NJ Devils Month in Review, December 2009!

What a month of December!!! 11-4 overall (and ok the Hawk game left a bad taste in your mouth, but don’t be spoiled bitches about it!!), the team is still atop the NHL… and hey… it’s all good… enjoy the goddamn ride and how fun December was! And yeah I know it’s a bit late (but hey with my track record compared to the rest f 2ma, I’m allowed some slack… and I’m not going to tonight’s game so you have this to read instead… it’s all good!!)

Forwards:
#9: Zach Parise-A (2g, 10a=12 pts,+2)
OH MY GOD PARISE ALMOST WENT THE WHOLE MONTH WITHOUT A GOAL!!!!! And look…. the world didn’t end, dogs and cats didn’t start having babies… I didn’t start speaking Spanish….. the Cowboys didn’t start winning in Decemeber…. oh… wait… they did 🙂 But in seriousness the best thing about Parise’s scoring funk… he NEVER stopped playing hard, getting chances (hell he still had 10 assists so someone got ten goals thanks to Zach)… and his body language and effort never sagged or dropped during the funk… that’s the sign of a good player! Hard work, consistent effort, it’s all good Zach!
Grade: B+

#19: Travis Zajac (2g, 5a=7 pts,+1)
Had some scoring troubles in the month too, but I’ll link those issues to Parise’s (since for the most they are linemates for life in jersey)….But you can also say that maybe Parise struggled too because Zajac was kinda eh in the month also…slumps do happen though, and the Devils were fortunate that the 3rd and 4th lines were GOOD this month (and it helped the team alot)…his level of play and intensity didn’t seem to match Zach’s though (but that’s expected and why Zach is the superstar on the team and why Zajac is just a good supporting piece)… he’ll be ok, and he’s already scored in January so it’s all good!
Grade: B-

#15: Jamie Langenbrunner-C (5g, 5a=10 pts,+1)
It’s a weird thing… and stats aren’t always everything (yes I’ll get shit for this with the first week he had in January. but this is DECEMBER’S month in review :p)…. he has nice offensive numbers, but there was a REASON he’s been pulled from Zajac and Parise… and down to the 3rd line… the wheels are not there and something seems off on his level of play… he reminds me of the top scorer on my Ford’s Cup team… he had great hands and could finish with anyone…. but man he didn’t do much else… maybe he’s playing through injury again I don’t know (he does too damn much of that and costs himself a month of good play to not sitting a few nights… I know that kinda stubborn, as anyone who saw me walking around like my leg fell off at Tuesday’s game)… there’s a reason me and my fellow 209ers have been tough on him all month…..
Grade: B-

#18: Nicklas Bergfors (7g, 3a=11pts,-5)
Love the offense and the skill and the confidence this kid shows on the ice each game… but you can tell from the -5 on why Lemaire dogs him about defense and learning both ends of the ice…. but in doing his main job in making most of up forget Brian Gionta (sorry your Lordship :p)….also showed he can skate and play with Parise and Zajac (hell his efforts are part of the reason Langenbrunner is no longer on that line)… not to mention that second in the league in rookie scoring is pretty damn good too… he’ll learn the rest of the game and Jacques’ will crack the whip as it’s needed to keep him in line!
Grade: B

#21: Rob Niedermayer (3g, 3a=6pts,-1)
Smart…crafty, does a lot of little plays still that you just look and see… DAMN I liked that… kinda spotty on faceoffs (some days it’s real good… other days it’s 15%..crikey! Not the fastest… or overly physical, but he still finds way to do the little things, and that ear-piercing NIEEDDDDMMMMAAAYYYYYEEEEERRRR to my left is always attention getting :P…..he’s been solid
Grade: B

#12: Brian Rolston (5g, 4a=9pts, +4)
Steady through the month, but hit the wall at the end (hell alot of the guys did… that was a ROUGH month of games)…. no points in his last 4 games is a bit of a downer…. and he’s back on a 27-goal pace after what was a slow start to the year for him….he kinda is what he is at this point, and the main thing…but there’s been too many games you forget he’s out there and with his shot, speed and pp time that can’t happen…..
Grade: B-

#20: Jay Pandolfo (1g, 3a=4pts,-5)
Ugh… of all the guys to come back and be healthy this is the one I wanted back the least…. I know I’ve been on Pando’s ass since he came into the league, but the good years are behind him…gets too much ice time (I don’t like or beleive in the defensive shadow role… that died with the lockout)
Grade: C-

#10: Rod Pelley (2g, 2a=4pts, +2)
The POWER OF PIST ROD PELLEY (ah, leave it to me to take moments of personal idiocy and make them into gold and eternal running commentary for life)… and four points in a MONTH?? I’d have been shocked to see that for the YEAR… he’s really growing comfortable in his role.. and he can lay some MONSTER hits for a 5’11” guy! I mean don’t get me wrong.. he’s still a 4th liner… but again with the lousy level of 4th liners and how the chicken-shit coaches of the past didn’t use them… it’s been a god send to see an effective 4th line, and it has been Pelley-Powered!!! (and people who know me love I loves me a good 4th line!)
Grade: A

#25: Andrew Peters (4 games, no points, +1, 15 PIM)
I’m sorry I don’t give a shit what he did the rest of the month, but when you ain’t played in 3 weeks and you get into a fight 16 seconds into the game and your jersey comes off YOU FAIL AND YOU SUCK SIR!
Grade: F (TIE YOUR FUCKING JERSEY DOUCHEBAG!!!)

#17: Ilkka Pikkarainen (11 games, 1g, 2a=3pts, +1)
Pikka-chu’s been decent this month too, and even the garbage way his first NHL goal was scored (PRICE WAS WRONG BITCH!!)… I see points on the 4th line and I get all excited! And add in the fact he was getting 8-10 minutes a night that shows the level of improved play here… and keep in mind the grade is for what his role is on the team, and he’s been good at what he does!
Grade: B

#11: Dean McAmmond (3g, 4a=7pts, +1)
Geesh, he was a -8 in the last 4 games, and the only non-minus game was a shutout :o…. damn), he slowed down a bit as the month went on (obviously :p)… but still… he’s been ok between Elias and Rolston, and he’s putting up John Madden-style numbers… hopefully the end of the month slip is just a rut and not the old fella crashing into the wall after only 6 weeks back in the NHL… he’ll adjust… I’d hope, though as old as he is, he ain’t THAT established in the NHL as much….something to worry and keep an eye on….
Grade: C

#28: Vladimir Zharkov (0g, 6a=6pts, +5)
Nifty little player, has nice flash… doesn’t get enough shots to the net yet… but he’s learning, played well with Elias and Rolston and that helps too….good guy to just plug in there and get a bit of offensive crafty in there….probably gone back to Lowell when this team gets healthy, but he’s got a good chance to be on this team next season and beyond (or a key piece in a playoff push type of trade)
Grade: B+
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Defense:
#6: Andy Greene (2g, 9a=11pts, +2, 25:00 TOI)
What can I say about Andy that I haven’t already? 2nd in the East in scoring… plays damn near half the game… makes smart plays in one step back in his own end….mobile… and still growing as an NHL player… it’s been the best story about this year (yes in more ways then one <3 )… Andy could fix the economy, move continents and even get Michael Bay to write good movies!!! Need I say more????
Grade: A

#24: Bryce Salvador (2g, 0a=2pts, +2, 21:00 TOI)
As good and obvious as the Andy Greene Show has been… I think what gets really lost in that act is the fact that he's had a pretty damn good side kick in Salvador with him…. long gone are the days of people pissing and moaning that we got this guy for Cam Janssen (think about THAT for a second)… Bryce has done everything asked of him and been the steady compliment and rarely needed backup plan for Andy when he jumps into the offense…..
Grade: A

#2: Mark Fraser (1g, 1a=2pts, +7, 14:00 TOI)
He's been solid too…but protected… you can tell by his ice time and when the Devils are home, they take advantage of match-ups and keep Fraser off the ice when the big boys are out there…he's big, he takes the body….he could fight more, but I don't like defensemen fighting personally… he's coming along nicely!
Grade: B-

#5: Colin White (1g, 4a=5pts, +2, 23:30 TOI)
WHITE POWER!!! (it's my thing deal with it :p)… he's been good again this month, plays big ice time each game…. again when you don't notice Colin… it's good… and I didn't notice him much… and it's been a long time since you'd yell HOLY SHIT COLIN at him… so since less is more for Colin, I'm gonna say less about him and grade him more!
Grade: B+

#29: Johnny Oduya (1g, 0a=1pt, +5, 21:00 TOI)
ONE POINT?? Really?!?!?! Least his defense is getting better… and he's moving the puck again and better on defense… still you'd think the one guy who'd benefit from Lemaire like every one else… There's still much time to improve at least, and he did improve this month….
Grade: C-

#27: Mike Mottau (0g, 1a=1pt, -7, 26:00 TOI)
Looks like all the ice time is catching up with him a little bit here… his stats slipped (and look at that -7), and the plays… just not as good… been forced (again) to play over his head and it caught up a lil bit this month… he's still a useful player… but they pushed the gas pedal too far this month and it's running on empty…..
Grade: B+

#32: Matthew Corrente (5 games, no points, even, 10 PIM)
Much like Fraser was brought in sparingly, and allowed to get his feet wet… and in the NHL getting your feet wet playing defense is NOT an easy job… I liked the fighting (but again, more when he was playing forward)…. he was pretty well protected when possible….still truly hard to figure him out while he's still figuring it out… but he's been ok!
Grade: C+ (borderline incomplete)
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Incompletes:
#7: Paul Martin-A… did not play all month
#23: David Clarkson (2 games played, no points,-2, 5 PIM)… came back and got hurt again *ugh*
#16: Matt Halischuk (2 games, no points, -2)
It's a damn shame, he just looked like he had gotten it on the NHL level and caught up with the game and the speed of the players on ice…he got sent down… grrrr… in a perfect world, he's in and Pando's out, we all know this ain't a perfect world though
#22: The man called PL^3….Hasn't played a game since Nov 4th… wow
#8: Danius Zubrus… also did not play in December

Goalies:
#30: mb30 (15 games: 10-4, 2.37 gaa, 3 So, 3a)
Well what can you say??? He's in mid-season form (and it IS mid-season so that makes sense :p)…. played too many games in the month but this is NOTHING NEW *sigh*…. I guess we're supposed to forget this is an Olympic Year and the fucker's gonna play 100 games BEFORE the playoffs… and trust me…I'm 37 also… the body DOES break down admit it or not…. dude needs some rest (and Dennis's been good when allowed to play, and I do mean allowed)… being benched after one bad period in his ONLY bad game in the month ain't enough… UNLEASH THE DENNIS!!!
Grade: A

#35: Jan Dennis (1 game, 1-0, 0.67 gaa)
Only got one chance to shine and hot damn he DID make the most of it when he did… came in for the Atlanta game at the same time that the Cowboys shocked the WORLD in New Orleans (what a great snowy night that was….)… I just give him a grade because it's so damn hard to sit there all the time and flip the switch and play when you win the lottery and get a damn start on this team!!
Grade: A

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Coaching Staff:
What can you say about what Lemaire and company is doing with this team?? If the head coach is the conductor for a symphony then Jacques is crafting his greatest song ever here….The dealing with the injuries, the growth and development of the rookies… it really is the mother of all masterpieces…. the only knock I have on Jacques is that he's not letting Dennis play enough… but I can see why the way mb30 is pumping out A games each night…
Grade: A

Front Office:
… well there were no trades or major moves to really talk about… I mean there's not much need to… things just keep on keeping on!!!
Grade: A (but could be called Incomplete too)

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+

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?

NJ Devils Month in Review October 2009

One month in the books already??? Wow… Where does the time go?? 5 home games to rant about already…. but now I get to talk
about the games they actually won eh?? 8-4 start with no Patrik Elias and a mish-mosh D corps and 4th line… the NHL’s regular
season Juggernaut rolls on!! (I swear the Devils are the NHL’s version of the Indianpolis Colts…)… and the year is young, even if the
writer ain’t!

Forwards:
#9: Zach Parise-A
AAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!! (sorry you can’t say Parise without screaming like you’re front row in a Jonas Brothers concert), but what
the hell else can you say about him?? He’s consistent… plays every night… he’s over a point a game again and showing last year
was no fluke and we should come to expect elite level stats and results out of him each and every year… and all of this without
Elias around to take some of the scoring burden off of him… and even MORE when the bottom 15 guys on this roster COMBINED
have less points then Zach… that’s frightening… and it just goes to show how GOOD Parise is!
Grade: A+

#19: Travis Zajac
Travis HAS ARRIVED!! This month has been the true breakout and emergence of this kid as not only our top center, but the guy
Lemaire puts you with when he wants to get you going… faceoffs, special teams… offense… defense, the kid just does it all
too!! THIS IS WHY YOU SHOW PATIENCE WITH YOUNG PLAYERS and let them grow up in front of your eyes… when you get the
right guy it’s a special thing when they do grow up!!! He’s on the verge of cracking that plateau from very good to borderline elite
player…. and it’s been fun to watch!!!
Grade: A

#23: David Clarkson
Another guy who’s growing up before our eyes (he still needs a nice nasty scar though dammit)… 9 points and 20 PIMs… it’s a
good balance for him, though I’d rather see more offense and less fights….he’s also been a bit stuck in the shuffle with no real
line to stay on and get comfortable with, but it’s hard to get on him about it… look at the centers on this team (I still want to
see him play more with Rolston because Rolston played his best with him last year… I’ll save that for Rolston)… I like the 6 assists…
it means the toe-drag/wraparound specialist is DEAD and now he’s getting closer and closer to a complete player and his stats this
month were actually Patrik Elias-like.. another good sign for now and beyond… good month kid!!!
Grade: A

#15: Jamie Langenbrunner-C
He’s been decent enough… and certainly not bad enough to bash… (Jesus he’s shot % is 6.4 though…)… I expect more then
2 goals a month from the Captain… and no I don’t give a shit what he does in shootouts, they’re NOT hockey I won’t watch
them, and they don’t even count on the stat sheet!), his shortie against the Flyers was a beauty… but that penalty shot try
was the ugly 9way to go making the same FAIL move twice… in a row too…), he’s not the fastest of starters, but with this team
as thin as it is now… they’re gonna need more from the Captain, though an assist every other game is good production… and I
have more players to bash later then he….
Grade: B- (needs more goals)

#18: Nicklas Bergfors
Not a bad rookie month for the kid (I know he’s been on the team before, but that didn’t count… see Halischuk later on this)…
his two goals were big ones… and the bar isn’t set as high with him as the people he is ranking with among team leaders in
offense, though a 41 point pace is a welcome start (and you’d HAVE to think those numbers will go up when #26 returns)…
he’s shooting lots…. a sign of confidence (he is 3rd on the team in shots) and I have to say I’ve been pleased with his results
so far! (God damn I wish this team had a #2 center)
Grade: B

#21: Rob Niedermayer
I have to admit he’s been a pleasant suprise to me (in a team in my life I don’t get many happy shocks :p)… he’s slick, he’s
crafty he does a ton of little things that you notice and go… hey that was pretty damn smart… unlike his whipped little brother
he stands up to crazy mama Nieds… I can never find that damn faceoff stats… but I don’t think he’s been too good on those…
but he’s been better then advertised (hell again with the #2 center but if we had one he’d be like awesome!)
Grade: B

#8: Danius Zubrus
ZUBBIE!!!!!!!!!! He’s been better this year… he clears out space… he owns the puck… he does they dirty work (hell there’s a
reason he’s been between Parise and Langs this year)…and if you’re going to only score two goals, better make one a game
winner on the Rangers, and the other one won the Boston game too… call it a crap goal if you want… but you still gotta BE
THERE and able to finish the play! One of many guys who’s been vastly better under Lemaire then under Calgary’s cure for
Insomnia! And you actually almost believe this guy’s turned it around and can get it done! Another feel good guy on a team
that should ne nowhere near as good as it’s been!
Grade: B+

#12: Brian Rolston
Oh boy… this been not so good…2 goals.. WHAT?? 2 assists…. WHATTTT!?!?!?!? This was supposed to be the guy who was
gonna take the slack for Elias being out… this was supposed to be the guy who was begging for Lemaire since he thrived under
him…. ok, I’ll give him that he keeps firing over 4 shots a game at the goalie he’s gonna get better results even off rebound
goals (this is why I would like to see him with Clarkson to pick up some trash points)…at least rip ’em wide Rolston is hitting
the damn net though… but still… the numbers ain’t so good and he HAS to be better (especially with so many younger… and
dare I play the salary cap card of saying CHEAPER…. players coming of age on this team)… it’s only October though, so we’ll try
to be hopeful he gets his shit on right…but it’s NOT there yet…
Grade: D

#20: Jay Pandolfo
Well he’s not been too awful has he? He’s not setting the world on fire…. and is it coincidence that the pk got better when he
went down?? Hard to tell Doesn’t do very much… but he was decent enough with Lil Niedermommy…. eh, he’s just not one of
the kinda guys I think this team needs anymore…. Veteran presence… really?? I don’t know… we really don’t have anything
better that’s NHL ready… that’s a backhanded compliment eh?? I won’t kill him but I ain’t singing his song either….
Grade: C

#10: Rod Pelley
When you average about 10 minutes a night and you’re a -5… that’s not good…. when you’re there for faceoffs and penalty
killing… that’s not good … it’s really sad that the only good thing I can say about him is I am pleasantly shocked that he’s good
for one hit a night! His faceoffs suck… but go figure he has a power play assist (on that Bergfors goal… life is funny)… but this
is the #1 reason we let John Madden go?!?!?! That’s sad…. couldn’t we have just said because he’s old and a douchebag, really??
Rod thou are NOT god sir!!
Grade: D

#25: Andrew Peters
…oh boy… a key member of the “Pretty Poor Players” 4th line… dude can’t skate… he doesn’t hit or fight much, but at least
he’s “only” a -1, we have guys on the 4th line that are much worser… limited ice time… and even more limited results… I don’t
see much of what he brings to the table, aside of keeping Clarkson from having to fight people…..
Grade: D (I have no expectations of him so he’s not even worth failing!)

#16: Matt Halischuk
Not ready for the NHL yet and it kinda showed (he was as lost as Bergfors was last year… but at least Jacques LETS HIM PLAY…
fuck you again Sutter) Didn’t really show much… had one nifty shot that was about it…. we’re gonna go easy on him though
cause he’s a baby and wasn’t ready to play with men yet, and was forced in there dude to the Elias injury….
Grade: INCOMPLETE

#17: Ilkka Pikkarainen
Eight minutes a game and he’s a -4?!?!?!?! OI VEY!!! (no I’m not making fun of Jewish people so DON’T START!!!) I mean I know
he’s new to the NHL and all but for Christ’s sake… YOU’RE TWENTY EIGHT YEARS OLD… IT’S TIME TO GROW UP A LITTLE (oh
boy I need to walk away from the computer and have some coffee after that one :p)…. anyway… I’m still not getting a good
feel on him, seems to be a 28-year old thing :p…. but so far… not so good, and 8 games is enough to start bashing… maybe
it’s time to change your hair color or something…something needs changing….
Grade: D (I could be a real asshole and say DD, but then I’m pushing it :p)

#22: The man called PL^3
Six games…. ZERO fights… but only a -1… not much ice time either… haven’t noticed him hitting as much as I’d like…
Personally I like the kid and want him in the enforcer role… but he’s gotta drop some damn gloves and whip some candy ass!!!
The Cowboys have (Miles) Austin 3:16, so why can’t PL^3 be out there Layeth the Smacketh Downeth?? CMON PL^3!!!!!!!
Grade: D

——————————————-

Defense:
#6: Andy Greene
Talk about a feel good story!! I stuck behind this kid and believed in him more then Johnny Oduya (remember that fight two-man
folk??)… though three points is a sorry stat to be leading the Devils in defensive scoring… the kid is a winning machine and each
time they ask him to step up he’s ANSWERED the call this month!!!! And now the Greene MACHINE is getting 20 minutes of ice a
night (due to injuries)… but man if he keeps this up, the Devils defense gets a LOT better… and we never lose on the road :p
Grade: A+++++ (he’s my boy now, deal with it!!)

#24: Bryce Salvador
Heh, he has 3 assists too…. I did not realize that!! But Bryce also has been pretty good this year! Veteran player with a defined
role under Lemaire, seems to have had a resurgence that looked lost under Coach Grumpy (yes I have many names for Mister
Sutter)… sticks up for his teammates… fights, makes plays amd is going to be a MUCH more important player then expected a
month ago with the injuries on the D… VERY good first month!
Grade: A

#7: Paul Martin-A
Has stepped up his offensive game… was all over the ice before his injury and he’s one of the most irreplaceable guys on the
team (even though it’s not showing in the wins and losses do NOT underestimate how important #7, and his 24 minutes of ice
time is to this team)… I do think the offense is going to come with the way he was playing…it’s just a matter of time… and
him getting back on the ice in the next 3-5 weeks
Grade: A

#2: Mark Fraser
One thing I always try to teach newer Devil fans or people I am getting into hockey….”the forward
who wears #17 sucks (yes I include Suckora in that list)… and the defender who wears #2 is bad (and
good Lord that goes all the way back to Slava Fetsiov), but Fraser’s been pretty decent (playing with
the MIGHTY Andy Greene helps)… and he’s been limited in his minutes which has been wise too… let
him get his feet wet… when he first broke into this team like 3-4 years ago, I liked his hitting game…
he’s not doing that, but he’s got a little offense and he’s not been Cory Murphy-bad either… I’ll call that
a semi-win from the kid….I also believe in this coaching staff to be patient and smart enough to let this
kid grown and not let him get Petr Vrana’ed
Grade: C+

#5: Colin White
He’s been solid… not taking penalties, killing penalties… and he’s a hard guy to really rate because
he’s best when you forget he’s there… and he’s been forgettable (and that is praise), and since less
is more is his game… I’m gonna say more by saying less about him! Good job so far!
Grade: B+

#29: Johnny Oduya
How in the blue hell does he NOT have a point yet?? Geesh… that’s not good… needless to say he’s
kinda struggled mighty this year….the -5 kinda reflects on that too… he’s hurt now, but we’ll see
what happens when he comes back… in a way the time off might be a blessing… let him get his head
back… just is that the timing is kinda bad on it since his offense (when he starts having some) is gonna
be needed more then ever!
Grade: F (yeah he’s been that bad)

#28: Cory Murphy
Was flat out AWFUL in his first three games and was directly responsible for two losses…. oddly
enough some time off and Andy Greene made him better in his fourth game… he’s gonna need to
add some offensive numbers (I do seem to harp on that but when Zach Parise has more points then
THE ENTIRE DEFENSE… it’s a problem!) to be worth it to this team…. and yeah he had 3 BAD
games… but it’s only a 4 game body of work… we’re watching you and we’re not happy…. but you
get a pass this month… and maybe this month alone…
Grade: INCOMPLETE (and yes some of my hate was an Andy Greene denial!)

#27: Mike Mottau
Has made a lot of good, smart and aware plays this season…. still doesn’t have the wheels… but he
has the smarts and with Scott Stevens preaching position and timing … he’s been better this year….
still would like even an accidental assist or two from him… but he’s been decent enough and he’s not
hurting the team, with the D as depleted as it is… that’s a good thing to have there… a nice solid
player who can chomp down some minutes!
Grade: B+

——————————————-

Goalies:
#30: mb30
Oh boy… this is a tough one… six BAD games… three good games and two okay games…. that’s
not gonna cut it for the guy who’s supposed to be the constant (and hell shouldn’t you be driven by
some other irrelevant regular season stat again?)…I guess we can call it a slow start, you can’t peg it
on injuries since he was better when players started dropping like flies….maybe it’s just a slow start…
but hey I don’t make excuses I just blast em for not performing :p… it always causes a shit-storm…
but what the hell he’s not been good….15th in save %, 7th in GAA, it ain’t awe-inspiring either….
Grade: C

#35: Jan Dennis
I loved his effort in his one game… it’s not easy to come off the bench cold once a month and do
what he did! He didn’t have to lunge or make OH SHIT plays… the team got comfortable with him in
net FAST… and he didn’t make any mistakes!! This guy could be a find and might be the first guy this
team turns too when the big guy with the ego goes to future endeavors and beyond…. and you know
me… I love the backup goalie ’cause we NEVER see enough of them!!!
Grade: A

——————————————-

Coaching Staff:
I’ve been sitting on this all month because I was saving it for here…. tripe sideways drop passes at
the blue line?? Paul Martin behind the other team’s net making plays?? mb30 out and playing the puck
again??? (I had thought under Sutter it was just our goalie was getting old and wanted to conserve
energy… but now he’s out and playing “closet defenseman” yet again…. guess it tells much about
the second most famous quitter in my life in the last year)…. the results speak for themselves… and
look at the improvement in Travis Zajac, Andy Greene, and even our beloved Zubbie man!!! I was
against this for I thought we’d be in trap-central, but I NEVER doubted the man’s hockey mind and
KNOWING of the game… and that’s proven to be a VERY good thing for the Devils… hats off to ya
Jacques.. you’ve been 5 stars this year!!! 24th on the power play (7/46, 15.2%) and 11th on the pk
(35/43, 81.4%-though this is improved)… these need to get better
Grade: A+

Front Office:
… well they raised my ticket prices… I frown on this :p….let’s see…. I don’t mind Madden and Gio
being gone… Bergfors is coming along… Robbie Niedermommy’s been a FIND I must say… Pika-chu’s
been eh, Andrew Peters sucks, and the next generation of kids ain’t ready yet… I kinda wish Lou could
have gotten one more stop-gap player for a season or two to keep the NHL spots warm while the kids
season and develop…..
Grade: C-

Well okay… back into that writing again… more bad language and Thoughts from 209 to ensue on Wednesday!!!!

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…]

Game 5: Devils @ Hurricanes LIVECAP!

10:02 PM: I’m goin’ to bed.  I think none of us are all that shocked that this series is gonna go seven.  My heart might not make in ’til Tuesday night.  G’night gang.

10:00 PM: Game 7 is Tuesday night at The Rock.  Let’s just pretend like tonight didn’t happen.  Game 7 is all that matters now, and despite how tonight’s game looked, these two teams are still amazingly evenly matched.

9:59 PM: And that’s it.  4-0.  I’m sick to death of 4-0 games this year.

9:58 PM: Gionta can’t stuff it home with a little room in front – one minute left in the game.

9:56 PM: The Devils are playing without a fourth line right now – apparently both Rupp and Clarkson earned 10 minute misconducts in that little scrum before.  Only Gleason picked up one for Carolina.

9:55 PM: Three minutes left in this humiliation of a hockey game.

9:51 PM: And another blatant penalty, this one a trip via Brian Rolston.  Guys, I agreed to LiveCap this game, which means I HAVE to watch it.  At least stop taking boneheaded penalties while I’m still forced to pay attention!

9:49 PM: Shorthanded three-on-two but Shanny can’t bury the puck.  One goal would be nice at least…

9:47 PM: Somehow in the fight, the Hurricanes wound up with a power play.  Great.  Rupp took the extra two for roughing.

9:44 PM: Hey, a sign of life!  Clarkson pulls Gleason out of a scrum and after a bit of hugging, they finally give us a full-fledged fight.  Hey, it worked for the Penguins.  Problem is, Clarkson waited one goal and one period too many.

9:39 PM: Jussi Jokinen, 4-0.  Marty had no chance, of course.  Sigh.

9:37 PM: Someone on TV wasn’t happy.  Dunno if it was a fan or player, but someone yelled pretty loudly “HEY!  WHAT THE F&$% WAS THAT?!”  Immediately afterwards, Madden’s off for roughing.  A long 5-on-3 for the Hurricanes, and if you don’t have ’em yet, I’d go pick up your game 7 tickets right about now.

9:36 PM: Travis Zajac with a pretty obvious hook.  11:30 left in the third.  Bad timing, Trav.  Bad timing.

9:35 PM: Even our chances aren’t actual chances – Shanahan has Ward out of position but can’t get a shot away through the Hurricane defense.

9:32 PM: So, how ’bout them Mets?  …seriously?  8-1?  To the NATIONALS?  Ugh.  I got nothin’.

9:27 PM: That was pretty indicative of how this game’s been going:  Andy Greene with a nice run up ice, all by his lonesome, chips it past a defender at the blue line, chases after it…and trips and falls into a massive heap over a random ‘Cane.

9:24 PM: Well, here goes nothin’.  Third period on.

9:06 PM: And the second period is over.  Thank god.  3-0 Hurricanes.  Book your game seven tickets now kids, there isn’t even a hint that the Devils can come back from this one a la Tuesday night.

9:02 PM: A few seconds of serious offensive flurry in front of Cam Ward, but nothing doing.  BAH!

8:59 PM: The response is not as immediate as it was Tuesday night.

8:55 PM: I’m gonna try something.  It worked last time:

Attention Devils:

WAKE UP!

Thanks.

-2 Man Advantage.

8:52 PM: I was really hoping there wouldn’t be a game seven, because dammit, I have stuff to do Tuesday night that I’m gonna have to cancel in favor of going to The Rock.

8:48 PM: Hey hey, a shot on goal!  Stopped by Cam Ward, but at least there was a shot within the area of the red pipes, that might have gone into the net had there not be a human being standing in front of it.

8:44 PM: I give up.  AWFUL two-on-one and Marty’s just left out to dry.  3-0, Staal’s goal again.  I really don’t feel like watching this game anymore at this point.

8:41 PM: Shots on goal currently sits at 22-5 in favor of Carolina.  THAT should tell you who’s bothered to show up in Raleigh this evening.

8:38 PM: …dammit.  2-0 Hurricanes, Staal.  Dammit dammit dammit.

8:37 PM: The Devils just cannot make it to any loose pucks.  It’s scary how much better the Hurricanes look right now.

8:36 PM: Zubbie outta the box.

8:35 PM: ‘Canes gotta be up to eight or nine shots on just two power plays so far tonight.  Meep.

8:33 PM: Not the love I was speaking of.  Zubbie takes a retaliatory roughing call and it’s Carolina to the PP.

8:32 PM: Second period on.  C’mon Unseen Hand, a little love, eh?

8:14 PM: And that’ll do it for period one.  Devils start with a two-second power play to start the second period.  Shots on goal:  Carolina 15, New Jersey 4.  Oof.

8:12 PM: Uhm, guys…we ARE on the power play…That means that, well, the puck should be in the offensive zone and controlled by you the majority of the time.

8:11 PM: NICE sliding breakup of the two-on-one by Mike Mottau, then Zubbie draws a tripping penalty via Pitkanen with about two minutes left in the first.

8:10 PM: I hear it’s hot in Raleigh today – it sure is hot here – and it shows in terms of ice quality.  Or it could also be us sucking.  That’s possible.

8:08 PM: On a happier note, I’m watching this game in HD for a  change!

8:07 PM: Aaand that’s why I don’t get my hopes up.  Not a bad power play per se, but nothing to show for it nonetheless.

8:05 PM: Pitkanen hooks Gionta and we’re on the (PSE&G) Power Play.  I’d get excited if I thought we had a chance to score.

8:04 PM: Or crossbar.  Possibly holy crazy crossbar save.

8:03 PM: Holy crazy blocker save!

7:59 PM: And when I say that they’re not trying, I of course am not including Marty.  This game would be 4-0 without him right now.

7:58 PM: I understand that it’s hard to match desperation when a team’s got it’s back to the wall, but jeez, trying a little would be nice.

7:54 PM: DAMMIT!  Ray Whitney finally cracks Marty, batting a puck out of mid-air baseball-style.  1-0 Hurricanes, and perhaps more telling, 12-1 shots in the Hurricanes favor, and I refuse to believe the fact that we actually have a shot on goal.

7:51 PM: Penalty kill’d.  Thankfully, and not for lack of trying on Carolina’s end.  Eleven and a half left in the period.

7:48 PM: Oh jebus.  Pandolfo loses his stick during the PP, as does Marty, with chances galore for the ‘Canes, but STILL we finally manage to clear.  Oh man this is gonna be a crazy game, just like every other one this series before it.

7:46 PM: Well the Hurricanes sure realize that this could be their last game.  And the fans sure realize that this could be their last game as well.  Mike Rupp does not realize this, apparently, and takes a holding penalty on Jussi Jokinen.

7:45 PM: Oh, right, no Doc tonight.  Blast.

7:43 PM: I got stuck at work, but I am here now.  Langs back in, Holik’s a scratch, Greene’s still in, still no Salvador, game in 2 minutes old, no score yet.  Get it?  Got it?  Good.

NJ Devils Month in Review: November 2008

Well this was a different month in New Jersey… for the first time ever in my time as Devils fan, I’m not screaming about Martin Brodeur playing too much… or pretty much at ALL….Injuries, second stringers… crazy stuff… but it’s made for a fun month and a fascinating look into future life without Martin Brodeur, and what this team will be like….

Forwards:
#9 (LW) Zach Parise:
On pace to challenge Patrik Elias’ all time single season points record still… 6 goals and 7 assists in 13 games… and it feels like he COOLED OFF… tells you how GOOD October was… again proving himself as this team’s best, most dangerous and consistent player… can’t say a damn thing bad about Zach Parise again….
Grade: A

#14 (RW) Brian Gionta:
Looks at home (finally) with Elias and Zubrus, and while not the focal point of the Devils offense a VERY important secondary line which makes this team dangerous… and yeah they’re feasting on bad teams, but so what this is what the Devils NEED to do to stay in the playoff hunt while the team gets healthy… 13 points in 13 games and also 7 goals… a scorer is scoring and a +6… nothing to complain about here (BUT OH MY GOD HE’S SECOND ON THE TEAM IN SCORING… TRADE HIM NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!! Morons…), give Gio credit (or call it contract year greed… whatever… he GETS it this year and is doing well)
Grade: A

#19 (Center) Travis Zajac:
Is holding up his end as the team’s top center (well anyone who plays with Parise is our top whatever…steady on faceoffs too (no game under 40% this month)… solid on both ends… and doing his own on puck possession… maybe you’d like a few more points, but he’s not dragging down Parise which is all you ask for on this line… scoring some nice goals too!
Grade: B+

#26 (LW) Patrik Elias-A
17 points in 13 games… multiple players on a point a game ratio or HIGHER?? On the NJ Devils?? CMON OFFENSE!!! Really if you have a complaint about Elias’ game this month… you have mental issues… his level of performance this month was A-Line level good… and you can’t knock ANYTHING here! (it sucks when they all do well… I do my best work when I can get angry… what the hell can I complain about here?)
Grade: A+

#11 (Center) John Madden-A
Injury causality number 2003 this year… I’m not buying in the “well the penalty kill got better without him” theory…. The quality of power play got worse and this team as a whole is improving each game it seems… but 4 assists, a -3 against the Caps (not to mention NO ONE covering the best player in hockey by the side of the net with 2 seconds left)… he’s just becoming a faceoff specialist now more then top-end defensive forward… hopefully having Holik back will allow the Devils to share the defensive responsibilities, and take the load off of Madden
Grade: C (again, not good… but he doesn’t suck either, the lack of offense is bad)

#8 (LW) Danius Zubrus:
OK, so what he scored all four of his goals in the month in one game?? Look what his linemates are doing!! He makes space and he controls the puck for them….the 7 assists kinda show that effort too…faceoffs were ok too, not great, but not his main worry now) and I know personally feel more confident that good things will happen with number 8 out there… possession, control and chemistry with his linemates…. That’s all good things, while the stats may not show up on the scoreboard (and still he’s fourth on the team… and he IS on pace for 56 points, flirting with a career high when he was with that Ovenchicken dude), he’s become a quality depth players!
Grade: A

#15 (RW) Jamie Langenbrunner-C
Still getting too much ice time, but he seems to be 100% healthy (which wasn’t the case last month)… only one goal… but 8 assists and maybe the funniest damn thing I ever saw on that 5 on 3 pp with the Islanders where both defenders lose sticks and then Jamie blasts the poor bastard with a slapper leaving the dude limping and a virtual 5 on 1 moment as Martin scored!! (I still chuckle at that!)… hopefully once the damn minutes get back to the 17 minute range (that means HURRY BACK Rolston and Holik)… he should get even better, though he had a good, but not great month
Grade: B+

#23 (RW) David Clarkson:
He’s still… “eh” to me… seems that he can be SO much better then he is (explains why the coach has such a hard-on for him… then again he’s not from Europe)… 3 goals and 2 helpers… not awful for the 3rd 4th line type he is…but still not overly impressive either… should get some more pp time in front to just get his damn hands dirty raising hell in front, but that doesn’t seem to be our way (but SHOULDN’T it be Sutter hockey).. only two fights in the month also….one of the few forwards who could be better…..
Grade: C-

#20 (LW) Jay Pandolfo:
Two goals and an assist for ol’stonehands…least he was even for the month, and now with Madden out has even LESS of a role on this team… it’s starting to look like resiging him was a loyalty driven mistake, but we’ll see as the season goes on, another guy getting WAY too much ice time for his role (I know he’s supposed to be the shutdown forward, but he’s not doing that so well)….I’ve just not been overly impressed… if we were losing more I’m sure this would be angrier…..
Grade: C-

#22 (LW) Petr Vrana:
Who? 1:38… 2:34… 5:33… 4:07… 3:34…6:03… 4:58… 4:14…. 7:31… 7:11…8:33
How the hell can I judge this guy??
Grade: INCOMPLETE (thanks Sutter!)

#17 (LW/C) Mike Rupp:
What the hell was Sutter thinking trying to have him fill in for Madden last week??? Oh yeah.. he’s big, skates and North American… that makes him a diety here….two goals and an assist for the month… that will probably be a season for him there…. He’s fine in the 5-9 minute role on the 4th line… give him more then that… and it’s yeech time! Please just keep this stiff to a MINIMUM and I’ll be ok!
Grade: C-

#18 Nicklas Bergfors:
Has good speed, and seems like he can be a useful player on this team…again though caught in the idiot notion that young players can only play on the 4th line, and not even being thought about in a useful role and it’s a damn shame…and one of the coach’s biggest problems… the old boy’s club trash will be less annoying when we have a full team, but in this transition time of needing to be a more offensive team, it’s criminal that the team’s top two prospects are donkeyfucked before they even get out of the box!
Grade: INCOMPLETE

#21 Barry Tallackson:
Again, not giving a ton of ice time to impress… but he’s been in the bigs before and that seems to be his standard M.O…. just never seems to be overwhelming… or show the flash or hope that say Vrana or Bergfors offers… but he’s big and from the US *sigh*
Grade: INCOMPLETE

Defense:
#7 Paul Martin:
No coincidence that this team started winning… and scoring… when Martin got healthy, he’s so key to the defense… he eats minutes and makes Salvador better and adding 4 points in 8 games is acceptable offense on top of playing at a high level for 20-26 minutes a night as needed!
Grade: A-

#27 Mike Mottau:
Joke suspension aside… oh he hit a guy and the guy gets hurt so the NHL HAS to overreact and suspend the guy… ah whatever (can I do that and not invoke the spirit of Aaron Asham… oh wait.. he had no spirit….) He’s been decent again this month in his proper role as a 3rd pair defender…little offense… +5 on the month, good ice time… again nice steady and can’t complain!
Grade: B

#5 Colin White:
Colin the one-eyed wonder….+6 on the month… wow…again, like Mottau when not asked to play a top role, he’s tolerable for what he is.. will still make stupid mistakes and so on, but that’s just something you need to live with, he’s not tradable…. Or would any team WANT him at his price… so for what you get…yeah he’s okay…. And that translates into as expected….
Grade: C

#29 Johnny Oduya:
One goal… NINE assists.. now we’re talking!!! Oduya has stepped up with Andy Greene out of the line up (though the game winner was a funny level of botch and not to mention his FUBARed quasi-breakaway in the same game).. seems to have the speed and ability to help Colin White fix his mistakes, which is also important… looks like he could be a key “X-factor” guy who can make a difference and someone who you don’t really want to account for on the other team….hopefully it keeps up as the level of opponent rises this month
Grade: B+

#24 Bryce Salvador:
Didn’t seem to have too good a month, but was without Paul Martin for half of it which doesn’t help (-3 without Martin)… minimal offense, and can’t really do much to make up for it when he makes mistakes… I still like the guy but wasn’t the best month for him in red and white
Grade: C

#28 (D) Anssi Salmela:
MONSTER shot from the blueline (he’s going to score eventually you’d think) +2 on the month is good… and somehow this team has grown a nice set of mobile, younger defenders who can skate, play and add some offense and he’s an example of this… like seeing a bunch of games with multiple shots … means the blast is getting through to the goalie… which is never a negative, this kid’s gonna be a keeper… and when Andy Greene comes back there’s gonna be some decisions to float around here…..maybe not 100% ready for primetime yet… but DAMN this kid has an upside!
Grade: B-

#2 (D-RW) Sheldon Brookbank:
I don’t get how a stiff defenseman gets put on the Devils top line as a FORWARD… but hey that’s Sutter-hockey, I guess… more suited to be that physical winger on the 4th line where the things he can’t do on defense are not an issue, but still it’s unthinkable that he’s higher on the depth chart then Vrana and Bergfors (yes I know and understand he fills a role of 4th line toughie… but holy shit he’s not that good)… just look at his ice time… and results… it’s nothing special….and the on-ice looks ain’t much better… serviceable utility player though…..
Grade: D

Goaltending:
#35 Scott Clemmensen:
How in the bloody blue hell did this guy become our #1 goalie?!?!? This is a sad scary situation….yeah he’s 4-3, but he’s been no better then Weekes except for the fact that he can move the puck a little… this guy’s a career AHL guy for a REASON…but hey whatever… I guess we’re stuck with this… it’s gonna be scary when the bubble bursts on him… he’s been ok, but the big boys are coming on the schedule….guess we’ll find out.. but I kinda cringe each time there’s a shot on goal…..
Grade: B-

#1 Kevin Weekes:
I don’t understand this team… they sign Weekes to be a door opener last season because Brodeur refuses to sit, but he’s the insurance policy JUST IN CASE Marty went down they had a solid guy to hold the fort, and what does he get?? Garbage time in the Brodeur injury game… thrown to the wolves against Buffalo (20 shots in a period… yeah the team was shell shocked from hearing about Marty’s long term injury status)… assaulted by the Red Wings… and thrown under the bus for ONE BAD GOAL in the Ranger game? The rest was a HIDEOUS display of a team skating with its head cut off…. Frankly it’s bullshit and I think Weekes got an absurdly raw deal from this team and I’d not blame him for saying fuck off and never come back after this year….he gets a WEEK and he’s tossed under the bus for Clemmensen?!?!?!? 2.87 gaa and 90 sv % is not awful….I kinda really feel for the dude he deserves SO MUCH better then he got….
Grade: B+ (for being such a damn trooper!)

Coaching:
Same garbage with not playing the rookies enough… a miserable job of penalty killing (77% killed) and not much better on the power play (14%), but the team is starting to adjust and opening up the offense (though they seemed to crawl back into the old defensive shell… MISERABLE effort with the Penguins… and letting Florida tie that game at 2 was a pathetic effort to sit on a lead), but 12-10 with this roster is a nice job at this point… but I have a LOT of concerns still here….this team is still adjusting and he barely had a full roster for a week till players began to drop like dominoes… (part of me wonders if he practices them too hard and it’s adding to the fragility, but I have no proof on this)…We’ll see in the future… much like Clemmensieve… I worry about this coach and I’m erring on the more negative side…..
Grade: C

Thoughts from Section 209….Lowell/Rangers 11/12/2008

Well err… that sucked :p

(I really could end it there… but I have some steam to blow off :p)

–Though some of the good stuff… it was funny how the arena staff missed my lapping ways on Sunday… not enough to give me any free stuff mind you… but still nice to feel the love and get cheered on a little!! (don’t ever try to do laps after the hockey outing of your life the night before, hell it carried over and I made a stupid crazy kick save on Becky’s water bottle when she fumbled in 209!)
— the first period was AMAZING… hungry, attacking… controlling…*ulp* dominating….
then the intermission hit… I dunno if the Rangers got their legs or they have AN ACTUAL LEADER in that clubhouse (or a coach with a clue)… but they got some penalty calls (and really TWO 5 on 3’s in ONE period… CMON REFS), but those two power play goals in a row KILLED it….
— Travis Zajac played a DAMN good game too ya know… that will get passed up in the frenzy
— and here’s where it comes down to COACHING…
1. White and Oduya out killing the ENTIRE penalty… I know I went TWICE to Mindy “why aren’t they changing” when they had chances to…. YOU CAN NOT KILL A FIVE ON THREE WITH THE SAME THREE GUYS ON THE ICE… they are called line changes… USE THEM!! (asshole!!)
2. yes the second goal Weekes let in was bad (GET USED TO IT folks… he’s not Brodeur and he’s let in PLENTY of his share of them too)… BUT CALL TIME THE FAROOQ OUT AND SETTLE YOUR TEAM DOWN… then again… he’d just yell at them.. it’s all he knows…and he doesn’t.. and game over goal soon follows….
3. YOUR DEFENSE PLAYS LIKE TIRED EXHAUSTED SWEATY ASS AND YOU BLAME IT ON WEEKES AND PULL HIM?? That’s bullshit… you tip toe around broken glass when he shits the bed in a game, and you’re burning out ALL your key players in NOVEMBER… no wonder any important guy on this team IS HURT… but it’s ok… keep benching Vrana, that’ll show them!!!!

— it’s also horrifying to me that Section 209 is already staring to break down a WEEK after #30 was hurt (and nice to know HE cares enough to be hanging out at a random rink in Montclair watching girls hockey games, and yes I have proof of this :p)
— oh yeah… Ranger fans… amazing how you pop up now (one thing we DO need to give ol’Derek credit for… he only shows up when his team sucks)… congratulations… you beat an AHL team tonight for the most… have a cookie!!!!
— and oh yeah.. Langenbrunner sucked again and a trash goal in garbage time doesn’t fix that or his abyss-fulled 22 minutes!
— and as mad as I am for this… (at least I didn’t stumble out of the building and wobble to a train to go play hockey tonight *whistles*)… I still stayed and yes I still had a good time with friends in 209… and it might come to a point where it’s more about that then the games… least for now… but we’ll still be there… and like Mr. Goomba says… all you can do …. is get out of your seat.. stand up… and yell … LET’S GO DEVILS (even though you are wincing knowing the Ovenchicken is coming!)

— I was also jokingly told I might get the call to be a goalie on this team soon… god could you imagine that after the ripping I’ve done on players and teams over the last 13 years??? They’d stand aside and let me see 8700 slapshots to the face!!!

(I reserve the right to add more to this as it comes to me :p)

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)

OMG we scored three goals!!!

No, really! I’m not kidding! Three whole goals! And a shootout win! Amazing! Wee!

Whew, that was a pretty intense game. Well first things first, congrats to Petr Vrana on his first NHL goal and Patrick Elias for passing his way to the all time Devils assist lead! Woo! They jump started what was a fantastically exciting 4-3 shootout win for our boys.

Now for the bad news, Chico reports that Geico Spokesman Bobby Holik has broken his pinky finger after taking a shot to the hand during the game, meaning that Lou’s grand plan for revamping the Devils is on the injured list in its entirety after a mere 5 games.

Alright so our Back to the Future team is on the IR and our season high is now three goals scored in a regulation game, but a 4-1 start ain’t to shabby is it? I don’t think so. We could put Mr. Ovechkin on our team and I’m convinced he’d score 60 points, that’s just the way it’s gotta be.

Aside from the fact that our offense reflects our country’s booming economy, there’s a lot I liked during this game. First of all, it was a blast to watch, a fantastic showcase of hockey in my view.

Of course, Zach Parise is amazing. You can’t understate it, but I feel like everything that’s could be said already has, the kid’s just money. Travis Zajac looks like last year didn’t even exist. I LOVE the way this guy has been playing this year, and tonight is a perfect example of that.

I have to interject into my own post here and say I absolutely ADORE that Ron Duguay from MSG is getting into the Halloween spirit, his Jon Bon Jovi drowning in a blue dye factory costume is just spot on. Spot on.

Anyways, much as I’ve dragged his name through the mud, Johnny Oduya looked great tonight too. He seems to have carried his second half performance through to the start of the season and just looks like he’s primed to have a big season.

On the flip side of the glory of tonight’s comeback win, why can’t the Devils score on the freakin’ rush?! I feel like every time they have a fast break opportunity the second they go to shoot, they just seem to instantly have some sort of brainfart. I don’t think John Madden has scored in a high pressure situation since he coached the Oakland Raiders in the 60s! Zing!

Ok that wasn’t funny. I apologize. I think it’s too early to start making bold predictions about the Devils for this year (spoiler! Brent Sutter will continue to go bald!). Right now, there are about as many reasons to be excited as there are to be angry, so I’m hovering at a happy medium for the moment.

Nonetheless, I’m $%(#($^# thrilled hockey’s back. Keep it to 2ma for more.