Posted in Andy Greene, Brian Gionta, Colin White, Dainius Zubrus, Jamie Langenbrunner, Jay Pandolfo, John Madden, Johnny Oduya, Laffs, Marty Brodeur, Mike Mottau, Patty Elias, Peanut Gallery, Sergei Brylin, Travis Zajac, Zach Parise on March 5, 2008 |
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Tonight marks one of the most anticipated events of the hockey season here at stately IPB Manor. Gentle Reader, you’re probably scratching your head and thinking, “Whatever is it that could be a significant event in the NHL at this time of year? Surely the -ookies wouldn’t get excited for Forsberg’s triumphant return or Ovie’s ascendance into ‘Greatest Man To Ever Breathe’ status.” No, you’re right, Gentle Reader, we really wouldn’t get excited for those things. In fact, we curse the hockey gods for finding ways to make March hockey even worse than it usually is. No, no, instead we’re excited for that most delightful evening of televised entertainment — Makeover Night on America’s Next Top Model!
Having said that, it probably won’t surprise you to know that we have long dreamed of New Jersey’s Next Top Devil. It would be a show that combines our favorite elements of ANTM (namely: the solid 10′s on the Bill Simmons Scale of Unintentional Comedy) with our favorite elements of hockey (namely: the Devils). We’ve conjured up all sorts of scenarios in which certain players fit the archetypal roles of the contestants on Tyra Banks’ magnum opus. Marty would be the spunky plus-size girl, persevering in the face of a complete lack of respect from the judging panel. Gomez would have been the girl who thinks she’s being really funny, original and outrageous, but who is only hanging around because someone else screws up enough each week to get kicked off instead. Holik would have been the self-righteous girl who lectures all the other girls all the time about their modeling skills and everyday comportment, and then flies off the handle when the subject of the lecture rolls her eyes or mutters, “Bitch” under her breath. Brylin would be the one Tyra ousts for “not having enough personality”. Mike Danton would have been the girl who with the attitude who thinks she’s better than the show, only to end up working at Wal-Mart when Tyra kicks her sorry ass off the show in Week 6. Oh wait. No, Danton doesn’t need a ridiculous reality-show analogy, does he? Anyway, we’ve decided, in honor of Makeover Night, to take a look at how our current Devils would fare if NJNTD was doing the same tonight.
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Posted in All-Star Game, Andrei Markov, Around the League, Arron Asham, Bully Pulpit, Dainius Zubrus, Daniel Alfredsson, Devils, Johnny Oduya, Laffs, Marty Brodeur, News and Notes, Patty Elias, Peanut Gallery, Sheldon Brookbank, Sid Crosby, Vinny Lecavalier, Zdeno Chara on January 9, 2008 |
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The All Star Game starting line-ups have been announced and as usual we’re incensed at who’s been deemed an “all star” and who’s been deemed “less than”. We look at the guys who were “voted in” by the “fans” and have a hard time trying to figure out which league these so-called “fans” have been watching, because it’s clearly not the same one we are. Let’s take a look at the starters, position-by-position, and see how the “winners” match up to the guys we think are the real all-stars.
Our pick: Dainius Zubrus
Zubrus was brought in to fill some mighty big shoes following the departure of Scott Gomez and his 60 points, and he brought with him a whopping cap hit of $3.4 million, a staggering sum that could have handcuffed most teams. But did he buckle under the pressure of being the Devils’ new go-to guy? No way! Zubie’s going into the break sporting some pretty hefty point totals: 7g 14a (21p). Dude, if he was a defenseman, he’d be kicking ass! And defense is just about the only position he hasn’t played this season (oh, and goaltender, too. But point us to the skater who has…); Zubrus has been like a 6’5″ Sergei Brylin, making him the biggest interchangeable part we’ve ever seen. So while he might be 151 slots out of first in the Art Ross race, he’s totally played in every position on every line for the Devils. And not just because Coach Sutter had a hard time finding a place where Zubrus would be effective. So that’s why Zubrus gets our pick to be the starting All-Star center — he plays anywhere and everywhere the Devils ask him to, showing a hell of a lot more utility than Gomez ever did, and Gomez was an All-Star, wasn’t he?
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Several years ago, when the Sabres were in the midst of a goaltending controversy, we stumbled across a trade suggested by a fan on the interwebs. This well-reasoned, highly-plausible proposal was as follows: The Sabres would trade Ryan Miller and Martin Biron to the Devils for Martin Brodeur and Colin White. The fan explained that this solved everybody’s problems, and was one of those win-win deals for both teams; the Sabres would be giving up a headache of a goaltending controversy and be acquiring a hall-of-fame netminder still in his prime, and would shore up their D with a top-pairing, physical defenseman with a Devils pedigree and two Stanley Cup rings. Meanwhile, the Devils would be giving up the cornerstone of their franchise and their top D-man and be getting in return the entirety of the Sabres’ goaltending controversy. It made perfect sense! How did that trade, and the billions like it suggested by fans every year, not get made? Because professional NHL general managers are chicken, or stupid, or both, that’s why! In the spirit of that trade that never happened, here are a few proposals of how we’d be moving players around right now if we were GMing the Devils and any number of other teams.
1. John Madden and Johnny Oduya for Vincent Lecavalier.
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Saturday night means we’re too drunk and/or distracted to give you a running game diary, so instead, Gentle Reader, we offer a looser-structured taste of our thoughts, hopes, dreams and impressions as the game wore on.
– We hate this new pregame show format, where we only get 1/3 of a pregame because MSG has combined Islanders, Rangers and Devils into one pregame. We don’t care about the Isles’ lineup or what Jagr has to say about his game tonight. Come on! Give us boring Devils analysis! (Okay, they gave us Zach, Paulie and Travis interviews, so we will only complain mostly about this stupid format.)
– We were also trying not to freak out about Marty’s “personal reasons” for leaving the team. Damn you, Tom Gulitti, for giving us more news about the Devils than we know what to do with! We used to be able to do a very good job just imagining how dysfunctional this team is, without any facts to back it up. Now? We’re basketcases.
– The pregame show tonight forced us to take up smoking (a la Frisby) so we could avoid the mailbag. Al Trautwig led into it by saying, “We’ve gotten a great response from Rangers fans, Islanders fans are letting us know what they think, but Devils fans, you need to get online! This is your show too!” No, Al, this is a Rangers show because it’s hosted by you.
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Another Devils season has come and gone, and while anything short of a Stanley Cup will always be a disappointment (hey, why should the fans have lower expectations than the players?), there’s a lot that can be taken out of the 2006-2007 season. As we said at the conclusion of the Game 5 recap, we’re more excited for next season than we are disappointed over this season, but before we focus entirely on the future of the team we’d like to take a moment to reflect on what we liked about this season. We had originally planned to break this down the way we’ve seen big shot bloggers do, you know, all player-by-player-like, with letter grades and all, but then, staring at the blinking cursor on the computer screen, we realized that this season wasn’t about individual guys doing things. It was about a team, winning and losing as a team. It was about a team failing miserably on a long road trip out West over Thanksgiving, and then about a team deciding they didn’t want to lose in the new year. It was about a team that started the season with expectations that their long reign at the top was over, and then about a team grabbing hold of the division title and refusing to let go. It was about a team racking up atrocious plus/minus ratings then helping their Hall of Fame goalie set a new record for wins in a season. So in no particular order, here’s a smorgasbord of delights that the team served up as a team.
The “Never Give Up, Never Surrender” Devils
At some point in February we lost count of how many times in the season the Devils managed to pull out 2 points they had no business getting, how many times the last guy you’d expect came up the last-second hero, how many times they just left us shaking our heads in amazement, grinning from ear to ear. They might not have looked flashy on paper, what with the way they averaged scoring 0.42 goals a game all year (or did it just seem that way?), but the Devils this year perfected the art of the thrilling, unexpected and come-from-behind win. We can’t imagine there was another team in the league that more consistently rewarded their fans with those “How in the hell did we find a way to win THAT one?” types of games. And making it even more remarkable, it wasn’t like last year after Patty came back, where every night we could count on the top line’s heroics; no, this season we got to marvel every night at Marty standing tall behind an inexperienced D-corps, and a revolving door of unexpected clutch plays. Every fan’s favorite unsung hero got a turn in the spotlight this season. Who can forget Brad Lukowich’s clutch goals over Philly? And more than just being a delight to watch because they were never out of any game, this team had a fun vibe — they looked like they really liked to play together. They may have run out of gas (and lucky bounces) by the end of the season, but for that stretch from December to March, it just felt as fans that we were watching something really special.
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