Devils @ Panthers LIVECAP!!

10:06 PM: So a five-game winning streak for NJ after nearly losing the game in a poorly-played few minutes in the third. Nothing like a little tension to head into turkey day. That’s it for me tonight. Check back in the next few days for the launch of a major initiative from the 2ma! Goduya! Happy Thanksgiving!

10:01 PM: Johnny mothereffin’ Oduya!!!!! After botching a 2-on-1 just minutes ago, the reborn defenseman rips one through Anderson to win the game for New Jersey! Devils win! 3-2 in OT.

10:00 PM: Penalty killed, Devils on the attack. Thankfully the Panthers are still playing like little more than an AHL squad.

9:56 PM: OT underway and hot jesus on a hammock, they throw the puck over the glass and draw a penalty. Would somebody please find the Devils from 90 minutes ago?

9:53 PM: Damn. David Booth puts one home with 7.8 seconds left. We’re going to OT folks! Major Buzzkill is undoubtedly laughing from the bench, twirling his evil mustache. I completely blame this on my girlfriend, who wished against the shutout so her fantasy team would do better.

9:52 PM: Stop by Clemmer. Good pressure by the Panthers though, under 30 seconds left.

9:51 PM: Buzzkill pulled. Less than a minute to play.

9:49 PM: Ooof. Out of nowhere the Panthers put one in on a quick bang-bang play to Bouwemeester in the slot. 2-1. Two minutes to play.

9:43 PM: Major Buzzkill strikes again. Anderson stones Parise on a great breakaway chance. I feel like Anderson was stroking his Snidely Whiplash mustache under his helmet after that one.

9:41 PM: And now what it would have looked like if it were 1943! Anyone else getting sepia-tone replays?

9:38 PM: The Panthers look like the mighty mites on the 5-on-3 and Clemmer shuts them down when they get their act together for the subsequent 5-on-4. Still 2-0 in the second half of the 3rd.

9:35 PM: Ooooh boy. Now it gets interesting. Gio takes down a Panther and is called for tripping in what was a far more legitimate infraction. 5-on-3. The Panthers have “Right Now” by Van Halen on in the arena to boot. This sh*t’s about to get intense, hair band style.

9:33 PM: BS roughing call on Colin White. Nathan Horton comes up high on a hit on Whitey in the corner and he retaliates and gets called for a minor.

9:28 PM: 7 minutes of unremarkable hockey is broken by an absolutely absurd pair of saves by Clemmer! He made a solid save on an initial shot and I think somehow detached his spine to catch the rebound with his lower back. Johnny Oduya backs him up by kicking the puck out of harms way near the goal line. Whew! That woke me up.

9:22 PM: Back at it here in the third. Man, I agree with Josh, this Craig Anderson character is a bummer.

9:01 PM: Clemmer’s looked great during a bit of pressure from the Panthers at the end of the second there. Might be time for Weeksie to find that crossword puzzle book he was working on last year. Devils still up 2-0 after two.

8:58 PM: It even looks like the refs are taking pity on the thus-far hapless Panthers. Jay Leach gets called for a questionable interference minor and the Panthers are on the PP.

8:53 PM:Man, Patty and Gio are playing like it’s ’05-’06. Every shift has just been gold for them lately. A great give and go gets stopped by Anderson, who admittedly has done well to stonewall the Devils here in the second.

8:47 PM: And another powerplay without a goal. Still, as MSG-1294 just flashed up on the screen, the scoring chances are 16-1 at this point, so I’m not going to throw a pissy fit over it.

8:43 PM: Another penalty to the Panthers!

8:42 PM: My girlfriend, who has been affectionate to me in the comments arena tonight, just pointed out that Clemmenson is quite intimidating in net. I never noticed it, especially since there’s been no focus on him whatsoever tonight, but the dude seriously looks Devilish in net with his dark pads and mask.

8:39 PM: Another strong powerplay by the Devils with nothing to show for it. Still, the Devils look like they’re in a different league than the Panthers, who might have stayed a little too long out in the sun today.

8:36 PM: 17-4 is the shot total right now in favor of New Jersey. 17-4! Clarkson takes a spill (which I’m convinced has more to do with the fact that his skating ability is akin to Happy Gilmore than a trip) for a penalty and we’ve got another Devils powerplay!

8:29 PM: Back again for the second to find that Thomas Voukon has made a hasty exit in lieu of Craig Anderson. That’s two games straight that the Devils, the New Jersey Devils mind you, have chased goalies in consecutive games. What’s going on here? I ain’t about to question it.

8:11 PM: Hahaha. Doc ends the period with the most uncomfortable “whoohooo” ever to announce the Devils next Nathan’s hot dog night.

8:09 PM:Wow! A beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play from Parise to Cap’n Langs on over to Zajac and it’s a 2-0 game. All four lines are looking great heading into the final minute of the period down in Florida.

8:06 PM: Man, the boys are buzzing tonight. I’m almost terrified at this point that Rolston and Holik coming back will upset this magnificent chemistry that’s been stumbled across.

8:03 PM: Some good puck movement on the powerplay but nothing to show for it. The Devils are outshooting the Panthers 9-2 so far this period, so I’m not gonna complain. Are we on MSG-153 tonight? This looks like it’s being filmed in a cave.

8:01 PM: Penalty on Florida! Looked like a hook as Elias is taken down. Devils PP!

7:55 PM: Back and forth hockey here, nothing too spectacular. We could invent some Devils drama in the process I suppose. Bryce Salvador totally just rejected Parise’s stick after he broke his in the defensive zone. Is there trouble in paradise?

7:51 PM: The Devils really have a zip to their game again tonight. I dunno what Grumpy McMonkey Ears behind the bench has been saying to them lately, but he better keep it up. Is it injuries? Is the road to Lord Stanley paved with sports hernias? No probably not.

7:47 PM: Gionta scores!! The streak continues! Five straight games with a goal for Gio on another beautiful deflection setup by Mr. Johnny Oduya, who has looked freakin’ phenomenal this year.

7:45 PM: Elias just barely fans on an opportunity in front. Chico points out that this is in fact hockey and not soccer and Elias would not have been able to kick the puck into the net. Whew, that’s a load off.

7:43 PM: Penalty killed. Jesus, are the Devils really only 68 percent on the penalty kill at home? WTF? Devils powerplay as the Panthers take a minor!

7:40 PM: After figuring out some dual live-cap madness we’re underway! And less than 2 minutes in we’ve already got a penalty to Elias. Devils on the PK early.

7:35 PM: I think this truly must be a 2ma first.

7:32 PM: Oh! Dueling livecaps!!!! Damn you Burnett!!

7:30 PM: P.S. I had some trouble finding the game tonight on my cable. If you’re having the same problem, this is where I found the info on what asscrack of television the devils broadcast is on tonight.

7:25 PM:So Scottie Clemmensen gets the start tonight as we continue to work through the weird and wild post-Brodeur apocalypse. We’re still working on fixing the Zubbie Counter after last night’s explosion, but those repairs could be helped along by some continued stellar play (ahem).

7:19 PM: Hey all, it’s been a while I know. I’ve been giving a little too much love to my other wordpress baby lately (i sorta get paid for it), and I apologize. But OMG, two livecaps in a week?! We’re totally spoiling you. Let’s go Devils!

OMG we scored three goals!!!

No, really! I’m not kidding! Three whole goals! And a shootout win! Amazing! Wee!

Whew, that was a pretty intense game. Well first things first, congrats to Petr Vrana on his first NHL goal and Patrick Elias for passing his way to the all time Devils assist lead! Woo! They jump started what was a fantastically exciting 4-3 shootout win for our boys.

Now for the bad news, Chico reports that Geico Spokesman Bobby Holik has broken his pinky finger after taking a shot to the hand during the game, meaning that Lou’s grand plan for revamping the Devils is on the injured list in its entirety after a mere 5 games.

Alright so our Back to the Future team is on the IR and our season high is now three goals scored in a regulation game, but a 4-1 start ain’t to shabby is it? I don’t think so. We could put Mr. Ovechkin on our team and I’m convinced he’d score 60 points, that’s just the way it’s gotta be.

Aside from the fact that our offense reflects our country’s booming economy, there’s a lot I liked during this game. First of all, it was a blast to watch, a fantastic showcase of hockey in my view.

Of course, Zach Parise is amazing. You can’t understate it, but I feel like everything that’s could be said already has, the kid’s just money. Travis Zajac looks like last year didn’t even exist. I LOVE the way this guy has been playing this year, and tonight is a perfect example of that.

I have to interject into my own post here and say I absolutely ADORE that Ron Duguay from MSG is getting into the Halloween spirit, his Jon Bon Jovi drowning in a blue dye factory costume is just spot on. Spot on.

Anyways, much as I’ve dragged his name through the mud, Johnny Oduya looked great tonight too. He seems to have carried his second half performance through to the start of the season and just looks like he’s primed to have a big season.

On the flip side of the glory of tonight’s comeback win, why can’t the Devils score on the freakin’ rush?! I feel like every time they have a fast break opportunity the second they go to shoot, they just seem to instantly have some sort of brainfart. I don’t think John Madden has scored in a high pressure situation since he coached the Oakland Raiders in the 60s! Zing!

Ok that wasn’t funny. I apologize. I think it’s too early to start making bold predictions about the Devils for this year (spoiler! Brent Sutter will continue to go bald!). Right now, there are about as many reasons to be excited as there are to be angry, so I’m hovering at a happy medium for the moment.

Nonetheless, I’m $%(#($^# thrilled hockey’s back. Keep it to 2ma for more.

Bold predictions and excited rants: Season preview the first

You know what? I think Rangers fans are scared.

A mere two days away from the puck hitting the ice stateside for the first time this season and those Rag loving Wall Street types are torpedoing our economy into oblivion with the hope that maybe, just maybe, the entire country will dissolve in time to put off the hockey season, and as a result their inevitable demise. It’s gotta be that. Or the Russians.. Hmm.

Well I will not be deterred! It’s Devils season preview time baby!

Three days to go before the New (Old) and Improved New Jersey Devils hit the ice against the New York Islanders at the Rock. If you’re like me, you’ve read the 645 other season previews out there who are writing off the Devils as an aging group running an outdated system.

I say eff that.

Marty

Yes Brodeur is a year older. Of course we’ll need to address this in the coming years but I for one am not gonna even pay a passing thought to this considering he won the Vezina for oh, the 4th time in 6 years. Next topic.

The new old guys

I’m actually extremely excited to see what this offense can do this year. On paper I see it as a solid blend of experience and youth, speed and size. I think that in the second year of Sutter’s reign, the boys will come out with a lot more confidence and gusto working in his system that will produce a noticeable increase in goals with the addition of Rolston and Holik.

The retooled front lines could also fall completely flat, but after several lean offensive years and two years of epic collapses from my beloved Mets, I’m prepared to handle everything short of the top three lines tearing up their contracts on the ice and signing with the Rangers, Flyers and Islanders, respectively.

Oduya’s army

Oh the defense.. You know, I’ve got no idea on this one. They were so befuddling last year I’m not going to even try. Maybe someone taught Johnny Oduya to skate backwards. Maybe Paul Martin will step up and show the offensive prowess we saw glimpses off last year. Maybe Annsi Salmela will become the next Scott Niedermayer and alleviate the need for me to start calling him salmonella by mid-November.

Anything’s possible, I suppose. If I were a betting man though, I’d be placing my chips on the guy in net and the offense carrying this team forward.

The Tykes

Speaking of Salmela, the potential youth influx certainly bears watching. I think Lou and Brent made the right choices on Vrana and Salmela for opening night, but I’d also like to see what Matt Halischuk and Niklas Bergfors can do at some point in the season. Who knows, maybe if they take Matt Corrente off suicide watch after his miserable pre-season performance he could even make an appearance. Definitely a wait-and-see approach with the new guys though.

All-in-all, I’m optimistic. If the D steps it up I think we’re a cup contender. If not, we could at least make up for a terrible showing last year by beating up on the Rangers and Islanders in the season series. Friday night’s a great time to start. Go Devils!

P.S. Church claps all around to the Rags fans who will undoubtedly point out that they scraped by with a pair of victories against a Tampa Bay Lightning team that had played together for all of 35 minutes before the first game. Kudos.

It’s very almost nearly time to drop the puck for realsies! (sort of)

Pre-season action begins tonight! Wee!

That’s right ladies and gents, our boys will be suiting up for their preseason opener tonight in Philadelphia, which means we are one gigantic step closer to beginning the season in earnest.

Word on the street is that the Flyers will be streaming the game tonight on their website, which may be the only way any of us will be privy to this contest. If you can’t stomach listening to a pair of radio hosts gush about how fantastic (terrible) an idea it was to sign Mike

Richards for the next three centuries, Tom Gulitti says he’ll be giving period by period updates over on Fire and Ice, so check that out.

Speaking of everyone’s favorite Devils’ beat writer, Gulutti reports that none other than Kevin Weekes will be in net this evening! This of course means three things:

1. We totally have an excuse to use the Weekes laser beam photo.
2. Weekes has completely recovered from the torn bicep muscle he sustained lifting books of crossword puzzles every night on the bench last year.
3. This will be the last time this season the poor dude will see any playing time before March.

In other news, Gulitti also reported this afternoon that one of the line combos will be a trio of youngsters, with Petr Vrana centering a line with Fedor Fedorov and Nicklas Bergfors. Also expected to get substantial time (including some PP action) are Tyler Eckford and Matt Corrente.

Gulitti reports that Mr. Sutter will also try out Brian Rolston on the point during the powerplay (as he should) and Bobby Holik on the top powerplay unit (WHAT…THE…F%*&). No word on if my personal favorite Matt Halischuk will be playing, but i’ve heard he’s been turning heads at camp so I certainly hope so.

At any rate, we’re a mere two and a half weeks from dropping the puck for the start of the season and I can speak for all the 2ma staff when I say it’s about effin’ time. Keep it here for updates as we hurtle towards another New Jersey Devils season.

The home stretch

Why oh why cant there me more Michael Ramos’ out there for us to torment? Would like to issue our sincerest apologies for the lack of action on 2ma recently, but there just hasn’t been anything to report on.

Nonetheless, things should certainly rev up by the end of the month as the youngins will report to training camp September 15.  Not a lot of room on the big boy team, but Matthew Corrente, Niklas Bergfors, Fedor Fedorov, Matt Halischuk et al. should make a strong case for wiggling themselves in there.

That should be enough excitement to rip 2ma out of the doldrums and rev us up for the coming season, so keep checking back in the coming weeks as we try to whip ourselves into form for another year.

Morning FA roundup: Devs sign Salvador

4 years, about $2.9 per season, according to TSN.

The poetic Mark Everson from the Post has quotes from Brian Campbell’s agent confirming that Lou has been on the phone discussing signing him

There are also plenty of rumors swirling involving the Devils interest in Brian Rolston, Marian Hossa, Radim Vrbata, Darcy Tucker and others, but none as concretely confirmed as Everson’s tidbit on Campbell.

Keep it hear for updates all day/week and for the triumphant return of Patricia Greuter! Woo

Rampant Speculation and Whistful Predictions (WordPress sucks edition)

Uh yeah, so I just wrote this massively long post previewing free agency and WordPress ate it when I went to save it and publish it to the site. Seriously, if you could have seen the look on my face ten minutes ago, you would’ve cried. I imagine it would have looked like ten sad-eyed puppies looking down at a dropped ice cream cone.

So at the moment my anger at blogging templates is slightly outweighing my excitement for free agency.

At any rate I present to you my angrily abbreviated free agency preview. As Devils beat writer extraordinaire Tom Gulitti points out, we’ve got some cash to throw around. More than $18 mil to be less than exact. That’s a lot o’ benjamins, so let’s hope we can outdo last years lesson in mediocrity.

Here are my picks for the ’08 Fabulous Free Agency Frenzy (trademark pending):

Who Stays: Jay Pandolfo, Bryce Salvador

Pando was off to a great start before his injury last year, he’s the consummate Devil and he deserves a new contract. I’d be seriously surprised and upset if we let him go. I think Bryce, despite his injuries last year, could be a solid lockdown 3 or 4 d-man.
Get the Eff Outta Town: Aaron Asham, Karel Rachuneck and Sergei Brylin

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Karel and Aaron who? These guys just sucked last year, end of story. Unlike Pando, Brylin just looked like he was out of gas last year. He’s been great over the years, but I’d like to see the Devils part ways with him. Sorry Sarge. Despite my feelings, he’ll probably be back courtesy of a player option for next year.

Who to Pitch for (Realistically): Brian Rolston, Brendan Morrison or Cory Stillman up front. John Michael Liles or Mark Streit in back. Georges Laraque as a back line bruiser.

We NEED a top six center and a bigtime offensive defenseman desperately, there’s no two ways around it. I like Rolston and Morrison to fill our hole at center because they already know our system and are proven vets that could fill the gap while our youth develops. I’ve really enjoyed the reemergence of Stillman over the last few years as well, and could see him easily in the same role.

There are some big names out there on D, but Streit and Liles are young and brimming with talent. I love Paul Martin, but he just hasn’t proven he can be the powerplay QB we need. If we took one of these guys and had Martin as as a solid No. 2, I think we’d be set for a few years.

uhh…Laraque is a f***ing beast. So… yeah.

I also wouldn’t mind seeing Brooks Orpik or Ryan Malone in Red ‘n Black.

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Who to Pitch for (Prob not Going to Happen): Marian Hossa, Pavol Demitra, Wade Redden, Brian Campbell.

These guys would make any team better. I’m not expecting any of them to come aboard, but I wouldn’t be unhappy if they did.

Marketing Maddness Pick: Miro Satan

I’d have my Satan Devils jersey faster than you could say ‘underachieving winger.

Left Field Crazy Trade Proposal: Patrick Marleau for a package including Brian Gionta, so long as we bring in another top six winger via free agency.

If Gio stays I’m fine with it, but if something like this went down I’d get to sleep at night.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Alright, that’s it boys and girls. The other crazies at 2ma are likely to put their two cents in before long and we of course want to know what you guys have to say in the comments section. Cross your fingers!

Devils draft DC Comics’ the Flash with first round selection

Well it’s been a little bit, but this past weekend’s NHL Entry Draft was enough to break me out of my post season slumber. Generally if the Devils lose early in the playoffs I lick my wounds by paying attention to my other local sports love, the New York Mets. But since they seem intent on displaying the athletic prowess and the front office tact of an incontinent sloth, hockey seems like a safe bet this summer.

All kidding aside (well the Mets are still garbage) I love the hockey off season and after a brief break to catch my breath I’m ready to do my part to reinvigorate the 2ma engine.

That said, there was a draft this weekend! The weekend’s festivities in Ottawa saw our bald-headed beauty Louie Lams take 9 players through the 7 round draft, which was said to be one of the best talent wise in several years.

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Lams shocked the capacity crowd in Ottawa when he announced that the Devils would select non other than DC Comics’ the Flash with their first round selection, a dimunitive Swedish born winger who by day goes by Mattias Tedenby. While this guy is on the smaller side (5’10” and 176 pounds), all reports suggest that the guy is basically the fastest skater alive. Frequently ranked among the top Scandinavian players in the draft this year, a lot of people seem to think this kid could grow into a great forward, but one we likely won’t see stateside for a few years while he develops back home. Sadness.

While it pained me to see us take a winger in the first round of a draft absolutely jam-packed with solid D-men, I’m gonna trust Lou and David Conte on this one. They clearly had their eye on this kid, as evidenced by the fact that they had his name printed on his jersey already despite trading their pick down twice.

While we missed out on the defense party in the first round, we did come fashionably late, taking St. Michael’s Buzzer d-man Brandon Burlon with one of our two second round picks. The report from NHL central scouting on Burlon is that he’s a fairly solid playmaking defenseman who needs some grooming but could grow into his own. Let’s hope so, because I don’t know about you guys but I’m not exactly counting on Matt Corrente or Andy Greene to turn into the next Dion Phaneuf.

The Devils also chose fiesty center Patrice Cormier in the second round. I like this pick, because by all reports he’s a hard-nosed player who likes to drive to the net and agitate opponents, a la Mr. David Clarkson. We can always use a few guys like this, especially considering the amount of Brian Gionta-mold wingers we seem to be stocking in our farm system.

Red N Black chose another Center with their third round pick – Windsor Spitfire’s Adam Henrique. Don’t know much about this guy save for the fact that he was among the OHL’s top center prospects in this year’s class, so I’ll leave it at that. As for the rest, lets just hope there’s some diamonds in the rough.

That’s gonna be it for your draft recap. We ain’t gonna see these guys for a while I’m guessing, as is the Devils style, but it seems like 2-3 years down the road we may have some solid new talent. As for the coming season, I’m sure as hell hoping we do a bit better in free-agency than Karel Rachuneck. Keep it tuned to 2MA who will have all of your free-agency preview action, followed by the the inevitable let-down post sometime a few days into July.

BREAKING NEWS: Sean Avery wins asshat of the universe competition

NEW YORK — Sean Avery, alleged John and mediocre forward for the New York Rangers, was officially awarded the title of “Asshat of the Universe” Monday morning after the National Hockey League was forced to alter its rules specifically to keep up with his douchebaggery.

Avery received the award, presented annually by the International Brotherhood of Asshatters and Duck-Billed Platypi (IBADBP), after NHL disiplinarion Colin Campbell altered a rule as a direct result of Avery’s actions during a 4-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils Sunday night.

During the 2nd period of a then 1-1 game, the Rangers were in the midst of a 5-on-3 powerplay when Avery began waving his stick and hands frantically within inches of the face of Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur in an attempt to distract him. The Rangers scored seconds later.

“It just came to me earlier that day,” Avery said after the game. “I saw this 4-year-old doing it to his brother while he was trying to concentrate on a video game and thought, I can use this.”

Brodeur, who is no stranger to Avery’s penchant for irritation, said after the game he was still trying to wrap his head around what occurred.

“I couldn’t believe it. He really raised the bar with that one,” he said Monday morning. “He was acting like we were playing basketball and was trying to guard me. At one point he started screaming ‘gonna take it to the paint Marty?!’ over and over. After that I just lost it. I couldn’t figure it out. Next thing you know the puck was in the net.”

The NHL acted swiftly and less than 24 hours after the game, Campbell released this statement:

“National Hockey League Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell issued the following advisory on the interpretation of Rule 75: Unsportsmanlike Conduct.

‘An unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty (Rule 75) will be interpreted and applied, effective immediately, to a situation when an offensive player positions himself facing the opposition goaltender and engages in actions such as waving his arms or stick in front of the goaltender’s face for the purpose of interfering with and/or distracting the goaltender as opposed to positioning himself to try to make a play.’”

Sean AveryWhen IBADBP President Reginald Hammerfart heard of Avery’s feat of classless dickishness, he also didn’t miss a beat.

“I immediately knew we had a winner,” Hammerfart said. “We were about to give it to the guys who made that movie “Meet the Spartans,” but this just blew that out of the water.”

The award is the world’s highest honor given to an asshat and in receiving it Avery joins the company of past winners that includes comedian Carrot Top and right-wingnut Ann Coulter.

After hearing he won the award, Avery was humbled.

“I was like wow, who knew I could make it this far,” he said. “I just hope I set an example for asshats everywhere. If you believe in yourself you can accomplish anything.”

DISCLAIMER: With the exception of Colin Campbell’s statement on the rule change and the incident itself, everything else in this article was entirely made up. Just in case heh.

You’re Welcome.

Dearest Patricia,

We’re pretty awesome huh? I know, I know, we’ve given you some scares in the past couple of days; what with Zach losing his boyish good looks and Marty nearly losing his head. But really, we were about to turn it around, we just needed to wait for the right moment.

Sure, there were plenty of Rangers fans to say we didn’t deserve that goal, it was a fluke or whatever. I’m sure another few might break out the rule books and say the refs missed all the calls and argue Brodeur really should have been called for trying to disrupt Sean Avery’s view of that blonde in the third row.

But we’ve tasted blood now, and we’re coming back for more.

Regardless how we got here we’d just like to say as a team — from the bottom of Johnny Oduya’s beard — thank you Patricia. If we had known the indigestion and drug dependence we were causing Devils fans, it would not have ever been an issue in the first place. Our bad! Really!

Ok, so maybe we didn’t channel the spirit of Claude or Scotty like you asked, we went for a more Randy Mckay vibe, but it still fits the bill, right?  Riiight.

Bottom line, we’re back in it and we just wanted to let ya know, we appreciate the heads up about our crap play of late.

Hugs and Kisses,

The Devils

P.S. If you see Zach’s front teeth anywhere, give us a heads up.  Much love to Dano, but NOT a good look for a guy in his early 20s and dude wants to hit the bar.