Thoughts from Section 209….Caps/Lowell (almost close to Trenton!)

That was a nice little train wreck tonight wasn’t it?? Lots to talk and share about here

— I’m disappointed in the season ticket sales guys doing a bad nanananana… LAPMAN song to me (though I like having a theme… CMON LAPMAN…. could be SO MUCH BETTER)… they gotta work on that! Kinda funny to see Dave take breaks too look around every 2-3 laps (re: he can’t hack it!)
— Things I liked tonight:
FIVE GOALS !!! Sweet Christ, that was fun and out of control!! The Devils played a bad goalie and made him LOOK BAD… thank God!
LANGENBRUNNER DIDN’T SUCK TONIGHT!
WELCOME BACK Patrik Elias!!!
Travis Zajac….still wanna trade him people?? (like him and Parise with Elias too FINALLY)
Nick Bergfors is gonna play his balls off till this idiot coach gets it!
Can you say the D played good despite giving up 5 goals??? … More on this in the bad…..
I got to beat a sellout crowd to the car because of the skills competition! (I was still pissed it went to OT though)
Power play was good… well despite the shortie allowed…. the Devils as a whole mostly controlled the play, the effort and the tempo which was nice… they kinda NEEDED this one!
Good HOT crowd that showed up (cheap bastards that you are coming for $1 hot dogs!!) close enough to a sell out for my liking

OK, now the BAD:
$1 hot dogs, means up the price on EVERYTHING ELSE 75 cents (my water was up at least), don’t make me have to start smuggling bottles in assholes!!!!!!
Brookbank for Vrana?? CMON BRENT!!! (and even worse how is Bergfors going to add ANYTHING with Brookbank, who is the first graduate of the David Clarkson school of wraparound I see, and Mike Rupp as his linemates??)
Scott Clemmensen… people will forget you were awful all game because of the one on one post-game skills show…. your first period was HORRID and then some… and watching shots come on you scares me much like a Met fan when a call to the bullpen is made….(and it is a FLAT OUT DISGRACE that Kevin Weekes did not start tonight… you bring the guy in to be a fill-in starter and the guy to be the guy if the guy ain’t the guy (tribute to Tropic Thunder much?)…. and then you throw the guy UNDER THE BUS AFTER A WEEK??? Jesus! I still get annoyed at how unacceptable that is!).. just thank God their sieve was more sieve like then ours!!!!
No Pandolfo on the ice (I’ll get Patrik was put in to get the hat trick with an empty net) and the Devils can’t clear the zone… I know the checking line is failing… but that’s kinda telling isn’t it???
And I was kinda disappointed in 209 tonight… the group of regulars seemed out of it… guess none of us like a packed arena eh?
Madden a -3?? Again… the checking line is epic failing…..

Don’t get me wrong I am happy and feeling this team has bottomed out and can turn this around and my God win the next two home games (and maybe in an actual team sport style, please?)…. but I still see so MANY issues with this team… and I’d like to see us beat someone you know who can.. um… tend goal and play defense?? But I will TAKE IT!!

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)

Hold On To Your Horns.

So the boys have completed their first road trip of the season and are returning home with a very respectable 4-1-0 record. The trend thus far seems to be thousands of shots on goal with minimal results on the scoreboard, but apparently that’s all that’s been needed. Marty has been Marty, and the D has been…well, the D. You know — giving us the occasional coronary every now and then, nothing out of the ordinary.

Oh, right — and we’ve lost Bobby Holik and Brian Rolston. Yup, Both of them. Rolston probably for a month or two.

I really don’t know what to make of this situation. It’s kind of funny — in a cosmic sort of way. Ya know, we bring back two veterans from the past and instantly our team is somewhat of a threat again. We get all amped up about it, and now they’re both sidelined less than three weeks into the season. On the other hand, there’s the fact that neither one of them has really had much of an impact on the outcome of the first five games, aside from Rolston’s game-winner in Atlanta.

As a Devils fan, I almost feel contractually obligated to round up my fellow fans and organize a cult-like mass suicide. But, for some reason or another, I’m still optimistic that the favorable results will continue. (Maybe that’s you-know-who’s way of telling me to stop drinking.)

This year’s Black & Red squad is a deeper one than last year’s, and I think we will be reminded of that over the next month or so. For instance, the group is definitely younger. Vrana is much more favorable to have in the lineup than Sergei Brylin; and on the same side of things I’d rather have Leblond playing over Aaron Asham. (Leblond has been called up to fill in for Holik for Wednesday’s game vs. Dallas.) Are they going to be easy replacements for Holik & Rolston? No. Hell No. But I think they will fit in nicely with the mold of the team and continue to help do the little things right. After all, that’s what has gotten this team to where they are now.

At one point or another, every team in the NHL will be going through a scenario similar to this. There will be other star-players that will go down and other rookies will get their shots with the big boys. I guess a positive to take out of this would be the fact that we’re only five games into the season, we have a .800 winning percentage, and six of the next seven will be home games for New Jersey. Not to mention the upcoming opposition hasn’t exactly been making much noise thus far.

The next several weeks will be very telling of the dynamic and character of this year’s New Jersey Devils. I’m tempted to watch with my hands half-covering my eyes, like it’s a badly-written television drama.

I guess what I’m trying to say is… Don’t hit that panic button just yet. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the way the team will perform in the absence of Rolston & Frankenstein.

If, two weeks from now, all hope seems to be lost…just be happy it’s not the last week of March.

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.

Hiya Vrana!

It’s four games into the season, and the Devils have scored six goals. It’s four games into the season, and the Devils have a .750 winning percentage. Welcome to New Jersey Devils hockey, everybody. Same as it ever was.

So the Devils make do with next to no goals. And it looks like that continues tonight in Washington, as Brian Rolston – you know, the power play quarterback the team signed over the summer – out with a high ankle sprain. The Devils are playing it typically close-to-the-vest on Rolston, saying they’ll see what happens, but for comparison’s sake, Sidney Crosby missed nearly two months last season with a high ankle sprain. I’m not saying it’ll be the same for Rolston, but…it could be.

So in the meantime, Devils fans not living in Massachusetts will get a regular-season look at Petr Vrana, who’ll make his NHL debut tonight, likely alongside Dainus Zubrus and Patrik Elias. Vrana’s been in the system for three years now, finally making the team out of training camp this season.

So what’s to be expected out of young mister Petr? It depends on who you ask. Some out there are saying it’s about damn time, that Vrana will be a great addition to the front line and will go a long way in solving our scoring woes.

By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll understand that I am not one of those people.

My question of Petr’s is simple. As Homer Simpson once asked of Johnny Appleseed, “If he’s so smart, then why is he dead?” So I ask, if Petr’s so good, why haven’t we seen him sooner?

Vrana’s spent three years in Albany and Lowell, tallying his best point total last year (20-41-61). Aberration, or finally coming into his own? I hope the latter, I fear the former. Prior to last year’s campaign, the highest point total Vrana notched was in his lone year in Albany, topping out with 35 points.

He made the team out of training camp this year, yes. But while he did have a good pre-season, I think it’s safe to say that he made the team more likely because of his waiver status – if the Devils wanted to send him back down to Lowell, they ran the risk of losing him entirely to waivers. Rod Pelley was not subject to waivers, thus is why he’s currently with the L-Devs.

I hope that Vrana proves to be a great player. I hope that he gives Lou and Brent some things to think about when Rolston’s healed. I just hope that we, as a fan base, are not expecting too much of him. He hasn’t proved much to me yet stats-wise. I hope that changes, starting tonight.

Now watch, he’ll probably pull a Fabian Brunnstrom and net a hat trick in his NHL debut. What was that I was just saying about expectations…?

The Final Playbill

I thought it would be another day or two before we saw the roster but Christmas came a little early this year! The Devils have trimmed their roster down to twenty-three, and it looks a little something like this:

You may notice a few surprises such as Petr Vrana & Anssi Salmela grabbing roster spots. Vrana ousted Rod Pelley who was assigned to Lowell of the AHL. To me, Salmela isn’t exactly a surprise… after watching him play live on Long Island last week I had a strong feeling he had earned a spot on the big team — especially after his off-balance rocket that beat Joey MacDonald to put the Devils up 3-0. Salmela’s biggest Achilles seems to be his puck control at the point, but the issue seems to be cleaning up fast and shouldn’t even be a problem once the puck drops on Friday.

Speaking of Friday, the lines figure to look a little something like this:

– FORWARDS –

Elias – Rolston – Gionta
Parise – Zajac – Langenbrunner
Pandolfo – Madden – Clarkson
Rupp (Vrana?) – Holik – Zubrus

– DEFENSE –

White / Salmela
Mottau / Oduya
Martin / Salvador

Brodeur

I should also note that Fedor Fedorov has been placed on waivers. Apparently the Devils gave up on him and it’s not exactly a mystery as to why. The guy has a weak work ethic and that won’t carry you anywhere in this league, especially under Lou Lamoriello.

Although I can be quoted as saying that the team hasn’t done much to improve, I am ready to accept my helping of crow. After reviewing the roster and taking in a live pre-season game, I can see a noticeable difference in this years squad. They are bigger, faster, and a ton more aggressive than any team in recent history.

If pre-season was any indication, I think the Devils style this year will surprise many — players & fans alike.

It’s very almost nearly time to drop the puck for realsies! (sort of)

Pre-season action begins tonight! Wee!

That’s right ladies and gents, our boys will be suiting up for their preseason opener tonight in Philadelphia, which means we are one gigantic step closer to beginning the season in earnest.

Word on the street is that the Flyers will be streaming the game tonight on their website, which may be the only way any of us will be privy to this contest. If you can’t stomach listening to a pair of radio hosts gush about how fantastic (terrible) an idea it was to sign Mike

Richards for the next three centuries, Tom Gulitti says he’ll be giving period by period updates over on Fire and Ice, so check that out.

Speaking of everyone’s favorite Devils’ beat writer, Gulutti reports that none other than Kevin Weekes will be in net this evening! This of course means three things:

1. We totally have an excuse to use the Weekes laser beam photo.
2. Weekes has completely recovered from the torn bicep muscle he sustained lifting books of crossword puzzles every night on the bench last year.
3. This will be the last time this season the poor dude will see any playing time before March.

In other news, Gulitti also reported this afternoon that one of the line combos will be a trio of youngsters, with Petr Vrana centering a line with Fedor Fedorov and Nicklas Bergfors. Also expected to get substantial time (including some PP action) are Tyler Eckford and Matt Corrente.

Gulitti reports that Mr. Sutter will also try out Brian Rolston on the point during the powerplay (as he should) and Bobby Holik on the top powerplay unit (WHAT…THE…F%*&). No word on if my personal favorite Matt Halischuk will be playing, but i’ve heard he’s been turning heads at camp so I certainly hope so.

At any rate, we’re a mere two and a half weeks from dropping the puck for the start of the season and I can speak for all the 2ma staff when I say it’s about effin’ time. Keep it here for updates as we hurtle towards another New Jersey Devils season.