We wonder if there’s any kind of filial subplot to tonight’s game, like something involving a facing-off between male blood relations… Nah. No one’s mentioned it in the last few days, so probably not.
Huh. Who knew? It’s a Sutter Bowl tonight! We wish we’d heard something about that ahead of time.
19:38 Sutter pere wins the first spiritual point of the night, as the first shot attempt goes to the Devils, Paulie from the point. We’re not sure it gets all the way to the net.
18:57 Sutter fils wins the first actual point of the night, as Brind’Amour scoops up an Iron Boar turnover in the far corner, circles the net, and feeds Whitney (who’s like a Kazoo out there) in front to tip a shot up over a befuddled-looking Clemmer. 1-0 Hurricanes. We’re getting a sinking feeling about this one.
17:24 There is a whistle, and as we sit in a dull silence matching that of the crowd in Raleigh, Pookie suddenly shouts, “This game is exciting!”
15:31 Salvador bobbles a slow-moving puck at the point, turning what should have been an easy play to help sustain forecheck into a moment of defensive panic. Schnookie: “Ugh. Iron Boar is having a terrible night.” Pookie: “That’s because he’s recently found out that not everybody knows the Iron Boar.” (That’s a little Buffalo Soldiers humor for you.)
12:42 There is some excitement for a scoring chance involving Clarkson and one of his linemates, but the excitement fades quickly as we realize the linemate is Holik rather than Rolston.
11:46 Our consensus at stately IPB Manor, by the way, is that the Devils haven’t really been playing great lately, but have still been able to, for the most part, beat the teams they should be beating. We think that is going to come to an end tonight.
9:23 Pando lofts a puck high out of the Devils zone, and everyone stands around for a few minutes waiting for it to land. Schnookie: “That’s the Pando Skyhook.” Boomer: “Yup. You just don’t want to be standing under it when it lands.” Schnookie: “Damn straight. It comes down like a ton of bricks.”
9:01 Just as Pookie is declaring this feels like a second period instead of a first, Clarkson makes it even less awesome by taking a hooking penalty.
7:01 The best two minutes of the period to date come on the PK, which is a bit of a shocker considering how things went against the Senators the other night. Of course, as soon as they’re back at even strength, they come thisclose to giving up a breakaway. Chico sounds nervous about the Devils’ recent tendency to play like crap.
5:12 Dude, this period blows.
4:16 Chico tells us about how Brind’Amour is -26 on the season, and tries to say that +/- isn’t always a good indicator of how a guy is playing. We get what he’s saying, and while we agree that +/- is a really flawed statistic, the margin of error on it isn’t enough to absolve a -26.
2:04 The Devils look magnificently sluggish. Chico informs us, after some Clarkson/Rolston forecheck peters out into nothing thanks to over-passing between Rollie and Paulie, that they only have one scoring chance so far in the game.
1:07 Steve reminds us that Whitey’s out again tonight, and Pookie declares, “I’m telling you, Whitey is the glue that holds the drink together.” It’s probably no coincidence that the Devils have looked overall poopier since he’s been out with… whatever it is he’s got.
0:00 Well, that was boring. Stan interviews an almost outrageously foxy Clarkson (with black eye and all – rawr!), and he sounds like he also thought it was boring. Clarkson, not Stan. Well, Stan probably thought it was boring, too. Anyway, we’re excited for the intermission, because TG’s going to be on! He’s a rock star!
We love TG so much. SO MUCH. SO MUCH!!!! (Next time you’re on the broadcast, Tom, you can totally plug us. Right?) (We’re totally on TG’s daily blog-reading rounds, right?) (TG, if you’re reading this, don’t leave a comment. That way we’ll know you’re there.)
19:11 Pookie is desperately looking for the positives tonight. As the Devils manage to pass their way up the far wing as far as the Carolina blue line, she says, “There’s a connected pass! That’s a good thing.” Pause. “Actually, I didn’t find myself counting connected passes this season until January. That’s a very good statement about how much better this year is going than I expected.”
17:37 Pando gets a chance from the slot, and kind of muffs his shot, making it bounce slowly wide of the net. That counts for thrilling in this game.
15:18 Wait a sec — both Brookbanks are scratched tonight? How much awesome would the Sutter Bowl be if there was a subplot of Brookbank v. Brookbank? Pookie: “And we could have Jordy just sit on the bench!” Long pause. Schnookie: “I’m not so sure about having another Parise.”
11:49 Chico tells us the Canes are “grooming Brandon Sutter to take over for Rod Brind’Amour.” He then hastens to add, “Of course, Rod Brind’Amour still has a lot of good hockey in him.” Pookie makes a startled choking sound and says, “I’m sorry. I thought I just heard someone say that Rod Brind’Amour still has a lot of good hockey left in him.”
9:53 Schnookie once spent a couple of years working in an after-school daycare program, and isn’t actually all that fond of kids, so when the drippy ones wouldn’t leave her alone on the playground, she liked to challenge them to see how slowly they could go down the slide. Considering that every single skater on the Devils tonight seems to be attempted to skate slower than the next, we’re wondering if maybe Sutter hasn’t deployed that same trick.
9:00 Holik wins an offensive-zone draw, and Steve tells us it’s only the second faceoff win for a Devil in this period. And we thought it couldn’t get worse than the first period. That’ll learn us to assume the team’s hit rock bottom.
7:10 Ward is called upon to make a rare save, and Chico tells us that he’s seeing the puck like it’s a beach ball, stopping everything coming his way. Schnookie: “The fuck? He hasn’t had to see anything often enough for the puck to be looking like a beach ball. It’s looking like one of those 200-year comets to him.”
6:15 Steve gets all excited for a Gionta shot that goes wide, but we’re not buying it. Pookie: “He shot that as hard as you would a beach ball. That might be contributing to the beach ball-edness of this game.”
5:11 Zach caps off his first good offensive shift of the game by taking a delay of game penalty when the play heads down to the Devils end.
4:45 Put a fork in this one. Samsonov wildly flings the puck across the crease while hurtling down toward the end boards, and it ricochets off Paulie’s skates and in. 2-0 Canes, and Chico tells us, “Now the Devils really have to open up.” Pause. “Of course, playing it safe hasn’t done them any good yet, either.” Word, Chico.
2:18 The Canes look a lot more inspired by that goal than the Devils do, and put together a few good shifts before drawing a cross-check on Mottau in front of Clemmer’s net. Pookie: “I can’t even really get worked up about how bad this is.” It’s true. It’s hard to get really wound up when your team has successfully lobotomized you with their soporific play.
1:27 We’ve got it! We’ve figured out what the Devils look like tonight! We watched Moonraker over the Christmas break to get a sense of how to spot when the Moonraker phase of our season kicks in. And in the sequences where they go into space, all the actors do a terrible job of just moving reeeeaaaaallllllly slowly to pretend they’re in zero gravity. And that’s how the Devils are skating tonight. Pookie: “It’s so true! We’re in the first phase of it! Moonraker 1 has engaged!”
0:00 Chico agrees about Moonraker, as his assessment of this game so far is, “The Devils haven’t really gotten their engines started yet.” That has got to be a shout-out. (And our interview, which we were told would be with Zach, turns out to be with Brind’Amour. Talk about salt in our wounds. That’s like a -26 of looks between the two of them.)
We spend the break looking for clips of the zero gravity stuff in Moonraker on YouTube. We don’t find any. We’re shocked.
Before the start of the period, when they do the highlights from the previous one, Steve asks Chico if there even are any highlights from this one. It’s been just that bad.
16:28 Clemmer stops a shot from center ice. Pookie gives a weak mockery of a derisive cheer. We’re really not paying a lot of attention to the game right now.
15:10 Perhaps the Devils’ best scoring chance of the night comes when Langer vacates the front of the net, and Zach doesn’t realize he’s gone, so he passes to the front and the puck bounces off a defender’s skate and needs Ward to be a bit heads-up to cover. That’s right – the Devils have a better chance of scoring tonight if they just leave the whole “putting the puck on the Canes’ net” to the Canes defenders.
11:48 Hm. Rollie’s out with Zach and Travis. Intriguing. (We should note that we’re typing this diary in Word, and the “you’re not doing this right” underlining has popped up under that “intriguing” there. Because Word apparently doesn’t think it’s that intriguing that Sutter is shuffling his lines tonight.)
10:02 Ruutu makes it 3-0 Hurricanes on a three-on-two. Meh.
9:34 Steve is getting antsy that the Devils haven’t had a power play yet in this game, but you know what? They haven’t done anything to demonstrate enough hustle to deserve a power play. Power plays are a privilege, not a right.
8:50 Pookie: “I was getting Devils win vibes this afternoon, too. I wonder what that was all about. I bet one of the Devils is going to, like, win a free side of fries with his burger.”
8:42 The hell? There’s a mild scrum in front of Ward’s net, and from the entire pile of players who are doing not much more than invading each other’s personal space, Foxy Justin Williams (we think that’s his full, legal name) gets called for roughing. Replay leaves everyone flummoxed, because he literally was just standing there, being held in a head-lock by Travis.
7:57 Sutter has completely taken leave of his senses. He sends Steve and Chico into a downward spiral of mass confusion as Clemmer vacates the net, but no penalty is being called… Can it be? Seriously? FOR REALS? Yeah, that’s right: Sutter has pulled his goalie to get a 6-on-4 with almost eight minutes left in the game.
7:48 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! How’s the only way we can care about this game now? PAULIE SCORING! He’s got finish! And he loves skating without Clemmer on the ice! It’s 3-1 Canes.
6:58 Pulling Clemmer has fired up the team (maybe it’s because they all hate him? Please let that be it…), and the next shift after the goal involves sustained Devils pressure drawing a penalty to Samsonov.
6:11 Okay, Sutter’s drunk on pulling goalies, and has Clemmer back on the bench again. What about the fact that the Sutter Era Devils have an almost perfect record of giving up goals when they skate an extra attacker with the empty net has he decided doesn’t apply tonight?
5:33 Seidenberg tries to remind Sutter that his team blows with the empty net, but his rink-length shot misses the net.
5:00 Okay, this was fucking hilarious — as the PP comes to an unsuccessful end, Sutter puts Clemmer back out, on the fly. We’ll give him this: he’s turned a staggeringly boring game interesting. The man is a mad genius.
2:30 It’s now a much more conventional empty net situation, so we’re in full anticipation of a Hurricanes goal.
0:57 Pookie, sighing heavily: “All personnel, report to Moonraker 1.”
0:30 What? WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! The last two minutes of extra-attacker time was a study in abject failure, and all of a sudden, as we’re getting ready for another funereal postgame show, Patty chips a loose puck over Ward, and the game’s 3-2 Carolina, with Zach hilariously getting smushed into the goal so he’s flat on his stomach, face-to-face with the puck in the net, weakly raising his arms over his head in celebration as everyone else is trying to figure out what’s going on.
0:14 There’s all kinds of strategery going on that leads to the Devils winning the center-ice draw and immediately icing the puck. Sweet.
0:07 What would this game be without one more icing for the road? (And is it a sign that this icing happened at 007???)
0:00 We’d say “let’s never speak of this again”, but the empty-net shenanigans were funny enough to not completely forget everything about this game. Let’s just never speak of most of this game again.