The Night The Lights Went Out In Jersey

So.  That was strange.

Look, I know the PSE&G Power Play sucked tonight, but seriously.  C’mon.

I take full blame for the power outage, by the way.  I was in the arena tonight, and for no good reason whatsoever, myself and my friend Amanda got into a discussion about how there hasn’t been a leak in the roof at the Rock, or a fire in the concession stands, or anything like that since the first year.  Can’t explain why we started talking about that.  But 10 minutes later, the lights were out.

It was clearly our fault.

But you should thank us.

Seriously – there was no way the team was even scoring a goal tonight, but by the time this game is finished?  Who knows!  Could you imagine the uproar in Florida if the Devils come back to win this thing whenever it starts up again?

Interesting thought:  Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond went into tonight without a single penalty minute on the year.  Weird, right?  He fought Zenon Konopka early in the game.  Not so weird.  But yet, as he sits on a plane to Montreal this evening, PL3 still technically has no penalty minutes.  It’s like the hockey gods are saying “No Pierre, you musn’t fight.  You must be a good boy.”

Needless to say, tonight was a very bizarre evening.  Right down to the Devils in-game entertainment folk playing “Dancing In The Dark” by Bruce Springsteen shortly after the lights went out.

‘Least we know they’ve got a sense of humor.

I’ll make sure to update when some kind of annoucement is made as to when this game is finished.  ‘Til then, look up “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” by Reba McEntire, and just change the word “Georgia” or “Jersey” (and maybe “judge” to “Gary Bettman” if you feel so inclined.

Poor David Clarkson…

Poor, poor David Clarkson.

And poor us as well.

That’s why you stand up and face a Zdeno Chara slapshot head-on rather than wimping out and turning sideways.  Of course, I say this behind a laptop, and not on ice staring down the barrel of a 100 MPH slapshot from the guy who broke Al MacInnis’ fastest shot record last year.

Ouch.

So add Clarkson to the infirmary list for the Devils.  Y’know, the list that already includes our beloved Dainius Zubrus.  And Jay Pandolfo.  And Rob Niedermayer.  And Johnny Oduya.  And Paul Martin.

Know what list is growing just as fast as the injured list?  The rookies list.  Add Vladimir Zharkov to a list of rookies or first-year NHLers already containing Niklas Bergfors, Pierre-Luc Letourneu-Leblond, Matt Halischuk, Matt Corrente, Tyler Eckford (who’s on his way to Lowell right now), Illka Pikkarainen, Mark Fraser, and Tim Sestito.  Guess we’re no longer one of the oldest squads in the NHL, eh?  Small victories, my friends, small victories.

Zharkov was leading the baby Devils in scoring before getting called up, and according to the ever-awesome TG, will be skating on a line with Dean McAmmond and Matt Halischuk.

Seriously gang, read that again:  Our third line – the Devils traditional strength – is two rookies and Dean Mc-friggin-Ammond.  The injuries have gotten so bad, we’re using our training camp roster.  It’s a wonder Trenton and Lowell can even field teams at this point.

So now it’s Devils/Islanders in about a half hour.  Unfortunately, no LiveCap on my end this afternoon gang.  I’ll make sure to have another one happen soon, and I’ll also make sure to let you know well ahead of time when it happens.  In the meantime, enjoy your New Jersey Lowell Devils taking on the Islanders this afternoon.

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.

Brian Gionta Goes Splat.

Crikey, it’s getting old. Brian Gionta just got pushed off the puck hard, and it looks like he hit both shoulder and head against the unforgiving Detroit boards. He skated off on his own power, but has yet to return to the game, which currently sits at 2-1 Detroit after two periods, on the strength of a pair of Marian Hossa goals. Parise notched a deflection off an Oduya slapshot for the Devils only tally so far.

Edit: As the third period is starting, it becomes apparent that Bryce Salvador has not returned to the ice either. Salvador was hit by a puck in the second period, leading to Hossa’s goal. Sigh.

So, the updated injury counter:

Martin Brodeur, torn bicep
Brian Rolston, high right ankle sprain
Bobby Holik, broken pinkie
Andy Greene, broken hand
Paul Martin, upper body soreness
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, cracked orbital bone
Brian Gionta, unknown head/shoulder injury
Bryce Salvador, some kind of puck-to-knee injury

Add to that Matt Halischuk’s apparently serious leg injury suffered in the L-Devils game at Wilkes-Barre the other night, and the Devils are short EIGHT players, less than one calendar month into the season.

Ouch.

The Greene Monster goes down

The injury bug just won’t leave the Devils alone this season. First Brian Rolston’s ankle. Then Bobby Holik’s pinky. Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond’s cracked orbital bone struck a blow to hyphen-lovers everywhere (see what I did there?). And now tragedy has even befallen the man, the myth, the monster…the Mister Andy Greene.

Andy apparently took a puck off the hand early in the Devils 6-5 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs Wednesday night. The Lean Greene Point-Producin’ Machine managed a career-high three assists despite the broken hand. Hell, maybe it was even because of the injury. Maybe it made Andy angry. You wouldn’t like Andy when he’s angry. Greene celebrated a birthday by getting his hand X-Ray-ed. That’s gotta suck, but Andy’s hardcore like that.

The puck that befell the Greene Monster came off the stick of Pavel Kubina, no less. Y’know, the guy who knocked Scott Stevens silly with a puck to the head a few years back. Greene’s injury is slightly less scary than Stevens’, though, and will shelve Andy for about a month, maybe more.

While the Devils must wait another four-to-six weeks to again Go Greene, one Sheldon Brookbank will be paired up with Mike Mottau as the Red n’ Black’s third pairing. Getcha Pepto Bismol ready.

So besides the terror-inducing duo of Mottau/Brookbank (inducing terror in Devils fans, I mean. Not so much the opposition), what else can we expect tonight? Welp, after taking part in his NHL debut and notching his first-career point with an assist, Matt Halischuk gets to take a cozy seat in the press box, as Niklas Bergfors gets to make his season debut for the Devils tonight. Since Niklas’ only other prior NHL experience was the season opener last year against Tampa Bay, and since he got hurt in that game and never made it back to the NHL, and since last season’s opener so thoroughly sucked – I say that game gets stricken from the record. Niklas Bergfors gets to start anew tonight, in his first ever NHL game. I don’t care what the record books show.

The Devils ride into tonight’s game on a three-game losing streak (yet still managing the charity point in two of the three), sitting at 5-2-2. The Thrashers come in as the second-worst team in the NHL, one point ahead of the Islanders and sporting a 2-6-2 record. The Thrashers recently fell victim to that evil injury bug themselves, losing No. 3 overall pick Zack Bogosian to a broken leg during a 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Philadelphia last week.

That wasn’t a game, that was a statement.

And thus ends the saga of Brodeur V. Avery, at least for the time being. A 5-0 thrashing by the Devils, with every single player wearing the NJ crest looking spectacular. Check out Scott’s analysis below – even he couldn’t come up with someone to chew out!

As Scott mentioned, Andy Greene looked stellar, putting up two assists and bringing us back to the Andy halcyon days of the 2007 playoffs. Dainus Zubrus clearly is as upset as we are that the Zubbie Counter remains in the cob-webbed cellar of 2MA and is working to change that. Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond had a wicked hit late in the game to go with his first career NHL point. Zach Parise continued his stellar start, adding another goal and assist to his growing point totals. And of course, John Madden finally scored on a fast break-like situation!

Perhaps most importantly though, is that – save for a bad penalty by Clarkson in the first period – the Devils FINALLY figured out how to keep Sean Avery from getting under their collective skin. In fact, I submit that the Devils/Clarkson/Brodeur gave Avery a small dose of his own medicine. Even ESPN took notice of the little shoves and the clearing attempt by Brodeur that whizzed by Avery’s head. The Devils frustrated Avery and made him a non-factor. My only question is why they needed a thirteen-game study session last year to figure it out.

So now, with a 5-1-0 record, we move on to a home-and-home with our dear dear friends, the (still winless) Philadelphia Flyers. This could be fun.