Are We There Yet?

After a weekend of driving through the mountains of Cobleskill, you can imagine I had more than a fair amount of time to think about…well, absolutely anything.  Aside from the usual day dreams about Chinese takeout and when my next Dunkin’ Donuts rest-stop will be, my mind inevitably ended up on the ice.

Typically, I wouldn’t have a problem with that, but with the off-season still flaunting its ugly style it can tend to get a little frustrating.  Well, I’d like to announce that I’m tired of waiting for something news-worthy to write about.  That being the case, I’ve decided I’d like to spill whatever has been on my mind as of late.

Sound good?  Too bad, here goes…

IS IT WORTH IT TO GET EXCITED?

Part of me says YES, and the other part of me thinks its counterpart has an addiction to sniffing glue.  You see, it’s easy as a fan to get wound up over signing a player of Brian Rolston’s caliber, but it’s not so easy (or enjoyable) to know that realistically Lou Lamoriello hasn’t done much to improve his squad other than sign Rolston & Holik.  Granted, some weeding was also done in the Black & Red garden, but the current selection of crops leaves me with a sinking feeling that the team still isn’t ready to compete.  Why do I feel that, you ask?  Look no further than the blue line.

With Paul Martin as your reigning #1, and Johnny Oduya as our token puck-mover, I just have a hard time feeling confident about our defensive corps.  Even guys like Halischuk and Corrente competing for a spot out of training camp, it’s going to take a lot more to keep the Devils from becoming a part of a few embarrassing highlight reels this season.

WILL LOU MAKE ANOTHER MOVE?

If I knew the answer to this question, I wouldn’t be typing to you from my ground level living room/bedroom.  Then again, when it comes to Lou, the highest of the hockey insiders still probably wouldn’t have a clue.  Would I like to see another move made?  Absolutely.  One involving a defen

seman?  You bet!  Again, reality donkey-punches me in the face and I’m forced back down to earth, knowing that another roster tweak isn’t likely.  Barring a few minor additions out of training camp,

it looks like the current Devils roster will be the one that takes the ice October 10th at The Rock.

HOW MUCH DOES MARTY HAVE LEFT?

It just wouldn’t be a legitimate pre-season breakdown without asking this question.  It seems th

at year in and year out, it rears its ugly head.  The funny thing is that every single year, the answer remains the same.  Marty is Marty. He will bring his usual lights-out game with him no matter what the situation is.  Kevin Weekes will play sparingly or when necessary, unless the team happens to be 39-1-1 at the All Star Break.

WILL THE OFFENSIVES WOES CONTINUE?

It depends.  Obviously, Brian Rolston could boost even the weakest offense.  Which is good, because I think the Devils are the proud(?) owners of that title.  The real question is: what kind of year will his support have?  Rolston has already proven what he can bring to the table, it’s the veteran Devils that worry me.  If anything, they’ve been consistantly inconsistant. 

Let’s take Patrik Elias for example.  Dude is either lights-out or a dud christmas light.  Gionta is no better, and Travis Zajac left much to be desired in his Sophomore campaign.  Perhaps the only reliable forward the Devils currently boast is Zach Parise.  Likewise with returning captain Jamie Langenbrunner.  John Maddens surprising 2007-2008 season was likely a one-shot-deal (that went high and wide…BA-ZING!!), and Dainius Zubrus will need to step it up in order to be effective in ’08-’09.

In all, Rolston is a great addition and I’m beyond excited to see how many times he will make my jaw drop.  The downside is that he won’t be able to do it by himself, and that’s where I start to worry.  The boys are going to have to either shape up or ship out in order for the team to be successful.

CAN BRENT SUTTER REALLY LEAD THIS TEAM?

I say yes.  Brent Sutter was under fire for a lot of the choices and decisions he made last season and although I was often the one tearing him a new one, I feel confident with him behind the bench.  I feel he, like his team, will have to change some things about his game to be successful but in the end is still a leader the Devils can feed off of and will learn much from.  If they’re not too stubborn to listen, that is.

*****

That’s all I got for now.  I’m sure there are tons more questions that fans like myself ask themselves every day about the team.  Got one?  Feel like sharing?  I’d love to hear them and voice my own opinion about whatever it is us Devils fans like to shoot the breeze about until the puck drops.

Keep it bookmarked at 2MA, the season is nearing and we’re just getting started!!

Comments

  1. Zubbie Counter Fan says:

    Pleeeaaase keep the Zubbie Counter going? XD

    I may be reading this the wrong way, but isn’t Halischuk a forward? I’m looking forward to what the kids can bring to the table. They seem hungry enough. Offense looks decent as long as they, at the very least, do as well as everyone expects them to. Also, in terms of next year, I’m really looking forward to the signing of Tedenby.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Zubbie Counter will not go away if I have anything to do with it, Ju…I mean, Zubbie Counter Fan.

    And god I can’t wait ’til Tedenby gets here. I’m totally spearheading the movement that we nickname him Tweak.

  3. Cmon.. “realistically Lou Lamoriello hasn’t done much to improve his squad” ??!! The Devils are going younger. Vishnisuck is gone and making room for Corrente who should rock the hizzy this season. There are many young guys coming up. I dont think the Devils needed to do much. They spent some time in first last season and where in control most of the season once we got past October. The one thing NJ needs to do is utilize Weekes much much more. Start him 20-25 times this season.

  4. What about Shanny if Sather keeps screwing him over? He lives in New York and wants to stay in the area. I’d love to see him on the PP, and a hall of famer on the wing might help Zajac out.

  5. Goon – 20-25 times for Weekes? I’m a big fan of the getting-Weekes-into-games movement, but 25 times is a bit much. I’ll take 10-12 at this point. Baby steps.

    Mouse – I’m not sure we’ve got the cap space for Shanahan without making another major move, but I’m not capologist. Anyone know for sure what that situation’s like?

  6. Zubbie Counter Fan.

    Best. User-name. Ever.

    Are those t-shirts I smell…?(!)

  7. This is the best I felt about this team since before the lockout

    Like the D, love addition by not having Vis-suck-ski around… I feel good about Corrente and the young guys taking into their own….

    like the forwards now… Rolston adds offense… Holik adds someone to make fun of :)…. and keeps Mike Rupp out of the lineup!!

    Now if only we can chain Marty to the bench 15 times this year….

    I think this is gonna be a good one… to steal my football guy’s line… Get yo popcorn ready!!!!

  8. A last-minute addition like Stephane Yelle wouldn’t be a bad idea. I’ll take it heading into the season if Lou could do that move.

  9. Weekes could handle 20 starts and that still gives marty 62 starts….

  10. The keys to the season 1) Martin/Oduya. The first half of the season they were about even. They both ended the season +20. Do we get an entire season of the +20 version of our #1 D pair? I say yes. both will finish the season over +30. 2)Can Bergfors and Corrente contribute? This will be up to Sutter to put them in a position to get early confidence. 3) Can Rolston help Elias and or Gionta regain their form? I say yes, the Devils should have four 30+ goal scorers in ZP, PE, BG and BR. 4) Can they improve the power play? Rolston on the point should help quite a bit. Devils will once again have 100+ points.

  11. Rupp plays hard

  12. Yelle would have been nice. It’s a bummer that he signed with Boston last week, though.

  13. Goon – I’m not saying Weekes couldn’t handle it, I just doubt that Marty willingly (or even unwillingly) sits that many games. It’s a shame because that’s the reason Weekes was bought in in the first place, but Marty’s Marty, and he does give the Devils the best chance to win every night. I’d be shocked if he started less than 70 games, though realistically it’d be nice to see him max out at 66-67 tops…

  14. Oh wow, Yelle did sign with Boston. Foolish me for not catching up on that. Keeping a stern eye on the Mets’ pennant chase will do that.

    Well, we might as well head into the season with what we got again. This time around, though, the prospects look even better than last.

  15. RestlessKnight says:

    Actually, I’m excited about this season with high expectations, unlike last year. Last year the only piece added was Sutter. He cost them the division title with his style change in the first month, but I think he is going to be great for them.

    This team competed last year very well. You can not get worse seasons from Elias, Gionta, Zubrus, Langs, & Zajac. Better stats as a group are a given. Adding Rolston & Holik are both great pickups. Come playoff time having somebody with Holik’s ability is critical.

    They will not get shut out a record number of times this year. Even with that, they weren’t that far from the Rangers scoring.

    One thing that really surprised me last year was that I thought Sutter would have the will to periodically sit Brodeur. That lasted 4-5 weekes then he played him the balance of the season – and for what?

    At all costs they must work some rookies in this year and stop wasting dollars on the soon to be Lowell players.

  16. NEWARK SMELLS says:

    josh, why see him play thoses games ? he will burn out in playoffs like he does every year. being selfish about personnel records isnt a team player

  17. Newark – It’s not (only) about the records, it’s about who gives you the best chance to win. Kevin Weekes is a good goalie, but Martin Brodeur is Martin Brodeur. The guy’s arguably the best goalie in NHL history, he’s just not going to sit 25 games in an 82 game season.

    He does need to sit more often, I don’t think anyone’s debating that. But expecting him to sit more than 12-15 games tops is a pipe dream – or nightmare.