Thoughts from snowed in Roselle Park: USA vs Finland, Olympic Semi-Finals!

Hey looks like they finally got the Canadian girls off the ice (and CMON guys you know it’s hot to see a bunch of hockey girls partying and lighting stogies, screw it if a few are under-age ;) )…but now it’s time for what everyone wanted to see….the right to fight for the right to wear Olympic gold (and make Kurt Angle jokes all summer… it’s true, oh it’s true!!), you’re all snowed in anyway, so LET’S GET OLYMPIC, eh??

  • How they got here:
  • We mostly know the US Story by now… unless you live in a ditch…. or South America (but she ain’t gonna read this anyway, it’s over 25 words)… so it’s pretty simple… Ryan Miller… timely goals and away they went! The Finns are similar but different, they play a more smothering old-school NJ Devils type of hockey, defense, defense and more defense (but yet no player EVER in Olympic hockey has more points then their own Teemu Selanne)…4 goals allowed in 4 games and 2 shutouts… yeah that’s pretty tight, and Kipper is maybe the best goalie in hockey that no one talks about…. so this should be an epic battle today!!!

  • First Period
  • (I like this way or writing a little better… it adds some flow and the jokes make a bit more sense this way… opinons??)
    — Slow start to the game but loved Ryan Miller coming out and putting a courtesy check on a Finn to clear the puck, I love when goalies do dumb things like I do!…. and just as I talk about dumb shit that I do in goal….

    (1 – 0, USA) Malone[3] (should be Kipper, and Kessel deserves one too… but no one gets one) {2:04}
    Malone chips it out and off goes Kessel to come fetch it….Kipper comes WAY out to get it and makes a TERRIBLE pass that goes right to Malone… sweeps the shot past and it’s one-zip just like that!!

    — and the next few shifts after, the Americans turn up the heat (Rafalski all over the damn place)… not a good sign for the Finns when you NEED to answer the bell after such a gaffe!!
    — and people PLEASE stop texting me that Kipper pulled a Scott… I’d have cleared the zone on the bonehead pass, thanks!!
    — the Finns look VERY nervous here… alot like the US Women did last night….
    — Man the US speed and forecheck is all over the Finns and it drew an interference call…and right off the faceoff!!

    (2 – 0) Parise[3-pp] (Statsny, Rafalski) {6:22}
    AAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Rafalski’s shot is blocked, but the Finn who gets a stick on it kicks it right to Statsny who waits and cuts the pass through three people and right on Parise’s stick… holds… flips… TOP SHELF and the Finns are in it and DEEP already!!!!

    — and the Finns now doing their best team Russia impression and US right back to the pp

    (3 – 0) E.Johnson [1-pp] (Pavelski, Malone) {8:36}
    Kipper can’t handle the dump in and punches it to the corner…Malone hustles and gets to it… pops it behind the net… Pavelski to it… throws it in front.. and in American fashion it’s KICK/WHAM/STUNNER!! 3-0 and time out Finland… and maybe bye-bye Kipper!

    — 6 shots on goal…. 3 goals… WOW
    — and keeping with the every other shot thing…

    (4 – 0) Kane[2] (none) {10:08}
    Patrick Kane is dominating the play here….Kane the shot… Brown kicks it back to him…. cuts around everyone… looks.. dump… SCWWWAAAARRRR…. and this is a beatdown!! KIPPER TAPS OUT AND RUNS FOR THE BENCH!!!

    — the only way the US could beat them down so savagely would be simply to invade them and take over :p
    — Enter the Backstrom!!!! And he actually makes a successful save without letting a goal in!!
    — Err nevermind what I said!

    (5 – 0) Kane[3] (Rafalski) {12:31}
    He just walks in, wide open… cuts wide, shoots far side… and I think they can put BOTH goalies in net and we’d still pound them!!

    — I CAN’T KEEP UP!!!!

    (6 – 0) Statsny[1] (Langenbrunner, Parise) {12:46}
    2 goals in 15 seconds… and they had to change goal songs now it’s so ABSURD!!! Parise to the corner… leaves for Langs in the faceoff dot… across to Statsny… and BAM… can … you…. dig… that… SUCKA!!!!!!!! I’m running out of catch-phrases!!!!

    — the Finns would run off the ice and go home right NOW if they could …. really…..’
    — by the way… fuck you NBC, your exclusive crap with the highlights made seeing what happened in the late games impossible and it was a damn near needle in a haystack finding your crappy scoreboard!!!! It’s been annoying me all Olympics and now I can say it!!!
    — Great line from no-longer-cousin Rob… “programming note: the role of the Finnish goalie is now being played by Vessa Toskala”… sure looks it don’t it??? I think Rafalski may shatter Selanne’s scoring record in this game alone!!
    — Shots were 13-4 in the period… and holy God that was just a brutal beatdown!!

  • Second Period
  • — I needed that whole intermission to double check all the goals… and what’s up with no goals in 10 minutes of play?? Really??
    — Rob’s now trying too hard to be funny cause this game is in trash time (though the US is putting the foot off the gas a little soon here)… “who had the worse day… Kipper or Sea World?” Least Kipper only killed himself in this one… Sea World left thousands scarred and I think Finn-Nation is used to this kinda Olympic FAIL
    — Ruttu takes a penalty and a misconduct… at this point it’s for pretending to be a hockey player, totally against the rules on team Finland when medals are on the line :P

    NEWSFLASH… USA DOESN’T SCORE ON POWER PLAY… they’re partying in the streets in Finland I swear!!!

    — Man if this game was somewhat close I’d be raving about Kessler’s block on that play… at this point I’m just trying not to type for the sake of typing…..
    — It’s the second period and Doc is talking about preggo Dogs and pups… oh boy it’s going to be a SLOW third period…..

  • Third Period
  • — Really ain’t much to say here unless something absurd happens right? Least the US is getting some penalty kill practice here…
    — Ryan Miller pulled for Tim Thomas (who should have played one prelim game if you ask me)… I get the move… it’s classy and to protect the goalie and all…but geesh I have issues doing that with a shutout on the board……
    — uh-oh Bobby Ryan (maybe the one guy who didn’t score today) takes a puck to the noggin… that HAS to hurt… save him for Sunday… he should be alright….
    — See what I mean about the shutout ??

    (6 -1) Mettinen[1] (Lepitsto) {14:46}
    The Finns actually pretend they can play some hockey and pass the puck around…. the long shot comes from
    Jack Johnson tries to block it and it hits his knee (OW) and it kinda goes bullet-time Matrix style from going right to going left…Tim Thomas can do not a damn thing about it on that one….. but still kinda sucks to lose the “zero”… an annoyance at best at this point

    — and that’s gonna do it!!! IMPRESSIVE win for the US… not too much fun to watch once the wolves feasted on the carcass but you can bet Sunday’s gonna be one HELL of a slobberknocker!!!!

    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.)

    See Ya, Murph.

    The Devils put Cory Murphy on waivers today.  I’m sure you’re heartbroken.

    I’d like to take full credit for this move, as it comes the day after I go public on this very weblog with my formerly private belief that ANDY GREENE = WINS, but I think Murphy himself had something to do with it as well.

    Like that Evander Kane goal in the Thrashers game Friday night, for example.  Yeah, that wasn’t one of Murph’s finer NHL moments.

    So what’s this mean?  It means that Cory’s got himself a ticket to Lowell in 24 hours, unless some team in desperate need of a defenseman picks him up.  If he survives the waiver wire and hits Lowell, his contract is such that he wouldn’t have to pass through re-entry waivers to be called back up to the big club, so there’s hope for Murph yet.

    The move does come as little shock, though, as Andy Greene has been playing redonkulous (yes, I went there) in the games that he’s been in.  And, of course, Andy Greene = Wins, as previously mentioned here (vote in our poll, by the way.  It’s Andy Greene = Wins related.)

    The one sad part of this move?  The Devils went from two good Irish names to none in the course of less than three weeks.

    Guess we have to retire the Weekes Laser

    Black ‘n Red continued their mad spending spree this morning, signing goaltender Yann Danis to a contract. Terms are unknown at this time.

    Danis spent last season on Long Island, posting a 10-17-3 record in 31 games played (29 starts). The 28-year-old Quebec native posted a 2.84 GAA with a .910 save percentage.

    Oh, and he also had three shutouts.

    While we outstretch our arms to Mr. Danis, we must take a moment and mourn the loss of backup goaltender Kevin Weekes.

    ‘Kay, he didn’t die or anything, but we totally loved using the Weekes Laser. Sheesh. First Gionta, now this?

    This hasn’t been a good month here at 2MA I’m afraid.

    Rest in Peace, Laser. Rest in Peace.

    We sure are going to miss 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.

    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

    Devils/Tampa Bay 4-3-2009….thoughts from Section 209

    Well I told ya it wasn’t going to be pretty (it NEVER IS when you play in this kinda funk and you come out of it), but hey this is the way things go back to “normal” and things come back on track… add some ironies, and here we go!!!

    (one small update too…I will hit a Devils season in review next weekend after the Carolina game… seems silly to do one with 2 weeks to go… and based on playoff run a lengthy playoffs in review should be on the slate too)

    The Good:
    — SCORING!!! Welcome back to the scoresheet:
    Brendnan Shanahan (if this turn-around leads to the long playoff run I expect still from this team you can thank this man’s penalty shot… to be you-tubed later… for the start of it)
    Jay Pandolfo… never could an ugly wobbling shot be so pretty
    ZACH PARISE…. AAAAHHHHAHAAHHAAHAHAHAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! (5 goals and 6 points in 5 games is NOT out of the question to see Parise still set some recrods despite the late game skid… hell it could happen tonight it Patrick Lalame plays :-) )… good to see him back in the goal scoring column, they need him now more then ever with Elias still out…..
    — We had a goalie go down with an unknown injury and there was NO SHIRT-TOSSING RETARD SWEATING AND THROWING SHIRTS AT FANS… THEY ACTUALLY LEARNED… hooray!!!!
    — THEY WON… and the ship seems righted again… finally!!!!

    the Bad:
    — POOR KEVIN WEEKS!!! Yes I feel for the guy… fucker finally gets a game and yeah the first goal was kinda *ugh* (I think Salvador did get a piece of it)… but he plays well after …. and then one bad shot to the knee… and while some people are saying it was karma to let mb30 play on his little night… I think I could stop 7 of 10 shots on the NHL Level, even after 3 games in 6 nights myself…..
    — Penalty killing… still not so good…. the power play looked and moved the puck a LOT better… confidence is a good thing… but I hope it wasn’t just because of opponent
    — Even the crowd for the most felt out of sync and kinda drifting in this game… yeah they picked it up after Pando’s weird goal, but it wasn’t a golden night for anyone all around….

    — Floor hockey + Paddle down goaltending + concrete floor == one SORE AS SHIT WRIST the day after…. and ensuing lame masturbation jokes :p

    the Funny:
    — Hey at least as a goalie… when I throw the stick blindly at the puck…. it’s actually going in net… and dammit I hit the puck (maybe one of the coolest looking non-saves I ever made!)
    — Lil Nicky, yelling to find out about Wimpy was pretty damn funny… good to see our #1 draft pick back from his suspension for “academic reasons” (I have to wonder why we all get penalized for our lil star’s own misdoings….)… but when you’re in a funk even the fans can act the same… it kinda happened last night… not the best of night for crowd noise… maybe we’re saving it for tonight and ye olde Sun Tavern!!! (no who am I kidding.. they’re all going to see Pat the David Clarkson clone….speaking of… I’m fucked if he don’t work tonight eh??)… not to mention the reaction from the lil guy when his sister screamed something right next to him from bullhorn to eardrum…. a WTF look from a kid that in theory don’t know what the F the F stands for!! (I only say this cause his dad reads this… the rest of us KNOW he knows all the cool bad words!)
    — Well not a hockey thing… but if you’re a wrestling fan and you ever want to disturb your friends (this one is fun trust me)… if you ever watch a Chris Benoit match again … when he goes to chop someone in the corner… yell DANIEL… *crack*… DANIEL!!! Each time he chops yell it angrier and angrier…. I guarantee you will disturb the living shit out of your friends (and damn it’s fun!!)

    See ya all tonight at Sun Tavern… oh this should be fun!!!!!!!!

    Hurricanes @ Devils SORTA-CAP!

    9:29 PM: Game over.  I can’t believe this, I thought this team was too good this year for the annual March swoon, but…I don’t know.  2-1 Hurricanes.  Good thing I only did a half-assed Cap tonight.  Goodnight.

    9:28 PM: 10 seconds left, Devils on the offensive zone faceoff.

    9:26 PM: Less than a minute to go and the Devils pull the goalie.  That missed penalty is brutal, Langs right next to the Carolina net in a goalmouth scramble.  Just brutal.  Timeout Devils.

    9:24 PM: Scramble in the goal month and we can’t buy a penalty, despite Captainbrunner getting his feet taken out from under him.  I think that’s probably the end of the game for us now.

    9:22 PM: Oh for eff’s sake.  Rutuu pounds home a rebound and it’s 2-1 Hurricanes.  C’mon now, this is sad.

    9:21 PM: Paul Martin takes some sort of penalty.  Hooking, I guess.  Four minutes left in the game.  Gulp.

    9:15 PM: Goddammit.  Clarkson can’t clear it, and eventually Samsonov bangs home a rebound.  1-1 game, and we can stop holding our collective breath for shutout 102 now.  Sad.

    9:08 PM: If Zubbie’s name was Scott Stevens, there would have been a Hurricane on the ice that you’d need a ShamWow to mop up.  Alas, Zubbie ain’t Scotty, and the open ice hit didn’t even knock the other guy down.

    9:00 PM: Mike Rupp takes a high sticking penalty.  Rats.

    8:55 PM: That woulda been a nice breakaway if anyone but Bobby Holik were the one sprung on it.  Instead of being a breakaway, though, it became more of a one-on-two slapshot-into-the-goalie’s-crest type deal.  Sigh.

    8:36 PM: Second period, over.  Remains 1-0 Devils.  Decent period, nothing great, but not god-awful, either.  CRAZY saves on each end of the ice.  Zach should be at goal #43 if not for a crazy shortstop like dive by Cam Ward, while a pair of ho-hum-just-another-wicked-insane-Marty-glove-save keeps it a slim Devils lead heading into the third.

    8:25 PM: Marty with another stellar save and then a bunch of scrummy stuff in front of the net.  Some guy named Convoy and Colin White get angry at each other, and MSG+ catches them yelling at each other from their respective penalty boxes.  Funny as hell.   Also, PIERRE CHAMPIOUX SIGHTING!

    8:18 PM: Dammit Cam Ward, don’t you know you’re not supposed to make stops like that on Zach Parise?  Goaltender’s duel tonight for sure, sick save for sick save.

    8:14 PM: I think Zubbie is protesting the 27 Dresses picture.  Between last night and that trip…jebus Zubbie, have a sense of humor, man.  Also, flat out ridiculous save by Marty.  RI-FRIGGIN-DICULOUS.

    7:43 PM: Welp, that Elias goal certainly woke me up.  Perhaps I was being unfair on this game because of my own mental state.  It wasn’t that bad, and they seemed to wake up a bit as the game went on.  Only one penalty called, against the Devils, but that’s still an improvement over the last few games.  Big hit by Patty Elias late in the period, knocking Babchuk over, which is cool by me.  Devils lead 1-0 after one.

    7:38 PM: Ooooooooh!  Odd-man rush, Madden dashes in as a decoy while Gionta passes to a trailing Elias and we gots ourselves a lead!  1-0 Devils.

    7:34 PM: Spoke too soon, Niclas Havelid held someone.  Great.

    7:30 PM: Maybe it’s because I’M tired, but the team looks terribly tired tonight.  Marty’s bobbling pucks, passes are off the mark.  No penalties yet, at least.

    7:16 PM: See?  It’s a good thing I’m only Sorta-Capping this thing.  Slow start so far.

    7:09 PM: Puck’s on the ice.  Doc’s intro was…weird.

    6:32 PM (Pre-game): I know what you’re thinking…”Sorta-Cap?!”  Let’s just put it this way – I don’t feel particularly well this evening.  It’s been an exhausting week.  I’m not sure I have the ability to give you a good, insightful, funny-type LiveCap.  But I also don’t wanna just, y’know, do nothing.  We’ve been doing nothing ’round here too much lately.  So, the Sorta-Cap.  I’ll update after each period and occasionally when the fancy strikes.  And if, at some point I disappear, avenge my death.  (Or I fell asleep.  Whichever.  You can still avenge me, 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!

    Brookbank Mountain moves west

    Late breaking news via TG of Fire & Ice – the Sheldon Brookbank era is officially over.  Bad-Ass Brookbank, no longer here to serve:

    The Devils dealt the oft-scratched Brookbank to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for the rights to center David McIntyre, a former Dallas draft pick who’s currently playing at Colgate University.

    McIntyre has 13 goals and 30 points in 26 games with Colgate.  Essentially, the move brings the Devils a prospect and frees up a roster space.  Roster space is always nice.

    Best of luck in Anaheim, Sheldon.  You will be missed, I guess.  Maybe.