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-

NJ Devils Month in Review, November 2009

With all the injuries and players coming in and out of the lineup this year, the Devils STILL went 9-3… Good God…think about that…. It’s even crazier when you realize the 3 losses were in a ROW… it was a very good month in New Jersey which is a shame, I write better angry… but it does make the month in reviews come off the keyboard a little faster this way!!!

Forwards:
#9 Zach Parise: A (9g, 7a, +11)
Almost averaged a GOAL a game for the month… that’s sick… he’s going to stomp on last year’s stats and has a legit chance again to break 100 points and re-write the Devils record books offensively… his hockey smarts and presence and knowing where to be is there as much as ever and even more so Lemaire is putting him in a position to win each and every time… and really I can’t say anything bad about him… though I do miss the Parise girls yelling and screaming and making him into a one man Jonas Brothers :p
Grade: A+

#15 Jamie Langenbrunner: C (3g, 11a, +4)
It’s weird with Jamie… his play is eh, he seems slower this year and he looks like he’s losing a step… but yet he’s on pace for his best offensive year ever…. He’s been fortunate to be on the two most productive lines on the team… and I will admit his skill is adding to the success of those lines… but really on his own… he kinda seems not so good… and he does his thing in the skills competitions, but we don’t watch those in the month in review so they are a non-factor in my evaluations….and no matter what you see or think of his play… 14 points in 12 games is above and beyond the expected call of duty for him…. So maybe I’m just seeing it wrong… but hell if it ain’t broke, don’t make em ride the bikes to fix it right???
Grade: A

#19 Travis Zajac (1g, 10a, +8)
Only one goal?? I guess he’s riding Parise’s coattails eh?? That’s not a bad thing though…. Travis does it all on this team… faceoffs, pk, power play… physical….he’s one of the most important players on the team and he is getting a point a night and no longer can Cangelosi get him confused with Shanny… though… BERGFORS…. *sigh… 19 Steve….*…. ZAJAC… SCCCAAAWWRRREEE, is still kinda epic!! I need to make my own funny here cause Travis is like HHH… he’s that damn good!!
Grade: A

#18 Niclas Bergfors (4g, 6a, +2)
Solid… improving… and doing his job in replacing Brian Gionta’s stats… this is a good thing….Lemaire is riding him and pushing him to be better and he’s responding.. funny how that works better then 2:32 of ice time a game isn’t it??? I like what I’m seeing and he too is growing into a legit player… and a better match speed and skill wise for Parise and Zajac for Langenbrunner…and he’s only 22… it’s nice to see our prospects start to prosper!!! And not be delegated to Andrew Peters level of ice time!
Grade: A

#23 David Clarkson (4g, 2a, -2, 19 PIM)
The offense was down this month, but he’s also been bounced all over the place… one time with Parise and Zajac (I like)… one time with Pelley and Halischuk (I not likey as much)….he’s fighting a bit too much for my likes… we need his PRODUCTION and not his FISTS… and he gets a break because he was hurt… but I expect a little bit better then this when we get him back post-olympics (most likely)
Grade: B- (torn between that and C+)

#12 Brian Rolston (6g, 3a, +1, 41 Shots on Goal)
I added the shots on goal stat, just because he has a rep for being mister Rip Em Wide… and his month was spotty, but he seems to have a niche with Elias and it’s starting to pay off for the team and his own statistics, the speed isn’t the same as it used to be but the shot and more important the CONFIDENCE in the shot (14 shots in his last two games) is showing up… and if Rolston can keep hitting the net (and he’s shown he can this year)… good things will happen for him, his linemates and especially the power play on this game… not a GREAT month, but he’s not dragging them down either… hell if he sat in 208 I might even walk over and say HEY to him (or something like that… ok, that’s a joke for Rob… whatever)…. He’s been alright, which for his second stint with the team is almost damn good…
Grade: B-

#26 Patrik Elias: A (3g, 7a, +3, 10 games)
It took him a few games to get his legs (understandable)… and then figure out who ha was going to be playing with (and it’s weird, it’s a grumpy old men line, but it’s WORKING with Langs and Rolston)…and he’s back to a point a game again and really what else can you ask for? Yes you’d like to see more goals… but we’re scoring and we have two top lines again with the Parise and Elias line carrying the mail each and every night while the rest of the team gets healthy and if this keeps up… we might even be more fun to watch and less smoke and mirrors! Welcome back Patrik!!
Grade: A

#8 Dainius Zubrus (0g, 1a, even)
Wow… I know he’s not supposed to score and his main function is to make time and space for people… but holy shit you gotta get more then ONE ASSIST if you’re doing you’re job right and I like Zubbie and all and I hate kicking a guy when he’s down an injured (now there are certain girls I like kicking regardless of position…. But whatever :p)….he’s gotta be better then THIS…. CMON ZUBBIE!!!!
Grade: C- (I hate, hating our mascot!)

#10 Rod Pelley (0g, 1a, -1, 10 PIM, 10 games, 7.5 mins/game)
ROD PELLEY MAD… ROD PELLEY SMASH!!! ROD PELLEY FIGHT!! Rod Pelley get benched for rookie defenseman playing forward…..well whatever pissed him off he had his best game as a Devil (well minus the double high stick moment of awesome of course!)….I threw in the average ice time, because as a spare forward it was kinda telling… the Devils could use a 4th line that eats some minutes and it doesn’t do that when Pelley’s been on it… I need to see more then one good game out of him (this means you too Andrew Peters) to be convinced he’s worth a shit, but I won’t hate him as much as Rob does ever (he just has eyes for Sestito…. We understand… really), Rod’s not been God… or Zod… more like Clod this year with the team… this month… no different…
Grade: D

#16: Matt Halischuk (1g, 1a, even, approx 11 mins/game)
Like Mark Fraser below is also earning more ice time from the coaching staff and is starting to get used to parking himself in front of the net (GOOD THING) and he’s adjusting to the speed of the game at the NHL level … hell he even looks like he BELONGS now on the team and taking regular shifts (again it shows on the ice time and no stat shows more what the staff thinks of you then the minutes you get to play… and thank God Sutter’s not here… he’d get 3 shifts a night and not be allowed to grow up on the ice like he’s been doing)…so I’ll go easy on him, I think the points and the contributions are gonna go nowhere but up and he might even be on the big club all year at this point… something I did not expect a month ago….
Grade: B (mostly for the improvement in play)

#11 Dean McAmmond (0g, 1a, even, approx 15 ½ mins/game)
It’s still weird seeing him wear #11 because he looks and skates like John Madden from way up…. Hell he’s been Madden-esque with his numbers, ice time and effort… which is amazing for a dude who was on the street or TGIFriday’s or something a month ago…he’s been a nice stop-gap type player as we try to get this team healthy and he will likely bump Rod Pelley back to obscurity even more when this team gets healthy (boy that should really get us UBER-MAD ROD PELLEY!!!)….he’s been ok since called into duty… so I’ll give him an OK grade with a small curve based on the speed of getting game ready…
Grade: C+

#17 Ilkka Pikkarainen (0g, 1a, even, 6 games played, 7 mins/game)
Wow, the best thing I can say about him is he’s keeping the tradition of Devils forwards wearing #17 SUCKING BADLY (and yes I mean you too Petr Suckora in there :p)…I don’t see this magic thing he adds to the lineup…. The only thing I think it can be is it keeps Peters OUT of the lineup… that ain’t good enough… HEY…YOU SUCK!!!!
Grade: F

#14 Tim Sestito (0g, 1a, -2, approx 12 mins/game, 9 games played)
SESTITO SANTANNNNNAAAAA!! ARRIBA!!! (hell the nickname alone should get him more playing time!!) He’s been ok too… he shows a bit more jump and offensive hope then Rod Pelley, but that’s like being a bigger scoring threat then Jay Pandolfo, or being smarter then the Blonde Wonder…he’s only 25 and it’s his first year in the system and I’d like to see if he can be a project down the road…. But at least better then Pelley is more gooder enougher to get in the line up now and see what he’s got, this may be a case of “the girl you don’t know looking better then the girl you do know and are sick of her being around” though…. Time will tell, eh?
Grade: C-

#25 Andrew Peters (no points, -4, 16 PIM, approx 6 mins/game, 10 games)
Has had ONE good game all season… that Ottawa game when he looked like Mike Peluso and choked a bitch OUT with that body check… aside of that… he hits marginally, he fights once in a blue moon, he adds no offense and skates like a seven year old boy in his first hockey camp…. And if I want that level of unreliability in my life I can BBM her and ask for that level of ineptitude I don’t need it on the ice!! YOU FAIL SIR!
Grade: F

Defense:
#6: Andy Greene (2g, 7a, +2, approx 28 mins/game)
OH ANDY!!! My has your legend grown… and I mean even beyond our love for you on facebook (and mine to an unhealthy level :p)….but what can you say… Martin and Oduya go down and you turn into Nick Lidstrom! Power play, penalty kill…. End to end… My Andy does it ALL <3…. He’s worth “coming out of the closet” for… and he’s really been the focus of 90% of the fun on 2man all year long!! THANK YOU ANDY!!! The only thing he’s not done is fix the economy and made international visits easier… but I hear he’s working on it during off-days!
Grade: A+

#24 Bryce Salvador (0g, 3a, +4, approx 25 mins/game)
As good as Andy’s been…. Salvador’s contributions have been just as important and he’s been as essential a player as anyone on this team…. Does everything but the power play, and adding a pinch of offense…but I blame that on Andy too!!! I don’t think you could expect or get any more from him then you’re getting… and it’s what this team badly needed now!
Grade: A

#5 Colin White (1g, 2a, +2, approx 20 mins/game)
He’s been what you expect from him… a bit physical (but staying out the box)…. Plays a lot smarter… making big plays…. And just enough offense to keep ya honest, the best thing you can say about a guy like White is you don’t notice him… and Whitey’s been the good kinda invisible… and I say it again… WHITE POWER!!!
Grade: A

#28 Cory Murphy (2g, 1a, -2, approx 9 mins/game, 7 games played)
OK, he’s not the smoldering bag of AIDS we portrayed him as…. But THEY SAT ANDY FOR HIM!! There is a price to pay for that goddamit!!!!! He got better his second time around and the “if Murphy scores a pp goal then Rob has to buy Anna a Murphy jersey” bit was totally golden and may have saved him in our cranky, bitter eyes! Sit not a top 6 D on any real team… least we know we can spot him from time to time and not have to hide in the corner as much anymore and save the bad pp offense for our own Lord Krang…..Still that all aside, I’d not cry if he doesn’t play a game more in the NHL this year
Grade: C

#27 Mike Mottau (1g, 1a, +5, approx 25 mins/game)
Solid, steady… and reliable… in a year of so much scramble and disjoint all around it’s nice to know Mottau’s been fairly reliable and you don’t worry about him in the ice shift after shift… and in a season when the top 4 has morphed into Greene, Salvador, White and Mottau you NEED nig minutes from all of them… he’s certainly held up his end!!
Grade: A

#2 Mark Fraser (no points, +1, approx 13 mins/game)
One good sign for Fraser was that his minutes were going UP by month’s end, which means the coaches felt better and more secure in putting him out there…. He’s still the first guy sent down when this team is at full strength, but he’s been pretty good in his second stint with the team and you don’t want to crawl and hide in the “Murphy” position when he’s been on the ice, I wish the Devils tracked hits on their site, I think he’d have a few… but he’s been not a liability on the ice and that’s really all you can ask from him, a nice solid depth defenseman on a team that needs some extra good bodies this year….
Grade: B-

Incompletes:
#21 Rob Niedermayer (1 game played in November)
#20 Jay Pandolfo (DNP in November)
#7 Paul Martin (DNP in November)
#28 Tyler Eckford (0g, 1a, approx 7 mins/game, 3 games in November)
#29 Johnny Oduya (DNP in November)
#22 Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (1 game in November)
#32 Matthew Corrente (no points, even, approx 10 mins/game, 4 games in November)

Nothing really much to say about these guys, though I think Eckford and Corrente can play in this league and it still sucks that PL^3 is below Peters on the goon chart…..

Goalies:
#30 mb30 (8-3, 18 goals allowed, 94 sv %, 1.63 approx gaa)
WOW… damn.. mid-season form… I’ll admit it… he’s been good… and he’s also mister one goal allowed a game… it’s like that wide receiver who gets tackled at the one all the time almost (then again, I don’t care about the shutout record and I found the minutes played record almost a reward for all the seasons he’s played too many game)… and I’m not gonna go crazy kissing his ass til he does some shit in the playoffs… sorry that’s just me and I won’t let my still displeasure totally blind me (and ok it helps that I made up with the person who’s fail his reminded me of but whatever :p)….all bets are off when income taxes are paid… but till then… he’s been good… I’ll deal :p
Grade: A

#35 Yann Danis (2 games, 1-0, 3.00 gaa, 87.8%)
As always the backup goalie is so hard to judge…. I mean yeah he got pulled in his only second appearance in the month, but those goals were HARDLY his fault (two deflections and a ridiculous bounce that came in front and got stuffed home…. I don’t think anyone was stopping THOSE)…it’s hard an unfair to judge the guy in that little time… but I’ll play Meatloaf here and say two outta three ain’t bad on the season…
Grade: B

Coaching Staff:
What can you say that I didn’t in the intro?? You can point to Lemaire, Stevens, et company… and see the improvements in Bergfors, Zajac, Greene, Salvador, Fraser, Clarkson… even rookies like Eckford, Corrente and Zharkov can step in and not be 3 minutes a game fodder…even the vets like Langenbrunner are thriving in this new system and Jacques even seems to have Rolston and Zubrus on the right track and all this with HALF THE TEAM on injured reserve… what the hell else can be said?? WE WERE WRONG JACQUES AND WE’RE SORRIE!!!!
Grade: A+