NJ Devils Month in Review: January 2010

Well that was a rough month wasn’t it??? Too many games in too short a time… and not enough good healthy bodies….But yet with the major OMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE panic fits in Devils fan Universe (we do have fans out there right??)…. I’m shocked the mass suicides haven’t started piling up…. Or do people ACTUALLY realize this team is still pretty safe when it comes to the playoffs (though I often wonder that missing the playoffs one year might actually be GOOD for this team and a re-focus on life)….until then it’s survival time until we get some Olympic Rest…. And I think I’d say “tired and overplayed” for about everyone… so I’ll just say it here and re-reference it later and remember even though the sky is falling, 7-7-1 is still a .500 month :p

Forwards:
#9 Zach Parise-A: (15 games: 8g, 7a = 15pts, +6)
He got his goal scoring touch back and not soon enough!! Back to being a good steady, consistent point-getter on this team… hell at this point he and Travis is all we gots!!! It’s hard to complain about Zach or anything he’s done this year… so I won’t do it and all I will say again is… AAAAHHHHHHH!!! Elite player and PLAYING like one!!
Grade: A+

#15 Jamie Langenbrunner-C (15 games: 4g, 9a = 13pts, +1)
We had been saying for over two months now how Jamie’s play has been spotty but he was still getting points and it covered a lot of holes and mistakes in his game… well the points (least the goals)… are starting to drop a little…. Maybe this whole “Captain America” thing (great nickname BTW) is wearing on him a little… I don’t know.. and ONE goal since January 2nd… that’s just awful….it’s not all him… it’s a collective WTF going on with this team and only 9 and 19 seem immune to it of late…..but he’s one of the guys who can elevate and fix this mess….
Grade: B-

#19 Travis Zajac (15 games, 7g, 9a = 16pts, +7)
Again, like Parise… it’s been a two-man show on the Devils between those two guys… and to make it tougher on Travis… he’s THE ONLY GODDAMN CENTER WORTH A SPIT ON THIS ROSETR… so the pressure is even bigger… but night in and night out there’s no one more valuable on this team then Zajac (and people wanted to trade him two years ago.. nice…..) It’s funny how you can say TONS about the guys who suck but the dudes who got it going on… it’s quiet… well no one like good news… (which is why they get fascinated with my love life right??)… Invaluable player on this team!!!
Grade: A+

#12 Brian Rolston (15 games, 3g, 3a = 6pts, -1)
Might as well have been put on the fucking IR with Elias… he’s pretty much worthless without him now… I was defending him earlier in the year based on getting shots on net and doing things… but man that’s gone… he’s a virtual zombie (minus the nifty Indy Pro Wrestling gimmick and costume)….I’m trying to think of anything good he adds to the team and I ain’t sure I got anything for ya… *sigh*… 3 more years…..
Grade: F

#18 Niclas Bergfors (14 games, 0g, 1a = 1point, -4)
OH MY GOD!! One point in the WHOLE MONTH… I knew it was bad… but Jesus….He didn’t hit the wall he smashed into it at like 250 MPH, forgot his seatbelt and the airbag was defective…. Rough month for the kid and don’t wanna shoulder the blame on him when there’s stiffs like Rolston, tired legs like McAmmond and Niedermayer on the team, and I know he’s been messed with playing with the Pando’s, Pelley’s and other no-offense guys…. But man, gotta be better then that kid…a big reason the offense is drying up is the kid’s outta gas… hurry Olympics, hurry!!!
Grade: D (it’s not all his fault though)

#26 Patrik Elias-A (7 games, 2g, 3a = 5pts, +3)
What a coincidence…. Elias gets hurt and the whole team goes to shit….without Patty in the lineup, teams just line up and defend Parise/Zajac and the team is cooked… I’m not gonna sit and piss and complain about the hit, it was clean, it was legal, it was HOCKEY, but damn it was DEVASTATING to this Devils team….if only he had lined up Rolston we’d be in a lot better shape now….hopefully he’s back soon, the team will benefit from it in so many ways…..
Grade: B+

#21 Rob Niedermayer (15 games, 1g, 3a = 4pts, -2)
Getting 18 minutes a night, and this number is going UP as his performance level is going DOWN… what?? I know there’s not a lot here and I know he looks like Scott… but Jesus, the minute totals are going in reverse… he still does some little shifty things, but there is more “few and far between” moments on them… and frankly he just plays too damned much and could use a night or two off also… but it doesn’t seem like it’s gonna happen….especially with our “all-IR team” growing in numbers….he’s not been good, but he’s still being asked to do too much, and dammit all to hell, the idea of a checking line is DEAD in the NHL… even more so when 21 and 20 are on it, which means “offense is futile…..”
Grade: C –

#11 Dean McAmmond (15 games, 2g, 1a = 3pts, -1)
Ah what a wonderful world it would be if we could rotate him and Nieds each game wouldn’t it??? This is really what these guys should be doing… but we ain’t got the bodies to make that happen (though sitting Pelley and playing these guys makes me PIST too)…the production is about what you expect, but when you think on average HALF THE GAME that Nieds or McAmmond is on the ice… that’s frightening…..
Grade: C-

#20 Jay Pandolfo (15 games, 1g, 1a = 2pts, -4)
Ah, back to the old school bashing Pando days… but still…. Stiffer then a tragic Viagra accident in an old folk’s home… he’s WORTHLESS on the offensive side of the ice, the whole shut down thing is dead in the NHL… though he is a part of what is a good PK unit, so I guess saying he should be executed… but holy hell….those 15 minutes a night ain’t pretty ones…..
Grade: D

#10 Rod Pelley (10 games, 0g, 1a = 1 point, -2, 9 PIM)
He’s been ok enough in his spot role… has actually grown into a one big hit a night guy and does some things too…probably should be getting a few of those minutes that are being sucked up by McAmmond and Nieds…missing a few games from injury hurt too but again… ain’t his fault, he is what he is… but his legs are younger and it would be nice to see him get a little more ice time… and NOT with Peters
Grade: C+

#28 Vladimir Zharkov (13 games, 0g, 1a = 1point, -3)
I feel bad for this kid… he tries… he puts out a good effort.. his shot’s decent… just the damn thing NEVER goes in (or rolls across the goal line yelling SUCK IT!!).. and his play DID drop in his second month of being a regular player… some of that too is the lack of useful centers to play with, I think he’s just more snake-bit and trapped playing with players that don’t fit his skills more then his own failings here…..
Grade: C (get a goal already though!!)

#14 Patrick Davis (7 games, 1goal, -2)
He’s been off to an OK start… seems to be more comfortable in the NHL in his last 4 games opposed to his first three…. But playing with Pando and Nieds ain’t gonna get no one Calder Trophy consideration….had a shifty little goal move to get his first NHL tally a week ago… and is showing drive and attack to the net and young legs are gonna look better then old legs at this point of the year…and he’s at least getting 12 minutes a game to do SOMETHING with…I’ve been almost pleased with him on the ice….
Grade: B-

#25 Andrew Peters (2 games, no points, Even, 9 PIMs)
I know he only played two games, but him even being on the team is still a disgrace… though the tie the jersey down so hard that it rips was funny shit at least….still.. the man does nothing right, well except get punched in the face… I think we’d all like to try :p
Grade: F

#17 Ilkka Pikkarainen (6 games, no points, Even)
Well he’s gone… and in case you missed it… we paid him fair tribute on his way out:
“The Devils assigned right wing Ilkka Pikkarainen to CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League today. We here at two man spent hours upon end compiling FOR YOU, the special THREE DVD, Ilkka Pikachu, GLORY YEARS SET!! In this awe-inspiring DVD set, you will see hit LONE GOAL and botched suicide attempt by Carey Price (the knife bounced off his glove and into the net!)… and SO MANY OTHER 5-Star Classic Pikachu moments!!! For example… THAT HIT with THAT GUY… or his inspired smiles from Jacques Lemaire pep talks!!! Or MORE!!!! The Third Disc is FULLY DEVOTED to his LONE GOAL….EVERY camera angle is presented in this special package and at the end…we have an EXCLUSIVE Bullet-Time Matrix-Style rendition of that MAGICAL goal-scoring moment!!!! How else could such a LEGEND say good-bye to the NHL right????
Grade: A (if for no other reason then to let me re-hash the Braden Walker bit :p)

Defense:
#6 Andy Greene (15 games, 0g, 1a = 1pt, +3, 24:27 TOI)
The offense has dried up and the Lidstrom-like minutes are catching up to him (GET THE HELL BACK PAUL MARTIN…. Goddamit….)… the defense has still been pretty good, he makes heady and smart type places… gets the puck out of trouble… yeah he can be beat up and taken out physically (go ahead kids… have fun with that comment <3 ), but also possibly having to key all this time on defense is certainly hurting his offense…it’s not his fault really, he ain’t got much help…..
Grade: A-

#24 Bryce Salvador (14 games, 1g, 2a = 3pts, -2, 19:16 TOI)
Not as obvious as an anchor to this team as Greene’s been… but just as important (if not more so because his job in road games is usually to go out there with Fraser and protect him during those bad matchups he can be faced with in road games)… maybe playing a few minutes too many… but WHO ISN’T?? There’s plenty of people to foot the blame for this month… this guy ain’t one of them…..
Grade: B+

#5 Colin White (15 games, 0g, 2a = 2pts, -2, 15 PIM, 20:08 TOI)
Had a rough middle of the month… but he really is what he is at this point a very solid and steady 2nd pair defenseman who can bang, muck and clear the puck and on occasion make a nice pass or get a big shot on goal… and now he’s fighting again a little too… guess he finally mastered that famous “one-eyed kung-fu” style.. could be a little better, but the idiot penalties are more lost in 2000 then the fools idea of bringing Petr Suckora back to this team… and another guy who is in the “not his fault” category….
Grade: B

#27 Mike Mottau (15 games, 0g, 4a = 4pts, Even, 22:27 TOI)
A new-found whipping boy of late… but again his issues are a symptom of the whole damn team right now…the mental tired factor on this team is HUGE, and it’s even worse then being physically tired… it makes you that one step slow that makes you miss that shot with one minute to go in the 3rd period…. It’s that one missed play reversing to a guy on the other team without turning to double check…. It’s that one stride slower that stops you from covering a breakaway… but yet oddly enough he improved from a -7 last month to even this month… sometimes stats are weird man… but there’s no clearer example on this team (well maybe the goalie) then Mottau… in more irony, the 4 points he had this month were also his best numbers of the season….but still the numbers and the minutes are piling up on him… and it’s shown with some MAJOR gaffes in key spots over time…and that odd mix of him and Colin White is just deadly fail against fast lines… still… and always will be…. He wasn’t all that good the last two months… but we got nothing else…..
Grade: C-

#29 Johnny Oduya (15 games, 1g, 2a = 3pts, +3, 21:11 TOI)
Well at least his offense is picking up… a little.. it’s still not enough and if there is one guy on this team who should have enough in the tank to be able to better himself and help this team get through these struggles, it HAS to be Oduya now… Greene’s gone above and beyond… and no one else has the skill set to do it… his only REALLY bad game was the Toronto one and still seems out of place with Fraser.. I don’t want to say he’s been lost without Martin, because he wasn’t good this year WITH Martin… it’s been a tough year for Johnny, but I do really think and hope he’s starting to pick it up (if not he is a useful and tradable commodity at least)
Grade: C+ (starting to turn the corner)

#2 Mark Fraser (15 games, no points, -2, 19 PIM, 12:01 TOI)
People have grown to like this guy because the coaches have been VERY careful to protect him and he hits people and fights as well, personally I like the guy too… but when he gets caught out there against the top talent… geesssshhhhh…. It might be a small part of the wear-down problem on the Devils defense… things get tight, his minutes get cut and the other 5 can’t handle it… I’m not blaming him, I’m not saying he’s being handled wrong… I’m just saying it’s an issue….like I said I liked the guy years ago when he came up and he will grow into a Colin White-type player (with two eyes mind you), I wish he had inspired more confidence in the coaching staff… the time is gonna come sooner or later though….
Grade: B-

Incompletes:
** #23 David Clarkson (DNP in January)
** #8 Dainius Zubrus (4 games, 1g, 3a = 4pts, +2)
Just didn’t get enough games in to be rated, but God DAMN his 4 games back have been impressive (time with Zajac and Parise helps though)… next month we’ll get a better feel of what the king of the Zubbie-Counter brings to the table!
** #16 Nick Palmeri (6 games, 1 assist, Even)
Has a good nose for the net and getting his shit dirty, and I love that kinda player, but still probably isn’t ready for the NHL (like most of our wealth of prospects), but still not enough of a body of work to rate him fairly
** #22 Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (4 games, no points, -1, 5 PIM)
Again I like the kid, but didn’t see enough of him… he fights, and probably spent a lot of money on his “healthy scratch suit”… so they wanna make sure he gets VALUE out of it eh?

Goalies:
MB30 (7-7-1, 2.35gaa, 91.5%, 3 SO)
Well you gotta say he was pretty damn good this month… but he’s certainly showing signs of running out of gas (LA game much ??)….it’s hard to rip on him now with this team sorta in shambles around him… but they can’t run this horse into the ground and expect him to get up again… maybe it’s the nature of my job and how I make my money at work… but PREVENTIVE maintenance is the key here… rest him BEFORE he gets tired and it’s too late! And hell he did get the first game off in Feburary… that’s a sign that maybe he is gonna be saved for what matters the most this time….
Grade: A

#35 Yann Danis (3 games played, 0-0-0, 0.87gaa, 96.3%)
One goal allowed in 69 minutes of mop-up work… that’s not bad, and I guess in an odd way it’s a show of faith in Yann, that Lemaire will even pull mb30 to let him in the game at this point and has CERTAINLY earned more starts in the future… I just hope this kid stays around and we have our possible successor here……
Grade: A

Coaching:
Well it’s easy to bag on Jacques…. “He’s playing guys too much”… “He’s fucking with the lines…”… he’s why we had so much snow in January… you name it and he got blamed for it… but to use a poker analogy, he was the big blind who got dealt a 2/9 off-suit hand and just said AW SHIT and is trying to play his way through it… the only thing he could do is maybe rest some vets, but the kids ain’t ready yet…. He’s not been perfect but I don’t think this is a total fail on the coaching staff… though playing 20 and 21 till they bleed isn’t helping ANYONE…..Jacques has a bad hand, but he raised off the flop which was kinda foolish too….
Grade: C+

Front Office:
Lou’s in a weird spot too… we have this pack of 2-3 years away type players that will be good in the future.. just not yet… so he got some stop-gap players… who ran out of gas…. So what does he do?? I do think a trade is coming… or does he ride out the suck and know the team will be better down the road?? Awfully hard to throw away a season from a 37 year old HOF goalie (he’s done enough of that in the past though)… the next few days will be VERY key into what we think of Lou’s job this season…..
Grade: C-

NJ Devils Month in Review, December 2009!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#28: Vladimir Zharkov (0g, 6a=6pts, +5)
Nifty little player, has nice flash… doesn’t get enough shots to the net yet… but he’s learning, played well with Elias and Rolston and that helps too….good guy to just plug in there and get a bit of offensive crafty in there….probably gone back to Lowell when this team gets healthy, but he’s got a good chance to be on this team next season and beyond (or a key piece in a playoff push type of trade)
Grade: B+
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Defense:
#6: Andy Greene (2g, 9a=11pts, +2, 25:00 TOI)
What can I say about Andy that I haven’t already? 2nd in the East in scoring… plays damn near half the game… makes smart plays in one step back in his own end….mobile… and still growing as an NHL player… it’s been the best story about this year (yes in more ways then one <3 )… Andy could fix the economy, move continents and even get Michael Bay to write good movies!!! Need I say more????
Grade: A

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

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

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

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

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

#32: Matthew Corrente (5 games, no points, even, 10 PIM)
Much like Fraser was brought in sparingly, and allowed to get his feet wet… and in the NHL getting your feet wet playing defense is NOT an easy job… I liked the fighting (but again, more when he was playing forward)…. he was pretty well protected when possible….still truly hard to figure him out while he's still figuring it out… but he's been ok!
Grade: C+ (borderline incomplete)
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Incompletes:
#7: Paul Martin-A… did not play all month
#23: David Clarkson (2 games played, no points,-2, 5 PIM)… came back and got hurt again *ugh*
#16: Matt Halischuk (2 games, no points, -2)
It's a damn shame, he just looked like he had gotten it on the NHL level and caught up with the game and the speed of the players on ice…he got sent down… grrrr… in a perfect world, he's in and Pando's out, we all know this ain't a perfect world though
#22: The man called PL^3….Hasn't played a game since Nov 4th… wow
#8: Danius Zubrus… also did not play in December

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

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

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

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

NJ Devils Month in Review, November 2009

With all the injuries and players coming in and out of the lineup this year, the Devils STILL went 9-3… Good God…think about that…. It’s even crazier when you realize the 3 losses were in a ROW… it was a very good month in New Jersey which is a shame, I write better angry… but it does make the month in reviews come off the keyboard a little faster this way!!!

Forwards:
#9 Zach Parise: A (9g, 7a, +11)
Almost averaged a GOAL a game for the month… that’s sick… he’s going to stomp on last year’s stats and has a legit chance again to break 100 points and re-write the Devils record books offensively… his hockey smarts and presence and knowing where to be is there as much as ever and even more so Lemaire is putting him in a position to win each and every time… and really I can’t say anything bad about him… though I do miss the Parise girls yelling and screaming and making him into a one man Jonas Brothers :p
Grade: A+

#15 Jamie Langenbrunner: C (3g, 11a, +4)
It’s weird with Jamie… his play is eh, he seems slower this year and he looks like he’s losing a step… but yet he’s on pace for his best offensive year ever…. He’s been fortunate to be on the two most productive lines on the team… and I will admit his skill is adding to the success of those lines… but really on his own… he kinda seems not so good… and he does his thing in the skills competitions, but we don’t watch those in the month in review so they are a non-factor in my evaluations….and no matter what you see or think of his play… 14 points in 12 games is above and beyond the expected call of duty for him…. So maybe I’m just seeing it wrong… but hell if it ain’t broke, don’t make em ride the bikes to fix it right???
Grade: A

#19 Travis Zajac (1g, 10a, +8)
Only one goal?? I guess he’s riding Parise’s coattails eh?? That’s not a bad thing though…. Travis does it all on this team… faceoffs, pk, power play… physical….he’s one of the most important players on the team and he is getting a point a night and no longer can Cangelosi get him confused with Shanny… though… BERGFORS…. *sigh… 19 Steve….*…. ZAJAC… SCCCAAAWWRRREEE, is still kinda epic!! I need to make my own funny here cause Travis is like HHH… he’s that damn good!!
Grade: A

#18 Niclas Bergfors (4g, 6a, +2)
Solid… improving… and doing his job in replacing Brian Gionta’s stats… this is a good thing….Lemaire is riding him and pushing him to be better and he’s responding.. funny how that works better then 2:32 of ice time a game isn’t it??? I like what I’m seeing and he too is growing into a legit player… and a better match speed and skill wise for Parise and Zajac for Langenbrunner…and he’s only 22… it’s nice to see our prospects start to prosper!!! And not be delegated to Andrew Peters level of ice time!
Grade: A

#23 David Clarkson (4g, 2a, -2, 19 PIM)
The offense was down this month, but he’s also been bounced all over the place… one time with Parise and Zajac (I like)… one time with Pelley and Halischuk (I not likey as much)….he’s fighting a bit too much for my likes… we need his PRODUCTION and not his FISTS… and he gets a break because he was hurt… but I expect a little bit better then this when we get him back post-olympics (most likely)
Grade: B- (torn between that and C+)

#12 Brian Rolston (6g, 3a, +1, 41 Shots on Goal)
I added the shots on goal stat, just because he has a rep for being mister Rip Em Wide… and his month was spotty, but he seems to have a niche with Elias and it’s starting to pay off for the team and his own statistics, the speed isn’t the same as it used to be but the shot and more important the CONFIDENCE in the shot (14 shots in his last two games) is showing up… and if Rolston can keep hitting the net (and he’s shown he can this year)… good things will happen for him, his linemates and especially the power play on this game… not a GREAT month, but he’s not dragging them down either… hell if he sat in 208 I might even walk over and say HEY to him (or something like that… ok, that’s a joke for Rob… whatever)…. He’s been alright, which for his second stint with the team is almost damn good…
Grade: B-

#26 Patrik Elias: A (3g, 7a, +3, 10 games)
It took him a few games to get his legs (understandable)… and then figure out who ha was going to be playing with (and it’s weird, it’s a grumpy old men line, but it’s WORKING with Langs and Rolston)…and he’s back to a point a game again and really what else can you ask for? Yes you’d like to see more goals… but we’re scoring and we have two top lines again with the Parise and Elias line carrying the mail each and every night while the rest of the team gets healthy and if this keeps up… we might even be more fun to watch and less smoke and mirrors! Welcome back Patrik!!
Grade: A

#8 Dainius Zubrus (0g, 1a, even)
Wow… I know he’s not supposed to score and his main function is to make time and space for people… but holy shit you gotta get more then ONE ASSIST if you’re doing you’re job right and I like Zubbie and all and I hate kicking a guy when he’s down an injured (now there are certain girls I like kicking regardless of position…. But whatever :p)….he’s gotta be better then THIS…. CMON ZUBBIE!!!!
Grade: C- (I hate, hating our mascot!)

#10 Rod Pelley (0g, 1a, -1, 10 PIM, 10 games, 7.5 mins/game)
ROD PELLEY MAD… ROD PELLEY SMASH!!! ROD PELLEY FIGHT!! Rod Pelley get benched for rookie defenseman playing forward…..well whatever pissed him off he had his best game as a Devil (well minus the double high stick moment of awesome of course!)….I threw in the average ice time, because as a spare forward it was kinda telling… the Devils could use a 4th line that eats some minutes and it doesn’t do that when Pelley’s been on it… I need to see more then one good game out of him (this means you too Andrew Peters) to be convinced he’s worth a shit, but I won’t hate him as much as Rob does ever (he just has eyes for Sestito…. We understand… really), Rod’s not been God… or Zod… more like Clod this year with the team… this month… no different…
Grade: D

#16: Matt Halischuk (1g, 1a, even, approx 11 mins/game)
Like Mark Fraser below is also earning more ice time from the coaching staff and is starting to get used to parking himself in front of the net (GOOD THING) and he’s adjusting to the speed of the game at the NHL level … hell he even looks like he BELONGS now on the team and taking regular shifts (again it shows on the ice time and no stat shows more what the staff thinks of you then the minutes you get to play… and thank God Sutter’s not here… he’d get 3 shifts a night and not be allowed to grow up on the ice like he’s been doing)…so I’ll go easy on him, I think the points and the contributions are gonna go nowhere but up and he might even be on the big club all year at this point… something I did not expect a month ago….
Grade: B (mostly for the improvement in play)

#11 Dean McAmmond (0g, 1a, even, approx 15 ½ mins/game)
It’s still weird seeing him wear #11 because he looks and skates like John Madden from way up…. Hell he’s been Madden-esque with his numbers, ice time and effort… which is amazing for a dude who was on the street or TGIFriday’s or something a month ago…he’s been a nice stop-gap type player as we try to get this team healthy and he will likely bump Rod Pelley back to obscurity even more when this team gets healthy (boy that should really get us UBER-MAD ROD PELLEY!!!)….he’s been ok since called into duty… so I’ll give him an OK grade with a small curve based on the speed of getting game ready…
Grade: C+

#17 Ilkka Pikkarainen (0g, 1a, even, 6 games played, 7 mins/game)
Wow, the best thing I can say about him is he’s keeping the tradition of Devils forwards wearing #17 SUCKING BADLY (and yes I mean you too Petr Suckora in there :p)…I don’t see this magic thing he adds to the lineup…. The only thing I think it can be is it keeps Peters OUT of the lineup… that ain’t good enough… HEY…YOU SUCK!!!!
Grade: F

#14 Tim Sestito (0g, 1a, -2, approx 12 mins/game, 9 games played)
SESTITO SANTANNNNNAAAAA!! ARRIBA!!! (hell the nickname alone should get him more playing time!!) He’s been ok too… he shows a bit more jump and offensive hope then Rod Pelley, but that’s like being a bigger scoring threat then Jay Pandolfo, or being smarter then the Blonde Wonder…he’s only 25 and it’s his first year in the system and I’d like to see if he can be a project down the road…. But at least better then Pelley is more gooder enougher to get in the line up now and see what he’s got, this may be a case of “the girl you don’t know looking better then the girl you do know and are sick of her being around” though…. Time will tell, eh?
Grade: C-

#25 Andrew Peters (no points, -4, 16 PIM, approx 6 mins/game, 10 games)
Has had ONE good game all season… that Ottawa game when he looked like Mike Peluso and choked a bitch OUT with that body check… aside of that… he hits marginally, he fights once in a blue moon, he adds no offense and skates like a seven year old boy in his first hockey camp…. And if I want that level of unreliability in my life I can BBM her and ask for that level of ineptitude I don’t need it on the ice!! YOU FAIL SIR!
Grade: F

Defense:
#6: Andy Greene (2g, 7a, +2, approx 28 mins/game)
OH ANDY!!! My has your legend grown… and I mean even beyond our love for you on facebook (and mine to an unhealthy level :p)….but what can you say… Martin and Oduya go down and you turn into Nick Lidstrom! Power play, penalty kill…. End to end… My Andy does it ALL <3…. He’s worth “coming out of the closet” for… and he’s really been the focus of 90% of the fun on 2man all year long!! THANK YOU ANDY!!! The only thing he’s not done is fix the economy and made international visits easier… but I hear he’s working on it during off-days!
Grade: A+

#24 Bryce Salvador (0g, 3a, +4, approx 25 mins/game)
As good as Andy’s been…. Salvador’s contributions have been just as important and he’s been as essential a player as anyone on this team…. Does everything but the power play, and adding a pinch of offense…but I blame that on Andy too!!! I don’t think you could expect or get any more from him then you’re getting… and it’s what this team badly needed now!
Grade: A

#5 Colin White (1g, 2a, +2, approx 20 mins/game)
He’s been what you expect from him… a bit physical (but staying out the box)…. Plays a lot smarter… making big plays…. And just enough offense to keep ya honest, the best thing you can say about a guy like White is you don’t notice him… and Whitey’s been the good kinda invisible… and I say it again… WHITE POWER!!!
Grade: A

#28 Cory Murphy (2g, 1a, -2, approx 9 mins/game, 7 games played)
OK, he’s not the smoldering bag of AIDS we portrayed him as…. But THEY SAT ANDY FOR HIM!! There is a price to pay for that goddamit!!!!! He got better his second time around and the “if Murphy scores a pp goal then Rob has to buy Anna a Murphy jersey” bit was totally golden and may have saved him in our cranky, bitter eyes! Sit not a top 6 D on any real team… least we know we can spot him from time to time and not have to hide in the corner as much anymore and save the bad pp offense for our own Lord Krang…..Still that all aside, I’d not cry if he doesn’t play a game more in the NHL this year
Grade: C

#27 Mike Mottau (1g, 1a, +5, approx 25 mins/game)
Solid, steady… and reliable… in a year of so much scramble and disjoint all around it’s nice to know Mottau’s been fairly reliable and you don’t worry about him in the ice shift after shift… and in a season when the top 4 has morphed into Greene, Salvador, White and Mottau you NEED nig minutes from all of them… he’s certainly held up his end!!
Grade: A

#2 Mark Fraser (no points, +1, approx 13 mins/game)
One good sign for Fraser was that his minutes were going UP by month’s end, which means the coaches felt better and more secure in putting him out there…. He’s still the first guy sent down when this team is at full strength, but he’s been pretty good in his second stint with the team and you don’t want to crawl and hide in the “Murphy” position when he’s been on the ice, I wish the Devils tracked hits on their site, I think he’d have a few… but he’s been not a liability on the ice and that’s really all you can ask from him, a nice solid depth defenseman on a team that needs some extra good bodies this year….
Grade: B-

Incompletes:
#21 Rob Niedermayer (1 game played in November)
#20 Jay Pandolfo (DNP in November)
#7 Paul Martin (DNP in November)
#28 Tyler Eckford (0g, 1a, approx 7 mins/game, 3 games in November)
#29 Johnny Oduya (DNP in November)
#22 Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (1 game in November)
#32 Matthew Corrente (no points, even, approx 10 mins/game, 4 games in November)

Nothing really much to say about these guys, though I think Eckford and Corrente can play in this league and it still sucks that PL^3 is below Peters on the goon chart…..

Goalies:
#30 mb30 (8-3, 18 goals allowed, 94 sv %, 1.63 approx gaa)
WOW… damn.. mid-season form… I’ll admit it… he’s been good… and he’s also mister one goal allowed a game… it’s like that wide receiver who gets tackled at the one all the time almost (then again, I don’t care about the shutout record and I found the minutes played record almost a reward for all the seasons he’s played too many game)… and I’m not gonna go crazy kissing his ass til he does some shit in the playoffs… sorry that’s just me and I won’t let my still displeasure totally blind me (and ok it helps that I made up with the person who’s fail his reminded me of but whatever :p)….all bets are off when income taxes are paid… but till then… he’s been good… I’ll deal :p
Grade: A

#35 Yann Danis (2 games, 1-0, 3.00 gaa, 87.8%)
As always the backup goalie is so hard to judge…. I mean yeah he got pulled in his only second appearance in the month, but those goals were HARDLY his fault (two deflections and a ridiculous bounce that came in front and got stuffed home…. I don’t think anyone was stopping THOSE)…it’s hard an unfair to judge the guy in that little time… but I’ll play Meatloaf here and say two outta three ain’t bad on the season…
Grade: B

Coaching Staff:
What can you say that I didn’t in the intro?? You can point to Lemaire, Stevens, et company… and see the improvements in Bergfors, Zajac, Greene, Salvador, Fraser, Clarkson… even rookies like Eckford, Corrente and Zharkov can step in and not be 3 minutes a game fodder…even the vets like Langenbrunner are thriving in this new system and Jacques even seems to have Rolston and Zubrus on the right track and all this with HALF THE TEAM on injured reserve… what the hell else can be said?? WE WERE WRONG JACQUES AND WE’RE SORRIE!!!!
Grade: A+

Devils vs. Thrashers, 10/16/09…Thoughts from Section 209

Sorry about not doing this last night (but hey, so much other stuff to read on 2ma, right??)…. sometimes ya just wanna go out and let the awful game settle in and think about it…. 14 years of experience will do that to you and your writing… and sometimes ya gotta say fuck it and go out and grab a few beers (oh NO… bad language and now he’s endorsing drinking some alcohols, welcome to the Rated R Recap indeed…. I should pull an Edge and do a “Live Sex” gimmick too :p)…. and not like the Devils gave me a helluva lot to talk about right??

the Good:
— I thought Bryce Salvador had an excellent game and always seemed on the ice… and then I get home and see he played 14 minutes??? Hell I thought he had that in the first period…..
— Paul Martin (looked good with Salvador too)…. and more and more each game he’s jumping into the play… he’s doing things offensively… a +2 last night… and he’s the ONLY guy on the blue line who’s gonna be able to be that extra guy to make the difference on certain plays… he’s got the green light to GO and he’s been doing good with it!
— Again Jamie Langenbrunner makes a total HOLY SHIT pass to feed Parise for the goal, that actually woke the arena up for all of …. 3:49 (hey least the fail is taking longer to happen then the 82 seconds from last year…)
— the first period was simply a fantastic domination (but they didn’t score…. if there was more good to mention I’d have chopped this one on the editor’s floor, but I am working from a VERY limited canvas here)

the Bad:
— David Clarkson had a breakaway late in the first but was totally gassed on a long shift…. this turned out to be kinda important because a goal in the first period coulda been a back breaker the way the can of whoop ass was being enjoyed!
— Andrew Peters…. you can’t score, you don’t hit, you can’t skate and even YOUR FIGHTING SUCKS!!!! (I hate to say it… but the blonde was right… he should use his skate blade next time, it might be more interesting :p)
— the power play… WHAT?? Can’t score… WHAT???…. Gives up a game killing shortie….WHAT!!!!! Good Lord are special teams are killing us……
— ….. as much as the GOALTENDING is… Not only were 2 or 3 of those goals BAD last night… but a bad goal is something I am growing to get used to, but that shortie where he just kinda stood there like a Deer with Down’s Syndrome into the headlights… I’m really starting to think something is WRONG with mb30 (he wasn’t doing ANY of this in the pre-season and he’s giving up Andrew Raycroft level of bad goals now…. really it’s time to free the Denis!!)
— Ryan…. Alex (let’s see who gets the reference :p)….Cory…. Murphy whatever the hell your first name is… go away and go away NOW!!! WE WANT THE LEAN MEAN GREENE MACHINE DAMN YOU!!!!

the Funny:
(don’t worry there was some!!)
— There was some pre-game amusmements tonight still…..we’re sitting down there watching warmups… and one of the Devils does the nice guy thing and tosses a puck to some kids in the front row…. one of those lil fellas goes to grab the puck but misses it and takes it to the head (no I am NOT that cruel… this is not the funny part)…. the funny part is one of his little friends grabs the puck and goes running to mommy and daddy about the puck… they go… shouldn’t you give that back to the kid who took it to the face?? and like ANY good friend… he’s like … NAH!!! Now there’s a friend for ya…. point and laugh at a friends fail AND keep the trophy to remind him!!!
— 209 was as dead as the rest of the place… but damn a whole period of J-E-T-S… SUCK SUCK SUCK!! That’s the kinda stuff that gets ME through the night!!!
— I did spend way too much time being an asshole on facebook last night since I was oh so bored in the game….. don’t worry I had a moment of thinking about the kids and wasn’t gonna mention someone’s sick and twisted… for lack of a better term… Cangeliosi-gasm…. sometimes ya just… gotta… be… there!!!
— nice to know we can still yell… SHANAHAN…. 19… ZAJAC… fuck my life, when Zajac scores!! (thank you your Lordship!)
— Here just this 3rd period sequence on facebook deserves it’s own social commentary :p
Scott Mackie Wow, looked like mb30 was playing dodge ball on that one…..

Lord Krang that was actually a great shot… Cory Murphy got beat on that play. he’s your dog.

Deanna Tortorello Over I take nothing away from the shot. I just felt it would be a shame letting Chico’s fantastic color commentary go undocumented. 😉 “Just in case you were wondering, the name of that goal was the “toe-drag snapper.” I know this because Chico told me so.”

Scott Mackie Still, looked the goalie was down and praying on the play
Fucker :p

Lord Krang you sound like a grumpy old man. don’t worry, andy greene will EVENTUALLY play a home game and all will be good again. 🙂

Scott Mackie I AM A GRUMPY OLD MAN :p (I’m gonna regret saying this here…)
(then Parise scores….)
Its amazing how this team can look like soggy donkey balls but yet make one absurd play like that parise goal and it all changes!!!

Lord Krang WELL FIND YOUR INNER 15-YEAR-OLD GIRL!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

F&!$ it, I’m pressing it.

Angry?  Yep.

Embarrassed?  You betcha.

Scared?  Try friggin’ petrified.

Thanks, Devils.  Just thanks.

I’d love to give some sort of insight, but I’ve missed the last few games (night classes – a curse and a blessing, apparently).  I’m kind of happy I didn’t see anything but the last three minutes of tonight’s game.

Scratch that, I’m kind of mad I subjected myself to the last three minutes, knowing full well what the score was.

Sigh.

This team was supposed to be too good for the annual March swoon.  Too many veterans, too many guys who know how to win, all of that.  What the hell is happening, then?

The part that annoys/frustrates/scares me the most is the clear parallel between last year’s late-season falter and this year’s.  See:  Big losing streak, lack of goal scoring, disappearance of defense, big ass-whuppin’ from the Penguins.  My poor heart won’t be able to take losing to the Rangers in round one of the playoffs again.

Speaking of the playoffs, you realize they haven’t won a single game since clinching a playoff spot, right?  A playoff spot that was clinched on a day off, with another team losing, rather than on the ice with the Devils winning.

This is no way to go into the playoffs.  Things have to be turned around, and it rests on two men:  Brent Sutter and Jamie Langenbrunner.

Brent Sutter is at least making the appearance of trying.  Being pissy about the Rangers loss, being pissy about Patrik Elias not playing tonight, freaking out at the end of the second period tonight (or so I’m told).  The man’s showing more pulse than he has in two years with this team.  But you do have to wonder if he knows what to do to get this team in playoff mode.  Once is an abberation, twice is the beginning of a pattern.  In this case, a very frightening pattern.

But what of Captainbrunner?  Now’s his chance to really make his salt as a captain, to really show what he’s made of.  You hear me, Jamie?  TAKE CONTROL.  Jamie Langenbrunner is not Scott Stevens, nor should he try to be – however, it’s time for the current captain to truly and finally make this team his, the way the teams of the 90s and early 2000s were truly Scotty’s.

After all, if the captain can’t step it up in a time of crisis, how can we expect anyone else to?

One away from greatness?

It’s been a tough season for Mr. Martin Brodeur.

Taken out by a bum elbow, “MB30” had to take a back seat to witness his boys claw back from the pits of adversity and skate towards one of the NHL’s best records this season.

Yeah, Marty ain’t used to that.

We’re talking about a netminder who plays 8593 contests out of an 82 game season here. It surely could not have been easy.

Fast forward to March, where the three-time Cup winner is now one win away from shattering Patrick Rooooooooooooy’s record of 551 career wins.

Fancy.

It wasn’t easy, sure, but Marty’s almost there. He has his shot, Tuesday, against the surging Chicago Blackhawks. Cue dramatic orchestra music here.

…wait, what? The Hawks are good this year?

This really is a weird season.

Anyway, the stage is set and the leading roles have been assigned. Starring for the Devils, of course, Brodeur along with his comrades Zach Parise, Patrik Elias, and Jamie Langenbrunner. For the Hawks? Eh, who really cares. It’s Marty’s night, right?

Nine million years in this league, it’s his time to shine, his time to show us what he’s really made of, yadda yadda yadda.

…oh…no. I think all the Vezinas, 40-plus win seasons, and Stanley Cups already proved to us that Marty is the man.

So when Marty laces ’em up and settles in between the pipes on Tuesday, forget about the numbers and records. We don’t need 552 wins to tell us something we don’t already know.

#30 already is the best.

Devils @ Canadians LIVECAP!

9:45 PM: I’m going to call it a night, boys and girls.  A great evening all around.  Thanks for checking us out tonight, goodnight!

9:43 PM: Patrik Elias with a goal and an assist ties John MacLean for the career lead in points as a Devil.  Jamie Langenbrunner ties his career high for goals in a season.  Brian Rolston earns his 300th career goal.  Martin Brodeur notches career win #551.  What.  A.  Night.

9:41 PM: Three stars – Elias, Patrice Briesbois (who played in his 1,000th career game tonight and skated over to congratulate Brodeur while out as the second star), and, of course, Marty.

9:40 PM: The Canadians fans are standing for Marty – they went from booing their team to cheering Marty as the clock ran out.  Beautiful.  Beautiful.

9:39 PM: GAME!  Martin Brodeur has tied Patrick Roy for the all-time wins record!

9:37 PM: Last minute of the game…if you live in New Jersey and don’t have them yet, I’d advise picking up your tickets to the game on Tuesday night right about now while there’s still some good deals out there!

9:36 PM: Two minutes…Halak still in net for the Canadians.  Devils aren’t even giving them a chance to pull him if they wanted to.

9:35 PM: FORTY-FIVE shots on goal for the Devils so far tonight, versus 22 for the Habs.

9:34 PM: Fans are booing the Canadians now…so much for the possibility of their cheering Marty, at least so far.  To be fair, the Canadians have looked really bad for the last ten minutes or so.  Three minutes left.

9:33 PM: Four minutes to go…

9:28 PM: Bobby Holik doing what Bobby Holiks do best – no, not taking bad penalties, but getting physical with the goaltender.  Which, I guess could constitute a penalty, but not in this case.

9:25 PM: CAPTAINBRUNNER!  Beautiful wrist shot after backing away from the slot and it’s 3-1 Devils.  Langenbrunner ties his career high for goals, and all but one of the big milestones I mentioned at the beginning of this LiveCap have come to fruition, and the fourth one is about six minutes from being a reality as well.

9:24 PM: BIG HIT by Mike Rupp!  Pacioretty, with his head down, is knocked loopy by Rupp between the circles.

9:23 PM: I’d really, really like this game to be over.  My tummy hurts.

9:20 PM: Ten to go in the period.  It’s been kinda slow since the first, eh?

9:17 PM: Clarkaround!  Of course it doesn’t go, and a quick whistle puts an end to any rebound chance.

9:12 PM: DAMN!  Two-on-one for Zajac/Parise but a beautiful defensive play by Briesbois puts an end to that before Zajac can shoot or pass.  Nice play by Patrice.

9:11 PM: 34 shots on goal for the Devils so far, and it’s still only 2-1.  Halak’s been pretty damn good.  Dammit.

9:08 PM: Man oh man, if Marty does tie the record tonight, he will have definitely earned it.  Good couple of chances for Les Habs on the power play, all stood up by Senor Brodeur.

9:07 PM: One minute down in the Canadians PP.

9:04 PM: Ooooo, more chippy-ness following a Bryce Salvador over-the-glass delay of game penalty.  Nothing more comes of it and Salvador is the only one to sit in the box.  Canadians to a PP.

9:01 PM: Third period on!

8:44 PM: Aaaand that’s the end of two.  Score remains 2-1 and I will see you, if you’re still out there, in the third.

8:43 PM: Ouch.  Zajac gets smushed behind the Canadians net.  He’s okay though.  Crazy sustained pressure by the Devils in the Canadians zone.

8:39 PM: Ah, Josh Gorges held someone, that was the Canadians penalty.  As for our power play – some chances, no goals.  Halak’s pretty good about his rebound control.  Power play is over, three minutes to go in the second.

8:38 PM: Huh.  We come back from commercial to be on a power play, but I wasn’t really paying attention so I don’t know why.  I’ll take it, though!

8:36 PM: I dislike Halak.  He’s playing pretty well tonight, which disappoints me greatly.  Didn’t he get the memo that it’s Marty’s night?  Jackass.

8:34 PM: Things getting chippy.  Clarkson in the middle, of course.  Before that was Rupp getting cranky with some Canadians.  Also of course.

8:31 PM: Habs with some serious pressure on Marty and in the Devil end for the first time tonight.

8:29 PM: Canadians fans cheer wildly for the most mundane of bringing-the-puck-up-the-ice plays.

8:23 PM: Wow, the replays of those two stops showed they were even more awesome than they originally appeared.  He kicks one out with a leg behind his body, then blocks the other with his shoulder while falling down.  Hot diggity!

8:20 PM: Marty with a couple of big stops!  Wait, they’re actually going to make him WORK to tie the record?  I thought this was an arranged marriage type situation?!

8:18 PM: This Shanahan-Zubrus-Clarkson line – I like the cut of it’s jib.  Another thing I like?  That little WRAT promo angling for disenfranchised former K-Rock listeners.  Shame most K-Rock listeners can’t pick up The Rat.

8:16 PM: That was funky.  Somehow Parise wound up in the Canadians net, wiping out Halak in the process.  No penalty on young Zachary, however, much to the chagrin of the Canadians faithful.

8:13 PM: This power play, not so great.  PP time is up and the teams skate five aside.  Also, I kinda like these retro Canadians jerseys.  At least they’re not the barbershop jersey from earlier this season/way early in the Canadian’s existence.

8:12 PM: Oh yeaaaah, we’re still on a power play!  Usually that “oh yeaaaah” realization only happens when we’re killing a penalty to start a period.

8:12 PM: We back, yo.

7:53 PM: ‘nother Canadians penalty, another delay of game penalty, this one on Markov.  Period ends with the Devils on the PP – 1:47 of PP time to start the second when we get back.  14-7 Devils by way of shots on goal, 2-1 Devils by way of score, and I will see you in seventeen minutes.

7:52 PM: Clarkson wants to wraparound so badly.  He’s been thinking it at least twice tonight, only to be stopped before he even really got started.

7:48 PM: Oh jeez, Marty gets bodychecked by Alex Tanguay.  It was definitely a penalty, but Marty sure made it look good, too.  Hah.  Devils again to the PP – fourth time already tonight.  Two minutes to go in the period.

7:47 PM: Patrick Roy’s in the building.  Hooray, I guess.

7:44 PM: I can’t believe I didn’t notice this immediately – Patty Elias gets the assist on the Rolston goal, tying him with Johnny Mac for the all-time lead in points as a Devil!  ‘grats PATTY too!

7:40 PM: The ice-level microphones are working quite well tonight.  You could hear Kostopoulos’…uhm…”complaints” about his last penalty loud and clear, same with the ref yelling “NO HIGH STICK NO!” when Patrik Elias tipped the puck into the zone just then.  This amuses me.

7:37 PM: Dang.  Tomas Plekanec with a goal.  2-1 Devils now, and the shutout counter ain’t gonna change tonight.  Sad.

7:35 PM: WHOA!  Rolston with a dump-in, blocked down by the defender right back to Rolston, who blasts it by Halak!  That’ll be Rolston’s 300th of his career (‘grats Rollie!) and it’s 2-0 New Jersey.

7:33 PM: ‘nother Canadians penalty – silly Tom Kostopoulos, you don’t have to hold Mike Mottau to slow him down!

7:31 PM: Madden shorthanded breakaway – misses wide.  Okay, maybe his hand WAS amputated, without the aid of hospital-grade painkillers.

7:30 PM: Komisarek outtathabox for Montreal, one minute of penalty-kill time.  Also, Mad Dog’s back out, so I guess his hand didn’t have to be amputated.  Or it did and he’s hepped up on Pecosets.

7:26 PM: Aw dang.  Gionta with a holding-the-stick penalty.  Four-on-four for a minute, then Canadians to the PP.

7:24 PM: GOAL!  Patrik Elias with a BLAST and the Devils with a 2 MAN ADVANTAGE goal!  1-0 Devils, Elias with his 700th point as a Devil, one shy of Johnny Mac’s record, and we’re still on a power play for 1:45ish.

7:23 PM: Devils to the 2 MAN ADVANTAGE!  Someone from Montreal flips the puck over the glass and the Devils get the 2MA for, oh, 7 seconds.

7:22 PM: Good pressure, bad staying-on-feet skills.  Zajac takes a tumble in the offensive zone.

7:20 PM: Langenbrunner to Parise, who’s sliding on his butt directly into the goalpost.  Luckily, sliding on his butt was the result of a Tom Kostopoulos hold, and the Devils to a PP.

7:19 PM: John Madden takes a shot off the hand and heads to the bench.  Man up, Madden.  Man up.

7:17 PM: I’m moderately disappointed that the game’s been on for two minutes and we haven’t scored yet.

7:15 PM: Puck’s on the ice in Montreal!

7:09 PM: Les Habs are continuing their 100th year celebration by wearing another old jersey, one that is primarily white.  Which means the Devils are wearing their home reds.  Works for me, the way they’ve been playing at home lately.

7:02 PM: Need MORE proof that tonight’s gonna be a huge historic event?  Check out who’s roaming in the comments section!  Hiya P!

7:00 PM: Obviously, the big one:  With a Devils victory, Martin Brodeur ties Patrick Roy’s record of 551 career wins.  Other possibilities:  With two points, Patrik Elias can tie John MacLean’s record for career points as a Devil.  With a goal, Jamie Langenbrunner will top his career high for goals in a season.  Also, Brian Rolston’s next goal will give him 300 on his career.  Finally, Kevin Weekes is two chapters shy of finishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, completing his quest to finish the series while the rest of the team plays hockey games.

6:47 PM: There’s something historic in the air this evening.  Some kind of record could be tied tonight.  Actually numerous milestones can be attained – I’ll run it down in a bit.  LiveCap coming – let me know you’re out there!

Wow. Just, Wow.

Alright, so let’s establish the obvious — last night sucked. The game sucked, the line-shuffling sucked, wasting a house full of Devils fans sucked, and the hoards of obnoxious children sitting in front of me sucked. Oh, and the Islanders trapped us like a bunch of fools all night long. That sucked, too. Seriously — how the frosty hell do you get shut-down by you’re own defensive style?! Jeebus.

Moving on, there’s only one thing I think that sucked more than the aforementioned suck-factors: The way the Islanders are getting shafted by the Town of Hempstead.

It truly was a disgusting display of “affection” by the town at last night’s game. Ok, we all know the situation with the Lighthouse Project, right? Well, if not, you’ll have to do your homework before you can understand this. But, let’s begin with the ceremonial puck-drop preceding the game. Town Receiver of Taxes, Donald X. Clavin, Jr., was greeted to a downpouring of boos as he walked out to drop the puck between Jamie Langenbrunner and Bill Guerin. Later on, during a TV-Timeout, a video played to a packed Coliseum from Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray proclaiming “We’re All Islanders!” and “Hempstead Loves The Islanders!” — her promo was even more ill-received than Clavin’s puck-drop. Not to mention the loyal Islander fans are being teased mercilessly as every game they are shown the preview-promo of the Lighthouse Project before the pre-game warmups.

Just seeing the Town slap the team in the face with that kind of blatant “we’re pretending to give a sh!t” PR-attempt was downright nauseating. I mean, c’mon. Ok, yes, I am a Devils fan. But I live on Long Island and have respect for the Islander franchise — as almost all Devils fans do — and, despite the rivalry, I would love to see the Lighthouse Project become a reality. However, if Hempstead is not willing to pony up the cash to get the project rolling, they should keep their promos and fake-love the hell out of the Coliseum and anything else related to the Islanders. The fans aren’t stupid and don’t deserve to see half-hearted, smile-through-your-teeth “apologies” from the town that is pretty much banishing the franchise from the Island altogether. It’s a bush-league way of giving the proverbial “finger” to one of the Island’s greatest assets – the fans that practically empty their wallets to sit in a Mausoleum and watch the NHL’s worst franchise try to stay alive.

I may not feel your pain, Islander fans, but I feel for anyone that has to take it on the chin like that from their elected officials. Hopefully, the overwhelmingly negative reception of those promos will open some eyes and get something rolling.

Oh, and nice job on the shut-out.

Bastards.

Devils… Panthers (11/20/2008)… Thoughts from Section 209

(God I can’t believe November is almost done, the NFL is in Week 12… and my birthday is coming… good God the older you get.. the FASTER it goes… really….)

It was nice to actually SEE THIS TEAM WIN A GAME (and hockey played as God, or whatever being you crawl into the corner and beg for more goals from, intended it played)… and actually play kinda well…..
This one had all the feelings and makings of an “aw shit they’re gonna lay an egg here” moment… but it never happened… that first period was pure comatose… neither team wanted to be there… the team was blah, because the place seemed lifeless… the place was lifeless because the quality on ice was bad and it was an ugly cycle!

But it’s kinda funny how things woke up in the second period… two moments of fluke shots (and well me just randomly screaming at Hassan to get the Farooq outta my seat during the intermission… I let them move me out of my seat for the opener and I HATED IT)…but anyway… that only set the pace for one of those great moments in section 209 history!!

We have a habit of booing the late showers (well some of them) just to give them grief and to be punctual! So anyway… I wanted to step it up for the 2nd period… so here he is walking up the steps… 2 beers in hand all ready for some Devils hockey… I curl up a napkin and all I am thinking is… oh god.. .hit the chest… be Jamie Langenbrunner…. right into the logo…the chest, not the beer… hit the logo…. so OF COURSE… I throw the napkin and the damn shot is SO PERFECT it doesn’t even hit the plastic cup part of the beer and just splashes in perfect like a Michael Jordan shot on the Knicks 🙂

(and just to bring it back to the Devils… they took one shot in the second too and it counted just as much!! :p)

At least it was a nice, solid pounding on a crappy, well BAD, Panthers team (though making Scott Clemmensen look like Mary Brodeur was usually what WE do to backup goalies… was nice to see that and going 1 for 1 on shots in the second period happen!)… the Third Period was pretty decent too!

The Good:
— Elias-Zubrus-Gionta….. this line is producing and big time!!! (nice to see Patrik getting going too)
— the MOVE Paul Martin put on for his goal… HOLY SHIT (it’s funny how guys who’s jerseys I wear seem to do amazing when I wear them to games… quick someone get me a White Langenbrunner!)
— I’m not big on cheerleaders… but DAMN these dancing girls we have now… yum!!!
— Scott Clemmensen did play well (I am not taking anything away from him but I am still annoyed at the bullshit way Weekes has been tossed under the bus) and I can’t imagine why I like my Section Chanting my name! 🙂
— JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER DOWN TO REASONABLE MINUTES… hooray!
— the 5 year old kid on his birthday leading the 209 chant in the last minute (and I tell you EVERYONE got into this one!)

the Bad:
— getting dominated in play by this crappy Panthers team… that’s just bad!!
— you could say the attendance and the flat crowd, but the crowd energy was siphoned from the lack of play on the ice (and I really don’t give a shit about attendance numbers i find it BETTER to have a small crowd… you know I can like.. um… DO STUFF in the arena like harass the crazies and stuff)… and you gotta figure… beat up team… AHL jobber as your goalie… and the Florida Panthers… yeah that’s as hot a ticket as Rutgers Football :p

So anyway not really a LOT to say here… so might as well save it for tomorrow… after all IT’S FRIDAY NIGHT (and what the hell ELSE do I have to do right??)

Mo-Town, Mo’ Problems.

With the dawn of each new NHL season, I wait very impatiently for the schedule to be released. When it finally is, I plan which games I want to attend, whether or not I’ll take a road trip, and other fun and extremely expensive ordeals. Then there is that game… that one single game that you want more than any other one. The one that makes you more wide-eyed than an all-night eight-ball-induced hallucination. That’s the way I always feel when I see the Devils squaring off with the Detroit Red Wings. So, let’s take a look at what tonight’s contest has to offer…

Ever since that fateful day back in 1995 the Devils have enjoyed very limited success against the fellas from mo-town. Winless at “The Joe” since 1996, the Devils will take to the ice against the defending Stanley Cup Champions without the likes of Brian Rolston, Bobby Holik, Andy Greene, Paul Martin, and world-class goaltender Martin Brodeur.

Wait… I was looking forward to this?!

Tonight’s contest had the potential to be one of the most entertaining showdowns of the entire season. Instead, it is shaping up more and more to be a crime scene with the victim being the Devils’ pride. However, I’m doing every little bit that I can to remain optimistic… and who else to supply a little pep than Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner. Langs issued the following statement in the Nov. 6 edition of The Bergen Record:

“We’re still a very good team and if anything it’s a chance for us to prove that it isn’t just him [Brodeur] like all of you always write.”

That’s exactly the mentality that I’ve had since I learned that Marty will be out for an extended period of time. This isn’t just a period of survival for the Devils, it’s a chance for them to silence the critics once and for all. It’s a chance for the team to show everyone what we, the fans, have known all along. That the Devils win because they are the Devils. The fans are united, and apparently (and more importantly) so are the players.

With enough emotion and heart, tonight could still be one to look back on come the end of the season. Then again, it could also give us flashbacks from those Devils teams of the ’80s.

I’ve officially tweaked myself out. Is anyone else scared sh!tless?!