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Archive for April, 2007

Hot diggity! We might not be getting a home feed (saaaad!) but we are getting Versus in HD tonight, so that’s okay, we guess. We are in a mad race against the clock to get dinner on the table (by “on the table” we mean “plated, in front of the TV”) before the game starts…

….aaaaand, mission accomplished! We hunker down with bowls of Cincinnati-style chili, ready for whatever this game has to throw at us. As long as it’s not a 4-goal first period for the Senators. Or a 2OT game in which the Devils led with under 27 seconds left in regulation.

We really don’t mind tonight’s broadcast pair; we enjoyed watching Carolina this year (well, as much as anyone could enjoy how their season went) thanks in large part to John Forslund, and as long as Eddie Olczyk isn’t saddled with Pierre McGuire he’s really not that bad. So, all things considered, being on VS tonight could have been a lot worse.

Oh dear God. After that closeup of Gomer, we’re sorry we’re getting this game in HD. And eating dinner.

FIRST PERIOD

19:47 Proving he doesn’t listen to us, Lou immediately pulls the Madden line off the ice to match the EGGs with Fisher’s line.
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— After a “morning” of gardening (yes, we consider getting up at 11:30 “early-morning”. Isn’t being a grown-up grand?), we hastily finish up our Devils-Senators post-game reaction and now get to turn our attention to the Rangers-Sabres game. The first thing we note is that the only good thing about the stupid Rangers and their stupid building is that there’s no space between the benches for Pierre McGuire, who is stuck down a hallway like a regular-old sideline reporter. That is a marked improvement on his usual positioning.

— The Sabres make us sad by not scoring on Avery’s stupid penalty in the first. Then the so-called “Avery Factor” actually annoyingly comes into play as he draws a penalty on a breakaway. He and his stupid black mouthguard (really, that’s got to be the first reason why everyone wants to punch him in the face; it makes him look like his teeth have all rotted out of his head, like maybe he’s got meth-mouth or something) crack us up as he whines for a penalty shot. Honestly, does he think a penalty shot against Crunchy (one of the best breakaway goalies in the league) would be a better chance than a full power play? What a moron.

— Pookie points out that the color on NBC’s HD feed is making everyone look excessively ruddy, but as overly pink as everyone looks, “Crunchy looks like a lobster.” Poor Crunchy!
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We would have written this reaction right after the game (we hate to keep you waiting, Gentle Reader), but we were too busy running around our neighborhood screaming like maniacs and banging pots and pans together. And we wonder why all our neighbors are Flyers fans…

As much as we are clearly delighted with how things ended up last night, there is still a lot we would like to see fixed. But first, let’s consider the positives:

    1. We won. It can’t be stressed enough how huge it was that the guys didn’t fold (a la Carolina, Game 2 last year. Not that that game doesn’t haunt our dreams still or anything…), and furthermore killed two penalties in OT. Going into the first overtime session having just choked away their hard-fought lead, and having to kill Gio’s moronic penalty right off the bat… well, lesser Devils teams have succumbed in that spot in the past. The Devils spent three full periods getting skated into the ice by Ottawa, but somehow managed to find the resilience to just barely hold them off long enough. It speaks volumes of the character of this team that they found a way to win this one.
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The pregame tonight features several very distressing developments:

    Patrik “Captain Sniffles” Elias was apparently sicker than we thought; during his interview the negative force field around him makes the picture go all wonky and blue. We imagine him saying in his goofy accent, “That cold messed up my wertical hold and made my colors all Varholian.”

    The Dowdy Bandito has been shaved. This is a travesty. A travesty. Since Jim seems not to think that kind of facial hair has an important impact on the team, it’s clearly going to fall on someone else to pick up his slack. We’re volunteering Pando. Because seriously, how great would a Pandito Bandito look? It would be like the bushiest, craziest chopper moustache in the history of the universe.

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After getting our fill of a devastated Stan Fischler lashing out after the Rangers loss, we switch to the Ducks-Canucks game, which we’re getting in HD! All the better to soak up the Horatio Hornblower beauteousness that is Ryan Getzlaf.

— It is very telling how much we dislike Luongo and his compatriots — we are ardently cheering for the Ducks. This is a reversal for us that’s almost as shocking in its scope as our cheering for Carolina in the Eastern Conference and Stanley Cup Finals last year. But as much as we seem to be favoring the Ducks here, there is nothing that will make us like Pronger, Selanne or Rob Niedermayer.

— The Ducks PA announcer sounds like Plankton from SpongeBob SquarePants.

— Hey, why isn’t Baby Crunchy playing in this game? We like the Ducks a lot more when he’s in the lineup. (Younger, less talented brothers of established players are always fascinating to Devils fans.)

— What’s up with this? The Canucks are outplaying the Ducks so far. We tuned in to watch Luongo making the long, mopey skate back to the bench after giving up 6 goals in the first 5 minutes.
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— The Sabres have brought Ronan Tynan out to sing “God Bless America”. We’re concerned how this delay will effect Ryan “Crunchy” Miller (we can’t not call him that — doesn’t he look like a guy who not only eats yogurt-covered raisins, but makes his own yogurt-covered raisins? Maybe it’s just the hair. Regardless, we’ve been calling him that so much this season we can barely remember his real name), who historically loses focus in the final 2 minutes of the game; does this mean the Rangers will get an extra few minutes shooting at a distracted Crunchy?

    Dear Sabres,
    Having Ronan Tynan sing “God Bless America” before your game does not mean you’re the Yankees.
    Love, Schnookie

— We once attended a baseball game with an anarchist friend of ours and must have been the only 3 people in the entire stadium not to stand for “God Bless America” in the 7th inning stretch. Since we had also spent the entire game eating pistachios instead of peanuts, we felt like we’d delivered a big “fuck you” to the system. Yeah, we’re tough. You don’t want to mess with IPB! Unless you’re bigger and stronger, in which case we’ll fold like tents.

— Avery knocks Spacek over. Pookie predicts Spacek will promptly take a stupid penalty. Miraculously, he doesn’t! Schnookie responds, oozing sarcasm, “But how did that happen? Avery’s on his game!”
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We can’t think of a clever title for this post because our spirits were beaten down by this game.

Needless to say, the first 15 minutes were a complete disaster. Every player, top to bottom, was atrocious. Our nightmares tonight will be haunted by images of defensemen turning pucks over at the blue line and Marty’s ineffectively waving glove hand. So. Putrid. The only positive we are taking out of the defensive showing tonight is this: how often can you possibly expect the entire team, to a man, to play at their flamboyant worst? (Don’t answer that.) Most glaring tonight was Rafalski’s short-handed turnover — was that karmic retribution for the “Hey Ace” goal Madden scored against Pittsburgh in 2001? (If so, it was still worth it.) Raffie looked tonight like he was trying to make Oduya feel better about his rookie penalty mistakes in Game 1 against Tampa; Raffie, we think Johnny’s over it. You can stop now. More subtle, yet still as wretched, was Paulie Martin. He played the best hockey of his career during the Tampa series… and now this. Has he peaked?

And speaking of players we’re afraid have peaked, how about that Marty Brodeur? Four goals on nine shots in the first period? Seriously? Thanks, Marty, for giving us a chance to win tonight. Sure, the D was hanging him out to dry, but the foundation of the Devils gameplan is that Marty is supposed to be the gamebreaker. And he was tonight. But for the wrong team.
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