On Wednesday night MSG+ aired an hour-long Devils preview show, and because we’re nothing if not totally on the ball all the time, bringing you all the hottest news about our favorite team, we tivoed it and reviewed it. Here, Gentle Reader, is a stroll through the official 2008-2009 New Jersey Devils preview.
– We start with a sound bit with Paulie discussing the lousy start to last year’s season, and he’s wearing an atrocious black shirt with weird red stripes swooping down from the shoulders down the sleeves. It looks like a Devils-themed bowling shirt. Then John Madden pops up for the next sound bite, and he’s wearing the same thing. Then Clarkson is up, in the same thing. Do the Devils have a bowling league that none of us know about? (Yes, all the players are outfitted in the same hideous shirt. It’s… puzzling.)
– Paulie’s kick-off-the-show soundbite is about all the changes the team was facing at the start of last season that adversely affected the team’s play. Not that he’s making excuses. Then Madden says that he’s not making excuses, but the team faced a lot of adversity at the start of last season. Then Clarkson says that the team faced a lot of adversity at the start of last season, but he’s not making excuses. Right. They don’t have to make excuses, because the excuses seem pre-made for them.
– The next segment is about the free agent signings, and we get a tale of two formerly-ex Devils with these back-to-back clips:
Rolston: “Around July 1 it was crazy, and I was lucky enough at 35 to have some teams come after me, and the right teams did come after me. You know, the teams that I wanted to go to. And New Jersey was top of the list.”
Holik: “The Devils became uh you know, list, uh the top on um, came on the top of my list and um considering all the options and whatever it’s just worked out um I believe the right place for me and urr this time.” (The second half of the quote kind of sounds like all one word.)
– Rolston and Holik are followed by a segment about Marty chasing the all-time win record. Marty sounds genuinely disinterested in the actual process of chasing records, because he hates when winning isn’t about the team. He’s also probably done this often enough that he’s not going to argue that he sucks whenever he’s getting close to some personal milestone. The show then has some footage of Patrick Roy, with Marty voicing over about how good Roy was. We suspect they had to have Marty off-camera, because his entire spiel about Roy was said in air quotes.
– Next up? A state-of-the-organization interview with Lou. The picture sticks a bit early in Lou’s appearance, and the sound skips and buzzes; we decide it’s not the feed being wonky. That’s just Lou. On the disappointing performances of individual players last season, and Steve Cangialosi positing that the Rolston signing will cure everything, Lou has this to say: “You never look to one player to do something that other players should put the responsibility on [themselves for]. Any players who did not have the season that they are capable of having — and we did have a couple of players in that situation — it’s their responsibility to do that, and if they need another player to get them to do the things that they have to do, then we’ve got a problem.” Gionta: “Is it getting hot in here?” Patty: “Huh?”
– Our next segment is about Rolston. Steve is talking about him as if he’s going to be the reason why the Devils will succeed this year. We suppose this means it’s okay if we blame him when they don’t. Anyway, Steve tells us how Rollie has the job now of centering the top line and “bringing out the best in Brian Gionta and Patrik Elias.” We wouldn’t wish that on anyone. This statement is followed by quick soundbits from Gionta, looking oblivious, and Patty, looking smugly like he’s thinking, “I’ve broken stronger men than Brian Rolston. Just ask Larry Robinson.” The segment concludes with Steve telling us that Langer and Rollie are opposite-handed shots, so “according to both players”, the Devils could have a five-forward PP this year. Schnookie cracks, “But according to Coach Sutter…” just as Pookie blurts, “And according to Zach Parise, there’s going to be a one-man PK unit this year.” And if the moon was made of green cheese, no one would ever be hungry again.
– Speaking of Sutter, he’s up next. And he’s not wearing a bowling shirt. Oh, and he did not spend his off-season becoming a dynamic interview subject. Zzzzzzzzzzzz… Boomer brings a little empathy exercise to the table, reminding us that the players are expected to listen to Sutter everyday. OK, we’ll let up on Patty and Gio just a teensy, tiny bit.
– We finally get to the end of Sutter’s segment, and lead out to commercial with Steve promising us a talk with Holik in the next segment. Pookie: “Don’t… talk to him.” Pause. “Don’t you know there are cute players you could be talking to?” To kick off his interview, Bobby tells us that true Devils fans care about how the team does, while petty small-minded “fans” care that he left the Devils to sign with the Rangers. (Steve, by the way, describes Holik’s tenure in New York as “uneventful”. We beg to differ. It was two years of Holik’s contract causing the lockout.) We would like to point out that we hated Holik long before he signed with the Rangers — it’s actually really easy to care about how the team does while still hating everything about him.
– We close with Steve and Dano discussing the state of the NHL. Dano thinks Rolston is bringing the Devils what they used to have in Jason Arnott. We hope he doesn’t mean that he’ll be prone to freak injuries. Dano also thinks Holik’s biggest impact on the team is going to be whipping Patty into shape off the ice. Travis is probably thinking, “Wait, this guy’s going to eat into my ice time just because Patty’s such a nutcase that he needs a personal handler?”
– And the close of the show includes a plug of the season opener, and nowhere in his pitch for Devils fans to be watching it does Steve mention that we’ll be at The Rawk in person that night. Hrmph. We guess we know now where we rate on Cagialosi’s radar.