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

F(ree Agency) This.

Us Devils fans are a naive bunch.

It’s the only period over the course of a seemingly never-ending summer that a hockey fan can get their fix. Free Agency. It’s irresistible to wonder over the possibilities of who could be lacing up their skates in your building come October.

Could Marian Hossa be coming to town? Nope – Chicago locked him up forever. Maybe sniper Mike Cammalleri will be suiting up in Black ‘N Red next year? Nah, he’d rather Blue ‘n Red. Havlat? Nope. Gaborik? Ha. Niedermayer coming home?? Pshh. Perhaps we could bolster the blueline with guys like Mike Komisarek or Mattias Ohlund? Nien. Ok, we’re obviously saving money for Koivu… or not.

But I’ll tell you what we can do… We can say goodbye to one-third of our starting forwards and wish good will to the goaltender who saved our arses last season. Wait…wha?!

So thus far it’s a big See Ya! to John Madden, Brian Gionta, Bobby Holik, Scott Clemmensen, and Mike Rupp. And a great big how-do-ya-do to… Ilkka Pikkarainen.

Ugh.

Last year it seemed as if Lou was trying to reunite the rosters of glory days-past. This year, the reunion will be ending with an awkward and uncomfortable orientation.

But, then again — it’s Free Agency and we’re Devils fans.

I mean, really.

2 Man Advantage Free Agent Signing Day Happy Fun Time & Box Social 2009!

10:57 PM: Kay, this looks like a good place to end the night. Thanks for tuning in everyone, check back for any (or no?) Devils signings as they happen!  -Josh & Patricia

10:55 PM:
Aaand we have numbers for the Havlat deal. Looks to be six years at $5-million a year.

10:30 PM:
Apparently the Wild are also closing in on Saku Koivu.

10:26 PM:
TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that Havlat and the Wild do have a verbal agreement in place.

10:23 PM:
Unconfirmed report that Martin Havlat has signed with the Minnesota Wild. More to come.

9:58 PM:
Okay folks, we’re going to stay live until 11PM ET and then call it a night. Josh and Patricia are quite tired after a hectic July 1st. Naturally, if anything breaks, we’ll be sure to report it. Thanks for sticking with us tonight!

9:42 PM:
Report out of Montreal indicates Saku Koivu, Alex Tanguay, and Alexei Kovalev will not be re-signed. Lou, GET ON IT. KOIVU. NOW.

9:19 PM: I now dub thee John “Chicago Style” Mad Dog.

9:03 PM:
Confirmed, Madden to the Hawks. One year at $2.75-million.

9:02 PM:
We can confirm that Madden will NOT be returning with the Devils next season.

9:00 PM: John Madden
may have signed with the Chicago Blackhawks. Working on it.

8:57 PM:
The Phoenix Coyotes have signed Jason LaBarbera to a two-year contract. Financial terms undisclosed.

8:53 PM:
Rich Chere is reporting that prospect Jeff Frazee may very will be the backup to Martin Brodeur next season for the Devils. Looks like we might not get to use the Weekes Laser picture anymore…sad face.

8:51 PM:
The Calgary Flames have signed Frederik Sjostrom. Terms undisclosed.

8:47 PM: Chris Neil
has decided to stay in Ottawa after all, re-upping with the Senators for a four-year, $8-million contract.

8:35 PM:
Indeed. Gio has been reunited with Scott Gomez in Habs-land. Five years at $25-million. Uh…Saku, wanna play in Newark?

8:33 PM: Reports indicate Devils winger Brian Gionta has signed with the Montreal Canadiens. Working on confirmation.

8:23 PM: Marian Gaborik
has signed with the New York Rangers  for five years at $37.5-million total. Overpay much? So, let me get this straight. Rangers get rid of Gomez as a salary dump, then spend seven ba-gillion dollars on an oft-injured winger? Genius.

8:07 PM:
Good ol’ Tom Gulitti reports that we might hear within the next few hours where Mr. Brian Gionta will land.  Montreal has been the number one talked about team for the good part of the day.

7:28 PM:
The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed Mathieu Garon to a two-year, $2.4-million deal.

7:19 PM: Jason Strudwick
has re-signed with the Edmonton Oilers for $700,000 over one year.

6:54 PM:
Things seem to have quieted down a bit. We’re still here though, ready to report any free agent signings or trades!

6:24 PM: Samuel Pahlsson
has signed a three-year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets worth a total of $7.95-million.

6:15 PM: Steve Sullivan
has re-signed with the Nashville Predators. The deal is worth $7.5-million over two years.

6:11 PM:
The Bruins have signed Steve Begin to a one-year, $850,00 contract.

6:01 PM:
Bob McKenzie is reporting the Komisarek deal to be worth five years at $4.5-million a season.

5:55 PM: Mike Komisarek
has signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Working on terms.

5:54 PM:
Little bit more info on the Kubina deal: Colin Stewart also goes to the Leafs in exchange for the rights to Tim Stapleton.

5:49 PM: Vernon Fiddler
has signed a two-year deal with the Phoenix Coyotes that will pay him $1.1-million a season. Byron Bitz has also re-signed with the Boston Bruins. Terms not disclosed. The Ottawa Senators have re-signed Mike Brodeur to a one-year, two-way contract.

5:46 PM:
The Minnesota Wild have signed Greg Zanon to a three-year deal worth a total of $5.2 million.

5:42 PM:
Still very quiet in New Jersey. I know one 2MAer who would love to see Saku Koivu inked by Black ‘n Red.

5:36 PM:
Cammalleri is confirmed per Darren Dreger. The Hurricanes have also re-signed Michael Ryan to a two-way deal.

5:28 PM:
We’re hearing five years at $30-million for Cammalleri, while Garnet Exelby is Toronto’s return for the Kubina deal.

5:26 PM:
Several outlets are reporting Mike Cammalleri has signed with the Montreal Canadiens while the Pavel Kubina-to-Atlanta deal has finally gone through. Working on terms for both deals.

5:25 PM:
The Carolina Hurricanes have re-signed Patrick Dwyer to a two year, two-way deal. Blockbuster.

5:11 PM: The San Jose Sharks have re-signed Kent Huskins to a two-year, $3.4-million contract while David Koci has gone to the Colorado Avalanche for a one-year, $575,000 deal.

4:46 PM:
Devils bruiser Mike Rupp has signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins, two years at $825,000 a year.

4:42 PM: Hal Gill
has signed with the Montreal Canadiens  for two years at $4.5-million total while the Florida Panthers have inked Ville Koistinen.

4:40 PM:
The Philadelphia Flyers have signed Ian Laperierre to a three-year deal at $3.5-million.

4:33 PM:
We’re hearing three years at just over a million per season for $3.6-mill total. Good for you, Mr. Clemmensen. Good for you.



4:27 PM:
Unverified reports indicate Devils netminder Scott Clemmensen will be signing with the Florida Panthers for a multi-year deal. Working on confirmation.

4:22 PM: Adam Pardy
re-signs with the Flames.  Meh.

4:12 PM: 2 years, $2.8 million and $3 million for Cole.

4:09 PM: 4 years, $15 million for the Bulin wall, according to TSN.  Cole’s looking at a 2 year deal from Carolina.

4:01 PM: TSN reporting Nikolai Khabibulin to the Oilers, no word on years or dollars.  Erik Cole also said to be re-signing with the Hurricanes.

3:50 PM: Jaroslav Spacek to the Canadiens, three years, $11.5 million according to the Boston Globe.  With every new Canadiens signing, I get a little more hopeful the Devils will wind up with Saku Koivu…

3:42 PM: Signings have dried up over the last half hour or so.  It’s getting kinda boring.

3:28 PM: Hello 2000! Brian Boucher has signed with the Philadelphia Flyers for two years at $925,000 a season.

3:16 PM: Joel Ward
re-signs with Nashville, 2 years, $1.5 million per.  Aaron Rome signs with Vancouver for $550,000.

3:12 PM: Why can’t anyone with an easy name do anything today?  Lukas Krajicek re-signs with the Lightning.  One year deal.  Financials undisclosed so far.

3:08 PM: Scott Niedermeyer re-ups with Anaheim, one year, $6 million + bonuses.  Drats.

3:05 PM: TG says that both Gionta and Shanahan are fielding offers.  Guess no one cares about poor John Madden.

2:54 PM: Donald Brashear to the Rangers.  Me no likey that. Two years, $2.8 million.

2:50 PM: Andy Strickland reports that Mike Knuble‘s signed with Washington, two years $2.8 million per season.  Nothing official on Gio yet.

2:46 PM: Steve Montador signs with Buffalo.  2 years, $1.55 million per.

2:41 PM: Get your height jokes in while you can, boys and girls, rumors are that Gio’s nearing a deal with a new team.

2:39 PM: TSN just listed the Devils in a laundry-list style rundown of teams that may be interested in Scott Niedermeyer.

2:32 PM: Forgive me for the pun I’m about to make, but…Twitter is all a-Twitter that Brian Gionta is apparently a hot commodity this afternoon.

Been nice knowin’ ya, shorty.

2:23 PM: Dwayne Roloson to the Islanders, 2 years, $2.5 million per according to NY Newsday.  Tomas Kopecky to Chicago for two years, financials not yet known.

2:15 PM: Final numbers on Andy Greene’s contract:  Two years, $1.475 million.  $725,000 in year one, $750,000 in year two for a cap hit of $737,500 per year.  All of this info via TG at Fire & Ice.

2:12 PM: 12 years, $62 million for Hossa from Chicago.  Hot diggity the ‘Hawks better hope he’s healthy and not cursed.

2:11 PM: Conkblock himself, Ty Conklin has signed with the Blues, two years, $1.3 million.  Prepare yourselves for an outdoor game, St. Louis.  Ty likes those games.

2:05 PM: Matt Walker to Tampa Bay, four years/$1.7 million per according to TSN.

2:04 PM: Apparently Chicago’s looking to deal Huet now.  I think they don’t have much of a choice.

2:02 PM: Hossa’s a done deal in Chicago, rumored to be TWELVE years at 5 million a year.

2:01 PM: Darren Dreger reports that the Lightning were in the running for Hossa too.  Which just proves that yes, the Lightning really were given cap immunity.

1:56 PM: Craig Anderson, goalie extraordinaire, to Colorado for two years, financial terms undisclosed.

1:47 PM: A big name!  Finally!  TSN is currently reporting that Marian Hossa will make it to the Stanley Cup Final and lose with the Chicago Blackhawks this year!  Terms undisclosed.  Also, David Booth re-signs with Florida for 6 years/$25.5 million.

1:46 PM: Pavel Kubina rumored to be being traded to Atlanta.

1:45 PM: Pierre LeBrun of ESPN says otherwise on the officialness of the Kovalev deal.  So, it’s still rumored.

1:40 PM: Kovalev deal is now official (or not…), he re-ups with Montreal for 2 years, $8.75 million.  Greene’s a two-year deal, still waiting on the dolla dollas.

1:32 PM: It’s a very slow go of it so far.  Only three signings in the first hour and a half.  If I recall correctly, it picked up between 2 and 3PM last year.

1:18 PM: Kovalev re-signing with Montreal is still just a rumor.  Deal has yet to be signed, according to TSN.

1:13 PM: Tough guy Colton Orr has inked a four-year, $4-million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

1:07 PM: Okay Devils fans, we can all breathe easy.  The official Devils Twitter feed reports that the Devils have re-signed Andy Greene.  Thank God that’s taken care of.  Since it’s the Devils, terms are, naturally, undisclosed.

12:59 PM: Rumors flying that Alex Kovalev has re-signed with Les Habs for 2 years and about $8.8 million.  Not confirmed yet, though.

12:49 PM: Radek Dvorak re-ups in Florida.  Two years, $3.4 million. n Ohlund’s deal is indeed frontloaded, Darren Dreger tweets that Mattias will take home $22.5 million of the $24.5 million in the first five years of the deal.  Speaking of tweets, why not follow us?  @2MAblog

12:27 PM: Ohlund terms disclosed:  SEVEN YEARS, $3.75 million per.  Gotta be frontloaded.  Just has to be.

12:15 PM: First signing!  Perennial Devils trade rumor Mattias Ohlund has signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Terms yet to be disclosed.

12:03 PM: No free agents have signed yet.  What’s taking them so long?!  Jerks.

12:00 PM: Let the festivities commence!  The floodgates, they are being opened.

CLICK TO READ MORE!!! —> [Read more…]

NJ Devils 2008-2009 Season in Review!

Damn… it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these eh?? Last time I did this, Scott Clemmensen was still playing Shane Falco… the team was still up and coming… and damn… it was a while ago… but now with the regular season FINALLY over, time to take a look back at the wildest and more fun-est season EVER that I can remember as a fan of pro sports!!

Forwards:
#9 (LW) Zach Parise:
AAAAAAAHHHHH… PARISSSEEEE!!! Something about this kid makes you jump up and down like a little girl, ya know?? I mean we had all these records come and go this year and this kid’s season came OUT OF NOWHERE… and it was the second most fun thing about this year….3rd best season offensively ever (in goals and points) and emerged as the most dangerous offensive player on the team… slowed down a bit in the end when Elias was out and teams can really key on him… but his hockey smarts and timing are still there and he knows where and WHEN to be at the right place and that’s not going away!!
Grade: A

#26 (LW) Patrik Elias-A
78 points in 77 games… hey that’s pretty good… and like I said above when he wasn’t there, the Parise line really suffered… broke the all-time points record, broke 30 goals again, and seemed to elevate Gionta and Zubrus’ games at times too…not as dangerous as he used to be but he’s a helluva good second threat (and him and Parise are scary on the power play and 4 on 4 situations)
Grade: A-

#14 (RW) Brian Gionta:
20 goals, a bit disappointing, but I’ll take 40 assists though (means someone was scoring them… enough of them were Elias and even the king of the Zubbie-counter)… didn’t get to the front of the net as much as you’d like, doesn’t set up the play much… but still finds a way to contribute… ugh… god he’s a pain in the ass to figure out… he did well but not as expected… agh, I’m psycho-babbling, 5th on the team in scoring and a +12, you’d have signed on for that in September… so I’ll say he did ok!
Grade: B

#19 (Center) Travis Zajac:
One of many career highs on this team, and a HUGE sign on the upside on the future of this team…4th in the NHL in +/-…2nd on the team in faceoffs… and oh yeah.. one hellva year in offense (4th on the team with 62 points, and one of the 5-20 goal scorers on the team)… the third year truly was the charm for this center! The best part is he can really improve and get BETTER (playing with Parise helps too)
Grade: B+

#11 (Center) John Madden-A
7 goals?? -7 ?? Eeeekkkk… not the best way to go into a contract year (though if he goes BONZO GONZO in the playoffs it all goes out the window)… still decent on faceoffs and not brutally terrible on the penalty kill, but not dominant… has a 4th line role on this team, but at WAY less money… really needs to erase a miserable season with a good playoff… IF he has it in him…
Grade: C-

#8 (LW) Danius Zubrus:
Eh… he does the little things, but you’d like some more of the big things if he’s gonna play on the 2nd line with Elias and all… 15 goals is nice…25 helpers is OKAY, but it’s not great… hell it’s not even second line worthy, but it’s the best place for him and in it’s own kinda way… it sorta works… take out the fact that 4 of those goals were in one game and it’s pretty shitty actually (more so that it was Tampa)… again a lot can be forgotten in the playoffs… but until then it’s been kinda a bit less then average… that makes this grade easy…
Grade: C

#15 (RW) Jamie Langenbrunner-C
Horrible first month… but since then became the standard of consistent and reliable (probably should have sat some games to heal up)… but when he got on track he was DAMN good… another guy with career highs, handled the C just fine and did everything you asked of him and sometimes too much!
Grade: A

#23 (RW) David Clarkson:
He’s been getting more steady and reliable game in and game out… he’s cutting out the fancy shit (thank god) and sticking to a straight-nose kick ass, take names and get his face in the shit like he SHOULD be doing!! He still fights, and pretty well… so good job Clarkie!! Gives Power Forward a pat on the head… and hell… a cupcake!!!
Grade: A

#20 (LW) Jay Pandolfo:
5 goals… 5 assists and a -12?? That’s just not gonna cut it… the mistake contract from excessive loyalty for years of service…. Sometimes that’s just not a good idea… this was one of those cases…. He gets a lucky goal filling in with Elias and him Madden and Shanny look tolerable for one game and it’s a Pando-love-fest?? I don’t get it….really he can’t be in the long term plans of this team and this year was BRUTAL… unlike Madden I can’t see a step up playoff run in him
Grade: F

#18 (RW): Brendan Shanahan:
14 points in 34 games is a tolerable amount for him, though he seriously gets too much ice time (killing penalties at his age and lack of speed… not good), he’s still got the smarts, and the savvy… but the speed is long long gone and 15 minutes a game is WAY too much!
Grade: C

#17 (LW/C) Mike Rupp:
He’s been better at what he is… he’s not useless on the ice and he DID put up nine points and even 3 goals, his fighting is better, the boxing lessons did help his overall althelticism, and he’s not painfully retarded to watch stumble on the ice… for the enforcer-type… he’s decent enough (hell after last year this is a GLOWING review!)
Grade: C+

#25 (LW) The man simply known as PL^3 (cause I hate typing his name!)
Eh, he is what is he is…. He can skate, and maul people… he fights and has very little else…hell I don’t know if we saw enough of him to rate him fully…
Grade: Incomplete

#12 (LW/C) Brian Rolston:
Tough guy to rate this year because half his season is a wash-out from the ankle injury (and yes it takes THAT long to come back from the high ankle sprain)… and if you look at his stats 15/17 and a +2 is a decent enough half-season.. not really suited to be a center anymore (and personally I think he’s been best with Madden and Clarkson)… and free agents always suck the first year you get them (look at the improvement in Zubrus in year 2)….. so you almost want to throw away the first season sometimes….
Grade: C+ (another guy who can make up for a lot in the playoffs)

#16 (Center) Bobby Holik:
Eck… a minor penalty… a smarky post-game comment and a goal or two by accident (holy shit he had FOUR goals??)… really high faceoff % aside… he’s kinda sucked this year… the snarl leads to dumb penalties and at his age no way in hell is he gonna learn!
I didn’t expect a LOT… ok I expected 10 goals which WAS a lot after all :p… the best thing you can about ol’NoGoalik… at least the coach had the sense to bench him by season’s end!
Grade: D-

Defense:
#7 Paul Martin:
Emerged as a borderline elite defenseman this season.. hell the only thing keeping him from all-star level is the fact his offense is a step behind where it needs be (33 points is about 10-12 points away from being what a true top-tier defenseman puts up)…. Makes his defensive partner better regardless of who (I still hate him and Oduya as a tandem, wastes all our speed defenders at once)… but you’d have to look hard and far to say bad things about #7 this year!
Grade: A

#27 Mike Mottau:
Slow, but steady (seems to be the way with this team ain’t it?)… plays well with White… but good god that’s two cinder blocks on ice.. least Mottau’s skating is a bit better then last year (and so is White), 15 points is a solid contribution and the +24 is a function of playing with White and the team’s mojo this year… but I can’t blame success on him now can I?
Grade: B

#5 Colin White:
Best year of his career as a Devil, offensively… the team’s record sucked with out him, the penalties are cut down… so are the fights.. but you don’t bring a one-eyed guy to an ass-kicking contest, right?? Colin is everything you can expect and hope for him to be for a minute eating-defender… I just wish he had a partner with superior wheels….
Grade: A

#29 Johnny Oduya:
His offense picked up nicely when he got paired with Martin (they let the reigns off of him at that point and the goal scoring picked up nicely… including some game-winning gems) and he really grew into a nice steady solid top 4 defenseman now, a true find off the old scrap pile after all.
Grade: A-

#24 Bryce Salvador:
Good start… not-so-good finish (didn’t exactly click with Havelid after all)… a lot of what I am about to say about Havelid, it just didn’t work with the two of them (I’d love to see him and Oduya still, and maybe Havelid with Mottau perhaps)… nothing really much to say about him… he’s a good hockey player and he does “hockey player” things ya know? I’ll even out a B start and a D finish….
Grade: C

#28 Niclas Havelid:
4 assists and -2 as a Devil…. More evidence on him NOT clicking with Salvador (but yet as much as I love our coach… damn he is stubborn on not fixing the blazing holes in the defensive pairings)… I don’t think it’s his fault… he plays ok enough… he doesn’t suck out there… he just doesn’t click with his partner, and the coaches don’t want to mess with the rest of the D-pairings.. better or worse….
Grade: C-

#28 (version 2) Jay Leach:
Decent enough depth defenseman… unless he’s filling in for White or Martin.. scraps a little… doesn’t add offense… but he’s not gonna be expected to be… he’s alright enough in his role… I can’t bash this guy
Grade: C

#6 Andy Greene:
Heh… one of the most complained about Devils on the internets! I think the kid has the goods but it takes time for defensemen to grown and mature… he’s coming along good enough… started the season with a bit of offensive tear, but not so much after that… also got a bit lost in the shuffle when he came back … he’s not as awful as he’s made out to be *cough cough-NJ Devs-cough cough*
Grade: C+

Goaltending:
#35 Scott Clemmensen:
The sole reason behind the best feel-good story I ever followed in a sports team! No it wasn’t pretty…hell I admit it was downright scary at times!.. but 25-13-1, 2.39 gaa kinda speaks for itself doesn’t it? One career saved… and not only a regular season trivia question made…. But hell a new quasi-legend is born! Hell NO ONE saw this coming this year either (like I mentioned with Parise’s insane season)… long live the Devils version of Shane Falco!!!
Grade: A

#1 Kevin Weekes:
The definition of TEAM player… classic guy who sits and takes the shit that was dished on him without a WORD of complaint and a smile always on his face… got thrown into MANY no-win and under the bus situations this season… and no he didn’t come up big and make miracles out of them… but he did his damndest with them… and then even the hockey Gods shit on him and he takes a shot to the knee… I weep for the WEEKES!!!!
But like I said… he gets this grade on outlook on life at least!
Grade: A

#30 Martin Brodeur:
Seemingly allergic to the Rangers now.. Sean Avery or not…was good before the injury… and came back ON FIRE until the record that I care not about was passed (I mean it was nice to be there and all… but it’s still a regular season thing)… eh, I’m so farooqing torn on mb30 this year, and I guess he hit the wall on his post-injury comeback, so I guess I’ll go easy on him….
Grade: B +

Coaching:
They win… that’s a plus… the forward lines (least the top ones) stayed the same… some of the defense pairings are still a mess… and the special teams are special Ed more then anything… but hey the defense was 4th in the NHL, and 5- 20 goal scorers… it’s not a terrible job… and Sutter IS learning in his time in the NHL… definitely seems like a keeper….
Grade: B

Front Office:
I liked the Havelid deal… but it doesn’t seem to be working out… I liked the off-season signings… but it seems like mixed results at best… it’s so hard to tell with this team because teams that Lou builds are built for NOW and beyond… the draft picks and young players have been pretty good (Zajac, Parise, etc.) and the home-grown guys are good enough… but again … it all begins NOW
Grade: INCOMPLETE

And this is why Scott Clemmensen is better than you

He may be floating around in obscurity somewhere in Massachusetts today, but without Scott Clemmensen, it’s safe to say the New Jersey Devils may not be where they are today…which is, like, the best team in the history of ALL SPORTS.

Oh, too far?

Sorry.

Alas, 2MA would like to extend its most sincere congratulations to the netminder as he has been nominated for the Bill Masteron trophy for for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

If you ask me, there is no one more deserving than the Clem-meister, but I may be a bit biased.

Eh, screw it. SCOTT CLEMMENSEN IS AWESOME.
He's more awesome than you.

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!

Here’s Lookin’ at You, Clemmer.

Perhaps THE league-wide storyline of the season thus far has unfolded between the pipes on Mulberry St in Newark, NJ.

Put yourself in this situation: The new NHL season is still in its infantry, less than a month old. Your team has high expectations going into said season and so far is playing well. Everything looks peachy.

Then it happens. On a seemingly harmless and routine play, your whole season changes completely. Your all-star goaltender is toppled on the ice, and you soon find you’ll be without him for at least the next FOUR months.

Shit.

What’s a team to do? The answer was obvious — call on your third-string minor league starter to handle the workload of a sure-fire hall of famer who is regarded as the best the league has ever seen.



Wait, what?!

That is exactly what Scott Clemmensen was called upon to do. Instead of curling into the fetal position on the shower floor of the teams locker room — rocking back and forth like a rape victim (which is exactly what I would have done) — the man from the hockey hotbed of Des Moines, Iowa rose to the occasion and embraced the challenge with open arms.

The league laughed. Rival fans laughed. Everyone gathered with open eyes to watch the public humiliation that was supposed to be the remainder of the New Jersey Devils season.

Fast forward. Sixteen weeks have passed — almost to the day. With the duo of Clemmensen and Kevin Weekes taking care of business, the New Jersey Devils are sitting comfortably atop the Atlantic Division. They own winning records against the leagues top teams in Boston and San Jose. The offense has compiled 31 more goals than the “offensive machine” across the Hudson, and Clemmensen boasts a .917 Save %, compared to “King” Henrik’s .913%. But Ranger-land is far too consumed in their own self-loathing to notice.

Call it a miracle, call it a team coming together, call it downright luck for four months. The one thing you cannot deny is that Scott Clemmensen has saved the season for the New Jersey Devils.

However, this story could have an almost tragic ending as Martin Brodeur is slated to return tomorrow night when the Devils host the Avalanche. The possibility is high that Scott Clemmensen will not be with us come March 4th. As much as it would hurt to see the man go, I can only say Thank You. If your fate does bring you to a different locker room next week, we wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors for the remainder of your NHL career. This whole season will be talked about for quite a long time and you, my friend, are a huge part of the reason why.

From the crew here at 2ManAdvantage.com, and on behalf of Devils fans across the Nation and around the globe, we thank you for everything. Thanks to you, we’ll never have to hear “You’re nothing without Brodeur” from another fan ever again.

The best part of the season is about to get underway, and I haven’t been this optimistic in years.

Let’s Go Devils!

Devils Versus Docile Bears

Tonight’s a big’un.  The Boston Bruins, they of the best record in all the land, make their way to Newark this eve to take on the Devils, they of the nine-wins-in-eleven-games hot streak.  One of those wins came against this very same Bruins team (in Boston, no less).

For the Devils, expect to see Mike Rupp back in the lineup after sitting out Wednesday’s victory over the Isles.  The Devils say it was a sinus issue, I say it was a bruised ego after getting knocked silly by Colton Orr in a fight Monday night.  Either way, I expect Rupp will be looking for blood, preferably not his own.

Rupp’s return means that Jay Pandolfo sits in the press box again tonight.  Super Jay wasn’t bad in Wednesday’s tilt, but “not bad” doesn’t seem good enough.  Poor Super Jay.

Scott Clemmensen gets the nod in net after sitting Wednesday in favor of Kevin Weekes.  But this is not all that shocking.

On the opposite side of the rink, the Bruins are coming off a 5-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks in Tuesday night’s much-balleyhoo’d face-off of conference leaders – the Bruins first loss all season by more than two goals.  The Bruins are also the NHL’s best road team, having lost only five times in regulation away from TD Banknorth Garden.  This one ain’t gonna be easy, folks.

Scott’s at tonight’s game, so I’m sure you’ll see one of his Thoughts from Section 209’s later tonight or early tomorrow.  I’ll hopefully be catching at least some of tonight’s game and may have something up as well.

Before I go, however, I’d like to extend my sincerest condolences on behalf of all of us at 2MA to the friends and families of those killed in the Continental Airlines Flight 3407, which crashed in Buffalo.  The flight originated at Newark Airport and it seems like a good number of NJ residents were aboard the plane.  Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this tragic event.

Thoughts from Section 209…. Devils/Rangers 2/9/2009

Damn kids, that was almost TOO easy wasn’t it??? Don’t get me wrong it was fun, it was great, it was badly needed after the 24 hours leading up to it (you get a 1am call that your pregnant sister is in the hospital… she turned out to be ok at least, was just scary, and then have to cover for a co-worker who’s father died, and you’re already worn out… least that game was wonderful therapy!)…. but it kinda felt a bit …. one-sided didn’t it?

the Good:
— if you had told me at my first pre-season game that Scott Clemmensen would be shutting out the Rangers in February, and done it in this way, I’d have slapped you and told you to put the PS-3 down :p… guess this kinda kills my “well his play dropped when they announced Marty’s return” theory… unless he was reading this… it HAS happened before to my writings… hrrmm… (not that he was really truly tested past the 1st period)
— Bobby Holik (no penalties tonight!!!) a game-winning goal against the team paying most of his salary still… and assisted by the guy they didn’t want and the one they wish they had… I call that… fitting :)
— not to mention watching Zajac and the Shanny hold off the Rangers behind sir puffy-pads one on FOUR all by themself… and then Shanny drawing the penalty… oh that was the awesome
— seeing the real Scott Gomez (and his only scoresheet entry being on the penalty box) in Ranger blue has been DELIGHTFUL… 5 more years to go right?? (not to mention Gomez’s pissy fits all night on Zubrus, who must have kept saying… hey I’m more productive at a third the price… can I borrow some money??
— no knock on Jay Leach, but each and every time Colin White comes back into the lineup this team gets better… and another night… another 2 goal effort out of Zach Parise (back up to top 5 scoring in the NHL) and playing as good hockey as ANYONE in the league….still feels weird to say that about a DEVIL

the Bad:
— Mike Rupp… GLASS JAW FATALITY…. you did get knocked da fuccckkkkk ouutttttt!!! Guess even the most desperate in Ranger-land can cling on to that one
— This may come off as wrong… but damn were the Rangers dead in the water or what?? You kinda saw it… they GAVE UP mid-second period (basically after the first goal)… and it kinda took out a lot of the fun….I mean it’s always nice to pound them like cheap veal (I do remember the great 19!!! 19!! Chant after 19 games unbeaten in a row on them)… but holy shit you kinda want the team you want to beat to put an EFFORT in and play back some don’t ya?? They remind me of how emotionless and dead in the water the NY Jets were with Brett Favre mailing it in last December.. case in point I was texting my Ranger fan buddy in the expensive seats about this:
“Dude where’s the effort”
“This has been this team all year.. no scoring… no effort they don’t care”
“Hey at least it’s not 10-2″
“It’s still the second period… just watch”
“Damn, well at least Parise can pad his stats then!”
It kinda wasn’t even fun at this point!
— So Dallas puts a 10-spot on them… and all we can do is 3?? CMON OFFENSE!!! (seriously I think the Devils fed off the dead-effort from the boring-trapping Rangers and seriously took the foot off the gas content to embarrass them via Clemmensen-shutout and no other way)

the Funny:
(and oh was there funny tonight!)
— Maybe one of the best moments was during the 3rd period…. standard yelling from behind us….
HEY LUNDQVST.. YOU SUCK…..AND I HOPE YOU DIIIIIEEEEEE
… then out of the blue… the 4 year old to my left jumps up…..
AND I HOPE YOU GET THE FLLLUUUUUU!!!!! (them 209ers, we raise good eggs!!!)
— Also sidenote to Bill (he who bought one of the 2 tickets I had up for grabs last night)… I know you wanted to sit on the steps because we scored twice in the 2nd period… but when two attractive beer chugging girls want to thank you for letting them sit in the seats…. GO WITH IT, thank them… and TALK TO THEM… geesh (dude was lucky I was there to save the moment and keep them entertained…. they told me so… hell by game’s end they asked me to spot them some lovely RANGERS SUCK confetti to throw back on me!!! Speaking of…pics of the confetti mess soon to be put on facebook!)… though… it was kinda WRONG of me to let those girls sit in his seat… while he was buying me a thank you for the seat beer… but asshole is something I do well ain’t it??
— the only thing missing last night was a THANK YOU RENNEY chant (which would have been amazing!)
— Devils Power Play goal!!! And I’m getting texts… IT’S A POWER PLAY GOAL… FUCK YOU SAM ROSEN… ahh goodness!!!
— hey I’m SURE others in attendance have their stories…. share them dammit!!!!

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!