The Greene Monster goes down

The injury bug just won’t leave the Devils alone this season. First Brian Rolston’s ankle. Then Bobby Holik’s pinky. Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond’s cracked orbital bone struck a blow to hyphen-lovers everywhere (see what I did there?). And now tragedy has even befallen the man, the myth, the monster…the Mister Andy Greene.

Andy apparently took a puck off the hand early in the Devils 6-5 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs Wednesday night. The Lean Greene Point-Producin’ Machine managed a career-high three assists despite the broken hand. Hell, maybe it was even because of the injury. Maybe it made Andy angry. You wouldn’t like Andy when he’s angry. Greene celebrated a birthday by getting his hand X-Ray-ed. That’s gotta suck, but Andy’s hardcore like that.

The puck that befell the Greene Monster came off the stick of Pavel Kubina, no less. Y’know, the guy who knocked Scott Stevens silly with a puck to the head a few years back. Greene’s injury is slightly less scary than Stevens’, though, and will shelve Andy for about a month, maybe more.

While the Devils must wait another four-to-six weeks to again Go Greene, one Sheldon Brookbank will be paired up with Mike Mottau as the Red n’ Black’s third pairing. Getcha Pepto Bismol ready.

So besides the terror-inducing duo of Mottau/Brookbank (inducing terror in Devils fans, I mean. Not so much the opposition), what else can we expect tonight? Welp, after taking part in his NHL debut and notching his first-career point with an assist, Matt Halischuk gets to take a cozy seat in the press box, as Niklas Bergfors gets to make his season debut for the Devils tonight. Since Niklas’ only other prior NHL experience was the season opener last year against Tampa Bay, and since he got hurt in that game and never made it back to the NHL, and since last season’s opener so thoroughly sucked – I say that game gets stricken from the record. Niklas Bergfors gets to start anew tonight, in his first ever NHL game. I don’t care what the record books show.

The Devils ride into tonight’s game on a three-game losing streak (yet still managing the charity point in two of the three), sitting at 5-2-2. The Thrashers come in as the second-worst team in the NHL, one point ahead of the Islanders and sporting a 2-6-2 record. The Thrashers recently fell victim to that evil injury bug themselves, losing No. 3 overall pick Zack Bogosian to a broken leg during a 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Philadelphia last week.

The Final Playbill

I thought it would be another day or two before we saw the roster but Christmas came a little early this year! The Devils have trimmed their roster down to twenty-three, and it looks a little something like this:

You may notice a few surprises such as Petr Vrana & Anssi Salmela grabbing roster spots. Vrana ousted Rod Pelley who was assigned to Lowell of the AHL. To me, Salmela isn’t exactly a surprise… after watching him play live on Long Island last week I had a strong feeling he had earned a spot on the big team — especially after his off-balance rocket that beat Joey MacDonald to put the Devils up 3-0. Salmela’s biggest Achilles seems to be his puck control at the point, but the issue seems to be cleaning up fast and shouldn’t even be a problem once the puck drops on Friday.

Speaking of Friday, the lines figure to look a little something like this:

– FORWARDS –

Elias – Rolston – Gionta
Parise – Zajac – Langenbrunner
Pandolfo – Madden – Clarkson
Rupp (Vrana?) – Holik – Zubrus

– DEFENSE –

White / Salmela
Mottau / Oduya
Martin / Salvador

Brodeur

I should also note that Fedor Fedorov has been placed on waivers. Apparently the Devils gave up on him and it’s not exactly a mystery as to why. The guy has a weak work ethic and that won’t carry you anywhere in this league, especially under Lou Lamoriello.

Although I can be quoted as saying that the team hasn’t done much to improve, I am ready to accept my helping of crow. After reviewing the roster and taking in a live pre-season game, I can see a noticeable difference in this years squad. They are bigger, faster, and a ton more aggressive than any team in recent history.

If pre-season was any indication, I think the Devils style this year will surprise many — players & fans alike.

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.

Later, Vish.

The Devils seem to be poised to open training camp with a plethora of mediocre defensemen ready to patrol the blueline, but today the weeding has begun… Vitaly Vishnevski has become the first blueline-casualty as he has been placed on Waivers.

I can’t say I’m surprised, it seemed like Vish was constantly lost when on the ice last season, and often found himself a healthy scratch. His biggest fault in my eyes was constantly taking himself out of position because he was looking to lay a big hit. It’s been his Achilles ever since he was drafted (Anaheim/1998).

Well, there’s a spot open on the blueline – which will definitely make training camp that much more exciting.

Did this move open the door for Matt Corrente… ?

Pre-Season, You Say??

Ahh, pre-season. Music to any starved hockey fan’s ears. Well, the Devils provided some relief by releasing their 2008-2009 Pre-Season Schedule which looks a little something like this…

…four games at The Rock is tantalizing, however I’m a little disappointed that there aren’t any games scheduled for Bridgeport, CT or at Sovereign Bank Arena.

The real fun gets under way October 10th from Prudential Center with the New York Islanders coming to town.

EDIT: My apologies for the absolutely horrid quality of the image.  Gotta love Photobucket.

Devils Home Opener Announced – Countdown Begins Now!

Start up your countdown calendars, folks.  We’re exactly 85 days away from the Devils home opener 2008-09.

It’s been confirmed that the Devils will open play next season with a division matchup against the New York Islanders on Friday, October 10th, 2008.  I guess they took pity on us for giving us a red-hot Ottawa team to open the Rock last year, so they went the complete opposite this year.  I’ll take it!

The full schedule doesn’t get released until tomorrow, but other little tidbits are coming out as we speak.  Following the Devils home opener, the boys will travel to Pittsburgh to partake in their opening night festivities the following evening, October 11th.  The Red N’ Black will also be the road team for Dallas’ annual New Year’s Eve matchup on December 31st.

Remember, the schedule changes go into effect this year – only six games each against division opponents (down from eight); the same 40 games against non-division conference opponents, and 18 against the other conference – one either home or away against each team; three of those teams will be played both home and away.  The Devils three home-and-away Western Conference opponents will be Chicago, Los Angeles, and Dallas.

I’ll be back tomorrow with the full schedule.  And maybe even charts!  Or, y’know, some sort of lame graphic.  We’ll see.

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

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.

Photobucket

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.

Still awesome after all these years.

So Mister Brodeur has won his fourth career Vezina trophy, beating out Evgeni Nabakov and Henrik Lundqvist for the honor.  Oh yeah.Nabak-who?

Congrats Marty, you deserve it.

The first two lines of this blog are completely false

I murdered Joe last night so I could write the preview.

True story.

That's actually not funny. At all.Anyway, Black ‘n Red are playing the Anaheim Niedermayers tonight.

Good times.

Sure, there’s the tiny detail that Scott Niedermayer will be making his (triumphant) return to New Jersey for the first time since ripping the collective hearts of the organization out and eating it for a late lunch as he laughed in the faces of Devils fans far and wide.

But really, I hold no grudges.

Hey, I hold no hate towards the fella. He did what he had to do. Did it completely eff the team over? Well, sure. Was that his intent? I believe not, Mr. Holik, I believe not.

Niedermayer, Scott did a helluva job for the team when he did don the glorious black and red. That’s fo’ sho’. No one can deny that.

It still haunts him to this very day, in fact.Well, I suppose Peter Worrell may disagree, but I think he’s still a little dizzy from getting bopped over the head with a stick by Mr. Nidermayer eight years ago.

Oh memories…

Let’s be serious here. Though I won’t be attending tonight’s game on account of sustaining a nifty hip injury after being run over by a car a mere one week ago (digression much?), I would like to say that had someone been willing to help my injured-self to the game, pay for my ticket, help chew my food, and wipe my bum when I had to go poo (too much information much?), I would not boo the bastard when he first skates onto the ice and touches the puck during play.

Oh God, that sentence is an English major’s nightmare. I blame the codeine.

Okay. Let’s find a point here.

What I’m trying (and failing) to convey with my witty banter is the fact that without everything Scott Niedermayer did for us, this team would likely not have tasted as much success.

You sucked in the end, but you were great in the beginning!Quick tangent: Same goes for you, Mr. Friesen. Sorry you sucked so bad after your short stay with the boys. Enjoy retirement, thanks for everything you’ve done for Black ‘n Red, us fans are forever grateful for all you’ve done!

Back on track here.

I’d hate to hear a lot of booing in the stands tonight. I know, we fans can be sensitive little buggers, and when we feel slighted by a player who did so much for us, we tend to get angry. And hurt. And betrayed.

Please, folks, let it go. The lad did all he could do here. Would it have been wonderful for him to finish his career here? Of course. Would it have helped this team tremendously? That’s a given. Then again, having to choose between Karel Rachunek and Scott Niedermayer is quite a difficult decision…

If you’re going to the game, I ask that you either cheer the man, or don’t cheer at all. Oh, that cliche piece of advice holds quite true in this case: if you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.

Granted, if I really held true by that motto, this site probably wouldn’t exist, now would it?

NOTES: Mike Mottau and Rod Pelley ain’t playing tonight. In their place? The wonderful Andy Greene and Arron Asham. It should be noted that I came up with this piece of information entirely on my own and I did not steal it from any other blogs out there.

Oh, I’m just kidding, Mr. Gulitti. You the man.