Thoughts from Section 209: Devils vs. Starrrrrrrrrrssssssss, 1/5/2010!

Happy new year and all that to ya! (I know I still owe a month in review… it’s half done, I swear and I’m hoping it’s done tomorrow, but you gotta write the more pressing piece first always….and not to mention I got a little bit of Dallas Cowboys fever right now… and CMON… you know you wanna see another Phily team lose, right?)….but another feel-good night and some very pleasant memories from the 1999-2000 Stanley Cup run and all the crazy stuff I’ll try to get to down below…. all in all a great night and a great win against a VERY erratic STAARRRRRSSSS team……

the Good:
— Patrik Elias…. welcome back to the scoresheet….all those passes that Andy over-shot you to make you skate harder and get in the right place are starting to pay off… yay!
— Zach Parise… my God nine shots on goal!! (I’ll get more into this when I do the month in review but I love how his level of play didn’t drop when he slumped and he keeps playing the same way hat-trick or ten-game drought be damned!!)… pretty good night for our personal “one man Jonas Brothers”… many ‘ginies were tingling (and an evil Mickey Mouse was counting the cash!)
— PL^3… yeah he hit… yeah he did his thing… but I saw some REALLY good board work and puck control and a little finesse to keep the play and the board work going (7:40 and more ice time then Rod Pelley tells ya Jacques liked what he saw too)… and this is a step in the right direction of leaving Andrew Peters in a ditch somewhere near Bayonne HS (it’s a big-ass school, plenty of hiding spots!)
— Bryce Salvador…. I’d swear he was announced as a scratch, but 14:00 from the press-box and he looked pretty good playing from there too… smart plays… and he adds a stability to the blue line that no one else not named Andy has brought to the team this year!
— so I hear mb30 broke the old mask and had to actually be Marty Brodeur for half the game…. I really wish he’d listen when the hockey Gods TWICE tell him something :p…. and yeah shutout #106… it wasn’t as dramatic as the last two were… it kinda felt like the Stars cashed out late in that game, but it’s still a lil bit nice to be a part of more history each time the score goes to zero (and how sick is it that like one of ever 5-some wins… is of the zero variety… that’s just sick to digest….)
— and shame on me almost forgetting to talk about lil Nicky breaking the damn bank with all the stuff he won in the Zamboni race during the first period… good lord our #1 draft pick is well taken care of by this team…always good to see it happen to the deserving fans (and it shut up a fool in 109 who said the good stuff doesn’t happen to those in the cheap seats!)

the Bad:
— there was no bad last night… I’m gonna to use that space for 2000 Cup memories and my Stanley Cup Party story in that old basement apartment back that Saturday night in June of 2000 🙂

the Funny:
— Brian Rolston… first shift… looks like he blew a tire jumping on the ice… and kinda reminded me of the Matvichuk (I think)… getting injured and crawling to the middle of the ice to block shots back in 2000 for the Stars…. I should remember better who it was that was a classic moment in maybe the best, and most exciting Stanley Cup Final of the 4 the Devils had and possibly the most exciting one I remember in my lifetime… but as he was falling and limping to the bench I mumble… hrrmmm… I wonder if anyone reminded him that he got traded for Claude that year and it took him like 18 months and a second trade to mentally recover (and talk about pressure to be traded for Claude… and then be in the trade that brought Andreychuk and ESPN’s first love child, Ray Bourque, that’s a TALL order…)
— so I had what I like to call my personal “moment of Cangelosi” last night (handy link of reference:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOEO4XuQCj4 … just so you know and get what I am talking about)
…. one of my running jokes of late is that when Tasha watches the game, her boys in Parise and Bergfors NEVER score (and even when they do she gets stuck on the escalator to not see it… and I get to yell CLOSE YOUR EYES and STOP LOOKING or GO TO THE BATHROOM, we need a goal!!!)… so on the Zajac goal I saw Bergfors swat at it… I swore he tipped it in…. so i text her and go… look you finally got to see your goal…..so when they announced it was Zajac’s goal… I kinda yelled to myself… “NINETEEN!!”… oops, well at least her Lordship wasn’t there to make fun of me for that and goddamit I am taller then our roaming gnome of parody fame!

the 2000 Cup run memories:
— the Devils did a GREAT job of reliving that Cup run… hell they even dug up Steve Kelley (I guess he was glad they remembered he was on the team.. he played like one game and 10 shifts in the entire playoff run)… it’s always good to see Claude in the house again too…Larry Robinson (we all remember that locker room beatdown/tirade too of course)…. Patrik Elias in game 7…. Jason Arnott in game 6…. the “six shots on goal game” (I swear I can still hear Sundin and Pat Quinn piss and moan they had more shots on goal then that)… Scott Stevens dominating Pavel Bure and then the world…. and that game 5 in the Cup Finals… the single greatest one on one goalie duel ever seen by human eyes…..It’s been 10 1/2 years it really was the right time to remember, look back, and smile at those awesome memories (and thoughts of a 110-recap season… my God I was burnt out that summer)
— Lord Krang: lol, sherry just listed “sykora getting knocked out” as one of the memorable moments of the 2000 cup run!
(and she’d be right….Petr Suckora only knows FAIL when he is on the ice as a Stanley Cup Finalist… the only two he’s won, he was unconscious in 2000, a healthy scratch last year…. and 3 times the loser when he played)… I love when the professionals think as I do :p
— I still need to recall the party at my house that night…. it was Brian… a hockey princess we no longer associate with, her BF at the time and we’re all just there watching the game…. I remember my “SHUT THE FUCK UP AND STOP POUTING OVER SYKORA WE’RE PLAYING A FOR A STANLEY CUP” rant (one of the reasons I no longer associate with said person… the sick obsession over mediocre to BAD hockey players and not caring about who her friends were… gee, a theme in my life eh :p)…. so I blasted her so bad the boyfriend kinda hid and curled in the corner…. so a few hours later Jason Arnott does the deed… I had one of those old “giant soda bottles of popcorn” wrapped in tin foil and a bowl on top of it to look like a mini-Cup… and yeah we filled it with champagne… I think I drank a whole bottle by myself that night…. and a few more friends came over… I was on the phone with two more… John and Jen walk in (I know the names don’t matter, I think the only person I still talk of all these people is Brian, and that could change as of his wedding in September *whistles*)…. they walk in… I’m already fuzzy and the last thing I remember that night was going “OHHHH, WINE!!!”…. and then dragging the mini-Cup and champagne stinky body to Rex Plex the next day to skate around with our Cup and sweat champagne in goalie pads!! Feel free to add your own memories and comments too… it’s the right place for it!

Devils @ Stars LIVECAP!

10:48 PM: Oh, the ZubbieCounterContest, of course.  A big congrats to Kristyn, who’s 27th Goal As A Devil “27 Dresses” Zubbie picture just edged out Kevin B.’s 26th Goal As A Devil Zubmission.  Kristyn, get a hold of us at zubbiecounter at gmail dot com and we’ll get your unidentified swag in the mail.  Congratulations!  Goodnight everyone.

10:46 PM: Okay, I’m all kinds of frustrated right now.  The site doesn’t wanna load, the Devils won’t wanna win, I give up.  Stars win, 5-3.  First LiveCap of the season = total failure.  Maybe I’ll see about doing one next weekend.

9:53 PM: Patty Elias has two assists on the night, playing primarily at center.  I have to admit, Zubbie’s probably not putting up any points in that role.

9:52 PM: Third period on…let’s hope the website holds up!

9:37 PM: Okay, there’s some issues with WordPress right now apparently.  The website won’t load on a regular basis.  The score is now 3-2 Stars, with Brian Rolston scoring on a slapshot on the power play about halfway through the period (Tyler Eckford picks up his first career NHL point with a secondary assist on the goal).  Second period is now over, and hopefully I’ll be back for a third period LiveCap, I hope.  If the website chooses to load properly.  If this little note even makes it to publication….

9:11 PM: Apparently Nelson Muntz laughing means we’re going back to the penalty kill.  Travis Zajac is off for tripping.  Our penalty kill has not been stellar tonight.  Gulp.

9:06 PM: Ott just pushed Andy Greene quite rudely.  YOU DON’T PUSH ANDY GREENE.  Andy Greene will remember Ott’s number, and one evening, when Ott least expects it…BAM!  He goes Greene.

9:05 PM: Okay, as much as I like him, THE Yann Danis is just not making the stops Marty’s made so far this period.  He got three strong ones on one sequence there and fought ’em all off.  We’ve a chance in this yet.

9:01 PM: Good stop by Marty (uhh, our Marty, not their’s) to start off his relief appearance.

9:00 PM: Game back on, and interestingly, Martin Brodeur is in net.  THE Yann Danis cannot be pleased.

8:43 PM: Aaaaaand, period over.  I’m gonna go get a stiff drink.  Hopefully the second period proves better.

8:42 PM: One minute left in the period.  Thank god.

8:41 PM: Okay, I hope it wasn’t that important.  Power play, not successful.  Sigh.

8:39 PM: Barch to the box for Dallas, Devils to the PP.  Is it safe to say it’s somewhat important that they score a goal on this power play?  I think it is.

8:37 PM: …BANANA SHPEEL?  Really, Cirque du Soleil?  Really?

8:34 PM: Dammit.  Robidas takes a feed and pops one behind Danis, 3-1 Stars on another power play goal.  I don’t want to write off this game already, but scoring four goals is not something this team is primed to do on a regular basis.

8:33 PM: I would be enjoying this game a lot more if it were in high def.  Also, if we were doing as well in the last 14 minutes was we did in the first.

8:31 PM: Tyler Eckford is not making a good first impression.  Penalty the other night, ‘nother penalty tonight.  Stars back to the power play, they scored on their first one.

8:27 PM: Elias/Rolston/Langenbrunner is one of the lines.  You know our team is getting old when Patrik Elias is the spring chicken of the line.

8:24 PM: I feel so bad for Matt Corrente.  It’s gotta be rough being a defenseman and playing forward in your first career game.  He’s wearing number 32, by the way, which looks so weird on a Devils jersey these days.

8:21 PM: Dammit.  I sat Riberio on my fantasy team, hoping we’d shut him down.  He scored, it’s 2-1 Stars, and I don’t even earn fantasy hockey points for it.  WEAK!

8:20 PM: Clarkson goes to the box and feels shame, y’know.  Hooking and all, shameful business.  Devils go to the PK.

8:17 PM: Ooof, BIG rebound off the pads of THE Yann Danis.  Zajac with some good backchecking to prevent an easy goal.  Clarkson about to get a penalty…eventually…if we ever touch the puck again…

8:16 PM: Morrow’s out of the box, Devils power play only gets one shot on goal.

8:15 PM: I am way out of LiveCapping shape.  Sorry.

8:13 PM: Matt Corrente, the young defenseman, makes his NHL debut…as a forward on his first shift.  This is gonna be an interesting game.  Brendan Morrow takes a penalty and the Devils hit the power play.

8:12 PM: Well it didn’t take long to give it back either.  Stephane Robidas with a sinking shot that was probably tipped, and it’s a 1-1 tie.

8:10 PM: That didn’t take long at all.  Assist to Mottau, and possibly someone else too.

8:09 PM: WHAT?!?!  BRIAN ROLSTON…ON A BREAKAWAY…WITH A GOAL?! 1-0 Devils!

8:08 PM: The puck, she hits the ice in Dallas.  Game on, baby.

8:05 PM: Anyone else sick of the Nissan Altima “Love Hurts” commercial yet?  (Side note:  Still not sick of the “The Most Interesting Man In The World” Dos Equis commercials.)

8:02 PM: OH YEAH!  THE Yann Danis is in net tonight!  This could be fun!  La Grenouille!

7:56 PM: So Zubbie’s out (I don’t know what this blog would do if we hadn’t found a second mascot in Andy Greene).  Pelley’s scratched (and not happy about it).  The Devils are dressing seven defensemen: Greene, White, Mottau, Salvador, Fraser, Eckford, and Corrente).

7:46 PM: Why is it that every time I LiveCap, we’re on MSG+2×7/28-(-12)=?

7:45 PM: Okay, so.  I know there’s some stuff I’ve been not doing.  Namely, naming a winner in the ZubbieCounterContest.  I’ll do that at the END of tonight’s game, in this very LiveCap.  That’s what’s called “enticement to stay with me and enjoy the LiveCap.”  (Okay, so you can read it whenever you want, but still.)

7:43 PM: Ha!  I like how they showed a Rod Pelley hit when talking about the Olympics.  That’s as close as you’re ever getting, Roderick.

7:41 PM: OMG2MALIVECAP!  Sorry it’s taken so long to make this happen, but I’m actually sitting in my room, on my computer, at the time of a Devils game, so why the hell not?  Put on a pot of coffee (light & sweet for me, thanks) and join me, will you?

News galore!

Today, my friends, is a big day in Devils fandom.  Something that hasn’t happened all season is about to happen.

Yep, user-generated ZubbieCounters!  (What, you were thinking something else?)

Oh, and that Elias dude is playing in tonight’s game or something.

Let’s get to it:

Patrik Elias makes his season debut tonight after missing the first thirteen games of the season with various surgical repairs.  Dude’s gotta be bionic now.  Welcome back Patty, we miss-ed you and your super groin (wait, that didn’t sound right).

Elias’ return means someone has to be a healthy scratch tonight, right?  WRONG!  It means someone else joins the rank of the Ouchies club.  Rob Niedermeyer this time.  He has the ever-ubiquitous Upper Body Injury and won’t play at all this weekend.  PLcubed looks like he loses the “Goon of the Game” contest to Andrew Peters and will therefore be tonight’s Goon in a Suit.

Enough news for ya?  TOO BAD, HERE’S MORE!  Jay Leach was put on re-entry waivers yesterday.  Which means, right around…now, the Devils should be finding out if he is available to play against the Islanders tonight of if the team is on the hook for half of his salary while he goes and plays for someone else.  If he survives re-entries, will he play tonight?  Who knows.  Who comes out if he does play?  Also uncertain.

Edit 12:49 PM: French language site RDS seems to suggest that Jay Leach was claimed off waivers by Montreal.  I’m not certain as my ability to speak French is limited to being able to say “Yes, it is a book”.  Two years of high school French and it doesn’t help me when I need it!  Anyway, it looks like Jay Leach is heading north of the border, with the Devils on the hook for half of his salary.  That sucks.

Edit 12:53 PM: TSN claims the same thing.  In English, this time.  See ya, Leacher.

One this is certain, though.  It won’t be Andy Greene who comes out of the lineup, because as the league is finding out, ANDY GREENE = WINS.  As Scott mentioned awhile back, has there ever been a guy go from healthy scratch to Chara-like minutes quicker than our own Greene Monster?  I think not.

And I almost forgot (though I don’t know how)…YANN DANIS STARTS IN NET TONIGHT!  La Grenouille himself (don’t ask) gets the nod between the pipes to play his former team, the Islanders.  Let’s hope he’s better for us against the Isles than he was with the Isles.  If he plays like he did against the Bruins, he’ll be golden.

Alright then, we got Elias, Niedermeyer, the Goon race, Andy Greene = Wins, Yann Danis…did I forget something?

Ah, right.

ZUBBIECOUNTER30 USER GENERATED CONTENT!

Some really good ones came in for this most recent goal.  I laughed.  Louder than I should have at 2 in the morning.  Other people in my house weren’t too happy.  So you might wanna refrain from reading the rest of this post unless it’s an hour of the day in which your family or roommates are awake.  Fair warning.

The first one comes from Richard H.  It’s incredibly clever.  (Get it, 30 Rock?  Zubbie’s 30th?  The Rock?)

zubbiecounter30-Richard H

Pop culture baby.  Best way to our collective hearts.

Next up comes a Zubmission from a Mr. Aaron B.  It doesn’t look like much, but it’s indicative of another surefire way to get your Zubmission on our site:  Take a photo yourself.  See, Mr. Aaron was at the game in Boston where Zubbie scored his 30th, and snapped this quickie photo just after Zubbie broke most of the arena’s collective hearts.

zubbiecounter30-Aaron B

That 2 in the 2-1 score?  That’s thanks to the Dainiusaur.

The final two Zubmissions come from ZubbieCounterContest veterans.  Kevin B. actually sent in three hilarious Zubmissions because he couldn’t pick just one.  It was hard for me to pick one, but I think this one was a hair better than the other two.  Made me laugh pretty loud, anyway.

zubbiecounter30-Kevin B

Poor Zach.  Being separated from his BFF Travis Zajac was clearly traumatic.

And finally, we come to Jon C’s Zubmission.  Look, I mentioned before that an instant way into our hearts is a pop culture reference, and this one is possibly the ultimate pop culture reference of the last few months.  Frankly, I’m mad at myself for not having expected it before it came in.  2MA readers, I present to you via Jon C…Interrupting Kanye:

zubbiecounter30-Jon C

That’s almost criminal how good it is.  Thanks Jon, Kevin, Aaron, and Richard for the awesome entries.  God I can’t wait ’til Zubbie nets another goal.  (Also, don’t forget, voting for the ZubbieCounterContest continues on the main page until November 14th, or until Zubbie pots #33.  Whichever happens first.  Probably the former.)

NJ Devils Month in Review October 2009

One month in the books already??? Wow… Where does the time go?? 5 home games to rant about already…. but now I get to talk
about the games they actually won eh?? 8-4 start with no Patrik Elias and a mish-mosh D corps and 4th line… the NHL’s regular
season Juggernaut rolls on!! (I swear the Devils are the NHL’s version of the Indianpolis Colts…)… and the year is young, even if the
writer ain’t!

Forwards:
#9: Zach Parise-A
AAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!! (sorry you can’t say Parise without screaming like you’re front row in a Jonas Brothers concert), but what
the hell else can you say about him?? He’s consistent… plays every night… he’s over a point a game again and showing last year
was no fluke and we should come to expect elite level stats and results out of him each and every year… and all of this without
Elias around to take some of the scoring burden off of him… and even MORE when the bottom 15 guys on this roster COMBINED
have less points then Zach… that’s frightening… and it just goes to show how GOOD Parise is!
Grade: A+

#19: Travis Zajac
Travis HAS ARRIVED!! This month has been the true breakout and emergence of this kid as not only our top center, but the guy
Lemaire puts you with when he wants to get you going… faceoffs, special teams… offense… defense, the kid just does it all
too!! THIS IS WHY YOU SHOW PATIENCE WITH YOUNG PLAYERS and let them grow up in front of your eyes… when you get the
right guy it’s a special thing when they do grow up!!! He’s on the verge of cracking that plateau from very good to borderline elite
player…. and it’s been fun to watch!!!
Grade: A

#23: David Clarkson
Another guy who’s growing up before our eyes (he still needs a nice nasty scar though dammit)… 9 points and 20 PIMs… it’s a
good balance for him, though I’d rather see more offense and less fights….he’s also been a bit stuck in the shuffle with no real
line to stay on and get comfortable with, but it’s hard to get on him about it… look at the centers on this team (I still want to
see him play more with Rolston because Rolston played his best with him last year… I’ll save that for Rolston)… I like the 6 assists…
it means the toe-drag/wraparound specialist is DEAD and now he’s getting closer and closer to a complete player and his stats this
month were actually Patrik Elias-like.. another good sign for now and beyond… good month kid!!!
Grade: A

#15: Jamie Langenbrunner-C
He’s been decent enough… and certainly not bad enough to bash… (Jesus he’s shot % is 6.4 though…)… I expect more then
2 goals a month from the Captain… and no I don’t give a shit what he does in shootouts, they’re NOT hockey I won’t watch
them, and they don’t even count on the stat sheet!), his shortie against the Flyers was a beauty… but that penalty shot try
was the ugly 9way to go making the same FAIL move twice… in a row too…), he’s not the fastest of starters, but with this team
as thin as it is now… they’re gonna need more from the Captain, though an assist every other game is good production… and I
have more players to bash later then he….
Grade: B- (needs more goals)

#18: Nicklas Bergfors
Not a bad rookie month for the kid (I know he’s been on the team before, but that didn’t count… see Halischuk later on this)…
his two goals were big ones… and the bar isn’t set as high with him as the people he is ranking with among team leaders in
offense, though a 41 point pace is a welcome start (and you’d HAVE to think those numbers will go up when #26 returns)…
he’s shooting lots…. a sign of confidence (he is 3rd on the team in shots) and I have to say I’ve been pleased with his results
so far! (God damn I wish this team had a #2 center)
Grade: B

#21: Rob Niedermayer
I have to admit he’s been a pleasant suprise to me (in a team in my life I don’t get many happy shocks :p)… he’s slick, he’s
crafty he does a ton of little things that you notice and go… hey that was pretty damn smart… unlike his whipped little brother
he stands up to crazy mama Nieds… I can never find that damn faceoff stats… but I don’t think he’s been too good on those…
but he’s been better then advertised (hell again with the #2 center but if we had one he’d be like awesome!)
Grade: B

#8: Danius Zubrus
ZUBBIE!!!!!!!!!! He’s been better this year… he clears out space… he owns the puck… he does they dirty work (hell there’s a
reason he’s been between Parise and Langs this year)…and if you’re going to only score two goals, better make one a game
winner on the Rangers, and the other one won the Boston game too… call it a crap goal if you want… but you still gotta BE
THERE and able to finish the play! One of many guys who’s been vastly better under Lemaire then under Calgary’s cure for
Insomnia! And you actually almost believe this guy’s turned it around and can get it done! Another feel good guy on a team
that should ne nowhere near as good as it’s been!
Grade: B+

#12: Brian Rolston
Oh boy… this been not so good…2 goals.. WHAT?? 2 assists…. WHATTTT!?!?!?!? This was supposed to be the guy who was
gonna take the slack for Elias being out… this was supposed to be the guy who was begging for Lemaire since he thrived under
him…. ok, I’ll give him that he keeps firing over 4 shots a game at the goalie he’s gonna get better results even off rebound
goals (this is why I would like to see him with Clarkson to pick up some trash points)…at least rip ’em wide Rolston is hitting
the damn net though… but still… the numbers ain’t so good and he HAS to be better (especially with so many younger… and
dare I play the salary cap card of saying CHEAPER…. players coming of age on this team)… it’s only October though, so we’ll try
to be hopeful he gets his shit on right…but it’s NOT there yet…
Grade: D

#20: Jay Pandolfo
Well he’s not been too awful has he? He’s not setting the world on fire…. and is it coincidence that the pk got better when he
went down?? Hard to tell Doesn’t do very much… but he was decent enough with Lil Niedermommy…. eh, he’s just not one of
the kinda guys I think this team needs anymore…. Veteran presence… really?? I don’t know… we really don’t have anything
better that’s NHL ready… that’s a backhanded compliment eh?? I won’t kill him but I ain’t singing his song either….
Grade: C

#10: Rod Pelley
When you average about 10 minutes a night and you’re a -5… that’s not good…. when you’re there for faceoffs and penalty
killing… that’s not good … it’s really sad that the only good thing I can say about him is I am pleasantly shocked that he’s good
for one hit a night! His faceoffs suck… but go figure he has a power play assist (on that Bergfors goal… life is funny)… but this
is the #1 reason we let John Madden go?!?!?! That’s sad…. couldn’t we have just said because he’s old and a douchebag, really??
Rod thou are NOT god sir!!
Grade: D

#25: Andrew Peters
…oh boy… a key member of the “Pretty Poor Players” 4th line… dude can’t skate… he doesn’t hit or fight much, but at least
he’s “only” a -1, we have guys on the 4th line that are much worser… limited ice time… and even more limited results… I don’t
see much of what he brings to the table, aside of keeping Clarkson from having to fight people…..
Grade: D (I have no expectations of him so he’s not even worth failing!)

#16: Matt Halischuk
Not ready for the NHL yet and it kinda showed (he was as lost as Bergfors was last year… but at least Jacques LETS HIM PLAY…
fuck you again Sutter) Didn’t really show much… had one nifty shot that was about it…. we’re gonna go easy on him though
cause he’s a baby and wasn’t ready to play with men yet, and was forced in there dude to the Elias injury….
Grade: INCOMPLETE

#17: Ilkka Pikkarainen
Eight minutes a game and he’s a -4?!?!?!?! OI VEY!!! (no I’m not making fun of Jewish people so DON’T START!!!) I mean I know
he’s new to the NHL and all but for Christ’s sake… YOU’RE TWENTY EIGHT YEARS OLD… IT’S TIME TO GROW UP A LITTLE (oh
boy I need to walk away from the computer and have some coffee after that one :p)…. anyway… I’m still not getting a good
feel on him, seems to be a 28-year old thing :p…. but so far… not so good, and 8 games is enough to start bashing… maybe
it’s time to change your hair color or something…something needs changing….
Grade: D (I could be a real asshole and say DD, but then I’m pushing it :p)

#22: The man called PL^3
Six games…. ZERO fights… but only a -1… not much ice time either… haven’t noticed him hitting as much as I’d like…
Personally I like the kid and want him in the enforcer role… but he’s gotta drop some damn gloves and whip some candy ass!!!
The Cowboys have (Miles) Austin 3:16, so why can’t PL^3 be out there Layeth the Smacketh Downeth?? CMON PL^3!!!!!!!
Grade: D

——————————————-

Defense:
#6: Andy Greene
Talk about a feel good story!! I stuck behind this kid and believed in him more then Johnny Oduya (remember that fight two-man
folk??)… though three points is a sorry stat to be leading the Devils in defensive scoring… the kid is a winning machine and each
time they ask him to step up he’s ANSWERED the call this month!!!! And now the Greene MACHINE is getting 20 minutes of ice a
night (due to injuries)… but man if he keeps this up, the Devils defense gets a LOT better… and we never lose on the road :p
Grade: A+++++ (he’s my boy now, deal with it!!)

#24: Bryce Salvador
Heh, he has 3 assists too…. I did not realize that!! But Bryce also has been pretty good this year! Veteran player with a defined
role under Lemaire, seems to have had a resurgence that looked lost under Coach Grumpy (yes I have many names for Mister
Sutter)… sticks up for his teammates… fights, makes plays amd is going to be a MUCH more important player then expected a
month ago with the injuries on the D… VERY good first month!
Grade: A

#7: Paul Martin-A
Has stepped up his offensive game… was all over the ice before his injury and he’s one of the most irreplaceable guys on the
team (even though it’s not showing in the wins and losses do NOT underestimate how important #7, and his 24 minutes of ice
time is to this team)… I do think the offense is going to come with the way he was playing…it’s just a matter of time… and
him getting back on the ice in the next 3-5 weeks
Grade: A

#2: Mark Fraser
One thing I always try to teach newer Devil fans or people I am getting into hockey….”the forward
who wears #17 sucks (yes I include Suckora in that list)… and the defender who wears #2 is bad (and
good Lord that goes all the way back to Slava Fetsiov), but Fraser’s been pretty decent (playing with
the MIGHTY Andy Greene helps)… and he’s been limited in his minutes which has been wise too… let
him get his feet wet… when he first broke into this team like 3-4 years ago, I liked his hitting game…
he’s not doing that, but he’s got a little offense and he’s not been Cory Murphy-bad either… I’ll call that
a semi-win from the kid….I also believe in this coaching staff to be patient and smart enough to let this
kid grown and not let him get Petr Vrana’ed
Grade: C+

#5: Colin White
He’s been solid… not taking penalties, killing penalties… and he’s a hard guy to really rate because
he’s best when you forget he’s there… and he’s been forgettable (and that is praise), and since less
is more is his game… I’m gonna say more by saying less about him! Good job so far!
Grade: B+

#29: Johnny Oduya
How in the blue hell does he NOT have a point yet?? Geesh… that’s not good… needless to say he’s
kinda struggled mighty this year….the -5 kinda reflects on that too… he’s hurt now, but we’ll see
what happens when he comes back… in a way the time off might be a blessing… let him get his head
back… just is that the timing is kinda bad on it since his offense (when he starts having some) is gonna
be needed more then ever!
Grade: F (yeah he’s been that bad)

#28: Cory Murphy
Was flat out AWFUL in his first three games and was directly responsible for two losses…. oddly
enough some time off and Andy Greene made him better in his fourth game… he’s gonna need to
add some offensive numbers (I do seem to harp on that but when Zach Parise has more points then
THE ENTIRE DEFENSE… it’s a problem!) to be worth it to this team…. and yeah he had 3 BAD
games… but it’s only a 4 game body of work… we’re watching you and we’re not happy…. but you
get a pass this month… and maybe this month alone…
Grade: INCOMPLETE (and yes some of my hate was an Andy Greene denial!)

#27: Mike Mottau
Has made a lot of good, smart and aware plays this season…. still doesn’t have the wheels… but he
has the smarts and with Scott Stevens preaching position and timing … he’s been better this year….
still would like even an accidental assist or two from him… but he’s been decent enough and he’s not
hurting the team, with the D as depleted as it is… that’s a good thing to have there… a nice solid
player who can chomp down some minutes!
Grade: B+

——————————————-

Goalies:
#30: mb30
Oh boy… this is a tough one… six BAD games… three good games and two okay games…. that’s
not gonna cut it for the guy who’s supposed to be the constant (and hell shouldn’t you be driven by
some other irrelevant regular season stat again?)…I guess we can call it a slow start, you can’t peg it
on injuries since he was better when players started dropping like flies….maybe it’s just a slow start…
but hey I don’t make excuses I just blast em for not performing :p… it always causes a shit-storm…
but what the hell he’s not been good….15th in save %, 7th in GAA, it ain’t awe-inspiring either….
Grade: C

#35: Jan Dennis
I loved his effort in his one game… it’s not easy to come off the bench cold once a month and do
what he did! He didn’t have to lunge or make OH SHIT plays… the team got comfortable with him in
net FAST… and he didn’t make any mistakes!! This guy could be a find and might be the first guy this
team turns too when the big guy with the ego goes to future endeavors and beyond…. and you know
me… I love the backup goalie ’cause we NEVER see enough of them!!!
Grade: A

——————————————-

Coaching Staff:
I’ve been sitting on this all month because I was saving it for here…. tripe sideways drop passes at
the blue line?? Paul Martin behind the other team’s net making plays?? mb30 out and playing the puck
again??? (I had thought under Sutter it was just our goalie was getting old and wanted to conserve
energy… but now he’s out and playing “closet defenseman” yet again…. guess it tells much about
the second most famous quitter in my life in the last year)…. the results speak for themselves… and
look at the improvement in Travis Zajac, Andy Greene, and even our beloved Zubbie man!!! I was
against this for I thought we’d be in trap-central, but I NEVER doubted the man’s hockey mind and
KNOWING of the game… and that’s proven to be a VERY good thing for the Devils… hats off to ya
Jacques.. you’ve been 5 stars this year!!! 24th on the power play (7/46, 15.2%) and 11th on the pk
(35/43, 81.4%-though this is improved)… these need to get better
Grade: A+

Front Office:
… well they raised my ticket prices… I frown on this :p….let’s see…. I don’t mind Madden and Gio
being gone… Bergfors is coming along… Robbie Niedermommy’s been a FIND I must say… Pika-chu’s
been eh, Andrew Peters sucks, and the next generation of kids ain’t ready yet… I kinda wish Lou could
have gotten one more stop-gap player for a season or two to keep the NHL spots warm while the kids
season and develop…..
Grade: C-

Well okay… back into that writing again… more bad language and Thoughts from 209 to ensue on Wednesday!!!!

Dearest Patricia,

While we thank you for returning Patrik Elias safely, your continued lurking has the players concerned.

Zach Parise hasn’t been scoring (today doesn’t really count), Colin White fled the team in fear and Bobby Holik hasn’t been able to make a single Geico promotional appearance in more than a month.

While we promise to leave it all on the ice this week, we will only do so if you agree to leave your creepy mccreeperson behavior out of our facilities.

Supremely awesome,

The New Jersey Devils

Dearest Patricia,

Please respect the terms of our restraining order. We don’t want to have to get the police involved again.

Also, no.

Schnuggles,

The New Jersey Devils

P.S. Kindly return Patrik Elias at your earliest convenience. He gets cranky when he’s away from Zach and Gio too long.

F&!$ it, I’m pressing it.

Angry?  Yep.

Embarrassed?  You betcha.

Scared?  Try friggin’ petrified.

Thanks, Devils.  Just thanks.

I’d love to give some sort of insight, but I’ve missed the last few games (night classes – a curse and a blessing, apparently).  I’m kind of happy I didn’t see anything but the last three minutes of tonight’s game.

Scratch that, I’m kind of mad I subjected myself to the last three minutes, knowing full well what the score was.

Sigh.

This team was supposed to be too good for the annual March swoon.  Too many veterans, too many guys who know how to win, all of that.  What the hell is happening, then?

The part that annoys/frustrates/scares me the most is the clear parallel between last year’s late-season falter and this year’s.  See:  Big losing streak, lack of goal scoring, disappearance of defense, big ass-whuppin’ from the Penguins.  My poor heart won’t be able to take losing to the Rangers in round one of the playoffs again.

Speaking of the playoffs, you realize they haven’t won a single game since clinching a playoff spot, right?  A playoff spot that was clinched on a day off, with another team losing, rather than on the ice with the Devils winning.

This is no way to go into the playoffs.  Things have to be turned around, and it rests on two men:  Brent Sutter and Jamie Langenbrunner.

Brent Sutter is at least making the appearance of trying.  Being pissy about the Rangers loss, being pissy about Patrik Elias not playing tonight, freaking out at the end of the second period tonight (or so I’m told).  The man’s showing more pulse than he has in two years with this team.  But you do have to wonder if he knows what to do to get this team in playoff mode.  Once is an abberation, twice is the beginning of a pattern.  In this case, a very frightening pattern.

But what of Captainbrunner?  Now’s his chance to really make his salt as a captain, to really show what he’s made of.  You hear me, Jamie?  TAKE CONTROL.  Jamie Langenbrunner is not Scott Stevens, nor should he try to be – however, it’s time for the current captain to truly and finally make this team his, the way the teams of the 90s and early 2000s were truly Scotty’s.

After all, if the captain can’t step it up in a time of crisis, how can we expect anyone else to?

The Day After

It’s been said over and again, by Scott last night, by comments both here and elsewhere, by talking heads on TV.  Last night, simply, was amazing.

I sat down to try to put something up on this blog before heading back to my much-less-thrilling day job, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to say.  I’m 60 words into this thing and I still don’t know, really.

I do know that last night’s game re-affirmed my love for this game, for this team, for that goaltender, for this franchise.  I’ve never been to a Stanley Cup Final game – I can only imagine that the atmosphere in the Rock last night was as close as it gets without Lord Stanley’s mug riding on the outcome of the game.

I love that this game fell on St. Patrick’s Day.  There was a nice, loose atmosphere to the crowd – whether it was the history-in-the-making aspect, the beer flowing pre-and-during game, or (most likely) a healthy combination of both, it made the Rock truly feel like home for perhaps the first time.  Sure, there was the stray Blackhawks fan (and the obligitory guy in a Rangers jersey despite their team actually playing a pretty important game at the same time), but last night, the Prudential Center was the DEVILS building.  That is what it should have felt like during last year’s playoffs, and hopefully will feel like this year.

I love that Patrik Elias’ record-setting assist was a primary assist, and that everyone in the building saw the play and recognized it for what it was instantly.  The eruption for Patty’s assist was worth the price of admission alone, regardless of Marty’s feat.  I love that the response to Patty’s record-breaking point was so intense and so overwhelming that I actually had to look up who scored the goal just now, because for the life of me, I couldn’t remember.  It was Brian Gionta, by the way, and it was shorthanded.

I love that there was no scripted cheesy celebration after the game, that Gary Bettman didn’t hit the ice to shake Marty’s hand and present him with a plaque.  There will be time for that before another game, but the celebration last night was rightfully focused on Brodeur.  As awkward as it became after a few minutes, I love that he was given scissors and cut down the net.  I love that the rest of the team jumped in to help out so Marty could take his victory lap.  Without his team, he wouldn’t have won one game, let alone 552, and without his team, he would still be cutting that net down this morning.

I love that we had the greatest play-by-play man in all of hockey (and arguably all of sports) in house to call the historic game, just as we have the greatest play-by-play man in all of hockey to call every game, historic or mundane.  Doc Emrick, as we’ve stated many times on this blog, is one of the greatest perks to being a Devils fan.  We’re lucky to have him.

We’re a lucky fan base in general, I think it’s safe to say.  We’ve got the greatest goalie of all time.  We’ve got the greatest point-scorer in Devils history on the ice right now.  We’ve got the greatest announcer.  We’ve got three Stanley Cups, four Eastern Conference championships, seven Atlantic Division championships, sixteen consecutive winning seasons, eleven consecutive playoff appearances.  A good number of those will likely go up by the time this season’s over.

We’ve also got among the greatest fans in hockey.  Let’s face it, it’s not always easy to be a Devils fan.  We’re too quiet.  We can’t fill our building most nights.  We’ve got a preoccupation with the team on the other side of the Hudson.  We’ve heard all of that before and undoubtly will continue to hear it for a long time.

But last night – last night I was proud of our fan base.  Proud of our franchise.  Proud of our owner, GM, coach, team, game-day crew, ushers, building, city, state.  Last night was one of the greatest nights I have ever experienced as a Devils fan.  A night I will never forget.  Thank you, Mr. Brodeur.  Thank you, Mr. Elias.  Thank you, Mr. Lamoriello, Mr. Vanderbeek, Mr. Sutter.  Thank you, Mr. Langenbrunner, Mr. Clemmensen, Mr. Weekes, Mr. Martin, Mr. Parise, Mr. Zubrus, everyone who’s ever skated with a Devils crest on their chest.  Thank you to everyone involved in getting that building where it is, to the people who make the games happen every night.

Thank you to those who read what we have to say on this site, whether you like us or…not so much.  Thank you, Devils fans.  Last night was special, because of all of us.  Hopefully, this is not the last time that building feels like it did last night.

…not bad for not knowing what I wanted to say, eh?

Thoughts from Section 209, Devils/Hawks…Records and St. Patrik’s Day!

Good God… it’s funny how on a team based on TEAM, to even set all time records as a TEAM….
10 in a row at home…. record!!
Parise steps closer and closer to Devils Team History with 2 more assists…..
Patrik Elias is now the Devils All-Time Leading Scorer…..
… and oh yeah mb30 passes Patrick Roy to be the NHL Winningest Regular Season Goalie ever
(and did I even mention an insane bar crawl before the game???)

So much to get to here!!!

The Good:
— that crowd…. hot shit…everyone in the house (well minus one since that douchey Commissioner was in the arena!) was all over the place and it was a party on the level of game 7 in 2003… EVERYONE was into this game… the place was electric, and you KNEW the special-ness even if you were the most retarded of sports fans (or the guy in charge of the league!)
— I’m gonna take that one step further… I’ve been going to a lot of games over the years… I’ve sat with a lot of people… and done my share of going to games solo as well…. but over all the years and all the people I’ve gone to games with/wanted to leave on the side of the road/ all that kinda stuff… I seriously think with the rotation of people I go to games with now… it’s the most awesome group of people I’ve ever enjoyed going out with and doing stuff around… and I don’t thank you guys for it… so I am now!! It means the world to me to FINALLY be able to have peeps to share this stuff with WHO GET IT as handily as I do!! (that’s what this is all about ain’t it??)
— the fitting irony of passing John MacLean’s record against Chicago, who against MacLean did score his most famous of goals…. very fitting!
— Video of Elias and MB30… coming soon to: http://www.youtube.com/crashliner (not to mention pics are up on my facebook AND myspace)
— The RANGERS SUCK chants were kept to a damn minimum tonight… and THANK GOD… this was a night about the DEVILS and NHL HISTORY… not a night to flex your inferiority complex!
— Jamie Langenbrunner telling mb30 to take a lap and enjoy it while his teammates cut the net off the posts for him (and in fitting irony the first guy to start snipping was poor Weekes!)

the Bad:
— Well I kinda missed the first Hawks goal getting all the videos of Patrik setting history… and then the second goal kinda gave you an OH SHIT moment of making it 3-2… but it did make the end celebration even more important (AND THANK YOU HOCKEY GODS FOR NOT MAKING THIS GAME A FUCKING SHOOTOUT!!)
— Colin White got hurt… it sounds minor… but it’s a blip in the radar you kinda don’t want now… not like Jay Leach and Andy Greene can’t fill in…. but they’re NOT on WHITE POWER’s level

the Funny:
— well the pre-game bar crawl OBVIOUSLY…. that was greatness in many levels (well until I look at my debit card statement later :p)…. Soda Bread… drunks trying to find the next bar (not to mention people trying to cross Broad Street without even looking at the damn traffic light!)
— the guy in front of us making some dumb gay comment to his friend across the row… and I got annoyed and flagged him for obsessive metro-sexuality… and boy did he take offense to it!! He launches into some tirade about it… that to be honest the crowd had DROWNED OUT… so I just have this annoying, whiny sexually confused idiot babbling… and all I see is like the kids on those old Charlie Brown specials and we’re trying hard to NOT laugh in his face for it!!!
— Little Miss Mike Peluso to my right doing her best impression of said Mikey… “Coach… I can’t take the shift!!” (was that subtle and ambiguous enough??)

enough of my stuff… go ahead guys…. add your moments too!!!!

One away from greatness?

It’s been a tough season for Mr. Martin Brodeur.

Taken out by a bum elbow, “MB30” had to take a back seat to witness his boys claw back from the pits of adversity and skate towards one of the NHL’s best records this season.

Yeah, Marty ain’t used to that.

We’re talking about a netminder who plays 8593 contests out of an 82 game season here. It surely could not have been easy.

Fast forward to March, where the three-time Cup winner is now one win away from shattering Patrick Rooooooooooooy’s record of 551 career wins.

Fancy.

It wasn’t easy, sure, but Marty’s almost there. He has his shot, Tuesday, against the surging Chicago Blackhawks. Cue dramatic orchestra music here.

…wait, what? The Hawks are good this year?

This really is a weird season.

Anyway, the stage is set and the leading roles have been assigned. Starring for the Devils, of course, Brodeur along with his comrades Zach Parise, Patrik Elias, and Jamie Langenbrunner. For the Hawks? Eh, who really cares. It’s Marty’s night, right?

Nine million years in this league, it’s his time to shine, his time to show us what he’s really made of, yadda yadda yadda.

…oh…no. I think all the Vezinas, 40-plus win seasons, and Stanley Cups already proved to us that Marty is the man.

So when Marty laces ’em up and settles in between the pipes on Tuesday, forget about the numbers and records. We don’t need 552 wins to tell us something we don’t already know.

#30 already is the best.