 75 FINAL
Stetson 85
Coll of Charleston 70 FINAL
Towson 74
Western Carolina 85 FINAL
Va Military 70
Sacred Heart 64 FINAL
Wagner 75
Lipscomb 62 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 78
Kennesaw St 67 FINAL
North Florida 86
Appalachian St 46 FINAL
Ga Southern 83
Holy Cross 54 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 64
Eastern Ill 51 FINAL
UT Martin 81
Jacksonville St 82 FINAL
Belmont 103
Connecticut 58 FINAL
Cincinnati 70
Rider 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 49
SIU Edwardsville 75 FINAL
SE Missouri St 61
Marshall 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 54
Tenn Tech 56 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Middle Tennessee 58 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 69
Ill-Chicago 65 FINAL
Milwaukee 71
Weber State 67 FINAL
North Dakota 60
Denver 54 FINAL
North Dakota St 61
IUPU-Ft Wayne 66 FINAL
South Dakota 55
Louisiana 85 FINAL
South Alabama 89
Ark-Little Rock 75 FINAL
Arkansas State 65
Georgia State 88 FINAL
Texas-Arlington 74
Troy 55
Portland 46 FINAL
Gonzaga 64
Kentucky 69 FINAL
Missouri 53
Eastern Ky 78 FINAL
Murray State 85
Texas-El Paso 71
Idaho State 76 FINAL
Northern Colorado 79
Grand Canyon 78
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Utah Valley U 78
Colorado 98 FINAL
USC 94
Cal Poly 57 FINAL
UC Irvine 67
Hawaii 84 FINAL
CS-Northridge 73
Pepperdine 50 FINAL
Pacific 43
Santa Clara 64 FINAL
San Diego 69
Utah 59 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 64 FINAL
UC Davis 70
Montana 73 FINAL
Portland State 54
Montana State 59 FINAL
Sacramento St 75
Long Beach State 91 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 85
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
St Marys-CA 68
San Francisco 74 FINAL
BYU 78
California 76 FINAL
Washington St 67
Louisiana 47 FINAL
South Alabama 57
Saint Josephs 51 FINAL
Saint Louis 52
Appalachian St 77 FINAL
Georgia Southern 74
Niagara 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 65
Old Dominion 80 FINAL
FIU 67
Southern Miss 65 FINAL
Marshall 67
Georgia State 45 FINAL
TX-Arlington 57
Ark-Little Rock 69 FINAL
Arkansas State 70
Troy 90
Pittsburgh 45 FINAL
(17) Duke 62
(6) Tennessee 73 FINAL
(10) Kentucky 72
(24) Oklahoma 81 FINAL
(14) Texas 84
Nebraska Omaha 59 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 70
UC-Riverside 68 FINAL
CS-Northridge 56
Army 65 FINAL
Boston U 40
New Orleans 40 FINAL
Nicholls 56
Charlotte 68 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 71
Towson 54 FINAL
Delaware 72
Hofstra 66 FINAL
Northeastern 45
New Hampshire 56 FINAL
Maine 87
Albany 89 FINAL
Vermont 48
Hartford 60 FINAL
Stony Brook 58
UNC-Wilmington 62 FINAL
William & Mary 67
Clemson 62 FINAL
Wake Forest 64
Alabama 54 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 85
(23) Syracuse 58 FINAL
(8) Louisville 78
Missouri 68 FINAL
Florida 52
Iona 66 FINAL
Fairfield 77
Manhattan 38 FINAL
Marist 77
NC State 63 FINAL
Virginia 71
(4) Notre Dame 74 FINAL
Virginia Tech 50
(22) Rutgers 58 FINAL
Purdue 49
(5) Maryland 91 FINAL
Michigan 65
Milwaukee 58 FINAL
Cleveland State 67
Wright State 108 FINAL
Oakland 89
Jacksonville 64 FINAL
USC Upstate 66
North Florida 40 FINAL
Kennesaw St 46
Stetson 62 FINAL
Northern Ky 68
Loyola-Maryland 57 FINAL
Holy Cross 51
Lamar 87 FINAL
Sam Houston St 68
Fla Gulf Coast 71 FINAL
Lipscomb 49
Vanderbilt 44 FINAL
(18) Miss State 69
Western Ill 73
Abilene Christian 53 FINAL
Houston Baptist 50
Incarnate Word 54 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 63
McNeese State 78 FINAL
SE Louisiana 57
Oral Roberts 46 FINAL
South Dakota St 71
Louisiana Tech 66 FINAL
Western Ky 82
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 73
Texas-El Paso 52 FINAL
UAB 67
Auburn 47 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Grand Canyon 65 FINAL
Illinois 57 FINAL
(15) Nebraska 59
(20) Iowa 102 FINAL
Northwestern 99
Utah Valley U 55 FINAL
Chicago State 60
Green Bay 67 FINAL
Valparaiso 52
Ole Miss 41 FINAL
LSU 70
Portland State 31 FINAL
Montana 72
Sacramento St 64 FINAL
Montana State 91
North Dakota 55 FINAL
Weber State 48
Ohio State 85 FINAL
Wisconsin 73
Northern Colorado 61 FINAL
Idaho State 70
San Francisco 63
St Marys-CA 56 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 49
Pacific 63 FINAL
Pepperdine 59
Cal-Irvine 61 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 58
San Diego 64 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
UC Davis 64 FINAL
Cal Poly 72
Long Beach St 64 FINAL
Hawaii 72
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which of these teams is the most frustrating to watch right now?

Weekly Question