….picked a helluva night to be playing hockey eh???

…. so as I was out re-proving myself to a bunch of hockey loving fools in Morristown…. I get the news of a little trade….

ANSSI SALMELA IS BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

… errrr…. yeah…. right!!!

Well I played good in goal at least 🙂

(I know I know, I’m just putting it off now)

and by now you ALL know the details anyway, so now the Devils have the most dynamic Russian born right handed shot winger this side of Ovechkin in the league… THIS IS GOOD….though to remind some people of the crap I heard today before hand…

“Lou never makes this kinda trade….”
You guys forget Doug Gilmour?? Maybe that Moginly guy rings a bell…. maybe trading for Richer and Lemieux don’t count either anymore?? The reason the Devils ain’t made this kinda trade in like…. a decade… they DIDN’T HAVE THE PROSPECTS TO DEAL (Even giving them Oduya, and in the NHL Bergfors… looks like that Parise/Bergie sandwich my friend was hoping on is gonna have to wait now…)… the cup board needed to be refilled before Lou could cook up a deal… pretty simple….

“what about him walking at the end of the year??”
Kovalchuk (and damn me I gotta add his name to the spell check now) said he wants to WIN… so lets let him do some WINNING here, and I am talking a serious playoff run … and maybe those contract demands shrink (or he signs a one-year cheapie deal like Hossa did in the Detroit to try at it again)

“wow… we’re kinda good now… again… huh??”
Umm… yeah!!! When you can roll out a top 6 of:
Parise-Zajac-Langs
Elias-Zubrus-Kovy
and have Rolston and Clarkson on the 3rd line…. yeah that’s damn good…. and buckle in… looks like we may be riding his horse through May this year (for once)…. it’s gonna be fun tomorrow night ain’t it???

See Ya, Niclas.

Niclas Havelid, we hardly knew ya.  This may not be a bad thing.

As reported by Mr. Gulitti over on Fire & Ice, Havelid has signed on to play with Linkoping of the Swedish Elite League.  So basically, we traded away Anssi Salmela for a couple of weeks of a meh defenseman and a low-level goon who may never make it out of Trenton.

And so, Niclas Havelid joins the esteemed ranks of the Ken Klees and Deron Quints of Devils lore.  Fare thee well, Niclas.  I guess.  Whatever.

MARTY’S BETTER!

This is it children.  It’s been a long time.  Painfully long.  I think I speak for most Devil fans when I say, I’ve been counting down the days.  Waiting, hoping, wishing.  And now the day is finally upon us.  The man is back on the ice.  The myth.  The one simply known as Martin.

Yes gang, Paul Martin returns to the ice for New Jersey tonight when they take on the Colorado Avalanche at the Rock, after missing four games with an undisclosed “upper body injury.”  Wait, what? …You thought I was talking about someone else?

Oh, right, Martin Brodeur’s back tonight too.  Man, sucks to be Paul Martin, huh?

Tonight’s game will actually be the first since mid-OCTOBER that the Devils can say that they’ve had a full, 100% injury-free lineup.  Brendan Shanahan and Bryce Salvador will both be in the lineup after obtaining numerous owies over the course of the recent woebegotten roadtrip that we will now forget ever happened.  I guess Florida, Tampa, and Islander players just don’t like B.S. (get it?).

So, with a full lineup, some people are going to have to make their way over to the healthy scratch list, and surprisingly, Jay Pandolfo ain’t one of ‘em!  Super Jay’s in tonight’s lineup.  In his place in the press box is a (presumably) not-very-happy Mike Rupp.  Jay Leach also sits tonight.  Anssi Salmela was sent back to Lowell the other day with Mr. Scott Clemmensen, who may or may not have seen his last days in a Devils sweater this season – we’ll know the answer to that a little better in about six days.

So with Marty back, the biggest question, of course, is “is he ready?”  Judging from his responses in various interviews over the last few days, I’d have to say that he is.  I would hope he, Brent Sutter, Lou, and everyone involved in the organization realize that he’s coming off major surgery and the first extended injury break of his career and that caution is the key.  I don’t think they’d be stupid enough to allow Marty to dictate when he returns, which makes me feel that yes, he’s ready for NHL-level action today.

Once he’s back, Marty may want to play every day, but it will be imperative that Weekes (and maybe Clemmensen) get some time in to spell #30.  The first test of that will be this weekend, two games against teams in the thick of the playoff race on back-to-back AFTERNOONS.  If Marty plays both of them, I may pop a blood vessel in my frontal lobe.  Kevin Weekes should be playing Saturday, period, and with apologies to those who bought tickets already.

But, that’s another worry for another day.  Tonight, we sit back and enjoy the return of a Hall-of-Famer.  The timing couldn’t be better to get his feet wet, either:  Four days off before this game, against the worst team in the Western Conference.  The Avalanche, while still in the playoff race out west – it’s rather bunched up at the bottom of the conference – are also coming into New Jersey in the midst of a ridiculously long road trip.  Marty should be getting a cupcake team tonight to start his big return (no fat jokes, please).

As a programming note, for those who can’t be there tonight, the MSG network was kind enough to switch this game from MSG+2 to regular old MSG+.  You know what this means – HIGH DEF HOCKEY!  Sucks if you’re an Islander fan tonight.  As usual.

And of course, when one comes back, you lose another.  We’ll miss you ’round these parts, Patty.  Hopefully you’ll be around enough to lend some incite from the land of thick pizza and funny shaped buildings.  Also, I love the full circle-ness of your two big posts this season, covering Marty’s injury in the days after it happened, and now saying goodbye the day he comes back.  Well played, Miss Greuter, well played.  I think I speak for myself, Joe, Steve, Scott and 2MA fans worldwide when I say, this place just won’t be quite the same without ya.  Godspeed in the Windy City P!

Devils @ Lightning LIVECAP!

7:36 PM: Alright, so I’m gonna go get something to drink, then start my 2MA overtime shift, updating the ZUBBIECOUNTER four times over. See everyone soon!

7:34 PM: Final statline:
Zubrus – four goals
Elias – three asists, eleven points in the last five games
Salmela – two assists
Leach earns his first NHL point with an assist
Rupp notches his first goal of the year
Gionta has scored in four consecutive games

7:32 PM: And that’s the game! 7-3 Devils – save for a harrowing couple of minutes late in the second, a very well played game all-around.

7:30 PM: One minute remaining in this splendid game.

7:28 PM: Lost in the ZubbieMadness is the fact that Elias currently sits with three assists, adding to his insane point totals in the last five games.

7:26 PM: Anssi Salmela with a pretty blatent trip and the ‘Ning head to the power play.

7:35 PM: ZUBBIE AGAIN! Holy ZUBBIECOUNTERMELTDOWN BATMAN! 7-3 Devils, FOUR goals for Zubrus!

7:21 PM: Not much going on right now. Probably a good thing, my heart can only take so much.

7:19 PM: I’ll take Tampa’s use of Ole! by Bouncing Souls as a good sign for us. Because I liked Ole! as our goal song, I don’t care what anyone else says.

7:15 PM: My goodness, this game oughtta be like 10-3 right now. Elias with a wide open net, can’t get much on the shot and Ramo gloves it down.

7:11 PM: ‘nother Clarkaround try, nothing doing. Man the ZUBBIECOUNTER is gonna be back in full force tonight.

7:09 PM: ZUBTRICK! ZUBTRICK! ZUBTRICK!!! Beautiful breakaway backhand and DAINIUS ZUBRUS HAS SCORED A HAT TRICK!!

7:06 PM: Oh jebus. Langenbrunner with a rather wide open net, sends it high.

7:02 PM: We’re not looking good this period. Luckily, however, neither are the ‘Ning.

6:59 PM: Okay, we’re back for the third period. Again, we’re pretending the last seven minutes of the second period were a terrible nightmare and nothing more. Let’s get it on.

6:42 PM: Okay, end of the second period. I’m willing to act like the last seven minutes didn’t happen if the Devils are as well. Let’s just keep in mind that it’s still a two goal lead going into the third period. I’ll be back then.

6:40 PM: I miss Kolzig.

6:37 PM: Another goal would be REAL nice right now. I liked Tampa Bay as a place better when the building was silent.

6:35 PM: …who scores on it. 5-3 Devils. Uhm…this ain’t good.

6:34 PM: Pando! That was not kosher! Pando breaks up the breakaway, but not in the usual Devils manner, and now it’s a penalty shot for Malone.

6:31 PM: Oh dear. St. Louis with a goal on the 4-on-4 and now it’s 5-2. Okay guys, that’s enough feeling bad for Tampa now…

6:30 PM: Devils penalty now, Zajac for interference. Sigh. Four-on-four now. for about a minute and twenty.

6:29 PM: Hey, penalty on the Bolts. Good deal! Too many men on the ice.

6:28 PM: Damn. Radim Vrbata taps one in and it’s 5-1 Devils. Oh well.

6:23 PM: We’ve still got over seven minutes to go in the second. Gionta’s goal is his sixth on the year and makes it four straight games that he’s potted a puck.

6:21 PM: 5-0 DEVILS! Beautiful screen by Zubrus and Gionta gets the goal. Kari Ramo is now in net for the ‘Ning, as the red n’ black have chased Olie the Goalie.
6:19 PM: Clemmensen with a couple of good saves. Actually, our D looks real good tonight too. We just look good all around. Weird, huh?

6:17 PM: Salvador goes to the box for hooking. He feels shame.

6:15 PM: Couple of nice stops by Clemmensen. I’m rather impressed with Clemmer’s play since Marty’s injury. But his amazing play almost makes me sad, because I feel terrible for Kevin Weekes. However, I’ll take a non-sucky Clemmer over a sucky Clemmer any day.

6:12 PM: Penalty kill’t.

6:10 PM:Devils PK hits the ice as Colin White (who got an assist on the second Zubbie goal) goes off for tripping.

6:07 PM: Oh. My. God. ZUBBIE AGAIN! Zubrus fights the puck past the pads of Kolzig and it’s 4-0 Devils. ZUBBIECOUNTER is working overtime today.

6:03 PM: Zubbie! ZUBBIE! CRAP I DON’T HAVE THE COUNTER READY! 3-0 Devils and the World-Famous ZUBBIECOUNTER will notch up one more when this game has ended!

6:02 PM: They’re reviewing it, though it’s pretty clearly no goal.

6:01 PM: Oh myyyy some beautiful passing on the PP but Kolzig stones Zajac with his stick. Good looking power play so far.

5:59 PM: Devils remain on the power play to begin this period.

5:58 PM: We’re back y’all. Second period, underway.

5:42 PM: And a very good first period is in the books, Devils lead 2-0. See you in seventeen.

5:39 PM: Devils hit the power play, holding on…a Bolt. Less than a minute left in period #1.

5:38 PM: BIG save by Kolzig on Langenbrunner.

5:36 PM: Whoo! Clemmensen makes a wicked save on a deflection, play comes up to the other end. Clarkson draws a penalty, passes to Salmela who threatens to shoot multiple times but dumps it off to Leach, who passes to Parise coming off the bench. Parise with the blast and it’s 2-0 Devils! A beautiful play from beginning to end.

5:33 PM: I think Clarkson just tried a Clarkaround without even having the puck on his stick…

5:27 PM: Clarkaround try! Missed entirely. You keep trying though Clarkie. Someday…Someday…

5:25 PM: Big blasts from the defense by Martin and Salvador. We almost look like we’re on a power play right now. It’s kind of weird, seeing a team not called the Devils play like we usually do.

5:23 PM: Ten minutes in, and not much interesting going on since Rupp’s goal. A nice chance for Zubrus/Elias, but the pass was not on target, so nothing doing there.

5:21 PM: Bryce Salvador is a defensive BEAST. To think, we got this guy for Cam Janssen. I love-ed Cam Janssen, but…man did we ever win on that trade.

5:19 PM: I would LiveCap a game that MSG+ seems to have issues with broadcasting. Eesh. All is well now though. I think

5:17 PM: Scott Clemmensen’s been wearing 35 this year, but the back of his helmet still says 40. This amuses me for some reason, that he hasn’t bothered to get it re-painted.

5:14 PM: Third jersey rant time: If you’re gonna go with writing out your name, write out YOUR TEAM’S NAME! NOT SOME LAME NICKNAME! I’m looking at you, “Bolts” and “Sens”. Thankfully we’ll never have to see a third jersey that says “Devs” on it.

5:11 PM: Holy crap Mike Rupp scores! Deflects a shot/pass from Anssi Salmela five-hole through Kolzig. Beautiful tip. 1-0 Devils.

5:09 PM: Puck meets ice and we’re underway. Olaf Kolzig’s in net for the ‘Ning.

5:07 PM: Oh, and Jay Leach is up to replace Mottau. Yippie.

5:02 PM: To get us all up to date: Mottau’s suspended for tonight’s game as well as Wednesday’s. Madden remains out with a sore foot. Clemmensen’s in net after Weekes posted the win Friday. The Lightning’s third jersey is muy ugly. We good? We good.

4:43 PM: Devils take on the ‘Ning, 5 PM eastern. Stick with us!

Injury bugs are the worst kinda bugs…

So, there is a silver lining in the Marty injury saga. It’s a very very small silver lining, barely registering on whatever one uses to measure silver linings. But it’s there, and I’ve found it. The very very small silver lining to Marty’s injury is thus:

We can use the Weekeser Beam picture again!

Okay, so in all seriousness now, it’s still rather unclear what Brodeur’s injury is, but the Devils said “elbow bruise” when it happened. And in Devils speak, “elbow bruise” probably means his arm fell off. Or possibly a pulled hamstring. I’m out of practice with my Devils injury speak.

Either way, it’s becoming (PAINFULLY) clear that Marty’s chase of Patrick Roy’s wins record is probably on hold for at least a few games. Kevin Weekes definitely has the nod in between the pipes this evening at the Rock against the Sabres, and my guess would be we’ll be seeing him on Wednesday as well. I have little fear with Weekes in net, the man was a starter for many years and is nearing his own milestone – two wins gives him 100 on his NHL career.

Backing up Weekes will be former 2MA icon Scott Clemmenson, who was recently recalled from Lowell for the assignment. The Devils also recalled rookie defenseman Anssi Salmela, for reasons unknown. I don’t think it’s to play goal, though. Edit: According to Gulitti, Paul Martin’s not on the ice for practice today. Crap.

Tonight’s Buffalo/New Jersey matchup provides one other interesting storyline that I never would have expected out of this game before the season started: The NHL’s top two goal scorers will be in the house. Thomas Vanek leads all scorers with 11 goals in as many games, while Zach Parise comes in at second with nine goals in ten games. Who woulda thunk it, a Devil amongst the league leaders in goal scoring? If Parise pots a puck (yay alliteration) tonight, he’ll also set a Devils record for most consecutive games scoring a goal – he sits tied with Valeri Zelepukin, Bobby Holik, Kirk Muller, and Pat Verbeek for the club record with six consecutive goal-scoring games.

I won’t be watching this evening’s game (lousy classes need to stop occuring on game nights), but I’m sure you can expect a typical Scott Mackie rant afterwards! And for those fearing that we’ve forgotten about LiveCaps – fret not, they’re coming. It’s been a rough go of things schedule-wise for most of the crew here, but after this week, things should be relatively back to normal. Thanks for sticking with us!

Devils @ Atlanta LIVECAP

9:44 PM: Brent Sutter: “Ankle sprain. He’ll be fine.” Uhhhhhh…yeah. Kay. Thanks, Brent, you’ve been quite informative.

9:41 PM: Alright, so no word on Rolston yet. If they say anything that actually means anything, I’ll post it up here. I’m expecting “lower body injury” (or possibly “head cold”) with no actual idea as to how long he’ll be out. If it’s different, I’ll let you know. If not, goodnight all!

9:24 PM: And, like the game itself, the first LiveCap of the season is in the books, it wasn’t pretty, but it happened. I’ll stick around a bit longer to see if we get an update on Rolston’s condition, but I’m not holding my breath…

9:22 PM: GAME! 1-0 Devils. It wasn’t pretty, the offensive production still sucks, the power play still sucks, but it’s a win nonetheless. Marty’s now 10 wins from tying Patrick Roy for most all-time by a goalie (11 from breaking the record), and six shutouts away from tying Terry Sawchuk for most shutouts of all-time., seven from breaking the record.

9:22 PM: BEAUTIFUL defensive play by Martin to prevent a shot on goal on the rush. Twenty seconds to go.

9:21 PM: Empty Thrasher net.

9:17 PM: Ice is tilting Atlanta’s way with two minutes to go. Meep.

9:15 PM: ANOTHER two-on-one featuring Jay Pandolfo, another non-shot-on-goal. At least no one crashed in a heap into the boards this time, though, so, y’know, take what we can get, yes?

9:13 PM: No updates on Rolston (what, you expected the Devils would reveal anything ever at any time?), but the replay reminds me a little Sidney Crosby’s crash into the boards last year that resulted in his high ankle sprain. Let’s hope that’s not the case here…

9:12 PM: Still 1-0, seven minutes to go in the game. Zubrus is now centering Elias and Gionta, so I guess the great line shake-up of the second period has ended. The 32 fans in attendance are chanting! It sounds impressive for 32 people.

9:09 PM: Rolston hit the boards after losing an edge, Chico says he needed help getting into the locker room because he couldn’t put much weight on his foot. Me no likey.

9:07 PM:Elias and Rolston two-on-one gets broken up, and after the play, Rolston is down and looks to be hurting…crap. Just…crap.

9:05 PM: Shorthanded two-on-one for Madden and Pando, Madden passes, and Pando fires it directly into Lehtonen’s pads. Another two-on-one, Elias and Pando, again nothing doing. But it’s chances, at least! …right?

9:04 PM: Atlanta’s on a power play and I have no idea why. Either I wasn’t paying attention or MSG didn’t think it was important to tell me. Neither would be surprising. Atlanta hits the pipe on the power play.

9:01 PM:Penalty kill’t. Big save by Marty (and then again possibly by Salvador’s backside) at the end of the Thrasher power play. Our power play may be awful, but at least the penalty kill’s holding up it’s end of the bargain…

8:58 PM: Paul Martin going off for a holding-the-stick penalty, Thrashers to the PP again.

8:55 PM: Marty with a save on Bogosian. Come to think of it, has Bogo scored yet in his pro career? Marty seems to like giving up first career goals…

8:52 PM: Third period’s on, goal credited to Rolston after all. Zubrus and Gionta on the assists.

8:35 PM: And that’s the end of period #2, 1-0 Devils. 20 shots on goal (I still refuse to believe that). Third period coming up soonish.

8:33 PM: The official announcement at the arena is giving the goal to Langenbrunner from Rolston and Zubrus. Lehtonen with a huge glove save on Elias keeps it a one-goal game.

8:31 PM: FINALLY! Rolston, let off the point at the power play, forces his way in front of the net and jams home his own rebound. Devils lead 1-0, Rolston notches his first of his second Devils go-round, and the Devils power play finally picks up another goal. Alllll right.

8:30 PM: Exelby takes the roughing penalty for his tackle of Langenbrunner, the ever-dangerous Devil power play takes the ice.

8:27 PM: Now it’s Rolston, Langenbrunner, and Zubrus. And hey, even a little scrummy-ness involving the Cap’n and Garnet Excelby. The most life I’ve seen tonight. The 32 fans in attendance even seemed to wake up.

8:26 PM: Rupp/Zajac/Parise? Really?

8:24 PM: Cangelosi just said the shots for the second are 13-5 Devils. I refuse to believe this. There is no way I’ve seen thirteen Devil shots on the night, let alone this period.

8:19 PM: Clarkson wraparound try! Gasp and shock, it’s not even close.

8:15 PM: Zubrus charging in on a three-on-one, opts to shoot…and misses the net entirely. Blast.

8:13 PM: I wonder how we managed to win two games so far this year considering I can’t recall ever actually scoring any goals…

8:06 PM: Hey hey, something interesting! Brodeur with a stop on the big blast by White (not Colin, Todd), leaves a huge rebound and manages to get in front of the follow-up shot as well. Stellar stop by Marty. The 32 fans in the building agree.

8:04 PM: I think Sutter’s futzing with the lines again. Clarkson was just out there with Holik and Rupp. Zubrus is centering Rolston and Elias at the moment as well.

8:01 PM: God, Lehtonen is leaving some juicy rebounds. However, in shades of last year, the Devils can’t do a damn thing about it. Penalty’s over, though. Devils have killed three of three of ’em tonight now.

8:00 PM: Okay, second period on, Devils still on the PK. A little bit more…something, this period? Anything? Please?

7:42 PM: Aaaaand that be the end of a very boring first period, scoreless after one. See you in seventeen for what can only be a more interesting second. I hope.

7:39 PM: Welp, least they killed that one. Holik gets booed by the 32 Atlanta fans in attendance tonight. Yet another Devils penalty coming up, Zajac for hooking. Less than a minute to go in the period.

7:36 PM: See, this is why I miss Doc. Cangelosi lied to me, it’s actually Atlanta on the power play, not so much the Devils.

7:34 PM: And just as one penalty expires, and new one commences. The Devils get their turn on the power play, again. So in two minutes, the score will still be zero-zero, again.

7:31 PM: And so Colin White goes off for interference. This game is rather boring. Sorry. Last year’s early-season game in Atlanta was all kinds of crazy. I miss that game. A little.

7:26 PM: Even Chico’s mentioning how few fans are in the building. And is also touting the Thrashers “Buy a ticket, eat all you want for free” sections deal. Chico Eats: HOTlanta Edition!

7:23 PM: How they managed to not get it in, I don’t have the slightest. Good pressure again, but once again, nothing doing as far as scoring. Devils PP is now 0-for-2 on the evening, and 1-for-13 on the year. Ouch.

7:22 PM: I say it every time the Devils play Atlanta, but DAMN the Thrashers have ugly jerseys.

7:20 PM: ‘nother penalty on the Thrashers, this one interference on David Clarkson. Don’t the Thrashers know they don’t have to interfere with David Clarkson, that he’s perfectly capable of stopping his own progress? Regardless, Devils PP again.

7:17 PM: You know, as a Devils fan, I should be used to empty arenas…and yet, I keep finding myself strangely drawn to the swaths of empty seats whenever the camera catches the stands. It’s almost hypnotizing.

7:15 PM: A nice chance in front for Pandolfo, who sends a backhander at the Atlanta goal with the speed of a honey-soaked tortoise. Sigh.

7:13 PM: Surprisingly strong on the puck deep in the zone, but Atlanta manages to clear each time. We’re not looking stellar tonight boys.

7:11 PM: Schneider with a puck-over-the-glass deal and the vaunted (ha!) Devils power play hits the ice. Oh boy oh boy.

7:09 PM: Puck’s on the ice in Atlanta. You wouldn’t know it from the crowd though. My goodness, and they say we don’t draw in Jersey. Hot damn.

7:01 PM: Oh dammit. First LiveCap of the year, and Doc’s sick. Sigh. Get well Doc. Other Devils news for tonight: Salmela’s hanging out in the press box tonight, and Andy Greene gets into his first game of the year. He’ll be paired with Johnny Oduya.

6:45 PM: What’s that coming over the hill? It it a LiveCap? It it a LiveCap? Ahhh musical references no one will get…see you in 15!