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

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

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

Yes, for every second that Gionta is there.

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

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

What about Scott Gomez?

What about him?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think of the whole coaching situation?

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

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

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

Devils @ Senators LIVECAP!

10:19 PM: That’s gonna be it for me tonight gang, thanks for hanging out.  See you at the Rock on Saturday!

10:14 PM: Devils win the Atlantic Division and are locked into the number three seed – both of these determined before the game was even over.  The win tonight gives the team 50 wins on the year, a franchise record.  Montreal earned a point in Boston by sending the game to overtime, and now all eight playoff spots in the east are secured, it’s just a matter of seeding now.  Your elite eight of the east:  Boston, Washington, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Carolina, Pittsburgh, New York, Montreal.

10:13 PM: Spezza denied by Brodeur and the Devils win the shootout 2-1 and the game 3-2!

10:13 PM: Langs stopped glove side by Auld.  Still 2-1, Spezza up for Ottawa.

10:13 PM: Fisher misses to the left, remains 2-1 and if Langs scores we win.

10:12 PM: Shanahan roofs it over Auld’s glove, 2-1!

10:12 PM: Alfredsson snaps it past Marty’s glove.  1-1.

10:11 PM: Zach Parise just completely undressed Alex Auld and it’s 1-0 Devils.  Remember the goal earlier this year against Washington?  It was like that.

10:10 PM: I predict Parise, Elias, and John Madden’s stick as shootout contestants.  Also, I think I just heard the TV change to NHL Network at Scott Mackie’s house.

10:09 PM: Seriously though, I can’t remember the last time we played in a shootout, let alone the last time I LiveCapped a shootout.  Interesting.

10:08 PM: Game over, 2-2.  Wait, what’s this?  Shoot-out?  What is this…shoot…out you speak of?  Surely you jest!

10:06 PM: Zach’s never gonna score again (with deference to the -Ookies once again).  Can’t tip Oduya’s shot, nor can he pull home the rebound.  A minute to go in OT.

10:05 PM: Capitals beat Tampa, and now the Devils are officially locked into the number three seed for the playoffs.

10:03 PM: Ooooooh man Marty with one of those magician-like glove saves – entirely too flashy with that previously-injured arm, but it shut up the Sens fans for a second there.

10:01 PM: Man, I’m tired, I just wanted to go to bed.  Stupid Senators.  Overtime on.

9:59 PM: Going to overtime now.  Life isn’t fair.

9:57 PM: DAMMIT!  Sens fire one off the post that looks like it’s in, White with a good defensive play to prevent a goal, then Dany Heatley manages to pound it home.  God-friggin-dammit.  Tie game, 30 seconds left.

9:55 PM: Alex Auld on the bench for the Sens now, timeout Ottawa…A minute and a half to go and it’s still 2-1 Devils.  Meep.

9:54 PM: Two minutes to go.

9:53 PM: Lots of pressure on the Sens goal…really nice shift there.  Zach Parise must be the hardest luck 45 goal scorer in history.  Okay, probably not, but still.  Boy can’t buy a goal lately.

9:48 PM: All penalties are up now.  Six minutes left in the game.

9:43 PM: …and now the power play’s totally done.  Andy Greene takes a tripping penalty and it’ll be four-on-four for a minute, then Sens on the PP.

9:42 PM: First minor is done, two minutes to go on the PP.

9:41 PM: Gio got smooshed again.  Gio’s too easily smooshable.

9:39 PM: Ooooh, Daniel Alfredsson got pissy with a ref over a penalty and now is serving two minutes for interference (I assume) and another two for unsportsmanlike conduct.  Four minute power play for the Devils!

9:36 PM: Welp, Rangers win so they’re in the playoffs.  Sigh.  BUT, it does mean that the Devils are officially 2008-09 Atlantic Division champions!

9:35 PM: Jebus.  Marty can’t hold onto the puck and gets creamed by about 20 Devils and 14 Senators.  …I may be exaggerating a little.

9:32 PM: Ruutu takes a hook and we’re back to the PP.

9:25 PM: To borrow a line from the -Ookies of Interchangeable Parts, ZACH’S NEVER GONNA SCORE AGAIN!  Hits the post on the power play.  Shortly afterward, Martin with a drive, breaks his stick, and then breaks up an ensuing Sens breakaway WITHOUT A STICK.  Paul Martin is a defensive machine!

9:23 PM: Devils have a full two minutes of PP time to start the period.  Fresh ice, fresh legs, full length power play…surely we have to score, right?  Surely…?

9:22 PM: I love the Chuck the Duck season recap.  Almost more than the actual season recap.

9:05 PM: That’ll be the end of a much better second period.  Penalty on the Senators as time expires and it’ll be the Devils on a full two minutes of PP time when the third starts.  Yay!

9:01 PM: I wonder if John Madden’s hockey stick is also an unrestricted free agent this year, and how much it’ll cost to lock it up for three years.

8:59 PM: BRILLIANT!  The pass bounces off of John Madden’s stick – which Madden was not holding – and out of the zone.  LOVE IT!

8:58 PM: And now John Madden has no stick.  Crap.

8:58 PM: Yep, Whitey’s in the box…again…

8:57 PM: Colin White (I think) takes a hooking penalty.  Even if it wasn’t him, I’m gonna blame Colin White anyway.  Just for the hell of it.  Someone, because of Colin White, takes a hooking penalty.  So the Sens head to a PP.

8:52 PM: Leblond with a Cam Janssen-like heat-seeking missle type hit.  Awww.

8:51 PM: Nearly a two-on-one for the Devils but Zajac is a step slow and Langenbrunner misses the net on the shot.  Two-on-one the other way and Marty stones ’em.  Phew.

8:45 PM: White and Chris Neil get pissy with one another and start bitchslapping each other – Colin won’t drop ’em ’cause of the eye injury, and Neil won’t drop him ’cause he’s Chris Neil.  Two minutes each for roughing.

8:42 PM: Alex Auld plays another puck behind the net.  He didn’t just give it to one of the Devils this time, though.  Drats.

8:39 PM: That was Gionta’s 20th goal of the season.  Kind of sad when we’re looking at that as a milestone for Brian Gionta.

8:34 PM: WHOO!  Auld with an awful giveaway to Clarkson, who attempts the world-reknowned Clarkaround – misses terribly, but the puck slides straight out to Brian Rolston and it’s 2-1 Devils!  Also, Gionta’s goal did not come at the tail end of the power play, it came just after it ended.

8:33 PM: GIONTA!  Gio tips-in Shanahan’s shot at the very end of the power play and we’re tied!

8:32 PM: Ugh.  Terrible giveaway by Andy Greene.  On the plus side, at least he recovered and was able to play some decent Greene-fense to prevent a shot on goal.

8:30 PM: Senators take a very stupid too many men on the ice penalty while in the offensive zone, after a nice save on a very impressive drop-pass-and-shot from…a pair of Senators.  God I’m not very good at LiveCapping tonight.

8:29 PM: We be back yo.

8:12 PM: And that’s that.  1-0 Senators after one.  Sigh.  See ya in seventeen.

8:11 PM: The time remaining in the period and the power play are exactly the same.  Funky.

8:10 PM: …not a very GOOD power play, mind you, but a power play nonetheless.

8:09 PM: On a long delayed penalty, Gionta gets the puck to Zubbie, who drives, protects the puck, cuts for the goal…and falls and collides heavily with the boards.  Oh well, at least we’re on a power play now.

8:04 PM: Paul Martin was a puck-handling, puck-possession machine!  Killed the last 10 seconds on the Senators PP all by his lonesome, forcing his will on the puck carrier and qoinking it away.

8:02 PM: How did Ottawa get two Irish guys on their team?  Shannon and Kelly…I assume they’re Irish, don’t get much more Irish than that.  Also, a Devil took a penalty.  I think Colin White, but I wasn’t paying much attention.  Sorry.

8:00 PM: ‘nother odd-man rush, this time for the Sens, and Marty’s like “NUH-UH!”  ‘least he decided to pay attention tonight.  Much better save there than anything in the Toronto game.

7:58 PM: 2-on-1 with Zajac and Langenbrunner.  No goal.  No surprise.

7:55 PM: PLcubed vs. Winchester (who?).  Lots of grappling, not so much on the punching side.  “How’s your wife and my kids?” kind of affair.

7:51 PM: Elias gets sprung on a mini-breakaway but can’t do anything with it.  Why did you get those days off again Patty?

7:50 PM: All kinds of bad things are happening elsewhere tonight:  Rangers are winning, Panthers are losing…I was hoping we could get a win this evening to guarantee the division, then watch the Flyers sweep the Rangers out of the playoffs and helping Florida in.  Oh well.

7:47 PM: Elias is back too.  Only half as important as PLcubed’s return.  Rupp and Holik take a seat in the press box, much to the maniacal laughter of Jay Pandolfo.  Still no Havelid, which means there’s still a certain level of Greene-fense this evening as well.

7:46 PM: Apparently we recalled Pierre-Luc Letournau-Leblond!  OH JOYOUS HYPHEN-LOVING DAY!

7:44 PM: I rushed a post up for this?  Sigh.  1-0 Senators as Rutuu jams home a rebound.  Maybe we were better off without a LiveCap tonight…?

7:43 PM: Late start for me tonight, terribly sorry.  Game’s already underway, no score, sixteen minutes left to play in the first.  Let’s get this thing going.

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.

Devils @ Panthers LIVECAP!!

10:06 PM: So a five-game winning streak for NJ after nearly losing the game in a poorly-played few minutes in the third. Nothing like a little tension to head into turkey day. That’s it for me tonight. Check back in the next few days for the launch of a major initiative from the 2ma! Goduya! Happy Thanksgiving!

10:01 PM: Johnny mothereffin’ Oduya!!!!! After botching a 2-on-1 just minutes ago, the reborn defenseman rips one through Anderson to win the game for New Jersey! Devils win! 3-2 in OT.

10:00 PM: Penalty killed, Devils on the attack. Thankfully the Panthers are still playing like little more than an AHL squad.

9:56 PM: OT underway and hot jesus on a hammock, they throw the puck over the glass and draw a penalty. Would somebody please find the Devils from 90 minutes ago?

9:53 PM: Damn. David Booth puts one home with 7.8 seconds left. We’re going to OT folks! Major Buzzkill is undoubtedly laughing from the bench, twirling his evil mustache. I completely blame this on my girlfriend, who wished against the shutout so her fantasy team would do better.

9:52 PM: Stop by Clemmer. Good pressure by the Panthers though, under 30 seconds left.

9:51 PM: Buzzkill pulled. Less than a minute to play.

9:49 PM: Ooof. Out of nowhere the Panthers put one in on a quick bang-bang play to Bouwemeester in the slot. 2-1. Two minutes to play.

9:43 PM: Major Buzzkill strikes again. Anderson stones Parise on a great breakaway chance. I feel like Anderson was stroking his Snidely Whiplash mustache under his helmet after that one.

9:41 PM: And now what it would have looked like if it were 1943! Anyone else getting sepia-tone replays?

9:38 PM: The Panthers look like the mighty mites on the 5-on-3 and Clemmer shuts them down when they get their act together for the subsequent 5-on-4. Still 2-0 in the second half of the 3rd.

9:35 PM: Ooooh boy. Now it gets interesting. Gio takes down a Panther and is called for tripping in what was a far more legitimate infraction. 5-on-3. The Panthers have “Right Now” by Van Halen on in the arena to boot. This sh*t’s about to get intense, hair band style.

9:33 PM: BS roughing call on Colin White. Nathan Horton comes up high on a hit on Whitey in the corner and he retaliates and gets called for a minor.

9:28 PM: 7 minutes of unremarkable hockey is broken by an absolutely absurd pair of saves by Clemmer! He made a solid save on an initial shot and I think somehow detached his spine to catch the rebound with his lower back. Johnny Oduya backs him up by kicking the puck out of harms way near the goal line. Whew! That woke me up.

9:22 PM: Back at it here in the third. Man, I agree with Josh, this Craig Anderson character is a bummer.

9:01 PM: Clemmer’s looked great during a bit of pressure from the Panthers at the end of the second there. Might be time for Weeksie to find that crossword puzzle book he was working on last year. Devils still up 2-0 after two.

8:58 PM: It even looks like the refs are taking pity on the thus-far hapless Panthers. Jay Leach gets called for a questionable interference minor and the Panthers are on the PP.

8:53 PM:Man, Patty and Gio are playing like it’s ’05-’06. Every shift has just been gold for them lately. A great give and go gets stopped by Anderson, who admittedly has done well to stonewall the Devils here in the second.

8:47 PM: And another powerplay without a goal. Still, as MSG-1294 just flashed up on the screen, the scoring chances are 16-1 at this point, so I’m not going to throw a pissy fit over it.

8:43 PM: Another penalty to the Panthers!

8:42 PM: My girlfriend, who has been affectionate to me in the comments arena tonight, just pointed out that Clemmenson is quite intimidating in net. I never noticed it, especially since there’s been no focus on him whatsoever tonight, but the dude seriously looks Devilish in net with his dark pads and mask.

8:39 PM: Another strong powerplay by the Devils with nothing to show for it. Still, the Devils look like they’re in a different league than the Panthers, who might have stayed a little too long out in the sun today.

8:36 PM: 17-4 is the shot total right now in favor of New Jersey. 17-4! Clarkson takes a spill (which I’m convinced has more to do with the fact that his skating ability is akin to Happy Gilmore than a trip) for a penalty and we’ve got another Devils powerplay!

8:29 PM: Back again for the second to find that Thomas Voukon has made a hasty exit in lieu of Craig Anderson. That’s two games straight that the Devils, the New Jersey Devils mind you, have chased goalies in consecutive games. What’s going on here? I ain’t about to question it.

8:11 PM: Hahaha. Doc ends the period with the most uncomfortable “whoohooo” ever to announce the Devils next Nathan’s hot dog night.

8:09 PM:Wow! A beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play from Parise to Cap’n Langs on over to Zajac and it’s a 2-0 game. All four lines are looking great heading into the final minute of the period down in Florida.

8:06 PM: Man, the boys are buzzing tonight. I’m almost terrified at this point that Rolston and Holik coming back will upset this magnificent chemistry that’s been stumbled across.

8:03 PM: Some good puck movement on the powerplay but nothing to show for it. The Devils are outshooting the Panthers 9-2 so far this period, so I’m not gonna complain. Are we on MSG-153 tonight? This looks like it’s being filmed in a cave.

8:01 PM: Penalty on Florida! Looked like a hook as Elias is taken down. Devils PP!

7:55 PM: Back and forth hockey here, nothing too spectacular. We could invent some Devils drama in the process I suppose. Bryce Salvador totally just rejected Parise’s stick after he broke his in the defensive zone. Is there trouble in paradise?

7:51 PM: The Devils really have a zip to their game again tonight. I dunno what Grumpy McMonkey Ears behind the bench has been saying to them lately, but he better keep it up. Is it injuries? Is the road to Lord Stanley paved with sports hernias? No probably not.

7:47 PM: Gionta scores!! The streak continues! Five straight games with a goal for Gio on another beautiful deflection setup by Mr. Johnny Oduya, who has looked freakin’ phenomenal this year.

7:45 PM: Elias just barely fans on an opportunity in front. Chico points out that this is in fact hockey and not soccer and Elias would not have been able to kick the puck into the net. Whew, that’s a load off.

7:43 PM: Penalty killed. Jesus, are the Devils really only 68 percent on the penalty kill at home? WTF? Devils powerplay as the Panthers take a minor!

7:40 PM: After figuring out some dual live-cap madness we’re underway! And less than 2 minutes in we’ve already got a penalty to Elias. Devils on the PK early.

7:35 PM: I think this truly must be a 2ma first.

7:32 PM: Oh! Dueling livecaps!!!! Damn you Burnett!!

7:30 PM: P.S. I had some trouble finding the game tonight on my cable. If you’re having the same problem, this is where I found the info on what asscrack of television the devils broadcast is on tonight.

7:25 PM:So Scottie Clemmensen gets the start tonight as we continue to work through the weird and wild post-Brodeur apocalypse. We’re still working on fixing the Zubbie Counter after last night’s explosion, but those repairs could be helped along by some continued stellar play (ahem).

7:19 PM: Hey all, it’s been a while I know. I’ve been giving a little too much love to my other wordpress baby lately (i sorta get paid for it), and I apologize. But OMG, two livecaps in a week?! We’re totally spoiling you. Let’s go Devils!

Devils/Leafs… Thoughts from Section 209

Well seems I’m the only one here who watched this fiasco…. so let me get to it…. but gotta save some stuff for the Month In Review coming soon to a website near you!

But where to start on this one….

— I have issues with Brent Sutter… but I’ll get to those probably Friday Night (depending on how nasty work gets to me)
— Jamie Langenbrunner looks trapped in concrete on ice, and really should NOT have played… forget about having major ice time in the third period… don’t tell me about chasing points in October and WE LOST ANYWAY… let him get HEALTHY (not to mention it’s a dick move to call up Berfgors and let him sit in the XL-4000 Luxury Easy Chair once reserved for Kevin Dean, the all time king of healthy scratches)
— we call up Halishuk and he looks good… plays with energy and keeps up on the Madden line… and he SITS in the 3rd period… oops…I’m Sutter foreshadowing…..
— poor Gio… stuff that puck into Toskala a hundred times more would ya?? Thankfully the Zub-a-roonie saved the day
— this team went into a shell at 2-0… then blew the lead… Clarkson with the best fight of his career wakes them up… they take the lead… and go into a shell… and blow it AGAIN, this team can’t sit on a lead in the THIRD PERIOD… STOP TRYING IN THE FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (go with what is WORKING)
— Toronto worked their BALLS OFF, and frankly deserved to win this game… Ron Wilson.. you can coach my team any day sir!
— ANDY GREENE… there is no stopping you my man!!! (he’s even made Mottau look better)
— Marty, you looked tired and uninterested…. I know it will never happen… you want to light a fire on this team and send a message.. “Kevin… you’re up Saturday”… watch this team respond!
— Power play.. AWFUL (why are the grinders on the outside and the play-makers like Elias and Parise standing in front… HELLO)… penalty killing… WORSE… geesh

there was not alot to be happy about here… and for a team at 5-2-2, there’s a LOT to not be happy about…..

more to come in the next few days!!!

(oh good I can edit this :p)

also:
— Luke Schenn… sounds like a Mortal Kombat fighter!!
— Faceoffs were AWFUL.. yeah the stats say 45%… but I think 90% of those were in the first period… if I use one more percentage I sound like the guy in the NHL Network commerical giving 110% 100% of the time…..