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.

This is worse than a hangover.

I sit here in my Windy City apartment, fighting back the urge to kick my vibrating fridge, wondering what the heck happened last night.

We were so close.

How does a team go from glory to undeniable shame and defeat in the span of a minute-thirty? No heart? No drive? No courage?

No killer instinct.

Let’s face it, boys and girls, this team could have easily put this game away last night. There were odd man rushes, two-on-ones, heck, a four minute man advantage and — nothin’. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

I could go on, but it hurts my heart too much.

Oh, who are we kidding? My heart was ripped from its casing last night and severed to millions of tiny bleeding pieces by the sharpened skates of 23 men.

It hurts.

I do not think this team didn’t have the guts to get the job done. The Hurricanes were simply the better team. Aside from flashes of brilliance and a jewel of a Game 5, Cam Ward was the better goaltender.

Our defense is mediocre at best — yeah, Havelid, go hide in a ditch somewhere west of the Delaware. You are not welcome in New Jersey anymore.

While our offense kicked it up seven THOUSAND notches this season, guys like Brian Rolston and Bobby Holik don’t hack it. Thank goodness we weren’t subjected to Holik’s obligatory three stupid penalties last night, and while it’s fantastic that Rolston finally got a goal, I’d really like to give another Brian all the credit for that tally. Thank you, Mr. Gionta. Whether your on-ice awareness succeeded or you merely blindly threw the puck towards the boards and it just happened to bounce right to Rolston’s stick — I don’t care. It was awesome and one of the few things I can actually smile about after last night.

What do we do? Fire Sutter? Plead for Brodeur’s retirement? Take the entire defense outside and send them into the depths of Newark, just hoping they won’t return safely?

I’m not sure.

All I know right now is that I’m sitting in an apartment with an annoyingly loud vibrating fridge, overlooking the glowing red of the Sears Tower as Chicagoans rejoice, for their team has made it to the second round and mine hasn’t.

Life just doesn’t seem fair, does it?

Scott Stevens, was that you? (A half-cap, if you will)

11:53 PM ET: A bittersweet moment, but we must give congratulations to Richard H. as he has taken home the 2MA t-shirt. Thanks to all who entered!
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10:10 PM ET: What a waste. Season over.

10:08 PM ET:
…and that’s that. Staal fires one past Marty with just seconds left. You’ve gotta be kidding me.

10:07 PM ET:
Devils with the timeout. I’m not sure my heart can handle this.

10:06 PM ET:
Well, we have a minute left. Please do not break my heart, New Jersey.

10:05 PM ET:
DAMN IT DAMN IT DAMN IT.  Tied game.

10:01 PM ET:
Marty with a purty glove save on Rod Brind’amour. Do I need to bust out the You Go Girl picture? I think I do. Ever since that crap goal Brodeur gave up early in the first, he’s been on FI-YAH.

9:57 PM ET:
Two-on-one, Madden and Whitey. That’s almost as good as a Colin White penalty shot.

9:51 PM ET:
Martin Brodeur is a pretty darn good goalie. Just sayin’. He’s keepin’ the lead for the Devils right now.

9:51 PM ET:
Cam Ward is a pretty darn good goalie. Just sayin’. He’s keepin’ the Canes in it right now.

9:47 PM ET:
Madden with the game on his stick, can’t quite get it high enough on Ward. Consequently, Tuomo Ruutu gets absolutely reamed by Patty Elias. This has not been Ruutu’s night.

9:47 PM ET:
GOOD KILL GOOD KILL GOOD KILL

9:46 PM ET:
MARTIN BRODEUR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11ONE!1

9:45 PM ET:
Captain-brunner takes a bad penalty…no good. This is a huge kill here. DO IT.

9:38 PM ET:
Madden and Pandolfo on a two-on-one? Wow, I’m having serious flashbacks here.

9:33 PM ET:
So, yeah, normally the Rangers Suck chants annoy the heck outta me, but there’s something so divine about hearing 17,625 fans mocking the failed season of the Blueshirts in unison.

Loves it.

9:32 PM ET:
HOW DID THAT NOT GO IN? Elias, you’re fired.

9:29 PM ET:
Let us all take a moment bow our heads in silence for the Rangers’ 2009 season. Rest in Peace, New York. Rest in Peace.

…Nelson, I need to borrow your laugh right here.

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9:15 PM ET: Oh, and thanks to everyone who entered the 2MA t-shirt contest! Winner will be announced at the conclusion of tonight’s contest!
_____

9:13 PM ET: And we’re done with two! Devils with an additional buck-twenty left on the power play going into the third period.  I need a drink.

9:11 PM ET: Atta-boy, Zachy. Good to see Parise back on the ice immediately after getting his cheek ripped open.

9:08 PM ET:
Okay, I was totally kidding about, you know, any injury to Zach Parise. Poor pretty boy takes a stick to the face, draws blood and we’re on a four-minute man advantage. Make Gleason and the Canes pay Black ‘n Red!

9:04 PM ET:
GOOD KILL GOOD KILL GOOD KILL

9:02 PM ET:
I’m going to punch Zach Parise in the knee. Keep your stick down holmes! ‘Nother penalty kill for the Devils. Gotta stop taking the penalties.

9:00 PM ET:
GOOD KILL GOOD KILL GOOD KILL

8:56 PM ET:
If Facebook had a Does Not Like button, I’d click it for that play. BAD PENALTY CALL for flip’s sakes! Two-man advantage for the wrong team. Huge kill coming up. DO IT BOYZ! ‘Kay, maybe Facebook has taken over my life too.

Speaking of, add us on Facebook! …ah crap. Addicted.

8:50 PM ET: YUS!! POWER PLAY GOAL SUCKAS! 3-2 NEW JERSEY! What a PLAY by Brian Gionta! Amazing awareness, throws it over to Brian Rolston who *gasp* FINALLY GETS A GOAL! Oh my GOSH it’s like it was in the stars…

8:48 PM ET:
Solid shift by Black ‘n Red results in another pee-pee. If I don’t get my power play goal, I’m going to cry.

8:37 PM ET:
Uh…defense? Hello? Tied game. That power play goal would have been lovely, eh? Whatever, Ray Whitney is stupid.

8:36 PM ET:
Why does our power play suck so much?

8:34 PM ET:
Huge pee-pee! …uh…that sounds wrong. I WANT A POWER PLAY GOAL DARN IT.

8:33 PM:
‘Kay, Brendan Shanahan is awesome. Solid two-way play tonight by the 75893-year-old forward.

8:15 PM: PS Jay Pandolfo can grow a playoff beard like no one’s business. Shades of Scott Niedermayer anyone? …lies. That man came out of the womb with a full, furry, fantastic beard.

8:14 PM: Shaky start, solid ending. Good period overall. I like when the defense doesn’t completely suck. I also like when Captain-brunner looks like his old self.

KEEP IT GOING
KEEP IT GOING
KEEP IT GOING
KEEP IT GOING
KEEP IT GOING

8:03 PM: I LOVE JAY PANDOLFO.
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Holy…Johnny O-flippin-duya!

That was the hit of the playoffs right there ladies ‘n gents. I’m pretty sure poor Tuomo is still shakin’ in his skates right now…if he even remembers what skates after that boomer of an open ice hit.

KEEP IT GOING
KEEP IT GOING
KEEP IT GOING
KEEP IT GOING
KEEP IT GOING

Devils/Rangers… 12/12… Thoughts from Section 209!!!

Oh my God, where to start with THIS one?!??! Talk about all the way up and then way back down and to come all the way up again!!! Not the way ya wanna start your 36th birthday trying to run to the therapist to get some xanax! but anyway… so much to get to …..

the GOOD:
— 8 goals on Hernik the PuffyPads (my new name from tonight)… did we get 8 on the Queen ALL LAST YEAR?? I don’t think we did… good to see the Fraud be revealed (though if I was a Ranger fan, well besides having my wrists slit long ago, I’d wonder why the hell he wasn’t pulled at 5-1)

— IT’S A SHORTHANDED GOAL…. fuck you Sam Rosen…. times TWO!!!!

— Was good to finally hear the MAJORITY of the fans in the building stuff the idiot minority….

— 9 for 9 AND a +2 on the penalty kill?? that’s kinda hot in an almost sexual way!

— ya blow a 5-1 lead…but score 11 seconds after you blow the lead?I haven’t jumped that high out of my seat since Jeff Friesen in 2003 (talk about a goal that saved my week and put my birthday back to tolerable levels!)

— Good God even Bobby OneBrow got an assist tonight!

–Brian Gionta… 4 point night “and the Rangers have lost their defense” (and goaltending too Mister Rosen… go call your 4th string football game on FOX!)

the Bad:

— Scott Clemmensieve kinda lived up to the name I was kinda giving him … well cause it was working… but if you know goaltending and you watch it enough you saw this implosion pending (least the other guy was WORSE again!)

— BLOW A 5-1 LEAD.. WHAT THE FUCK GUYS!!! That was bad… this team can NOT sit back and hold on to a lead… EVER…. IT DOES NOT WORK!

— the 5 forward power play MUST go… Rolston looked pathetic trying to play D…

— …. come to think of it Rolston didn’t look much good at all….

— come to think of it the rest aside of goalteniding and Rolston was pretty darned acceptable to even good!!

the non-hockey:
— Seriously… I know you’re scum and douches… but Ranger fans SHUT UP DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM be quiet and respect said country that lets you be the scum sucking fuckface douche you are!!!

— thanks to route 22 for the damn flood in the right lane that killed my whole pre-game walkarounds!! (and that goes double to the Devils resturant staff for hanging up on me trying to reserve a seat for tonight for our mutual birthday thing… all I did was ask… well what happened to my season ticket holder priority…. I expect no less from this franchise :p)

— but the post-game “skate in the practice rink” the Devils offered… 5 stars!! But things to keep in mind…if you rent skates make sure they are SHARP (mine weren’t)… don’t be that moron in the Drury jersey who can’t take two steps without falling on his ass constantly (though it was funny as hell and facebook pics to follow!!!)
— and yes it is kick ass to skate on the Devils practice rink :)…made for some good pre-birthday enjoyment!

Hot damn I’m tired, still kinda numb… and not even sure at what the hell I saw…. the WTF moment of the DECADE to be SURE!!! (and one last side note, happy birthday to Mindy too and thanks for getting my head outta my as during this one when it needed it!!)