Perhaps THE league-wide storyline of the season thus far has unfolded between the pipes on Mulberry St in Newark, NJ.
Put yourself in this situation: The new NHL season is still in its infantry, less than a month old. Your team has high expectations going into said season and so far is playing well. Everything looks peachy.
Then it happens. On a seemingly harmless and routine play, your whole season changes completely. Your all-star goaltender is toppled on the ice, and you soon find you’ll be without him for at least the next FOUR months.
What’s a team to do? The answer was obvious — call on your third-string minor league starter to handle the workload of a sure-fire hall of famer who is regarded as the best the league has ever seen.
That is exactly what Scott Clemmensen was called upon to do. Instead of curling into the fetal position on the shower floor of the teams locker room — rocking back and forth like a rape victim (which is exactly what I would have done) — the man from the hockey hotbed of Des Moines, Iowa rose to the occasion and embraced the challenge with open arms.
The league laughed. Rival fans laughed. Everyone gathered with open eyes to watch the public humiliation that was supposed to be the remainder of the New Jersey Devils season.
Fast forward. Sixteen weeks have passed — almost to the day. With the duo of Clemmensen and Kevin Weekes taking care of business, the New Jersey Devils are sitting comfortably atop the Atlantic Division. They own winning records against the leagues top teams in Boston and San Jose. The offense has compiled 31 more goals than the “offensive machine” across the Hudson, and Clemmensen boasts a .917 Save %, compared to “King” Henrik’s .913%. But Ranger-land is far too consumed in their own self-loathing to notice.
Call it a miracle, call it a team coming together, call it downright luck for four months. The one thing you cannot deny is that Scott Clemmensen has saved the season for the New Jersey Devils.
However, this story could have an almost tragic ending as Martin Brodeur is slated to return tomorrow night when the Devils host the Avalanche. The possibility is high that Scott Clemmensen will not be with us come March 4th. As much as it would hurt to see the man go, I can only say Thank You. If your fate does bring you to a different locker room next week, we wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors for the remainder of your NHL career. This whole season will be talked about for quite a long time and you, my friend, are a huge part of the reason why.
From the crew here at 2ManAdvantage.com, and on behalf of Devils fans across the Nation and around the globe, we thank you for everything. Thanks to you, we’ll never have to hear “You’re nothing without Brodeur” from another fan ever again.
The best part of the season is about to get underway, and I haven’t been this optimistic in years.
Let’s Go Devils!