We remember tonight’s game all too well — and frankly, it should be played on the Islanders’ “15 To Remember” series, if you ask us (and if you overlook the OT). Anyway, the intro involves Steve Cangialosi telling us how both teams have recently demonstrated come-from-behindability. Yeah. Great.
Steve is also giving us the play-by-play; having to endure that is just one more reason we hate the VS and NBC national feeds that use Doc. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Steve sucks. He also tells us that this game was played on the day Marty and Raffie were named All-Star reserves. The Raffie thing still puzzles us.
19:16 Gomez? There was a guy named Gomez on the Devils? Steve tries to tell us the EGG line has been playing well lately, but frankly, we don’t remember (or believe) that ever happened.
18:40 FSN gives us a stats screen showing the EGG line’s recent production (Steve says they’ve been good in the last few games for a “GAG”, or goal a game, and Chico chuckles as if he’s never heard this before) and seriously, they should not have been allowed to use Patty’s mug shot last year. He really does look like a middle-aged lesbian science teacher in that shot. Poor Patty.
17:51 The Devils lamely dump the puck and refuse to chase it into DiPietro’s zone and Steve brightly tells us about the Islanders D-man who retrieves it — Sean Hill. “He’s really turned back the clock this year,” he announces. Mm hm.
17:07 After a Devils icing (this is so fun! What a memorable game!) Chico praises Viktor Kozlov for his rejuvenation with the Islanders. The difference between the Kozlov Devils fans knew, and… uh… well, let’s just leave it at “knew”, since none of us loved or even liked him — anyway, the difference between that Kozlov and the current Kozlov is that he’s shooting the puck now. Really? That’s all it takes?
16:45 Pretty Ricky is actually forced to make a good save on a bang-bang setup by Patty to Gio in front. Huh. We didn’t remember there were scoring chances in this game.
15:17 Wow! Zach’s favorite defensive move — tapping his stick on the ice behind the offensive puck carrier in the hopes they’ll drop a blind pass to him — actually kind of works. He is able to pick off a stupid cross-ice pass at the Devils blue line.
14:23 Between the last game FSN gave us to Remember and this one, Paulie Martin seems to have entered his “Putrid Period”. He manages to wrangle the puck away from a flat-footed and disinterested (is there any other kind?) Yashin in the corner, but then promptly turns the puck back over to Yashin, who stares at him as if to say, “Why the hell did you just do that? I certainly don’t want the puck.” To make Paulie feel better, though, Yashin takes a hooking penalty.
12:23 That power play seemed like the slowest two minutes of our entire summer to date.
11:14 Whitey kickstarts a Keystone Kops sequence in the defensive zone with a staggeringly awful turnover to an Islander at the point, and after a commercial break the Isles are able to keep up the pressure. However, all they get is a huge shot ringing off one of the goalposts. Chico assures us that’s all Marty gave Poti to shoot at. Suuuure.
10:33 Rupp and Simon get matching roughing minors for some chest-bumping at the benches.
10:01 Watching the Devils drift back behind their goal line to retrieve a lazily lost puck, Pookie declares, “You know what would be nice next year? If Patty plays well.” Her comment is met with silence. None of us are planning to wait for that while hanging from ropes round our necks.
9:41 Raffie corkscrews Kozlov on a one-on-one defensive play. Raffie. Come on. He might be shooting more this year, but he’s still Viktor Kozlov.
7:35 It is nothing short of a miracle that the Islanders haven’t scored yet. Marty’s playing his typically sharp Nassau Colosseum game, but he’s being helped by the fact that the Islanders keep shoveling his rebounds just wide of the net.
4:00 Perhaps in an effort to make the league sorry they named him an All-Star, Raffie mishandles a hand-off from Marty behind the net, overskates the puck, then is forced to freeze it against the boards when his glacially slow recovery gives the Islanders time to make a complete change and charge into the zone on a full-press forecheck. That’s the Raffie we’re not going to miss next year!
Coming back from commercial we see some footage of more jostling between Rupp and Simon. Apparently Rupp fought Braedon Coburn in the Devils’ previous game in Atlanta. We remember that well — Coburn had taken some liberties on Zach, and Rupp leapt to his teammate’s defense. We have been joking ever since that after the game an awestruck Zach said to Rupp, “You fought for me,” and then insisted Rupp was officially his henchman. Poor Rupper, stuck now trying to keep Zach from getting too clingy.
2:36 Pretty Ricky gloves down a long shoot-in by Raffie, then goes to flip it out of the zone and instead shovels it directly into Langer in the slot. After a startled shout, Chico chortles, “Well, that’s Rick DiPietro, isn’t it?” Islanders fans everywhere pretend they didn’t see it happen.
1:01 Steve announces the shots are 8-6 in favor of the Islanders. But it feels a lot more like 73-1.
0:00 Not a moment too soon, the book is closed on a truly forgettable period of hockey. Thanks for the memories, FSN!
19:58 Yeesh. On the opening draw, Steve informs us the Islanders had a 14-3 edge on faceoffs in the first period. That wouldn’t be such a big deal if the Devils had any inclination toward puck pursuit. Alas, they don’t, so the stat is actually a fair reflection of how the play went.
17:48 Brylin wakes us up momentarily with a cute little pass to himself off the boards around Randy Robitaille to start an actual offensive rush. Of course, it’s Pando and Madden heading up the ice with him, so it comes to naught.
17:23 On a replay of Blake walking off the endboards to try to catch Marty on a shot from the goal line, Chico says, “You don’t see a lot of sharp-angle goals, and you shouldn’t.” Oh Chico, just wait until the Tampa series.
16:17 Steve politely sums up the game to this point by calling it “nondescript”. That’s a start, Steve.
15:01 Bruno Gervais has clearly been watching too much Devils hockey. In what was most likely an effort to impersonate his Devils d-man heroes, he — totally unhurried and unpressured — passes the puck from behind his goal to Patty, who is standing all by his lonesome on the halfboards. Needless to say, though, Patty has no idea what to do with the puck when he gets it.
14:11 Whitey demonstrates how much worse Devils d-men can be than just turning the puck over in their own zone by falling on Marty and knocking his helmet off.
13:30 You know what we’d all like to see almost as much as a decent statistical year from Patty next season? We’d like to see Steve Cangialosi add the “-off” to the word “face-off”. Right now he just says “face” and it is just maddeningly annoying.
We go to commercial and get tonight’s code word for the Devils “15 to Remember” Sweepstakes: “Gomer”. Pookie: “What do you win? Another kick in the face?”
12:38 After a rundown of the All-Star teams, Chico informs us that people in the West think Luongo was the best goalie in the league, and people in the East thought Marty was. He then hastily adds, “Or Ryan Miller”. Schnookie is happy for the Crunchy shoutout, but seriously, please. Crunchy wishes he belonged in that company. Although we suspect he was the best goalie wearing a pink-rhinestone-studded, leopard-print jockstrap.
11:15 Even Chico is calling this one “nondescript” now. That’s like the homer broadcaster’s version of calling an ugly baby “alert”. Perhaps hoping to spice things up, Bruno Gervais gets called for tripping.
10:00 Langer receives a pass at the point from Gomer that is meant to be one-timed… but he falls to his knees before he can even complete his windup. As some replays of defensive plays unspool, Chico says, “Let me show you why this game is scoreless.” Pookie: “And now they just show us a panning shot down the length of the Devils bench.”
8:47 A “Let’s go Islanders” cheer listlessly drifts down from the stands, and Steve brightly chirps, “No one’s had much to cheer about tonight!” Which is why we’re so glad FSN decided to show it to us again.
7:08 Pretty Ricky was probably panicking for a minute there as the EGG line decided to connect a few offensive zone passes, it’s been so long since he faced any offensive pressure. Of course, the whole sequence only got started because Patty totally mis-timed his “let me get my linemate to go offsides” shotfake at the blue line, and ended up in the zone with the puck, his fellow EGGers, and nowhere to hide. Luckily for Ricky, the passing does not result in any shooting.
2:48 Patty draws a penalty on Sean Hill by, shockingly, going to the net with a semblance of speed. As the Devils go back on the power play, Pookie grumbles, “Patty only did that because he knows drawing power plays is the best way he can hurt his team.”
0:41 After we see a shot of Gomer and Pando on the bench together, we wonder whether Pando was sad when Gomer signed with the Rangers, or whether he was like, “Gomah, you were my best friend, but now you’re dead to me.” We then marvel, for the umpteenth time, that a guy who came up in the current generation of Devils could voluntarily sign with the Rangers. Stan Fischler had posited during the season that Gomer was going to be talking with his good buddy Bobby Holik about his free agency experiences, so Schnookie ponders what Bobby might have said to Gomer. “Oh yes,” she says in her Holik voice, “Signing with the Rangers worked out so well for me. I mean, look at all my money!” Pookie adds, also as Holik, “All this money… it’s bought me so much happiness!” Good luck with that, Gomer.
0:00 We’ll keep this as polite as Chico and Steve have: that’s 40 really nondescript minutes these teams have played.
Heading into the period, we hear about how rested Marty is despite his relatively busy workload. Chico reports that Marty found his start in Atlanta the previous night rather effortless, and furthermore, he napped almost all day before this game. Chico adds, “You know, he’s a good sleeper.” And a good eater.
18:47 Who’s worried about losing Raffie and Gomer? We’re not, especially after that breakout: Paulie held onto the puck for about 10 seconds, handed it up to Travis, who promptly turned it over before he could even get close to the blue line. The Devils are going to be fine!
16:22 As if it wasn’t bad enough trying to think of things to say about what’s happening on the ice, we’re being handcuffed here by Steve Cangialosi’s call. FSN, this is excruciatingly dull.
15:44 Chico predicts we might “go to shootout zero-zero because of this defense.” This is answered in stately IPB Manor’s living room with a chorus of, “And because of the offense!”
14:23 We are getting the vapors now — the teams just traded end-to-end rushes! Neither resulted in actual shots on goal because both teams shot wide, but still. End-to-end rushes!
12:45 We go to commercial break and get that creepy spot for a non-FDA-approved “natural energy booster” that brags it doesn’t make its consumers crash like energy drinks do. As we watch cheaply-produced footage of office drones looking lethargic while a voiceover says, “This is you after drinking an energy drink,” Schnookie can’t help but remark that’s what she looks like watching this game. Pookie adds, “There’s not enough of whatever the active ingredient is in that thing — is it cocaine? — to make this bearable.”
12:11 During a stoppage in play Chico, desperate for something to talk about, remarks that “since Christmas the Devils haven’t given any presents away.” Stay tuned, Chico. They’re giving away a big-assed, gift-wrapped, idiot point in the standings tonight. Not that it costs the Devils in the long run, but it sure costs the Leafs.
7:52 The Poppers look like it’s suddenly dawned on them that if this stays in a tie, they’ll have to sit through an extra five minutes of this game, and they actually work a little forechecking/cycling shift, complete with smart passing and forcing the odd turnover. Julien promptly benches them.
4:47 Because Zach wants nothing more than to prove to everyone on the Island that they missed out big-time when they didn’t draft him, and because he doesn’t want this to go any longer than it absolutely has to, he comes off the bench like his pants are on fire and just explodes straight toward Pretty Ricky’s net and very nearly scores. But because this game sucks he ends up skating away with nothing.
2:51 The disappointment is palpable in Steve’s voice. Doc and others around the Devils organization love nothing more than to wax poetic about a legendary scoreless tie Marty battled to against Hasek and the Sabres many moons ago. Steve is realizing, as the clock ticks down on what’s starting to look to him like another zip-zip engagement, that this one will never be filed under “masterpiece”, and his play-by-play won’t enter the annals of legendary games.
1:19 We recall being very excited back when this actually happened. Brylin and Madden execute a smooth little drop-pass give-and-go, and Madden beats Pretty Ricky beautifully just over his glove. We have no such illusions tonight that this goal stands.
0:10 Newly minted Eastern Conference All-Star Brian Rafalski takes a boneheaded hooking penalty on a play that really didn’t warrant one.
0:04 Wait for it…
0:03 Wait for it…
0:02 Wait for it…
0:01 Miro Satan, angry at being the year-long butt of jokes during SPECTRE, says, “My name isn’t pronounced that way! No it would not be funny if I played for the Devils!” and punches the puck past Marty. Chico is reeling — he’d already chalked this one up as a shutout. (It should be pointed out that the Islanders called a timeout after the Madden goal. Madden then proceeded to lose all three faceoffs that followed. Nicely done, Maddog.)
4:02 Madden tries to get his game-winning goal back and rips a shot through a screen that Pretty Ricky responds to with a totally overwrought, drama-queen “look how amazingly difficult that save was!” save. Chico says, “It’s that same John Madden shooting the puck,” as if there are many John Maddens it could have been. (Pookie grumbles, “It’s always that same John fucking Madden.”)
2:16 Langer skates up the halfboards out of the corner and then shows off why he’s not a regular practitioner of the buttonhook maneuver.
2:00 Satan lumbers in on a semi-break, and out of nowhere Whitey demonstrates his once-a-season speed/clutchness combo and makes a diving stick-check to save the day.
1:21 Taking advantage of a Gervais turnover to him (again), Patty swaggers off the boards to the crease, makes a whole-body shot fake, then passes to some guy we’ve never heard of down on the goalline, and that guy we’ve never heard of slams the puck in past DiPietro for the win. But seriously, that was a great play by Patty.