Thoughts from Section 209: Devils vs. Panthers 12/11/2009

Damn what a slow and un-exciting way to start off the weekend of what’s been a pretty awesome near two-week-celebration of my birthday (on Sunday mind you…. Sun Tavern may never be the same again :p)… though I feel bad for my friend and long-time reader Barry from Scotland, he’s been out here for two games… and seen TWO DUDs so far… least he gets the Flyers tonight….there was about one thing and one thing alone that was worthy about tonight’s match-up… it was the mildly anticipated duel between mb30, and last season’s most unlikely savoir of season in Scott Clemmensen…. (and even though I’m not feeling it today and I have no energy and this game sucked… I am a person of my word… I said I’d cover the home games… well…. here I am :p)

the Good:
— I have to say I was VERY happy for the reception that Scott Clemmensen got from the fans… we as a fan base (and be honest most sets of fans are this way too) can get bagged on for being classless assholes…. we boo’ed Niedermayer (I know I did), we don’t care when Rafalski is back…. Gionta’s reaction should be interesting if he’s healthy for the second Montreal game… but last night… all the yelling of SUCKS for the opposing team STOPPED when Clemmensen was introduced as the goalie… hell he got a bigger ovation then most of the Devils intro’ed after (well except Andy)…. and it was good to see that we as a fan base can at least have a memory that extends one season :)… hell even Pete who would yell at his own mom if she wore the other team’s jersey was yelling:
“Hey clemmensen…we miss you!!!…………… And we hope you live!!”
Awwww 🙂 (see I have a heart, fuckers!!)
— I also thought Rod Pelley had a nice little game….dare I say… PIST PELLEY POWERFUL!!!!!!!! Hell that line even got double-digit ice time… and McAmmond’s goal (which was the first since like color TV was invented) was pretty shifty and again he reminds me way too damn much of John Madden…..
— Brian Rolston… the offense has been back in the last six weeks, and we’re actually getting the player advertised for here in him at last!
— and no matter how dead, or empty the arena can be… or how out of it the fans are…. lil Nicky brings his shit and his A GAME every night… tonight’s just one of those nights you can really love and appreciate that kid’s passion and there ain’t much else good to talk about tonight….
— though it was a fitting tribute tonight to Scott Clemmensen as well… he scares the shit out of you… bad goals go in….his technique is clumsy and borderline WTF-worthy, but hot damn he played in this building and HE WON, just about every time… I’ll call that a positive as I can actually remember a lot of the FUN that last season was (until that miserable March and April….)

the Bad:
— Wow, even yahoo screwed this one up: “Florida’s Michael Frolik (R) beats New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur, who was denied in his first try at record shutout No. 104.” … someone wanna tell the guy writing on the FRONT PAGE, that the Devils had a game Wednesday too… so it was the 2nd try??? Thanks, K-BYE!
— This is kinda all you need to know about it being a bad night….. (A. Greene 20:02 0 0 -2)… it’s actually kinda funny because I thought he was kinda GOOD with the stick checks and the little plays that kept the puck away from the Panthers and took away 4-5 good chances, and stopped an empty net with a slick little stick move….or am I covering too much for my man? :p
— the Devils had just gotten back into the game and it was 3-2 after the sweet McAmmond goal, and it looked like they were about to crank it up and get going again…..and they let Frolik rumble, bumble and stumble in CLEAN on that damn breakaway, and yes it was a sweet perfect move and abusrd finish over the pad… but you CAN’T DO THAT right when you got shit back your way, I know they’re human… they’re allowed a stinker between two rivalry games in Phily and Carolina but…. aw….. shit, this just took what was a revived crowd out of it too…. uugghhhhh

the Funny:
(not much here either…. we’re saving it for tonight)
— I saw a tiny, really skinny young lady walking into the ice lounge with a Langenbrunner jersey… and you’re going “ok, so what’s your point?”… well when you’re such a tiny lil girl like that and the name is SO DAMN LONG it gets all mooshed up in the back and you can’t read the thing and it makes ya even look more tiny and dainty then y’are… don’t do it… it make you look brittle and shit… stick with the small names… go Pairse (AHHHHH), Zajac….hell go Andy… we all should!!! Or even customize… I saw a MOM jersey… CMON MOM JERSEYS!!!!!
— My lone facebook contributor:
Steve LaFlamme …there is no ‘ctrl’ key on Andy Greene’s keyboard. Andy Greene is always in control. (we didn’t have enough for pure Andy Greene worship tonight…. I expect more tomorrow :p) (sorry guys I scrapped the SMS code idea… I didn’t think it was gonna save this write-up)
— but in the theme of it….. I did have an OMG WTF IS THAT MOMENT…. after the 2nd period I make my trip to the bathroom… I hear a weird bouncing sound… and it was that puffed up JS Giguere-sized “Lil NJ” (and I thought my “bastard son was a MESS lookit lil NJ eh??) and he’s bouncing through the hallways running up and down like he’s the freaking stay puft Marshmellow man…. or of course your 2003 Conn-solation Symthe winner as well…..

Damn I got nothin else… this was a stink, the Flyers are in 10 hours or so… I’m done here :p

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.

Erectile Dysfunction & the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

So. New Jersey and Carolina. Why does this sound so familiar and why do I have only bad memories of past playoff series’ between these two? Whether you think back to 2002 or 2006, both years still leave a bad taste in my mouth. Given the way the Devils have sized up with the Hurricanes throughout this year’s Regular Season, you can probably understand why I’m having a hard time “getting up” for this year’s playoff match-up.


(USEFUL REMINDER: I am a pessimist.)

To a certain extent, it’s almost unfair. Roll back to February. The Devils had just come off a weekend that saw them roll over the #1 and #2 teams in the league… without Martin Brodeur. I don’t think things could have looked any better for the Devils at that point. The offense resembled the year 2001 and the rest of the team was playing solid, near-flawless hockey. The boys from Newark were the talk of the league. At that point, it wouldn’t have surprised anyone if the Devils were still standing come June.

Don't worry, they're legal. FAST FORWARD — Newark, NJ: Present Day. The Devils are slowly recovering from a hellacious two weeks and are stumbling into the playoffs only to match-up with a team that they have had nearly no success against all season long. The team defense — especially the PK — has been abnormally weak as of late, the PP seems to have fallen into the abyss, and the rest of the offense can’t seem to get anything going without the help of some faulty glass-assembly.

At this point, it seems as if this season was just one giant tease that left us all a little frustrated in the end. Despite all the records that have fallen and the plethora of memories that will be taken from this year’s campaign, the outlook, to me, is grim at best. The Devils may be the favorite on paper, but Carolina has New Jersey licked on the ice.

Regardless, I will be supportive. The Devils have shown many a critic (myself included) that their foot belongs in their mouth, and that no meal is finer than crow. I can only hope this flicker is only part of the wildfire that we are about to witness over (hopefully) the next several months.

With that being said, break out the rally towels and put away those razors.

It’s playoff time!!