7:00 PM Why, oh why are the Devils finally getting some national notice? Stupid fucking Versus. With their adamant refusal to ever show illustrative replays and their aversion to descriptive play-by-play, Versus games are impossible to game diarize IPB-style. So we’ll be woolgathering tonight. Also, we’re probably going to be requiring medical assistance early in the game, because with Beninati getting the call, we’re going to exceed our RDA of the nickname “Great Eight” (or is that just “GR8″?) by about 700,000%.
7:02 PM And speaking of getting a national audience all of a sudden, we suppose it would be asking too much for anyone to point out on during this broadcast that Clemmensen’s success is not proof that Marty’s career was just a product of the system. The notable thing about the Clemmensen Era is that it’s been all about the Devils abandoning their old system because, without Marty, gone are the days of thinking two goals are enough. Gone are the days of feeling secure with a one-goal third period lead. Gone are the days of the goaltender single-handedly winning games the team has no business winning. Casual observers outside of Devils fandom who feel Clemmer’s stats are a clear-cut refutation of Marty’s aren’t seeing the whole picture. (The whole picture for us features a lot of flashbacks to the Devils a year ago, where defensive-zone stands would often end with five guys standing around, collapsed down by the net, facing into the crease. Remember that, Gentle Reader? Let’s see Clemmensen lead that Devils team to the playoffs. If this season had proved anything about Marty, it’s that he deserved way better than the underachieving team he had in front of him last year.)
7:12 PM Early in the first, Pookie mutters around her dinner, “I’m trying not to tie in all my happiness with the Devils winning tonight.” Schnookie: “Good choice. They’ve won eight in a row. They’re not winning tonight.”
7:14 PM There is a stoppage that allows Versus to give us a wide-angle look at a mostly-empty lower bowl at The Rawk. It’s a better crowd than we would have expected, given the shitty weather we’ve been getting all day.
7:15 PM Clarkson tangles with Brashear during a change and ends up costing the Devils what is possibly the stupidest too many men penalty of the entire season. Blobby probably sees the play and thinks, “Oh, I can top that.”
7:16 PM The second PK unit doesn’t dominate quite as well as the first one did, so it’s 1-0 Caps.
7:21 PM If we had any question whether it was going to be Star Of The Month Langer or Putrid Langer playing tonight, that question is answered here. He takes a hooking penalty (goodness only knows whether it was typically Langer-bad, or just a run-of-the-mill hook, because Versus doesn’t give us a replay), and the Caps quickly score off the faceoff. 2-0 Caps. This surprises no one at stately IPB Manor.
7:25 PM The Devils are on the power play now, and Versus takes the opportunity to show us a crappy highlight of the Caps goal rather than a look at the infraction. Honestly, it’s like the people who put these broadcasts together have never actually watched a hockey game on TV.
7:34 PM We probably shouldn’t admit this, but we laugh every time that Jim Beam commercial with the dream girlfriend comes on.
7:40 PM We are flummoxed by Beninati’s take on Clemmer, the “trusty understudy”. We know not everyone pays as much attention to the Devils as we do, but honestly, the revisionist history surrounding Marty, Clemmer, and their respective roles in this organization is enough to force us to pen “The Plot Against The Ookies’ Sanity”. (If he was trusty he probably would have gotten more starts. When he was with the Leafs organization. Last year.)
7:45 PM The period ends with a well-earned smattering of boos from the light crowd. Yeah, if we were there we’d be pretty pissed we ventured out in the snow for that Devils performance. But instead we’re cozily ensconced at home, thinking happy thoughts about February 26. Pommerdonutdoodling!
8:00 PM Benenati omits “ring ho” from his breathless summary of Shanny’s career.
8:03 PM Yeah, it’s just the system. It doesn’t matter who’s in net for the Devils — Future Hall of Famer or one-year-removed from backing up the Marlies — the goalie was going to dive to the ice on that play, bobbling the puck directly to Nylander for a shot at a wide open net. 3-0 Caps.
8:05 PM Because Gr8 is such a cool nickname, we’ve decided we’re going to start calling Zach “Fine” or “F9″ which will be pronounced as if spoken by Paul Rudd’s character in “Wet Hot American Summer”.
8:15 PM Ooh. Two-man advantage for the Devils. We gird ourselves for the scorched-earth attack.
8:15:10 PM As soon as we finish rolling our eyes at the 5-on-3, Rollie blows a giant shot through traffic that catches Theodore sliding aimlessly across the goal mouth. 3-1 Caps.
8:18 PM Pookie: “I’m glad Beninati told us that Mike Green and Andy Greene aren’t related. Because, you know, their names aren’t spelled differently.”
8:25 PM We are both distracted from the TV when Beninati calls a play “Number Eight gets the puck off the faceoff”, and Pookie says, “Zubrus?” (We are both, however, looking at the TV when the Devils get a four-on-two rush, on which Schnookie, ever prescient, says, “They’re not going to get a shot here.” They don’t.)
8:28 PM We are told, as if it is news, that when Ovechkin arrived for his rookie year, he announced he wanted to play his best and win the Stanley Cup. It is 2009, people. We live in a global society. No one ever praises a North American rookie for saying he wants to play his best and win Stanley Cups; when will this ridiculously condescending provincialism about Europeans and Russians in the NHL be eradicated? Honestly! (Although maybe we’re mistaken and guys like Zach Parise, Sid Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Mike Richards, et al don’t want to play their best or win Stanley Cups. If that’s the case, we stand corrected.)
8:33 PM Clarkson takes another penalty, doubtless a stupid one (although we can’t be certain. Versus). Is this Pando playing himself back into the lineup?
8:34 PM The second period comes to an end and we mosey into the kitchen to invent a cocktail to commemorate our week of being on Versus. We’re calling the drink the “Show Us Your V”. Or, if we’d been calling them “Blersus” tonight, the “Show Us Your Bl”.
8:53 PM We still have the TV muted from intermission when Langer tries to atone for being Putrid Langer earlier by scoring on a shorthanded breakaway. WOO HOOO! 3-2 Caps.
9:00 PM We are, much to our surprise, enjoying our cocktails. They were deliberately intended to be noxious, to reflect our moods about this game and the Rangers one on Monday being on Versus. But instead, they’re… kinda good, in a girly way. We’ll have more about this tomorrow. Until then, let this whet your appetite:
9:03 PM Beninati calls Patty, for the second time in recent memory, “dangerous”. Schnookie: “I do not think that word means what he thinks it means.” Pookie: “Well, he called him ‘sinister’ in the game intro. I’m like, ‘What, were you bitten on the face by, like, a baby bunny when you were a baby, Joe?’”
9:06 PM This evening’s sideline reporter informs us that Brashear is “an African-American who was born in Canada”. Oh-kaaaaay.
9:07 PM We have decided to call Patty “Sinister Patty” from now on, only it’s pronounced “SIN-pat” and is spelled S26P.
9:08 PM There is no justice in the world. The Caps score on a PP off a really shitty call against Rupper. 4-2 Caps, and Pookie says, “It looks like our goalie options right now are either last year’s backup from the Marlies, or the pumpkin Scott Clemmensen has turned back into.”
9:17 PM One good thing about this game is that it seems to be going very quickly. There’s only four minutes left!
9:23 PM The Caps get an empty netter, making it 5-2 Caps, and we’re informed that “The GR8 celebrates alongside Bruce Boudreau”. The rest of the Caps are probably also happy, but Beninati doesn’t care.
9:25 PM Ah, Devils. We know you so well. Thanks for crapping the bed just the way we expected you to.