NJ Devils Month in Review, November 2009

With all the injuries and players coming in and out of the lineup this year, the Devils STILL went 9-3… Good God…think about that…. It’s even crazier when you realize the 3 losses were in a ROW… it was a very good month in New Jersey which is a shame, I write better angry… but it does make the month in reviews come off the keyboard a little faster this way!!!

Forwards:
#9 Zach Parise: A (9g, 7a, +11)
Almost averaged a GOAL a game for the month… that’s sick… he’s going to stomp on last year’s stats and has a legit chance again to break 100 points and re-write the Devils record books offensively… his hockey smarts and presence and knowing where to be is there as much as ever and even more so Lemaire is putting him in a position to win each and every time… and really I can’t say anything bad about him… though I do miss the Parise girls yelling and screaming and making him into a one man Jonas Brothers :p
Grade: A+

#15 Jamie Langenbrunner: C (3g, 11a, +4)
It’s weird with Jamie… his play is eh, he seems slower this year and he looks like he’s losing a step… but yet he’s on pace for his best offensive year ever…. He’s been fortunate to be on the two most productive lines on the team… and I will admit his skill is adding to the success of those lines… but really on his own… he kinda seems not so good… and he does his thing in the skills competitions, but we don’t watch those in the month in review so they are a non-factor in my evaluations….and no matter what you see or think of his play… 14 points in 12 games is above and beyond the expected call of duty for him…. So maybe I’m just seeing it wrong… but hell if it ain’t broke, don’t make em ride the bikes to fix it right???
Grade: A

#19 Travis Zajac (1g, 10a, +8)
Only one goal?? I guess he’s riding Parise’s coattails eh?? That’s not a bad thing though…. Travis does it all on this team… faceoffs, pk, power play… physical….he’s one of the most important players on the team and he is getting a point a night and no longer can Cangelosi get him confused with Shanny… though… BERGFORS…. *sigh… 19 Steve….*…. ZAJAC… SCCCAAAWWRRREEE, is still kinda epic!! I need to make my own funny here cause Travis is like HHH… he’s that damn good!!
Grade: A

#18 Niclas Bergfors (4g, 6a, +2)
Solid… improving… and doing his job in replacing Brian Gionta’s stats… this is a good thing….Lemaire is riding him and pushing him to be better and he’s responding.. funny how that works better then 2:32 of ice time a game isn’t it??? I like what I’m seeing and he too is growing into a legit player… and a better match speed and skill wise for Parise and Zajac for Langenbrunner…and he’s only 22… it’s nice to see our prospects start to prosper!!! And not be delegated to Andrew Peters level of ice time!
Grade: A

#23 David Clarkson (4g, 2a, -2, 19 PIM)
The offense was down this month, but he’s also been bounced all over the place… one time with Parise and Zajac (I like)… one time with Pelley and Halischuk (I not likey as much)….he’s fighting a bit too much for my likes… we need his PRODUCTION and not his FISTS… and he gets a break because he was hurt… but I expect a little bit better then this when we get him back post-olympics (most likely)
Grade: B- (torn between that and C+)

#12 Brian Rolston (6g, 3a, +1, 41 Shots on Goal)
I added the shots on goal stat, just because he has a rep for being mister Rip Em Wide… and his month was spotty, but he seems to have a niche with Elias and it’s starting to pay off for the team and his own statistics, the speed isn’t the same as it used to be but the shot and more important the CONFIDENCE in the shot (14 shots in his last two games) is showing up… and if Rolston can keep hitting the net (and he’s shown he can this year)… good things will happen for him, his linemates and especially the power play on this game… not a GREAT month, but he’s not dragging them down either… hell if he sat in 208 I might even walk over and say HEY to him (or something like that… ok, that’s a joke for Rob… whatever)…. He’s been alright, which for his second stint with the team is almost damn good…
Grade: B-

#26 Patrik Elias: A (3g, 7a, +3, 10 games)
It took him a few games to get his legs (understandable)… and then figure out who ha was going to be playing with (and it’s weird, it’s a grumpy old men line, but it’s WORKING with Langs and Rolston)…and he’s back to a point a game again and really what else can you ask for? Yes you’d like to see more goals… but we’re scoring and we have two top lines again with the Parise and Elias line carrying the mail each and every night while the rest of the team gets healthy and if this keeps up… we might even be more fun to watch and less smoke and mirrors! Welcome back Patrik!!
Grade: A

#8 Dainius Zubrus (0g, 1a, even)
Wow… I know he’s not supposed to score and his main function is to make time and space for people… but holy shit you gotta get more then ONE ASSIST if you’re doing you’re job right and I like Zubbie and all and I hate kicking a guy when he’s down an injured (now there are certain girls I like kicking regardless of position…. But whatever :p)….he’s gotta be better then THIS…. CMON ZUBBIE!!!!
Grade: C- (I hate, hating our mascot!)

#10 Rod Pelley (0g, 1a, -1, 10 PIM, 10 games, 7.5 mins/game)
ROD PELLEY MAD… ROD PELLEY SMASH!!! ROD PELLEY FIGHT!! Rod Pelley get benched for rookie defenseman playing forward…..well whatever pissed him off he had his best game as a Devil (well minus the double high stick moment of awesome of course!)….I threw in the average ice time, because as a spare forward it was kinda telling… the Devils could use a 4th line that eats some minutes and it doesn’t do that when Pelley’s been on it… I need to see more then one good game out of him (this means you too Andrew Peters) to be convinced he’s worth a shit, but I won’t hate him as much as Rob does ever (he just has eyes for Sestito…. We understand… really), Rod’s not been God… or Zod… more like Clod this year with the team… this month… no different…
Grade: D

#16: Matt Halischuk (1g, 1a, even, approx 11 mins/game)
Like Mark Fraser below is also earning more ice time from the coaching staff and is starting to get used to parking himself in front of the net (GOOD THING) and he’s adjusting to the speed of the game at the NHL level … hell he even looks like he BELONGS now on the team and taking regular shifts (again it shows on the ice time and no stat shows more what the staff thinks of you then the minutes you get to play… and thank God Sutter’s not here… he’d get 3 shifts a night and not be allowed to grow up on the ice like he’s been doing)…so I’ll go easy on him, I think the points and the contributions are gonna go nowhere but up and he might even be on the big club all year at this point… something I did not expect a month ago….
Grade: B (mostly for the improvement in play)

#11 Dean McAmmond (0g, 1a, even, approx 15 ½ mins/game)
It’s still weird seeing him wear #11 because he looks and skates like John Madden from way up…. Hell he’s been Madden-esque with his numbers, ice time and effort… which is amazing for a dude who was on the street or TGIFriday’s or something a month ago…he’s been a nice stop-gap type player as we try to get this team healthy and he will likely bump Rod Pelley back to obscurity even more when this team gets healthy (boy that should really get us UBER-MAD ROD PELLEY!!!)….he’s been ok since called into duty… so I’ll give him an OK grade with a small curve based on the speed of getting game ready…
Grade: C+

#17 Ilkka Pikkarainen (0g, 1a, even, 6 games played, 7 mins/game)
Wow, the best thing I can say about him is he’s keeping the tradition of Devils forwards wearing #17 SUCKING BADLY (and yes I mean you too Petr Suckora in there :p)…I don’t see this magic thing he adds to the lineup…. The only thing I think it can be is it keeps Peters OUT of the lineup… that ain’t good enough… HEY…YOU SUCK!!!!
Grade: F

#14 Tim Sestito (0g, 1a, -2, approx 12 mins/game, 9 games played)
SESTITO SANTANNNNNAAAAA!! ARRIBA!!! (hell the nickname alone should get him more playing time!!) He’s been ok too… he shows a bit more jump and offensive hope then Rod Pelley, but that’s like being a bigger scoring threat then Jay Pandolfo, or being smarter then the Blonde Wonder…he’s only 25 and it’s his first year in the system and I’d like to see if he can be a project down the road…. But at least better then Pelley is more gooder enougher to get in the line up now and see what he’s got, this may be a case of “the girl you don’t know looking better then the girl you do know and are sick of her being around” though…. Time will tell, eh?
Grade: C-

#25 Andrew Peters (no points, -4, 16 PIM, approx 6 mins/game, 10 games)
Has had ONE good game all season… that Ottawa game when he looked like Mike Peluso and choked a bitch OUT with that body check… aside of that… he hits marginally, he fights once in a blue moon, he adds no offense and skates like a seven year old boy in his first hockey camp…. And if I want that level of unreliability in my life I can BBM her and ask for that level of ineptitude I don’t need it on the ice!! YOU FAIL SIR!
Grade: F

Defense:
#6: Andy Greene (2g, 7a, +2, approx 28 mins/game)
OH ANDY!!! My has your legend grown… and I mean even beyond our love for you on facebook (and mine to an unhealthy level :p)….but what can you say… Martin and Oduya go down and you turn into Nick Lidstrom! Power play, penalty kill…. End to end… My Andy does it ALL <3…. He’s worth “coming out of the closet” for… and he’s really been the focus of 90% of the fun on 2man all year long!! THANK YOU ANDY!!! The only thing he’s not done is fix the economy and made international visits easier… but I hear he’s working on it during off-days!
Grade: A+

#24 Bryce Salvador (0g, 3a, +4, approx 25 mins/game)
As good as Andy’s been…. Salvador’s contributions have been just as important and he’s been as essential a player as anyone on this team…. Does everything but the power play, and adding a pinch of offense…but I blame that on Andy too!!! I don’t think you could expect or get any more from him then you’re getting… and it’s what this team badly needed now!
Grade: A

#5 Colin White (1g, 2a, +2, approx 20 mins/game)
He’s been what you expect from him… a bit physical (but staying out the box)…. Plays a lot smarter… making big plays…. And just enough offense to keep ya honest, the best thing you can say about a guy like White is you don’t notice him… and Whitey’s been the good kinda invisible… and I say it again… WHITE POWER!!!
Grade: A

#28 Cory Murphy (2g, 1a, -2, approx 9 mins/game, 7 games played)
OK, he’s not the smoldering bag of AIDS we portrayed him as…. But THEY SAT ANDY FOR HIM!! There is a price to pay for that goddamit!!!!! He got better his second time around and the “if Murphy scores a pp goal then Rob has to buy Anna a Murphy jersey” bit was totally golden and may have saved him in our cranky, bitter eyes! Sit not a top 6 D on any real team… least we know we can spot him from time to time and not have to hide in the corner as much anymore and save the bad pp offense for our own Lord Krang…..Still that all aside, I’d not cry if he doesn’t play a game more in the NHL this year
Grade: C

#27 Mike Mottau (1g, 1a, +5, approx 25 mins/game)
Solid, steady… and reliable… in a year of so much scramble and disjoint all around it’s nice to know Mottau’s been fairly reliable and you don’t worry about him in the ice shift after shift… and in a season when the top 4 has morphed into Greene, Salvador, White and Mottau you NEED nig minutes from all of them… he’s certainly held up his end!!
Grade: A

#2 Mark Fraser (no points, +1, approx 13 mins/game)
One good sign for Fraser was that his minutes were going UP by month’s end, which means the coaches felt better and more secure in putting him out there…. He’s still the first guy sent down when this team is at full strength, but he’s been pretty good in his second stint with the team and you don’t want to crawl and hide in the “Murphy” position when he’s been on the ice, I wish the Devils tracked hits on their site, I think he’d have a few… but he’s been not a liability on the ice and that’s really all you can ask from him, a nice solid depth defenseman on a team that needs some extra good bodies this year….
Grade: B-

Incompletes:
#21 Rob Niedermayer (1 game played in November)
#20 Jay Pandolfo (DNP in November)
#7 Paul Martin (DNP in November)
#28 Tyler Eckford (0g, 1a, approx 7 mins/game, 3 games in November)
#29 Johnny Oduya (DNP in November)
#22 Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (1 game in November)
#32 Matthew Corrente (no points, even, approx 10 mins/game, 4 games in November)

Nothing really much to say about these guys, though I think Eckford and Corrente can play in this league and it still sucks that PL^3 is below Peters on the goon chart…..

Goalies:
#30 mb30 (8-3, 18 goals allowed, 94 sv %, 1.63 approx gaa)
WOW… damn.. mid-season form… I’ll admit it… he’s been good… and he’s also mister one goal allowed a game… it’s like that wide receiver who gets tackled at the one all the time almost (then again, I don’t care about the shutout record and I found the minutes played record almost a reward for all the seasons he’s played too many game)… and I’m not gonna go crazy kissing his ass til he does some shit in the playoffs… sorry that’s just me and I won’t let my still displeasure totally blind me (and ok it helps that I made up with the person who’s fail his reminded me of but whatever :p)….all bets are off when income taxes are paid… but till then… he’s been good… I’ll deal :p
Grade: A

#35 Yann Danis (2 games, 1-0, 3.00 gaa, 87.8%)
As always the backup goalie is so hard to judge…. I mean yeah he got pulled in his only second appearance in the month, but those goals were HARDLY his fault (two deflections and a ridiculous bounce that came in front and got stuffed home…. I don’t think anyone was stopping THOSE)…it’s hard an unfair to judge the guy in that little time… but I’ll play Meatloaf here and say two outta three ain’t bad on the season…
Grade: B

Coaching Staff:
What can you say that I didn’t in the intro?? You can point to Lemaire, Stevens, et company… and see the improvements in Bergfors, Zajac, Greene, Salvador, Fraser, Clarkson… even rookies like Eckford, Corrente and Zharkov can step in and not be 3 minutes a game fodder…even the vets like Langenbrunner are thriving in this new system and Jacques even seems to have Rolston and Zubrus on the right track and all this with HALF THE TEAM on injured reserve… what the hell else can be said?? WE WERE WRONG JACQUES AND WE’RE SORRIE!!!!
Grade: A+

Thoughts from Section 209: Devils vs Sens, Nov 25, 2009

Welll… HI!! Dare I even say HEY YOU… or some witty crap like that… this schedule of too many home games and then not enough… it HAS to stop… it kills your writing flow… but hey I always have plenty to tell… something ALWAYS seems to happen in my in-game experiences that makes it worth while…. and hell I’ll write it so easy, even a South American can understand it! Another nice, take care of business feel good kinda win against the Senators and more to snap a 3-game losing streak!!!

The Good:
— Andrew Peters… REALLY… he was damn near Mike Peulso-ian tonight, he hit THE SHIT out of people and I loved it!! It’s funny we were watching him (and the team) in warmups… and man he looked more “emo” then my facebook status (though I still contend quoting song lyrics from a song DAMN NEAR AND DEAR TO ME is not emo… fuckbags!!!)… hell he looked like he had killed mb30’s baby or something last night (I know… I went there…)… but seriously… more games like that and he can stay!!!
— Andy Greene!!! (of course I know)…. I was worried that my “man” (if you’re not on my facebook you don’t get the comment and shame on you)… and I was beginning to worry that Andy couldn’t score and we couldn’t win without me… and there he is… if we needed to beat a goalie to score… Andy made it happen… don’t worry Andy you will still get your section below <3 (yes I am really running with this sick creation of mine… deal with it!!!)
— NO PENALTIES!!! Even better… NO TOO MANY MEN ON THE ICE….. yay!!!!!!!
— Good to see Bergfors score again… and back out there with 9 and 19 again… he belongs there….
— Hell even Elias-Rolston and Langs looked like they had something tonight… and as we put it to Jen most of the night…."He had a lot of almosts… hell he could lead the league in them" (Rolston).. I’ll even give it to the line of Clarkson, Halischuk and Sestito (SANTANNA!!!)… they looked pretty good too… and I liked seeing Halischuk using some “raise hell in front of the net” instincts… I think he’s finally getting comfortable in the NHL.. amazing what getting more then 3 shifts a night does (*coughSUTTERcough*)

the Bad:
— Whoever that non-Arlette announcer was… can she sing the National Anthems any SLOWER??? Christ it was 7:10 by the time she was done!!
— You know I gotta bring it up… and you know this ain't gonna end with me…. so I see that if you don't have season tickets already and you pay in full by tomorrow you can get a SEASON TICKET IN THE ARENA AT HALF PRICE?? I know they wanna fill the fucking stadium and all (and let he/she who wants to call me for whining… pay for MY tickets then thanks!)… so those of us who scrambled, saved (or even paid in parts) over the summer… yeah we got some nifty stuff… but you know what… I'd MUCH rather have had my tickets at HALF PRICE, thanks much… I'm going to write the Devils a nice well written but to the point letter about this tomorrow… I'll probably post it here too so you guys can see… but really… did we as your LOYAL CUSTOMERS need this kick to the face??? Hopefully this is a plan and they will work this somehow in the future (like you know… letting those of us who pay in installments get in on this)… and you'd have MORE STH ANYWAY and not need to do this and shit on your fanbase who shows up every night anyway!
*sigh* I'm getting really tired of being kicked by this team….I'd probably have just as good a time moving my shit down the block to Sun Tavern and enjoying the games at a fraction the cost…..
— Travis Zajac… had a great breakaway chance…. right in front… and he "Cangeloisi's it"… no he doesn't trans-morph into Brendan Shanahan…. he misses short and wide… just like the lil fella!!

the Funny:
— (the comments on the life ending Andrew Peters hit)
Scott Mackie "Wow, now we see why peters was so sad, he was about to committ murder on ice! What a hit!!"
Josh Burnett "Dear NHL: Please suspend Andrew Peters for that hit. I don't care if it was clean. I'm just sick of Andrew Peters. Thanks."
Tammie Hamilton "he's oppressed"
Scott Mackie "Josh, thank you sir! That was an Andy Greene-level contribution sir!!"
— So as the empty net goal was scored… we heard the best blown goal call ever (even worse then any mess that lil gnome fella makes)… the DEVILS GOAL… scored by number FIFTEEN… Jamieee… LANGENBRUNNER…. assisted by number 9…. Travis Zajac…. and number 19…. TRAVIS ZAJAC?? Really?? Only Andy can assist twice on the same goal!!!

the ANDY GREENE worship:
— And yes… when Andy did make that first assist… people did turn look and credit me… I almost teared up, I'm so proud he saved it all for ME!!!
— Hell the Devils first goal PROVES… even an Andry Green dump in is a SCORING CHANCE!!
— Josh Burnett: "ANDY GREENE IS SO AWESOME, PATRIK ELIAS NEEDS HIM TO SCORE GOALS!"
— Scott Mackie "That's two from my honey!!! Go Greene!!! ? ?" (like I said.. the bit is being RUN WITH)
Tammie Hamilton "? it, oh andy"
— "Andy Greene didn't miss that pass… he was trying to make Elias skate faster!!"
— Josh Burnett: "Wow, I just heard "Oh Andy" in my head to the tune of Oh Sherrie by Journey (Steve Perry?). Anyway, extraordinarily disturbing.
Tammie Hamilton: "Oh Andy, Our Love Holds On, Holds On"

Two more home games before I take this little freak show on the road… oh Buffalo I am coming… and I bring with me more Championships then your city of fail has not only seen but can dream of!! (then again, one would do that job too!!)

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?

Game 5: Hurricanes @ Devils SORTACAP!

10:08 PM: I’m gonna call it a night, boys n’ girls.  Thanks as always for hanging with me.  Goodnight!

10:05 PM: It’s funny how my Sorta-Caps always turn into LiveCaps at the end.  Devils lead the series, 3-2, game 6 in Raleigh Sunday – if the Capitals beat the Rangers tomorrow night, then our game Sunday will likely be on MSG+ at night.  If the Rangers win, our game will likely be on NBC during the day.  I’m pulling even moreso for the Caps tomorrow, ’cause, well, I got work on Sunday.

10:03 PM: Doc, doing the usual end-of-game TV stuff…”This game is a copyrighted event, you don’t want to monkey with our attorneys, ’cause they’re tough.”  Bwahahaha.

10:01 PM: Three stars:  3. Andy Greene, 2. David Clarkson, 1. Martin Brodeur.  I love Andy Greene, and I can’t stand the Hurricanes, but Ward should have been one of the three stars.

10:00 PM: YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!  Jesus Christ I could not handle letting one up late again.  Holy god.  Game over, Devils win, 1-0, and there will be at least one more playoff game at the Rock.  Oh god it feels good.

9:58 PM: Okay, after the icing it was a Hurricanes time out.  Now it’s a Devils time out, after a drive is covered by Brodeur.

9:56 PM: Oduya without a stick in the defensive zone, Martin picks up the pick and goes all the way up ice, Elias with a blast, Ward loses the rebound way out of the net but no one can connect with Ward out of position.  Eventually, Devils ice the puck, Devils time-out, and there’s 23 seconds left with a faceoff in the Devils zone.

9:55 PM: HOLY GOD WHAT GLORIOUS CHANCES!  Ward out of the net, less than a minute to go.

9:53 PM: Wow, shots are 40-39 Devils.  The goalies are by far the stars tonight.  Two minutes to go.

9:50 PM: Again, Chad LaRose is given room to move.  Again, Marty’s up to the task.  Scary nonetheless.  Four and a half minutes left.

9:49 PM: Pandolfo sprung on a glorious breakaway and stopped by Ward!  Drats!

9:47 PM: Andy Greene is playing out of his freakin’ mind.  He’s gotta be at at least a half-dozen shots, as a third-pairing defenseman.

9:46 PM: Bad defense there.  Rolston bounces it off the boards back to Martin, who’s not really paying much attention…

9:45 PM: Devils to the PP, Eaves takes…some sort of penalty.

9:43 PM: We can’t keep thinking Chad LaRose is Chad LaRose and therefore doesn’t require attention.  He’s playing out of his mind this series, stop letting him WALK RIGHT IN ON GOAL UNTOUCHED!  Luckily Marty’s not asleep.

9:40 PM: Nine minutes left in the game.  That stomachache I had during game 3?  It’s back.

9:38 PM: HUGE glove save by Cam Ward on Parise.

9:37 PM: Blue Jackets give up a goal with less than a minute left in their game, after taking a too many men on the ice penalty, and Detroit has swept Columbus.  Shame.  Philly beats Pittsburgh and lives to fight another day.

9:32 PM: Playoff hockey is hazardous to one’s health.

9:29 PM: Penalty: Killed.  Phew.

9:27 PM: Colin White’s out of the box.  Johnny Oduya’s in the box.  He done cross-checked a Hurricane.

9:25 PM: Game back on.

9:07 PM: Aaaaand that’s the end of the second.  Hurricanes will start with a minute of PP time when the third starts, and the Devils lead 1-0.

9:05 PM: White to the box for roughing with less than a minute to go in the second.

9:04 PM: Must be embarrassing, Chad LaRose, to be thrown to the ice by Brian Gionta.

9:00 PM: Blue Jackets/Red Wings game is nuts, 5-5 after 2.  C’mon Jackets!

8:59 PM: Jesus Christ, Mike Rupp.  It’s not often you can get sprung on a breakaway like that from Marty Brodeur.  The least you could do is PRETEND like you don’t have hands of marble and maybe, y’know, not get pickpocketed from behind?

8:52 PM: Okay, it was tipped by Clarkson.  I was so excited for the Mean Greene Goal-Scorin’ Machine.  Now he’s just a Mean Greene Assist-ing Machine.  I’ll take it anyway.

8:50 PM: GOAL!  Andy Greene with a rocket from the point!  Possibly tipped by Clarkson in front, 1-0 Devils!

8:46 PM: Much as I don’t like to give other team’s players affectionate nicknames, particularly pains-in-the-ass like him – but Ryan Bayda needs a nickname.  Ryan VHS Or Bayda?  Ryan Bayda-kerotine?  Ryan Alpha Bayda Parking Lot?

8:44 PM: Still no score, 12 minutes left in the second.

8:37 PM: Clarkson got sammiched by opposing sticks.  No penalty.

8:33 PM: So much for that PP.  Rolston goes down for holding, 4-on-4 for a minute or so.

8:30 PM: Second period on, it looks like Marty was indeed cut by the skate blade of the Hurricane.  He’s still out there, so I guess he’s good?  Starting the period with the fire that we need, and Tim Gleason interferes with Parise, so the Devils to the PP.

8:11 PM: No score after one.  Andy Greene is shooting like he wants to keep playing beyond tonight.  I like that.  He’s talking to Stan Fischler now, and looks weird with a playoff beard.  Devils looked good late in the period and might have scored with there were a few more minutes in the period.  Gotta come out with that kind of fire to start the second.

8:05 PM: Alright.  Alright.  Marty gets tripped, but if the last few days have done anything for me, it’s gotten me intimately acquainted with NHL rule 69.1, and since the dude who took Marty’s feet out from under him was being pushed/trying to avoid contact, it’s no penalty.  Somewhere in the resulting play, Marty picks up an interference penalty, and seems to be kind of hurt, though he’s still playing.  Might have been cut by the skate of the offending Hurricane.

8:04 PM: I…have no words.  I want to see a replay before I completely freak.

7:54 PM: THAT was the big save by Marty that we desperately needed.  Great play by Johnny O, cutting out the passing lane on that 2-on-1.

7:43 PM: Oooooh that’s rich, goalie interference on David Clarkson three minutes into the game.  Is that how it’s gonna be?

7:34 PM: Anton Babchuk, he of the four goals against the Devils and the cannon of a slapshot on the powerplay, is a healthy scratch this evening for Carolina.  Allow me to ask the same question I’m sure most New Jersey (and Carolina) fans are asking when I say…B-WHAAAAAA?

7:15 PM: Hey gang.  Can’t commit to being here all game long for a true LiveCap, so I’m going to check in every once in awhile with thoughts and observations.  Consider this an open thread for game discussion.

TRADE!

I kind of had a feeling something might happen today, rather than Trade Deadline Wednesday.  And it has.

The Devils have picked up Niclas Havelid from the Thrashers.  On the way to Hotlanta, Mr. Anssi Salmela.  We hardly knew ya’, Salmela.

So, who is Niclas Havelid?  Well, he’s Swedish, 35 years of age, with two goals and thirteen assists for the Thrashers so far this year.  He’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.  He’s also a  +4 on a team like Atlanta, so I guess that’s gotta say something.

I dunno, seems kind of…well…old.  And we’re already an old team.  Niclas has gotta feel like he’s hit the lottery this evening, though, going from dead last in the Southeast to first in the Atlantic with the swift move of a pen stroke.  Lucky bastard.

I can’t help but wonder if this is the beginning of something else to come.  But on the other hand, I think I know better.  Picking up Shanahan halfway through the year and getting Marty back last week may have been the Devils “big moves” for the trade deadline.  Niclas Havelid may be it this week. 

Also, Andy Greene’s gotta be looking over his shoulder now.  Which is a shame, because, as Scott pointed out, he’s actually been pretty good lately.  And dammit, I like Andy.  But I get the feeling Mr. Greene is headed for the press box, and Jay Leach is headed for Lowell.  Or vice-versa.  Sucks to be both of them right now, though.

Thoughts from Section 209 ….Devils… Penguins… Dec 10!

Well that was fun wasn’t it??? (Feels like I ain’t been to the damn place in MONTHS… and all the staff looked different, and a double boo-hiss on the choice of cigar girls tonight, hey I gotta bitch about something right??)… I could sit and complain on how we go a damn near MONTH without a game and then 3 in 4 nights?? (and the crowd was VERY late arriving tonight….kinda took a while to feel “back”)

And to be honest I think tonight’s game was maybe the most gratifying win I’ve seen this team have in the new arena!! So lots to be happy about here…

    the Good:

— Damn I missed this place and the wacky stuff I get from my lapping the place, and the free lil cups of soda (even though I am trying to give up soda, but whatever.. free is free!)
— The Devils basically kicked in… out worked… out hustled and ran the damn Penguins all over the place (hence the warm feeling in the belly much like the perfect serving of your most awesome meal!)
— the comedic timing in the CROSBY SUCKS and PARISE’S BETTER chants and then Crosby going bat-shit and trying to Pedigree Gionta on the ice (shame Gio’s not a wrestling fan, he’d know you go back body drop to stop the Pedigree :p)
— Putting the Parise or Zubrus lines on Crosby and girls allowed US to control the puck and spin pretty circles around them and KEPT THE PUCK AWAY FROM THEM a good amount of the game and this is one MAJOR coaching adjustment (and from hints Sutter’s been saying since he’s been here one he’s always wanted) that you can NOT argue about ever!
— Bobby Holik hit every goddamn thing in sight that wasn’t wearing referee stripes and it was an amazing effort (I counted six hits alone in the first two periods)… the big nasty bastard is BACK!!
— Colin White… excellent game AGAIN… and TWO ASSISTS!!!!! (remember kids it IS ok to jump up and yell WHITE POWER when Colin makes a play!!)

    the Bad:

— Yes I do love this hockey team (obviously)… thankfully it’s not as obsessive and compulsive as it was in the old CRASHER Line days (re: not human and no wonder it took only psycho girls to date me)…. and yes I enjoy going to the games… but my main objective each time I go to a Devils game… I GO TO HAVE FUN AND ENJOY THE GAME with the friends I am making in Section 209…lately said other people in the section are bitching and complaining about this… whatever… but like I said as much as I follow what goes on in every game (damned if I could write this if I didn’t??) … I take shit for the fact I’m not afraid to go off topic to achieve my main goal… enjoy myself for the 2-3 hours I am there… have some fun.. laugh and forget about all the other mass bullshit in my life now, am I a bad fan?? I doubt it… do I take the games lightly… I should… it’s FOR FUN AND ENTERTAINMENT… and I just wanted to get that peeve off my chest (and it’s not like exactly 209 is bringing it’s A-Game every night either)
— If Martin Brodeur ever got as lucky as Scott Clemmensen got tonight (posts… missed nets all that crazy stuf)… no one would EVER score on him…. but hey luck is better then good sometimes….
— Madden and Pandolfo again kinda looked LOST… at best… not a pretty night for the former heart of the Devils strategy, and one of my favorite players in Madden….
— Bryce Salvador… OUCH… right in the face (though it was funny to see mister “hey why don’t you quit yapping and watch the game wonder why it was a penalty till I told him it was a wrist shot to the face and a non-penalization, unless you hit Crosby :P)
— the 5-forward power play look, while it was decent tonight.. scares the LIVING SHIT OUT OF ME!

Back at it in 48 hours… and don’t forget to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to me if ya see me Friday or Saturday (I want my birthday attention for a RARE Devils home birthday game on Saturday!)

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!

NJ Devils Month in Review, October 2008

Back at this again!!! Always fun, always exciting to start a new season and have some expectations to it… and then soon after… it fizzles away by game ….goals… slugfests, all sorts of crazy stuff… but the roller coaster is on a down swing and injuries aside the first month of the 2008-09 season has some things to worry about!!!

Forwards:
#9 (LW) Zach Parise:
The future of this team and holy shit the future is NOW too… 12 points in 9 games… goals in his last five, a game winner and a game tying goal too… what the hell more could you ask from this kid?? This may be the easiest guy to talk about this month… and it’s a shame… he deserves more time here… but nothing to say besides… awesome!!!
Grade: A+

#14 (RW) Brian Gionta:
Has been bounced around already… and not by opposing forwards…. Victim #1 of the Sutter lines out of a hat shuffle… but really has done pretty well so far…people will bitch and whine “because he only has one goal” (should have had a second last night, but it did become an assist)… and leading the team in assists and second in points… not too shabby, more so for a guy with a knock of being shoot first second and third… shots lead to rebounds which lead to assists…. I like the feisty play and for a midget he really does thrive when he gets his nose dirty!
Grade: A-

#19 (Center) Travis Zajac:
Looks like a bounce back year so far for Travis… he’s bigger, meaner (from my seats he sometimes looks Holik-ish)..killing penalties… and looking like the team’s best center this, again only one goal, but SOMEONE scored on his 5 helpers right?? Last year is LONG forgotten here (and remember this all you dopes that wanted to trade a 25 year old with this much upside… I TOLD YOU AGAIN… be patient with the kids!!!)
Grade: B+

#26 (LW) Patrik Elias-A
5 minor penalties is not a good thing already, and seems to lost a step on his shot and is looking to help and pass first… hasn’t exactly clicked with Zubrus and Vrana, and with the injuries at forwards seems to be looking for a guy to make plays with.. willing to cut him some slack based on injuries and shifting talent around him… but will need more from Patrik if/when Parise slows down….least on the bright side… Elias has 40 shots, which means the effort and opportunity IS there… just a matter of them falling in….
Grade: B-

#11 (Center) John Madden-A
The 3 goals is a nice start, but it seems like Madden may be slowing a bit… look at the goals scored by opponents in the last few games…. 5, 3, 6… a troubling sign and yes the defense has been spotty, but some of that falls on the checking line… blasted in the post game by Sutter as well… maybe it’s a sign that this checking line can no longer be the focal point of this team’s strategy anymore….does have value still as the team’s lone faceoff guy too…
Grade: C+ (just a bit above average.. seems about the right grade for him)

#9 (LW) Danius Zubrus:
Has been a nice surprise this year… the goal stats are a bit eh, but also has been shuffled around… seemed to be more comfortable and physical with Holik as his center… but this physical controlling play seemed to have continued without Bobby One-Brow around…
Not really in the right mix playing with Elias and Vrana either… but the guy has a skill set and it’s just a matter of finding someone to play with him when Holik and Rolston get back too…. He’s been good so far though…
Grade: B+ (another much improved from last year folk)

#15 (RW) Jamie Langenbrunner-C
Disappointing could be a word… slow could be another… rushed back from an injury when there is NO NEED to (it’s October… play the kids and let the beat up guy you need in the stretch heal) 16 PIMs is a bad sign of being caught behind the play and having to cheat and heal up…. It may be a point in his career where he’s going to need to take some nights off to be effective, but the old boy’s club coach ain’t gonna do that either…then again this could be a “he’s off to a slow start and will get better come January” things… all the MORE reason to sit his ass and let him get healthy!!!!
Grade: C-

#23 (RW) David Clarkson:
VERY frustrating player… has all the skills and tools to be one hell of a power forward… but won’t get his nose dirty…. 2 goals again looks nice on the stat sheet but one was a Marty Turco whiff… the other was a NICE tip-in though… had one hell of a fight last night though… if he’d do more of that and keeping his stuff in front of the net he’d be a million times better, but I guess he’s still young… personally I’d give him #21 and make him watch Randy McKay films until his eyes bled!!
Grade: C

#20 (LW) Jay Pandolfo:
Again seems a bit slow this year… the 2 on 1’s shorthanded are long long ago and probably not coming back… maybe a bit complacent after getting the new contract, but he’s been slow out of the box too… not expected to score, but if this line is gonna get 18+ minutes a night… he HAS to be more then 2 assists, and again when Sutter is calling him out for a bad game (which should be expected when as many goals have flown by as they have in the last week)…it’s a scary thought if these guys wear down this year….
Grade: C

#22 (LW) Petr Vrana:
Has a nose for deflections by the net which I like.. stands in front… get his shit dirty, but doesn’t seem to have any explosion or anything in the play so far… but then again this team demands a lot on both ends of the ice and that and getting used to the league jitters are the norm (playing him on a line with Rupp is a TOTAL waste though mind you), 5 games is a short body of work to judge him on… and not to mention when the coach smells a sniff of shortening the bench he seems to be the first to go, and that seems to be more about his age rather then performance
Grade: C+ (some of this is fault of the coaching staff still, more on that later)

#12 (Center) Brian Rolston:
Looked like he was about to find his way and got hurt… that sucks….
Grade: Incomplete

#25 (LW) Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond:
Nice long ass name… he can fight… he can hit… he’s got an assist… but if he’s playing every night… we got problems… thug-loving fans will call for him to play in Cam Janssen like fashion, but is a spot player for limited minutes and he’ll be ok at that
Grade: Incomplete (3 games, and probably 10 mins of ice)

#17 (LW/C) Mike Rupp:
Still the worst hockey instincts I’ve seen in a human being outside of my pickup games in Short Hills… he’s fighting more which is a plus….but still… he’s kinda eh… tolerable as the team’s 12th forward which he seems to be… loved the fight with Hollweg last night that was 5 stars!
Grade: C+

#16 (Center) Bobby Holik:
Was scrappy and annoying and in people’s faces and backs when he was in the game… but the broken finger came at a bad time when he could have seen more, decent faceoff numbers… will eventually chip in some points and hopefully mentors Rupp and Clarkson along the way….he was decent enough until he went down…
Grade: C

Defense:
#6 Andy Greene:
Wow what a difference a year made in Andy’s play… more points in the month then all of last year… the shot is improved and two multiple assist games…. And the confidence is showing in his game as well, third on the team and first of all defensemen with a +4, and there’s been a few nights he’s been the best guy on the ice from the blue line…much like Zajac WORLDS of improvement over last year!!
Grade: A

#7 Paul Martin:
Three assists isn’t going to cut it over the course of a month… good thing Andy Greene is picking up the slack… has a nice rapport with Salvador and is playing like a top pair defenseman (though he did look gassed 26 minutes into his ice time last night)…the kid is coming along very nicely and his skating is better then any other defender on the team..
Grade: B-

#27 Mike Mottau:
Less minutes and on the 3rd Pair D is exactly what he needed… seems to have clicked with Andy Greene and the offense is coming from both of these guys nicely (hell look at the point upgrade in defense from this year to last already)… can’t complain much about this guy either… off to a good start….
Grade: B

#5 Colin White:
Spotty… kinda playing with just one eye open (I know that’s awful… but I yell way too much NO PLAY IT WITH THE GOOD EYE COLIN at games)… may never evolve into the next top defenseman the team expected… but he’s ok… he just needs to be more ok then bad, and he’s not been doing it that well this year… it’s only 9 games, but it is troubling… but still he’s a +4, that’s odd… but it also doesn’t account the wet soggy swiss cheese the pk’s been in the last few games….
Grade: C-

#29 Johnny Oduya:
Seems to be okay so far this year… still the mental mistakes are back a little… and he doesn’t seem to know how to use his speed and shot again (then again he’s probably getting scared to death of the Wrath of Sutter…. JOHHHHNNNNNN…. JOHHHNNNN!!)… only one assist is disappointing and may be spending more time covering Colin White’s bad eye then he need be doing….
Grade: C

#24 Bryce Salvador:
Is fast becoming my favorite player on the team… plays smart… sticks up for teammates… hits after the play… fights… you name it and this guy does it… Playing solid with Paul Martin (we call this earning the contract!)… not doing much in offense, but doesn’t need to… I think this keeps up and my next paycheck is getting me a #24 jersey! I have no complaints on this guy!!
Grade: A

Incompletes:
#28 (D) Anssi Salmela, #10 (RW) Matt Halischuk, #2 (D) Sheldon Brookbank:
Salmela looked not ready for prime time… it’s ok, let him bake and come back in Lowell (though he might be back now with Andy Greene on the shelf with the broken hand)
Halischuk looked like he belonged with Madden and Pandolfo… this is good…
Brookbank didn’t kill anyone with his slapshot yet, so we are pleased!

Goaltending:
#30 Martin Brodeur
Stupid, arrogant and ego-centric as the helmet may be (and it annoys me that he is allowed to put something on his mask that so OBVIOUSLY makes him ahead of the team)… he’s really been kinda good this month… well not the last two games (and I won’t go even into the fact that it’s a fucking joke that he played 22 hours after the game on Friday Night too… why waste money on a backup? Came out of the box really good and hellbent on breaking this all time wins record that NO ONE really cares about (well some Devil fans might… I don’t…want to set records that MATTER? Win more Cups… go get Patrick Roy’s PLAYOFF win record…. Until then it’s meaningless stat compilation and I’d rather he not burn his ass out in February again)… looked flat out EXHAUSTED by about shot 40 in the last game (then again that used to be a week’s level of worth… sad this is the only way I say the word WEEKES… free him now!!), but the blips in the defense and goaltending aside (it is a bit troubling that he’s let in some softies against the Rangers and Flyers)… he’s been pretty damn good… PLAY LESS GAMES!!!!
Grade: B+ (yes I knocked him down some for the helmet and the back to back garbage)

Coaching:
Ah Brent Sutter… where to begin?? Now let me say this.. I LIKE the guy… I stress this because it’s going to sound like I don’t and I want him gone… but he’s doing things that piss me off so far……let’s get to those
? Rushing Langenbrunner back when Bergfors was called up… Langs has been beat up, injured and showing a lot of age and wear on the tires at this point of his career… letting him take the foot off the gas and rest up would have been wise…
? TOO MUCH ICE TIME TO THE OLD BOY’S CLUB!! Yes Elias, Madden and all have been key parts of this team, but how are you going to see what these kids in Vrana, Halishuk and so on have when you DON’T THROW THEM TO THE FIRE IN KEY SCENARIOS (and it’s even a bigger disgrace when you see how BAD Madden, Pando and Langs looked… more so in the last game… instead of bitching them out post game HIT PLAYERS WHERE THEY CARE… put the young legs out there and see what they got…. Every other god damn team in the league does it… not like we’ve been piling up Cups since the lockout!
? Lack of creativity in the offense… this seems to have changed a little with the youth… we’re actually seeing speed… flow… people in front… deflections….and not to mention… I’m sorry.. it’s retarded to have you finesse guys in Elias and Parise being the guys standing in front of the net while the Clakrson’s, Zubrus’ and Gionta’s are the ones outside the paint and they NEED to be in the goalie’s face to be able to make plays and finish shit off!!!
? Special Teams…. They’re more like from the special Olympics… the power play concepts seem to be good and shots and traffic are flowing from it… just not bounces… I guess that can be injuries and personnel issues now as well (though I’d rather see Greene get pp time as a reward for this resurgence)
? Brent is the first second and third guy to kill someone when they mess up.. how come he NEVER comes out and praises the team as much as he kills them… the more you beat on a horse without break or reward the sooner the damn thing is gonna die on you….

Things I do like though:

? This team finally seems to have some balls… re: Salvador creaming a guy who tried to run at Martin….Rupp crushing Hollweg, etc…. this team is taking no shit and won’t be as soft or intmidated as they have been past years….
? The defensive pairings… White and Oduya almost by default… but this might change with Greene out… Greene and Mottau have chemistry as well as Martin and Salvador are a nice top pairing… but the minutes may need to be kept in the 22 range

So all in all…. We’re way better then we were last year, but an alarming sign against the better teams in the East… but the talent and mindset is there for this team to do well… but they’re doing only ok….. like I said I like the guy and I think he can adjust but he better get to it.. CMON BRENT!!!!
Grade: C

(no comments on Lou yet, because we have yet to see how his improvements to the team will pan out)

Devils/Stars Thoughts from Section 209….

Hey i noticed no one else wrote something up.. must still be coming back… I see an open rush.. I’m pinching in (which is scary since I’m like… a GOALIE… but I’ve scored goals before :p)….so with that in mind… time to share some good joy from tonight…..

Things I noticed from this game:

— THIS is the Stars team I’ve seen all year on Center Ice not the one that showed up in MSG, bad goals, awful plays… and glad to see we pounded a team playing like shit like VEAL (again each game this more and more feels like the Devils of old)… Dallas is one of 5 or 6 teams I watch often on CI, if for their awesome announcers more then anything….
— Brendan Morrow lost his freaking mind in the 3rd period… and it’s only 3 weeks into the season
— watching Avery run like a scalded dog from a stickless Clarkson (who then blocked a shot too) was a classic throwback to Wil E Coyote and the Road Runner on ice.. hilarity!!!

— ANDY GREENE!!!!!! Told y’all last year was a fluke!!
— Jesus Christ the Zub-a-roonie was something to see!!!
— Marty, PLEASE save some of this for April and beyond!!!
— ANOTHER Clarkson sighting… nice shot.. shame most NHL goalies stop it… but I’ll take it!!
— ANDY GREENE!!!!!!!!!!!!
— Salvador beating the piss out of the guy who ran Martin (even though Martin bounced off)… this video to be youtubed later!! cool.gif
— Hard to pencil a Devil who looked BAD tonight

— one thing I did NOT like… why in a 5-0 bombing are you NOT playing Vrana more… I don’t wanna hear about defense and lessons to a kid… THIS IS THE EXACT TYPE OF GAME TO GET HIM MORE ICE TIME, and he only gets 10:50… WTF !??!?!!?!?

Comment away folks!!!