I Just Couldn’t Resist. Again.

Ya know, it really is funny. It seems like the newest fad in the hockey blogosphere is to grab a keyboard and wax poetic about how the Devils just destroy the game, disappoint hockey naturalists, sport lousy attendance, and simply aren’t getting it done anymore. But as we learned last time, it’s probably a good idea to make sure you have at least…I don’t know… watched a live hockey game before you plunge right in and scrap together a literary abortion. After all, it really isn’t fair to ask someone to resist temptation twice.

Let’s take a little trip over to Arthur Staple’s latest, shall we? Go ahead… I’ll give you a few.

Ok. Changed your underpants? Good, let’s go.

As a Devils’ fan, I’m obviously used to reading such poorly-written, devoid-of-substance attacks against one of the NHL’s most successful teams. However, I must admit that this is the first time I have read a piece focusing on playoff success in November. Really, Arthur? You’re going to sit at your little cubicle and write an article about the NHL Playoffs… in November?!

Brilliant. Well, your first self-contradiction comes with a statement that Lou Lamoriello “has it wrong” and that he’s “had it wrong since the lockout… even though the Devils have won three Atlantic Division titles in those four seasons.” (Could this be a test market for Microsoft’s new “does-this-make-sense?” feature?!) But wait, it gets better: Mr. Staple even makes his very own “trap” comment.

Arthur, seriously — you wouldn’t know the ol’ 1-2-2 if it kicked in your bathroom door and video-taped you reading Parade Magazine while you were waiting for the generous amount of Rogaine you graciously applied to your testicles to dry. I know this because had you recognized any trace of the “trap”, you would have easily detected it when the Rangers, Islanders, Penguins, Flyers, Capitals, Bruins, and Panthers executed it all year long. But no, no criticism of the sexy NHL clubs.

Oh look, kids — Brodeur comments, too?! How original, Arthur. Oh! You realized he got hurt last year, very good!

But Lou didn’t have a backup plan?

Really? I thought Scott Clemmensen came in and won a few games (or twenty-something) for the team and led them to an Atlantic Division championship? But ya know, Lou had no idea what he was doing. After all, Clemmensen was just signed to be a towel boy that happened to be an NHL-caliber goaltender. Who knew.

But when it’s down to the playoffs, the Devils only have Parise, Zajac, and Martin. No other Devils capable of taking a game on their shoulders, you say? My records show Langenbrunner, Pandolfo, Greene, and Clarkson — in addition to Parise and Zajac — all with registered playoff game-winners since 2006. Not to mention many from ex-Devils Gomez, Madden, and Gionta.

Sure, roster moves and player exits have caused holes to be “plugged” in New Jersey and Brian Rolston and Dainius Zubrus have filled those roles. Why? Because they want to be here. It isn’t about the money or the Broadway lights. It’s about playing a system that year after year proves itself to be one of the best in the league. Sure, the Devils have fallen on dark times in recent playoff years. But as I recall, the same string of disappointments befell the team in the late 90’s. After all was said and done, and numerous carbon-copied recycled bullcrap from “writers” like yourself — the Devils would go on to advance to the Stanley Cup finals in three of the next four seasons, winning the Stanley Cup twice.

Arthur, you can’t look me in the eye and tell me that Lou Lamoriello has no idea what he is doing. While the goal and the philosophy may stay the same year in and year out, master plans aren’t instantaneous in professional sports. Could these Devils be a part of a bigger puzzle? Who knows? I don’t have ESP, and neither do you.

Which is why you shouldn’t be writing this type of crap in November.

News galore!

Today, my friends, is a big day in Devils fandom.  Something that hasn’t happened all season is about to happen.

Yep, user-generated ZubbieCounters!  (What, you were thinking something else?)

Oh, and that Elias dude is playing in tonight’s game or something.

Let’s get to it:

Patrik Elias makes his season debut tonight after missing the first thirteen games of the season with various surgical repairs.  Dude’s gotta be bionic now.  Welcome back Patty, we miss-ed you and your super groin (wait, that didn’t sound right).

Elias’ return means someone has to be a healthy scratch tonight, right?  WRONG!  It means someone else joins the rank of the Ouchies club.  Rob Niedermeyer this time.  He has the ever-ubiquitous Upper Body Injury and won’t play at all this weekend.  PLcubed looks like he loses the “Goon of the Game” contest to Andrew Peters and will therefore be tonight’s Goon in a Suit.

Enough news for ya?  TOO BAD, HERE’S MORE!  Jay Leach was put on re-entry waivers yesterday.  Which means, right around…now, the Devils should be finding out if he is available to play against the Islanders tonight of if the team is on the hook for half of his salary while he goes and plays for someone else.  If he survives re-entries, will he play tonight?  Who knows.  Who comes out if he does play?  Also uncertain.

Edit 12:49 PM: French language site RDS seems to suggest that Jay Leach was claimed off waivers by Montreal.  I’m not certain as my ability to speak French is limited to being able to say “Yes, it is a book”.  Two years of high school French and it doesn’t help me when I need it!  Anyway, it looks like Jay Leach is heading north of the border, with the Devils on the hook for half of his salary.  That sucks.

Edit 12:53 PM: TSN claims the same thing.  In English, this time.  See ya, Leacher.

One this is certain, though.  It won’t be Andy Greene who comes out of the lineup, because as the league is finding out, ANDY GREENE = WINS.  As Scott mentioned awhile back, has there ever been a guy go from healthy scratch to Chara-like minutes quicker than our own Greene Monster?  I think not.

And I almost forgot (though I don’t know how)…YANN DANIS STARTS IN NET TONIGHT!  La Grenouille himself (don’t ask) gets the nod between the pipes to play his former team, the Islanders.  Let’s hope he’s better for us against the Isles than he was with the Isles.  If he plays like he did against the Bruins, he’ll be golden.

Alright then, we got Elias, Niedermeyer, the Goon race, Andy Greene = Wins, Yann Danis…did I forget something?

Ah, right.

ZUBBIECOUNTER30 USER GENERATED CONTENT!

Some really good ones came in for this most recent goal.  I laughed.  Louder than I should have at 2 in the morning.  Other people in my house weren’t too happy.  So you might wanna refrain from reading the rest of this post unless it’s an hour of the day in which your family or roommates are awake.  Fair warning.

The first one comes from Richard H.  It’s incredibly clever.  (Get it, 30 Rock?  Zubbie’s 30th?  The Rock?)

zubbiecounter30-Richard H

Pop culture baby.  Best way to our collective hearts.

Next up comes a Zubmission from a Mr. Aaron B.  It doesn’t look like much, but it’s indicative of another surefire way to get your Zubmission on our site:  Take a photo yourself.  See, Mr. Aaron was at the game in Boston where Zubbie scored his 30th, and snapped this quickie photo just after Zubbie broke most of the arena’s collective hearts.

zubbiecounter30-Aaron B

That 2 in the 2-1 score?  That’s thanks to the Dainiusaur.

The final two Zubmissions come from ZubbieCounterContest veterans.  Kevin B. actually sent in three hilarious Zubmissions because he couldn’t pick just one.  It was hard for me to pick one, but I think this one was a hair better than the other two.  Made me laugh pretty loud, anyway.

zubbiecounter30-Kevin B

Poor Zach.  Being separated from his BFF Travis Zajac was clearly traumatic.

And finally, we come to Jon C’s Zubmission.  Look, I mentioned before that an instant way into our hearts is a pop culture reference, and this one is possibly the ultimate pop culture reference of the last few months.  Frankly, I’m mad at myself for not having expected it before it came in.  2MA readers, I present to you via Jon C…Interrupting Kanye:

zubbiecounter30-Jon C

That’s almost criminal how good it is.  Thanks Jon, Kevin, Aaron, and Richard for the awesome entries.  God I can’t wait ’til Zubbie nets another goal.  (Also, don’t forget, voting for the ZubbieCounterContest continues on the main page until November 14th, or until Zubbie pots #33.  Whichever happens first.  Probably the former.)

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!