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Archive for November, 2007

We’re hunkered down on a wintry-feeling night, ready for the excitement and derring-do of a Devils-Canadiens game. Or as much derring-do and excitement as a Devils game without Pando can have. Our intro from Doc and Chico highlights the Pando/Madden/Clarkson line’s stats from the last five games, and Doc takes on funereal tones when regaling us with Pando’s misfortune. There is all kinds of subterfuge and mystery surrounding who is going to be taking his place on the line – apparently when they did 3-on-2s in warm-ups, Clarkson and Madden did them without a third guy. It’s like a missing man formation for hockey.

FIRST PERIOD

19:38 The team is clearly lost without Pando. As are the officials. Rachunek gets called for hooking on a play that leaves Chico flummoxed for its glaring lack of anything resembling a hook on it.

18:35 A two-on-one chance by Pelley is turned aside by Price, and Montreal responds with a crazy good rush, replete with tic-tac-toe passing and a great set-up for Plekanic by Kovalev, but Marty is emphatic in showing off he’s not starting this game as slowly as he started the last one.

18:01 It looks like Greener did a great job of watching Mottau playing when he was scratched in the last game, and makes a monster save in place of an out-of-position Marty on the Habs’ wildly aggressive power play.
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We are strangely drawn this week to the Ducks, so here we are again with the team we love to hate (and hate to love), taking on the Flames. Here’s hoping this one is a bit more interesting than the Ducks-Canucks were. It’s no mean feat finding the game, though, because our Center Ice is totally wonky tonight; we find the FSN feed on a channel telling us it’s airing “Upcoming: Bruins @ Lightning.” But of course!

We polished off a growler of beer with dinner tonight, in the hopes that killing off a few of our brain cells would make Hayward more palatable. So far… not so good. He furrows his brow and intones to us like he’s Nicole Kidman in “To Die For” that tonight’s the night a guy named Jarome Iginla (you may have heard of him) becomes the all-time games-played leader for the Flames. That’s kind of a surprising thing to hear – it seems like just yesterday Iginla was a young kid bursting onto the scene. Has he really been around that long, or are the Flames just a franchise that doesn’t keep guys for long?

FIRST PERIOD

18:27 What is it with Canadian rinks? Do they not consider lighting their buildings for television up there? The picture here, as it did in Vancouver on Tuesday, looks remarkably murky.

17:26 Pronger picks up where the Ducks left off in their last game, and takes an interference penalty. This sets Hayward back off into his comical peevishness about how the Ducks didn’t give themselves a chance to win by putting themselves down two men 600 times against the Canucks.
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It took us long enough to get here – after a long TiVo delay while Pookie was at work, it’s finally time to fire up the game. We get started out with a happy little look back at the recent road trip, about which Doc and Chico are, understandably, effusive. They move on, then to the Stars and the story there is apparently Mike Modano, and the fact that this is the Devils first Western Conference opponent this year. Yay, unbalanced schedule.

Aww! It’s 500th win celebration night! The Devils gave Marty the requisite ugly-assed painting. We get a moment then with Steve and Dano before the game starts, and Dano tells us the dressing room was, prior to Langer’s return, “like a morgue”. He really never pulls his punches, does he? Some might call it a lack of tact, but we just call it Dano being Dano.

FIRST PERIOD

18:37 This one starts out with a marked lack of intensity. The puck drifts around for a while before a Devils icing, and looking at The Rock, it seems the Devils dressing room isn’t the only place that’s very like a morgue.

17:19 Hey! It’s another icing! This one so far has been well worth the wait!

16:25 The Patty line gives us a moment of hope for excitement in this game, generating a half-decent scoring chance off a nice rush. Turco, though, is up to the challenge.
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Whew! That was close! After looking forward to watching this game for the last 48 hours, we almost couldn’t find it anywhere on Center Ice. Perhaps needless to say, that would have sucked – it’s hard enough to get through the light VS-friendly schedules on Mondays and Tuesdays. Of course, now that we’re here, we realize we’re going to get to enjoy the insipid stylings of Brian Hayward, and we can’t help but reconsider how badly we want to get to see this game.

Our lead-in on the Ducks feed is talking about Bertuzzi’s return to Vancouver, and we get a look at his mugshot, poorly photoshopped onto a Ducks-orange background. Pookie: “God! He looks in that picture like if Malkin was being played by a two-bit dinner theater actor.”

FIRST PERIOD

20:00 You know who we really don’t care about? Todd Bertuzzi. We spend our time between anthem and opening faceoff watching him standing out on the ice while the broadcasters talk about how Butzi was all worried about how the fans were going to treat him, and how the fans cheered him, and blah blah blah. Pookie splutters, “How stupid are Canucks fans that they’re cheering him?” She then buries her face in her hands and mutters, “I need to just let this go.”

18:24 The Getzi line putters around a bit while Hayward informs us that if the Ducks could get some consistent secondary scoring, they’d be harder to match up against. Really? (It never ceases to amaze us how little insight a person needs before they can be considered an “expert”. Thus, we guess, the popularity of bloggers.)
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So, after a little TiVo delay necessitated by dinner (once again we are undone by a 7:00 start time), we’re settling in to watch a battle between two of our erstwhile secondary teams. We know we announced at the start of this season that we were going to be following the Sabres and Capitals as ardently as Devils fans can, but the whole point of a secondary team is for it to be fun. With the Devils sucking, we really didn’t have a lot of room in our TV schedule for even more sucky teams; tonight we meet up with them a bit awkwardly, as strangers. As we fire up the TiVo, the following conversation takes place:

IPB: Stiffly “Sabres.”
Sabres: Nodding “IPB.”
IPB: Turning to the Caps “Capitals.”
Caps: Coolly “IPB.”
Tense silence

This should be fun.
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We’ve reflected on the season to date and we’ve handed out grades accordingly. Now it’s time to do something we almost never do this early in the season — look at the numbers. Our conclusions?

You wouldn’t know it from reading this blog but the Devils are 9 points out of first in the East.

You would totally know it from reading this blog that the Devils are 7 points out of last in the League.

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We barely know what to expect here tonight, with the Devils on an unheard-of three-game winning streak. Doc and Chico lead things off by talking about the improved team defense in Atlanta last night, but then kill our buzz by bringing up Vinny Lecavalier’s numbers. Nothing like Tampa’s one-two punch of Marty killers to make our holiday weekend complete!

Steve gives us a soundbite with Langer in which we hear about how the Devils’ room was “too quiet” when he came back from injury. Langer tells us, with an embarrassed smile, that there are “a couple of things Pando does” that have become “tradition” in his efforts to loosen up the room. Boomer suggests it’s his Raccoon dance, and Pookie wonders why Patty’s animal noises aren’t enough to keep the guys loose.

The Sutter Era might have all kinds of differences from other eras in Devils history, but one thing remains the same: Marty is in goal tonight.

FIRST PERIOD

19:35 We have advised Kate the Great to watch for Lecavalier and St. Louis; Marty doesn’t make us look like geniuses, though, and stops St. Louis’s first chance.

19:05 Zach comes out looking like a guy who remembers he scored at will against this team last April. On this shift, Vinny takes a hooking minor.
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