Saturday night means we’re too drunk and/or distracted to give you a running game diary, so instead, Gentle Reader, we offer a looser-structured taste of our thoughts, hopes, dreams and impressions as the game wore on.
– We hate this new pregame show format, where we only get 1/3 of a pregame because MSG has combined Islanders, Rangers and Devils into one pregame. We don’t care about the Isles’ lineup or what Jagr has to say about his game tonight. Come on! Give us boring Devils analysis! (Okay, they gave us Zach, Paulie and Travis interviews, so we will only complain mostly about this stupid format.)
– We were also trying not to freak out about Marty’s “personal reasons” for leaving the team. Damn you, Tom Gulitti, for giving us more news about the Devils than we know what to do with! We used to be able to do a very good job just imagining how dysfunctional this team is, without any facts to back it up. Now? We’re basketcases.
– The pregame show tonight forced us to take up smoking (a la Frisby) so we could avoid the mailbag. Al Trautwig led into it by saying, “We’ve gotten a great response from Rangers fans, Islanders fans are letting us know what they think, but Devils fans, you need to get online! This is your show too!” No, Al, this is a Rangers show because it’s hosted by you.
– We really, really liked the Madden goal. Great work in the zone by Pando and Asham, great pass by Asham after leading the 3-on-1, fantastic finish by Madden. Are they trying to send a message to Sutter that they like playing together? When was the last time Pando and Madden were on an odd-man rush that scored?
– We really can’t help but wonder what Matvichuk did to lose his spot in the lineup to Johnny Oduya, who was basically single-handedly responsible for three of the first four goals the Devils gave up this season.
– Okay, being outshot 200,000 to 4 was probably not Sutter’s gameplan for tonight. But on the bright side, Weeks looked fantastic – we can’t imagine Clemmensen being able to hold back as relentless a tide as the Panthers were in the first, especially with as listless a defense in front of him as Weekes had here.
We spent an hour and a half on the phone with Comcast because our Center Ice spontaneously turned itself off when we went to record the Pens game. Naturally, they had no idea how to fix it, so now we get to spend all day tomorrow waiting for a technician to come and have no idea how to fix it.
We returned to the Devils game on a lengthy TiVo delay.
– With every punky shift he takes, we find ourselves falling more and more in love with Clarkson. We loved how he forced the turnover that led to Madden’s second goal (!!!), and we loved how, at the end of every shift, he’s stepping up in Panthers’ faces. He doesn’t seem assy, just… Gionta-y. But bigger.
– Dogs and cats are living together – what is with Pando taking a second penalty in as many games? Has he decided discipline and responsibility is for losers or something? Or did he decide he’d have a better chance of winning a Selke this year if he’s a suckier defensive player, after losing to the clearly suckier Brind’Amour?
– The worst news we heard in this period was that Cam Janssen’s surgery was successful. In slightly better news, though, was the report that there has been no date set for his return.
– Have we mentioned Andy Greene is 10 times cheaper than Brian Rafalski and almost 10 years younger? His power play goal was something we can’t remember Raffie ever coming close to accomplishing: forcing a turnover at the blue line (Raffie always played the point more in the “I am a stationary object around which the other team can skate unhindered” school of thought), then leading the odd-man charge, then finishing the goal from a bad angle deep at the goal line. Bubbles all around!
– We were troubled to discover Doc doesn’t read BoC or pore over our comment threads. The nickname, Doc, is not Ruslan “One Horse Open” Salei. It’s “Cirque du” Salei. Come on. It’s not hard.
– We are encouraged by a Devils team that can feature Andy Greene making our favorite offensive play of the game, and Zach Parise making our favorite defensive play. That diving, desperate block midway through the third to stop a sure Panthers goal was just the sort of thing that we hold up to say, “See?? We don’t just love him because he’s the cute one.”
– After the Mottau goal, Pookie said nervously, “Oh no. We’re going to lose. Devils players never score their first goals in wins. I’m calling a 9-4 final.” (It’s really true. Morgan once joked that every former Devil gets to say, when reminiscing about the past, “Yeah, my first goal game in garbage time of a 7-1 loss…”)
– We spent what seemed like an eternity waiting out that commercial break after Pando went down (on a hit Chico pointed out should have been an interference penalty – and would have been in the first period if Paulie’d done it) and looked grievously injured. Of course we should have known Pando would still be on the bench when we came back, because Pando wouldn’t leave the bench even with splinters of bone sticking out all over his body. (We can only assume Zach was jealous of Asham’s response to the hit, getting into a whale of a fight with Horton. That, Zach, is a henchman.)
That was much more like it! After a really nerve-wracking first period of colossal sucktitude by everyone but Weekes (and one great rush by Asham, Pando and Madden), the guys pulled their shit together and gave us a look at what they’re capable of. And while we’re willing to admit it was just the Panthers (our traditional get-well team), we’re still really pleased to see our faith in the Devils is not wholly misplaced.