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Archive for February, 2009

Saturday Open Thread

It’s one of those terrible Saturdays where the NHL schedule and Pookie’s schedule have conspired to make us have to watch the Devils on significant tivo delay. Bummer. So here’s an open thread for all the thrills and chills of today’s hockey. We aren’t on radio silence, so we’ll be in and out.

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We’re not going to lie, Gentle Reader – we never thought this day would come. It’s felt like a lifetime since we last saw Paulie, and now he’s back! WOO HOOOO!

Just kidding.

Seriously, though, this is the first game night since November 1 that feels normal to us. It’s been a great season, obviously, but we feel like we’re waking up tonight after four months of suspended animation. As Gel-O and Dano talk in the intro to the game, they mention the dreadful game last Saturday on the Island, and you know what? We don’t think anyone remembers that anymore.

FIRST PERIOD

19:23 Marty gets his first touch on a soft dump-in, and the crowd roars, then starts the “Mar-ty! Mar-ty!” chant. It feels so good.

18:06 Chico tells us this is a new situation for Marty, it being “almost March 1 and he’s only just getting his career started.” Wait, we thought the career was already really well-established. Well, we guess NHL.com needn’t get that all-time wins countdown up and running again, because he’s starting now from scratch.

17:08 Pando forces a turnover at the Devils blueline, then isn’t quite fast enough to beat the Av defenders on a race down toward the Colorado net. Schnookie: “If Pando scored tonight, I might die.”

15:50 Applesauce very calmly stands up an onrushing Av, then coolly swats the puck off the guy’s stick. It’s like having Paulie back on the blueline has caused the rest of the d-men to stop panicking and remember how to play hockey.

15:22 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Poppers decide to send a message that they’re capable of thinking offense even though Marty’s behind them. Zach springs Travis and Langer to chug up the ice on a two-on-two, Travis dishes to Langer, and he fires a wobbly, fluttering shot that gets through Raycroft. 1-0 Devils.

15:09 Marty goes behind the net and cleanly handles the puck. We nearly faint with excitement, and Schnookie triumphantly shouts, “Oh my god! We have a goalie who can stop the puck behind the net!” Pookie: “Yeah, that’s funny… those always got through Clemmensen.”

12:02 Pookie, watching happily as the Devils D carries the puck around behind Marty’s net: “Our HD looks crisper tonight.” Schnookie: “And the whole world smells better, too.”

11:35 Foote trips Langer, and puts the Paulie-powered PP on the ice. PaulieMartinNation expects great things to happen here!

10:44 After a long Avs clear, Marty stops the puck behind the net, then hands it off to Paulie for the five-man snooze-out. It has been months since we last saw a clean goalie-to-defenseman handoff behind the net! Pookie: “I bet Paulie wasn’t hurt. I bet he was just tired of playing with Clemmer. He went to Sutter and said, ‘I can’t work under these conditions!’ And Sutter said, ‘Fine. You can sit down at your dumb card table, punk.’”

9:35 Huh. That PP really, hugely sucked.

7:32 PaulieMartinNation is horrified. He turns the puck over on the near boards, and it turns into a pass to a wide-open Av in the slot, then a bunch of scrambling around the goal, and basically what we’re saying is that we’re never going to speak of this again.

6:26 Since the goal, the Devils have looked really sloppy. So much so that Schnookie says a bit smugly, “I still think they’re in their March Swoon,” and Pookie can’t disagree.

5:46 The Avs get their first official scoring chance, and it’s one of those stand-up-right-next-to-the-goalpost saves by Marty while the forwards whack away at his feet until he gets a whistle. Ahhh. Feels like old times.

4:27 Gah! Zach is never going to score again! The Poppers have another zesty cycling shift that leads off a few broken plays to a glorious chance that proves not to be easy or breezy enough for Zach.

3:22 There is a faceoff in the Colorado zone that Schnookie narrates thusly: “Oooh! Look at Pando totally showing up Shanny! Blobby got thrown out of the faceoff, and Pando scampered in to take it even though everyone was looking for Shanny to step in.” Long pause. “Pando backed off, though, at the last second.” Yeah.

1:25 The Zubrus/Patty/Gio line tries to do their best Popper impersonation, with some wildly good opportunities in front while the Avs D collectively piles up in a panic in the crease, but they’re still the Zubrus/Patty/Gio line, so they don’t score. Or even get any shots through.

0:00 Here is what we have to say about this period: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! Marty! Marty! Marty! We don’t care about anything else about it.

FIRST INTERMISSION

We’re drinking it now — the eiswein. And you know what? Even at $7,133 per drop, it’s worth every penny. Phenomenally delicious, and perfectly matched to the occasion.

SECOND PERIOD

19:35 It might be a new age of Marty being back in net, but it’s the same old Rolston. He takes a flat-footed, lazy hooking penalty to start off the period.

17:50 And that is what you call rebound control. Marty makes a stand-up save on a sneaky-angle shot, then, with that Marty economy of motion, kicks the puck up to Oduya to send Johnny Handsome on a shorthanded three-on-one with Patty and Gio. Patty isn’t able to score on it, though. Because, well, it’s almost March.

15:50 Doc mutters something again about that time when Blobby chastised him and Chico for only interviewing the goal scorers between periods. We have heard this ten billion times already. Seriously, quit it, Doc.

15:23 Clarkson attempts a high-speed kamikaze Clarkaround that involves an inevitable wipeout, but he still manages to draw a tripping penalty to Raycroft. Chico remarks that the power play gets a second chance after a first-period attempt that wasn’t very powerful. Pookie: “I’d even say it wasn’t much of a play either.”

14:15 Any old time that the Devils want to start playing hard works for us. The Avs get a slow-developing shorthanded chance that turns out not to be a goal only by virtue of the initial shot hitting the pipe, and then some crazy-good backchecking by Zach. Pookie: “Zach is the bomb-diggity.”

13:23 It’s like the ghost of Perry Pearn has possessed the Devils PP or something.

12:15 We come back from commercial to see highlights from Patrick Roy’s career, and now our HD has gone away. We are not above blaming Roy for it.

11:47 After a wonky rebound from Raycroft yields a great chance for Patty at the side of the crease, which he, of course, doesn’t convert. That said, someone somewhere on the play draws a hooking penalty to the Avs, and the PP goes back to work.

11:22 The PP might blow, but it’s brought our HD back!

11:17 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Paulie is a genius, firing a shot from the high point deliberately wide to get a fat rebound off the backboards for Travis and/or Patty to punch in from the top of the crease. Amazingly, it’s Patty who gets to it and shovels it home on his backhand to make it 2-0 Devils.

9:56 Marty’s back! Marty’s back! Marty’s back! (He makes a stop and freezes the puck on a scramble in front that, at this time last week, would have led to at least another minute of opponents hammering away while Devils d-men fall all over the place.)
6:56 A Frankenline of Shanny, Clarkson and Zubrus cycles for a shift, and Pookie sighs happily, then says, “There’s nothing to say about this game other than ‘*happy sigh*’.”

4:33 It took about a period and a half, but it looks like the Devils have finally arrived to play this game. They stage a sequence of shifts that are like relentless waves of offensive pressure that all lead to shots aimed at Raycroft’s head. Raycroft’s head is pretty good at stopping shots, though.

4:16 Chico gets talking about the wins record and says that he hopes Patrick Roy will be in attendance when Marty does break it. Schnookie: “Well, he is so gracious. I can’t imagine him saying no.” Pookie: “And he’s always liked Marty so much.”

4:02 Johnny Handsome takes a penalty, perhaps for being too handsome.

2:02 The PK is the kind that gets the crowd chanting “Marty! Marty!” In other words, life is grand.

1:41 Travis makes a totally sassy yoink steal deep in the Avs zone. Pookie: “Travis is the bomb-diggity.” Schnookie, watching as Zach joins the play: “He is. There’s a lot of bomb-diggity out there right now.” Pookie: “Yup. I’m going to start calling them the Z.Z. Bomb-diggiters.”

0:18 Schnookie: “I bet Lou sent Clemmer down because if he didn’t, Sutter would keep starting him. He had to be like, ‘If you don’t stop playing with that, I’m going to have to take it away from you.’”

0:00 *Happy sigh*

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! And we go into *happy sigh* overload because we get a Paulie interview. He gives Zach the credit for thinking of shooting that puck wide. We think he’s being modest, because that’s just the kind of PP mastermind he is.

SECOND INTERMISSION

Pookie is having a terrible allergy attack this evening, and we are now vaguely concerned that she might be allergic to a healthy Devils team.

THIRD PERIOD

It’s “Chico Eats!”! Tonight Chico’s showing off the restaurant ledge. Looks swanky!

18:05 Marty stops a sharp angle shot with another of his sassy stand-up kick saves that work as a pass of the rebound to his d-man (yes, Clemmer, his d-man). We channel our inner Faye Dunaway from “The Starlet” and say, “Now that’s acting!” What, no other “Starlet” fans here?

16:09 Zach barrels into an unimpressed Av at the end boards behind the Colorado net. The boards shake mightily, but we suspect Zach managed to contort himself to hit the wall on either side of the Av while not making any actual contact with the player.

15:17 Pookie: “There’s a very good chance Lucic broke Paulie and that’s why he had to miss all those games, but I’m not going to boo him. I’m not turning him into Boo-cic.”

11:54 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Okay, so Zach is going to score again! DAMN! That was AWESOME! Langer fires the puck down the side boards from the Devils’ zone, and Zach outhustles the Av defender to the puck, holds the guy off while cutting to the net, then, with an almost imperceptible flick of the toe of his stick, flips the puck up over Raycroft’s shoulder. It’s 3-0 Devils, and we’re in a deep swoon here at stately IPB Manor for our very own superstar.

9:16 Chico gets going in an annoying blather about how Zach’s like Ovechkin, and scores goals with flair, and that’s somehow so much better than Jeff Carter, who only scores because he has good positioning and strength, and blah blah blah, and we snarl at the TV, “Chico, we don’t want to hear it about Ovie, and we don’t want to hear it about Zach.” There’s a lot to be said for the subtle goal, and anyone who doesn’t love the sight of a Jeff Carter wrist shot is a moron. Sheesh.

8:09 The Devils are really warming to the task now, and with some more cycling forecheck, the dynamic dynamo that is Travis draws a hooking penalty to the Avs. Boomer: “It’s hard to say whether we’re playing better or whether they’re…” she trails off. Schnookie finishes for her, “Rolling over?”

7:25 The dynamic dynamo that is Travis fails to score on a wide open net. He’s never going to get another acorn again.

6:54 In keeping with the Ovechkin/Zach discussion, Chico now pipes up that they are two players who “celebrate their goals very differently,” and then passes judgment in that distinctly Chico way of his. We’ll leave it to you, Gentle Reader, to decide which one he prefers. (Hint: it’s not the one who he says “hot dogs”.)

3:13 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well, that may very well be our favorite shift of the entire season. The Poppers, started off with a gorgeous steal in the neutral zone by Zach, proceed to stage a sequence of sheer dominance that culminates in a hard-earned goal by Travis. It’s 4-0 Devils, and have we mentioned tonight how much we love Zach, Travis and Paulie?

2:09 Needless to say, even though there’s a four-goal lead, we are very tense. Heh.

1:48 The “Mar-ty! Mar-ty!” chant is in full throat.

0:36 Pando gets tagged for tripping in the Devils zone, and Chico says the S-word while the teams line up for the faceoff. The Hockey Gods would be angered, but the fact is that we’ve been thinking it since at least the start of the second period, so they’re already probably cracking their knuckles and trying to figure out how best to ruin this.

0:04 The puck squirts out over the blue line and the building goes up. And we guess the Hockey Gods are sitting back and smiling, saying, “You know what? You guys have been through enough. We’ll let you have this one.” Thanks, Hockey Gods. It has been a rough few months. Other than the fact that the Devils have been winning…

0:00 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! Marty! Marty! Marty! Holy flirking schnitt!!!! This was AWESOME!!!!

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Eagle-eyed Gentle Readers around here may have noticed two recent trends in our thinking: one is that we are vaguely obsessed with the Flyers, and the other is that we’re incredibly obsessed with Tastykakes. Now, we’ve lived in the outlying Philadelphia region for the better part of our lives, and up until this very day, our only exposure to Tastykakes was those shockingly vile pictures of them on billboards along I-95 on the way back from the airport and/or sports complex in Philly. But ever since finding out that the Flyers and Tastykakes go together like, well, some sort of iconic unholy combination, it has been our sworn mission to immerse ourselves in the Tastykake experience. If our beloved Tranny Brides actually officially score goals for cases of Tastykakes (to be donated to children’s charities), we simply must know what that case of deliciousness is really like. Seriously, Gentle Reader, this is what motivates Mike Richards when he’s breaking away shorthanded; don’t even try to tell us he’s not thinking, “Dude, you just gotta score here — there’s Tastykakes on the line.”

Boomer is the most shameless of the three of us, so she willingly volunteered to go to the nearest gas station kwik-e-mart to stock up on our Tasty vittles. We weren’t sure how much would be available, so imagine our delight when she sent us an email this afternoon titled simply “yum yum” with this as the entire body of the message:

Tastykakes In The Car

Mission accomplished. We were ready to spend this evening watching the Tranny Brides on tivo delay while enjoying our very own custom-built case of Tastykakes.

Here was the haul, divvied up:

Tastykake Sampler

It should be noted that we undertook this taste test without the safety net of a spit cup; it was just us and the Tastykakes. If the Flyers give them out to sick orphans, how bad can they be?

It should also be noted that when you sit for a few minutes next to a groaning platter of pieces of Tastykake, the smell is nearly overwhelming. And the sliced-open Jelly Krimpet will glare balefully through your soul.

Peering Into Your Soul

The more we thought about it, the more terrible an idea this seemed to be. Because seriously, if the Flyers give these things away to sick orphans, there’s no way they’re edible. They are the Flyers, after all. The only thing to do is just to dig in.

Jelly Krimpets 2

Our methodology is to just plow through, and then rate them on Boomer’s proposed High Disgust Factor scale, ranging from Beaker to Boulerice (Beaker being not at all disgusting, Boulerice being, well, Boulerice).

First up: The Pound Kake Junior. It is just a little brick of pound cake. There is actually nothing junior about it, as it could probably feed a family of four for a week. This is really a manly lunchbox dessert, even by our standards.

High Disgust Factor: Knuble. It’s actually pretty likable, in a workmanlike way. It tastes not unlike microwave popcorn butter, but in cake form. Or rather, kake form.

We wash this down with generous swallows of Diet Coke (is it actually Koke tonight?) and gird ourselves for more.

Second up: Creme Filled Koffee Kake Cupcakes. We’re confused by the spellings — why aren’t they “cupkakes”? Schnookie’s especially eager for this kake, because her fondest elementary school snack memory is that one time in first grade that her class got Drake’s Coffee Cakes. To this day, when offered a free snack, she irrationally hopes it will be something like that, but she has never once, in all those years been rewarded again. This cupkake is a little blob of yellow kake with what looks like tan mouse droppings on top and a blob of gleaming white creme in the middle.

High Disgust Factor: Gagne. Almost — almost — good. But, like Gagne, it has a fatal flaw. Gagne’s is that he’s a Marty killer, and the Koffee Kake’s is that its lingering (and lingering, and lingering) aftertaste is strongly of coconut. Or Kokonut. But the mouse poops are surprisingly crunchy and delicious, and the whole thing tastes genuinely of cinnamon. If this was a free snack at some event we were attending, we’d be psyched. Until we finished eating it, and then we’d spend the rest of the event wishing the world didn’t taste of coconut.

Chocolate Cupcake

Third Up: As Pookie puts it, “Should we get this Lemon Pie out of the way?” It’s a hard brown crust around a blobby glob of dull yellow goo.

High Disgust Factor: Asham. We expected profoundly disgusting, and as it turns out, it’s actually not vomit-inducing. In other words, pleasantly surprising. The filling is fairly lemony, and the crust isn’t as stale-tasting as we thought it would be. It’s doughy and fake tasting, though — kinda like Asham.

Fourth Up: “Tasty Treat”. This is Tastykake’s contribution to the premade Rice Krispie treat canon. When cutting these things into pieces, this one smelled the worst when first opened by a knife. How do Rice Krispie treats turn out like that? How is that possible? We were about to find out.

High Disgust Factor: Carter. Dude. This is the dessert that’s all blond hair and white teeth. It tastes like a rice krispie treat that has yellow cake mix (not kake mix) powder in it. It makes us want to make our own rice krispie treats with yellow cake mix sprinkled in, just to see if we could replicate this flavor, but in a wholesome, homemade way. Heh. We actually went back for more of this one.

Tastyklair

Fifth Up: Tastyklair. Pookie: “So far we haven’t had one that makes me want to gack, but looking at the Tastyklair, I don’t think I can put it in my mouth.”

High Disgust Factor: Hextall. Ron Hextall gave us hours and hours of laughing-at-him joy while also being someone we could genuinely loathe. Likewise, this was the item that most delighted us while studying up on Tastykakes, and is also something we can genuinely regret having eaten. Pookie: “This tastes like a ‘treat’ I would have been given in Russia.” She doesn’t mean that in a nice way. Once again, it’s the doughy, dry crust, this time filled with cake-mix flavored cream and a crumbly “chocolate” topping. It’s iconically bad.

Sixth Up: Chocolate Cupcake. Tastykake totally dropped the ball naming this. It’s a dry lump of chocolate cupcake with a thin, sad layer of chocolate frosting over the top. It doesn’t look encouraging.

High Disgust Factor: Briere. We’d rather pretend this never happened. It was strangely crumbly, yet had a gummy mouthfeel. Schnookie: “This is the opposite of all the others, in that it started out revolting, then had a lingering aftertaste of just cocoa.” Pause. “No, wait. Now it’s revolting again.” Pookie: “Maybe we should rate this as a Terry Murray, because for you it was literally a choking situation.” ZING!

Seventh Up: Creme Filled Chocolate Cupcake. It looks less malignant than the plain chocolate cupcake because it has a flat smear of “white” frosting on top, and a gleaming blob or white creme in the center.

High Disgust Factor: Lindros. It’s an enigma. It doesn’t taste as bad as its non creme-filled counterpart, in large part because its cupcake foulness is broken up by that glob of sugared, whipped crisco. We rate it a Lindros because it was puzzlingly difficult to figure out what was going on with it — we couldn’t figure out what we were tasting, how bad it was, what its intentions were, and it would have been greatly improved by Scott Stevens smushing it into oblivion.

Jelly Krimpets

Eighth Up: Fudge Nut Brownie. Schnookie balked here, after struggling mightily with the chocolate cupcake. This is a very flat slab of brownie substance topped with a thick sludge of “frosting” studded with pieces of walnuts.

High Disgust Factor: Cote. Like Cote, this sucks at what it does, but it’s also kind of benign. That said, if Cote was a metaphor for this brownie, and picking Cote for a roster was a metaphor for choosing an after-dinner treat, then playing with an empty spot in the lineup would be our metaphor for opting to go dessertless. To spell it out. Pookie: “This tastes like brownie jerky.”

Butterscotch Krimpet

Based on our “observing the billboards along I-95” research, we think Krimpets are the signature Tastykake. So we saved them for last.

Ninth Up: Jelly Filled Krimpet. This is perhaps the scariest item on the plate whose name doesn’t rhyme with “Blastyklair”. It’s a sponge cake with a squirt of red goo in the center.

High Disgust Factor: Forsberg. This is a surprisingly ephemeral dessertstuff, yet it packs an enormous wallop of grotesqueness. We each took eensy-weensy bites, and yet we still found ourselves overwhelmed by the powerful wretchedness that is the flavor of the jelly filling. It tastes like a fruit roll-up that goes on for miles. Like the Flyers-Era Forsberg, it’s not very substantial, but it’s also pervasively vile. Pookie: “I felt like it wasn’t actually playing in a game, but it was still calling a press conference during the action to tell me stuff it’s already gone over time and again before.”

Tenth Up: Butterscotch Krimpet. It’s sponge cake with a limp square of tawny “frosting” drooping over the top of it. It looks almost as bad in person as it does in its I-95 glamor shots, and we hoped it would be a Tastykake experience for the ages.

High Disgust Factor: Cechmanek. The Butterscotch Krimpet is a very puzzling experience. Pookie: “I couldn’t tell you what this tasted like. It’s like… a sugary… citrus… sawdust…” Schnookie: “It’s like Roman Cechmanek. It’s beamed into my life from a mysterious planet, it’s doing god-only-knows-what here, and then it’s going to beam back away.” Pookie: “But it’s going to leave me with great happiness like Cechmanek did, because my Tastykake tasting experience is now over.”

So there you go, Gentle Reader. Perhaps our Tastykake obsession is safely behind us. If there’s one lesson we’re taking away from this exercise, it’s that you really, really don’t want to be a sick orphan in Philadelphia.

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Tonight we had a terrible realization at stately IPB Manor. It was identical to the moment in a mob movie where the hard-working, blue collar guy, who started out doing minor footsoldier stuff for the mob but with only the best and most honorable intentions, realizes he’s in too deep. It was during the early minutes of tonight’s Flyers-Capitals game, when the Caps scored quickly off a faceoff on the power play. Niittymaki played the sequence as badly as Biron did in blowing that game last weekend against the Pens. And as disappointment settled like a blanket over our living room, Pookie had just this to say:

“I can’t believe I’m being heartbroken by Flyers goaltending. I thought I was in control! I thought I had a handle on this! But it turns out I didn’t. I never should have gotten involved with them. I should have known with how this season was going that this was where my liking the Flyers was going to lead.”

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After a harried few days, stately IPB Manor is finally be-interwebbed again! After four days without the internet — how did we survive?! — we have a little bit of woolgathering to catch up on.

1. While our lifeblood internets were out, On Frozen Blog suggested that the anniversary of the Miracle On Ice should be a federal holiday. Now, we can only assume they’re joking about this (we love not going to work on a weekday as much as the next person, perhaps even more, but honestly, we have standards), but we are not joking about suggesting some more hockey-related federal holidays. Federal holidays like “National The Devils Are Poopy For Not Beating The Islanders Day”, and “National The Flyers Goaltending Is Faaaaaabulous Day”, and “National How Long Did It Take The Rangers To Fire Renney? Day”, and lastly, “Federal Our Modem Works Again Week”.

2. We have developed a sudden and totally engulfing obsession with the NHL Network’s “Day In The Life” series. We’ve only seen two episodes of it, but they were both magical. The first one we saw was Scott Hartnell’s; now, we’re not going to lie — a good 90% of the reason we like the Flyers this year is Scott Hartnell’s kitchen, and his episode of “Day In The Life” totally delivered. It was, like, 30 minutes of chillaxin’ in his kitchen. Future Tranny teams, take note — if you have a foxy kitchen on your roster somewhere, make good use of it, and you could become our beloved secondary team, too.

The other episode of “Day In The Life” that we’ve seen (we think there are only three total, and we can’t be blamed for not caring about Manny Malhotra) is Shea Weber’s. It’s 30 minutes of dreadfully dull team meetings for a game in which they are playing the Devils. We have no idea how NHLers stay awake in those meetings, because we love nothing more in the entire world than talking about the Devils, and even we were nodding off. But something did catch our eyes:

Five-Man Snooze Out

Look at that! The Predators coaching staff used their white board and team meetings to illustrate the Five-Man Snooze Out! Go Devils!

3. Gentle Reader, have you noticed birds singing in the mornings again? Have you noticed the sun is staying up longer, later? Have you noticed the garlic bulbs you planted in November are just starting to poke up out of their raised beds? These are tell-tale signs of something wondrous and beautiful happening. Something that leads to headlines like “Martin Brodeur Is Getting All The Reps At Practice”. Something that leads to Clemmer and Weekes taking shots suited to back-ups. Something that leads to both Tom Guiltti and Rich Chere figuring out how to post videos from practice. Poor-quality cell-phone videos that all of us watched breathlessly. In a mere four days, all will be right in the world. Our long Jerseyian nightmare is almost over! We know we have more spring in our step, more vim and vigor in our days. We hope that on Thursday we can all wake up as if from a troubled sleep and shout, “It was all a bad dream! Scott Clemmensen in still backing up the Marlies, and Marty is better than ever!”

4. One of the things that worries us when we can’t be blogging games like Saturday’s is that, with PaulieMartinNation offline there will be no one to fully sing the praises of #7. Thankfully, TG picked up the slack for us, pointing out – rightly — that Paulie has made himself irreplaceable in the Devils line-up. There were plenty of comments refuting this (and one prominent Devils fan left Paulie off his 2010 Team USA roster — for shame!) but those comments are wrong.

5. Guys, we missed you all so much!

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Disaster!!!

Sad news, Gentle Reader — we are without interwebs here at stately IPB Manor until Sunday at the earliest. So we’ll be watching the Devils, but mutely.

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Aw, bummer. No Paulie tonight again. Gel-O kicks off our game by telling us it’s the same line-up as Sunday’s, and if that lineup could beat San Jose 6-5, we can only assume they’ll mop the ice with the Panthers. Right? Right?

FIRST PERIOD

17:37 We’re busy talking about how many points it’s going to take to get into the playoffs in the EC this year, and kind of aren’t paying attention to the game really. It seems we have foggy memories of Langer not scoring on a great chance, but the first two and a half minutes have been a blur.

15:42 Okay, anyone who says that Clemmer has good rebound control is on drugs. The Devils give the Panthers a point shot, and Clemmer fumbles the rebound to Weiss, who is undefended in the slot. Weiss gets a week to turn and fire the puck past a now panicky Clemmer, and it’s 1-0 Panthers. We suddenly realize this is probably a major let-down game.

14:47 Schnookie, slightly tipsy still from dinner: “Oooh. Do you suppose Clemmers’ ‘turning back into a pumpkin’-ness is worse now because he’s on a road trip with Marty?” Pookie: “I hadn’t thought of that! Weekes is like, ‘AWK-ward!’”

11:44 Doc and Chico inform us that if the playoffs started tonight, this would be our first-round matchup. Hm. That makes the fact that the Devils don’t look like they’re going to score tonight look that much more ominous.

10:41 Clemmer turns the puck over to a forechecking Panther by whiffing twice on a no-pressure tap-the-puck-to-a-d-man play, and Boomer’s head explodes. Marty needs to come back soon, because she can’t take much more of this.

9:43 The Panthers get a mini two-on-one, and it is only a failure by the trailing Florida guy following up on the play that keeps the brilliant rebound control from ending up in the back of the Devils’ net. But, um, he’s really good, that Clemmensen guy. The Flyers should totally make him their number 1 next season.

8:04 Pookie, watching the Devils blunder around the Florida zone and then the neutral zone: “I don’t think we’re going to win tonight.” Schnookie: “I don’t think we’re going to score tonight.” Pause. “Top that.” Pookie: “Uhhh…”

7:10 MSG+ gives us a graphic screen that says the Devils are 27-7-0 against the Panthers since the 2000 first-round sweep. Schnookie: “No wonder I’ve always thought of them as our get-well team.” Pookie: “What happens if we’re already well? What then?”

5:54 Zach pounces on a turned-over puck behind the Florida net, and a flurry of amazing scoring chances that go un-scored-on follows. That is what happens when the Devils are already well and play their get-well team, apparently.

1:51 The scorched earth PP takes the ice…

0:43 …and Travis blows it by skating near a Panther who is falling over, and gets called for tripping. Poor Travis. He always seems to be getting caught on complete, utter, bullshit, the-official-really-wasn’t-paying-very-close-attention penalties.

0:00 We may have been distracted by other things during this period, so our assessment of it comes down to this: the clock has struck midnight on Clemmer. As the Devils skate off the ice, Pookie snarls, “I dunno, Clemmer. Your stem and spiky vine are showing.” (She didn’t mean that in a dirty way! Pumpkins have very spiky vines!) Boomer: “And your seedy interior.” (They have seedy interiors, too, but everyone knows that, right?)

FIRST INTERMISSION

MSG+ has a feature to remind us, in case we’ve forgotten, that the Devils’ season has been marked by a surprisingly good performance in Marty’s stead. No, we hadn’t forgotten either. (Hilariously, the feature includes interview footage of Weekesie going on about how great Marty is, and then Clemmer going on about how great Clemmer is.)

SECOND PERIOD

For reasons we can’t entirely understand, we have been having a fevered debate this evening about what size a Tastykake is. Boomer thinks five inches. Schnookie thinks closer to three. We find the specs for a Twinkie online, and it turns out to be 9.9 cm, or roughly 3.9 inches. HA! Schnookie wins! (Not that Twinkies are Tastykakes, but they’re a reasonably close facsimile, right? We… don’t often come in close contact with that oeuvre of foodstuff.)

17:23 Dude, the Devils are not going to score tonight. Dumbass Blobby gets a great scoring chance skating around Vokoun on the rush, and ends up shooting the puck out through the crease and the other way up the ice. Chico then shows us replays of this rush and a prior one by Zach; he says that the latter shows “the majesty” that is Zach Parise and the former would have been a goal if Pando had gotten to the goal mouth following up on the rush a little faster. PandoNation aims its sternest death glares at the TV. (We should mention that there is a Panther penalty on the Blobby rush.)

15:15 The Devils get an opportunity to hammer away at a loose puck at the side of the Panther net, but to no avail. We’re too busy looking at the Tastykake website to really mind too much. Apparently, if you like their “Juniors”, you can order a case of 24 individually wrapped kakes for $37.99. Pookie: “Schlittsy’s got his calculator out and is saying, ‘Those aren’t the numbers I’m getting…’”

11:27 Zach is motoring quite hard tonight, so after another good shot that Vokoun shuts down, we get a long look at a loogie-hocking Zach on the bench. Pookie: “I’m concerned about the soul patch he seems to be growing.” Pause. “I’m not concerned about a lack of secondary scoring. I’m concerned about Zach’s possible soul patch.”

10:26 The Panthers have no shots yet this period, which means the next one’s going in.

10:10 The Iron Boar takes a penalty for something. We are being terrible diarizers tonight, but the Tastykake website is just so fascinating! Doc is also not entirely engaged; during the stoppage after the penalty call, the arena is pumping insanely loud music, and he grouses that it’s inordinately loud, so much so that it’s making their table vibrate. “Of course, I’m from the William of Orange period,” he laughs, as he admits he’s probably just being a crotchety old man. It’s okay, Doc – we think the music’s too loud at most arenas, too. In fact, that’s one of the reasons we don’t enjoy going to live games very often.

8:33 Nice rebound control, Clemmer! And great coverage down low, PKers! Chico tries to say that Clemmer handles the rebound on a long shot perfectly and it was passed by a Devils defender directly to a Panther on the doorstep, but replay shows the goal is scored thanks to Clemmer putting the rebound right on a Panther’s stick, and that Panther then passes the puck to the open guy on the doorstep. 2-0 Panthers, and do we hear Marty cackling with glee somewhere? Or are we just projecting?

5:44 Barf. The Devils are now all thinking of Tastykakes, too, and decide, to a man, to stop playing defense, and the expected happens. 3-0 Panthers, and Boomer says, “For them not having any shots in the second period, they’re doing pretty well.”

4:03 On some planets we’d be excited that the Panthers have just taken a truly moronic holding penalty against Gio while he was skating through the neutral zone, but this is not one of those planets.

3:55 We’re now reading the Hostess website. On their FAQ page, they explain that yes, you can freeze Hostess snacks, but “the packaging is not designed for freezing. We recommend putting your treats in a freezer bag first.” Schnookie: “That’s sound advice for any treats.”

1:56 After Clemmer manages to successfully stop a shorthanded rush, Schnookie declares, “You know what? If I was going to freeze this game, I would not put it in a freezer bag first.” Pookie: “No. Because it’s the opposite of a treat.”

0:00 Oof.

SECOND INTERMISSION

During this intermission we take a stroll through the latest NHL news and notes with Gel-O. It’s all quite thrilling.

THIRD PERIOD

20:00 Before the puck drops, Chico tells us he was just talking to Paulie (who seems to think the Devils are playing well tonight, but just not getting breaks. Typical). Schnookie: “He talked to Paulie?” Pookie: “Why can’t we talk to Paulie?”

18:22 Chico says the Devils are working hard, but Pookie retorts, “Paulie says they’re hardly working.” Nope, nothing’s too low-hanging a fruit for us.

15:42 Chico tries to tell us that the Panthers are getting away with all kinds of uncalled penalties tonight. We don’t think that’s what’s causing the difference.

15:35 Zubrus hog ties and hauls down Horton, and Chico tells us Horton took a dive, and it’s totally unfair because Zubrus was tripped at the other end of the ice just moments earlier, but now he’s an innocent man stuck in the penalty box. Replay suggests otherwise.

12:45 We come back from commercial to see that sponsor feature where they show off what an HD picture looks like (it’s obviously money well spent by whichever sponsor’s doing it, because we have no idea who it’s for), and the video footage isn’t game highlights – it’s Chuck the Duck! Tooling around a roller hockey rink on a remote controlled car! And then driving into a goal, so Chico gets to say Chuck’s done something today that the Devils haven’t, and they need to take a page out of his book with the speed and finish. Chuck the Duck’s so dreamy.

11:05 Clarkson draws a holding penalty in the far corner. Replay shows Horton put a hand on Clarkson, and Clarkson toppled over like Doug Dorsey skating for the first time with toe picks. Chico politely refrains from grousing about what a lame-assed dive that was, and how it was very much like the lame-assed Panthers dives from earlier this evening.

5:37 The Devils, continuing to look like they’re not really a threat to accomplish anything good tonight, get another power play, and Sutter pulls Clemmer for the extra attacker. Boomer: “Why not? We’ve been playing with an empty net all night.”

4:58 A Panther gets the puck on the near wing, darts toward the empty net, and Langer trips him just inside the Devils blue line. It’s not called a goal, though, and Langer just goes to the box for a tripping minor. Clemmer gets back into the net, and not even interestingly on the fly or anything.

2:54 Just as the Panthers are scoring their fourth goal, Doc is saying, “If you’re a Devils fan, there’s just not much to say about this one.” Pookie: “That’s our cue to stop diarizing!” Schnookie: “Huh? I wasn’t listening. What did he say?” 4-0 Panthers.

0:00 This game was utterly wretched.

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