Thoughts from Section 209: Devils vs. Panthers 12/11/2009

Damn what a slow and un-exciting way to start off the weekend of what’s been a pretty awesome near two-week-celebration of my birthday (on Sunday mind you…. Sun Tavern may never be the same again :p)… though I feel bad for my friend and long-time reader Barry from Scotland, he’s been out here for two games… and seen TWO DUDs so far… least he gets the Flyers tonight….there was about one thing and one thing alone that was worthy about tonight’s match-up… it was the mildly anticipated duel between mb30, and last season’s most unlikely savoir of season in Scott Clemmensen…. (and even though I’m not feeling it today and I have no energy and this game sucked… I am a person of my word… I said I’d cover the home games… well…. here I am :p)

the Good:
– I have to say I was VERY happy for the reception that Scott Clemmensen got from the fans… we as a fan base (and be honest most sets of fans are this way too) can get bagged on for being classless assholes…. we boo’ed Niedermayer (I know I did), we don’t care when Rafalski is back…. Gionta’s reaction should be interesting if he’s healthy for the second Montreal game… but last night… all the yelling of SUCKS for the opposing team STOPPED when Clemmensen was introduced as the goalie… hell he got a bigger ovation then most of the Devils intro’ed after (well except Andy)…. and it was good to see that we as a fan base can at least have a memory that extends one season :)… hell even Pete who would yell at his own mom if she wore the other team’s jersey was yelling:
“Hey clemmensen…we miss you!!!…………… And we hope you live!!”
Awwww :) (see I have a heart, fuckers!!)
– I also thought Rod Pelley had a nice little game….dare I say… PIST PELLEY POWERFUL!!!!!!!! Hell that line even got double-digit ice time… and McAmmond’s goal (which was the first since like color TV was invented) was pretty shifty and again he reminds me way too damn much of John Madden…..
– Brian Rolston… the offense has been back in the last six weeks, and we’re actually getting the player advertised for here in him at last!
– and no matter how dead, or empty the arena can be… or how out of it the fans are…. lil Nicky brings his shit and his A GAME every night… tonight’s just one of those nights you can really love and appreciate that kid’s passion and there ain’t much else good to talk about tonight….
– though it was a fitting tribute tonight to Scott Clemmensen as well… he scares the shit out of you… bad goals go in….his technique is clumsy and borderline WTF-worthy, but hot damn he played in this building and HE WON, just about every time… I’ll call that a positive as I can actually remember a lot of the FUN that last season was (until that miserable March and April….)

the Bad:
– Wow, even yahoo screwed this one up: “Florida’s Michael Frolik (R) beats New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur, who was denied in his first try at record shutout No. 104.” … someone wanna tell the guy writing on the FRONT PAGE, that the Devils had a game Wednesday too… so it was the 2nd try??? Thanks, K-BYE!
– This is kinda all you need to know about it being a bad night….. (A. Greene 20:02 0 0 -2)… it’s actually kinda funny because I thought he was kinda GOOD with the stick checks and the little plays that kept the puck away from the Panthers and took away 4-5 good chances, and stopped an empty net with a slick little stick move….or am I covering too much for my man? :p
– the Devils had just gotten back into the game and it was 3-2 after the sweet McAmmond goal, and it looked like they were about to crank it up and get going again…..and they let Frolik rumble, bumble and stumble in CLEAN on that damn breakaway, and yes it was a sweet perfect move and abusrd finish over the pad… but you CAN’T DO THAT right when you got shit back your way, I know they’re human… they’re allowed a stinker between two rivalry games in Phily and Carolina but…. aw….. shit, this just took what was a revived crowd out of it too…. uugghhhhh

the Funny:
(not much here either…. we’re saving it for tonight)
– I saw a tiny, really skinny young lady walking into the ice lounge with a Langenbrunner jersey… and you’re going “ok, so what’s your point?”… well when you’re such a tiny lil girl like that and the name is SO DAMN LONG it gets all mooshed up in the back and you can’t read the thing and it makes ya even look more tiny and dainty then y’are… don’t do it… it make you look brittle and shit… stick with the small names… go Pairse (AHHHHH), Zajac….hell go Andy… we all should!!! Or even customize… I saw a MOM jersey… CMON MOM JERSEYS!!!!!
– My lone facebook contributor:
Steve LaFlamme …there is no ‘ctrl’ key on Andy Greene’s keyboard. Andy Greene is always in control. (we didn’t have enough for pure Andy Greene worship tonight…. I expect more tomorrow :p) (sorry guys I scrapped the SMS code idea… I didn’t think it was gonna save this write-up)
– but in the theme of it….. I did have an OMG WTF IS THAT MOMENT…. after the 2nd period I make my trip to the bathroom… I hear a weird bouncing sound… and it was that puffed up JS Giguere-sized “Lil NJ” (and I thought my “bastard son was a MESS lookit lil NJ eh??) and he’s bouncing through the hallways running up and down like he’s the freaking stay puft Marshmellow man…. or of course your 2003 Conn-solation Symthe winner as well…..

Damn I got nothin else… this was a stink, the Flyers are in 10 hours or so… I’m done here :p

Mmmm, Victory

Tastes good, don’t it?

That’s a win, kiddies.  That’s a WIN.  Walk into the building of the defending Stanley Cup champions and deliver a good old crotch-stomping to the tune of a 4-1 victory.  Beautiful.

(Side note:  Does anyone else get the feeling that Marty would be pushing 200 shutouts if Chico wasn’t one of our announcers?)

Anyhoo.  Stellar game.  The Devils are now 5-0 on the road (yet 1-3 at home.  Gotta fix that.).  The Penguins came in riding a SEVEN game win streak, and the win was only their second loss on the year.  The first was to the Coyotes.  True story.

Let’s discuss goal scoring for a moment:  Mark Fraser not only notches his first NHL goal, but also the first goal by a Devils defenseman all year.  Bergfors goes from slumping to a hot stick in two games, potting his second in as many games.  Zajac and Parise hook up for a goal and assist each, clearly trying to prove to Lemaire that BFFs on the same line should never be broken up.

The only downsides to this game:  Both Jay Pandolfo and Paul Martin go down with unspecified injuries.  And some might argue the former may not be much of a downside (sorry Super Jay).

Edit 10:47 PM: Tom Gulitti reports that Paul Martin may have a broken forearm and that Jay Pandolfo’s right shoulder popped from the socket on a hit from behind by Mike Rupp.  Both could potentially be lost for awhile.  That could suck.

So the Devils come home to rest and relax for a few days before taking on the Sabres at The Rock on Wednesday.  A good game to head home to.

When the hell do we play again?

I don’t like the schedule very much this year.

I mean really – there’s a two-week Olympic break in February, right?  So what happened to the condensed schedule?  Why did the Devils have a bunch of days off, then two games in a row, and now a bunch more days off?  It’s mighty boring.  Especially if you’re a Met fan like me and am physically disgusted at the baseball playoffs.  And if you’re a Seahawk fan like me and am embarrassed by your favorite football team’s performance week in and week out.  I NEED MY SPORTING DISTRACTIONS, NHL SCHEDULE MAKERS!

I guess in the mean time, since the Devils don’t play again ’til tomorrow, I can always do a little housekeeping with respect to Devils news & notes:

First off, Cory Murphy cleared waivers.  I’m only a touch surprised by this.  He’s already down in Lowell, and we may very well never see him again.  Unless someone gets injured.  Please, no one get injured.  Thanks.

The L-Devs also signed Dean McAmmond.  It’s okay, you can yawn, I already did.  He’s on an AHL contract and won’t be with the big club unless Lou offers him a big boy contract, too.

Patty Elias will see a doctor on Friday as he continues to work his way back into playing shape.  Still no definitive date for his return, but did you really expect anyone with the Devils to say so, even if there was?  My guess is November 7th @ Ottawa.  Dunno why, just a hunch.

Finally, Wednesday night’s home game against the Sabres suddenly has all kinds of crazy goings-on.  Mystery puck night is back – complete with jacked up price!  What was $20 for a puck signed by a mystery Devil last year is now $25.  But the proceeds benefit UNICEF, so you’re a real jerk if you complain about it.  Touche, Devils.  Touche.

I wish I was going to the game Wednesday night, I’d TOTALLY pay $25 for a Pierre-Luc Letourneu-Leblond puck.  Think about it, with a name like that, how’s he supposed to fit it all on one little puck?  It’d be the craziest puck signature ever, more silver marker than vulcanized rubber!

Also Wednesday is the return of College Night.  Irony for me being that I can’t attend, because I have to go to two college classes.  D’oh.

And since it’s Halloween week and the Devils play in the very scary location of Tampa Bay on Halloween itself, there’s a costume contest at the Rock Wednesday night as well.  Winner gets the choice of a catered suite to a future Devils game or four tickets to see Miley Cyrus.  Who’d you rather spend an evening with, Miley or Andrew Peters?  (…on second thought, don’t answer that.)

But since I won’t be there Wednesday, I guess my “Blind NHL referee” costume will have to remain in the closet for another year…

Devils @ Panthers LIVECAP!!

10:06 PM: So a five-game winning streak for NJ after nearly losing the game in a poorly-played few minutes in the third. Nothing like a little tension to head into turkey day. That’s it for me tonight. Check back in the next few days for the launch of a major initiative from the 2ma! Goduya! Happy Thanksgiving!

10:01 PM: Johnny mothereffin’ Oduya!!!!! After botching a 2-on-1 just minutes ago, the reborn defenseman rips one through Anderson to win the game for New Jersey! Devils win! 3-2 in OT.

10:00 PM: Penalty killed, Devils on the attack. Thankfully the Panthers are still playing like little more than an AHL squad.

9:56 PM: OT underway and hot jesus on a hammock, they throw the puck over the glass and draw a penalty. Would somebody please find the Devils from 90 minutes ago?

9:53 PM: Damn. David Booth puts one home with 7.8 seconds left. We’re going to OT folks! Major Buzzkill is undoubtedly laughing from the bench, twirling his evil mustache. I completely blame this on my girlfriend, who wished against the shutout so her fantasy team would do better.

9:52 PM: Stop by Clemmer. Good pressure by the Panthers though, under 30 seconds left.

9:51 PM: Buzzkill pulled. Less than a minute to play.

9:49 PM: Ooof. Out of nowhere the Panthers put one in on a quick bang-bang play to Bouwemeester in the slot. 2-1. Two minutes to play.

9:43 PM: Major Buzzkill strikes again. Anderson stones Parise on a great breakaway chance. I feel like Anderson was stroking his Snidely Whiplash mustache under his helmet after that one.

9:41 PM: And now what it would have looked like if it were 1943! Anyone else getting sepia-tone replays?

9:38 PM: The Panthers look like the mighty mites on the 5-on-3 and Clemmer shuts them down when they get their act together for the subsequent 5-on-4. Still 2-0 in the second half of the 3rd.

9:35 PM: Ooooh boy. Now it gets interesting. Gio takes down a Panther and is called for tripping in what was a far more legitimate infraction. 5-on-3. The Panthers have “Right Now” by Van Halen on in the arena to boot. This sh*t’s about to get intense, hair band style.

9:33 PM: BS roughing call on Colin White. Nathan Horton comes up high on a hit on Whitey in the corner and he retaliates and gets called for a minor.

9:28 PM: 7 minutes of unremarkable hockey is broken by an absolutely absurd pair of saves by Clemmer! He made a solid save on an initial shot and I think somehow detached his spine to catch the rebound with his lower back. Johnny Oduya backs him up by kicking the puck out of harms way near the goal line. Whew! That woke me up.

9:22 PM: Back at it here in the third. Man, I agree with Josh, this Craig Anderson character is a bummer.

9:01 PM: Clemmer’s looked great during a bit of pressure from the Panthers at the end of the second there. Might be time for Weeksie to find that crossword puzzle book he was working on last year. Devils still up 2-0 after two.

8:58 PM: It even looks like the refs are taking pity on the thus-far hapless Panthers. Jay Leach gets called for a questionable interference minor and the Panthers are on the PP.

8:53 PM:Man, Patty and Gio are playing like it’s ’05-’06. Every shift has just been gold for them lately. A great give and go gets stopped by Anderson, who admittedly has done well to stonewall the Devils here in the second.

8:47 PM: And another powerplay without a goal. Still, as MSG-1294 just flashed up on the screen, the scoring chances are 16-1 at this point, so I’m not going to throw a pissy fit over it.

8:43 PM: Another penalty to the Panthers!

8:42 PM: My girlfriend, who has been affectionate to me in the comments arena tonight, just pointed out that Clemmenson is quite intimidating in net. I never noticed it, especially since there’s been no focus on him whatsoever tonight, but the dude seriously looks Devilish in net with his dark pads and mask.

8:39 PM: Another strong powerplay by the Devils with nothing to show for it. Still, the Devils look like they’re in a different league than the Panthers, who might have stayed a little too long out in the sun today.

8:36 PM: 17-4 is the shot total right now in favor of New Jersey. 17-4! Clarkson takes a spill (which I’m convinced has more to do with the fact that his skating ability is akin to Happy Gilmore than a trip) for a penalty and we’ve got another Devils powerplay!

8:29 PM: Back again for the second to find that Thomas Voukon has made a hasty exit in lieu of Craig Anderson. That’s two games straight that the Devils, the New Jersey Devils mind you, have chased goalies in consecutive games. What’s going on here? I ain’t about to question it.

8:11 PM: Hahaha. Doc ends the period with the most uncomfortable “whoohooo” ever to announce the Devils next Nathan’s hot dog night.

8:09 PM:Wow! A beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play from Parise to Cap’n Langs on over to Zajac and it’s a 2-0 game. All four lines are looking great heading into the final minute of the period down in Florida.

8:06 PM: Man, the boys are buzzing tonight. I’m almost terrified at this point that Rolston and Holik coming back will upset this magnificent chemistry that’s been stumbled across.

8:03 PM: Some good puck movement on the powerplay but nothing to show for it. The Devils are outshooting the Panthers 9-2 so far this period, so I’m not gonna complain. Are we on MSG-153 tonight? This looks like it’s being filmed in a cave.

8:01 PM: Penalty on Florida! Looked like a hook as Elias is taken down. Devils PP!

7:55 PM: Back and forth hockey here, nothing too spectacular. We could invent some Devils drama in the process I suppose. Bryce Salvador totally just rejected Parise’s stick after he broke his in the defensive zone. Is there trouble in paradise?

7:51 PM: The Devils really have a zip to their game again tonight. I dunno what Grumpy McMonkey Ears behind the bench has been saying to them lately, but he better keep it up. Is it injuries? Is the road to Lord Stanley paved with sports hernias? No probably not.

7:47 PM: Gionta scores!! The streak continues! Five straight games with a goal for Gio on another beautiful deflection setup by Mr. Johnny Oduya, who has looked freakin’ phenomenal this year.

7:45 PM: Elias just barely fans on an opportunity in front. Chico points out that this is in fact hockey and not soccer and Elias would not have been able to kick the puck into the net. Whew, that’s a load off.

7:43 PM: Penalty killed. Jesus, are the Devils really only 68 percent on the penalty kill at home? WTF? Devils powerplay as the Panthers take a minor!

7:40 PM: After figuring out some dual live-cap madness we’re underway! And less than 2 minutes in we’ve already got a penalty to Elias. Devils on the PK early.

7:35 PM: I think this truly must be a 2ma first.

7:32 PM: Oh! Dueling livecaps!!!! Damn you Burnett!!

7:30 PM: P.S. I had some trouble finding the game tonight on my cable. If you’re having the same problem, this is where I found the info on what asscrack of television the devils broadcast is on tonight.

7:25 PM:So Scottie Clemmensen gets the start tonight as we continue to work through the weird and wild post-Brodeur apocalypse. We’re still working on fixing the Zubbie Counter after last night’s explosion, but those repairs could be helped along by some continued stellar play (ahem).

7:19 PM: Hey all, it’s been a while I know. I’ve been giving a little too much love to my other wordpress baby lately (i sorta get paid for it), and I apologize. But OMG, two livecaps in a week?! We’re totally spoiling you. Let’s go Devils!

Devils @ Atlanta LIVECAP

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

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

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

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

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

9:21 PM: Empty Thrasher net.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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