8:20 pm PaulieMartinNation exhales after holding its collective breath for days. It’s such a relief to have his zany Gopher self back in the line-up. We have such low expectations for this game, having ol’ number 7 on the blueline is enough. *happy sighs*
8:30 pm The Iron Boar leaves the ice clutching at his face. Replay shows Ovechkin skating around the Devils zone, swinging his stick at shoulder height as he pumps his arms to build up a head of steam to charge a Devil standing at the far boards, then, when he leaves his feet to plaster the Devil, his target steps calmly out of the way and Ovechkin instead leaps heavily face-first into the glass. The whole sequence was just because he’s too exuberant and full of joy to be able to control himself, so Ovechkin can’t be held accountable for Iron Boar being so unfortunate to have had his head in the way of that recklessly swinging stick. Also, if his target had been stupid enough to stand in the way of that oncoming charge, that also wouldn’t have been a penalty, because it’s an overabundance of love for hockey that makes Ovechkin behave that way.
8:35 pm The addition of Paulie and his patented Gopher Volante move has not improved the Devils power play.
8:37 pm The addition of Paulie and his patented Gopher Volante move has not improved the Devils’ proclivity for taking stupid penalties.
8:38 pm The addition of Paulie and his patented Gopher Volante move has not improved the Devils penalty kill.
8:45 pm How many games will it take before, when the action collapses around our goal, we will stop freaking out that someone mistakenly let a Mites On Ice participant play in net? 10 games? 20 games?
8:57 pm At the end of the first period, we realize we are becoming increasingly comfortable with this awful, awful team of ours. It was jarring, the transition from playoff team to “why do they have a Mites On Ice participant in goal, and are there even Mites On Ice who have hands of cement quite as badly as the Devils forwards?” team, but we think we might be growing accustomed to them now.
9:19 pm We are trying to decide what Lou could get for Langer if he listed him on Craigslist. A dear friend of ours recently acquired an extremely comfy chair and ottoman she found there; we’re not sure Lou could get something that nice. Maybe he should list him on Freecycle instead.
9:34 pm MSG+ shows us a graphic with this information on it: the Devils have scored 4 goals in the last 10+ periods they’ve played. We would not have guessed it was that many. This is pertinent information at this juncture in the game because the Devils are gaining the Washington zone with ease, but are making Theodore — Jose Theodore, people — look good.
9:37 pm Travis takes a shot from the far boards and it hits the outside of the net, while Doc misidentifies him as Langer. We crack that Travis is shouting, “I am not Jamie Langenbrunner!” Moments later he is covering the point while Salmela tries to drive toward the net, and when the puck skips back to him, Travis freezes up and the puck squibs out over the blue line. We figure then Travis sags, “Oh my god. I am Jamie Langenbrunner.”
9:43 pm On the power play, Langer gets his 400th Grade A scoring chance of the night, and, for the 400th time tonight, fires the puck straight into Theodore. Schnookie: “Langer has not, I don’t think, figured out that you want to shoot the puck where the goalie isn’t.” Pookie: “Langer’s probably thinking goalies expect guys to shoot where they’re not, so he’s hoping to catch them by surprise. It’s the signature move that’s going to make him famous.”
9:45 pm Once again, the power play fails to score. Once again, the other team promptly scores as soon as they’re back at even strength. Once again, the Devils are really, really terrible. We have seen iterations of the Devils who have been able to win despite a shitty power play, but so far this year, they are being completely undone by how consistently dreadful they are with the man advantage. They are not a healthy Brian Rolston away from suddenly having a functional PP. They are not a healthy Bobby Holik away from it either. They are also not a healthy Marty Brodeur away from it. We don’t even know what to say about it. It just… bad. There are a lot of aspects of the current putridity of this team that we’re comfortable-bordering-on-content with, but the lousy PP is not one of them.
9:55 pm Speaking of the lousy PP, we have a potential suggestion for fixing it. Today at work, Pookie had an appointment to help a sweet little old lady with learning how to use email. The sweet little old lady wailed that she couldn’t get into her email account and that her home computer must be broken. She procured the slip of paper with her username and password and proceeded to enter them with many, many mispellings. Pookie encouraged her to take out the extra letters and lo and behold, it worked! The sweet little old lady’s face lit up as she said, “It’s so easy! I was just doing it wrong!” Her face fell then, as she explained that when it didn’t work at home she just got more and more frustrated and just made it worse by being scared of the computer, while her son berated her, “You’re not learning anything, Mom! You should just forget it.” We think that maybe Sutter is that jerky son, and that the Devils PP is the sweet little old lady. They just need someone to say in a bright, encouraging tone: “I want you to promise me that you won’t be afraid of scoring on the power play! If you miss a shot or hit a post, that’s okay, you can just try again! You don’t need to be scared at all! Just take out that typo and you’ll be golden! You’re doing great!” Devils, call us, we’ll happily work on a Special Sweet Little Old Lady Assignment. You can pay us in glossies of the whiteboards in the dressing room.
10:00 pm Unless, of course, the are unafraid of scoring on the PP, and are too coddled. Maybe they need a hardass telling them that if they don’t score on the next PP, all five guys on whichever unit it is that fails will be shot out of a giant cannon into outer space. Devils, call us. We’ll happily work on Special Space Cannon Assignment. You can pay us in glossies of Langer in another team’s uni. (And not the Stars. We’d see through that.)
10:07 pm Schnookie, darkly: “You know, I wouldn’t even notice anymore if Patty got benched.”
10:08 pm Patty scores easily on a long breakaway, cutting the Caps lead to 2-1. He glares pointedly at Schnookie. Schnookie glares defiantly back.
10:27 pm For the umpteenth time this season we find ourselves at the end of a Devils loss thinking, “It could have been a lot worse.” If the Devils ever figure out how to score, the sky’s the limit. Or, um, something.