Thoughts from Section 20… eerr… 300, Devils AT Sabres, Dec 7, 2009!

Welcome to 2 Man History!!!! No no no, not the shutout record :p… Hells no not that… we’ll get to that!! Welcome to the first ROAD version of the keeping-this-site-alive sorta commentary on the Devils games I go to live…..it’s been a while since i saw NHL hockey live outside the friendly halls of Newark (no Andrew that Islanders game last year don’t count!)….hell in fact it was that first weekend in January of 2007, thet lead to a “you went out WITH THAT” girl getting a football tossed at her head :p… anyway, that was then and this is certainly NOW…. BUFFALO STINKS!!! And now we got proof!!

the Arena:
— Let me say this… the HSBC ARENA is flat out BEAUTIFUL!!! It has great sidelines… the arena is well-designed… it pays great tribute to the team as you walk in you see EVERYTHING… it’s perfectly designed, the concourse is way unique and takes pride in their team, their players and their history (as jaded as it is)… this is definitely one of the top 5 arenas I’ve been too in my 19 traveled too! I will DEFINITELY be coming back here again!!! (My top 5 I believe is now: Columbus, New Jersey, Phoenix, Toronto and then Buffalo… I culd be wrong and need to think of this better when the asthma headache goes away)
— the sight-line was a little… vertical…. I admit… but it was an excellent place to see hockey from, the Blue color-scheme was awesome
— if you are thinking of seeing a game up here… bring some thermals but GO… it’s a 5-star stop!!!!
— (and of course for more details on my trip… facebook me!!!)

The Good:
— I do really need to thank Melissa and her family for putting up with me this weekend and beyond… and my asthma-induced temper tantrum during that Cowboys debacle on Sunday… this has been quite honestly maybe the best and most stress (and drama)-free vacation I’ve had in a long time and I need to thank them for this… even if they may never read this thank you……
— Well obviously when your goaltender ties the record for the most regular season shutouts of all time… yeah he’s GOTTA be the lead comment right?? Though typical Buffalo douchery….”Sawchuck didn’t wear a mask…” I heard that about 15 times… and i’m sorry… him being TOO STUPID to wear one doesn’t lessen it… he also had no video scouting, less players in the league, a lighter schedule and the average hockey player NOW is way better and capable then they were back then SO SUCK IT and accept the fact you live in the city of fails!!!
— Johnny Oduya looks to be back and in his last year’s form with his effort in the last two games back from injury… hell that time off was maybe the best thing for him it seems….
— Vladimir Zharkov…. I was kinda annoyed that Halischuk got sent down (I thought he was improving and showing he belonged here…)… but now Zharkov is adding points to his resume (and playing time with Elias)… and if he keeps scoring Lou and Jacques look like GOD DAMN GENIUSES again!
— Colin White again a very quiet night and you look up and it’s a +2 night… I’m just saying….
— I was really getting on people’s nerves with the KILL….. KILL…. KILL…KILL!! Chant during Buffalo power plays, hell they coulda scored and shut me up right??? (so I ran it up a little and did it during the last 90 seconds of the game!)
— Zach Parise was buzzing all game long… it’s like he went to score ten points tonight so he could goad Miller all Olympics long about it eh? Was kinda fitting since our room was “909” in the hotel… and it lead to a Lord Krang snarl:
** Lord Krang “Our”?? As in yours and Andy’s??
See, Andy is so good he gets his own hotel room even though he hasn’t yet met the requirements in the CBA to be roommate-less, opening the way for him to share his hotel room with you!
(now let this fuel speculation indeed that the person behind the “Andy Greene” facebook page is an obscure Buffalo sports fan in Youngsville, PA 😉 )

The Bad:
— IT’S FUCKING COLD AND SNOWING OUT HERE… ok that’s bad for me and all I care about :p
— We’re getting spoiled by andy and his genius if it’s almost a bad night that he only had three nifty plays and assist and was “only even” in 25 miniutes played…. i expected more when I come 400 miles to see ya!!!
— USA hockey takes collective gasp as Montador runs over his own goalie!!! that was a pretty big scare this close to Olympic time….
— the only thing bad about this game I can think of is that Buffalo laid down much like Brett Favre did for Michael Strahan long long ago for another record that was of minimal interest :p

the funny:
— and oh boy we got a LOT here… I made some friends really quick in this game…. hell we even traded Chris Benoit jokes!!
Our new friendship began when they yelled “BORING TRAP DEVILS!!” I reminded them that the Rangers trapped more and somehow Jacques made us into an offensive powerhouse :o… and they returned the favor by telling me that Tim Connolly has a habit and liking to pee on girls after dates…. WHAT??!??!
— and see I wasn’t the only one expecting the irony of mb30 waiting till I travel to the frozen tundra to see him tie that shutout record:
** Brian Paolercio: Since you’re there, Scott, make sure you let the Sabres know that scoring on Marty is easier than kicking
a field goal. Marty will have his precious shutout record in no time. 😛
— I had a bit of a loud cough, but i had to be careful with it… didn’t want Buffalo nation to think I was making some kinda “choke” reference…. damn I needed a Tennesse Titans jersey eh??? Though speaking of painful Buffalo moments in sports history… with 19 seconds left, they stop the play on a Parise goal, and replay it… I turn and yell (some angry fans were annoying me with the Sawchuck comment)… “HEY LOOK THAT REPLAY’S ABOUT TEN YEARS LATE AIN’T IT??”,,,, douche chills ensued :p
** Tammie Hamilton: You need to do more road trips 🙂
(obviously she’s right… anyone wanna start paying for it?? I bring wins like Andy does 😀 )
— Second Intermission…..Random fan yells at me DEVILS SUCK
“Not tonight we don’t
“Well who looked better the game before??… See More
“Well who won cups?? Hell one better who kept brett hull OUT of the crease in the finals??
….Don’t bring rocks to a gun fight boy!!

Well it’s been a GREAT TRIP… off to a random bar for a bit… and then back home and back to normal by Wednesday!!

Wait, the Sabres are good?

So who’d have thought that this stretch of games against the Rangers, Penguins, and Sabres would prove to be an early-season measuring stick?  I mean, Penguins, of course.  Rangers & Penguins?  Okay, maybe.  But where the HELL did the Sabres come from?

The Sabres sit at 6-1-1 coming into tonight’s game at The Rock.  This means that the Devils last three opponents will have had a total of FIVE combined losses on the season before the Devils got their hands on ’em.

The win over the Penguins Saturday night was costly, however.  As you may know by now, both Paul Martin and Jay Pandolfo will be out 4-6 weeks due to seperate arm owies.  While Super Jay has been having a great year so far, he’s somewhat replacable in the lineup (Matt Halischuk probably gets regular playing time now).  But Paul Martin?  His loss could suck.  It could suck a lot.

I mean, because Paul Martin’s out, the Devils called up Cory Murphy.  THAT’S how much the loss of Martin sucks.  Granted, Murph was called up as a seventh defenseman, and won’t be in the lineup tonight, but still.  Our D-corps is pretty banged up in the early going, with Mike Mottau coming back from injury and Colin White and Bryce Salvador both puck magnets.  Factor in Johnny Oduya being less amazing than he has been, and our defense is basically Andy Greene and a buncha scrubs.  Lucky for us, Andy Greene = Wins.

The Devils are 5-0 on the road, which kind of sucks because tonight’s a home game.  In the friendly confines of Newark, New Jersey, the team is 1-3.  And the one win came against a surprisingly bad Carolina team.  That’s…not so good.  A win tonight, however, and all early-season home struggles are forgiven.

Come back here post-game for a Scott Mackie-style post-game recap!  Also, I’m not going to PROMISE it, but there’s gonna be a LiveCap coming eventually.  I haven’t forgotten, I just tend to be in class during the games.  I’ll set one up soon and let you, the loyal 2MA reader, know well in advance.  It’ll be a little party, it will!

Mmmm, Victory

Tastes good, don’t it?

That’s a win, kiddies.  That’s a WIN.  Walk into the building of the defending Stanley Cup champions and deliver a good old crotch-stomping to the tune of a 4-1 victory.  Beautiful.

(Side note:  Does anyone else get the feeling that Marty would be pushing 200 shutouts if Chico wasn’t one of our announcers?)

Anyhoo.  Stellar game.  The Devils are now 5-0 on the road (yet 1-3 at home.  Gotta fix that.).  The Penguins came in riding a SEVEN game win streak, and the win was only their second loss on the year.  The first was to the Coyotes.  True story.

Let’s discuss goal scoring for a moment:  Mark Fraser not only notches his first NHL goal, but also the first goal by a Devils defenseman all year.  Bergfors goes from slumping to a hot stick in two games, potting his second in as many games.  Zajac and Parise hook up for a goal and assist each, clearly trying to prove to Lemaire that BFFs on the same line should never be broken up.

The only downsides to this game:  Both Jay Pandolfo and Paul Martin go down with unspecified injuries.  And some might argue the former may not be much of a downside (sorry Super Jay).

Edit 10:47 PM: Tom Gulitti reports that Paul Martin may have a broken forearm and that Jay Pandolfo’s right shoulder popped from the socket on a hit from behind by Mike Rupp.  Both could potentially be lost for awhile.  That could suck.

So the Devils come home to rest and relax for a few days before taking on the Sabres at The Rock on Wednesday.  A good game to head home to.

When the hell do we play again?

I don’t like the schedule very much this year.

I mean really – there’s a two-week Olympic break in February, right?  So what happened to the condensed schedule?  Why did the Devils have a bunch of days off, then two games in a row, and now a bunch more days off?  It’s mighty boring.  Especially if you’re a Met fan like me and am physically disgusted at the baseball playoffs.  And if you’re a Seahawk fan like me and am embarrassed by your favorite football team’s performance week in and week out.  I NEED MY SPORTING DISTRACTIONS, NHL SCHEDULE MAKERS!

I guess in the mean time, since the Devils don’t play again ’til tomorrow, I can always do a little housekeeping with respect to Devils news & notes:

First off, Cory Murphy cleared waivers.  I’m only a touch surprised by this.  He’s already down in Lowell, and we may very well never see him again.  Unless someone gets injured.  Please, no one get injured.  Thanks.

The L-Devs also signed Dean McAmmond.  It’s okay, you can yawn, I already did.  He’s on an AHL contract and won’t be with the big club unless Lou offers him a big boy contract, too.

Patty Elias will see a doctor on Friday as he continues to work his way back into playing shape.  Still no definitive date for his return, but did you really expect anyone with the Devils to say so, even if there was?  My guess is November 7th @ Ottawa.  Dunno why, just a hunch.

Finally, Wednesday night’s home game against the Sabres suddenly has all kinds of crazy goings-on.  Mystery puck night is back – complete with jacked up price!  What was $20 for a puck signed by a mystery Devil last year is now $25.  But the proceeds benefit UNICEF, so you’re a real jerk if you complain about it.  Touche, Devils.  Touche.

I wish I was going to the game Wednesday night, I’d TOTALLY pay $25 for a Pierre-Luc Letourneu-Leblond puck.  Think about it, with a name like that, how’s he supposed to fit it all on one little puck?  It’d be the craziest puck signature ever, more silver marker than vulcanized rubber!

Also Wednesday is the return of College Night.  Irony for me being that I can’t attend, because I have to go to two college classes.  D’oh.

And since it’s Halloween week and the Devils play in the very scary location of Tampa Bay on Halloween itself, there’s a costume contest at the Rock Wednesday night as well.  Winner gets the choice of a catered suite to a future Devils game or four tickets to see Miley Cyrus.  Who’d you rather spend an evening with, Miley or Andrew Peters?  (…on second thought, don’t answer that.)

But since I won’t be there Wednesday, I guess my “Blind NHL referee” costume will have to remain in the closet for another year…