Tonight we’ll be following the Devils game and woolgathering as we go. In the meantime, enjoy an open thread!
7:29 pm Doc says of the last game, “Overtime was forced.” Schnookie starts to scoff, “I like the way Doc says that as if it was some kind of passive thing on the Devils’ part…” but then stops herself. “Oh right! It was passive. Heh. Sigh.”
7:37 pm Chico refers to Marc-Andre Fleury’s lower-body injury an “illness”. We think he’s not hurt, he just wants to be included in the list of great goalies who are hurt.
7:38 pm Sid Crosby? Is good. Paulie Martin? Is putrid. Scott Clemmensen? Is not an NHL calibre goaltender.
7:50 pm Thanks to the last few games, we’d been thinking that maybe the Devils would be able to just play well enough to hang on until Marty gets back in March. But now that they’re not playing a team from Florida, we’re beginning to suspect that might be a pipe dream. Although, on the bright side, Clarkson just took a slapshot from the faceoff dots — does that mean he’s adding a new move to his repertoire? One that doesn’t involve convoluted set-ups and monologueing?
8:03 pm We find out why Paulie was minus against Sid. Doc’s been giving us updates for the last few weeks of Minnesota’s national rankings for college hockey; after weeks of being #1, the Mighty, Mighty Gophers will be slipping to second. No wonder Paulie didn’t want to stop that play! He’s ashamed of that giant Goldy tattoo on his back, and it’s distracting him from the task at hand!
8:12 pm Doc and Chico calm a lot of troubled minds by informing us that you can not gong the puck into the net off your head in the NHL and have it count as a goal. We’d been losing sleep over that one. And there go our secret plans for the PP that we were going to email to the Devils.
8:40 pm We fall behind on tivo delay as we step aside for a few minutes to assemble open face hot turkey sandwiches. The open face hot turkey sandwich is truly the greatest culinary aspect of Thanksgiving.
8:56 pm Chico tells us, as the Devils fourth line initiates a scrum in front of the Pens net, that the Devils’ “battle level” has been very high lately. Pookie: “That makes it sound like they’re in a video game. Like, their energy level is low, but their battle level is high.” Schnookie: “And their skill level is non-existent.”
9:00 pm Zach gets called for interference off an offensive-zone faceoff and there is no even-up on the obvious dive by the Pen. Pookie is incensed: “I’m throwing my mouse-soaked beer pad at the… Wait. That’s not right.” Pause, as the Pens score, making it 2-0. “No, I’m throwing my puke-soaked mousepad at the TV.”
9:05 pm Newsflash: Matt Cooke is a dirty sack of shit. When he hits Zach into the open door of the Devils bench, the Devils on the ice go after Cooke, but they’re Patty, Zubrus, Langer, Paulie and the Iron Boar. Pookie: “Zach’s like, ‘Arise my henchmen! Arise and attack!’” Schnookie: “Yeah, but then he’s looking at who’s on the ice and shouting, ‘Change, my henchmen! Change on the fly!’”
9:08 pm Okay, that pokecheck save Clemmer had against Boyd Gordon in the shootout a few games ago was hilarious. But it’s also given Clemmer a woefully inflated sense of the power of his pokecheck. For the second time tonight, Sid scores thanks to Clemmer thinking all he has to do to stop the offensive onslaught is a quick whip of his stick into the oncoming rush. It doesn’t help that Tallackson’s the guy defending Sid on this four-on-four, but still. This shift was a trainwreck from top to bottom, and the caboose bringing up the rear of sucktitude is Clemmensen thinking he has any business at all pokechecking against Sid and Malkin.
9:23 pm We will grudgingly admit that Clemmer has made some really good saves tonight, and without many of them, it would be 7,000-0 Pens. That said, he was atrocious on the two goals from Sid, so without him, it would also be only 1-0 Pens. So when he’s good, he’s moderately good. And when he’s bad, he’s very, very bad. (Pookie says, as we watch him holding down the fort at the end of the second period, “I appreciate that he makes kick saves and directs the rebounds well. And that’s the only nice thing I’m going to say about him.”)
9:36 pm WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Mike Rupp is this year’s Arron Asham, but more pleasantly surprising. He caps off a shift of countless turnovers in front of their own net by Pens defensemen by firing a laserbeam shot over Sabourin’s shoulder to cut the lead to just two. Meanwhile, at the other end of the ice, Clemmer eyes Sid and starts mentally rehearsing his next pokecheck attempt.
9:40 pm Well, here’s something we didn’t expect to see tonight: matching roughing minors to Sid and Rupper.
9:57 pm With about five minutes left in what’s been a mostly fruitless but still valiant period by the Devils, Doc and Chico inform us that Zubrus is too ill to carry on, which explains why Brookbank’s the guy out there on the Patty/Gio line (and really, no, that’s not a giant step down at all, is it?). We wonder if maybe Zubrus’s problem is that he ate at Patty’s Thanksgiving dinner.
10:01 pm Chico says, “Tallackson is on with Elias and Gionta now.” Schnookie responds: “Even better.”
10:05 pm Sid completes a hat trick with an empty-netter. We can’t stress enough that the Brent Sutter Devils are the worst team in the history of the NHL in empty-net situations. They invariably give up goals when facing the extra attacker, and always give up goals when they’ve pulled the goalie. It doesn’t often take more than 20 seconds to give up the empty-netter, either. Two years ago the Devils were money when they were down a goal with a minute left. Last year and this year, they are guaranteed to have the game iced as soon as they put the extra guy on. This isn’t a complaint. It’s a statement of fact.
10:10 pm The game concludes with Chico telling us that it “really benefits the Devils to score first.” We’ll step back from this game to suggest that it benefits the Devils to score first and to play teams that are worse than they are.