NJ Devils Month in Review: January 2010

Well that was a rough month wasn’t it??? Too many games in too short a time… and not enough good healthy bodies….But yet with the major OMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE panic fits in Devils fan Universe (we do have fans out there right??)…. I’m shocked the mass suicides haven’t started piling up…. Or do people ACTUALLY realize this team is still pretty safe when it comes to the playoffs (though I often wonder that missing the playoffs one year might actually be GOOD for this team and a re-focus on life)….until then it’s survival time until we get some Olympic Rest…. And I think I’d say “tired and overplayed” for about everyone… so I’ll just say it here and re-reference it later and remember even though the sky is falling, 7-7-1 is still a .500 month :p

Forwards:
#9 Zach Parise-A: (15 games: 8g, 7a = 15pts, +6)
He got his goal scoring touch back and not soon enough!! Back to being a good steady, consistent point-getter on this team… hell at this point he and Travis is all we gots!!! It’s hard to complain about Zach or anything he’s done this year… so I won’t do it and all I will say again is… AAAAHHHHHHH!!! Elite player and PLAYING like one!!
Grade: A+

#15 Jamie Langenbrunner-C (15 games: 4g, 9a = 13pts, +1)
We had been saying for over two months now how Jamie’s play has been spotty but he was still getting points and it covered a lot of holes and mistakes in his game… well the points (least the goals)… are starting to drop a little…. Maybe this whole “Captain America” thing (great nickname BTW) is wearing on him a little… I don’t know.. and ONE goal since January 2nd… that’s just awful….it’s not all him… it’s a collective WTF going on with this team and only 9 and 19 seem immune to it of late…..but he’s one of the guys who can elevate and fix this mess….
Grade: B-

#19 Travis Zajac (15 games, 7g, 9a = 16pts, +7)
Again, like Parise… it’s been a two-man show on the Devils between those two guys… and to make it tougher on Travis… he’s THE ONLY GODDAMN CENTER WORTH A SPIT ON THIS ROSETR… so the pressure is even bigger… but night in and night out there’s no one more valuable on this team then Zajac (and people wanted to trade him two years ago.. nice…..) It’s funny how you can say TONS about the guys who suck but the dudes who got it going on… it’s quiet… well no one like good news… (which is why they get fascinated with my love life right??)… Invaluable player on this team!!!
Grade: A+

#12 Brian Rolston (15 games, 3g, 3a = 6pts, -1)
Might as well have been put on the fucking IR with Elias… he’s pretty much worthless without him now… I was defending him earlier in the year based on getting shots on net and doing things… but man that’s gone… he’s a virtual zombie (minus the nifty Indy Pro Wrestling gimmick and costume)….I’m trying to think of anything good he adds to the team and I ain’t sure I got anything for ya… *sigh*… 3 more years…..
Grade: F

#18 Niclas Bergfors (14 games, 0g, 1a = 1point, -4)
OH MY GOD!! One point in the WHOLE MONTH… I knew it was bad… but Jesus….He didn’t hit the wall he smashed into it at like 250 MPH, forgot his seatbelt and the airbag was defective…. Rough month for the kid and don’t wanna shoulder the blame on him when there’s stiffs like Rolston, tired legs like McAmmond and Niedermayer on the team, and I know he’s been messed with playing with the Pando’s, Pelley’s and other no-offense guys…. But man, gotta be better then that kid…a big reason the offense is drying up is the kid’s outta gas… hurry Olympics, hurry!!!
Grade: D (it’s not all his fault though)

#26 Patrik Elias-A (7 games, 2g, 3a = 5pts, +3)
What a coincidence…. Elias gets hurt and the whole team goes to shit….without Patty in the lineup, teams just line up and defend Parise/Zajac and the team is cooked… I’m not gonna sit and piss and complain about the hit, it was clean, it was legal, it was HOCKEY, but damn it was DEVASTATING to this Devils team….if only he had lined up Rolston we’d be in a lot better shape now….hopefully he’s back soon, the team will benefit from it in so many ways…..
Grade: B+

#21 Rob Niedermayer (15 games, 1g, 3a = 4pts, -2)
Getting 18 minutes a night, and this number is going UP as his performance level is going DOWN… what?? I know there’s not a lot here and I know he looks like Scott… but Jesus, the minute totals are going in reverse… he still does some little shifty things, but there is more “few and far between” moments on them… and frankly he just plays too damned much and could use a night or two off also… but it doesn’t seem like it’s gonna happen….especially with our “all-IR team” growing in numbers….he’s not been good, but he’s still being asked to do too much, and dammit all to hell, the idea of a checking line is DEAD in the NHL… even more so when 21 and 20 are on it, which means “offense is futile…..”
Grade: C –

#11 Dean McAmmond (15 games, 2g, 1a = 3pts, -1)
Ah what a wonderful world it would be if we could rotate him and Nieds each game wouldn’t it??? This is really what these guys should be doing… but we ain’t got the bodies to make that happen (though sitting Pelley and playing these guys makes me PIST too)…the production is about what you expect, but when you think on average HALF THE GAME that Nieds or McAmmond is on the ice… that’s frightening…..
Grade: C-

#20 Jay Pandolfo (15 games, 1g, 1a = 2pts, -4)
Ah, back to the old school bashing Pando days… but still…. Stiffer then a tragic Viagra accident in an old folk’s home… he’s WORTHLESS on the offensive side of the ice, the whole shut down thing is dead in the NHL… though he is a part of what is a good PK unit, so I guess saying he should be executed… but holy hell….those 15 minutes a night ain’t pretty ones…..
Grade: D

#10 Rod Pelley (10 games, 0g, 1a = 1 point, -2, 9 PIM)
He’s been ok enough in his spot role… has actually grown into a one big hit a night guy and does some things too…probably should be getting a few of those minutes that are being sucked up by McAmmond and Nieds…missing a few games from injury hurt too but again… ain’t his fault, he is what he is… but his legs are younger and it would be nice to see him get a little more ice time… and NOT with Peters
Grade: C+

#28 Vladimir Zharkov (13 games, 0g, 1a = 1point, -3)
I feel bad for this kid… he tries… he puts out a good effort.. his shot’s decent… just the damn thing NEVER goes in (or rolls across the goal line yelling SUCK IT!!).. and his play DID drop in his second month of being a regular player… some of that too is the lack of useful centers to play with, I think he’s just more snake-bit and trapped playing with players that don’t fit his skills more then his own failings here…..
Grade: C (get a goal already though!!)

#14 Patrick Davis (7 games, 1goal, -2)
He’s been off to an OK start… seems to be more comfortable in the NHL in his last 4 games opposed to his first three…. But playing with Pando and Nieds ain’t gonna get no one Calder Trophy consideration….had a shifty little goal move to get his first NHL tally a week ago… and is showing drive and attack to the net and young legs are gonna look better then old legs at this point of the year…and he’s at least getting 12 minutes a game to do SOMETHING with…I’ve been almost pleased with him on the ice….
Grade: B-

#25 Andrew Peters (2 games, no points, Even, 9 PIMs)
I know he only played two games, but him even being on the team is still a disgrace… though the tie the jersey down so hard that it rips was funny shit at least….still.. the man does nothing right, well except get punched in the face… I think we’d all like to try :p
Grade: F

#17 Ilkka Pikkarainen (6 games, no points, Even)
Well he’s gone… and in case you missed it… we paid him fair tribute on his way out:
“The Devils assigned right wing Ilkka Pikkarainen to CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League today. We here at two man spent hours upon end compiling FOR YOU, the special THREE DVD, Ilkka Pikachu, GLORY YEARS SET!! In this awe-inspiring DVD set, you will see hit LONE GOAL and botched suicide attempt by Carey Price (the knife bounced off his glove and into the net!)… and SO MANY OTHER 5-Star Classic Pikachu moments!!! For example… THAT HIT with THAT GUY… or his inspired smiles from Jacques Lemaire pep talks!!! Or MORE!!!! The Third Disc is FULLY DEVOTED to his LONE GOAL….EVERY camera angle is presented in this special package and at the end…we have an EXCLUSIVE Bullet-Time Matrix-Style rendition of that MAGICAL goal-scoring moment!!!! How else could such a LEGEND say good-bye to the NHL right????
Grade: A (if for no other reason then to let me re-hash the Braden Walker bit :p)

Defense:
#6 Andy Greene (15 games, 0g, 1a = 1pt, +3, 24:27 TOI)
The offense has dried up and the Lidstrom-like minutes are catching up to him (GET THE HELL BACK PAUL MARTIN…. Goddamit….)… the defense has still been pretty good, he makes heady and smart type places… gets the puck out of trouble… yeah he can be beat up and taken out physically (go ahead kids… have fun with that comment <3 ), but also possibly having to key all this time on defense is certainly hurting his offense…it’s not his fault really, he ain’t got much help…..
Grade: A-

#24 Bryce Salvador (14 games, 1g, 2a = 3pts, -2, 19:16 TOI)
Not as obvious as an anchor to this team as Greene’s been… but just as important (if not more so because his job in road games is usually to go out there with Fraser and protect him during those bad matchups he can be faced with in road games)… maybe playing a few minutes too many… but WHO ISN’T?? There’s plenty of people to foot the blame for this month… this guy ain’t one of them…..
Grade: B+

#5 Colin White (15 games, 0g, 2a = 2pts, -2, 15 PIM, 20:08 TOI)
Had a rough middle of the month… but he really is what he is at this point a very solid and steady 2nd pair defenseman who can bang, muck and clear the puck and on occasion make a nice pass or get a big shot on goal… and now he’s fighting again a little too… guess he finally mastered that famous “one-eyed kung-fu” style.. could be a little better, but the idiot penalties are more lost in 2000 then the fools idea of bringing Petr Suckora back to this team… and another guy who is in the “not his fault” category….
Grade: B

#27 Mike Mottau (15 games, 0g, 4a = 4pts, Even, 22:27 TOI)
A new-found whipping boy of late… but again his issues are a symptom of the whole damn team right now…the mental tired factor on this team is HUGE, and it’s even worse then being physically tired… it makes you that one step slow that makes you miss that shot with one minute to go in the 3rd period…. It’s that one missed play reversing to a guy on the other team without turning to double check…. It’s that one stride slower that stops you from covering a breakaway… but yet oddly enough he improved from a -7 last month to even this month… sometimes stats are weird man… but there’s no clearer example on this team (well maybe the goalie) then Mottau… in more irony, the 4 points he had this month were also his best numbers of the season….but still the numbers and the minutes are piling up on him… and it’s shown with some MAJOR gaffes in key spots over time…and that odd mix of him and Colin White is just deadly fail against fast lines… still… and always will be…. He wasn’t all that good the last two months… but we got nothing else…..
Grade: C-

#29 Johnny Oduya (15 games, 1g, 2a = 3pts, +3, 21:11 TOI)
Well at least his offense is picking up… a little.. it’s still not enough and if there is one guy on this team who should have enough in the tank to be able to better himself and help this team get through these struggles, it HAS to be Oduya now… Greene’s gone above and beyond… and no one else has the skill set to do it… his only REALLY bad game was the Toronto one and still seems out of place with Fraser.. I don’t want to say he’s been lost without Martin, because he wasn’t good this year WITH Martin… it’s been a tough year for Johnny, but I do really think and hope he’s starting to pick it up (if not he is a useful and tradable commodity at least)
Grade: C+ (starting to turn the corner)

#2 Mark Fraser (15 games, no points, -2, 19 PIM, 12:01 TOI)
People have grown to like this guy because the coaches have been VERY careful to protect him and he hits people and fights as well, personally I like the guy too… but when he gets caught out there against the top talent… geesssshhhhh…. It might be a small part of the wear-down problem on the Devils defense… things get tight, his minutes get cut and the other 5 can’t handle it… I’m not blaming him, I’m not saying he’s being handled wrong… I’m just saying it’s an issue….like I said I liked the guy years ago when he came up and he will grow into a Colin White-type player (with two eyes mind you), I wish he had inspired more confidence in the coaching staff… the time is gonna come sooner or later though….
Grade: B-

Incompletes:
** #23 David Clarkson (DNP in January)
** #8 Dainius Zubrus (4 games, 1g, 3a = 4pts, +2)
Just didn’t get enough games in to be rated, but God DAMN his 4 games back have been impressive (time with Zajac and Parise helps though)… next month we’ll get a better feel of what the king of the Zubbie-Counter brings to the table!
** #16 Nick Palmeri (6 games, 1 assist, Even)
Has a good nose for the net and getting his shit dirty, and I love that kinda player, but still probably isn’t ready for the NHL (like most of our wealth of prospects), but still not enough of a body of work to rate him fairly
** #22 Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (4 games, no points, -1, 5 PIM)
Again I like the kid, but didn’t see enough of him… he fights, and probably spent a lot of money on his “healthy scratch suit”… so they wanna make sure he gets VALUE out of it eh?

Goalies:
MB30 (7-7-1, 2.35gaa, 91.5%, 3 SO)
Well you gotta say he was pretty damn good this month… but he’s certainly showing signs of running out of gas (LA game much ??)….it’s hard to rip on him now with this team sorta in shambles around him… but they can’t run this horse into the ground and expect him to get up again… maybe it’s the nature of my job and how I make my money at work… but PREVENTIVE maintenance is the key here… rest him BEFORE he gets tired and it’s too late! And hell he did get the first game off in Feburary… that’s a sign that maybe he is gonna be saved for what matters the most this time….
Grade: A

#35 Yann Danis (3 games played, 0-0-0, 0.87gaa, 96.3%)
One goal allowed in 69 minutes of mop-up work… that’s not bad, and I guess in an odd way it’s a show of faith in Yann, that Lemaire will even pull mb30 to let him in the game at this point and has CERTAINLY earned more starts in the future… I just hope this kid stays around and we have our possible successor here……
Grade: A

Coaching:
Well it’s easy to bag on Jacques…. “He’s playing guys too much”… “He’s fucking with the lines…”… he’s why we had so much snow in January… you name it and he got blamed for it… but to use a poker analogy, he was the big blind who got dealt a 2/9 off-suit hand and just said AW SHIT and is trying to play his way through it… the only thing he could do is maybe rest some vets, but the kids ain’t ready yet…. He’s not been perfect but I don’t think this is a total fail on the coaching staff… though playing 20 and 21 till they bleed isn’t helping ANYONE…..Jacques has a bad hand, but he raised off the flop which was kinda foolish too….
Grade: C+

Front Office:
Lou’s in a weird spot too… we have this pack of 2-3 years away type players that will be good in the future.. just not yet… so he got some stop-gap players… who ran out of gas…. So what does he do?? I do think a trade is coming… or does he ride out the suck and know the team will be better down the road?? Awfully hard to throw away a season from a 37 year old HOF goalie (he’s done enough of that in the past though)… the next few days will be VERY key into what we think of Lou’s job this season…..
Grade: C-

The Night The Lights Went Out In Jersey

So.  That was strange.

Look, I know the PSE&G Power Play sucked tonight, but seriously.  C’mon.

I take full blame for the power outage, by the way.  I was in the arena tonight, and for no good reason whatsoever, myself and my friend Amanda got into a discussion about how there hasn’t been a leak in the roof at the Rock, or a fire in the concession stands, or anything like that since the first year.  Can’t explain why we started talking about that.  But 10 minutes later, the lights were out.

It was clearly our fault.

But you should thank us.

Seriously – there was no way the team was even scoring a goal tonight, but by the time this game is finished?  Who knows!  Could you imagine the uproar in Florida if the Devils come back to win this thing whenever it starts up again?

Interesting thought:  Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond went into tonight without a single penalty minute on the year.  Weird, right?  He fought Zenon Konopka early in the game.  Not so weird.  But yet, as he sits on a plane to Montreal this evening, PL3 still technically has no penalty minutes.  It’s like the hockey gods are saying “No Pierre, you musn’t fight.  You must be a good boy.”

Needless to say, tonight was a very bizarre evening.  Right down to the Devils in-game entertainment folk playing “Dancing In The Dark” by Bruce Springsteen shortly after the lights went out.

‘Least we know they’ve got a sense of humor.

I’ll make sure to update when some kind of annoucement is made as to when this game is finished.  ‘Til then, look up “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” by Reba McEntire, and just change the word “Georgia” or “Jersey” (and maybe “judge” to “Gary Bettman” if you feel so inclined.

Captainbrunner = Hattrickenbrunner

Okay, so I gotta work on the name.  I can’t help it if Hat Trick doesn’t fit in as nicely for Langenbrunner as it does Andy Greene (Greenetrick!) or Niklas Bergfors (Bergtrick!) or Patty Elias (Hatrik, of course).

But yes, Jamie Langenbrunner, fresh off his addition to the roster of Team USA as token old guy, goes home to Minnesota and notches a hat trick in a game the Devils absolutely did not deserve to win, yet still managed to.  The win was entirely because of the Captain.  Well, okay, Jay Pandolfo (seriously!) and Martin Brodeur too.  Everyone else kind of sucked.  Even our beloved Andy Greene (we say it ’cause we love, Andy!).

But despite the majority of the team sucking, the Devils still topped the Wild, 5-3.  All because of Captainbrunner’s first career hat trick.  I’m amazed it’s his first.

So a brief jaunt into the Western Conference ends with an abysmal performance in a Chicago loss and a not-much-better performance in a Minnesota win.  But that’s the nice thing about this year’s team – they can still find a way to win even when they suck.  It wasn’t happening that way the last few years.

Now we can look forward to Tuesday against the Stars.  Why would anyone be looking forward to this game in particular?  Three reasons:  1) Stanley Cup in the house (and money raised by selling pictures with it goes to charity, always something we’re down with at 2MA), 2) Claude Lemieux is scheduled to be there, and 3) I’m gonna be sitting in the rich people seats that night.  Hooray for free food and pretending to be snobby in the Ice Lounge!

The Best. Ever. Period.

Mr. Shutout

I’m a busy, busy man for the next week and a half.  My posts will be few and far between.  But I have the time for this.  There’s ALWAYS time for the Wonka picture.

Martin Brodeur, to the Buffalo Sabres, as he’s said to 102 others before them:

Marty, you’re the man.  ‘Grats, sir.

Mmmm, Victory

Tastes good, don’t it?

That’s a win, kiddies.  That’s a WIN.  Walk into the building of the defending Stanley Cup champions and deliver a good old crotch-stomping to the tune of a 4-1 victory.  Beautiful.

(Side note:  Does anyone else get the feeling that Marty would be pushing 200 shutouts if Chico wasn’t one of our announcers?)

Anyhoo.  Stellar game.  The Devils are now 5-0 on the road (yet 1-3 at home.  Gotta fix that.).  The Penguins came in riding a SEVEN game win streak, and the win was only their second loss on the year.  The first was to the Coyotes.  True story.

Let’s discuss goal scoring for a moment:  Mark Fraser not only notches his first NHL goal, but also the first goal by a Devils defenseman all year.  Bergfors goes from slumping to a hot stick in two games, potting his second in as many games.  Zajac and Parise hook up for a goal and assist each, clearly trying to prove to Lemaire that BFFs on the same line should never be broken up.

The only downsides to this game:  Both Jay Pandolfo and Paul Martin go down with unspecified injuries.  And some might argue the former may not be much of a downside (sorry Super Jay).

Edit 10:47 PM: Tom Gulitti reports that Paul Martin may have a broken forearm and that Jay Pandolfo’s right shoulder popped from the socket on a hit from behind by Mike Rupp.  Both could potentially be lost for awhile.  That could suck.

So the Devils come home to rest and relax for a few days before taking on the Sabres at The Rock on Wednesday.  A good game to head home to.

ECQF GAME 1: THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE DOWNRIGHT RIDICULOUS

I sense peach fuzz on the chins of sweaty men in hockey pants — that must mean it’s time for another edition of 2MA’s Playoff Recap — THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE DOWNRIGHT RIDICULOUS!

It's just too easy.THE GOOD
Uh, everything? The boys came out swingin’ tonight. Looking like players possessed, Black ‘n Red effortlessly flew across the ice tonight, seemingly man handling the Carolina Hurricanes. Marty wasn’t tested too badly, the defense held up…well…better than it usually does, and Zachy and the boys skated circles around Carolina blue liners all night.

It was a beautiful sight to say the least.

THE BAD
We only got four goals! I will NOT settle for this, New Jersey. Okay, okay — I’m being ridiculous here. I’m pretty sure there were at least 795 scoring opportunities tonight on Cam Ward, and I’m pretty sure Cam was shaking in his skates by the end of the game. Dude had to play pretty darn well to stop the fire tonight.

THE DOWNRIGHT RIDICULOUS
Yup.New Jersey only took two penalties! ‘Kay, so maybe this isn’t exactly ridiculous, but truth be told — the Devils need to be disciplined against Carolina. They’ve got some guns on that club and, uh, well, the boys don’t exactly have the best penalty kill going right now.  Even better? They held Carolina to very few chance opportunities on the man advantage.

Go team go.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN GAME 2
More of the same, I say! Keep the pressure on, continue with solid forechecking and get some more cycling down low to keep Cammy Ward ‘n co spinnin’ dizzy in their helmets. The D needs to continue to step it up — sparkling plays like Mikey Mottau’s steal off of Ward’s misfire out of the zone will make this Devils fan quite happy, and I like being happy.

The Canes are going to be angry out the gate next game. Don’t wait for ’em to make any mistakes, this is a smart team here. Pressure, pressure, pressure.

We got this, Black ‘n Red.

F&!$ it, I’m pressing it.

Angry?  Yep.

Embarrassed?  You betcha.

Scared?  Try friggin’ petrified.

Thanks, Devils.  Just thanks.

I’d love to give some sort of insight, but I’ve missed the last few games (night classes – a curse and a blessing, apparently).  I’m kind of happy I didn’t see anything but the last three minutes of tonight’s game.

Scratch that, I’m kind of mad I subjected myself to the last three minutes, knowing full well what the score was.

Sigh.

This team was supposed to be too good for the annual March swoon.  Too many veterans, too many guys who know how to win, all of that.  What the hell is happening, then?

The part that annoys/frustrates/scares me the most is the clear parallel between last year’s late-season falter and this year’s.  See:  Big losing streak, lack of goal scoring, disappearance of defense, big ass-whuppin’ from the Penguins.  My poor heart won’t be able to take losing to the Rangers in round one of the playoffs again.

Speaking of the playoffs, you realize they haven’t won a single game since clinching a playoff spot, right?  A playoff spot that was clinched on a day off, with another team losing, rather than on the ice with the Devils winning.

This is no way to go into the playoffs.  Things have to be turned around, and it rests on two men:  Brent Sutter and Jamie Langenbrunner.

Brent Sutter is at least making the appearance of trying.  Being pissy about the Rangers loss, being pissy about Patrik Elias not playing tonight, freaking out at the end of the second period tonight (or so I’m told).  The man’s showing more pulse than he has in two years with this team.  But you do have to wonder if he knows what to do to get this team in playoff mode.  Once is an abberation, twice is the beginning of a pattern.  In this case, a very frightening pattern.

But what of Captainbrunner?  Now’s his chance to really make his salt as a captain, to really show what he’s made of.  You hear me, Jamie?  TAKE CONTROL.  Jamie Langenbrunner is not Scott Stevens, nor should he try to be – however, it’s time for the current captain to truly and finally make this team his, the way the teams of the 90s and early 2000s were truly Scotty’s.

After all, if the captain can’t step it up in a time of crisis, how can we expect anyone else to?

Oh boy.

The Devils are awesome.

Pretty much all that needs to be said.

The Day After

It’s been said over and again, by Scott last night, by comments both here and elsewhere, by talking heads on TV.  Last night, simply, was amazing.

I sat down to try to put something up on this blog before heading back to my much-less-thrilling day job, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to say.  I’m 60 words into this thing and I still don’t know, really.

I do know that last night’s game re-affirmed my love for this game, for this team, for that goaltender, for this franchise.  I’ve never been to a Stanley Cup Final game – I can only imagine that the atmosphere in the Rock last night was as close as it gets without Lord Stanley’s mug riding on the outcome of the game.

I love that this game fell on St. Patrick’s Day.  There was a nice, loose atmosphere to the crowd – whether it was the history-in-the-making aspect, the beer flowing pre-and-during game, or (most likely) a healthy combination of both, it made the Rock truly feel like home for perhaps the first time.  Sure, there was the stray Blackhawks fan (and the obligitory guy in a Rangers jersey despite their team actually playing a pretty important game at the same time), but last night, the Prudential Center was the DEVILS building.  That is what it should have felt like during last year’s playoffs, and hopefully will feel like this year.

I love that Patrik Elias’ record-setting assist was a primary assist, and that everyone in the building saw the play and recognized it for what it was instantly.  The eruption for Patty’s assist was worth the price of admission alone, regardless of Marty’s feat.  I love that the response to Patty’s record-breaking point was so intense and so overwhelming that I actually had to look up who scored the goal just now, because for the life of me, I couldn’t remember.  It was Brian Gionta, by the way, and it was shorthanded.

I love that there was no scripted cheesy celebration after the game, that Gary Bettman didn’t hit the ice to shake Marty’s hand and present him with a plaque.  There will be time for that before another game, but the celebration last night was rightfully focused on Brodeur.  As awkward as it became after a few minutes, I love that he was given scissors and cut down the net.  I love that the rest of the team jumped in to help out so Marty could take his victory lap.  Without his team, he wouldn’t have won one game, let alone 552, and without his team, he would still be cutting that net down this morning.

I love that we had the greatest play-by-play man in all of hockey (and arguably all of sports) in house to call the historic game, just as we have the greatest play-by-play man in all of hockey to call every game, historic or mundane.  Doc Emrick, as we’ve stated many times on this blog, is one of the greatest perks to being a Devils fan.  We’re lucky to have him.

We’re a lucky fan base in general, I think it’s safe to say.  We’ve got the greatest goalie of all time.  We’ve got the greatest point-scorer in Devils history on the ice right now.  We’ve got the greatest announcer.  We’ve got three Stanley Cups, four Eastern Conference championships, seven Atlantic Division championships, sixteen consecutive winning seasons, eleven consecutive playoff appearances.  A good number of those will likely go up by the time this season’s over.

We’ve also got among the greatest fans in hockey.  Let’s face it, it’s not always easy to be a Devils fan.  We’re too quiet.  We can’t fill our building most nights.  We’ve got a preoccupation with the team on the other side of the Hudson.  We’ve heard all of that before and undoubtly will continue to hear it for a long time.

But last night – last night I was proud of our fan base.  Proud of our franchise.  Proud of our owner, GM, coach, team, game-day crew, ushers, building, city, state.  Last night was one of the greatest nights I have ever experienced as a Devils fan.  A night I will never forget.  Thank you, Mr. Brodeur.  Thank you, Mr. Elias.  Thank you, Mr. Lamoriello, Mr. Vanderbeek, Mr. Sutter.  Thank you, Mr. Langenbrunner, Mr. Clemmensen, Mr. Weekes, Mr. Martin, Mr. Parise, Mr. Zubrus, everyone who’s ever skated with a Devils crest on their chest.  Thank you to everyone involved in getting that building where it is, to the people who make the games happen every night.

Thank you to those who read what we have to say on this site, whether you like us or…not so much.  Thank you, Devils fans.  Last night was special, because of all of us.  Hopefully, this is not the last time that building feels like it did last night.

…not bad for not knowing what I wanted to say, eh?