Archives for October 2008

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!

Devils @ Rangers – Battle of the Undefeateds

Second Intermission – A little better. Slow start once again, and another goal for the Rangers made it look bleak, but they came back strong late in the period. Madden’s goal was a thing of beauty for this team right now. Rugged, standing his ground in front of the net, digging the puck out of Lundqvist’s pads and putting them OVER Henrik. Novel idea, right, shooting HIGH on the guy with refrigerator doors for pads? It happened late enough in the period that hopefully it carries over into the third.

Voros’ goal pissed me off a little. Not the fact that he scored, but the way he reacted made me sick. He got jostled a little as he scored, and got up and got in Colin White’s face, then kind of backed off and raised his arms, but in a really aggressive, “F-you” kind of way. I wish Colin would have just decked him right there, but of course not.

Alot more offense later on, actual pressure and sustained offensive chances. To borrow a Doc-ism, the Unseen Hand certainly turned in the Devils’ favor starting around the halfway point in the second.

I may or may not be back with a game recap, as I should be in bed already. Regardless, if they keep playing like they did in the last few minutes of the second for the rest of the game, they’ve still got a chance.

Oh…and SHOOT HIGH!

First Intermission – That was not the start I expected. All the talk of not being a doormat, remembering what happened last year, getting revenge – what did it bring? Five shots on goal, six tops? Whatever the final tally, there was a gigantic stretch of time in the middle when they couldn’t get a single shot on Lundqvist. There’s just no excuse, not in the first game against a team you could only beat twice in thirteen games last year. This is supposed to be a statement, and right now, it isn’t one.

I wish I knew what was up with Marty in Ranger games, but he seems good for one major gaffe against them every other game or so. Yes, the puck was deflected by Oduya, but it’s like football – if you can get your hand on it, you can catch it. Methinks Marty was thinking too far ahead in the play – who he was going to get it to on the breakout, perhaps – and forgot to actually catch the thing.

All that said, it’s still only 1-0. The Devils have been in this situation twice this year, and twice they’ve come back from it, so there’s every reason to believe they will do it again. See you during the second intermission.

Pre-game – My original goal tonight was to do the first LiveCap of ’08-’09, but I just got a phone call telling me to be in work at 5 AM tomorrow. So, since I’ll likely be in bed before the end of this evening’s game, please watch this space for between-period updates, opinions, and so on and so forth. I’ll update at least after the first and hopefully after the second as well. Enjoy the game and LET’S GO DEVILS!

Alexei Cherepanov dies during game in Russia

TSN is reporting that Rangers 2007 first round pick Alexei Cherepanov has died after collapsing on the bench towards the end of a game with Russian team Omsk of the Kontenential Hockey League in Russia. He was 19 years old.

Everyone here at 2 Man Advantage send our condolences to Cherepanov’s family, friends, fans, and teammates. He may have been drafted by the Rangers, but he was a member of a much larger hockey family that transcends fan/team affiliation. The hockey world lost one hell of a young player this afternoon.

RIP

Game 1? Awesome

Before I begin, I’d like to apologize for the lack of pictures in this post. I have them up and ready to go, but I seem to be having a problem with getting them posted. I’ll try to have this problem rectified as soon as possible. – Josh
————————————————-

So it’s in the books, the Devils open the 2008-09 season with a 2-1 victory over the Islanders. It wasn’t all pretty, but it wasn’t all bad either. So, I present to you, loyal 2MA reader…THE AWESOME, THE NOT-SO-AWESOME, AND THE DOWNRIGHT RIDICULOUS of the Devils’ season opener as I saw from my perch in 114:

THE AWESOME – No more Zombie Nation!

I’m not going to lie – I’m conflicted with this awesomeness. After Gary Glitter’s arrest and persecution, I was perfectly fine with the Devils’ choice to stop using Rock And Roll Pt 2 as their goal song. When they used Ole! by Bouncing Souls two years ago, even better – awesome band, awesome song. But last year’s song, Kernkraft 440 by Zombie Nation, just sucked.

So, I guess the annoyance with last year’s song trumps the distaste of the performer of the new/old song. And in the end, Glitter’s paid his debt to society, so maybe it is alright after all to be using his song again.

It’s still better than Zombie Nation.


THE NOT-SO-AWESOME – HE’S NOT WEARING A MASK!

I was in the middle of a conversation with a friend about hockey rules when Marty was run into by Paul Martin and lost his mask. I know hockey’s a fast sport, and sometimes things happen faster on the ice than we notice them on television or in the stands, but can someone please explain to me why someone was allowed to fire a shot even in the general direction of a mask-less goalie before a whistle was blown? Pucks have been frozen by overzealous referees in less time than it took for play to be blown dead after Marty lost his mask.

Brodeur is on track to shatter records left and right. This should be a huge deal for the NHL. A slow whistle by the referee could have easily ended any chance Brodeur has at taking his place in the record book – and ultimately raising the NHL’s profile on non-hockey friendly outlets such as ESPN. There are some things that are just too dangerous to mess around with, and a mask-less goalie is one of them. Any time a goalie loses his mask, play needs to be whistled dead immediately. Period.


THE DOWNRIGHT RIDICULOUS – Green men and dancing guy strippers…wait, I’m at a Devils game?

Look, I know the Devils get a bad rap over their marketing and fan relations and in-game entertainment. Usually I’m one of the ones complaining the most. But if this is what’s in store for this year, I recant all of my prior complaints. Just don’t make me watch these people anymore.

First is the guy with the multiple shirts. He does some kind of strange dancing stripping routine that was funny at first – especially when he stopped a guy who clearly didn’t want to have anything to do with him. But the next five or six times? Not so much. The enthusiasm is nice. The shirt-removing routine grows old really fast.

The green guy was less obnoxious, but far more difficult to understand. My friend tells me it’s a reference to It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, which is probably more correct than my guess – an overzealous fan of Andy Greene. Whatever it is, I’m reasonably certain green guy was not wearing underwear beneath his frighteningly form-fitting costume. And I really didn’t need to see that.

Meet Your Favorite Devils Bloggers…and us, too!

Okay gang, this is it. In a mere six hours, the puck drops on the 2008-’09 season. Myself and Joe will both be in attendance tonight, as will various other bloggers from the Devils blogosphere.

What does this mean? Meet-up, of course. First intermission, by the giant hockey puck from last year’s opening night – across from the Fire Lounge on the grand concourse, near the memorabilia auction. Myself and Joe will be there, Schnookie and Pookie from Interchangeable Parts will be there, maybe even John from In Lou We Trust. A true Devils bloggers powwow indeed.

I’ll even bring stickers.

So please, if you’re at the game tonight, come by and say howdy. We’d love to see everyone! Don’t forget to print your Ramos shutdown post for Joe to autograph!

Hope to see everyone at the game, and stay tuned here late tonight/early tomorrow for a wrap-up of all things opening night!

The Eve of the Opener

Well folks, it starts tomorrow. Game one of eighty-two. To me, it really feels like Christmas Eve.

A bigger, stronger, and faster Devils team will take the ice tomorrow night at The Rock. Martin Brodeur will don the newly designed mask for the very first time as he resumes his quest to overtake Patrick Roy’s wins record. Brian Rolston & Bobby Holik will make their returns to the Garden State.

I’m drooling. The long off-season is finally over and for the first time in three years, Red & Black will christen the new season on home ice, and against a cross-town rival nonetheless. Home openers are great, but Home season-openers are even better. The Rock will be even louder and more decorated than last season, I’m sure.

I will be in attendance myself — section 122 / Row 12 on the aisle — stop by between periods or before the drop of the puck and we’ll have a beer and talk Devils! It would be great to hear from YOU – the readers – face to face and give me some feedback on what you would like to see more/less of right here at 2MA! While you’re at it, you could print out and bring a copy of THIS with you… I’d be happy to autograph it for you. 😉

Make sure you hunt down Josh as well and tell him how awesome his 90’s Music Blog is and talk live-cap with him!

In all seriousness, tomorrow night can’t get here soon enough. See you all at Fan-Fest!!

Devil’s Got A New Diguise

Holy quotable Aerosmith, batman! Martin Brodeur has a new mask design!

Breathe…

I was just as shocked as you are. The main design of Marty’s world-famous mask will remain the same, but the devilish “J” that has always graced the upper part of his helmet, has now been changed over into an “MB30” logo.

The new design relates to the new website Marty will be releasing soon: martinbrodeur30.com.

There are some great quotes and insider info about all of this over at Tom Gulitti’s Fire & Ice Blog.

A new look for a new style, perhaps?

Bold predictions and excited rants: Season preview the first

You know what? I think Rangers fans are scared.

A mere two days away from the puck hitting the ice stateside for the first time this season and those Rag loving Wall Street types are torpedoing our economy into oblivion with the hope that maybe, just maybe, the entire country will dissolve in time to put off the hockey season, and as a result their inevitable demise. It’s gotta be that. Or the Russians.. Hmm.

Well I will not be deterred! It’s Devils season preview time baby!

Three days to go before the New (Old) and Improved New Jersey Devils hit the ice against the New York Islanders at the Rock. If you’re like me, you’ve read the 645 other season previews out there who are writing off the Devils as an aging group running an outdated system.

I say eff that.

Marty

Yes Brodeur is a year older. Of course we’ll need to address this in the coming years but I for one am not gonna even pay a passing thought to this considering he won the Vezina for oh, the 4th time in 6 years. Next topic.

The new old guys

I’m actually extremely excited to see what this offense can do this year. On paper I see it as a solid blend of experience and youth, speed and size. I think that in the second year of Sutter’s reign, the boys will come out with a lot more confidence and gusto working in his system that will produce a noticeable increase in goals with the addition of Rolston and Holik.

The retooled front lines could also fall completely flat, but after several lean offensive years and two years of epic collapses from my beloved Mets, I’m prepared to handle everything short of the top three lines tearing up their contracts on the ice and signing with the Rangers, Flyers and Islanders, respectively.

Oduya’s army

Oh the defense.. You know, I’ve got no idea on this one. They were so befuddling last year I’m not going to even try. Maybe someone taught Johnny Oduya to skate backwards. Maybe Paul Martin will step up and show the offensive prowess we saw glimpses off last year. Maybe Annsi Salmela will become the next Scott Niedermayer and alleviate the need for me to start calling him salmonella by mid-November.

Anything’s possible, I suppose. If I were a betting man though, I’d be placing my chips on the guy in net and the offense carrying this team forward.

The Tykes

Speaking of Salmela, the potential youth influx certainly bears watching. I think Lou and Brent made the right choices on Vrana and Salmela for opening night, but I’d also like to see what Matt Halischuk and Niklas Bergfors can do at some point in the season. Who knows, maybe if they take Matt Corrente off suicide watch after his miserable pre-season performance he could even make an appearance. Definitely a wait-and-see approach with the new guys though.

All-in-all, I’m optimistic. If the D steps it up I think we’re a cup contender. If not, we could at least make up for a terrible showing last year by beating up on the Rangers and Islanders in the season series. Friday night’s a great time to start. Go Devils!

P.S. Church claps all around to the Rags fans who will undoubtedly point out that they scraped by with a pair of victories against a Tampa Bay Lightning team that had played together for all of 35 minutes before the first game. Kudos.

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.

The Final Straight-Away

Pre-season is officially wrapped up, folks, and it was a fun one. Where else would you get to see Brian Gionta go toe-to-toe with Mike Comrie?!

We’re officially 5 days away from the season opener on October 10th, and those 5 days will be the most exciting ones. The roster should be primed in the next few days, and we’ll have a bigger idea of who will be taking the ice next week.

Stick with us as we’ll have analysis from the whole crew here at 2MA, as well as some reader-submitted opinions as well! Details to follow tomorrow.

I can smell the ice!!