Rantings of a coping Gionta fan… the FAQs on a Free Agency Defection

Let me start by saying THIS IS NOT MY BLOG… NOR MY FEELINGS (well it hits a lot of what I feel about Madden jumping ship)… but when you see and read something damn good on the internets and you can ask the person and they don’t mind sharing it… the name protected (well unless you know me well you know who this is :p)…. but I figured it was a great and personal perspective on the pains of free agency in the NHL

Is it true? With the signing of Brian Gionta, the Montreal Canadiens are now your second-favorite team?

Yes, for every second that Gionta is there.

Um, WTH? Who has second-favorite teams anyway? What are you, 12?

Yeah, many times I am. It explains why I still think it’s funny to use an excessive amount of swear words.

What about Scott Gomez?

What about him?

Well, don’t you hate him? How can you possibly root for the Habs when he’s on the team?

I got the “I’m a douchebag” vibes from Gomez even during his days in New Jersey. I just ignored it, and him in general, because he was a skilled player making a positive contribution to my favorite team, even helping them win two Stanley Cups, despite his flaws, which of course came out in full force once he jumped across the Hudson. So yes, I still hate him, and he deserves to be eaten alive by the Montreal media and fans for performing well-under expectations. I will laugh if/when that happens. However, my love for Gio far exceeds my hatred for Gomez, so I am pulling for Gio and the Habs to be successful. Yes, that probably means Gomez is going to need to have at least some degree of success, especially since he and Gio will probably be on the same line, as they have been since they were teenagers playing for Team USA and as they were when Gionta broke the Devils’ single-season goal-scoring record. I’ve had plenty of practice ignoring Gomez as a Devil and can do the same with him as a Hab. So what if he has success? It’s actually a win-win situation because Gomez having success would twist the knife in Glen Sather’s heart, especially if injuries strike Gaborik yet again.

Why do you like Gionta so much? Why is it so easy for you to move on and pull for the Habs?

For those who haven’t heard the story yet, I have been a huge Brian Gionta fan since 1998, his freshman year of college, before he was ever drafted. I watched him play for BC during the NCAA Tournament (the Eagles, who also had Clemmensen and Mottau on the team, made it all the way to the final before losing in OT to Michigan that year) and was just in awe of the energy, determination, speed and heart this kid played with, and, at 5’5.5″ (his REAL height :P), to overcome the odds to play at this inspiring level. He’s a special player, and I don’t think I’ve ever actually said that about anyone before. I knew this was a player I had to follow throughout his playing career. On draft day that summer, I would have felt very grateful if he were picked by any team except the Rangers or Flyers because as a Devils fan I automatically would have had to hate him. Never could I have imagined he’d actually be picked by my beloved Devils. It was my beautiful, unrealistic fantasy coming true. Just that moment was a bonus. Who would know that 11 years later, this little guy from Rochester would not only be drafted by the Devils, but he would win a Stanley Cup with them, break the team’s single-season goal scoring record, and play 6+ wonderful years here. Talk about a bonus. I hit the jackpot. Because this was all a bonus, I can say with all sincerity that I am so appreciative of the time he spent in New Jersey. The way I look at it, Gionta could have been drafted by the Habs in 1998, and I would have been pulling for them then (or actually not until 2001ish after Gio graduated). I am grateful that he didn’t sign with a division rival; otherwise I’d be in no position to cheer him. At all. So no, this is not easy losing Gionta, but it’s definitely workable.

Wait, so if the Habs and Devils are playing and Gionta scores, are you going to cheer for him?

Of course not! The Devils remain my number 1 priority. My passion for the Devils far exceeds my Gionta fandom. So Brian, no scoring against New Jersey. Don’t make me boo you. I’ll do it, I swear.

I heard that you have Gionta and Madden wallpapers on your home and work computers, respectively, and you purchased only Gionta and Madden hockey gear at the Devils’ latest equipment sale. Is it true that you jinxed the two veterans into leaving New Jersey?

I have no jinxing powers once the hockey season has concluded. However, I CAN tell you that Scott Mackie has a Clemmensen voodoo doll and is directly responsible for his signing with Florida.

Are you mad at Gionta for leaving? Are you mad at Lou for letting him go?

No, and no. Gionta expressed a sincere desire to remain in New Jersey. It sounds like he didn’t get much of an offer, if anything, from the Devils, and I really can’t blame him for taking $5M for 5 yrs. from Montreal. He made a good decision. As far as Lou, I know he has put the welfare of the team before everything else, and as desperately as I wanted Gionta to stay (Madden too. Both those guys were perfect examples of what Devils hockey is all about), Lou has earned my trust over the years. If he thinks the Devils need a change and that the young guys are ready, then I believe there’s a good chance he’s right. In fact, when, to top off all the ridiculousness of July 1, Lou’s dramatic signing turned out to be Finnish forward Ilkka Pikkarainen, I could only imagine what brilliant secret Lou (a man talented at finding random gems in Europe) knew that no one else did. Well, we all know the secret, but Lou UNDERSTANDS it. The salary cap is going to drop and a lot of teams will be fucked while the Devils keep plugging along and fighting back when everyone else thinks we’re down.

So you’re not freaking out that Lou hasn’t done shit during free agency while everyone else has?

Nope. Everyone seriously needs to chill out. This happens every July 1, and the Devils haven’t missed the playoffs in more than a decade. We still have all of our defensemen from last year (Minus Havelid, who doesn’t count because he was here for 2 secs. and, well, he’s Havelid). We have our top line and 2/3 worth of second line players in Elias and Rolston (though Elias is top line caliber and I think Rolston really should be a LW, so that’s a mess that the next coach is going to have to figure out because Rolston should NOT be on the third line). It’s more than sufficient to start out training camp with.

What do you think of the whole coaching situation?

With the Sutter situation, it is what it is. With the new coach (be it Lemaire or whomever… Lemaire is def. not the end of the world; he gets the most out of the players that he has and really teaches the young guys, something that wouldn’t be bad to have for a couple of years), if everyone keeps using that stupid cliche, hit the stationary bikes!!!

These signings just happened! How were you able to compile a list of FAQs so quickly?

They’re frequently ANTICIPATED questions. I am too lazy to develop/maintain a Web site/blog to develop a following and accumulate questions from it. Deal with it.

Since we all need a reason to enjoy a Devils game now…

No this ain’t gonna be some rah-rah cheer you up inspire the masses kinda post… that ain’t my way…..

No this isn’t going to be some massive OH MY GOD THE WORLD IS ENDING…. PEOPLE LIE ABOUT THEIR AGES ON THE INTERNET… FIRE BRODEUR AND PLAY CLEMMENSEN TILL HE’S 70 kinda post either :p

So why the hell am I sitting here wasting your time??
(hell be honest the reason you come here IS to waste time)

But I had mentioned it elsewhere and we’re building some momentum and people are actually gonna show for this one and it’s a Saturday Night so you have NO excuse…. We wanted to have a little Devils Fan Gathering at my favorite little bar down the street… and why not make it into a massive cluster fuck right???

Here’s the Deal… show up at 6:30… we pile into some tables… we eat we drink we converse… we watch Devils hockey, and we see the girls go goofy over the bartender who looks like David Clarkson and marvel at the other two ladies as well 🙂

Sounds good right? Shit you’re convinced this team has driven you to drink right? BACK IT UP!!!! 🙂

Date: Saturday, April 4, 2009
Time: 6:30pm – 10:00pm (or later once the NHL Network gets put on and it will get put on!)
Location: Sun Tavern
Street: 600 W Westfield Ave
City/Town: Roselle Park, NJ
Phone: 9082410190
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=600+W+Westfield+Ave%2C+Roselle+Park%2C+NJ

(really just take the parkway to 137 and go left, it’s right past the Welcome to Roselle park signs)

Come …. enjoy… heckle!!!!!

Sometimes you can’t pick just one

…As was the case with the most recent entries in the ZubbieCounterContest.  Thus, for Zubbie’s 26th Goal As A Devil, we have two winners.  One looked like it required a good amount of work, and the other just made me giggle.  Congrats, Mike J. and Kevin B.  Y’all are in the running for undetermined free swag at the end of the season.

For those who have forgotten somehow:  When Dainius Zubrus scores a goal, make or take a picture and send it to us with the words “__th Goal As A Devil!”  The proper e-mail for such an entry is zubbiecounter at gmail dot com.  Hopefully Zubbie steps it up some and we can keep seeing your awesome creations.

Tastes Like Chicken

Feast your eyes on this:

There you have it, folks.  The REAL reason the Devils walked away with the win last night.  Alright, that might be a bit superficial.  The FIFTY shots on goal might’ve had some small part in that, too.

But seriously — how often do you sit down with a plate of chicken fingers and look down to see one that looks EXACTLY like the state you are in??  Am I the only one who smells a major marketing scheme here?!

Well, even if I am, I’m going for it.  Who else thinks we should send a little e-mail to the Devils and try to get the chicken fingers in the joint all cut into the shape of the Garden State?!

Too bad they weren’t fish-sticks. 😉

Numbers, Signings, & Ugly Thirds.

Over the last few weeks or so there have been a few tidbits worth updating about but I haven’t gotten around to it until now. For those of you who haven’t already discovered that knowledge is power through some other news source, it’s time to play a little catch-up, 2manadvantage style!

– NUMBERS GAME –

With the return of veterans Brian Rolston & Bobby Holik coupled with the departure of Sergei Brylin, There has been some rare number-swapping rippling through the Devils current roster. Holik will indeed regain his old # 16 that he wore during his first go-round with New Jersey. Dainius Zubrus gave up the number for Bobby and will don #8 for the rest of his tenure with the Devils. It should be noted that this change will in no way, shape or form, have any effect whatsoever on the (dare I say) world famous “Zubbie Counter“.

Sheldon Brookbank will sport the #28 previously worn by Brian Rafalski after giving his old #8 to Zubrus. Brian Rolston will carry over his #12 from Minnesota, as Sergei Brylin’s #18 will be taken over by rookie Niklas Bergfors.

– ROD PELLEY RETURNS, KEVIN CORMIER ACQUIRED –

In under-the-radar news, Rod Pelley has in fact been re-signed by the Devils. The deal is 2 years with a cap hit of $550,000 per season. In addition to signing Pelley, Lou Lamoriello made a small ripple on the trade market, sending Sean Zimmerman to Phoenix in exchange for Patrice Cormier’s older and bad-assier brother Kevin Cormier. If my memory serves me right, the Devils brother-total now stands at 4. (the Giontas, Pandolfos, Parises, & Cormiers.)

In my opinion, Lou can sign as many brothers as he wants as long he doesn’t shift his attention west… Vancouver in particular.

Wait, nevermind. I said brothers, not sisters

– THIRDS HAVE (unfortunately) RETURNED –

It seems that even RBK couldn’t keep the third jersey away from the game. Unfortunately there will be a return of the cash-grabs this season. Some teams have already released their designs, while other mock-ups are being rendered by fans based on provided descriptions. You can check out some of the MOCK-UP JERSEYS here.

– TIME CHANGE –

The Rangers/Devils pre-season game scheduled for next Saturday, Sept. 27th @ MSG has been moved up from a 2pm start to a 1pm start.

That is all.

******

Pre-season starts in just 6 days, folks! Who’s ready for a live-cap?!