John Madden certainly isn't the first professional athlete to pursue coaching after retiring, but even he's surprised with how quickly he's made the transition.

Saturday night Madden found himself on the opposing bench in the Prudential Center coaching against the Devils who he won two Stanley Cup titles with over the first 10 years of his sterling 13-year NHL career.

"It's not too often a guy who last year was a player and then going behind the bench,'' said Madden, 40, who ended his career with the Panthers in the 2011-12 season before scouting for them.

"I know what guys are going through, what kind of players they're playing against and all that inside stuff. Hopefully, it's very helpful and I can provide it at the right time of the game.''

It's no coincidence that Panthers centers Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad are Nos. 1 and 2 in winning faceoff percentage at 49.6 and 48.6 respectively among rookies. Madden constantly works with all the Panthers centers on faceoffs in practice, morning skates and in the video room.