NJ Devils Month in Review, December 2009!

What a month of December!!! 11-4 overall (and ok the Hawk game left a bad taste in your mouth, but don’t be spoiled bitches about it!!), the team is still atop the NHL… and hey… it’s all good… enjoy the goddamn ride and how fun December was! And yeah I know it’s a bit late (but hey with my track record compared to the rest f 2ma, I’m allowed some slack… and I’m not going to tonight’s game so you have this to read instead… it’s all good!!)

Forwards:
#9: Zach Parise-A (2g, 10a=12 pts,+2)
OH MY GOD PARISE ALMOST WENT THE WHOLE MONTH WITHOUT A GOAL!!!!! And look…. the world didn’t end, dogs and cats didn’t start having babies… I didn’t start speaking Spanish….. the Cowboys didn’t start winning in Decemeber…. oh… wait… they did 🙂 But in seriousness the best thing about Parise’s scoring funk… he NEVER stopped playing hard, getting chances (hell he still had 10 assists so someone got ten goals thanks to Zach)… and his body language and effort never sagged or dropped during the funk… that’s the sign of a good player! Hard work, consistent effort, it’s all good Zach!
Grade: B+

#19: Travis Zajac (2g, 5a=7 pts,+1)
Had some scoring troubles in the month too, but I’ll link those issues to Parise’s (since for the most they are linemates for life in jersey)….But you can also say that maybe Parise struggled too because Zajac was kinda eh in the month also…slumps do happen though, and the Devils were fortunate that the 3rd and 4th lines were GOOD this month (and it helped the team alot)…his level of play and intensity didn’t seem to match Zach’s though (but that’s expected and why Zach is the superstar on the team and why Zajac is just a good supporting piece)… he’ll be ok, and he’s already scored in January so it’s all good!
Grade: B-

#15: Jamie Langenbrunner-C (5g, 5a=10 pts,+1)
It’s a weird thing… and stats aren’t always everything (yes I’ll get shit for this with the first week he had in January. but this is DECEMBER’S month in review :p)…. he has nice offensive numbers, but there was a REASON he’s been pulled from Zajac and Parise… and down to the 3rd line… the wheels are not there and something seems off on his level of play… he reminds me of the top scorer on my Ford’s Cup team… he had great hands and could finish with anyone…. but man he didn’t do much else… maybe he’s playing through injury again I don’t know (he does too damn much of that and costs himself a month of good play to not sitting a few nights… I know that kinda stubborn, as anyone who saw me walking around like my leg fell off at Tuesday’s game)… there’s a reason me and my fellow 209ers have been tough on him all month…..
Grade: B-

#18: Nicklas Bergfors (7g, 3a=11pts,-5)
Love the offense and the skill and the confidence this kid shows on the ice each game… but you can tell from the -5 on why Lemaire dogs him about defense and learning both ends of the ice…. but in doing his main job in making most of up forget Brian Gionta (sorry your Lordship :p)….also showed he can skate and play with Parise and Zajac (hell his efforts are part of the reason Langenbrunner is no longer on that line)… not to mention that second in the league in rookie scoring is pretty damn good too… he’ll learn the rest of the game and Jacques’ will crack the whip as it’s needed to keep him in line!
Grade: B

#21: Rob Niedermayer (3g, 3a=6pts,-1)
Smart…crafty, does a lot of little plays still that you just look and see… DAMN I liked that… kinda spotty on faceoffs (some days it’s real good… other days it’s 15%..crikey! Not the fastest… or overly physical, but he still finds way to do the little things, and that ear-piercing NIEEDDDDMMMMAAAYYYYYEEEEERRRR to my left is always attention getting :P…..he’s been solid
Grade: B

#12: Brian Rolston (5g, 4a=9pts, +4)
Steady through the month, but hit the wall at the end (hell alot of the guys did… that was a ROUGH month of games)…. no points in his last 4 games is a bit of a downer…. and he’s back on a 27-goal pace after what was a slow start to the year for him….he kinda is what he is at this point, and the main thing…but there’s been too many games you forget he’s out there and with his shot, speed and pp time that can’t happen…..
Grade: B-

#20: Jay Pandolfo (1g, 3a=4pts,-5)
Ugh… of all the guys to come back and be healthy this is the one I wanted back the least…. I know I’ve been on Pando’s ass since he came into the league, but the good years are behind him…gets too much ice time (I don’t like or beleive in the defensive shadow role… that died with the lockout)
Grade: C-

#10: Rod Pelley (2g, 2a=4pts, +2)
The POWER OF PIST ROD PELLEY (ah, leave it to me to take moments of personal idiocy and make them into gold and eternal running commentary for life)… and four points in a MONTH?? I’d have been shocked to see that for the YEAR… he’s really growing comfortable in his role.. and he can lay some MONSTER hits for a 5’11” guy! I mean don’t get me wrong.. he’s still a 4th liner… but again with the lousy level of 4th liners and how the chicken-shit coaches of the past didn’t use them… it’s been a god send to see an effective 4th line, and it has been Pelley-Powered!!! (and people who know me love I loves me a good 4th line!)
Grade: A

#25: Andrew Peters (4 games, no points, +1, 15 PIM)
I’m sorry I don’t give a shit what he did the rest of the month, but when you ain’t played in 3 weeks and you get into a fight 16 seconds into the game and your jersey comes off YOU FAIL AND YOU SUCK SIR!
Grade: F (TIE YOUR FUCKING JERSEY DOUCHEBAG!!!)

#17: Ilkka Pikkarainen (11 games, 1g, 2a=3pts, +1)
Pikka-chu’s been decent this month too, and even the garbage way his first NHL goal was scored (PRICE WAS WRONG BITCH!!)… I see points on the 4th line and I get all excited! And add in the fact he was getting 8-10 minutes a night that shows the level of improved play here… and keep in mind the grade is for what his role is on the team, and he’s been good at what he does!
Grade: B

#11: Dean McAmmond (3g, 4a=7pts, +1)
Geesh, he was a -8 in the last 4 games, and the only non-minus game was a shutout :o…. damn), he slowed down a bit as the month went on (obviously :p)… but still… he’s been ok between Elias and Rolston, and he’s putting up John Madden-style numbers… hopefully the end of the month slip is just a rut and not the old fella crashing into the wall after only 6 weeks back in the NHL… he’ll adjust… I’d hope, though as old as he is, he ain’t THAT established in the NHL as much….something to worry and keep an eye on….
Grade: C

#28: Vladimir Zharkov (0g, 6a=6pts, +5)
Nifty little player, has nice flash… doesn’t get enough shots to the net yet… but he’s learning, played well with Elias and Rolston and that helps too….good guy to just plug in there and get a bit of offensive crafty in there….probably gone back to Lowell when this team gets healthy, but he’s got a good chance to be on this team next season and beyond (or a key piece in a playoff push type of trade)
Grade: B+
—————————————-

Defense:
#6: Andy Greene (2g, 9a=11pts, +2, 25:00 TOI)
What can I say about Andy that I haven’t already? 2nd in the East in scoring… plays damn near half the game… makes smart plays in one step back in his own end….mobile… and still growing as an NHL player… it’s been the best story about this year (yes in more ways then one <3 )… Andy could fix the economy, move continents and even get Michael Bay to write good movies!!! Need I say more????
Grade: A

#24: Bryce Salvador (2g, 0a=2pts, +2, 21:00 TOI)
As good and obvious as the Andy Greene Show has been… I think what gets really lost in that act is the fact that he's had a pretty damn good side kick in Salvador with him…. long gone are the days of people pissing and moaning that we got this guy for Cam Janssen (think about THAT for a second)… Bryce has done everything asked of him and been the steady compliment and rarely needed backup plan for Andy when he jumps into the offense…..
Grade: A

#2: Mark Fraser (1g, 1a=2pts, +7, 14:00 TOI)
He's been solid too…but protected… you can tell by his ice time and when the Devils are home, they take advantage of match-ups and keep Fraser off the ice when the big boys are out there…he's big, he takes the body….he could fight more, but I don't like defensemen fighting personally… he's coming along nicely!
Grade: B-

#5: Colin White (1g, 4a=5pts, +2, 23:30 TOI)
WHITE POWER!!! (it's my thing deal with it :p)… he's been good again this month, plays big ice time each game…. again when you don't notice Colin… it's good… and I didn't notice him much… and it's been a long time since you'd yell HOLY SHIT COLIN at him… so since less is more for Colin, I'm gonna say less about him and grade him more!
Grade: B+

#29: Johnny Oduya (1g, 0a=1pt, +5, 21:00 TOI)
ONE POINT?? Really?!?!?! Least his defense is getting better… and he's moving the puck again and better on defense… still you'd think the one guy who'd benefit from Lemaire like every one else… There's still much time to improve at least, and he did improve this month….
Grade: C-

#27: Mike Mottau (0g, 1a=1pt, -7, 26:00 TOI)
Looks like all the ice time is catching up with him a little bit here… his stats slipped (and look at that -7), and the plays… just not as good… been forced (again) to play over his head and it caught up a lil bit this month… he's still a useful player… but they pushed the gas pedal too far this month and it's running on empty…..
Grade: B+

#32: Matthew Corrente (5 games, no points, even, 10 PIM)
Much like Fraser was brought in sparingly, and allowed to get his feet wet… and in the NHL getting your feet wet playing defense is NOT an easy job… I liked the fighting (but again, more when he was playing forward)…. he was pretty well protected when possible….still truly hard to figure him out while he's still figuring it out… but he's been ok!
Grade: C+ (borderline incomplete)
——————————————-

Incompletes:
#7: Paul Martin-A… did not play all month
#23: David Clarkson (2 games played, no points,-2, 5 PIM)… came back and got hurt again *ugh*
#16: Matt Halischuk (2 games, no points, -2)
It's a damn shame, he just looked like he had gotten it on the NHL level and caught up with the game and the speed of the players on ice…he got sent down… grrrr… in a perfect world, he's in and Pando's out, we all know this ain't a perfect world though
#22: The man called PL^3….Hasn't played a game since Nov 4th… wow
#8: Danius Zubrus… also did not play in December

Goalies:
#30: mb30 (15 games: 10-4, 2.37 gaa, 3 So, 3a)
Well what can you say??? He's in mid-season form (and it IS mid-season so that makes sense :p)…. played too many games in the month but this is NOTHING NEW *sigh*…. I guess we're supposed to forget this is an Olympic Year and the fucker's gonna play 100 games BEFORE the playoffs… and trust me…I'm 37 also… the body DOES break down admit it or not…. dude needs some rest (and Dennis's been good when allowed to play, and I do mean allowed)… being benched after one bad period in his ONLY bad game in the month ain't enough… UNLEASH THE DENNIS!!!
Grade: A

#35: Jan Dennis (1 game, 1-0, 0.67 gaa)
Only got one chance to shine and hot damn he DID make the most of it when he did… came in for the Atlanta game at the same time that the Cowboys shocked the WORLD in New Orleans (what a great snowy night that was….)… I just give him a grade because it's so damn hard to sit there all the time and flip the switch and play when you win the lottery and get a damn start on this team!!
Grade: A

——————————————-

Coaching Staff:
What can you say about what Lemaire and company is doing with this team?? If the head coach is the conductor for a symphony then Jacques is crafting his greatest song ever here….The dealing with the injuries, the growth and development of the rookies… it really is the mother of all masterpieces…. the only knock I have on Jacques is that he's not letting Dennis play enough… but I can see why the way mb30 is pumping out A games each night…
Grade: A

Front Office:
… well there were no trades or major moves to really talk about… I mean there's not much need to… things just keep on keeping on!!!
Grade: A (but could be called Incomplete too)

Devils @ Stars LIVECAP!

10:48 PM: Oh, the ZubbieCounterContest, of course.  A big congrats to Kristyn, who’s 27th Goal As A Devil “27 Dresses” Zubbie picture just edged out Kevin B.’s 26th Goal As A Devil Zubmission.  Kristyn, get a hold of us at zubbiecounter at gmail dot com and we’ll get your unidentified swag in the mail.  Congratulations!  Goodnight everyone.

10:46 PM: Okay, I’m all kinds of frustrated right now.  The site doesn’t wanna load, the Devils won’t wanna win, I give up.  Stars win, 5-3.  First LiveCap of the season = total failure.  Maybe I’ll see about doing one next weekend.

9:53 PM: Patty Elias has two assists on the night, playing primarily at center.  I have to admit, Zubbie’s probably not putting up any points in that role.

9:52 PM: Third period on…let’s hope the website holds up!

9:37 PM: Okay, there’s some issues with WordPress right now apparently.  The website won’t load on a regular basis.  The score is now 3-2 Stars, with Brian Rolston scoring on a slapshot on the power play about halfway through the period (Tyler Eckford picks up his first career NHL point with a secondary assist on the goal).  Second period is now over, and hopefully I’ll be back for a third period LiveCap, I hope.  If the website chooses to load properly.  If this little note even makes it to publication….

9:11 PM: Apparently Nelson Muntz laughing means we’re going back to the penalty kill.  Travis Zajac is off for tripping.  Our penalty kill has not been stellar tonight.  Gulp.

9:06 PM: Ott just pushed Andy Greene quite rudely.  YOU DON’T PUSH ANDY GREENE.  Andy Greene will remember Ott’s number, and one evening, when Ott least expects it…BAM!  He goes Greene.

9:05 PM: Okay, as much as I like him, THE Yann Danis is just not making the stops Marty’s made so far this period.  He got three strong ones on one sequence there and fought ’em all off.  We’ve a chance in this yet.

9:01 PM: Good stop by Marty (uhh, our Marty, not their’s) to start off his relief appearance.

9:00 PM: Game back on, and interestingly, Martin Brodeur is in net.  THE Yann Danis cannot be pleased.

8:43 PM: Aaaaaand, period over.  I’m gonna go get a stiff drink.  Hopefully the second period proves better.

8:42 PM: One minute left in the period.  Thank god.

8:41 PM: Okay, I hope it wasn’t that important.  Power play, not successful.  Sigh.

8:39 PM: Barch to the box for Dallas, Devils to the PP.  Is it safe to say it’s somewhat important that they score a goal on this power play?  I think it is.

8:37 PM: …BANANA SHPEEL?  Really, Cirque du Soleil?  Really?

8:34 PM: Dammit.  Robidas takes a feed and pops one behind Danis, 3-1 Stars on another power play goal.  I don’t want to write off this game already, but scoring four goals is not something this team is primed to do on a regular basis.

8:33 PM: I would be enjoying this game a lot more if it were in high def.  Also, if we were doing as well in the last 14 minutes was we did in the first.

8:31 PM: Tyler Eckford is not making a good first impression.  Penalty the other night, ‘nother penalty tonight.  Stars back to the power play, they scored on their first one.

8:27 PM: Elias/Rolston/Langenbrunner is one of the lines.  You know our team is getting old when Patrik Elias is the spring chicken of the line.

8:24 PM: I feel so bad for Matt Corrente.  It’s gotta be rough being a defenseman and playing forward in your first career game.  He’s wearing number 32, by the way, which looks so weird on a Devils jersey these days.

8:21 PM: Dammit.  I sat Riberio on my fantasy team, hoping we’d shut him down.  He scored, it’s 2-1 Stars, and I don’t even earn fantasy hockey points for it.  WEAK!

8:20 PM: Clarkson goes to the box and feels shame, y’know.  Hooking and all, shameful business.  Devils go to the PK.

8:17 PM: Ooof, BIG rebound off the pads of THE Yann Danis.  Zajac with some good backchecking to prevent an easy goal.  Clarkson about to get a penalty…eventually…if we ever touch the puck again…

8:16 PM: Morrow’s out of the box, Devils power play only gets one shot on goal.

8:15 PM: I am way out of LiveCapping shape.  Sorry.

8:13 PM: Matt Corrente, the young defenseman, makes his NHL debut…as a forward on his first shift.  This is gonna be an interesting game.  Brendan Morrow takes a penalty and the Devils hit the power play.

8:12 PM: Well it didn’t take long to give it back either.  Stephane Robidas with a sinking shot that was probably tipped, and it’s a 1-1 tie.

8:10 PM: That didn’t take long at all.  Assist to Mottau, and possibly someone else too.

8:09 PM: WHAT?!?!  BRIAN ROLSTON…ON A BREAKAWAY…WITH A GOAL?! 1-0 Devils!

8:08 PM: The puck, she hits the ice in Dallas.  Game on, baby.

8:05 PM: Anyone else sick of the Nissan Altima “Love Hurts” commercial yet?  (Side note:  Still not sick of the “The Most Interesting Man In The World” Dos Equis commercials.)

8:02 PM: OH YEAH!  THE Yann Danis is in net tonight!  This could be fun!  La Grenouille!

7:56 PM: So Zubbie’s out (I don’t know what this blog would do if we hadn’t found a second mascot in Andy Greene).  Pelley’s scratched (and not happy about it).  The Devils are dressing seven defensemen: Greene, White, Mottau, Salvador, Fraser, Eckford, and Corrente).

7:46 PM: Why is it that every time I LiveCap, we’re on MSG+2×7/28-(-12)=?

7:45 PM: Okay, so.  I know there’s some stuff I’ve been not doing.  Namely, naming a winner in the ZubbieCounterContest.  I’ll do that at the END of tonight’s game, in this very LiveCap.  That’s what’s called “enticement to stay with me and enjoy the LiveCap.”  (Okay, so you can read it whenever you want, but still.)

7:43 PM: Ha!  I like how they showed a Rod Pelley hit when talking about the Olympics.  That’s as close as you’re ever getting, Roderick.

7:41 PM: OMG2MALIVECAP!  Sorry it’s taken so long to make this happen, but I’m actually sitting in my room, on my computer, at the time of a Devils game, so why the hell not?  Put on a pot of coffee (light & sweet for me, thanks) and join me, will you?

DEVILS MAKE A SIGNING!!!!!!!!!

Today the Devils signed former draft pick Ilkka Pikkarainen.

Exciting, right?

The 28-year-old forward spent the last three seasons in Finland, posting 24 goals and 13 assists for 37 points in 54 games last year. He also racked up 149 penalty minutes.

The 220 pound Pikkarainen should add a physical edge to the Devils roster, ‘specially after losing the amazing all-star Bobby Holik to retirement and the wonderfully mediocre Mike Rupp to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Orrrrr, could it be possible that the Finn was signed to potentially entice another European player to the join Black ‘n Red?

Saku, I’m talkin’ to you.

…I know, I know. One can dream, right?

Oh, yeah, for the sake of reporting, Pikka was the 218th pick in the 2002 Entry Draft for New Jersey.

Fancy.

Oduya wanna be a Devil?

Johnny sure does.

The Swede re-upped with Black ‘n Red for a multi-year deal worth $3-million a season.

Not bad, Mr. Lamoriello, not bad.

Oduya was sure going to be a hot commodity on the open market this July, so this Devils fan right here is definitely happy that there is some semblance of awesomeness on the blue line in the coming seasons.

Okay, okay, maybe we razzed the poor fella quite a bit in years past, but forgive and forget…right?

RIGHT?

Whatever. I still hate the Pittsburgh Crosbys.

NOTES: The Devils swapped centers with the New York Islanders, acquiring prospect Ben Walter and a conditional 2012 draft pick in exchange for Tony Romano.

In 65 games last season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Walter posted 20 goals and 30 assists. He also appeared in four games with the Isles.

Peter Zezel Passes Away at Age 44

The hockey world has lost one of its most beloved journeymen today, and one of my personal childhood favorites. Peter Zezel has passed away after a long battle with a rare blood disorder known as Haemolytic Anaemia.
Peter Zezel
Peter was mostly known for his success and tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but among his many stops he briefly called New Jersey his home. Although he played only 23 games for the Devils, he recorded six assists and fans took very kindly to him — a symbol of the type of person he was both on and off the ice. His NHL career spanned 15 seasons and landed him not only in Toronto and New Jersey, but also St. Louis, Washington, Dallas, and Vancouver. He even made an appearance in the classic hockey movie Youngblood.

It seems to me that more and more professional athletes – hockey players especially – are passing away entirely too early for people that realistically are in peak physical condition for most of their lives. It’s almost ironic in a very tragic way.

TSN reports the Zezel family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Peter’s name to the James Birrell Fund at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. For those that are interested in donating, checks should be made be payable to “The James Fund” and can be mailed to:

The James Fund
625 Whitaker Street #4
Peterborough, ON
K9H 7L5
Canada



Rest In Peace, Peter, and thank you for your dedication to the greatest game on earth. You will be missed.

NJ Devils 2008-2009 Season in Review!

Damn… it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these eh?? Last time I did this, Scott Clemmensen was still playing Shane Falco… the team was still up and coming… and damn… it was a while ago… but now with the regular season FINALLY over, time to take a look back at the wildest and more fun-est season EVER that I can remember as a fan of pro sports!!

Forwards:
#9 (LW) Zach Parise:
AAAAAAAHHHHH… PARISSSEEEE!!! Something about this kid makes you jump up and down like a little girl, ya know?? I mean we had all these records come and go this year and this kid’s season came OUT OF NOWHERE… and it was the second most fun thing about this year….3rd best season offensively ever (in goals and points) and emerged as the most dangerous offensive player on the team… slowed down a bit in the end when Elias was out and teams can really key on him… but his hockey smarts and timing are still there and he knows where and WHEN to be at the right place and that’s not going away!!
Grade: A

#26 (LW) Patrik Elias-A
78 points in 77 games… hey that’s pretty good… and like I said above when he wasn’t there, the Parise line really suffered… broke the all-time points record, broke 30 goals again, and seemed to elevate Gionta and Zubrus’ games at times too…not as dangerous as he used to be but he’s a helluva good second threat (and him and Parise are scary on the power play and 4 on 4 situations)
Grade: A-

#14 (RW) Brian Gionta:
20 goals, a bit disappointing, but I’ll take 40 assists though (means someone was scoring them… enough of them were Elias and even the king of the Zubbie-counter)… didn’t get to the front of the net as much as you’d like, doesn’t set up the play much… but still finds a way to contribute… ugh… god he’s a pain in the ass to figure out… he did well but not as expected… agh, I’m psycho-babbling, 5th on the team in scoring and a +12, you’d have signed on for that in September… so I’ll say he did ok!
Grade: B

#19 (Center) Travis Zajac:
One of many career highs on this team, and a HUGE sign on the upside on the future of this team…4th in the NHL in +/-…2nd on the team in faceoffs… and oh yeah.. one hellva year in offense (4th on the team with 62 points, and one of the 5-20 goal scorers on the team)… the third year truly was the charm for this center! The best part is he can really improve and get BETTER (playing with Parise helps too)
Grade: B+

#11 (Center) John Madden-A
7 goals?? -7 ?? Eeeekkkk… not the best way to go into a contract year (though if he goes BONZO GONZO in the playoffs it all goes out the window)… still decent on faceoffs and not brutally terrible on the penalty kill, but not dominant… has a 4th line role on this team, but at WAY less money… really needs to erase a miserable season with a good playoff… IF he has it in him…
Grade: C-

#8 (LW) Danius Zubrus:
Eh… he does the little things, but you’d like some more of the big things if he’s gonna play on the 2nd line with Elias and all… 15 goals is nice…25 helpers is OKAY, but it’s not great… hell it’s not even second line worthy, but it’s the best place for him and in it’s own kinda way… it sorta works… take out the fact that 4 of those goals were in one game and it’s pretty shitty actually (more so that it was Tampa)… again a lot can be forgotten in the playoffs… but until then it’s been kinda a bit less then average… that makes this grade easy…
Grade: C

#15 (RW) Jamie Langenbrunner-C
Horrible first month… but since then became the standard of consistent and reliable (probably should have sat some games to heal up)… but when he got on track he was DAMN good… another guy with career highs, handled the C just fine and did everything you asked of him and sometimes too much!
Grade: A

#23 (RW) David Clarkson:
He’s been getting more steady and reliable game in and game out… he’s cutting out the fancy shit (thank god) and sticking to a straight-nose kick ass, take names and get his face in the shit like he SHOULD be doing!! He still fights, and pretty well… so good job Clarkie!! Gives Power Forward a pat on the head… and hell… a cupcake!!!
Grade: A

#20 (LW) Jay Pandolfo:
5 goals… 5 assists and a -12?? That’s just not gonna cut it… the mistake contract from excessive loyalty for years of service…. Sometimes that’s just not a good idea… this was one of those cases…. He gets a lucky goal filling in with Elias and him Madden and Shanny look tolerable for one game and it’s a Pando-love-fest?? I don’t get it….really he can’t be in the long term plans of this team and this year was BRUTAL… unlike Madden I can’t see a step up playoff run in him
Grade: F

#18 (RW): Brendan Shanahan:
14 points in 34 games is a tolerable amount for him, though he seriously gets too much ice time (killing penalties at his age and lack of speed… not good), he’s still got the smarts, and the savvy… but the speed is long long gone and 15 minutes a game is WAY too much!
Grade: C

#17 (LW/C) Mike Rupp:
He’s been better at what he is… he’s not useless on the ice and he DID put up nine points and even 3 goals, his fighting is better, the boxing lessons did help his overall althelticism, and he’s not painfully retarded to watch stumble on the ice… for the enforcer-type… he’s decent enough (hell after last year this is a GLOWING review!)
Grade: C+

#25 (LW) The man simply known as PL^3 (cause I hate typing his name!)
Eh, he is what is he is…. He can skate, and maul people… he fights and has very little else…hell I don’t know if we saw enough of him to rate him fully…
Grade: Incomplete

#12 (LW/C) Brian Rolston:
Tough guy to rate this year because half his season is a wash-out from the ankle injury (and yes it takes THAT long to come back from the high ankle sprain)… and if you look at his stats 15/17 and a +2 is a decent enough half-season.. not really suited to be a center anymore (and personally I think he’s been best with Madden and Clarkson)… and free agents always suck the first year you get them (look at the improvement in Zubrus in year 2)….. so you almost want to throw away the first season sometimes….
Grade: C+ (another guy who can make up for a lot in the playoffs)

#16 (Center) Bobby Holik:
Eck… a minor penalty… a smarky post-game comment and a goal or two by accident (holy shit he had FOUR goals??)… really high faceoff % aside… he’s kinda sucked this year… the snarl leads to dumb penalties and at his age no way in hell is he gonna learn!
I didn’t expect a LOT… ok I expected 10 goals which WAS a lot after all :p… the best thing you can about ol’NoGoalik… at least the coach had the sense to bench him by season’s end!
Grade: D-

Defense:
#7 Paul Martin:
Emerged as a borderline elite defenseman this season.. hell the only thing keeping him from all-star level is the fact his offense is a step behind where it needs be (33 points is about 10-12 points away from being what a true top-tier defenseman puts up)…. Makes his defensive partner better regardless of who (I still hate him and Oduya as a tandem, wastes all our speed defenders at once)… but you’d have to look hard and far to say bad things about #7 this year!
Grade: A

#27 Mike Mottau:
Slow, but steady (seems to be the way with this team ain’t it?)… plays well with White… but good god that’s two cinder blocks on ice.. least Mottau’s skating is a bit better then last year (and so is White), 15 points is a solid contribution and the +24 is a function of playing with White and the team’s mojo this year… but I can’t blame success on him now can I?
Grade: B

#5 Colin White:
Best year of his career as a Devil, offensively… the team’s record sucked with out him, the penalties are cut down… so are the fights.. but you don’t bring a one-eyed guy to an ass-kicking contest, right?? Colin is everything you can expect and hope for him to be for a minute eating-defender… I just wish he had a partner with superior wheels….
Grade: A

#29 Johnny Oduya:
His offense picked up nicely when he got paired with Martin (they let the reigns off of him at that point and the goal scoring picked up nicely… including some game-winning gems) and he really grew into a nice steady solid top 4 defenseman now, a true find off the old scrap pile after all.
Grade: A-

#24 Bryce Salvador:
Good start… not-so-good finish (didn’t exactly click with Havelid after all)… a lot of what I am about to say about Havelid, it just didn’t work with the two of them (I’d love to see him and Oduya still, and maybe Havelid with Mottau perhaps)… nothing really much to say about him… he’s a good hockey player and he does “hockey player” things ya know? I’ll even out a B start and a D finish….
Grade: C

#28 Niclas Havelid:
4 assists and -2 as a Devil…. More evidence on him NOT clicking with Salvador (but yet as much as I love our coach… damn he is stubborn on not fixing the blazing holes in the defensive pairings)… I don’t think it’s his fault… he plays ok enough… he doesn’t suck out there… he just doesn’t click with his partner, and the coaches don’t want to mess with the rest of the D-pairings.. better or worse….
Grade: C-

#28 (version 2) Jay Leach:
Decent enough depth defenseman… unless he’s filling in for White or Martin.. scraps a little… doesn’t add offense… but he’s not gonna be expected to be… he’s alright enough in his role… I can’t bash this guy
Grade: C

#6 Andy Greene:
Heh… one of the most complained about Devils on the internets! I think the kid has the goods but it takes time for defensemen to grown and mature… he’s coming along good enough… started the season with a bit of offensive tear, but not so much after that… also got a bit lost in the shuffle when he came back … he’s not as awful as he’s made out to be *cough cough-NJ Devs-cough cough*
Grade: C+

Goaltending:
#35 Scott Clemmensen:
The sole reason behind the best feel-good story I ever followed in a sports team! No it wasn’t pretty…hell I admit it was downright scary at times!.. but 25-13-1, 2.39 gaa kinda speaks for itself doesn’t it? One career saved… and not only a regular season trivia question made…. But hell a new quasi-legend is born! Hell NO ONE saw this coming this year either (like I mentioned with Parise’s insane season)… long live the Devils version of Shane Falco!!!
Grade: A

#1 Kevin Weekes:
The definition of TEAM player… classic guy who sits and takes the shit that was dished on him without a WORD of complaint and a smile always on his face… got thrown into MANY no-win and under the bus situations this season… and no he didn’t come up big and make miracles out of them… but he did his damndest with them… and then even the hockey Gods shit on him and he takes a shot to the knee… I weep for the WEEKES!!!!
But like I said… he gets this grade on outlook on life at least!
Grade: A

#30 Martin Brodeur:
Seemingly allergic to the Rangers now.. Sean Avery or not…was good before the injury… and came back ON FIRE until the record that I care not about was passed (I mean it was nice to be there and all… but it’s still a regular season thing)… eh, I’m so farooqing torn on mb30 this year, and I guess he hit the wall on his post-injury comeback, so I guess I’ll go easy on him….
Grade: B +

Coaching:
They win… that’s a plus… the forward lines (least the top ones) stayed the same… some of the defense pairings are still a mess… and the special teams are special Ed more then anything… but hey the defense was 4th in the NHL, and 5- 20 goal scorers… it’s not a terrible job… and Sutter IS learning in his time in the NHL… definitely seems like a keeper….
Grade: B

Front Office:
I liked the Havelid deal… but it doesn’t seem to be working out… I liked the off-season signings… but it seems like mixed results at best… it’s so hard to tell with this team because teams that Lou builds are built for NOW and beyond… the draft picks and young players have been pretty good (Zajac, Parise, etc.) and the home-grown guys are good enough… but again … it all begins NOW
Grade: INCOMPLETE

Thoughts from Section 209….Devils/Wild 3/20/2009

One mere section over from Section Two-Oh-Ten (hey I said it I’ll take my shit for it :p)… well at least for now… there’s gonna be some bitching about THAT in a minute… and it just seemed like just another night in the office for the Devils… and an impromptu 2ma reunion in the section too!!!!!

the Good:
— after a first period that was coma-like… Jesus was mb30 in a ZONE last night… willing that game to shutout 101, well once Lemaire gave up and started playing offense
— the penalty killing… yeah the refs got a little too into the “College Basketball chant” coming from 209 and kept calling penalties to see how long they could keep it going… but a 7 for 7.. what can you ask for!!
— It’s amazing how now a bad game for Parise is “only 2 assists” and the record watch is now at 7 goals and 9 points with 11 games to play (not to mention 13 points from a 100-point season… and NO ONE saw this coming this year!)
— then again this team’s offense as a whole is stupid good this year… Parise over 40… Elias at 30 goals
.. Langenbrunner and Zajac over 20 and Gionta, Zubrus and Clarkson close to the 20 mark (not like all of them will get it… but hell, anything is possible with this team… well except reasonable prices up high :p)
— and speaking of… Paul Martin’s diving keep and then shot to the net which lead to Elias breaking the 30-goal mark… as gorgeous a goal as you’ll see with your own eyes!!

the Bad:
— Well my mood was set well before I got to the game tonight, I saw it on NJDevs this morning… and I got the thing in the mail to make it WORSE… now come this time of year when you get a package from the Devils I was like.. ohhh… playoff tix are here… oh no no no NO…. what did I get in the mail you ask??

“Please note your invoice reflects the new pricing for the 2009-10 season….If you PAY IN FULL by April 17th, you will receive your 2008-09 season ticket price of $22 per game, pay in FULL by April 17, or three monthly installments in April, May and June” (yeah you know when the second PLAYOFF invoice kicks in)

yes they give you a bunch of shit like a BBQ and a meet and greet… but you know what I’ll take NONE of that and keep my fucking prices!!!

(and oh yeah, your parking got jacked $3.50 a game too)… more of this to come after a VERY angry phone call on Monday to the Devils front office!!
…. and in case ya cared… my options if they continue this donkey-fuck…
1. move to 208…. 2. I’ll be taking road trips and fuck that arena ever sees my money again!
— Also… by the Way… the Wild fucking SUCK too… thank God I was pissed off and ranting… that first period was TERRIBLE!!!

the Funny:
— Well trying to tell poor Jamie on the phone I was on the 208/209 side of the section with people wondering why she needed a phone to hear me at that point (when I get loud and people don’t hear me I get confused… I ain’t used to it)… and of course the 5-time slip of saying I’m not on the 2-oh-10 side… ah well… it was amusing!
— AS we all know we have some fine young draft picks up and coming in section 208/209 (well if THEY don’t get priced out of the fucking building!)… we have the biggest star of the lot in Little Nicky… and the ever-famous Beer Plinko Kid
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCIupHdUuVM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erSN2IogQjs and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNwRqPH4-s4 … for reference!) …. Beer plinko kid’s dad buys his boys’ ice cream (I could spend days ranting on the price for a family of 4 in the building)… he goes to his kids and goes “Hey you guys better enjoy this… you ain’t getting nothing else here tonight”…. so I turn and go “Better eat it slow guys”…. lil Nicky picking up his game in superstar mode turns and starts chanting “EAT IT SLOW … EAT IT SLOW …. EAT IT SLOW!!” If I ever fool a woman into being crazy enough to let me have a kid with her… I want a lil Nicky dammit!!!!! (not to mention the same 6-year old giving grief to the guy who couldn’t change his own tire on this car!)

–I might have more later… I’m still pissed that in the middle of a magic amazing season like this I get donkey-punched and blindside like that… and anyone who knows anything about me… when I get attacked in my crease… someone gets fucked up!!!!

TRADE!

I kind of had a feeling something might happen today, rather than Trade Deadline Wednesday.  And it has.

The Devils have picked up Niclas Havelid from the Thrashers.  On the way to Hotlanta, Mr. Anssi Salmela.  We hardly knew ya’, Salmela.

So, who is Niclas Havelid?  Well, he’s Swedish, 35 years of age, with two goals and thirteen assists for the Thrashers so far this year.  He’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.  He’s also a  +4 on a team like Atlanta, so I guess that’s gotta say something.

I dunno, seems kind of…well…old.  And we’re already an old team.  Niclas has gotta feel like he’s hit the lottery this evening, though, going from dead last in the Southeast to first in the Atlantic with the swift move of a pen stroke.  Lucky bastard.

I can’t help but wonder if this is the beginning of something else to come.  But on the other hand, I think I know better.  Picking up Shanahan halfway through the year and getting Marty back last week may have been the Devils “big moves” for the trade deadline.  Niclas Havelid may be it this week. 

Also, Andy Greene’s gotta be looking over his shoulder now.  Which is a shame, because, as Scott pointed out, he’s actually been pretty good lately.  And dammit, I like Andy.  But I get the feeling Mr. Greene is headed for the press box, and Jay Leach is headed for Lowell.  Or vice-versa.  Sucks to be both of them right now, though.

Devils Vs. Sharks LIVECAP!

5:41 PM: Stats:  Clarkson with two goals.  Parise, Rolston, and Gionta with two assists (Gionta with the first goal, as well).  Four game winning streak – including two in a row over the two best teams in hockey.  What a weekend.  That’s going to do it for me today.  Goodnight everyone!

5:39 PM: Stars of the game:  Clarkson, Langenbrunner, Elias.

5:38 PM: GAME OVER!  DEVILS WIN, 6-5!  Devils give the Sharks their first regulation loss when leading after two periods.  Good god what a game.  You coulda had this on national TV, NBC.  Bite me!

5:36 PM: Empty net for the Sharks.  Also, Clarkson gets credit for the last goal, not Rolston.  Thirty seconds to go in the game, the penalty is over!

5:35 PM: Minute and thirty to go in the game, a bit over thirty seconds to go in the power play, and the Sharks take a time out after Clemmer gloves down a shot.  Holy hell this is gonna be one hell of an ending.  Have I mentioned that NBC totally BLEW IT?!

5:34 PM: This. game. is. NUTS.

5:33 PM: Oduya gets called for…something…on Setoguchi.  Sharks to the PP.  Meep.

5:31 PM: ROLSTON!  GOOD GOD, every time he scores on a shot like that, the money we’re paying him becomes more and more worth it.  BIG blast from the top beats Nabakov, screened by Clarkson.  6-5 Devils and three minutes left in regulation.

5:30 PM: Parise has done ust about everything offensively save for score a goal.  I’d wager he’s at seven or eight shots and some great passes.  Only a matter of time, I think.

5:29 PM: Clemmensen is NOT having a good game.  Gets mixed around behind the net trying to play the puck.  Joe Thorton gets whistled for a cross-check, though, so…opportunity is there now.  Let’s get the lead kids.

5:25 PM: Thorton pulls a Lyle Odelin and passes to the goalie.  Haha.  Probably not as intentionally as Odelin, but still.

5:24 PM: Less than eight minutes to go in the third.

5:21 PM: Gio with a rocket of a shot that bounces off the post, and the PP is over.  That…was not so good.

5:20 PM: Oh for christ sake.  Pavelski picks it up on a turnover in the neutral zone and beats Clemmensen with a backhand, and we’re tied again on a shorthanded goal.  Dammit.

5:19 PM: Joslin dumps a puck over the glass – that’d be a delay of game, and the Devils get themselves another PP.  Let’s try and extend the lead a little, yes?

5:16 PM: Parise and Zajac with the assists on the Cap’n’s goal.

5:14 PM: YES!  Parise with a drive, big rebound to Captainbrunner who jams it home!  5-4 Devils with the lead, 12 minutes to play in the game!

5:13 PM: Not a great start to the power play, as Johnny O can’t hold it at the point.

5:11 PM: And there’s our make-up call for the bad penalty against Colin White at the end of the second – at least I assume so anyway, because Mike Rupp drew it.  I’d like to see a replay, but MSG+ would like me to see that guy who talks about how great the local teams are instead.

5:10 PM: And that’s the end of the power play.  But we’re tied.  And that’s pretty awesome.

5:09 PM: Devils still on the PP for another 35ish seconds.

5:08 PM: WHOO!  THAT’S what the power play should look like!  Hard-working all around.  Parise hammers a shot in on Nabokov that’s stopped, Parise throws the rebound through the crease at Elias jams it home! Elias with the goal on the 2 Man Advantage, because Patty loves us.  Tie game!

5:06 PM: Clarkson gets whomped into the boards, crumbling in a heap.  Ehrhoff gets the penalty, Devils get a 2 MAN ADVANTAGE for 30 seconds!

5:05 PM: Devils are really buzzing on this power play – a handful of shots already and even more chances.  A minute and change to go.

5:04 PM: Penalty to Thorton for a hook – a legit call, which means we’re still owed some makeups from previous bad calls dammit.  Regardless, it’s a power play.

5:03 PM: Okay, penalty to Captainbrunner over, we’re back to full strength.

5:01 PM: Third period on.  Devils still on the PK, and still down by a goal.  The Sharks have yet to lose in regulation when making it to the third in the lead.

4:42 PM: Setoguchi scores on a nice pass from Thorton, and it’s 4-3 Sharks to end the second.  Devils will still be on the PK for the start of the third.  See y’all then.

4:40 PM: Oh for eff’s sake.  Captainbrunner goes down with a trip and now it’s a five-on-three for San Jose for 1:17.  Dammit gang.

4:39 PM: Mike Rupp with a shot on net, which surprised me because this is the first I’ve heard of Mike Rupp playing this afternoon.  Colin White takes an interference call and now it’s the Sharks on the PP.

4:35 PM: And the inability to convert that opportunity may prove costly, as Cheechoo scores with a blast, re-directed by the stick of Andy Greene on defense.  Game’s tied at 3.  Sigh.

4:34 PM: JEBUS!  Elias gets a one-on-one with Rob Blake, waits for Zubbie, Zubbie manages to get Nabakov to wind up way out of net, and then can’t get it to anyone in the slot – because no one would get to the slot.  Dammit.

4:33 PM: Kerry “The Hair” Fraser says it was inconclusive, so the call on the ice stands, and it’s no goal.  Phew.

4:31 PM: Pavelski gets ROBBED by Clemmensen.  They’re reviewing the play and it seems similar to the one that went against us in Anaheim.  Clemmensen’s pad is somewhat in the net and there’s no way to really tell where the puck is underneath.  Frankly, I think the puck, if in the net, was kicked regardless in the end.  Of course, as we all know, the one in Anaheim went against us, so…let’s just wait and see.

4:28 PM: And that’d be the end of another Devils PP.  I think that’s 0-for-3 on the day now?  Not good, guys.  Not good.

4:27 PM: Zajac’s back on the bench.  Thank you merciful god.

4:26 PM: Ohhh man Parise with a glorious chance in front but can’t lift the rebound over Nabakov’s pad!

4:25 PM: Devils head to the power play after a high sticking call against the Sharks.

4:24 PM: So with Zajac still out, they’re mixing in centers to play with Captainbrunner and Parise, and right now it’s Holik.  Now THAT’S scary.

4:20 PM: All penalties have expired, back to full strengh for everyone.

4:19 PM: Johnny tried to dust off last year’s Orr-duya smooth skating rush all by himself, but this time he shoots probably too early and misses the net.  Oh well.

4:18 PM: And now Rolston goes down for a slash.  Rollie’s picking very bad times to take very bad penalties.  Four-on-four for a minute and a half.

4:17 PM: Clowe goes to the box for an unintentional trip, but a trip nonetheless.  Devils back to the PP, sans Zajac, who’s yet to return from the locker room.

4:12 PM: Game sure has settled since the early parts of the first period.

4:09 PM: Zajac just took a stick to the face by Bryce Salavdor.  Crap.  Zajac to the locker room.

4:07 PM: And that’s the end of that one.  Not much going on, only one shot on Nabakov.

4:04 PM: Michalek with a huge slash on Zajac’s stick, and we get our first PSE&G Power Plaaaaay! of the afternoon

4:02 PM: We be back.

3:43 PM: Aaaaand that’ll be the end of the first, Devils up 3-2.  Shots are 11-8 in the Sharks favor.  I’ll be back in seventeen, will you?

3:40 PM: Salvador gets tangled up and tripped, no call though.  Can’t really tell if it should have been a penalty, but everyone at the arena thinks it was.  Devils have yet to go on the PP this afternoon.

3:38 PM: Hey, what gives, we haven’t seen a goal in like five minutes.

3:36 PM: Hey NBC, this is what you missed out on this afternoon, when you just HAD to air Rangers/Flyers.  HA!

3:34 PM: What a wild game.  3-2 and we’re only 3/4s of the way through the first period.

3:29 PM: CLARKSON! Devils with a breakout, two on two.  Bad pass but Clarkson grabs a hold of it, spins and whips a deceptively strong shot at the net that I don’t think Nabby even saw.  3-2 Devils, assists to Madden and Rolson.

3:25 PM: At least I picked the right game to LiveCap this weekend, based on early returns, eh?

3:24 PM: …where they thusly score.  Patrick Marleau tips one in for his 30th on the season, and the score’s tied at 2.

3:23 PM: Aaaand Rollie celebrates with a hook, and the Sharks – who have scored a PP goal in 9 of 10 – head to the power play…

3:22 PM: To quote Steve…”Rolston SHAT SCAARR!”  2-1 Devils, Rolston whips a quick wrister down low through Nabakov.  Madden and Gionta with assists.

3:21 PM: Good looking crowd today.  I’d venture to guess that we may be looking at a sellout this afternoon!

3:18 PM: We looked real good for like a minute there.

3:15 PM: Hot damn.  Big drive by Rob Blake beats Clemmensen cleanly, and we’re tied at 1-1.

3:13 PM: No Doc this afternoon, as he was in NYC calling the very amusing 5-2 Flyers victory over the Rangers – one featuring a four goal second period for Philly, the pulling of Lundy (again), and a five-on-three shorthanded goal by Mike Richards that made me laugh very loudly.

3:12 PM: Nevermind, Canjo just answered that – Pepe was not listed as a starter, hence a little confusion at the start of the game.

3:10 PM: Gionta from Patty and Zubbie, 30 seconds in.  Claude Lemieux took the opening faceoff against Patty, btw.  I wonder what kind of reaction he got when they announced his name at the arena pre-game.  Did he get the traditional “(insert player name here) SUCKS!” chant, or perhaps some cheers?

3:09 PM: GIONTA!  I didn’t even have time to mention that the puck’s on ice and Gio sweeps on in off a pass from Elias and it’s already 1-0!

3:08 PM: Apparently Paul Martin is also not playing today due to “upper body soreness,” Jay Leach is in.  Shanny was not a surprise, Martin really is…I wonder what happened there?

3:07 PM: Shanny’s out for the Devils with general soreness after blocking four shots Friday night with his feet area.  Jay Pandolfo is back in tonight in his stead.  Go Super Jay!

3:04 PM: On the Devils end, three straight wins.  Clemmensen has posted consecutive shutouts and hasn’t allowed a goal in seven straight periods, over 140 minutes.  Captainbrunner has nine goals in nine games, Elias has a six game assist streak going, and the team is coming off a 1-0 victory over the NHL-leading Bruins.  Yay!

3:03 PM: So here’s the deal.  First, regarding the Sharks:  Yes, Pepe is playing.  He missed practice yesterday due to illness, but he’s over it.  Passed it on to Dan Boyle, though, who will miss the game with the flu.

3:00 PM: So there’s about twenty other things I should be doing today, but none of them involve two of the best teams in hockey, so here I am, LiveCapping Devils/Sharks for all you loyal 2MA readers.  Let me know you’re out there!

Capitals @ Devils LIVECAP!

9:27 PM: So that’ll do it for me tonight.  Hey, I’m willing to bet you’ll see a more traditional Mackie-type Mackie rant later this evening!  A silver lining after all?  Goodnight gang!

9:26 PM: I guess you can’t win them all, of course.  And the streak was something to behold, considering how many of the games were on the road (and in the west, for that matter), and Langenbrunner’s heroics the last handful of games.

9:25 PM: I want January back.  February sucks.

9:24 PM: …and there’s the empty netter.  5-2 Capitals and the eight game winning streak’s officially dead.  Eric Fehr with the goal.

9:23 PM: Clemmensen’s on the bench, six attackers on for the Devils, 1:30 left in the game.

9:21 PM: This is terribly disappointing.  That last power play goal by Washington sucked the life out of the team and the crowd.

9:18 PM: Four minutes to go in the game.

9:16 PM: Too many blocked shots, can’t get anything on Theodore, and the penalty to Brashear is over.

9:13 PM: Brashear goes away for goalie interference.  I missed it.  I’m guessing it was either stupidly blatant so the ref couldn’t ignore it, or an attempt at a pity penalty to make up for the crap call before.

9:09 PM: WEAK.  Nylander scores on the power play that comes as a result of a BS call.  4-2 Capitals.  Now I’m pissed.

9:06 PM: Oh come on now.  Rupp does an excellent job of creating a play for himself, drives on net, stopped by Theodore.  Rupp is tripped up by a stick as he drives, and makes some contact with Theodore…so of course, Rupp’s off for goalie interference.

9:02 PM: Elias with a snapshot on the doorstep that looked like it was in, but alas, was knocked aside by Theodore.  Mine eyes, they deceive me.

8:58 PM: Clarkaround try!  You keep going for it, Clarkie.  One day.  One day.

8:57 PM: I like how “Oduya picks up Langenbrunner at center” when Cap’n plays wing and was against the boards on the blue line at the time of the place.  I miss Doc.

8:56 PM: WOW another shorthanded chance, this time a two-on-one for Zajac and Madden, Zajac can’t bury the shot, however.  Crowd’s woken up, that’s for sure.

8:55 PM: CAPN CLUTCHENBRUNNER!  SHORTHANDED!  3-2 Capitals and we have a hockey game kiddies!  Also, Jamie’s only got one goal so far tonight, he still needs his requisite second goal yet!

8:54 PM: Oh, right, we’re still on a penalty kill.

8:53 PM: We be back yo.

8:35 PM: And that’s the end of two.  Not quite as bad as the first, but still plenty of room for improvement.  3-1 Capitals, stick around for the third.

8:34 PM: Clarkson goes down for hooking behind the play.  We’re also in the last minute of the second period.  We can’t be taking penalties tonight dammit.

8:32 PM: Hard work shift by Gio, sadly with nothing to show for it but possibly some black-and-blues.

8:30 PM: I wonder what Doc does when we play on Versus and he’s not the announcer.  Or what Chico does when there’s a game on Versus and Doc is the announcer.

8:26 PM: The Penguins apparently have a player named Luca Caputi, who has scored in their game.  Tuukaa Rask has some competition for best name in the NHL.

8:23 PM: We finally got that flow I mentioned earlier, end-to-end quickness going on.  Elias with a nice toe drag to pick up Gionta on what was a one-on-two, then breaks his stick going for the shot.  Curses.

8:22 PM: You know, I like the idea of Rupp-Holik-Clarkson, but don’t much care for the idea of Rolston-Madden-Shanahan.

8:19 PM: Elias and Parise get the assists.  With merely a one man advantage, we’re back to not being able to keep it in the offensive zone.  Dang.  And now that advantage is over.  Double dang.

8:17 PM: ROLSTON!  A BLAST from the blue line through a Zajac-ian screen and it’s 3-1.  Still on the PP.

8:16 PM: ‘nother Capitals penalty, and the Devils get a…wait for it…wait for it…2 MAN ADVANTAGE!

8:15 PM: Mike Green’s a hooker.  It’s not a smear tactic, either, the referee says so.  Hence, we’re on a power play now.

8:13 PM: Parise to Zajac on the doorstep and it’s put just wide – maybe off the post.  It’s gonna be one of THOSE nights, eh hockey Gods?

8:10 PM: Couple of nice shots blocked in front and never even make it to Theodore.

8:06 PM: We’re not winning very many loose puck battles this eve, and as such, the majority of the play this period (and in the game) has been in the defensive zone.  And as if that’s not bad enough, they’re playing Red Jumpsuit Apparatus at The Rock.  This game’s getting worse and worse!

8:04 PM: Terribly sorry for the delay, got caught up at the store.  Second period is on, and it’s…3-0 Capitals.  Dammit.  Nylander.  What the hell is going on here?

7:45 PM: That’s the end of the first – 2-0 Capitals.  Back in seventeen.

7:44 PM: Two straight post shots for Washington – for god’s sake, let’s just get out of this period alive!

7:42 PM: This is why I miss Doc & Chico – at least one of them would have told us that the Old Guys Line was not just a practice thing – Rolston, Madden, and Shanahan are skating together.  Meaning Clarkson’s been dropped to a line with Rupp and Holik – Crash Line 2.0 if I ever saw one.

7:39 PM: I think I’ve figured out what’s wrong with tonight’s game – besides the score, of course.  There’s no flow to this game.  So many whistles – offsides, puck out of play, that sort of thing.  It’s kind of annoying, really.

7:38 PM: Clemmensen’s scaring the crap out of me tonight.  Again.  As usual.

7:33 PM: The game’s kind of lagging.  Devils having issues even getting the puck into the offensive zone.

7:31 PM: A surprisingly loud Rangers Suck chant.  Perhaps referring to what we will never speak of again?

7:28 PM: Power play over, and I’m not so sure that we even got a shot on goal during the course of those two minutes.  Poop.

7:26 PM: Paramount to making something happen and being awesome, however, is puck possession, which we seem to be having issues with so far on this PP.  Sigh.

7:25 PM: Nylander to the box for Washington for high sticking, so we’re on a PP.  Making something happen here would be all kinds of awesome.

7:24 PM: Oh for chrissakes.  Tic-tac-toe passing play right off the faceoff and Brooks Laich has basically the entire net to tip in the power play goal.  2-0 Capitals, and where the HELL did our recently awesome penalty kill go?!

7:23 PM: Cap’nbrunner in the box for hooking.

7:22 PM: …did the world REALLY need a reality series about horse jockeys?

7:20 PM: Zubbie wants to continue the world-famous ZubbieCounterContest, but loses the handle on a drive in the slot.  ZubbieCounter remains at 24.  Penalty coming, apparently to the Devils because the fans are booing, but Versus won’t tell us until these words from their sponsors.

7:18 PM: Oh dammit.  Great penalty kill wasted, Mike Green sneaks down and pops one above Clemmer’s glove.  1-0 Washington.

7:17 PM: Niiiice bit of penalty kill by Captainbrunner, getting the puck deep into the Caps zone and not forcing a shot – just hanging on to it for awhile.

7:15 PM: Brashear gets to be a one-man show of puckhandling behind the Devils net.  BRASHEAR.  Eesh.  Devils take a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty, being served by Zubbie.

7:14 PM: The crowd doesn’t look so hot so far.  I hope there’s a bunch of stragglers on the way because of the weather.

7:11 PM: Parise/Zajac/Langenbrunner are buzzing early.  Elias/Zubbie/Gio with an early chance too.  Weeee.

7:10 PM: Aaaaand the puck’s finally on the ice at The Rock.  Jose Theodore’s in net for the Caps, Clemmer for us.  I like it when Theodore’s in net, I seem to recall the Devils lighting him up on numerous occasions.

7:08 PM: There’s some sort of jersey retirement ceremony going on on the other side of the Hudson.  Again.  Now let us never speak of it again.

7:01 PM: Last time these teams met, the Devils broke a four game losing streak by winning 6-5 in the shootout, after allowing Alex Ovechkin to score with one second left.  I remember that game – I was at that game.  As I recall, every time I was not in my seat, we scored.  Every time I was in my seat (or even anywhere NEAR my seat), they scored.  By the end of the night I was watching the shootout on a TV set near the Fire Lounge on the main concourse.  The sacrifices I make for this team!

6:58 PM: So here’s what we got: The Devils ride into this game on an 8 game winning streak.  The Capitals, as of this very minute, sit one point ahead of the Devils for 2nd in the conference.  Win in regulation, and the Devils leap-frog the Caps.

6:57 PM: Why do I love you guys so much?  It’s ’cause you’re awesome, yes…but the things I put myself through just to please y’all…Devils/Capitals coming up on Versus…not only does this mean no Chico…it also means, once again, NO DOC!  Sigh.  I’ll LiveCap it anyway.  Because 2MA is all about the love.