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Archive for March, 2009

There are a lot of questions surrounding the Devils these days, but none more pressing than “how is it that a team of professionals can be this confused about how to play hockey?” Gentle Reader, it won’t surprise you that we, being the intrepid reporters we are, have gotten to the bottom of this story and discovered the reason the Devils are so fucking fucked up right now. It starts, as all things do this season for us, with the Flyers. Bear with us, Gentle Reader — this is going somewhere.

Apparently Flyers head coach John Stevens is somewhat renowned for his creative, unorthodox, and totally cheesy approach to instructing and motivating his hockey charges. And at least once (possibly twice — it was hard to say based on the article we found this in) he has employed this amazingly brilliant team-building tactic with professional hockey players:

Stevens held a team meeting at his Washington Township, N.J., home and instructed each player to bring an ingredient. Eggs, flour, sugar, frosting – they were going to bake a team cake.

The idea, as Stevens said the other day, “is that all the ingredients by themselves aren’t that appealing. But when you mix them with some fire you come up with a better product in the end. That’s kind of who you are.”
(Philadelphia Daily News – Thursday, May 8, 2008)

How awesome is that? We can just see how that would play out… The big guys would be there with their cool-kid ingredients, Richards with the flour, Carter with the sugar, Hartnell with the eggs — no, that’s a disaster waiting to happen… Hartnell with the butter, Knuble with the eggs, Biron with the vanilla, Lupul with the baking soda, Coburn with the salt, and so on and so on. Each guy would solemnly add his unappealing-on-its-own ingredient, contributing to the once-it-gets-mixed-with-fire-it’s-delicious dessert treat, and then, when it’s all done, Riley Cote would be like, “Cool cake, Coach! This was a really great team exercise. But, um… when do I get to put in my ingredient? You told me to bring raisins.” And Coach Stevens would say, “Well, Riley, that’s an important part of this exercise, to show that some unappealing ingredients don’t belong in a cake.” And Cote would be like, “Uhhh… Are you trying to tell me something?” And then Danny Carcillo would pipe up, “I brought what you told me to bring and we haven’t used it yet, either. It’s, um,” and then he’d read the label from the bottle he’s holding, “T-U-R-P-E-N-T-I-N-E. When do we add that?” And Stevens would sigh, “That’s to teach us all that some unappealing things aren’t ingredients at all.” And Carcillo would be like, “*Crickets chirping*”. It would rock.

We have NO DOUBT that the Devils have decided to take a crack at the “Let’s Bake A Cake Together” trick themselves recently, perhaps a “Let’s Bake A Cake Together To Celebrate Marty’s 552nd Win” exercise, even. Clearly Sutter has decided he can’t trust his veteran players to be able to do their jobs with pride and self-respect, and instead has to resort to the creative, unorthodox, and totally cheesy. In any event, this is the cake they made.

SANDRA LEE’S KWANZAA CAKE

For those of you who are at work and can’t watch videos or something, here’s what the recipe the Devils are working from is all about.

1 (10 to 12-ounce) purchased angel food cake
1 container (16 ounce) vanilla frosting
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (21-ounce) container apple filling or topping
1 (1.7-ounce) package corn nuts
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/2 cup popped popcorn

Special Equipment: Kwanzaa candles

Using a serrated knife, cut cake horizontally into 2 layers. Place bottom cake layer, cut side up, on a serving platter. Mix frosting, cocoa powder, vanilla, and cinnamon in large bowl until combined. Spread about 1/4 of the frosting over top of cake layer on platter. Top with second cake layer, cut side down. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake to coat completely. Spoon apple pie filling into hole in center of cake. Place candles atop cake. Sprinkle top of cake with some corn nuts, pumpkin seeds, and popcorn. Sprinkle remaining corn nuts and pumpkin seeds around base of cake.

Zach and Travis are tasked to bring several angel food cakes, so there would be enough finished product to go around. Patty, Paulie and Langer draw frosting. Madden, Greene and Rolston are assigned to bring the cocoa powder. Sutter tells Whitey and Iron Boar to bring vanilla. Rupp and Oduya are told to bring the cinnamon. Zubrus, Gio and Holik are instructed to get the pie filling. Havelid and Shanahan are assigned corn nuts. Mottau and Clarkson draw pumpkin seeds. Marty and Weeks are told to bring the popcorn. And Pando is assigned to bring the turpentine.

Everyone assembles at the set time in Coach Sutter’s kitchen for the big baking exercise. The first thing everyone notices is that this recipe is chock-a-block with unappealing ingredients, but since no one was told to bring candles, it is very short on fire. Sutter agrees that when the cake is assembled, they’ll grill it. Because as Coach Stevens would say, that’s kind of who the Devils are. Then they set to making the cake. Zach has brought his share of ingredient, because he’s nothing if not dutiful, but Travis, when called upon, has to admit he didn’t bring any cake.

“I watched the video, Coach,” he explains, “That lady didn’t use corn nuts. She said she was using acorns. I made sure we had acorns.”

Sutter tries to keep his temper in check, because this is a nurturing learning exercise and all. “That’s nice, Travis,” he says slowly, “But we already have nuts. Corn nuts. Havelid and Shanny brought them.”

Havelid squirms uncomfortably in the back of the room.

“You brought corn nuts, right Havelid?” Sutter tries not to snarl.

Havelid grimaces, showing his missing teeth (on the top and bottom), then sort of dumbly looks around at everyone else. “I didn’t get them.”

Sutter: “Why not?”

Havelid: “I dunno. I just didn’t.”

Sutter groans inwardly, then asks, “So who was it again who was supposed to bring corn nuts if not Havelid?”

Zach pipes up eagerly, “Shanny! Shanny brought them!” Pause. “Where’s Shanny?”

Sutter sighs, “I gave him a maintenance day today.”

The other guys all start grumbling jealously, except Travis, who happily exclaims, “Good thing I brought the acorns then, you know…”

Sutter looks impatiently at his wristwatch. “Fine. Fuck it. We’ve got one cake and no corn nuts. Whatever. Next step. Frosting. You sad fucks brought icing, right?”

Patty steps forward and proudly hands Sutter a can of frosting. “You bet I did. It’s Funfetti! Super-colorful!”

Zach pipes up urgently, “NO! Coach, the recipe says vanilla frosting! We can’t use Funfetti!”

Glaring at the ceiling, Sutter reluctantly agrees. “Funfetti’s going to make our cake look like ass, Elias. Can’t you follow the simplest of instructions? Fuuuck. Who else brought icing?”

This draws an angrily furrowed brow from Langer, who steps forward and growls, “I did, Coach. And as captain, I am going to step up now and get the job done.” He then pulls a can of vanilla frosting from the grocery bag he’s holding, makes to toss it across the kitchen to his waiting coach, winds up, and throws the can ten feet wide, right out the window and into an open dumpster outside. A long, awkward silence follows, which is finally broken by Langer mumbling, “I’m working hard enough. I mean, I’m doing what I’m supposed to out here…”

Sutter: “Good thing Paulie also brought frosting.”

Paulie looks up from the can he’s been intently digging in for the last half hour. “Yup. It was delicious.”

Sutter: “Pando, go outside and get Langer’s can out of the dumpster.”

Pando grudgingly does as he’s told, but the guys nearest the open window can hear him grumbling the whole time.

“Okay,” Sutter says through clenched teeth, “This is going great. What a fun team-bonding experience we’re having here, right? What’s next?”

Zach chirps, “Cocoa powder, Coach!”

Sutter: “Right. Fucking cocoa powder. Tell me we have fucking cocoa powder here. Greene, I figure you fucked this up somehow, but Madden and Rolston, you guys are vets. I can trust you to do this, right?”

Greene, Rolston and Madden all stand mutely in front of their coach. Very slowly, Greene lifts an extended index finger to silently point to Rolston, who meekly points his own finger at Madden, while Madden is quietly pointing back at Greene.

If you listen very closely, you can hear the clot that Sutter is about to throw. But he manages to maintain a stoic facade as he snarls, “Fine. Fuck that. I hate chocolate anyway. Cinnamon then. Please tell me we have cinnamon.”

Rupp steps forward enthusiastically, “Of course I brought cinnamon! You tell me what to do, Coach, and I do it. I, um, didn’t have a lot in my house, but I brought what I could.”

Oduya beams as he produces from his pocket a little spice jar as well. “I brought all of my cinnamon, too.”

Zach leaps up and snatches the jars from both guys, and eagerly measures it out. “Uh oh, Coach,” he quavers, then whispers tearfully, “Neither one of them brought enough. We only have 1/4 teaspoon here and we need a full teaspoon!”

Sutter slumps onto a chair and runs his hands through what little hair he’s got left. “Well that’s just tickety-boo. Who wanted this to be cinnamony anyway? We’ve got vanilla to make up for that.” Without looking up, he waves one hand defeatedly, “Whitey, Sal, give Zach the vanilla.”

The Iron Boar looks sheepish. “I, um, don’t have it,” he says softly.

Sutter is just silent.

Iron Boar continues sadly, “I was on the PK, and everything was going fine, and then all of a sudden… I was just throwing the vanilla over the glass. I couldn’t help myself. I just love throwing things over the glass.” Pause. “Sorry.”

Whitey rolls his eyes and hands over a tiny bottle to Zach. “I brought mine,” he rasps.

Zach looks at the label at the bottle, then his gaze, wide-eyed, sad, and tearful, shifts up to look at Sutter. “Uh oh,” he swallows hard. “Did you say your eye still makes it tough for you to read, Whitey?”

Whitey shrugs, “Sometimes.”

Zach wordlessly hands the bottle to Sutter, who reads it aloud, “Sardine Extract”.

The guys groan nervously.

Sutter suddenly gets a happy glint in his eyes. “Well, we finally have an ingredient here. Add the extract Zach.”

Zach looks horrified. “But… but… without vanilla, it won’t have that homemade taste!”

“Zach,” Sutter snarls, “Add the extract.” With shaking hands, Zach does exactly that.

Several happy moments follow as the team cuts and frosts the cake. It’s like craft time for little kids, but tiptoeing around the high-grade explosives that is Coach Sutter. When their little cake is assembled and iced, everyone stands at attention again, ready for the next round of ingredients.

“Okay,” Sutter looks at the recipe, “Where’s the apple pie filling?”

Holik defiantly declares, “I don’t like apple pie so I didn’t bring any.”

Gio and Zubrus hastily try to cover for him, and they say nearly in unison, “Don’t worry — I brought mine!”

But Sutter just smiles happily at Holik, “That’s my boy. Don’t ever change, Bobby. I love that spirit of yours.”

Burning holes through the back of Holik’s disobeying head, Zach heaps a few spoonfuls of pie filling into the center of the cake, then snaps primly, “Clarkie and Motts, you guys have the pumpkin seeds?”

Mottau just shrugs, “At this point you didn’t really think I would, did you?” and Clarkson insists on applying the seeds to the cake himself. Needless to say, this involves him running around behind the cake, trying and failing to cut a tight corner, wiping out, and tossing the seeds everywhere but on the cake.

Sutter sits in place, staring in disbelief. “What in the fucking fuck?” he mutters to himself. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d have a team like this. Never.”

“Don’t worry, Coach,” says Marty, “It’s not like we had any popcorn either. I ate it all on the drive over.”

Sutter just stares into space.

Travis then pipes up happily, “Well, I’ve got the acorns. Maybe if I put them on the cake now, it’ll look good…” He puts them on the cake, and it doesn’t.

Pando then speaks up, “Well, I’ve got the turpentine. I’m sure it would make the cake look great, especially when we grill it, but you know what? I’m not sharing.”

Sutter: “This is the last time I ever take John Stevens’s advice when we’re at a coaching workshop.”

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Mmm. Devils/Rangers. Versus. It’s like a match made in heaven.

Before this game starts, we just want to make something clear. There are some things in life that we really, really, really, just flat-out do not care about, and nothing will ever change that. Things like other people’s kids. The nutritional content of a plate of cheese. The Brodeur/Avery “story”. No amount of talking about this – anybody talking about it – is going to make us care, and we’re just not going to participate.

During the Doc/Darren Eliot pregame banter, we find ourselves wondering whether Eliot is drunk. And speaking of drunk, the studio banter includes Keith Jones looking directly into the camera and stating with solemn intensity regarding the Rangers’ playoff chances, “Henrik Lundqvist. Remember that name.” Us: “Never heard of him!”

FIRST PERIOD

19:50 We know right off the bat that Sutter’s not interested in winning, because Blobby’s on the ice.

19:28 What is going on with the picture tonight? It looks like some kind of over-processed, over-designed “prestige” Oscar-bait period movie. Like, we expect Clint Eastwood to start squinting out of the shadows any minute. And to make matters worse, the camera operator keeps moving the camera so that the puck carrier is positioned in the middle of the screen, so if someone’s skating up the near wing, half our screen is taken up with the crowd. It’s like Blersus has never filmed a game in MSG before.

17:17 Eliot informs us that neither team can take “unnecessary penalties” in this game. Pookie: “Blobby.” Schnookie: “That’s Blobby’s problem. He thinks all his penalties are necessary.”

15:43 Paulie clearly hates Blobby, too, because when Blobby leads the way on an odd-man rush, Paulie makes sure he’s not able to reach the feed in front of the net to finish. At least, that’s how we’re reading that.

14:56 Travis hooks Staal behind the Prawn’s net, and Eliot drunkenly remarks during the replay (we know! A replay!) that Staal’s feet came out from under him awfully quickly for a guy getting hooked in the elbow. Pookie adds “showing up Travis with a dive” to the long list of transgressions Staal’s committed against our favorite Devils.

14:16 Doc remarks that Madden has left the ice flexing his leg. Oh no. Without Madden, the Devils PK might suck.

13:35 No worries. Madden is back. Well, other than the worries that the Devils PK will still suck.

12:04 We’re totally distracted by how shitty this picture is. How does Blersus manage to make hockey in HD look like crap?

11:18 There is a little scrum in front of the Devils net after Marty shuts down a mid-range shot, and as we go to commercial, Doc tells us the Rangers have nine shots so far. It seems like much more.

10:46 Paulie’s fired, as he turns the puck over to Gomez just inside the Devils blue line. It’s really great to see that the Devils are working hard on righting their ship.

9:53 We come back from a commercial to hear Doc informing us “both teams are a man short for another 40.” What? They’ve been four-on-four? We feel like we’ve never seen hockey before when we watch Blersus. We have no idea what’s going on. This might take another round of Show Us Your V’s.

8:35 Travis gets herded into a big collision with Gomez, and Pookie starts shouting, “Come on, Travis! Make him pay! Get ‘em!” Pause. “What, you’re going to let him bump your grocery cart like that?”

7:34 The game suddenly starts to look really strange. It’s a bit unsettling, how it’s still the same two teams, wearing the same unis and all, in the same building… but now they’re at the other end of the ice, the one where the guy in the blue sweater is standing in the goal. (For the record, it’s the Patty/Gio/Zubrus line, oddly deviating from their teammates’ game plan of “let’s suck for 60 minutes and see exactly how badly we can lose!”)

6:28 Doc coyly remarks that Rupper and Clarkson are the Devils’ top penalty-takers, and that sends the denizens of stately IPB Manor into a mild tizzy, as we believe the Devils’ top penalty take must be Blobby. But then we realize that means PIM, not necessarily “unnecessary penalties”.

4:40 Zach kick-starts a great rush for the Poppers, but Langer decides at the end to fine-tune the play rather than just putting the puck on the net, so it comes to naught.

0:36 The last few minutes have looked like the Devils are hoping their coaching staff is going to count “shot attempts that hit the defender standing three feet in front of you” as quality offensive-zone play.

0:00 If that’s the period Sutter was hoping for from his skaters, things are a lot worse in Devilsland than previous thought. Also, as Pookie says, we’re bummed “that Paulie has decided now to let his putrid side through. He’s like Dr. Pancake and Mr. Putrid.”

FIRST INTERMISSION

As you already know, Gentle Reader, our happy place this season has been with a certain Tranny Bride team that plays a stretch down I-95 from stately IPB Manor. This past weekend Pookie was stuck spending a slow Saturday on the reference desk, and to help pass the time, did some reference work about our beloved trannies. And what she found was too good not to share. So now, please indulge us as we spend our intermissions retreating from Blersus to our happy place.

cote-dogs

After this photo was taken, the dog on the left, Mitzi, challenged Cote to a fight. Figuring it was for a good cause (this photo was taken for a good cause, right?), Cote good-naturedly agreed. Mitzi landed 237 consecutive punches to Cote’s head before the officials stepped in.

SECOND PERIOD

20:00 We come back from intermission to hear all the numbers related to the carnage of the shot totals from the first period. On the bright side, at least there’s no longer any conflict among us about whether the Devils are in their March Swoon.

18:17 Schnookie: “Oof. I hate having to diarize games that are a foregone conclusion.”

17:05 Paulie makes no effort to play a puck at the point. Schnookie: “Ugh! Why is Paulie so putrid?” Pookie: “I hope he’s not hurt again.” Schnookie: “Maybe he’s having a Hooters Pancake.”

15:25 Hey, whaddaya know? You let the Rangers skate around without facing any serious defensive pressure for long enough, and eventually even they are going to be able to score. 1-0 Rangers.

14:10 The Devils have not been jarred awake by the goal.

13:52 Finally there is enough offensive pressure from the Devils to warrant the Prawn freezing the puck. We think we might be getting the vapors. We go to commercial and Schnookie grumbles, “I hope the Devils have to ride bikes back to Jersey tonight.”

We come back from commercial to find out that Blobby managed to rope Gomez into taking an unnecessary roughing penalty to match his own. Will wonders never cease?

13:21 Shockingly, the Devils are just as bad in their own zone four on four as they are five on five. 2-0 Rangers. Marty whines that he was jostled on the play, but he wasn’t.

12:51 Continuing to stand still, the Devils D gets penalized. This time it’s Mottau, tripping Antropov on a one-on-one rush down the slot. On the bench, Blobby is unimpressed. He figures he could have easily turned that play into a double-minor.

8:47 The Devils are now playing as if they hope their coaching staff will see “clearing the puck as far as ten feet outside the blue line” as being as good as “scoring goals and shit”. Of course, considering that this is exactly what this team looked like at this time last year, maybe the coaching staff does think it’s just as good.

8:06 We come back from commercial to Chris Simpson interviewing… Tie Domi. Pookie: “Wait, they’re throwing Tie Domi at us? What next? Is Stephane Matteau going to come in here and start kicking our cats?”

4:57 Eliot remarks about how the Rangers are “making life miserable” for Marty in this game tonight. Schnookie: “Correction. The Devils D are making life miserable for Marty.”

4:54 And on cue, Marty gives up a shit goal from a mile out to Callahan. 3-0 Rangers. Pookie: “It’s nights like this that make me wonder why Sutter doesn’t just quit.” The Devils skaters are probably wondering the same thing. They’re probably like, “That’s funny. When we did this to Larry Robinson, he went crazy.”

2:46 We come back from commercial with a little intermission teaser that they’re going to discuss which teams in the East might be poised for early playoff exits. We raise our hands and eagerly shout, “Ooh! Ooh! Me! Pick me!” Then they cut back to the Devils. Yeeeeeaaaah.

0:00 It never ceases to amaze how a group of highly-skilled professional athletes can all forget how to play their sport and, more importantly, how to care about playing their sport all at the same time.

SECOND INTERMISSION

Chris interviews Sutter and asks him what the Devils need to do to get back into this game. Pookie, as Sutter: “‘I don’t give a tickety-boo!’ And he rips off his tie and storms out.”

Meanwhile, back to our happy place:

beaker-dogs

Per Se City

THIRD PERIOD

20:00 We have figured out what’s wrong with the Devils. When we were kids we were lazy and out-of-shape (just like now), but we were periodically required by our parents to play outside. During those awful summer afternoons of forced fun, we invented a marvelous game, “110 Degree, Energy Conserving Baseball”. The rules were that you couldn’t run. Or really move much at all. Any exertion would cost you an out. We think the Devils might have decided to address their Whitey/Paulie durability issues by instituting a “110 Degree, Energy Conserving” defensive scheme.

19:25 Patty’s out with Travis and Zach to start the period. Pookie: “Now they’re playing “110 Degree, Panic Button-Pushing Hockey”.

18:23 Langer is just as bad on the Gio/Zubrus line as he has been on the Poppers.

16:54 Rupp and Orr scrum a bit near an on-ice mic, so we at least get to hear some live-TV f-bombs tonight. Rupp gets the only penalty, and Blobby high-fives him on his way to the box. (Just kidding. Blobby never high-fives anyone. He’s probably big into “Too slow! No really, you’re too slow. And you’re stupid. You’re nowhere near as smart as me.”)

14:44 The hell? The Devils draw a penalty? Bench that guy, Sutter!

13:36 The power play is going much as expected. The best part about the recent systemic failures in all aspects of the game for the Devils is that they never seem to practice either. So we’re looking forward to watching this continue getting worse until it all just mercifully fades to black.

12:40 We get sent to commercial with Eliot blowing Doc’s mind by suggesting the trapezoid rule should be flipped so goalies can only play the puck in the corners, and Shanny and Sjostrom taking matching minors.

12:18 Doc remarks while nothing is happening on the ice that it’s an awesome thing what the Blues have been doing, clawing into playoff position in the West. Pookie: “I’d like to take this moment to thank Blues fans for not flooding the interwebs with, ‘We’re such a feel-good story, everyone should love us!’” *Cough*Capsfans*cough*

9:47 There’s scrummage that leads to the latest feed-the-media-beast footage of Clarkson roughing Avery up. Clarkson gets the extra minor.

4:26 You know how sometimes a team is just playing for pride? Well, what the Devils are doing now is the opposite of that.

2:56 Oooh. A Devils power play. Exciting. Doc suggests a goal here would give the Devils “some respectability.” Schnookie: “No it won’t.” Pookie: “Respectability left the building a looooong time ago.”

0:00 We would love to think this is rock-bottom, but there are still seven games to go. They can still get plenty worse.

You know what’s way better than this game? Our happy place:

farts-dogs

AAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s better.

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March is a month of nastiness. It brings us weather that doesn’t warm up fast enough, late-season snowstorms when all we want are flowers, and worst of all, March hockey swoons. There is however one thing to look forward to every March — The Name of the Year bracket. It’s like the March Madness of Silliness, the antidote to slumping hockey teams and dreary gray skies. The bracketologists at NOTY spend the year collecting and researching fabulous real names, rank them carefully in four regions, and then pit them against one another until the best name is chosen and crowned the Name of the Year. Past winners include:Doby Chrotchtangle, Assumption Bulltron, Godfrey Sithole, Tokyo Sexwale, Tanqueray Beavers, Jerome Fruithandler, and Vanilla Dong. We were already toying with writing a post about this just because it makes us laugh every year, but then something amazing happened. While casting votes in the Dragonwagaon Regional we discovered that one of the names in the running is none other than Pierre Champoux! That’s right, the NHL has someone in the running for NOTY! And then, when perusing the Bulltron Regional we stumbled upon Parris Duffus, a former NCAA-standout goalie who played one game for the Coyotes! Hockey is everywhere!

We’d be urging you all to stuff the ballot box for these hockey emissaries, but even we have to admit that there is no chance either hockeyist is advancing out of the first round. Duffus is up against Glorious Johnson, Muffin Lord, and Zeppy O’Green. Champoux’s competition is even tougher thanks to Rev. Valentine Handwerker, Willy Wham, and Velvet Milkman. Velvet Milkman. This might just be the strongest NOTY field we’ve seen. (We’re putting our money on Shasta Kielbasa to win it all, by the way. Hung The Dang will most likely win, but we’re all about the meatstuff-inspired underdogs here at stately IPB Manor.) So if you’re feeling the March Doldrums, head on over to NOTY and cast your votes for Pierre Champoux and Parris Duffus (we wouldn’t blame you for voting for Valentine Handwerker and Zeppy O’Green instead). Maybe 2010’s bracket will see Cal Clutterbuck in the running.

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Join us in an open thread for another Saturday night of hockey!

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This is exactly what happened at stately IPB Manor at the conclusion of the last Devils game:

Pookie: [At the final buzzer, with disgust] “That was awful! Let’s change the channel right now.”
Schnookie: [Clutching her head in sudden pain] “Oh my god, I’ve just this minute come down with the most excruciating sore throat of all time.”
Pookie and Boomer: “I hope the Devils are happy.”

It turns out that the loss on Monday inflicted a Bond supervillain of a virus on Schnookie, in that it was slow-moving and seemed on paper to be really ineffectual, but in practice somehow managed to incapacitate the most intrepid good guy anyway. It’s, like, Hugo Draxitis. Now it’s time to find out if the cure involves the Devils figuring their shit out and remembering how to kill penalties.

The cure doesn’t look promising off the bat, by the way, what with the Islanders getting the HD treatment tonight and us getting a stick in the eye.

Gel-O’s pregame spiel looks like his home-made audition tape for some kind of Star Trek convention activities. He’s got a wrinkled, clumsily seamed purple MSG+ backdrop and “dramatic” spotlights that give it a tie-dyed sort of look. Foxy!

FIRST PERIOD

20:00 We cut away from the Ferengi bar Gel-O was sitting in to a jarring underwater-ish picture of the players on the benches. In his “who’s back in the lineup” run-down, Doc doesn’t pause between telling us about the starting forward line and d-pairing, so it sounds like Zubrus is going to be centering Paulie and Oduya. Pookie: “That should be interesting.”

18:12 We get to find out early whether the PK has rediscovered itself, as Blobby trips a Blackhawk behind the play on a mildly-threatening rush. Boomer: “Of course.” He’s going to be benched for the rest of the game, right?

16:56 We are discussing ways to improve the Devils PK. Schnookie floats the idea of changing the players more often (as Sutter suggested), but changing to players who are not currently on the Devils’ roster. Pookie suggests not skating Blobby Holik at even strength.

16:04 Just as we are exclaiming with delight, “Dear Hockey Gods in Hockey Heaven, we just killed a penalty!”, Whitey hooks Versteeg right behind the Devils net and right in front of the official. We… don’t think this kill is going to go as well, as the key ingredient is clearly Whitey.

14:10 Doc tells us, as the Devils keep getting shorthanded rushes, that the recent behavior patterns of the PK is to do great for a most of the kill, then give up a goal late. So it’s very thoughtful of them to decide to make Doc look smart and clued-in, as they do exactly that. 1-0 Hawks. We feel like we’ve been here before.

13:37 Clarkson and Seabrook fight.

IPB Fight

It’s actually quite a humdinger. We suspect Blobby will respond positively – by taking more stupid penalties.

12:35 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well, take that, standard Devils-on-the-road ennui! Zach skates in on the near wing and just whips a prayer of a wrister toward the net that tips off a defender’s stick and flutters off Khabibulin’s mask and into the net. It’s a 1-1 game, and somewhere in Philly Jeff Carter is all annoyed that he’d finally caught up to Zach in the goal scoring, and now Zach’s pulled ahead again. (Actually, Pookie puts it best when she says, “Who are we kidding? Somewhere in Philly Jeff Carter is drunk in a ditch.”)

12:21 Oh for fuck’s sake. After narrowly avoiding going down two men on the previous PKs with a bad clearing attempt, this time Applesauce makes no mistake and very definitively clears the puck over the glass. This is a good development, because the PK is really good.

10:16 OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE. Patty fires the puck a mile over the glass now. GREAT. We’re ever so glad we got up to watch this game.

10:00 Paulie flubs a clearing attempt, and Pookie says, “He would have been able to clear that if this was in hi-def.” Pause. “Okay, now I’m really weirded out thinking about how Paulie’s seeing this normally because he’s playing in it.”

9:27 The Devils get a flurry of shorthanded chances, and Chico cracks that the Hawks look unsure of what to do because they’re not used to playing in their own end. Schnookie: “Ha. Ha. Ha.”

8:04 This feels weird. The game is at even strength. What do we do? What do we do????

6:42 We… just don’t have the words anymore. The fourth line is in the offensive zone, setting up some kind of fourth-line cycle, and just as Schnookie is shouting, “Dear Brent Sutter, Why is Blobby Holik on the ice? I would like a detailed response explaining why you’re still doing this to us,” he takes an interference penalty on the far boards. We are not making this up.

5:52 Boomer decided after dinner to go out to the local ice cream shoppe to get some kind of dessert-y treat to sooth Schnookie’s poor, sick throat. And, um, for the healthy denizens of IPB Manor, too. She comes back in the door now and shouts up the stairs, “Dear god! This is still on?” Heh.

3:09 We get a shot total for the period to date. 9 for the Devils, which is surprisingly high, and 18 for the Hawks, which is surprisingly low.

2:45 Chico, watching Holik still getting ice time: “Give Coach Sutter credit – he’s not benching Bobby. Some coaches would.” Us, in unison: “I am not giving him credit for that.”

0:18 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This ice cream is magic! On a delayed penalty (to the Blackhawks!!!), the Devils swarm around the goal mouth, hammering away at a flurry of rebounds, and then Paule — Paulie! — pounces from behind the goal line to bury the puck in the net. 2-1 Devils and PaulieMartinNation is completely losing its shit. WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paulie Augustus

0:00 That was like bizarro period! We don’t ever want to have to relive it, but we’ll take the end result.

FIRST INTERMISSION

Can’t talk. Eating ice cream.

SECOND PERIOD

20:00 Chuck the Duck! Chuck the Duck! Walking past the camera like Alfred Hitchcock! EEEEEEE!!!!

17:59 Still can’t talk. Still eating ice cream.

17:37 This period is a lot more mellow than the first, and Doc and Chico can’t figure out which team is dictating the pace right now. We didn’t realize there even was a pace to be dictated so far in this frame.

15:54 Marty makes a great coming-out-of-his-net-to-challenge save on a Blackhawks rush, but Versteeg is on the far post to almost be able to stuff the rebound into the vacated net. Applemotherfuckingsauce, though, is there to force his shot wide.

14:35 Doc mentions Paulie’s late-period goal from the first, and Pookie takes umbrage. “That was late-period heroics, not just a goal,” she sniffs.

12:13 Khabibulin stops and covers a long shot Clarkson, and then Clarkson draws the wrath of the Blackhawks by poking at his glove. Chico starts to whine that that should be a penalty on Clarkson – we know! It’s the first time all season he’s thought a Devil actually committed an offense, and the bitter irony is that nothing was actually called on it – and Doc basically tells him to get over it.

11:31 One of the officials gets clocked by a ricochet on a Devils dump-in. Doc says with concern that he has no idea where the puck hit him, and as he gets up from the ice with blood streaming from his mouth, Pookie offers, “I’d say it hit him in the mouth.”

10:51 Blobby gets knocked over at the blue line by Seabrook, and then gets all angry and charges at Havlat, and then the whistle blows for a penalty, so we all assume it’s Blobby again, but it turns out it’s actually Duncan Keith for a holding infraction that had nothing to do with the stupid crazy man. It’s a shocking turn of events.

8:51 The PP better not think we’ve forgotten that it’s part of the recent Devils’ failures. When you lose three straight road games because of crappy special teams, that doesn’t just mean the kill, PP.

5:38 Well that sucked. The Hawks establish their cycle, and Havlat fires a puck from the high point through a thoroughly screened and scrambling Marty, making it a 2-2 game. Doc reminds us that Havlat is a long-time Marty-killer, but it doesn’t make us feel better.

4:57 The Devils respond to the goal by getting pinned again in their own zone.

3:55 Chico is still reeling from the Havlat goal, desperately viewing and reviewing the film to find some kind of excuse for Marty on it. There isn’t one, and it’s killing Chico from the inside.

3:00 Marty lazily wanders back into his net after helping play the puck to a d-man behind it, and is almost caught napping when said d-man turns the puck over to a Blackhawk in front. The only reason this game isn’t 3-2 Hawks right now is because the guy who just had a goal gift-wrapped for him freaks out and fires his shot over the net.

2:00 The Devils are being completely outclassed right now. Pookie: “Ever since Chuck the Duck did his Hitchcock impersonation, this game has been a horror!” Pause. “Or it could just be that Whitey’s playing terribly.”

0:39 Sharp gets a mini-break while the Iron Boar decides that showing off his slapstick comedy chops is a better plan than playing defense, but Marty stymies him with a great lunging paddle save. Sharp responds by cartwheeling over Marty and ripping off his mask with a scissor-hold on Marty’s head with his knees.

0:00 The period ends with Shanny chasing after some Blackhawk guy, ostensibly in response to being slashed, but lip-reading suggests he’s telling those whippersnappers to stay off his lawn. (Yes. We just went there. It was that kind of period.)

We get an interview with Paulie, who is freshly shorn. Gel-O sets him up to whine that the Devils aren’t getting any even-up calls after the first, but Paulie won’t bite. He’s such a class act and a dreamboat. If you like your men pallid and Gorey-esque.

SECOND INTERMISSION

We get some kind of “Brodeur: 552” stuff during this intermission. If you miss it now, Gentle Reader, we suspect it’ll get played a few more times on the MSG family of channels.

THIRD PERIOD

17:54 Havelid follows play into the Devils zone and just kind of falls over, taking himself out of a one-on-one defensive sequence. Schnookie: “Oh my god… The Iron Macho is just… he’s the Graphite Macho. No, he’s the Talc Macho.”

16:35 Gio almost manages to generate a scoring chance for the Devils when he blows past the Chicago D and tries to lace a cross-crease pass to a streaking Patty, but everyone on the ice is so surprised that the Devils are actually trying to put the puck toward the net that nothing comes of it.

15:31 Langer tries to hand the puck to the Blackhawks while crossing the offensive blue line, but it ends up bouncing back to him as he gets behind the D. Schnookie: “Langer’s like, ‘That was supposed to be a turnover.’” Pookie: “He can’t do anything right tonight!”

15:07 Oh, that’s more like it. The Devils go back on the PK when the Talc Macho takes a high-sticking penalty. (It should be noted here that Chico’s narration of this game is hugely confusing because he is pronouncing “Havlat” and “Havelid” exactly the same way.)

13:07 Marty! Marty! Marty! He manages to hold his ground on a last-ditch PP flurry on the doorstep by the Blackhawks. The Talc Macho gets back on the ice and heaves a sigh of relief, while Blobby probably silently vows on the bench that he will undo any good the Devils’ PK has done tonight. Oh yes, he will.

12:45 If you’re the kind of person who is into shot records (which we are not), then you’ll consider this game notable for it being the one in which Zach set the single-season shot total record for a Devil.

11:28 Oduya and Byfuglien wrestle into the corner after a loose puck, and Big Buff skates out of the exchange with a holding minor.

9:28 Yup. The PP’s still not scoring. Although they generated more chances than usual, so we’ll give them points for trying.

7:27 We come back from commercial to see Paulie being praised as the “Jaguar Performance” or something like that. Well of course. When he’s not being a gopher, Paulie’s totally a Jaguar. Rrrowrl! (Chico says something about how Paulie and his “mates” are doing something or other in this game, and Pookie mishears him. “Paulie and his minks? Has he replaced his gophers with minks?”)

6:28 We’ve decided Paulie’s mink army is actually just his gophers wearing mink turtlenecks.

5:45 We come back from commercial to see a shot of some fans in a luxury box, and Doc takes the moment highlight one of the people in the group. It’s the oncologist who saved Doc’s life, and tonight Doc was making good, apparently, on his promise that his doctor would never have to pay to see a hockey game again. That’s awesome.

3:41 The Patty/Zubrus/Gio line puts together some great scoring chances, but stupid Khabibulin.

3:16 Marty makes a stop while almost the entire Blackhawks lineup barrels, full-force, into him. We also don’t understand why there isn’t a penalty on the play.

2:04 Pookie: “I can’t believe Chicago hasn’t scored again. I can’t believe that there’s almost two minutes left and the Devils might not actually lose this in regulation.”

1:35 Pookie adds after a pause: “Which isn’t to say that I don’t think the Devils aren’t going to lose in regulation.”

0:25 Schnookie, watching Zubrus bull around behind the Hawks net: “I gotta say, I think Zubrus has been one of our best players tonight.” Pookie: “It’s because he’s happy to be back with that line. Centering Oduya and Paulie.”

0:00 Huh. The Devils didn’t lose in regulation.

OVERTIME

3:55 Travis wipes out – on, presumably, a gopher hole or something – but manages to keep the puck and skate it through three Chicago defenders anyway. Schnookie: “That was hot. Travis was like, ‘I’m a klutz, but I don’t let that get in my way. I don’t let anything get in my way.’” Pookie: “’Except barriers. And turnstiles. And stop signs. And hay bales. And rain. And buttons.”

2:11 This OT is boring. The Blackhawks have all the possession. Give it to Patty!

1:47 So much for Zubrus being one of the best Devils tonight. He turns the puck over to Toews right outside the Devils blue line.

1:25 Poop. The Blackhawks keep the pressure on, and Seabrook scores on a slapper from the point. 3-2 Blackhawks. The Devils are still officially total crap on the road. March swoon, anyone?

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RESPIETO

After reading this story about Alex Ovechkin’s latest effort to keep Don Cherry relevant, we have to think this is a new low. Seriously, does it get more pathetic than ripping off Yaya’s “RESPIETO” t-shirt act from ANTM Cycle 3? That’s just weak. Someone please just steal Ovie’s powerbars, lie about him to Tyra, and pour beer on his weave so we can all call this storyline dead and move on.

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Scott Clemmensen won the Devils Unsung Hero award? Scott Clemmensen?????

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

To whomever on the team awarded him this, we don’t believe “Unsung” means what you think it means. Clemmer could not possibly have been more sung this year. People were talking about him keeping the starting job after Marty came back. There were idiot Devils fans suggesting trading Marty in order to keep Clemmer. If Marty had taken one more week to come back, there would have been 100-foot-tall granite sculptures of Clemmer erected outside the Prudential Center. If it had taken two more weeks, those sculptures would have been solid gold.

That is Pando’s award, asshole. And if not his, Travis’s.

At least it wasn’t MVP.

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