Saturday’s Three Stars: Tricks for Eric Staal, Boulton; Thrash freed! (Yahoo! Sports)

No. 1 Star: Eric Boulton, Atlanta Thrashers As you can see from the image above, the feel-good story of the...

NHL Roundup: A look at Saturday’s games (The Canadian Press)

The Atlanta Thrashers are doing just fine without Ilya Kovalchuk, and they emphatically hammered that point home on Saturday night.

Boulton’s hat trick leads Thrashers over Devils (The Canadian Press)

ATLANTA - Ilya Kovalchuk doesn't want to discuss the Atlanta Thrashers' success when his New Jersey Devils are in disarray.

LET’S GET OLYMPIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So by semi-popular demand (and my own need to keep busy during this Olympic Break… and well the fact I hate when this site becomes a Ghost Town… but I am the last one standing here… not by design… believe me one of the reasons I joined here was to be a supporting member not the featured writer… but seems with anything I do I end up running the damn show anyway no matter how much I DON’T want to… so here we go again….)…anyway,…. I don’t think I’ll recap any games till we get to the medal round….so insert quality filler here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (and as a reference point… I bolded all players in the NHL)

    Teams that could only win if Tommy Salo made an Olympic Return
    (aka, Dark Horses/the teams that suck!)

  • BELARUS
  • Goaltenders: Vitali Koval, Maxim Malyutin, Andrei Mezin
    Defense: Andrei Antonov, Andrei Bashko, Vladimir Denisov, Viktor Kostiuchenok, Ruslan Salei, Nikolai Stasenko, Vadim Sushko, Alexander Syrei
    Forwards: Oleg Antonenko, Sergei Demagin, Mikhail Grabovsky, Alexei Kaliuzhny, Konstantin Koltsov, Andrei Kostitsyn, Sergei Kostitsyn, Alexander Kulakov, Andrei Mikhalev, Andrei Stas, Alexei Ugarov, Sergei Zadelenov

    Alright… be honest you barely know anyone on this team either (though one or two of the people who love to piss and moan at me, hell they probably blame me for every one else retiring)… the only reason I remember Mezin is I think he was the goalie when Tommy Salo headbutted team Belarus into one of the biggest upsets in Olympic History… they have a few NHL players, and none of them are exactly all-stars…. I ain’t wasting much time on the cannon fodders……

  • GERMANY
  • Goaltenders: Dennis Endras, Thomas Greiss, Dimitri Pätzold
    Defense: Michael Bakos, Christian Ehrhoff, Jakub Ficenec, Jason Holland, Korbinian Holzer, Chris Schmidt,
    Dennis Seidenberg, Alexander Sulzer
    Forwards: Alexander Barta, Sven Felski, Marcel Goc, Thomas Greilinger, Jochen Hecht, Manuel Klinge, Marcel Müller, Travis James Mulock, André Rankel, Marco Sturm, John Tripp, Michael Wolf

    FYI, Thomas Greiss is Nabby’s backup in San Jose in case you wasted time reading this part (no I didn’t need to look it up :p)… Strum and Hecht are functional NHL’ers… but again…. they ain’t got the guns… they are improved from the days of it being the “beat on Ollie Kolzig show”… but they’re stilla LONG way from being competitive in a top-tier way…..

  • LATVIA
  • Goaltenders: Edgars Masalskis, Ervins Mustukovs, Sergejs Naumovs
    Defense: Oskars Bartulis, Guntis Galvins, Rodrigo Lavins, Georgijs Pujacs, Krisjanis Redlihs, Arvids Rekis,
    Karlis Skrastins, Kristaps Sotnieks
    Forwards: Girts Ankipans, Armands Berzins, Martins Cipulis, Lauris Darzins, Kaspars Daugavins, Martins Karsums, Gints Meija,
    Aleksandrs Nizivijs, Mikelis Redlihs, Aleksejs Sirokovs, Janis Sprukts, Herberts Vasiljevs

    Ah… WORLD FAMOUS Latvia (ok you had to read the facebook status to get that), but like I hinted there and the two teams above….. there’s not much here to brag about… and this is one of them teams that will have a parade if they win a game in the prelims and call it a GREAT SUCCESS on a Borat type level (hopefully without the hairy naked man-wrestling scenes :p)

  • NORWAY
  • Goaltenders: Pål Grotnes, Andre Lysenstøen, Ruben Smith
    Defense: Alexander Bonsaksen, Jonas Holøs, Tommy Jakobsen, Juha Kaunismäki, Lars Erik Lund, Ole Kristian Tollefsen, Mats Trygg
    Forwards: Mats Zuccarello Aasen, Morten Ask, Anders Bastiansen, Kristian Forsberg, Mads Hansen, Marius Holtet, Mathis Olimb,
    Martin Røymark, Per-Åge Skrøder, Lars Erik Spets, Patrick Thoresen, Tore Vikingstad, Martin Laumann Ylven

    Funny that a country that is so friggin COLD all the time sucks so bad at ice hockey… but they do…. the only reason I know Tollefson is I grabbed him on waivers in NHL 09 and he was a nice 6th D on the video game… and admit it that’s more then you know about him unless you cheer for the Winged Wheel…. the rest of this team… yeah right, there’s a reason they’re in the jobber category…..

      Teams that can Scare the Piss out of you, but Not Win
      (should clear the prelims and maybe medal but not expected to do much)

  • CZECH REPUBLIC
  • Goaltenders: Ondrej Pavelec, Jakub Stepanek, Tomas Vokoun
    Defense: Miroslav Blatak, Jan Hejda, Tomas Kaberle, Filip Kuba, Pavel Kubina, Zbynek Michalek, Roman Polak, Marek Zidlicky
    Forwards: Petr Cajanek, Roman Cervenka, Patrik Elias, Martin Erat, Tomas Fleischmann, Martin Havlat, Jaromir Jagr, David Krejci, Milan Michalek, Tomas Plekanec, Tomas Rolinek, Josef Vasicek

    See, now we’re talking some teams that can make a little noise!! Vokun is a legit top-tier goalie (but he’s also erratic enough he could implode at any time… he’s been solid to flat out REALLY GOOD of late though)…. the defense corps are solid too, the forwards have some serious talent in them (Elias, Jagr, Erat, etc…)… they can score some goals, the D is a little weak… but they won’t be a walk over for damn sure, and the Czechs are nowhere near as deep as some of the other teams in the tournament….

  • SLOVAKIA
  • Goaltenders:Peter Budaj, Jaroslav Halak, Rastislav Stana
    Defense: Ivan Baranka, Zdeno Chara, Milan Jurcina, Andrej Meszaros, Andrej Sekera, Martin Strbak, Lubomir Visnovsky
    Forwards: Lubos Bartecko, Martin Cibak, Pavol Demitra, Marian Gaborik, Michal Handzus, Marcel Hossa, Marian Hossa, Tomas Kopecky, Zigmund Palffy, Branko Radivojevic, Miroslav Satan, Jozef Stümpel, Richard Zednik

    Goaltending is questionable here, but for Halak the pressure of carrying his country on his back is probably less then playing in Montreal :p… being able to roll Chara out there every other shift will make up for some shortcomings on D… the Slovacs also have some nifty scorers (who will all look better if Gaborik plays… he’s allowed to get hurt in the last Olympic game 😀 )… and just seeing Ziggy Palffy again made me chuckle a little again! It’s a shame them and the Czechs had to split… if they didn’t they might be a medal worthy combination team… if Halak is on though they won’t go down easy either……

  • SWITZERLAND
  • Goaltenders: Ronnie Rüeger, Jonas Hiller, Tobias Stephan
    Defense: Goran Bezina, Severin Blindenbacher, Rafael Diaz, Roman Josi, Luca Sbisa, Mathias Seger, Mark Streit,
    Yannick Weber
    Forwards: Andres Ambühl, Thomas Déruns, Hnat Domenichelli, Sandy Jeannin, Thibaut Monnet, Thierry Paterlini, Martin Plüss, Kevin Romy, Ivo Rüthemann, Raffaele Sannitz, Julien Sprunger, Roman Wick

    Jonas Hiller is good enough to make this team a contender on his own (hell David Aebischer almost did a few Olympics ago), there’s not much else here….hell only one other NHLer and some almost’s and never-were’s… but if Hiller was good enough to purge Jiggy-Pout from the PondScum… he’s good enough to take the Swiss outta the “jobber” category in the Olympics… and he’s not the guy you wanna face in the first game of the medal round… he’ll make it WAY tough on you…..

  • USA
  • Goaltenders: Ryan Miller, Jonathan Quick, Tim Thomas
    Defense: Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Tim Gleason, Ryan Whitney, Brooks Orpik, Brian Rafalski, Ryan Suter
    Forwards: David Backes, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, Jamie Langenbrunner, Ryan Malone, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Bobby Ryan, Paul Stastny

    I struggled with making the US an “elite” team in the pool, but maybe as I overrated the Swiss, I may underrate the US team here… but it makes for easier reading to have 4 teams in each bracket… so NYAH!!! One of only two teams to sport an all-NHL roster, the US team is stacked with good young, fast forwards (well and Langs and Drury)… and that youth is a big advantage… sometimes being young and too dumb to realize you don’t belong there is the best thing you can have… the US team also boasts the goalie who’s playing the best hockey in the NHL all-season long, the D is a little soft, but in the Olympics it’s more about speed, movement and recovery then crash ‘n bang… so this too may suit the US team well…. this team is the most likely to make medal noise of the non-elite eight I’ve previewed so far and I am fully aware of that… but with this roster and it’s youth and inexperience… it seems like a “next time” type of team more geared for 2014….

      Teams that if they don’t win Their Country Will Riot
      (aka: the Favorites)



    CANADA
    Goaltenders: Martin Brodeur, Marc-André Fleury, Roberto Luongo
    Defense: Dan Boyle, Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, Brent Seabrook, Shea Weber
    Forwards: Patrice Bergeron, Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Dany Heatley, Jarome Iginla, Patrick Marleau, Brenden Morrow, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Mike Richards, Eric Staal, Joe Thornton, Jonathan Toews

    Well this one is obvious…. not only an ALL-NHL… but a freaking all-star one too!! The Canadians can put two all-star level teams and still have players to spare… after all… it’s their freaking sport man!!! But add that and the intense pressure of home-ice and the high-end demands of their fans and country wanting “gold or don’t come back”… the biggest opponent they could face is their own issues….not to mention EVERY move is gonna be second-guessed as they first happen… Scott Niedermayer… ain’t he too old… hasn’t he sucked this year?? MB30 vs Luongo… hey both have struggled the last few weeks… what about Fleury??? This team may have too much talent for it’s own damn good… and the first line is all-Sharks… we know how they do under pressure and duress, but still… any thoughts of cutting this team down are a reach….anyone who doesn’t think they can win it all and maybe not lose a game is fooling themselves…..


    FINLAND
    Goaltenders:Niklas Bäckström, Miikka Kiprusoff, Antero Niittymäki
    Defense: Lasse Kukkonen, Sami Lepistö, Toni Lydman, Janne Niskala, Joni Pitkänen, Sami Salo, Kimmo Timonen
    Forwards: Valtteri Filppula, Niklas Hagman, Jarkko Immonen, Olli Jokinen, Niko Kapanen,
    Mikko Koivu, Saku Koivu, Jere Lehtinen, Antti Miettinen, Ville Peltonen, Jarkko Ruutu, Tuomo Ruutu,
    Teemu Selänne

    Strong in goal… finalists last time around… solid defenders… decent enough up front….and Selanne gets hot and they can be dangerous….Kipper’s carried teams on his back before in the Olympics and the Stanley Cup Playoffs….but also in contrast… if Kipper goes ass-up (he’s done that too)… and Selanne and the Koviu’s do nothing… this team is cannon-fodder (no I am not ignoring Jokinen, I’m just stating the obvious on how he is under pressure.. hence him being the perfect Ranger!)…. certainly not a team to be taken lightly either


    RUSSIA
    Goaltenders: Ilya Bryzgalov, Evgeni Nabokov, Semyon Varlamov
    Defense: Sergei Gonchar, Denis Grebeshkov, Dmitri Kalinin, Konstantin Korneyev, Andrei Markov,
    Ilya Nikulin, Fedor Tyutin, Anton Volchenkov
    Forwards: Maxim Afinogenov, Pavel Datsyuk, Sergei Fedorov, Ilya Kovalchuk, Viktor Kozlov, Evgeni Malkin, Alexei Morozov, Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Radulov, Alexander Semin, Danis Zaripov, Sergei Zinoviev

    Any team that has a SECOND line with Kovalchuk and Datsyuk on it… you just look and go WOW… not a packed with NHL-talent team… but you can make a case they have more top 10 players in the NHL then anyone else in the event… so what they have is absurdly GOOD talent, the strength of this team is up front (you can say in goal, but Bryzgalov only did it once in the playoffs… and that’s one more then Nabokov ever did…. and Varlamov got exposed by the Penguins last year… so I’ll give the goalies a maybe grade with a chance to stand up and prove themselves)… the D is mobile and finesse which is Olympic-style hockey, so that’s not a minus… and admit it… this is a fun team to watch… thankfully the Cold War is over and we can say that without being called Communists or worse :p.. probably the co-favorite with Canada… not medalling at all would be a MASSIVE fail for this team….


    SWEDEN
    Goaltenders:Jonas Gustavsson, Stefan Liv, Henrik Lundqvist
    Defense: Tobias Enström, Magnus Johansson, Niklas Kronwall, Nicklas Lidström, Douglas Murray, Johnny Oduya, Mattias Öhlund, Henrik Tallinder
    Forwards: Daniel Alfredsson, Nicklas Bäckström, Loui Eriksson, Peter Forsberg, Tomas Holmström, Patric Hörnqvist, Fredrik Modin, Samuel Påhlsson, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Mattias Weinhandl, Henrik Zetterberg

    OMG IT’S HENRIK LUNDQVIST!!! HE REDEFINED THE GOALIE POSITION… HE MAKES SAVES WITH HIS MASK!!! HE’S GROUNDBREAKING!! (sorry I watched the Ranger game on Sunday… and listening to them beat up on Tampa the way the announcer shills were I thought they made the conference finals :p)… but that aside Henrik DID carry this team to Olympic Gold last time around….and like with Chara, when you can put Nik Lidstrom out there every other shift it fixes many flaws….and with the Sedin’s playing out of their skulls good this year, supporting players like Alfredsson, Zetterburg and maybe the biggest wild card in the tournament in Peter Forsberg… this team is dangerous too…. and another team with much medal pressure on them……

    This should be a fun two weeks of hockey… hopefully you get out there and ENJOY IT!! (not to mention when the women’s hockey gets to the medal round that will be good stuff too!!)… We’ll let this sit for a while and once I check the schedules… I’ll decide what games I’m gonna pick, choose and write about… I’d say the first game is likely the US/Canada one…. well unless it’s Sat night, then I’m in Delaware having a life…. we’ll worry about that when it’s about to happen soon enough….

    I STILL LIVE, I SWEAR!

    The end of the college semester is always tough.  Especially the closer one gets to finally graduating (one semester left – if I’m lucky/good, I graduate exactly 10 years after getting the hell out of high school.  Sad, but fitting).

    So sorry I haven’t posted much lately, but with a straight month ’til school starts up again (and about two months before it gets insane again), I’ll be back on a regular basis for awhile again.  Thanks so much for sticking with us.  And thanks to Scott for not letting the site fall into total abandoned disrepair.

    I have only been paying slight attention to what’s been going on in the world of hockey.  Martin Brodeur broke another record, this one more meaningless than other recent ones (Games played?  Games started? Something like that.)  Zach Parise may very well never score a goal again.  Travis and Zach have split up, are seeing other people, but everyone knows they’ll be back together soon enough.

    The BIG news, though…is that officially, at the end of play last night, the Devils were in first place.

    First place in the Atlantic?  Well, yeah, but think bigger.

    First place in the Eastern conference?  Keep going.  How about something like…

    FIRST PLACE IN THE ENTIRE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE.

    Yeah, this team is damn friggin’ good.

    So tonight, the Devils look to extend that lead in the league against the perennial-doormats-turned-surprisingly-5th-place-in-the-East Atlanta Thrashers.  The last time the two teams played, I believe we were all in moderate freak-out mode, as the Thrashers thrashed (sorry, hack move, I know) the Devils at the Rock, the third game of a three consecutive home loses to start the season.  Needless to say, I’m a little less freaked out now, as is the rest of the fanbase.  And if you’re nitpicking over bad plays or poor shot selection or the team’s inability to make us proud by kicking ass in the situation that is our namesake, then go back and read the bolded print earlier in this post.

    I would be moderately stunned if Martin Brodeur starts tonight, after starting about a zillion consecutive games and then flying to Hotlanta for today’s game.  I think THE Yann Danis deserves the start.  Of course, trying to guess when Marty sits is probably ridiculous anyways.  Edit: And yeah, apparently Marty’s starting again tonight.  Please join myself and the rest of the Devils fanbase in a loud cry of “WTF, I thought this was an Olympic year?!”

    But, even if La Grenouille (remember, thus is Yann Danis’ nickname, so says I) does start, Brodeur will be on the ice tonight.  The Senators announced this morning that Mike Brodeur will get his NHL debut start this evening against the Minnesota Wild, who are probably in their own manner of freak out this afternoon after THIS happened.

    Note to the NHL: The Senators are really into sabotage.  First seven Sabres get food poisoning after eating at a steakhouse in Ottawa, and now this?  Thankfully the Devils have already gotten through one game up there alive.

    Devils @ Atlanta LIVECAP

    9:44 PM: Brent Sutter: “Ankle sprain. He’ll be fine.” Uhhhhhh…yeah. Kay. Thanks, Brent, you’ve been quite informative.

    9:41 PM: Alright, so no word on Rolston yet. If they say anything that actually means anything, I’ll post it up here. I’m expecting “lower body injury” (or possibly “head cold”) with no actual idea as to how long he’ll be out. If it’s different, I’ll let you know. If not, goodnight all!

    9:24 PM: And, like the game itself, the first LiveCap of the season is in the books, it wasn’t pretty, but it happened. I’ll stick around a bit longer to see if we get an update on Rolston’s condition, but I’m not holding my breath…

    9:22 PM: GAME! 1-0 Devils. It wasn’t pretty, the offensive production still sucks, the power play still sucks, but it’s a win nonetheless. Marty’s now 10 wins from tying Patrick Roy for most all-time by a goalie (11 from breaking the record), and six shutouts away from tying Terry Sawchuk for most shutouts of all-time., seven from breaking the record.

    9:22 PM: BEAUTIFUL defensive play by Martin to prevent a shot on goal on the rush. Twenty seconds to go.

    9:21 PM: Empty Thrasher net.

    9:17 PM: Ice is tilting Atlanta’s way with two minutes to go. Meep.

    9:15 PM: ANOTHER two-on-one featuring Jay Pandolfo, another non-shot-on-goal. At least no one crashed in a heap into the boards this time, though, so, y’know, take what we can get, yes?

    9:13 PM: No updates on Rolston (what, you expected the Devils would reveal anything ever at any time?), but the replay reminds me a little Sidney Crosby’s crash into the boards last year that resulted in his high ankle sprain. Let’s hope that’s not the case here…

    9:12 PM: Still 1-0, seven minutes to go in the game. Zubrus is now centering Elias and Gionta, so I guess the great line shake-up of the second period has ended. The 32 fans in attendance are chanting! It sounds impressive for 32 people.

    9:09 PM: Rolston hit the boards after losing an edge, Chico says he needed help getting into the locker room because he couldn’t put much weight on his foot. Me no likey.

    9:07 PM:Elias and Rolston two-on-one gets broken up, and after the play, Rolston is down and looks to be hurting…crap. Just…crap.

    9:05 PM: Shorthanded two-on-one for Madden and Pando, Madden passes, and Pando fires it directly into Lehtonen’s pads. Another two-on-one, Elias and Pando, again nothing doing. But it’s chances, at least! …right?

    9:04 PM: Atlanta’s on a power play and I have no idea why. Either I wasn’t paying attention or MSG didn’t think it was important to tell me. Neither would be surprising. Atlanta hits the pipe on the power play.

    9:01 PM:Penalty kill’t. Big save by Marty (and then again possibly by Salvador’s backside) at the end of the Thrasher power play. Our power play may be awful, but at least the penalty kill’s holding up it’s end of the bargain…

    8:58 PM: Paul Martin going off for a holding-the-stick penalty, Thrashers to the PP again.

    8:55 PM: Marty with a save on Bogosian. Come to think of it, has Bogo scored yet in his pro career? Marty seems to like giving up first career goals…

    8:52 PM: Third period’s on, goal credited to Rolston after all. Zubrus and Gionta on the assists.

    8:35 PM: And that’s the end of period #2, 1-0 Devils. 20 shots on goal (I still refuse to believe that). Third period coming up soonish.

    8:33 PM: The official announcement at the arena is giving the goal to Langenbrunner from Rolston and Zubrus. Lehtonen with a huge glove save on Elias keeps it a one-goal game.

    8:31 PM: FINALLY! Rolston, let off the point at the power play, forces his way in front of the net and jams home his own rebound. Devils lead 1-0, Rolston notches his first of his second Devils go-round, and the Devils power play finally picks up another goal. Alllll right.

    8:30 PM: Exelby takes the roughing penalty for his tackle of Langenbrunner, the ever-dangerous Devil power play takes the ice.

    8:27 PM: Now it’s Rolston, Langenbrunner, and Zubrus. And hey, even a little scrummy-ness involving the Cap’n and Garnet Excelby. The most life I’ve seen tonight. The 32 fans in attendance even seemed to wake up.

    8:26 PM: Rupp/Zajac/Parise? Really?

    8:24 PM: Cangelosi just said the shots for the second are 13-5 Devils. I refuse to believe this. There is no way I’ve seen thirteen Devil shots on the night, let alone this period.

    8:19 PM: Clarkson wraparound try! Gasp and shock, it’s not even close.

    8:15 PM: Zubrus charging in on a three-on-one, opts to shoot…and misses the net entirely. Blast.

    8:13 PM: I wonder how we managed to win two games so far this year considering I can’t recall ever actually scoring any goals…

    8:06 PM: Hey hey, something interesting! Brodeur with a stop on the big blast by White (not Colin, Todd), leaves a huge rebound and manages to get in front of the follow-up shot as well. Stellar stop by Marty. The 32 fans in the building agree.

    8:04 PM: I think Sutter’s futzing with the lines again. Clarkson was just out there with Holik and Rupp. Zubrus is centering Rolston and Elias at the moment as well.

    8:01 PM: God, Lehtonen is leaving some juicy rebounds. However, in shades of last year, the Devils can’t do a damn thing about it. Penalty’s over, though. Devils have killed three of three of ’em tonight now.

    8:00 PM: Okay, second period on, Devils still on the PK. A little bit more…something, this period? Anything? Please?

    7:42 PM: Aaaaand that be the end of a very boring first period, scoreless after one. See you in seventeen for what can only be a more interesting second. I hope.

    7:39 PM: Welp, least they killed that one. Holik gets booed by the 32 Atlanta fans in attendance tonight. Yet another Devils penalty coming up, Zajac for hooking. Less than a minute to go in the period.

    7:36 PM: See, this is why I miss Doc. Cangelosi lied to me, it’s actually Atlanta on the power play, not so much the Devils.

    7:34 PM: And just as one penalty expires, and new one commences. The Devils get their turn on the power play, again. So in two minutes, the score will still be zero-zero, again.

    7:31 PM: And so Colin White goes off for interference. This game is rather boring. Sorry. Last year’s early-season game in Atlanta was all kinds of crazy. I miss that game. A little.

    7:26 PM: Even Chico’s mentioning how few fans are in the building. And is also touting the Thrashers “Buy a ticket, eat all you want for free” sections deal. Chico Eats: HOTlanta Edition!

    7:23 PM: How they managed to not get it in, I don’t have the slightest. Good pressure again, but once again, nothing doing as far as scoring. Devils PP is now 0-for-2 on the evening, and 1-for-13 on the year. Ouch.

    7:22 PM: I say it every time the Devils play Atlanta, but DAMN the Thrashers have ugly jerseys.

    7:20 PM: ‘nother penalty on the Thrashers, this one interference on David Clarkson. Don’t the Thrashers know they don’t have to interfere with David Clarkson, that he’s perfectly capable of stopping his own progress? Regardless, Devils PP again.

    7:17 PM: You know, as a Devils fan, I should be used to empty arenas…and yet, I keep finding myself strangely drawn to the swaths of empty seats whenever the camera catches the stands. It’s almost hypnotizing.

    7:15 PM: A nice chance in front for Pandolfo, who sends a backhander at the Atlanta goal with the speed of a honey-soaked tortoise. Sigh.

    7:13 PM: Surprisingly strong on the puck deep in the zone, but Atlanta manages to clear each time. We’re not looking stellar tonight boys.

    7:11 PM: Schneider with a puck-over-the-glass deal and the vaunted (ha!) Devils power play hits the ice. Oh boy oh boy.

    7:09 PM: Puck’s on the ice in Atlanta. You wouldn’t know it from the crowd though. My goodness, and they say we don’t draw in Jersey. Hot damn.

    7:01 PM: Oh dammit. First LiveCap of the year, and Doc’s sick. Sigh. Get well Doc. Other Devils news for tonight: Salmela’s hanging out in the press box tonight, and Andy Greene gets into his first game of the year. He’ll be paired with Johnny Oduya.

    6:45 PM: What’s that coming over the hill? It it a LiveCap? It it a LiveCap? Ahhh musical references no one will get…see you in 15!