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.

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.