Thoughts from Section 209… Devils/Kings 2/7/2009

(Good God I gotta do one of these things every other day for the next week… eeeppp!!) So where to start last night??? OK so it was a DUD effort all around in a lot of places… but be honest… going into this weekend if you were told they’d win 2 out of 3 and NOT lose to the Rangers you’d be pole-dancing or something silly like that… so CALM DOWN, they can’t win them all or play 110% all 100% of the time (yes I love those damn commercials!)

the Good:
– Close-enough-to-a-Sellout-game-to-annoy-me-walking-the-concourse against the “who cares” LA Kings… no matter what goofy promotion was going on (and yes as cool and fitting a promotion as the heart awareness thing is… it got downright creepy to read the survivior stories as I was eating the restaurant, also a side note for people not seeing me walk laps… when you do an hour of step aerobics on your Wii Fit that afternoon you kinda skip the arena laps :p)
– Despite not scoring, the Parise-Zajac-Langenbrunner still had a heck of a game and was the best line all day (OMG YOU SAID SOMEONE PLAYED WELL AND DIDN’T SCORE A GOAL…. talk about my biggest peeve in hockey… when people in the media pick the 3 stars of the game by going down the stat sheet.. CMON LAZY JOURNALISM!!!)
– Jay Leach did not look like a guy who’s not played in a month and they need to find ways to spot him into the lineup… he’s a solid contributor (Sutter even praised him in the post-game which I listen to on my epic 15 minute drive home)
– I could go either way on this one… but I’m gonna call it a “Good” that Sutter upped and benched Holik/Shanny and Rupp after Holik’s standard bad penalty… kinda sends a message if the hitting line is not hitting, they ain’t playing… they were pretty soft tonight

the Bad:
– Puck night idea:
So I walk in at like 5:40, I get up the steps and I see a BIG line hidden in the corner… I see one of my 209-people there…”what’s this for?” … oh it’s the puck thing??? Look at the line… FUCK THAT… it’s not worth it… boy was I right?? Letting people hoard the pucks and only bringing 500… even when the Devils get it right they get it wrong still!!!
– this game felt like it was two weeks long… hell it was about as painfully long as waiting for the government to give you something you’ve been waiting for since like… October? :p
– The team kinda threw their hands up and said OK WE LOSE… once the Zubrus goal was disallowed (how the hell do you distinctly kick a puck when you’re getting knocked on your ass??)
– I’ve noticed a DISTINCT drop in Scott Clemmensen’s play since they announced Brodeur’s return date… is this coincidence… probably not, the guy sees midnight coming and the Cinderella ball is ending….. not to mention how simply OWNED he got on the penalty shot (in a tiny bit of defense… no one knew this was coming… we went from the sopey stick shuffle thing… to WAIT… PENALTY SHOT… we all knew a goal was coming… well except that few that thought Clemmensen was a shootout goalie specialist back in 2006… no really there were people that thought this!! So … Kevin Weekes on Monday??
– the officiating… I HATE bitching about calls live, because if you think you can see the game better from the second to last row in the building better then the guys on the ice whose job it is… well then you are the greatest deluded egomaniac on the planet… enjoy!! But still it was …. well… kinda spotty (this too is a tread across sports, the NFL officiating was as BAD as I can ever remember it also… even them pro rassling refs… how come they never see the guy’s foot on the ropes!!! :p)

the Funny:
– My Favorite 209 chant of the night….
“HEY WHAT TIME IS IT????
“IT’S TEN TO TWO!!!!!!!!!” (it’s funnier when people around you don’t get it!)
– we’re already loading up on Rangers Suck confetti for Monday!
– the EAT A SALAD chant at the obligatory redhead Ranger fan who sat near 209, be honest what else can a Ranger fan cheer for on this weekend?? But we gotta be nice to the guy…. after all mommy only lets him out of the basement once a week before his 10pm curfew and he chose to come here (and nothing is more nasty then a fat guy in a shirt showing a bit too much belly!)
– sadly there was not too much in the funny department… all the side activities and the long feel of the game killed most of the fun

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/Islanders (Nov 21)….. Thoughts from Section 209!

Damn.. I just did this a day ago :p (it’s not like anyone had much to say about it… guess it’s hard to comment when they WIN eh?)… pretty darn good win against a lesser team (I told you there is a lot more suck in the East then the Devils… amazing how people can’t see past the wise-ass, and see there is HOCKEY TRUTH in there too, I get that alot in my section because GOD FORBID my goal at a hockey game is ENJOY MYSELF right??)

Sadly I’m kinda short on pre-game banter… it takes more then 24 hours to re-charge pre-game wackiness… the cigar girls were sick of me and I only got one free soda for my lap motivation… ah well, least no one did Batman songs… or that weird moment…”Hey I’m a friend of Lynn’s… errr we like broke up in Feburary” (awwkkkwwwaaaarrrrddddddddddddd)… so anyway this game was fun… sooo

the Good:
– The Crowd was into it (a few too many people here for my like) and I don’t hate the Islanders… in fact.. I feel nothing but apathy for them and like I said when they came into our row and they booed them… Hey I’ve BEEN to their building… I’d come here too!!!
– the offense has COME TO LIFE (Lord knows how), but it’s good to see Elias and Clarkson and Salvador and Martin (2 games in a row) getting on the damn scoreboard!
– ZACH PARISE… OMMMMMGGGGGG… AAHHHHHH!!!! THREE ASSISTSSSSSSSS!!! (ok you need to be near 209 for that one :p)
– Langenbrunner also with the 3 helpers, he’s very quietly FIXING shit!
– Weekes was solid and nice to see him off mothballs… didn’t make any big saves but with the Islanders you shouldn’t have to!
– the Devils are starting to dominate play in chunks and entire periods of play… maybe this team is “getting Sutter hockey” (or the damn coach is figuring out his team!)
– MIKE MOTTAU 3:16 SAYS I JUST LINDROS-ED YOUR ASS!! WHAT A HIT!! (and ensusing fight, again proving how flamingly homosexual the instaigator rule is)
– Brian Gionta… short guy… shorter goal (had to do it once)… again good to see him come to life with Elias and Zubrus
– that 5 on 3 was the most hilarious thing I think I’ve ever seen…. the whole damn team was collapsed to under the faceoff dot… shot shot miss shot shot miss… Parise missed the layup… but Witt lost his stick making that kick save (I swear the Islanders D had more saves then the goalie), then Langenbrunner damn near breaks the other D-s shin with that bomb… and FINALLY Martin finished it off in a near 2:00 of comic gold!!!
– Paul Martin had SIX SHOTS… and it’s no coincidence this team got going with the best defenseman on the team starting to look borderline all-star out there!

the Bad:
– How the hell come we could never support Brodeur with all this offense on the stiff Islanders?
– no Madden… and Barry Tallackson… blah.. nice story but now they need a linemate with heart problems to finish off the combo of him and Mike Rupp (if you think that was improper you missed my baby seals jokes in 209 tonight!)
– Rupp/Pandolfo/Clarkson?? EEEEPPPPP… that needs to change!
– that pitiful attempt at the wave from 208 to about 212 all 3rd period…. LAME!!! I even got texted about it like it was my damn fault people suck in 213 and beyond!
– Petr Vrana ON THE PP!?!?!? (and still 4:04 of ice time *sigh*)

Thoughts from Section 209….Caps/Lowell (almost close to Trenton!)

That was a nice little train wreck tonight wasn’t it?? Lots to talk and share about here

– I’m disappointed in the season ticket sales guys doing a bad nanananana… LAPMAN song to me (though I like having a theme… CMON LAPMAN…. could be SO MUCH BETTER)… they gotta work on that! Kinda funny to see Dave take breaks too look around every 2-3 laps (re: he can’t hack it!)
– Things I liked tonight:
FIVE GOALS !!! Sweet Christ, that was fun and out of control!! The Devils played a bad goalie and made him LOOK BAD… thank God!
LANGENBRUNNER DIDN’T SUCK TONIGHT!
WELCOME BACK Patrik Elias!!!
Travis Zajac….still wanna trade him people?? (like him and Parise with Elias too FINALLY)
Nick Bergfors is gonna play his balls off till this idiot coach gets it!
Can you say the D played good despite giving up 5 goals??? … More on this in the bad…..
I got to beat a sellout crowd to the car because of the skills competition! (I was still pissed it went to OT though)
Power play was good… well despite the shortie allowed…. the Devils as a whole mostly controlled the play, the effort and the tempo which was nice… they kinda NEEDED this one!
Good HOT crowd that showed up (cheap bastards that you are coming for $1 hot dogs!!) close enough to a sell out for my liking

OK, now the BAD:
$1 hot dogs, means up the price on EVERYTHING ELSE 75 cents (my water was up at least), don’t make me have to start smuggling bottles in assholes!!!!!!
Brookbank for Vrana?? CMON BRENT!!! (and even worse how is Bergfors going to add ANYTHING with Brookbank, who is the first graduate of the David Clarkson school of wraparound I see, and Mike Rupp as his linemates??)
Scott Clemmensen… people will forget you were awful all game because of the one on one post-game skills show…. your first period was HORRID and then some… and watching shots come on you scares me much like a Met fan when a call to the bullpen is made….(and it is a FLAT OUT DISGRACE that Kevin Weekes did not start tonight… you bring the guy in to be a fill-in starter and the guy to be the guy if the guy ain’t the guy (tribute to Tropic Thunder much?)…. and then you throw the guy UNDER THE BUS AFTER A WEEK??? Jesus! I still get annoyed at how unacceptable that is!).. just thank God their sieve was more sieve like then ours!!!!
No Pandolfo on the ice (I’ll get Patrik was put in to get the hat trick with an empty net) and the Devils can’t clear the zone… I know the checking line is failing… but that’s kinda telling isn’t it???
And I was kinda disappointed in 209 tonight… the group of regulars seemed out of it… guess none of us like a packed arena eh?
Madden a -3?? Again… the checking line is epic failing…..

Don’t get me wrong I am happy and feeling this team has bottomed out and can turn this around and my God win the next two home games (and maybe in an actual team sport style, please?)…. but I still see so MANY issues with this team… and I’d like to see us beat someone you know who can.. um… tend goal and play defense?? But I will TAKE IT!!

Devils @ Atlanta LIVECAP

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

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

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

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

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

9:21 PM: Empty Thrasher net.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Final Playbill

I thought it would be another day or two before we saw the roster but Christmas came a little early this year! The Devils have trimmed their roster down to twenty-three, and it looks a little something like this:

You may notice a few surprises such as Petr Vrana & Anssi Salmela grabbing roster spots. Vrana ousted Rod Pelley who was assigned to Lowell of the AHL. To me, Salmela isn’t exactly a surprise… after watching him play live on Long Island last week I had a strong feeling he had earned a spot on the big team — especially after his off-balance rocket that beat Joey MacDonald to put the Devils up 3-0. Salmela’s biggest Achilles seems to be his puck control at the point, but the issue seems to be cleaning up fast and shouldn’t even be a problem once the puck drops on Friday.

Speaking of Friday, the lines figure to look a little something like this:

- FORWARDS -

Elias – Rolston – Gionta
Parise – Zajac – Langenbrunner
Pandolfo – Madden – Clarkson
Rupp (Vrana?) – Holik – Zubrus

- DEFENSE –

White / Salmela
Mottau / Oduya
Martin / Salvador

Brodeur

I should also note that Fedor Fedorov has been placed on waivers. Apparently the Devils gave up on him and it’s not exactly a mystery as to why. The guy has a weak work ethic and that won’t carry you anywhere in this league, especially under Lou Lamoriello.

Although I can be quoted as saying that the team hasn’t done much to improve, I am ready to accept my helping of crow. After reviewing the roster and taking in a live pre-season game, I can see a noticeable difference in this years squad. They are bigger, faster, and a ton more aggressive than any team in recent history.

If pre-season was any indication, I think the Devils style this year will surprise many — players & fans alike.