What is this wonderful thing we see on our television? Can it be…? For reals? Is it… hockey??? Yes it is! WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Of course, we’re still a little disgruntled, as this conversation we had during dinner would attest:
Boomer: “Is Pando scratched again?”
Schnookie, bitterly: “Yes.”
Boomer: “I didn’t realize he and Sutter had such big problems.”
Schnookie: “I’m not sure it’s that. I mean, the team is playing well – who else would you take out to make room for Shanahan?”
During the pregame, our conversation progresses from benching Shanahan to wondering what Gel-O would look like in drag. You don’t want to know, Gentle Reader. Trust us.
20:00 The Sens are wearing their version of the BOLTS! Sweaters. When we first embarked on this blogging adventure, we encountered someone saying that insiders in Ottawa know that the Senators do not go by the nickname “Sens”, so we endeavored during their run to the SCF to never call them that. Well, now we want all the time we spent spelling out “S-E-N-A-T-O-R-S” back, assholes. It probably totals up to about 15 minutes. You can make that payable to The Ookies, Ottawa.
17:57 We’re busy discussing how we’re never not going to call Ottawa’s team the “Lightning Sens” or “SenBOLTS”, and meanwhile, on the ice, the Lightning SenBOLT goalie shuts down a rush by Rupp.
16:10 It’s a torrid pace here to bring us out of the All-Star break – the shots are 1-1. Doc is snidely pointing out that the SenBOLTS are, like the Penguins, now buckling down defensively. Oh how he loves jabbing at teams that have loudly decried trapping, but succumb to the system when their run-and-gun fails them.
15:23 This is the first Brodeurless Devils game in Ottawa since Marty first debuted in the NHL. Pookie: “It’s going to be weird when he gets back.”
15:06 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gio darts up the far wing, whips a feed from a bad angle into the crease, and places the puck perfectly on Patty’s skate for a deft tip-in to make the game 1-0 Devils. The goal is reviewed, and during the delay we get to see how tan Patty looks after his Mexican vacation.
14:23 Some SenBOLT hooks a Devil. We don’t really know what happened, and Doc and Chico don’t tell us because Chico’s too busy snotting that Marty would have broken up Gio’s pass if he’d been facing the rush that led to that goal. That’s right, Ottawa – this Elliott kid is no Martin Brodeur.
12:23 That was one of the quickest two minutes of hockey in recent memory. And sure, the Devils didn’t score, but the sequence still prompted Pookie to stage whisper, “Ottawa’s not very good.”
11:22 We wiled away a few hours this past offseason watching That Mitchell And Webb Look, and they have a sketch in which a couple is unwinding after work by talking about the difficulties they’ve faced in their jobs that day. One of them goes on and on about how devastating it is working in the hospital ward for terminally ill children, and then the other feels pathetic having to gripe about his grueling job as a taster at an ice cream factory. In that same vein, Doc tells us about how Elliott is serving in the bright spotlight of the Ottawa hockey world while his girlfriend serves in the U.S. Air Force in the Middle East.
9:31 Pookie: “These SenBOLT unis look like court jester outfits.”
8:12 Schnookie: “This Elias/Elliott thing is confusing me.” Pookie: “Me too. Therefore, I think the SenBOLTS should not be permitted to have a goalie tonight!” Pause. Pookie: “The Devils would probably still not score.” Schnookie: “You do know how bad they are with empty nets.”
7:40 The play is pretty much permanently set up in the Ottawa zone, and there’s something goofy going on with the mics on the ice, because every time play goes down along the end boards it sounds like a slinky is unfurling.
6:42 The SenBOLTS finally get the puck into the Devils zone and one of their guys gets hauled down by Blobby. The fans try to roar their displeasure at the lack of a call, but this crowd is listless and sounds like their spirits have been well and truly broken. After all the unearned arrogance from their 2007 playoff run and the first half of last season, we’re not sorry to see them coming back down to earth. Heh.
6:39 Brankahan goes to hit Phillips in the corner to Elliott’s left and gets him in the head with his elbow and his stick. He gets called for high-sticking and Chico whines about it. Pookie, meanwhile, proposes giving him a game misconduct for the game passing him by.
3:58 Blobby gets called for high sticking, and just as we are all in full volcanic eruption of rage at how much we hate Blobby and Brankahan, and how having them on the same line is just concentrating our loathing into one huge, slow, ineffective penalty-taking machine, replay shows the call is pretty crappy. There is a long pause, and then Pookie says, “It’s his reputation drawing that call. It’s still his fault!”
0:00 The period ends, and we have to say, the Devils looked pretty solid there. Good puck possession, good penalty killing, and yes, even good goaltending (as much as it pains us to say that). We get an interview with Patty, and he credits the soccer warm-ups for his footwork on the goal. Surely he’s implying that if the team had done soccer warm-ups in previous years, he’d have scored more then, too.
We spend the intermission watching our Tranny Gentleman Callers on Versus.
CHUCK THE DUCK!!!! CHUCK THE DUCK!!!! Today he was hanging out on the Rideau Canal, sans cigar. Doc tells us the cigar is Cuban, so Chuck couldn’t bring it to Canada out of concern that he wouldn’t be able to bring it back over the border.
18:11 During a stoppage we look at Patty randomly shouting “FUCK!” on the bench while a stat caption informs us he had 55 points in all of last season, and now has 55 this year with his goal tonight.
18:01 Fisher hits Salvador from behind and gets called for boarding. Chico whines about the call. Chico, whose side are you on?
16:34 The PP is going so well that Doc is spending his play-by-play time telling us that he was a bit disappointed that the All-Star jerseys only had numbers on one sleeve, thereby making it difficult for him to call the ASG. Considering Versus’s approach to having him call that was to ask him to chat randomly with Brian Engblom for two and a half hours, we’re not sure how a lack of sleeve numbers was a handicap. (He also takes this moment to bitch that Atlanta’s sweaters also only have one numbered sleeve. Burn! Take that, Thrashers!)
14:55 There is a steady snoring buzzing from the floor next to Boomer’s chair where Rollie the cat is curled up. The “action” in this game thus far prompts Boomer to say, “I agree with Rollie.”
13:18 We come back from commercial to hear Chico telling us that the Brankahan/Blobby/Rupp line, the Devils fourth line, has scored 1002 career goals combined. Chico thinks that makes them the greatest fourth line in NHL history. Schnookie: “Or the oldest.” Long pause, then Boomer’s head explodes: “They didn’t score them together!”
11:55 Before the period started, Doc and Chico tried to lure us into thinking this was going to be a kick-ass twenty minutes for the Devils, because the SenBOLTS were outshot 19-3 in the second of their last game. Of course, this is the Devils, so the SenBOLTS have had the puck pretty much for the entire frame.
10:45 Pookie: “Actually, this looks a lot like the second period of the All-Star Game. Only minus the talent.” Pause. “Tonight’s version of the second period of the All-Star Game will be performed by talentless hacks.”
10:36 The Iron Boar takes a hooking penalty immediately off a defensive-zone draw.
9:06 We are busy discussing the off flavor of a can of Diet Coke that Schnookie just opened, and when we look back to the TV, the SenBOLTS are scoring. Great penalty, Iron Boar! The goal is Picard’s, and it’s a 1-1 game.
8:28 Remember how Pookie stage-whispered earlier that the SenBOLTS aren’t very good? Psst – the Devils aren’t very good.
8:10 Our stats people spent the All-Star break looking up the state of the team in comparison to last year, and it seems the Devils had 30 more goals through the first 47 than last season. Of course, the Devils got shut out in something like 39 of their first 47 games last season, so it would be hard not to have that many more goals.
5:41 The Poppers step out on the ice to remind their teammates that there’s still a game going on, and after a long, feisty shift in the Ottawa zone (during which we can only imagine that Zach is telling Travis and Langer repeatedly, “You guys, Vinny and Marty were so much better than you two”), Oduya fires a point shot that gets the glass, and Langer is there to bank the rebound from the boards off Elliott and into the net. 2-1 Devils, and Doc and Chico point out that Marty would have leapt out of the way of the desperation shot from behind the goal line. That’s right, Elliott – once again, our announcers want you to know that you’re no Marty Brodeur.
1:00 Zach spends this shift showing off to anyone paying attention that he was an All-Star. He doesn’t score, but he’s still pretty fancy. We begin to suspect that Sutter was right, and Zach is going to need a bigger helmet after all.
0:00 The period ends with two cats snoring audibly in our living room. Langer talks with Steve and spends the first part of the interview looking like he’s not paying attention while undoing the fly of his shorts. He spends the second half of the interview telling Steve that now that Zach’s back with the Devils, he needs to go back to not expecting to get any passes on his tape. We’d laugh, but it’s true.
Back to the Tranny Gentleman Callers.
19:41 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Poppers start the third period as if they’ve been shot out of a canon, rushing the length of the ice, crashing the net, Zach leaping through the air headfirst toward the end boards while passing out to Langer at the side of the goal, and Langer whipping a shot through Elliott. That was snappy! 3-1 Devils.
17:24 A mild scrum in front of the Devils net turns into a Neil/Clarkson fight. The two swing wildly at each other, rarely connecting, and are an hilarious dichotomy between caricature-ugly and super-foxy. Pookie: “Neil looks like a psychopath. Or like a five-year-old whose toy was stolen. Meanwhile, Clarkson looks like he’s in a foxy bar brawl, fighting for my honor.”
Ruutu gets called for a penalty elsewhere on the play.
16:35 While the Devils mill about aimlessly on their PP, Chico tells us that the Senators players are apparently all wistfully jealous, and wish they could be Devils too.
14:19 During Brankahan’s last shift on the PP, Pookie wagered $10 that he’d take a penalty. He might not have done so then, but he makes up for it in spades here, waving his stick around Alfredsson’s face while lagging behind him and whacking him in the mouth. It draws blood, and it’s time for a four-minute kill.
12:12 The puck goes behind the Devils net, and one of the SenBOLTS actually lifts the back of the net up, pushes the puck in under the back of it, and then bothers putting his hands up to celebrate the puck being in the net. We are not making this up.
10:18 Thanks to a solid PK from the Devils and an emphatically awful PP by the SenBOLTS, Clemmer gets to spend the entire double minor sitting on a beach somewhere drinking pina coladas. The fans are drumming up the energy now to boo.
8:41 woo. Brankahan scores from up high on a snappy wrister off a feed from Rupp. It’s 4-1 Devils, the fans are streaming to the exits, and Schnookie remarks, “You know what I like about goals from Shanahan? They probably piss the hell off of Rangers fans.”
8:18 Ruutu’s a supergenius and takes a moronic slashing penalty behind the play. Good thing most of the fans are gone already.
6:23 Our ever-hopeful stats people tell us Langer has no career hat tricks. HINT, HINT!
5:28 Doc sends us all into a panic by noting that Madden is out with Travis and Langer.
4:09 Chico exclaims, while we ignore the “Where’s Zach????” question eating at all of us, that Devils fans should be eagerly looking forward to Thursday’s game against the Bruins, which will show us all where the Devils really are. Schnookie: “Considering how well the Devils played last time against the Bruins, I’m totally excited.”
3:10 Where’s Zach????? Oh. He’s out now. With Zubrus. The hell? What’s Sutter doing?
0:20 Wait, no, the lines look normal now. Whatever, Coach Sutter. Whatever.
0:00 The buzzer sounds, Langer still doesn’t have a hat trick, and Clemmer is now a 20-win goalie. What a strange, strange season this is turning out to be.