Archives for April 2007

Oh, and Grant Marshall is back

He's baaaaaaaaaack!…seriously.

I can’t make this stuff up.

Reports out of Canada indicate that Mr. Marshall has indeed been added to the New Jersey Devils roster. I can’t really divulge the details, as I do not speak French, but if there are any developments that I can actually understand, I will bring them to you as soon as possible.

But really, I have no clue as to why Marshy was called up. And no offense Lou, but this is the wrong series to get Grant for — he was the Tampa Boy Wonder, remember? Ottawa is totally Jeff Friesen’s realm of awesomeness.

Alas, I don’t see Marshall suiting up for the Devils unless there happened to be some catastrophic catastrophe of catostrophic proportions, but you never know, eh? Maybe this is an insurance move just in case Captain Elias can’t suit up tomorrow due to his “cold.”

I wonder what number Marshall would wear if he did happen to suit up for the Devils…

On the eve of Round 2…

What a novel concept this is.

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I made this whole amazingly awesome preview of the series, but as it often seems true, the internet sucks. I’d like to thank said internet for generating an error just as I was about to hit the “publish” button, erasing my good 45 minutes worth of work. Seriously, thanks. That made me feel so great.

SERIES ONE ROUNDUP: MAKING THE GRADE

Hopefully we’ll get to do at least a couple of these, but we’ll make do with what we have. So now, I present to you 2 Man Advantage’s Serious Series One Roundup! And the award winners are…

They are an awesome bunch.THE KING OF AWESOME: Zach Parise.

If there’s a Conn Smythe of the first round, Mr. Parise would without a doubt be the winner. Leading the team with a seriously awesome six goals in six games, Parise is easily on his way to the best post-season of his oh-so-young career. I love it, and you should too.

OUT OF THE DOG HOUSE: Martin Brodeur.

He might have ended the first round tenth overall in goaltending (out of 19, no less), but Marty rebounded quite nicely in Game 5 and 6 to be a definite deciding factor in the series. Shutting down Vinny Lecavs and Martin St. Louis ain’t no picnic, but he found a way to do it in the final two frames of the series. Okay, so maybe Brad Richards kind of kicked his butt in Game 6, but we’re going to let that slide. One shutout is more than enough after giving up nine million goals in the first four games. Atta boy, Marty. That’s the number one goaltender we want to see. Oh, and special mention goes to Wade Dubielewicz (it took me about 20 minutes to figure out that spelling), Banna Pads Fleury, and Kari Lehtonen for stinking up the joint to make Marty’s numbers look a bit better. My hats and bananas off to you fine folk.

WHERE DID HE COME FROM?: Richard Matvichuk.

Oh hellz yes Mattie, I knew you were the gosh darn man! A lot of readers ’round here wanted nothing to do with Richard when he was finally declared healthy from the sometimes fatal salary cap injury, but after Colin White came down with yet another injury (seriously, dude needs his very own medic staff along with those anger management classes), Mattie stepped into the lineup and absolutely shined. He may have started off a bit shaky in his ’07 post season debut, but he’s only gotten stronger and stronger yet as the series progressed. His defining moment? Easily Game 6, making shot block after shot block and showing absolutely no signs of wear and tear, even drawing a penalty on Tampa Bay golden boy Vincent Lecavalier. Oh, and Tampa fans, I love you all you know, but there’s no way Mattie embellished on the cross-check. If I may remind you, Mr. ‘chuk did undergo serious back surgery during the summer and spent the entire season in the stands of the Continental Airlines Arena. And let me tell you, walking up and down those stairs will not make your back feel any better whatsoever.

STEPPED UP FOR ONCE IN HIS LIFE: Scott PooGomez.

Yeah, I did have to rub my eyes a couple times to make sure I wasn’t seeing things, but Scotty actually leads the league in points with nine, one above a bunch of other guys, but who cares about them, right? Man, that’s some crazy stuff there.

Oh, I’ll admit it — he has looked absolutely wonderful these past few games. Rather inconsistant for the series overall like his goaltending counterpart Mr. Brodeur, but I’ll take it. His puck handling skills are to die for, and he made the Tampa Bay defense look like fools skating through the zone so effortlessly time and time again. And yes, I may have had to wipe a bit of drool away after Game 6 watching some of Gomer’s skills at their finest. Why can’t he play like that all the time?

FREEZE!So, the boys have Ottawa for Round 2 and it’s going to be one tough series, fo’ sho’. I’m kind of wishing for Jeff Friesen, but we’ll make do with what we have. I’m sure Zach has quite a few more tricks up his sleeve, and I’m seriously hoping for a repeat performance of Game 6 from Scott Gomez all series long. I can dream, right? Hey Ottawa blogs — don’t be strangers! We’ve met some great bloggers on Tampa’s side of the coin, and we’d love to hear from you Ottawa folk as well. Oh, and good luck to the Sens! You shall hear no predictions from me!

Hoo-ho, to Round 2 we go!

Uhh, Joe, I think I’m going to have to kick your ass for not updating the site in my absence.

I jest, I jest.

So the Devils are off to Round 2 against none other than the Ottawa Senators. I shiver at the thought. Alas, if we could beat Tampa Bay without Grant Marshall, then we shall defeat the Senators without Jeff Friesen. It can be done…I hope.

Forgive me as I just spent three hours in a car (most of those hours spent in New York City traffic, no less), so a more awesome update will come when I have had the time to scrape the Chinese food delivery man on bike from the side of my car. And no, I did not hit him.

Bastard ran into my car when it was stopped in traffic.

Seriously, who does that?

Time to party, take two!

Alright folks, I’m signing off until Monday. Heading out to Long Island now to spend a much needed long weekend with some good friends (aka Mr. Bechtel), and as usual, we’ll both be sitting in the stands sweating bullets for Game 5 tomorrow. In the meantime, I give full posting power to Joe — go get ’em buddy!

Make me proud, boys. Make me damn proud!

GAME 4 BREAKDOWN: OUT OF THE HOLE!

Game 4 was heart attack cityI really do feel spoiled to witness such an amazing hockey game during the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Scott Gomez, I beg for your forgiveness of every “Poomez” joke I have ever made in my life.  In fact, I promise to re-hang my Scott Gomez poster above my bed.. c’mon, doesn’t that make it allllll better?!  🙂

After tonight, I’m sure everyone is ready for the awesomeness that is 2MANADVANTAGE’s playoff breakdown!  I’m your host, Joe – and this is The Awesome, The Not So Awesome, and The Downright Ridiculous from Game Numba 4.

THE AWESOME: Johan Holmqvist.  I am sorry, but this kid is beyond words.  His first playoff series, and well, let’s just say he’s doing a helluva lot better job than Henrik Lundqvist did last year.  His composure in such heart-stopping situations has been uncanny.  At such a young age, you really found a gem there, Bolts.  As much as it pains me to talk about this: how many times did New Jersey have point-blank opportunities to win the game?  Without Johan, the New Jersey Devils board their Newark-bound flight with a 12-3 win under their belts.  Props to you, Mr. Holmqvist.

THE NOT SO AWESOME: Any of New Jersey’s special teams.  Oh my gawd were the Devils horrible on the powerplay!  …And during the 4-on-4.  You know you’ve got yourself a serious problem when the opposition is setting up an attacking formation on your powerplay.  And I don’t mean just wasting time, Tampa Bay had some a lot of legitimate chances to score while shorthanded.  Not to mention the countless turnovers and failed clearing attempts from the Devils that took about 4-6 years off my life.  I’m pretty sure that calls for some sort of bag-skate practice or at least a lengthy video-homework session.  Can’t let that kinda crap slide in the playoffs, boys. 

And finally…

THE DOWNRIGHT RIDICULOUS:  Like there’s any surprise here: #9 Zach Parise.  Seriously, do I even need to explain this one?!  The intensity, the work ethic, the skill, the drive, the determination.  This kid has established more than I would have ever dreamed of asking.  The complete package.  Seamlessly breaking Jeff Friesen’s/John MacLeans’s records for goals in a playoff series and now leading the entire NHL Playoffs in goal scoring, this 22 year old is a phenomenal athlete.  If the New Jersey Devils are going to move any further in the playoffs, you can bet your tuchas that this kid will be the reason why.

Honorable mention will have to go to Richard Matvichuk and Martin Brodeur.  After playing only 2 previous games this season/post-season, Richard played a huge role in deciding the outcome of tonights game.  Marty did decide the outcome with huge save after huge save.  Again, some dribblers got by him, but what matters most is that he came up with the deciding saves – something that has eluded him most of this series.

So from here on out, it’s nothing more than a best-of-3.  After tonight’s Game 4, I am not even going to consider an attempt at trying to predict what will happen during the next 3 or less games.  The only thing I can say, is Let’s Go Devils!

Live-capping Game 4

10:09 PM ET: Oh my goodness. Scott Gomez won the game for the Devils. I’m in awe right now. Series tied 2-2.

10:06 PM ET: SERGEI MOTHERFRIGGEN BRYLIN YOU WERE WIDE-FRIGGEN-OPEN IN FRONT OF THE NET WITH NOT A SINGLE SOUL AROUND YOU AND YOU SHOT IT WIDE???? COME ON!!

10:04 PM ET: Pardon the lack of updates. I’m nervous as all hell now. Devils power play. Oh boy x2.

9:53 PM ET: Tampa Bay power play in overtime, Martin takes a delay of game penalty. Oh boy.

9:40 PM ET: Who is going to be a hero for us tonight?

9:35 PM ET: To overtime we go. I be nervous. Can we get Grant Marshall back for overtime? That would be sweet as all hell.

It's broke-ed.9:19 PM ET: Okay, I’m a bit more composed now, and I’d like to thank the Vicodin I popped for my ailing knee for my current state of relaxation. I’m still mad at Patrik Elias and Scott Gomez, though. Elias should be stripped of the C and Gomez should be sent on the next boat out to Alaska. For(e) real.

9:04 PM ET: I’m pretty sure that the EGG is spoiled.

8:43 PM ET: I give up. Too many men on a friggen power play? What a joke. This team is garbage.

8:41 PM ET: Most important point of the game right here for the boys. 2 Man Advantage for the Devils. Gotta convert.

Tough saves.8:35 PM ET: 3-3. Lecavalier with his four millionth goal. Marty will not be winning any MVP trophies this postseason. Granted, I wouldn’t put the blame on him for that goal, but, uh…I dunno.

8:32 PM ET: Mattie is having a GAME. See, I knew Matvichuk would be beneficial to this lineup.

8:28 PM ET: Poop. 3-2.

8:23 PM ET: Marty!

You know it.8:21 PM ET: Zach Parise for MVP. Seriously. It’s a powerplay goal, 3-1 New Jersey…F You Sam Rosen! (please don’t hate.)

8:16 PM ET: Wow. Marty got absolutely schooled by Lecavalier. Thank goodness nothing came of that wraparound play. Makes me nervous, though.

8:04 PM ET: Big second period right here. Tampa Bay needs to capitalize to have a shot and the Devils need to calm down in the defensive zone to hold the lead. Let’s hope the good guys triumph…interpret that as you will — depending on which team you’re a fan of, that is.

7:46 PM ET: One period in the books. I’ll take it. I’m going to pretend that lapse in the middle of the period didn’t happen. Keep it up boys. Keep it up.

7:45 PM ET: Hey, Patrik Elias has life! GREAT physical play from the Captain — lead by example, Mr. Elias. I really don’t mind the Tampa Bay power play that resulted, because no matter how you slice it, this Devils team NEEDS to start playing physical. I like.

Hearts for Parise.7:34 PM ET: And the Devils proceed to completely fall apart. All Tampa Bay now…and as I type that…

GOAL! PARISE! 2-1 DEVILS! OH YES. FIVE GOALS IN FOUR GAMES. THERE’S YOUR STANLEY CUP GOAL-SCORING LEADER RIGHT THERE.

…whew. Travis Zajac made a beauty of a pass to Martin, who got a nice feed over to Parise for his five-millionth goal of the postseson. Tic-tac-mother f’n-toe. So, uh, bi-polar much?

7:32 PM ET: Well that lasted long…tie game. Poo-mez flubbed on that play right there. Me thinks the defense looks like garbage tonight, by the way.

So THAT'S what a Gionta goal looks like!7:26 PM ET: Wow…did I actually see Marty make a couple good saves? Let’s get the defense going now.

7:19 PM ET: BRIAN GIONTA! THANK YOU JEEBUS! 1-0 DEVILS! Woo. Egg-zactly what the Devils needed. Get the puck to the net and drive for the rebounds. Keep it up. Looking good so far.

7:15 PM ET: Atta boy Rafalski, way to draw the penalty. Huge power play coming up here.

7:13 PM ET: Good start for men in red and black. Devils fans have been begging for the boys to be more physical, and it looks like Mattie got the message loud and clear. This is gonna be one physical game, ladies and gents.

A good read for the Devils, if I do say so myself.7:04 PM ET: Well, here we are. Game 4. If Game 3 was a must-win, this is a gotta-win. Whitey is still out, and neither Cam Janssen nor David Clarkson will make their ’07 postseason debuts, so it looks like we gots the same lineup skating tonight. I’m not too sure I feel comfortable with THAT, but I do feel comfortable overall about the game tonight. Have a good feeling about this one. Don’t mess it up for me boys.

At least Rad Brad is in the lineup tonight. Congrats to Rad Brad on the birth of his baby! Yays! Proud Papa, make us proud too!

It could be worse

Poor Thrash.
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…at least we’re not the Atlanta Thrashers.

GAME THREE BREAKDOWN (the grave is at 3 feet!)

The New Jersey Devils have been shoved half-way into their playoff graves. The sad part is, the ground shouldn’t even have been broken yet. The Devils let Game 3 slip away with perhaps one of their worst playoff performances since Game 6 of the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals.

I could go on forever about what went wrong tonight, but I’ll follow suit and put it into our customary playoff breakdown: The Awesome, The Not So Awesome, and The Downright Ridiculous

Ouch, my pride.THE AWESOME: Tampa’s offense. And by ‘offense’ I mean St. Louis and Lecavalier. It really should be under the ridiculous category, as in: it’s ridiculous that the Devils are losing a playoff series because of two – yes, two – players. Without either one of those two, Tampa doesn’t even have a goal to be proud of in the series. Madden and Pandolfo, and moreso Brylin, need to do a better job of shutting these two down! It’s sickening, really.

THE NOT SO AWESOME: Martin Brodeur. I know, its borderline heresy to be belittle King Devil, but c’mon, Marty. Save some Christmas presents for December, will ya?! It’s great that you openly stated that you need to be the difference for our team tonight – and I really expected you to come out and downright steal this game. Instead, Tampa pulled the carpet right out from under you. No offense, pal, but none of the 3 goals were credible tonight. The rest of the series, and more importantly the Devils playoff lives, rest in your big ol’ sweaty pads. From here on out, it’s a series of Game 7’s for you and the boys in front of you.

THE DOWNRIGHT RIDICULOUS: Officiating. Now, if you are going to roll your eyes and think I’m a neanderthal for ripping the refs, then stop reading this post right now because you are obviously not paying attention. Apparently, one of the new rules buried deep within the NHL’s rulebook is that Scalping is perfectly legal during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Three times in three games the Devils should have had 4-minute powerplays due to errant sticks from Tampa Bay. None were called, and the Devils have suffered their 2nd straight one-goal loss. If you don’t think New Jersey would have at least tied the game had even one of those double-minors been called, I would love to see your SAT scores.

JOE’S 2 CENTS: If the Devils are going to kick out of the Stone-Cold-Stunner® slapped upon them from Tampa, they need to start with an absolute man-handling in Game 4. It might as well be a Game 4 with New Jersey trailing the series 3-0. That’s exactly the way they need to play. No questions asked. A true gut check is in store for Wednesday night, and I’m not talking about how much beer and pizza I can handle at once. The Devils are going to need to come out and take communist control of everything in Game 4 if they want to live past Friday. Yes, boys, I’m afraid that means you’ll have to shoot the puck. A lot.

Marty, this is your series to lose. Not that I don’t have confidence right now, but please forgive me if it’s a little shaken.

Live-capping Game 3

Ew.9:36 PM ET: Okay, game is over. Devils lose. Series is only 2-1 Lightning, but it might as well be 3-1 in my eyes. Who should we point the finger at for tonight’s loss? Ah, our wonderful MVP Marty Brodeur. I just love how he claims he needs to be the difference in the game and step it up…well, congrats Marty, you were the difference. It’s not often said, but it needs to be put on the table tonight:

YOU LET YOUR TEAM DOWN.

Step it up for Game 4, prove you’re a damn fine goalie and get the job done. I don’t have anything else to say, because the boys really didn’t look all that bad tonight. All I can do is scratch at my head and shrug my shoulders. Marty hasn’t merely looked human this series, he’s looked downright bad.

Stay tuned for our game breakdown, featuring none other than the man, the myth, the legend Joeeeeee Bechteeeeeeeel-tel-tel-tel (yes, my lame attempt at an echo.) Just give us a little time to once again compose ourselves. Hey, it’s no secret — we’re as emotional as they come when it comes to fans.

9:22 PM ET: Couple minutes left in the game. Not much hope. Matvichuk takes a penalty. It’s pretty much all over now. Marty will likely crap another goal at this point. Unless the Devils miraculously tie this game up, I’m shutting down for the night. Stay tuned for a 2MA BREAKDOWN with Joe at the conclusion of the game.

9:16 PM ET: …no words. No words.

9:08 PM ET: Thank goodness for goal posts. Marty needs all the help he can get.

9:00 PM ET: Tie game again. It’s the battle of the Crap Goaltenders.

8:55 PM ET: I’d rather have Scott Clemmensen in net. 2-1 Tampa Bay.

Yeah, it's cliche but it's true.8:46 PM ET: The all-important 3rd period is right around ther corner, and I am scared as all hell. I hate to be that fan who bitches and moans about one-sided officiating, but this has really, truly, absoutely without-a-damn-doubt been ridiculous. When there are even opposing fans saying that penalties should have been called on their team, there’s something damn wrong.

8:36 PM ET: The Mad Dog is alive. Holmer just absolutely robbed Dowd. Holmey Moly! Save of the game right there. Marty, take notes. We might have a game on our hands after all…

8:34 PM ET: Uh, explain to me how Brian Gionta is the only player to come away with a penalty after that scrum? Makes perfect sense, really.

8:33 PM ET: Hey, the Devils have LIFE! Keep on shooting the puck. Shoot anything and everything. Hell, even let Marty shoot. Something is bound to go in.

8:31 PM ET: John Madden, I love you. Tied game.

8:23 PM ET: Really don’t have much to say at this point.

One of these things is not like the others...

8:07 PM ET: Can someone explain to me why the Tampa Bay Lightning CONTINUE to use their sticks as weapons to whack players in the faces? That’s three sticks to the faces of Devils players in less than two games. Ridiculous. Apparently it’s going to take a Devil losing an eye for an official to even call something. Dirty and disgusting.

Novel idea, eh?7:53 PM ET: Okay, after taking a couple deep breaths, I have regained my composure. Devils need to come out strong in the 2nd. They gotta stay calm, no more dumb penalties and it looks like they need to actually help Marty out because it’s apparent he’s lost the ability to stop a puck, especially from any angle whatsoever.

7:45 PM ET: Thank goodness that’s over. I’m going to pretend that period didn’t happen.

7:38 PM ET: Well. Nice to see the boys took that power play serious. It’s starting to look more and more apparant that this team will be a one-and-done. Prove me wrong.

7:35 PM ET:
Wow, a high-sticking penalty is finally called on St. Louis. This guy really needs to learn how to not clip players in the face with his stick.

7:32 PM ET:
Andre Roy throws nine million hits — by the process of, well, probability, he finally gets called for a penatly. Huge power play coming up here.

Step it up. 7:31 PM ET: So, the Lightning have managed to easily make Marty look human. Disheartening.

7:27 PM ET: You gotta be KIDDING me! Not Rad, Brad. This is exactly what you guys shouldn’t be doing. 1-0 Tampa Bay because Marty Brodeur is pure garbage. This is going to be a long night.

7:23 PM ET: Crap. Keep dem elbows down, Zachy. This is NOT the time to be taking a penalty…especially when you’re our best player. Mr. Dowd, get the job done.

7:21 PM ET: Okay, so my bud John F. over at Boltsmag informed me that it is not the arena which is so unbelievably dark, but instead a wonderfully awful broadcast.

A screencap of Game 3.7:13 PM ET: Wow, can we say D-I-R-T-Y Mr. Ranger? Granted, I can barely even see the play right now as it appears nearly pitch-black in this arena, but, uh, you can’t take out a player like that. No good.

7:13 PM ET: Could it look any darker in this arena? I can barely see the game! Bad broadcast or bad lighting?

7:12 PM ET: This game ever going to start? Jeepers…

6:58 PM ET:
Thanks to reader and good friend Hasan, we now know that White is out of the lineup after suffering what the organization is calling a “stiff back.” Let’s hope that’s not code for “disk herniation.”

Why couldn't it have been Oduya?6:35 PM ET: Welp, Game 3 is almost here. Must-win for the boys tonight. Gonna be a bit tricky, though, as Colin White did not take part in the pre-game skate and will not dress for tonight’s game. Skating in his place is the seldom-used but often-loved Richard Matvichuk, who will be making his ’07 playoff debut tonight. Let’s go Mattie!

This is a bit worrying, though. Wonder if the groin is acting up for Whitey again…