I STILL LIVE, I SWEAR!

The end of the college semester is always tough.  Especially the closer one gets to finally graduating (one semester left – if I’m lucky/good, I graduate exactly 10 years after getting the hell out of high school.  Sad, but fitting).

So sorry I haven’t posted much lately, but with a straight month ’til school starts up again (and about two months before it gets insane again), I’ll be back on a regular basis for awhile again.  Thanks so much for sticking with us.  And thanks to Scott for not letting the site fall into total abandoned disrepair.

I have only been paying slight attention to what’s been going on in the world of hockey.  Martin Brodeur broke another record, this one more meaningless than other recent ones (Games played?  Games started? Something like that.)  Zach Parise may very well never score a goal again.  Travis and Zach have split up, are seeing other people, but everyone knows they’ll be back together soon enough.

The BIG news, though…is that officially, at the end of play last night, the Devils were in first place.

First place in the Atlantic?  Well, yeah, but think bigger.

First place in the Eastern conference?  Keep going.  How about something like…

FIRST PLACE IN THE ENTIRE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE.

Yeah, this team is damn friggin’ good.

So tonight, the Devils look to extend that lead in the league against the perennial-doormats-turned-surprisingly-5th-place-in-the-East Atlanta Thrashers.  The last time the two teams played, I believe we were all in moderate freak-out mode, as the Thrashers thrashed (sorry, hack move, I know) the Devils at the Rock, the third game of a three consecutive home loses to start the season.  Needless to say, I’m a little less freaked out now, as is the rest of the fanbase.  And if you’re nitpicking over bad plays or poor shot selection or the team’s inability to make us proud by kicking ass in the situation that is our namesake, then go back and read the bolded print earlier in this post.

I would be moderately stunned if Martin Brodeur starts tonight, after starting about a zillion consecutive games and then flying to Hotlanta for today’s game.  I think THE Yann Danis deserves the start.  Of course, trying to guess when Marty sits is probably ridiculous anyways.  Edit: And yeah, apparently Marty’s starting again tonight.  Please join myself and the rest of the Devils fanbase in a loud cry of “WTF, I thought this was an Olympic year?!”

But, even if La Grenouille (remember, thus is Yann Danis’ nickname, so says I) does start, Brodeur will be on the ice tonight.  The Senators announced this morning that Mike Brodeur will get his NHL debut start this evening against the Minnesota Wild, who are probably in their own manner of freak out this afternoon after THIS happened.

Note to the NHL: The Senators are really into sabotage.  First seven Sabres get food poisoning after eating at a steakhouse in Ottawa, and now this?  Thankfully the Devils have already gotten through one game up there alive.

Game 5: Devils @ Hurricanes LIVECAP!

10:02 PM: I’m goin’ to bed.  I think none of us are all that shocked that this series is gonna go seven.  My heart might not make in ’til Tuesday night.  G’night gang.

10:00 PM: Game 7 is Tuesday night at The Rock.  Let’s just pretend like tonight didn’t happen.  Game 7 is all that matters now, and despite how tonight’s game looked, these two teams are still amazingly evenly matched.

9:59 PM: And that’s it.  4-0.  I’m sick to death of 4-0 games this year.

9:58 PM: Gionta can’t stuff it home with a little room in front – one minute left in the game.

9:56 PM: The Devils are playing without a fourth line right now – apparently both Rupp and Clarkson earned 10 minute misconducts in that little scrum before.  Only Gleason picked up one for Carolina.

9:55 PM: Three minutes left in this humiliation of a hockey game.

9:51 PM: And another blatant penalty, this one a trip via Brian Rolston.  Guys, I agreed to LiveCap this game, which means I HAVE to watch it.  At least stop taking boneheaded penalties while I’m still forced to pay attention!

9:49 PM: Shorthanded three-on-two but Shanny can’t bury the puck.  One goal would be nice at least…

9:47 PM: Somehow in the fight, the Hurricanes wound up with a power play.  Great.  Rupp took the extra two for roughing.

9:44 PM: Hey, a sign of life!  Clarkson pulls Gleason out of a scrum and after a bit of hugging, they finally give us a full-fledged fight.  Hey, it worked for the Penguins.  Problem is, Clarkson waited one goal and one period too many.

9:39 PM: Jussi Jokinen, 4-0.  Marty had no chance, of course.  Sigh.

9:37 PM: Someone on TV wasn’t happy.  Dunno if it was a fan or player, but someone yelled pretty loudly “HEY!  WHAT THE F&$% WAS THAT?!”  Immediately afterwards, Madden’s off for roughing.  A long 5-on-3 for the Hurricanes, and if you don’t have ’em yet, I’d go pick up your game 7 tickets right about now.

9:36 PM: Travis Zajac with a pretty obvious hook.  11:30 left in the third.  Bad timing, Trav.  Bad timing.

9:35 PM: Even our chances aren’t actual chances – Shanahan has Ward out of position but can’t get a shot away through the Hurricane defense.

9:32 PM: So, how ’bout them Mets?  …seriously?  8-1?  To the NATIONALS?  Ugh.  I got nothin’.

9:27 PM: That was pretty indicative of how this game’s been going:  Andy Greene with a nice run up ice, all by his lonesome, chips it past a defender at the blue line, chases after it…and trips and falls into a massive heap over a random ‘Cane.

9:24 PM: Well, here goes nothin’.  Third period on.

9:06 PM: And the second period is over.  Thank god.  3-0 Hurricanes.  Book your game seven tickets now kids, there isn’t even a hint that the Devils can come back from this one a la Tuesday night.

9:02 PM: A few seconds of serious offensive flurry in front of Cam Ward, but nothing doing.  BAH!

8:59 PM: The response is not as immediate as it was Tuesday night.

8:55 PM: I’m gonna try something.  It worked last time:

Attention Devils:

WAKE UP!

Thanks.

-2 Man Advantage.

8:52 PM: I was really hoping there wouldn’t be a game seven, because dammit, I have stuff to do Tuesday night that I’m gonna have to cancel in favor of going to The Rock.

8:48 PM: Hey hey, a shot on goal!  Stopped by Cam Ward, but at least there was a shot within the area of the red pipes, that might have gone into the net had there not be a human being standing in front of it.

8:44 PM: I give up.  AWFUL two-on-one and Marty’s just left out to dry.  3-0, Staal’s goal again.  I really don’t feel like watching this game anymore at this point.

8:41 PM: Shots on goal currently sits at 22-5 in favor of Carolina.  THAT should tell you who’s bothered to show up in Raleigh this evening.

8:38 PM: …dammit.  2-0 Hurricanes, Staal.  Dammit dammit dammit.

8:37 PM: The Devils just cannot make it to any loose pucks.  It’s scary how much better the Hurricanes look right now.

8:36 PM: Zubbie outta the box.

8:35 PM: ‘Canes gotta be up to eight or nine shots on just two power plays so far tonight.  Meep.

8:33 PM: Not the love I was speaking of.  Zubbie takes a retaliatory roughing call and it’s Carolina to the PP.

8:32 PM: Second period on.  C’mon Unseen Hand, a little love, eh?

8:14 PM: And that’ll do it for period one.  Devils start with a two-second power play to start the second period.  Shots on goal:  Carolina 15, New Jersey 4.  Oof.

8:12 PM: Uhm, guys…we ARE on the power play…That means that, well, the puck should be in the offensive zone and controlled by you the majority of the time.

8:11 PM: NICE sliding breakup of the two-on-one by Mike Mottau, then Zubbie draws a tripping penalty via Pitkanen with about two minutes left in the first.

8:10 PM: I hear it’s hot in Raleigh today – it sure is hot here – and it shows in terms of ice quality.  Or it could also be us sucking.  That’s possible.

8:08 PM: On a happier note, I’m watching this game in HD for a  change!

8:07 PM: Aaand that’s why I don’t get my hopes up.  Not a bad power play per se, but nothing to show for it nonetheless.

8:05 PM: Pitkanen hooks Gionta and we’re on the (PSE&G) Power Play.  I’d get excited if I thought we had a chance to score.

8:04 PM: Or crossbar.  Possibly holy crazy crossbar save.

8:03 PM: Holy crazy blocker save!

7:59 PM: And when I say that they’re not trying, I of course am not including Marty.  This game would be 4-0 without him right now.

7:58 PM: I understand that it’s hard to match desperation when a team’s got it’s back to the wall, but jeez, trying a little would be nice.

7:54 PM: DAMMIT!  Ray Whitney finally cracks Marty, batting a puck out of mid-air baseball-style.  1-0 Hurricanes, and perhaps more telling, 12-1 shots in the Hurricanes favor, and I refuse to believe the fact that we actually have a shot on goal.

7:51 PM: Penalty kill’d.  Thankfully, and not for lack of trying on Carolina’s end.  Eleven and a half left in the period.

7:48 PM: Oh jebus.  Pandolfo loses his stick during the PP, as does Marty, with chances galore for the ‘Canes, but STILL we finally manage to clear.  Oh man this is gonna be a crazy game, just like every other one this series before it.

7:46 PM: Well the Hurricanes sure realize that this could be their last game.  And the fans sure realize that this could be their last game as well.  Mike Rupp does not realize this, apparently, and takes a holding penalty on Jussi Jokinen.

7:45 PM: Oh, right, no Doc tonight.  Blast.

7:43 PM: I got stuck at work, but I am here now.  Langs back in, Holik’s a scratch, Greene’s still in, still no Salvador, game in 2 minutes old, no score yet.  Get it?  Got it?  Good.

NJ Devils 2008-2009 Season in Review!

Damn… it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these eh?? Last time I did this, Scott Clemmensen was still playing Shane Falco… the team was still up and coming… and damn… it was a while ago… but now with the regular season FINALLY over, time to take a look back at the wildest and more fun-est season EVER that I can remember as a fan of pro sports!!

Forwards:
#9 (LW) Zach Parise:
AAAAAAAHHHHH… PARISSSEEEE!!! Something about this kid makes you jump up and down like a little girl, ya know?? I mean we had all these records come and go this year and this kid’s season came OUT OF NOWHERE… and it was the second most fun thing about this year….3rd best season offensively ever (in goals and points) and emerged as the most dangerous offensive player on the team… slowed down a bit in the end when Elias was out and teams can really key on him… but his hockey smarts and timing are still there and he knows where and WHEN to be at the right place and that’s not going away!!
Grade: A

#26 (LW) Patrik Elias-A
78 points in 77 games… hey that’s pretty good… and like I said above when he wasn’t there, the Parise line really suffered… broke the all-time points record, broke 30 goals again, and seemed to elevate Gionta and Zubrus’ games at times too…not as dangerous as he used to be but he’s a helluva good second threat (and him and Parise are scary on the power play and 4 on 4 situations)
Grade: A-

#14 (RW) Brian Gionta:
20 goals, a bit disappointing, but I’ll take 40 assists though (means someone was scoring them… enough of them were Elias and even the king of the Zubbie-counter)… didn’t get to the front of the net as much as you’d like, doesn’t set up the play much… but still finds a way to contribute… ugh… god he’s a pain in the ass to figure out… he did well but not as expected… agh, I’m psycho-babbling, 5th on the team in scoring and a +12, you’d have signed on for that in September… so I’ll say he did ok!
Grade: B

#19 (Center) Travis Zajac:
One of many career highs on this team, and a HUGE sign on the upside on the future of this team…4th in the NHL in +/-…2nd on the team in faceoffs… and oh yeah.. one hellva year in offense (4th on the team with 62 points, and one of the 5-20 goal scorers on the team)… the third year truly was the charm for this center! The best part is he can really improve and get BETTER (playing with Parise helps too)
Grade: B+

#11 (Center) John Madden-A
7 goals?? -7 ?? Eeeekkkk… not the best way to go into a contract year (though if he goes BONZO GONZO in the playoffs it all goes out the window)… still decent on faceoffs and not brutally terrible on the penalty kill, but not dominant… has a 4th line role on this team, but at WAY less money… really needs to erase a miserable season with a good playoff… IF he has it in him…
Grade: C-

#8 (LW) Danius Zubrus:
Eh… he does the little things, but you’d like some more of the big things if he’s gonna play on the 2nd line with Elias and all… 15 goals is nice…25 helpers is OKAY, but it’s not great… hell it’s not even second line worthy, but it’s the best place for him and in it’s own kinda way… it sorta works… take out the fact that 4 of those goals were in one game and it’s pretty shitty actually (more so that it was Tampa)… again a lot can be forgotten in the playoffs… but until then it’s been kinda a bit less then average… that makes this grade easy…
Grade: C

#15 (RW) Jamie Langenbrunner-C
Horrible first month… but since then became the standard of consistent and reliable (probably should have sat some games to heal up)… but when he got on track he was DAMN good… another guy with career highs, handled the C just fine and did everything you asked of him and sometimes too much!
Grade: A

#23 (RW) David Clarkson:
He’s been getting more steady and reliable game in and game out… he’s cutting out the fancy shit (thank god) and sticking to a straight-nose kick ass, take names and get his face in the shit like he SHOULD be doing!! He still fights, and pretty well… so good job Clarkie!! Gives Power Forward a pat on the head… and hell… a cupcake!!!
Grade: A

#20 (LW) Jay Pandolfo:
5 goals… 5 assists and a -12?? That’s just not gonna cut it… the mistake contract from excessive loyalty for years of service…. Sometimes that’s just not a good idea… this was one of those cases…. He gets a lucky goal filling in with Elias and him Madden and Shanny look tolerable for one game and it’s a Pando-love-fest?? I don’t get it….really he can’t be in the long term plans of this team and this year was BRUTAL… unlike Madden I can’t see a step up playoff run in him
Grade: F

#18 (RW): Brendan Shanahan:
14 points in 34 games is a tolerable amount for him, though he seriously gets too much ice time (killing penalties at his age and lack of speed… not good), he’s still got the smarts, and the savvy… but the speed is long long gone and 15 minutes a game is WAY too much!
Grade: C

#17 (LW/C) Mike Rupp:
He’s been better at what he is… he’s not useless on the ice and he DID put up nine points and even 3 goals, his fighting is better, the boxing lessons did help his overall althelticism, and he’s not painfully retarded to watch stumble on the ice… for the enforcer-type… he’s decent enough (hell after last year this is a GLOWING review!)
Grade: C+

#25 (LW) The man simply known as PL^3 (cause I hate typing his name!)
Eh, he is what is he is…. He can skate, and maul people… he fights and has very little else…hell I don’t know if we saw enough of him to rate him fully…
Grade: Incomplete

#12 (LW/C) Brian Rolston:
Tough guy to rate this year because half his season is a wash-out from the ankle injury (and yes it takes THAT long to come back from the high ankle sprain)… and if you look at his stats 15/17 and a +2 is a decent enough half-season.. not really suited to be a center anymore (and personally I think he’s been best with Madden and Clarkson)… and free agents always suck the first year you get them (look at the improvement in Zubrus in year 2)….. so you almost want to throw away the first season sometimes….
Grade: C+ (another guy who can make up for a lot in the playoffs)

#16 (Center) Bobby Holik:
Eck… a minor penalty… a smarky post-game comment and a goal or two by accident (holy shit he had FOUR goals??)… really high faceoff % aside… he’s kinda sucked this year… the snarl leads to dumb penalties and at his age no way in hell is he gonna learn!
I didn’t expect a LOT… ok I expected 10 goals which WAS a lot after all :p… the best thing you can about ol’NoGoalik… at least the coach had the sense to bench him by season’s end!
Grade: D-

Defense:
#7 Paul Martin:
Emerged as a borderline elite defenseman this season.. hell the only thing keeping him from all-star level is the fact his offense is a step behind where it needs be (33 points is about 10-12 points away from being what a true top-tier defenseman puts up)…. Makes his defensive partner better regardless of who (I still hate him and Oduya as a tandem, wastes all our speed defenders at once)… but you’d have to look hard and far to say bad things about #7 this year!
Grade: A

#27 Mike Mottau:
Slow, but steady (seems to be the way with this team ain’t it?)… plays well with White… but good god that’s two cinder blocks on ice.. least Mottau’s skating is a bit better then last year (and so is White), 15 points is a solid contribution and the +24 is a function of playing with White and the team’s mojo this year… but I can’t blame success on him now can I?
Grade: B

#5 Colin White:
Best year of his career as a Devil, offensively… the team’s record sucked with out him, the penalties are cut down… so are the fights.. but you don’t bring a one-eyed guy to an ass-kicking contest, right?? Colin is everything you can expect and hope for him to be for a minute eating-defender… I just wish he had a partner with superior wheels….
Grade: A

#29 Johnny Oduya:
His offense picked up nicely when he got paired with Martin (they let the reigns off of him at that point and the goal scoring picked up nicely… including some game-winning gems) and he really grew into a nice steady solid top 4 defenseman now, a true find off the old scrap pile after all.
Grade: A-

#24 Bryce Salvador:
Good start… not-so-good finish (didn’t exactly click with Havelid after all)… a lot of what I am about to say about Havelid, it just didn’t work with the two of them (I’d love to see him and Oduya still, and maybe Havelid with Mottau perhaps)… nothing really much to say about him… he’s a good hockey player and he does “hockey player” things ya know? I’ll even out a B start and a D finish….
Grade: C

#28 Niclas Havelid:
4 assists and -2 as a Devil…. More evidence on him NOT clicking with Salvador (but yet as much as I love our coach… damn he is stubborn on not fixing the blazing holes in the defensive pairings)… I don’t think it’s his fault… he plays ok enough… he doesn’t suck out there… he just doesn’t click with his partner, and the coaches don’t want to mess with the rest of the D-pairings.. better or worse….
Grade: C-

#28 (version 2) Jay Leach:
Decent enough depth defenseman… unless he’s filling in for White or Martin.. scraps a little… doesn’t add offense… but he’s not gonna be expected to be… he’s alright enough in his role… I can’t bash this guy
Grade: C

#6 Andy Greene:
Heh… one of the most complained about Devils on the internets! I think the kid has the goods but it takes time for defensemen to grown and mature… he’s coming along good enough… started the season with a bit of offensive tear, but not so much after that… also got a bit lost in the shuffle when he came back … he’s not as awful as he’s made out to be *cough cough-NJ Devs-cough cough*
Grade: C+

Goaltending:
#35 Scott Clemmensen:
The sole reason behind the best feel-good story I ever followed in a sports team! No it wasn’t pretty…hell I admit it was downright scary at times!.. but 25-13-1, 2.39 gaa kinda speaks for itself doesn’t it? One career saved… and not only a regular season trivia question made…. But hell a new quasi-legend is born! Hell NO ONE saw this coming this year either (like I mentioned with Parise’s insane season)… long live the Devils version of Shane Falco!!!
Grade: A

#1 Kevin Weekes:
The definition of TEAM player… classic guy who sits and takes the shit that was dished on him without a WORD of complaint and a smile always on his face… got thrown into MANY no-win and under the bus situations this season… and no he didn’t come up big and make miracles out of them… but he did his damndest with them… and then even the hockey Gods shit on him and he takes a shot to the knee… I weep for the WEEKES!!!!
But like I said… he gets this grade on outlook on life at least!
Grade: A

#30 Martin Brodeur:
Seemingly allergic to the Rangers now.. Sean Avery or not…was good before the injury… and came back ON FIRE until the record that I care not about was passed (I mean it was nice to be there and all… but it’s still a regular season thing)… eh, I’m so farooqing torn on mb30 this year, and I guess he hit the wall on his post-injury comeback, so I guess I’ll go easy on him….
Grade: B +

Coaching:
They win… that’s a plus… the forward lines (least the top ones) stayed the same… some of the defense pairings are still a mess… and the special teams are special Ed more then anything… but hey the defense was 4th in the NHL, and 5- 20 goal scorers… it’s not a terrible job… and Sutter IS learning in his time in the NHL… definitely seems like a keeper….
Grade: B

Front Office:
I liked the Havelid deal… but it doesn’t seem to be working out… I liked the off-season signings… but it seems like mixed results at best… it’s so hard to tell with this team because teams that Lou builds are built for NOW and beyond… the draft picks and young players have been pretty good (Zajac, Parise, etc.) and the home-grown guys are good enough… but again … it all begins NOW
Grade: INCOMPLETE

Devils @ Senators LIVECAP!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9:54 PM: Two minutes to go.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8:29 PM: We be back yo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope You Were Paying Attention!

So everyone caught the Coyote Beat-down last night, correct-a-mundo? (I’m trying so hard not to make a Coyote-Ugly joke right now.)

Well, I hope you were paying attention… especially around, say, the 7:11 mark of the second period.

After the last time around, I can’t wait to see what ends up in our mailbox this time.

[email protected] — BEGIN!!! Zubmissions will be cut-off Sunday night at 5pm EST!

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.