Archives for October 2007


It needs to be posted.9:40 PM ET: LATE BREAKING NEWS: Jay Pandolfo has been credited with the last goal, not Vitaly Vishnevski. This means, kids, that this Halloween night, Jay Pandolfo has netted his first career hat trick. The final numbers: Pandolfo – 3 goals, 1 assist, +4; Madden – 1 goal, 3 assists, +4; Zubrus – 2 assists, +3. Nice night all around. That’s it for tonight’s cap, stay tuned for the usual stuff in the coming days! Good night and happy hauntings!

9:36 PM ET: Pando nearly tipped VV’s goal, which would have been a hat trick for him. No matter, though. Game over, Devils win it, 6-1. The first victory at The Rock is an old-fashioned blowout. Here’s to many more.

9:35 PM ET: It’s been a loooong time since a game felt this easy, no?

9:33 PM ET: VITALY VISHNEVSKI! Yes, VITALY VISHNEVSKI. 6-1 Devils. Assist to Madden, third on the night.

9:32 PM ET: I guess the Devs decided that the offense got it’s work in, so now Marty should get a workout. Marty, however, is entirely up to the task.

9:29 PM ET: ‘nother ‘ning penalty, Devils on the PP again.

9:27 PM ET: I could be mistaken, but I think I just saw Brent Sutter smile at the bench.

9:25 PM ET: Mark this date kiddies, the Devils have chased a starting goaltender. Mark Denis in for the Lightning. Devils remain on the powerplay due to the double-minor nature of Roy’s very stupid penalty.

9:23 PM ET: I have never been so happy to hear Zombie Nation so often. Zajac-to-Gionta-to-Parise for the goal, and the score is 5-1!

He is.9:21 PM ET: Roy trying to goad Clarkson into a fight, punching Clarkson as David’s trying to…not get into a fight, I suppose? Roy dropped gloves and threw a punch, Clarkson did not. Roy in the box for four minutes, a double-minor for roughing.

9:20 PM ET: Roy with a nice rising shot, Marty flashing the glove.

9:17 PM ET: PANDO! 4-1 Devils! Assists to Martin and Madden. Attention Brent Sutter: LEAVE THIS LINE ALONE AWHILE!

9:13 PM ET: ‘Ning are getting their shots at Marty but he’s looking good. Half a period to go.

9:09 PM ET: Elias down the boards, turns away and fires towards the net, re-directed by Asham! 3-1 Devils!

9:03 PM ET: THIRD FIGHT! Clarkson V. Gratton. Clarkson with some NICE shots to the head, the first knocking Gratton’s helmet off. One good uppercut in there too. Gratton with a few shots but this one is definately Edge: Clarkson

8:58 PM ET: A broken bracket on the boards means we get to hear from Stan Fischler…oh boy…?

8:55 PM ET: Zubrus with a nice pass ahead to Pandolfo, stopped by Holmqvist. If they’re going to play like this all the time, I think I’m okay with a $20 million third-line winger.

8:53 PM ET: Here we go, period number three. Finish strong boys.

8:36 PM ET: And that’s the end of two, Devils leading 2-1. A good period of the Devs, save for the last two minutes. Again with the penalty kill sucking. But the penalty kill wouldn’t have to suck if the boys would stop marching to the box. Back with the third in a few!Mmhmm.

Joe says: Great period. Starting to show signs that the old Devils are back. Marty looks confident, and Zubrus with two points?! It’s Christmas in October, I tell ya!

8:33 PM ET: Defensive zone turnover leads to a St. Louis-to-Lecavalier goal. 2-1 Devils.

8:31 PM ET: Travis Zajac in the box now for hooking.

8:26 PM ET: Whooo Marty with a nice pad save on the re-direction.

8:25 PM ET: Holding call on David Clarkson, iffy at best call. ‘Ning power play.

8:19 PM ET: And the penalty is over. No real chances for the Lightning. I forgot what it was like to see a Devils penalty kill!

8:15 PM ET: Penalty on Gionta. ‘Ning on the power play.

8:12 PM ET: Madden to Pandolfo on a break for another goal! 2-0 Devils and I propose Madden/Pando/whoever they are playing with on a give night should be the top line.

8:11 PM ET: Wow, Johnny Oduya with a nice hit to close off a Lightning offensive chance. See, Johnny? Playing well is fun!

Who knew?8:08 PM ET: JOHN MADDEN IS A SCORING MACHINE! Zubrus with a centering pass that Mad Dog stuffs under the crossbar. 1-0 Devils.

8:07 PM ET: Good pressure by the Devs up front so far this period.

8:04 PM ET: A couple of nice chances up front, nothing doing by way of biscuits in baskets. Penalty time up.

8:01 PM ET: Here comes period #2. Welcome to the Jungle blaring at the arena indicates as much.

7:45 PM ET: End of one, 0-0. Devils will be on the powerplay to start the second. Shots? 7-4 Devils. Not much going on offensively, quite obviously.

Joe says: I’m really impressed with Malmivaara. Offense looked shaky and uncoordinated, as did the powerplay. Shots against have been limited. Breakout passes need to be better. Half empty arena is pissing me off

7:43 PM ET: Interference penalty on Tarnasky, Devs on the PP.

7:36 PM ET: I want to like Johnny Oduya, but I cringe every time I hear he’s on the ice. Stop sucking man. It’s hard to defend you lately.

7:32 PM ET: Chico just dubbed the line of Parise/Zajac/Gionta the “Montana line” because it has no speed limit. If it were possible to come up with a worse name than ZZPops, I think we’ve found it.

7:29 PM ET: Holmqvist misplays a puck behind the net, it quibs out front but neither Zajac nor Parise can jam it home. Play under review, but not likely a goal. No replay that shows such, anyway.

7:25 PM ET: ‘NOTHER FIGHT! Clarkson V. O’Brien. They square off and circle. A handful of punches each and O’Brien kind of tackles Clarkson to the ice. Edge: O’Brien

7:23 PM ET: Parise with a mini-breakaway off a Lightning turnover, beautiful backhanded shot blocked away to the netting. Coulda swore that went in at first.

7:21 PM ET: Nice to see someone on this team get angry. Me likey Brookbank.

7:18 PM ET: FIGHT! Brookbank V. Tarnasky. Even fight, Tarnasky kind of falls and takes himself out. Edge: Even

7:15 PM ET: Not much going on as yet but I figured I’d post something while I still can. Only three full offensive lines for the Devils tonight, so far Pelley and Asham got a shift with Parise on the wing. Don’t expect much fourth-line doings tonight.

7:10 PM ET: There always seems to be a delay in the opening puck drop for unknown reasons whenever I livecap…Underway now though.

7:05 PM ET: Goblins got my modem. The high speed seems to be intermitant at best, so my apologies in advance if I don’t post often or fast eough. Mike Rupp is scratched, Olli Maalmivara up from Lowell as a seventh defensemen. Maybe he can hold onto his stick.

6:45 PM ET: About 15 minutes from puck-drop at The Rock. Happy Halloween those of you checking us out tonight. Let’s all hope the Devils performance is not quite so scary tonight, eh? Josh here bringing you the livecap with commentary from Mister Joe Bechtel himself at The Rock.

Devils look to Rock Tampa

The Devils will take another crack at their first home win of the season as the Tampa Bay Lightning invade The Rock tonight.

Tampa is skating into New Jersey fresh off a 3-1 loss to the lowly New York Rangers. Vincent Lecavalier bested Rangers’ keeper Henrik Lundqvist on a penalty shot, but it wasn’t enough to stop a toothless Jaromir Jagr and the Blueshirts, who improved their record to 4-6-1, just one win ahead of the last-place Devils.

Yes, last place. In the whole league.

Red ‘n Black hope to give the hometown crowd a little more to cheer about this time around after dropping the home opener to the mighty Ottawa Senators. Defenseman Karel Rachunek is doubtful for tonight’s meeting, suffering a groin pull late in the 4-1 loss to Ottawa. Mike Mottau, who sat out the previous two games in favor of the recently-acquired Sheldon Brookbank, is expected to skate in place of Rachunek.

Happy Halloween!Here’s my formula for a win tonight:

1. Super-glue Johnny Oduya’s stick to his gloves.
2. Play 60 minutes. Not 45. Not 30. Sixty.
3. Score more goals than Tampa.

Ya know, the basics.

Time to put the shovel down, boys. You dig yourselves any deeper and you might as well start mixing the concrete.

Yes, I’m cynical, but it’s not without reason.

Hey Marty, is tonight the night?

We have sticker sightings!

Well now folks, we feel quite honored here. You see, not only were Joe and myself recognized by quite a few people at the Pru Center last night, but there have been a few reports of sticker sightings in the arena vicinity already!

We love it!

But to be serious for a moment, we without a doubt love each and every member of the 2MA Crew, but we would like to make one quick note: please don’t stick these bad boys on any of the fancy stuff at the new arena. We’d hate to defile The Rock not even a week into its Devils’ existence, you know?

Alas, keep up the good work and remember, if you want a sticker too, clickity this linkity:


NJ @ The Rock For The First Time – Live Cap

9:40 – Devils lose… Sutter stands there looking like an idiot. Players don’t look happy and they shouldn’t. This was supposed to be our night but no one told the Senators that. Devils will be back here on Halloween night against the Lightning… The pimp in the pink is back behind Dano…they really need to keep people out of the area during this. My wife just said Dano’s hand is bigger than that kids head.

9:38 – Lots of chances… Ottawa looks to ice it.. OH CRAP… Alfredsson beat every one for it… 4-1

9:37 – Devils get a PP with 1:23 to go…. Fischer in the box for Tripping… Devils are 1 for 2 on the PP tonight with 3 shots

9:36 – Holy Scrum Batman….

9:35 – For those wondering, Red Sox up 5-0

9:33 – Two minutes to go… this isnt going as we wished… Icing called on the Sens.. Sutter takes a time-out

9:30 – Martin with a nice intercept and a shot right into the pads of Gerber….

9:29 – why didn’t we schedule the Thrashers or the Blackhawks for our first home game??

9:25– I knew they couldn’t keep the Sens 0-for on the PP … Fischer puts home a back breaker…

9:24 – Vishnevshy gets called for slashing and will sit…This isn’t a good time for a PK…

9:18 – Ottawa appears to be slowly getting a little more control of this game… Marty goes flying across the crease to make a save…Devils are making some ugly plays.

9:13 – I’d have to imagine that there is a goalie controversy going on in Ottawa. Gerber looks awesome so far this season and Emry we know is a very capable #1…. The just showed highlights of a missed Slashing call that led to the Ottawa goal..

9:12 – UGLY GOAL – Ottawa goes up 2-1 on some ugly play…Sean Donovan gets the goal…

9:11 – More crazy back and forth….Elias passes to no one with a wide open net…

9:10 – Chico said something about a penatly but the guy must be watching a different game.. TOO MANY MEN IN FRONT OF MARTY…Colin get better soon

9:08 – Brylin with a chance but it didnt work out, Ottawa back the other way… Wow this period is a lot of back and forth

9:06 – Eliase with a chance… Gerber got that one

9:04 – I will say the old broadcasts on FSN from the CAA were so dark and this arena shows up very nicely on TV.. back to the game

9:01 – Third Period coming and more talk of the scoreboard…I have to see this thing…

8:55 – This kid in the pink shirt behind Dano during the intermission report certainly thinks he’s a pimp….Pimp in a Pink Shirt….They need to not put people behind Dano during the intermission reports…

8:45 – End of 2, score is knotted at 1, shots on goal are Devils 23 Senators 15 so far (Ottawa out shoots NJ 10-5)

8:44 – Devils kill another one off

8:40 – Andy Greene will sit for jabbing at someone during a scrum on top of Marty…. Ottawa gets another chance..

8:37 – Fans are noticeably louder now after that goal and they are more noticeable now than they ever were in the Meadowlands…

8:35 – ITS A POWER PLAY GOAL….. Lucky bounce off a Senators skate so the first Devils goal at The Rock goes too….#14 Brian Gionta.

8:33 – Heatley gets another penalty, sits for slashing…

8:34 – Commercial break..penalty on the Senators upcoming…

8:30 – Box empty, Devils killed it

8:28 – Redden has a wicked hard shot…bounces off Marty to the corner…

8:27 – First NJ Penalty goes against Travis Zajac for hooking… he will sit for 2 and hopefully the Devils can kill this off and stop being the worst PK team.

8:25 Scoring change…Mezaros is being credited with scoring the first goal at The Rock, not Chris Neil…

8:24 – How many people are willing to bet that Derek Jeter doesn’t actually drive a Ford Edge…back to the game

8:18 – Well, that hurts.. Chris Neil deflects the puck under the cross bar Ottawa takes a 1-0 lead and we continue to struggle in second periods…Once again there are just too many people in front of Marty


8:13 – Dany Heatley will go down as the first guy to receive a penalty at the Rock – Heatley will sit for 2 minutes for Cross Checking…

8:11 – Second Period ready to begin and Doc an Chico talk about the scoreboard again…I don’t, from the TV it doesn’t look that impressive so I wonder what it looks like in person.

8:01 – Wow the chick that sang the National Anthem was the chick from the Phantom of the Opera movie….ummmm No Comment…

7:55 – Period 1 at the Rock in the books… Devils outshot Ottawa 18-5 but nothing to show for it but an impressive showing against a very good Ottawa team…

7:52 – Nice 3 on 2 rush up the ice and Gerber had NO idea where that puck popped up to…

7:48 – I have to say, the Fire Louge looks awesome, at least from my couch….

7:45 – Rupp on a One on One and he’s got ZERO moves..

7:41 – Wow that was close…Ottawa dings one off the post…Yo..DING DONG…DING DONG YO…DING DONG…

7:40 – Dont you think Marty should have gotten more time to get acustom to the arena….

7:34 – I think I just saw my high school teams hockey jersey.. Go Morris Knolls!!

7:32 – I have to say, the Devils have come out with a little jump but now it seems awfully quiet…

7:27 – First icing in Rock History

7:24 – CMON Greene ..hold it in!!

7:20 Who sang the National Anthem? because that version was EXTREMELY long


6:52 – Radio City Christmas Spectacular commercial already?????

6:44 PM – Almost time to drop the puck at The Rock…. Is it me or am I the only one who hears either Sean Connery or The Rock when that name is mentioned??


25 years has come down to a matter of hours. In those few hours, the doors will open on a new era in New Jersey Devils hockey — one that the Devils have unquestionably earned.

For so long, it’s been almost depressing to watch one of the most successful NHL franchises of our time struggle to fill seats and really enjoy the luxury of a home game. For years they were buried in that little piece of hell known as The Meadowlands. Sure the memories of numerous championship banners, spectacular plays, and teary-eyed moments (Mike Peluso, anyone?) will forever roam the halls of that building, but the future is much more important than the past, and when your talking about the Devils, the future is always bright.

Although I’m sure Brent Sutter and the rest of the players involved would disagree, tonight is not about the “game”. Tonight is a celebration. An acknowledgment of greatness. A coming of age, of sorts. Black ‘n Red has done plenty to establish itself as worthy of this breathtaking new arena — one that they can call their own — and no stat-sheet can take that away from them. Finally, the Devils will have a home that will be just as glorious and magical as their three Stanley Cup Championships.

So for one night – forget the record, the standings, the bad weather, and how bad Johnny Oduya has been. This is a night for the Devils – players and fans alike. We’ve earned this, and nothing can take that away from us.

Raise your glass of champagne high, and in your best Sean Connery impression, declare “This one’s for The Rock!”


It’s here. It’s finally here.

COMMENTARY: Something from the heart


I’ve been sitting here for nearly an hour, so desperately trying to find the right words I want to write for this commentary, but I just can’t.

Maybe I could blame it on lack of sleep, or the amazingly excruciating pain I feel in my knee, hell, maybe it’s the fact that I just can’t find the right song to listen to right now. Seriously, it’s kind of really annoying.

Alas, I truly think my loss for words (which is quite rare, mind you) is because I am really in sheer awe of what is to come in these next few hours.

Okay, yeah, new arenas pop up on a daily basis these days…or not…you know what I mean. But really, this shouldn’t be such a big deal — it’s just a new arena.

Yet, why do I feel like something monumental is happing right now?

I think it’s part luster, part emotion. Well, for me, at least.

Yeah, it’s been 25 years, oh sure, a perfectly good 25 years in the Meadowlands, but it was time to move on. A break up, if you will.

Everyone’s been through it. You have so much love for said person or object, but there was just no future. Things were deteriorating (quite literally, at the CAA, if you will), and all you ever did was fight. You grew to hate that person or object.

Cue new person, or, you know, object.

On the surface, they are quite attractive. They have such a bright smile, you know, the kind you haven’t seen in years. It feels good to see that smile, it fills that emptiness created by your last person…or object.

And hey, you come to find out, underneath that glamorous exterior, this new thing is the most beautiful experience you’ve ever, well experienced. They were everything you needed, everything you were looking for. They treated you right, they gave you the respect you haven’t received in what seems like forever.

It’s a match made in heaven.

I know, this might seem hard to follow, but if you really think about it, The Prudential Center is your new love. You know? The Devils deserve this arena so much, they’ve gone through so much crap through the years, from that lack of respect, lack of seat-filling in Continental, name-calling (apparently we were a Micky Mouse organization…thanks, Wayne). Sure, there were lots of good memories. You know, winning Stanley Cups and stuff. But like relationships, it’s time to move on.

Saturday is going to one of the most amazing experiences in New Jersey Devils history. Sure, Black ‘n Red may very well get slaughtered by the Senators, but for one night, it just doesn’t matter. Goals, saves, wins, losses — they all lose meaning for one night.

For one night, we as fans, get to experience the love of a new relationship. We will embrace this new arena as it embraces us. Respect will be given, it will be received. No amount of defensive mistakes by Johnny Oduya can ruin this night.

Remember this moment, friends and fans. Whether you hold your excitement for the glitz and glamor of fancy food and ritzy luxury suites, or you carry the feeling of new beginnings, embrace this moment.

Welcome to The Rock. Love it. It will love you.


9:20 PM ET: And that’s the puck game kids.  2-0 Rangers.  Devils end the nine-game road trip 3-5-1.  Shut out three times over the course of said road trip.  However, no points for Scott Gomez, and of course…the road trip is officially OVER.  See you at The Rock! 

9:19 PM ET: Devils net empty. 

9:18 PM ET: For a game in which the Devs haven’t looked that bad, this is very disappointing.  2 minutes left. 

9:14 PM ET: DAMMIT.  Dawes on the power play.  2-0 Rangers. 

9:12 PM ET: Sigh.  Brylin off for holding.  4:50 left in the game, Devs still down 1-0. 

9:11 PM ET: I say, a Devils goal would be REALLY nice right about now… 

9:07 PM ET: A Devils goal would be really nice right about now. 

9:03 PM ET: Devils manage one shot on goal on the PP despite a bunch of chances.  Boo. 

9:01 PM ET: Nigel Dawes follows up a quick shot on goal with an elbowing penalty, Devils on the power play. 

8:56 PM ET: The PK is alive tonight!  Shorthanded chances, denying odd-man rushes.  I’m impressed, especially considering how anemic the kill has been.  Zajac’s out of the box, remains 1-0 Rangers. 

8:54 PM ET: Zajac to the sin bin for hooking. 

8:53 PM ET: Malik – or as my father calls him, The Rangers’ Oduya – nearly gives away one to Parise in the Rangers zone.  But not quite. 

8:52 PM ET: Uh, yeah.  Four minutes in and not much going down. 

8:48 PM ET: Here we go, third period is underway. 

8:30 PM ET: End of 2 and it’s still 1-0 Rangers.  The way the Devils have been getting ransacked in the second period of late, I’ll take it.  Stay tuned for period #3!

8:26 PM ET: Not a very good PP so far.  So sad. 

8:22 PM ET: Ryan Hollweg nails Johnny Oduya from behind.  Ryan Hollweg goes to the box for this.  Devils on the PP, oh-for-two tonight thusfar.

8:19 PM ET: Vishnevsky hit Gomez.  I mean, not hard, but it made me giggle. 

8:16 PM ET: Brendan Shanahan on the doorstep stoned by Marty…twice!  I know Shanahan’s been shooting a lot and scoring not much, but those were top notch chances there.  Beautiful glove save on the last one. 

8:14 PM ET: Pandolfo walks in uncontested only to be stopped by Henrik.  Lame.  Me no gusta Lundqvist. 

8:13 PM ET: Marty with the save via helmet.  Whatever works. 

8:07 PM ET: Brodeur stones Drury on a shorthanded breakaway!  Hey Marty!  Welcome to ’07-’08!  You’re a little late, but hey, what’s a few games amongst friends? 

8:07 PM ET: Devs creating some chances but zero goals.  I’d like to see more goals guys. 

8:04 PM ET: Sorry for the delay gang, Patricia is not feeling well, so it is I, Josh, taking you through the rest of tonight’s game.  Devils on the PP early in the second period.

7:39 PM ET: Not a terrible period. I’d rather the first minute not count, but at least it was only one minute instead of 20. If the boys come out and play like butt for the second, I will poke myself in the eye. Call me Colin White.

7:38 PM ET:
Clearly, this game needs a Johnny Oduya hat trick.

7:34 PM ET:
Clarkson totally just stripped Jagr of the puck. Niiice.

7:32 PM ET:
Man, Brookbank is a skinny mo’fo.

Keep it up. 7:29 PM ET:
Dare I say, Marty looks relatively solid so far? Don’t let me down, buddy. I will kick your butt.

7:28 PM ET:
Whew, Shanahan rips one at Marty, who makes quite the nice save on the former Devil. Woo.

7:24 PM ET:
Back and forth hockey! Asham enjoys a 2-on-1 chance, Mara blocks the passing lane, resulting in Asham giving Lundqvist an easy save. Asham appears quite frustrated from this, though, as he then takes a penalty. ‘nother Rangers power play.

7:23 PM ET:
It’s gettin’ rough out in these parts. Brookbank, if you can’t play defense, at least hit someone. It’ll be mildly entertaining, if nothing else.

7:23 PM ET:
Holy giganto-mush of players in front of Brodeur Batman! I HATE OUR DEFENSE. Seriously.

7:21 PM ET:
Madden makes a decent play to get the puck to streaking Elias…but the Rangers know how to play defense, so this short handed chance is effectively ruined.

7:18 PM ET:
Nice open ice hit by Clarkson…which is said to be a penalty, Rangers pee-pee. Let this not get embarrassing…

7:14 PM ET:
And the Devils have life! The boys actually have some relatively decent puck time near Lundqvist, who is forced to make quite a few decent saves.

7:12 PM ET:
Jagr is skating circles around said garbage defense.

7:12 PM ET:
The defense looks like garbage.

7:09 PM ET:
1-0 Rangers. Yes, already. Absolutely crap-tastsic line change for the Devils, Shanahan takes the loose puck and gets it to Dawes who fires it over the blocker of Martin Brodeur. Poop.

We’re, like, not even a minute into this contest.

7:08 PM ET:
How cute. Gomez is on the ice for the opening face off.

6:55 PM ET:
Almost there.

One More River To Cross

Tonight the Devils look to break open the season series against the Rangers with a win in MSG. They also hope to break even by improving to 4-4-1 on the season, which would match their record after 9 games last year as well (hmmm…) That’s a lot of breaking to do…hopefully Oduya’s groin will be in that mix as well.

He's a rockstar!Speaking of mediocre defensemen, newly acquired badass Sheldon Brookbank is slated to don the horned crest for the first time tonight. Well, at least the first time in the one with an NJ and not an L.

Get it?

Unfortunately though, it’s at the expense of Mike Mottau, who many claim to be Black ‘n Red’s best Dman thus far.

Nuts to you, Mr. Martin.

The Rangers have been struggling as of late, having been shut out in the last 130:00 minutes of their season, but at the rate the Devils have been giving up goals, the Rangers may be able to pad that column in the standings. Or not. Hopefully not.

So this is it, one more road….er, river to cross. The Prudential Center awaits, fellas. What better way to open it than fresh off a win in Gomez’s new barn?!

Devils vs. Rangers. Does it get any better than that? I submit that it does not!

As always, keep that address bar locked on 2MA for the ever-fabulous live-cap and some more good fun from yours truly as I will be reporting live from MSG!

Limited seats released for home opener

!!!@!!Wanna go to the Rock for home game numero uno but ain’t got a ticket?

Well, you’re in luck.

As reported by our friends at (link opens in new window), a limited amount of tickets in every price range have been released for Saturday’s opener against the Ottawa Senators.

Sure, you may very well see the Devils get slaughtered by the big bad Sens, but hey, it’s worth it: there will only be one first opener at the Rock for the Devils.

Alas, grab a ticket while you can — these bad boys are going fast!

And, hey, as an added bonus, you get the chance to run into three out of the five 2MA Crew — along with myself, Mr. Bechtel and Mr. Burnett will be making a glorious appearance at the game.

Yeah, cause we’re totally not celebrities…

COMMENTRANTY: The Long Trek & The Pessimist’s Reaction

Plus one in OT!So this is how it stands: one big game left on the record-setting road trip and the Devils are 3-4-1, collecting seven of a possible 16 points thus far, with two more big ones up for grabs Thursday night. If you have anything to do with the Devils — from Lou Lamoriello to the losers who just blog about them (wait…) — you can’t be thrilled with those numbers. So much fuss is being made league-wide about the Devils poor play as of late. In a way, it’s flattering.

The Devils have long been a team that is synonymous with winning and success. So naturally, when it is discovered that the team is sub-.500 only eight games deep, fans across the league can’t help but start gossiping. There have been rumbling tirades that “Brodeur is finally on the decline” and that it’s “impossible to replace Scott Gomez and Brian Rafalski,” even one absurd comment that “Brodeur is being exposed for the fraud he is – no defensive system = no W’s for Marty and the Devils.”

Um, is there maybe a slight inkling of a possibility that maybe, just maybe it’s nothing more than…a poor start? It’s no secret that most hockey fans are quite the apocalyptics (is that even a word?), but this is borderline ludicrous. It really burns my ass that there are people writing this team off as a failure this early in the season. Does anyone realize that the Devils are the only team league-wide yet to play a home game? To be honest, there’s much more to laugh about just across the river.

It's gonna be okay.I am in no way making excuses for, or justifying the sub-par record the Devils have established, but I am not maiming this team just yet. The Devils offense has displayed some dangerous talent and a serious will to fight for every single loose puck throughout the course of a game. The defense has made steady progress – keeping in mind they’re short one mighty anger-riddled enforcer. Brodeur has not played well, but you cannot expect that to continue. Even during his darkest games this year, he has showed signs of brilliance. A bit confusing, yes, but promising nonetheless.

So take the past and put it behind you. There is one game left on this hellacious trip. Thursday night’s contest between the River-rival Rangers will be the biggest game of the young season for Black ‘n Red. A win over the hated rivals would breathe a whole new life into the team, as well as give them the opportunity to greet their hometown fans for the first time with a somewhat-respectable record to boot.

I cannot assure you that the team will turn it around and post another 100+ point season, nor can I assure you they will even make the playoffs — but I can tell you this: this is the New Jersey Devils we are talking about. Feel free to write this team off all you’d like, but it would be foolish to make such asinine assumptions.