‘Twas the night before the trade deadline, and IPB’s minds were gathering some wool.
1. Gentle Reader, there is a chance you are not aware that the Devils spent the last 24 hours leading the Eastern Conference. There was a time not too long ago that we were booking our tickets for the Good Ship Lottery Pick. Mind you, we’re not putting that cruisewear away just yet, because you never can tell, but let’s just say we’re maybe hoping those tickets are transferable for next season.
2. Gentle Reader, there is a chance you are not aware that the New York Times has a hockey blog, called Slap Shot. It’s actually pretty snazzy, as it covers all kinds of hockey stuff, even college and international leagues. Today Slap Shot unveiled a new project in which they’re asking bloggers a series of questions, with a representative from every team. It appears our invitation seems to be at the dead letter office with our playoff tracker. Harumph! Well, since you didn’t ask, Gray Lady, here are our answers:
a) Will your team make the playoffs, and if so, how far will they get?
Because the hockey gods are always listening, we’re required to say no, no, no. They won’t make it, they won’t advance, they’ll win nothing! Ever! Next question!
b) What team would you most like to see fail this year, and why?
Did you really just ask Devils fans who we want to see fail? Fill in the blank: “______ suck!” Yeah, we think that answers your question. Next question!
c) What is your fondest memory of your team or a player on your team?
Since Lou Lamoriello is our favorite Devil, we’re duty bound to always adhere to a “what have you done for us lately” policy. The Devils didn’t play today. Therefore, no fond memories! Next question!
d) What player would you most like to see checked right through the Zamboni doors?
Cam Janssen. Yes we just picked one of our own players. Next question!
e) Shootouts — yea or nay?
We got a behind the scenes look at this questionnaire (hey, we know a person) and know for a fact that there was a 75-word limit on this question. Since the most succinct we could be on this issue was 1,652 words, next question!
OK, so maybe our invite didn’t get lost. Maybe the Gray Lady knew better than to ask us! In all seriousness, she tapped our blog buddy John F. on the shoulder and said, “Get out there, tiger!” Gentle Reader, if you haven’t checked out John F.’s fantastic Devils blog, you should! And be sure to check out the Slap Shot “Hockey Night in Blogdom” project for reals; there are some dear friends and many familiar faces participating!
3. Gentle Reader, we have recently engaged in some discussion with some friends about the relative merits of keeping an even keel vs. swinging wildly between high highs and low lows as fans. We have learned over the years to keep a long view of things during the season. We also like to be, as Iain so eloquently put it a few weeks ago in a game diary comment thread, pessimists to the point where the glass is not only half-empty, but it’s also teetering over and about to spill its contents on the floor and shatter, kicking a massive shard of jagged broken glass into our eyes. But all the gloomy-gus attitude and “it’s a long season” sageness never prepares us for watching the Devils actually fail. We start at low low, and go from there. And this is why we loved the game this past Sunday against the Capitals. The Devils sucked so badly for the majority of that game that it bordered on being preposterous. While Marty was showing off how very not solely a product of the system his HOF credentials are, the skaters in front of him showed off exactly how loosely the term “skater” can be defined. Our miserable, cranky, profanity-laced, “please somebody just brain me with a cinderblock”, “no, wait, on second thought the Devils suck so bad they don’t deserve me being brained by a cinderblock” moods blackened to a point where the casual observer would have wondered whether watching the game was some kind of court-ordered punishment we were being forced to serve. And then, out of nowhere (actually, it wasn’t “nowhere”, per se. It came out of the Caps being lazy on defense and their goaltending sucking, but that’s not as poetic), John Madden scored the OT winner in what seemed like slow-motion, and we rocketed from suicidal depression to sheer, screaming euphoria in the blink of an eye. It was pure elation. Yes, the low lows suck, but without them, you don’t get the high highs. Part of the fun of being sports fans is, for us, that we get those extremes in a completely artificial setting.
4. Gentle Reader, tomorrow is the trade deadline. You might have heard about it. We’re sure you’re wondering what we predict the Devils will do. Well, good thing you asked. We have a money-in-the-bank, spot-on, can’t-miss, 100% guaranteed prediction: whatever the Devils do, it will surprise us. If Lou stands pat, we’ll be surprised. If he doesn’t, we’ll be surprised. We might be pleasantly surprised, we might be ambivalently surprised, we will most likely be unpleasantly surprised, but one way or the other, our brows will be lifted in astonishment at some point tomorrow. (Please, Lou, don’t read our use of the word “brow” there as a veiled hint that we want you to get Holik. Because we don’t.)
5. Gentle Reader, speaking of the trade deadline, in keeping with our reputation as the finest source of news in all of blogdom (we’d be lying if we said we weren’t known in certain circles as “The Blog Of Record” and “The In-Flight Blog Of Air Force One”), we will be breathlessly keeping up with all the breaking news, to keep you the best-informed fan you can possibly be. Starting at the crack of 10:00 a.m.-ish, we will be committing ourselves wholly to being part-time, half-hourly trade trackers, barring unforeseeable hindrances in our full-time jobs. We’d like to see the Canadian sports channels offering that. Note: Pookie will not be available to track trades until sometime between 11:30 and noon. Suck on that, TSN.