It’s a cold, stormy Friday night, and we’re every which kind of annoyed at these stupid 7:00 starts, because we both wanted to take long naps this evening, and we find ourselves now awake and in front of our TV about a half an hour earlier than we wanted to be. For the Caps. If the Devils don’t play better than they did last time these two teams met, it’s not going to be pretty.
Our broadcast kicks off with a Salvador highlight extravaganza. Pookie perks up out of her rant about how abused she is by her coworkers and their passive-aggressive approach to working Saturdays to chirp, “Iron Boar!” Doc and Chico don’t call him that. We’re crushed.
Also: it’s Rupper’s 200th game as a Devil. No way.
20:00 We have a Salvador sighting! A savior is about to ascend! Or… something.
18:25 The Madden line spends their first shift in the Caps zone. That is more offensive-zone possession than the Devils had in their last two games combined.
17:50 Huet makes a stop on a nice rush by Patty, and Boomer sits down just as Doc is calling the play. “I guess Doc and Chico aren’t buying this ‘Hewitt’ thing,” she snarks about Tuesday’s announcement that Huet was Americanizing the pronunciation of his name.
16:31 Salvador turns the puck over softly to a Cap in the slot. Pookie: “The Iron Boar’s play as a Devil so far? Unimpressive. I would even go so far as to call it Rachunek-esque.”
15:58 Doc tells us something about the Huet/Hewitt thing, but we don’t follow. The confusion is spreading, and the Caps get called for too many men.
14:46 A Gio shot from above the faceoff dots (we’d call that “The Gio Special”, but there’s nothing special about it) gets deflected over the netting. This power play is also nothing special.
13:23 Chico is talking about what we can all, as hockey fans, expect of Fedorov. “Sergei Fedorov played about 17 minutes in Columbus,” he begins, and Schnookie cuts him off, “All season.” We crack up. We’re feeling mean tonight.
11:22 The single most shocking thing that will happen in this game tonight is Doc reporting that Tom Poti is 30. We can’t decide if that’s outrageously older than we expected or outrageously younger.
9:20 After Ovie fans on a shot, Madden smartly scoops up the puck and trots the other way with it, Kozlov then picks his pocket when Madden is thinking he’s about to dump in at the Washington blue line, and as Kozlov skates up toward the Devils zone again, Madden chugs along behind him and swipes the puck right back. Doc, Chico and everyone who’s ever watched more than a few minutes of Madden playing hockey before chortle at the sequence, and how totally obvious it was that Kozlov was not going to come away from it having entirely gotten the better of him.
6:33 Marty gloves a shot from the faceoff dots, and the whistle puts a merciful end to Doc’s obsessive scoreboard watching. We realize it’s the stretch run now, but we really don’t have the energy to constantly consider the ramifications of every night of hockey, in the moment. We’ll look at the standings tomorrow morning, Doc.
4:29 Zach tries to carry an uncooperative puck up the boards in the Caps zone while his linemates are changing behind him, and he gets hit from behind by Fedorov for his troubles. Pookie: “That’s two minutes for smushing.”
3:37 It is never encouraging to hear Chico say, “The Devils power play hasn’t been awful…”
2:12 As the teams are both putting on pretty strong defensive postures, our broadcasters exhort us to be kind to Gio. Chico tells us that Marty himself has said fans shouldn’t judge on just 20 games, or 30 games, or whatever. We nearly give ourselves aneurysms shouting that we think it’s probably safe to say he’s having a lousy season after 60 games. Chico adds that ten goals at this time of year “could be worth 20 at the start of the season!” Schnookie: “The points are worth the same at the beginning of the year as they are now. Just ask Detroit.” Don’t be ridiculous.
0:48 Paulie takes a big hit behind Marty’s net that Schnookie misses; Pookie describes it, “He got tied up into a pretzel and thrown into the boards. He’s made of gumbo. And Gumby. But mostly gumbo. He’s made of fish stew.”
0:00 We get an interview with Salvador. Pookie finally brings home the Buffalo Soldiers joke when she says, “Come on, Stan. Everybody knows the Iron Boar. Affec—affec—affectionately known as Sal.”
We’re eating dinner, so we don’t pay a ton of attention to Steve and Dano giving us the final word on the Hossa and Richards trades based on one game played by each.
“Chico Eats!” is terrifying tonight – Portuguese cod fish cakes. Chico does say of the deep-frying, “That’s the first step to make something good. Get that grease in there!”
18:56 As everyone is marveling at Green’s speed darting down behind Marty’s net on a good rush and then being the first skater back at the other end of the ice when Pando breaks it up, some Devil or other forces a turnover near the high slot in front of Huet and a snappy scoring chance ensues.
17:56 Patty cranks a shot from a bad angle, but it sails high. We are vastly discouraged by Chico’s declaration that the Devils are making a point of going high on Huet. When are the Devils going to realize they’re just not that good at aiming, and should just put pucks on the net, rather than worrying about picking spots.
17:36 Huet freezes the puck on a Zach shot (thanks, Zach, for actually shooting instead of fine-tuning), and we get a chance to revisit Marty’s insane pokecheck from the OT of the last Devils/Caps game. We will never get tired of seeing that.
16:27 It’s beginning to look like a Devils second period, as the Caps fourth line takes advantage of a series of Devils breakdowns, and Marty is left to scramble for the save.
14:56 It has been a few long minutes since the camera has had to pan to the left far enough to show us the red line. The Devils look like they’re just hoping to weather the next 15 or so minutes, and take a 0-0 game to the third. That should go just great.
14:33 Oduya calmly faces a Semin shake-and-bake sequence that could either be considered cool D, or could be that he’s just so overwhelmed that he can’t even make a move.
12:33 After some zippy D by Pando, suddenly Zach is in alone on a breakaway, but his first shot is stopped and he skates past the rebound.
11:59 The Zach/Patty/Langer line doesn’t want to sit back like the rest of their teammates, and they combine on a great tic-tac-toe passing play up high that comes thisclose with Patty working the rebound in front. “We’ve got the Caps on the run now,” Pookie says, then opens an even wider lead in the neverending movie-reference contest we have at stately IPB Manor by adding, “Quick’s the word and sharp’s the action, boys!” Pause. “Go straight at ‘em!”
10:30 FSN gives us a welcome look at Kevin Weekes on the bench, and Chico tells us Marty has reported that he’s “got some great lines” and “keeps the guys loose on the bench.” There is a consensus in the living room of stately IPB Manor that we would very much like the chance to spend a game sitting next to Weekesie.
9:46 Marty is getting cocky with the pokechecks, and comes out to lay a clumsy one on Ovechkin, and old Sal and Patty there to clean up the mess. We’ll take it.
9:24 The Caps are on the power play, but FSN would rather we see the pokecheck in replay than the penalty. It’s Greener for tripping, according to the graphics, and while we’d normally insist the call was bullshit, since we haven’t seen the play, considering it’s Greener it’s probably totally legit.
8:33 Fuck you, Andy Greene. We got out of bed for this? It comes as absolutely no surprise that a crappy penalty leads to Green scoring on a nice back-door play. 1-0 Caps.
7:51 Steckel gives the Devils a gift power play as they’re trying to put in their standard “really atrocious post-goal shift”. He clears the puck over the glass while under not even the remotest pressure, and it’s a delay of game for him.
5:59 It looks like the Devils have caught the Caps on a change, uncorking a Travis breakaway, but Travis goes offsides on the rink-length pass. Who does he think he is? Gio?
3:58 We settle back into normalcy, with Marty having to work a zillion times harder than his skaters are. That’s more like the ’07-’08 Devils we’ve come to know and, well, tolerate.
2:18 Kozlov lays down to block a shot from Whitey (Whitey’s not so quick with the offensive decision-making, and has a week to contemplate the sprawling defender in front of him and still opts to crank a shot into him that will then ricochet outside the zone), and Schnookie snarls, “I swear to God, if I am commissioner for even 15 seconds, I will make that play illegal.” We are not huge fans of the whole “lying down to block shots” thing. (Watching the replay, as Kozlov flops to the ice a good month or two before Whitey even winds up for the shot, Boomer asks, “What was Whitey thinking???” As we watch further, it looks like maybe he was thinking about aiming for Kozlov’s nuts.)
0:38 Pookie, watching with disgust: “I thought the Devils were practicing breakouts.”
0:00 BOOOOOO! That period sucked.
FSN has rolled Stan out for this intermission, so we wander off in search of something more interesting to watch. Like our compost bin composting, or maybe our cats’ litter box.
19:17 We are sorely tempted to do something we haven’t done in years – turn the game off. Kozlov scores from the faceoff dot on a slowly-developing passing play, and it’s 2-0 Caps. And the Devils look like they still don’t care.
18:31 Our resolve to keep watching is further eroded by the Devils responding to getting scored on by giving up two more good shots in successive rushes.
16:40 Doc is talking about how this game is looking bleak for the Devils because they “have not been given much offensively” by the Caps D. Schnookie snaps, “The Devils have not been looking for much offensively. That should be noted.”
15:12 As the in-game post-mortem is going on, Chico says that he doesn’t think the Devils aren’t trying tonight. We chorus, “I think the Devils aren’t trying tonight.” Seriously, we hope they enjoy their Friday-night bike session.
14:13 Patty decides an effective forechecking technique is to skate slower than Green behind Huet’s net and try to restrain him with a stick across the face. And really, a double-minor for high sticking was exactly what we were hoping to see here.
13:43 The Madden/Pando shorthanded two-on-one rush is a lot less effective when Pando’s the puck carrier.
11:20 While the Devils are doing something that’s supposed to resemble penalty killing, we are discussing tomorrow night’s game against the Canadiens and our goals for some Katamari tonight. Not that we’re looking ahead of this game or anything.
11:01 Marty deserves way better than what he’s getting from his team, and after trying to hold fast in the face of continuous PP pressure, he finally gives up a goal to Semin. 3-0 Caps.
9:06 As Doc marvels at the sheer awesomeness that is the Caps, Boomer: “You have to wonder, if the Caps are so good against us, how come they’re not in the playoffs right now.” It’s probably because the shitty teams in their own division aren’t as shitty as the Devils are when they play against them. Meanwhile, the Devils are on a lackluster rush that fizzles out when Gio whips a pass directly to a Cap who isn’t standing near a single red sweater. Boomer adds, “The Devils are giving me a headache.” She clutches the side of her head dramatically, “They’re giving me a headache right here.” There are times when she likes to refer to herself as “a little old lady”, and we’ll say now is one of those times. Are you happy Devils? You’ve given a little old lady a headache! You should be ashamed of yourselves.
8:31 We come back from a commercial to the graphic informing us that the Devils haven’t scored in nearly 90 minutes. Pookie: “Only 90?” Chico says it’s a shame the game is going the way it is, “because the Devils are playing hard.” Schnookie, horrified: “No they aren’t! On what planet are they playing hard?” Pookie: “Planet Chico. It’s the worst planet I’ve ever visited.”
8:03 FSN gives us some Salvador highlights from the game the Devils played against the Blues last year. He is shown high sticking Zach and then having to fight Rupp in response. Pookie: “Oh my God! The Iron Boar was on the receiving end of a hench-attack!”
5:53 As a whole lot of nothing interesting happens on our TV, we are grumping that the Devils haven’t pursued a single puck anywhere on the ice tonight. Not in the defensive zone, not in the neutral zone, and certainly not in the offensive zone. We won’t deny that the Caps have played smart and hard this evening, but it’s overlooking a huge factor in this game to fail to point out that the Devils have put on a clinic of apathy.
4:06 We come back from a commercial to see a handful of shots of various fans looking miserable at the arena. We can’t even begin to express how happy we are that we didn’t actually attend this one.
2:55 We aren’t even paying attention anymore because we’re talking about what kind of ice cream/alcohol concoction we should have to celebrate this game being over, and Brashear makes it 4-0. The fans at the Rock are making us proud by booing.
0:00 Schnookie put it best during the first intermission: “This game blows so much chunks that words can’t adequately express it. The only way to express it would be to actually blow chunks. And the Devils just aren’t worth that.”