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Archive for October, 2009

Okay, we know today isn’t one of the league’s dumb “official” Super Saturdays, because there are only 11 games instead of 15. But unlike the ones the league pats themselves on the back about, this Saturday features wall-to-wall hockey. That’s right, NHL scheduler, 11 games spread out over the day is way, way better than 15 games played all at the same time. Because it means we can watch hockey all day. It’s not rocket surgery, scheduler. Anyway, we would do something fun like write a Devils game diary, or woolgather all day, or come up with an actual blog post, but we spent yesterday hiking all over New York City and have been looking forward to a lazy, lazy day of stitching in front of the TV. So why don’t we all just hang out together here and enjoy and open thread?

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Our (HD) broadcast leads off with Gel-O reminding us that the Devils were terrible last night against the Sabres. Thanks, Gel-O. We’d totally forgotten. He then hands off to Doc and Chico, and Doc does a workmanlike job of sounding excited to be reporting that Yann Danis is starting tonight. We sound significantly less excited about it here at stately IPB Manor.

FIRST PERIOD

19:17 Chara doesn’t seem to read IPB – He fumbles the puck at the point, then, crumbling under pressure from Langer, falls over, leaving Langer to chug down the other way on a two-on-one. (He doesn’t score.) Silly Chara! There’s no reason to be afraid of Langer!

18:15 Our senile cat won’t stop yowling. The horribleness of listening to the racket it making us nostalgic for the Devils/Sabres game from last night. It’s just that bad.

17:02 Both teams’ fourth lines are out and Doc informs us that it will certainly be fun to watch them against each other. As we watch Peters lumber around the defensive zone, Schnookie sighs, “Just because his job is to fight doesn’t mean Andrew Peters is exciting to watch.” Boomer adds, “Even when he’s fighting.” The Bruins’ fourth line gets a grade-A scoring chance right on the doorstep, and Danis coolly stops it. We don’t think that’s what Doc had in mind.

15:12 Travis makes a typically foxy defensive move deep in the Devils zone. Pookie: “AcornsNation is just showing off how much better it is than IronBoarSylvania.”

13:54 Schnookie: “You know what I can’t spell anymore? ‘Pennsylvania’. I’m just looking at the ‘-sylvania’ on ‘IronBoarSylvania’ and thinking it looks wrong.” Pookie: “Would you prefer if I called it ‘IronBoarOpolis’?” Schnookie: “No, that’s just a city.”

13:00 The cat has not shut up yet. It seems he’s lost his kitty bearings in the front hall, and can’t figure out how to find the living room, which is right behind him. A friend recently informed us that a sign of cat Alzheimers is “inappropriate vocalization”. Meanwhile, the Devils put the puck into the net (behind Thomas, not Danis), but the whistle apparently blew. Doc and Chico have no explanation for it. It seems our officials are suffering a case of inappropriate whistling.

11:59 As we have been discussing Mahmoud’s diagnostic issues, Pookie has decided to look up why Rollie keeps developing small, unexplained bald patches. She discovers that it might be a sign of what is essentially kitty OCD. Rollie’s probably anxious because her namesake is most certainly the worst hockey player in the NHL.

10:02 Doc murmurs during the course of his play-by-play, “If they had Milan Lucic… If they had Marc Savard… If they had Jay Pandolfo… If they had Patrik Elias…” Pookie finishes for him, “This game might be interesting, and I might not be reading about cat alopecia.”

8:14 Pookie is still trying to solve Rollie’s hair-loss problems, and suggests that if she was called “Sid” she might not be so patchy. “Or maybe her secret cat name is Getzi! ‘Oops. My fur fell off.’” Pause. “Or maybe she loses a patch of fur every time Rolston does something bad. She’s just been lucky that the Devils haven’t been playing lots of back-to-backs.”

6:35 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s time to change Rollie’s name to Clarkson! Boogerfors finds himself on a two-on-one off of a broken sequence of plays in the Devils’ zone, fires a big slapshot that trickles through a hard-challenging Thomas, and Clarkson is there to tap the loose puck all the way into the net. It’s 1-0 Devils, and the timing on this is perfect, as Chico was, just before the play started, telling us how the Devils had 12 giveaways last night and forced only 2. Our blood was starting to boil at that stat, but now we’re feeling all happy and WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

5:01 At the exact same moment that Schnookie is pointing out to Pookie that the Iron Boar got an assist on Clarkson’s goal, IronBoarSylvania suffers a terrible blow from its emperor-god taking a terrible hooking penalty behind the Devils net. Chico promises us, though, that the Bruins PP is “terrible”.

3:29 For the first two thirds of it, the Bruins PP really is terrible. We spend it discussing how a number of Nations are trying to woo Pookie tonight. Schnookie suggests BoogerforsNation is making the best pitch, but Pookie insists that will never happen. Regardless, we both like the idea of Bergfors flirting like Woody Allen in “Love and Death”.

3:01 Chico really wasn’t kidding about the Bruins power play, was he?

0:00 We missed the last three minutes of the period because we were watching clips on YouTube of “Love and Death”. We look up to see Gel-O interviewing Clarkson, and Pookie exclaims, “GOD, he’s handsome.” Of Clarkson. Not of Gel-O.

SECOND PERIOD

19:59 The game resumes with a start. One second we’re watching commercials, the next second we’re looking at an almost ridiculously handsome Clarkson on the bench, and Doc is mid-sentence.

19:38 The Iron Boar was as taken by surprise by the start of the period as we were, and he takes a slashing penalty to break up a Bruins odd-man rush.

19:01 Shit. The lousy PP Of the Bruins looks like it may have broken Whitey. He gets hit by a point shot, and, despite being pinned in the zone, looks gimpy. This PP is clearly not terrible enough.

18:19 Well, Whitey seems like he might be okay. We’re still not happy with the relative crappiness of the Boston power play.

17:28 Just as we are discussing how the Bruins PP might just be actually terrible, Iron Boar gets out of the box, the teams go to even strength, Oduya gets his stick broken by a point shot, and the Bruins score on the rebound. It’s a 1-1 game. Chico tells us that Oduya has been the victim of some bad breaks, but also has been playing like crap. Even Chico doesn’t believe in OduyaNation’s chances.

16:52 Oh for fuck’s sake. Peters and Ference jostle a bit in front of the benches, and when Ference takes a little posturing swat around Peters’s shoulders, Peters makes like he’s been butt-ended in the mouth. That’s just shameful. He should be benched for that shit.

15:25 We are informed that this is “a completely different beginning to this period for the Devils than in the first.” Yes. This period is looking a lot more Devils/Sabres-ish. It’s as if the Devils think they’re playing at home.

12:14 Any old time Zach decides he doesn’t want to be invisible anymore works for us.

11:40 By our unofficial count, the Devils have not had possession of the puck once yet this period.

11:00 Doc informs us that Andy Greene will be 27 tomorrow, and then adds “another defensemen is 56 today.” Pookie, while Doc waits for us to guess who he’s talking about: “Colin White!” (It’s Denis Potvin.)

8:51 On some rare Devils puck possession and offensive-zone pressure, the puck ends up bouncing in front of the net, with Thomas stuck overcommitted to the side of the crease, and Zach is unable to get a stick on it. Apparently our challenge to Zach to start contributing has fallen on deaf ears.

6:06 Doc and Chico are discovering the birth months represented by both teams’ rosters, and are totally puzzled that there are so few players born in the last quarter of the year. They won’t stop talking about it, and how it makes no sense to them. We do not have any Malcolm Gladwell fans in our broadcast booth, it would seem.

3:44 We both leave the room for a moment, and when we return we catch the Bruins failing to convert a scoring chance not unlike the one Zach muffed about five minutes ago. And Boomer reports that Oduya has left the game with a “lower-body” injury. If you’re thinking about buying some real estate cheap, that beachfront property in OduyaNation might be just what you’re looking for.

2:09 Whoa! All of a sudden it looks like Zach and Zubrus have realized they’re supposed to be playing hockey! They charge up the ice on a two-on-two, with Zach carrying the puck, and Chara trips Zubrus up to put the Devils on their first PP of the night.

0:00 We’re stunned — stunned! — that the Devils didn’t score on that PP. And so the period draws to a close, and to be perfectly frank, it’s not 20 minutes of hockey we’ll ever fondly remember. We will, however, very fondly remember this interview with Applesauce, who is in fine Boston-accent form.

THIRD PERIOD

18:06 We have fallen silent, as it’s starting to sink in that we are going to have to be leaving the house at an ungodly hour tomorrow morning to make the first in a series of trips into NYC for Schnookie’s work. We don’t like waking up early. In case you were wondering.

16:23 Up until this moment, we have been very impressed with Danis. (We make that qualifying statement because we realize he is fully capable of being a total pile of puke for the next 16 minutes.) Honestly, this is the first time we can remember not being terrified every time the puck goes near the net when Marty’s backup is in.

10:36 Seriously, we’re going to be on a train at 7:00 tomorrow morning. That’s just inhumane. (Now that we’re distracted by our plans for tomorrow, this game is not capturing our imaginations.)

9:20 This period has been marked by the teams taking turns racing down the length of the rink and then looking offensively inept. It’s been a doozy.

9:19 We come back from commercial to see the Bruins mascot knocking Chuck the Duck over in the parking lot during some fan fest-y activities before the game. We’re horrified. Pookie: “That bear has just rocketed to the top of my List, ahead of Butthead, and Marc Staal, and Paul Gaustad.”

4:01 Yikes! Where has this game gone? It’s almost over! We don’t have a lot to say about it, though. Just lots of yawning at this point, but that has less to do with the game and more to do with it being late in the week.

3:01 Too bad Frisby got dibs on Clarkson, because he’s had a good game tonight. Lots of sassy shots and grittiness. And handsomeness. Here he turns a nothing sort of one-on-two into a decently deceptive mid-range shot, and then he psychs Thomas into almost trying to beat him up.

1:26 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! WOWZA! That was awesome! The Langer/Zach/Zubrus line finally decides to get going, and they have a wild sequence of bang-bang passing and wheeling one-timers, then Zach squeaks a shot under Thomas that Zubrus pounces on to tap all the way into the goal, very much like Clarkson’s goal in the first. It’s 2-1 Devils, and we’re awake now!

0:35 The Devils fail to play well against the extra-attacker-aided Bruins. After a series of failed clearing attempts, Doc and Chico get to extol the virtues of the Unseen Hand when a Boston point shot richochets in toward the goal, gets past everyone including Danis, but clanks off the crossbar. Whew.

0:20 Is this small payback for that time the Devils got called for icing while on the PK against the Rangers in the playoffs? The refs colossally blow an icing call on the Bruins, when the blow the whistle even though Whitey clearly touched the puck before it crossed the goal line. No, it’s not quite on a par with the Ranger-game icing, but it’s at least a beneficial whistle when there shouldn’t have been one.

0:00 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! It wasn’t pretty, but it’s a win!

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Please join us tonight as we enjoy an open thread and some woolgathering for the much-anticipated debut of IronBoarsylvania.

— Before this game starts, we have to ask — what is it with the Sabres always being the team the Devils play right after they lose a crucial player to an injury? Last year the Sabres were our first post-Marty opponent, and the Devils gave up 20 shots in the first period. We can only assume the Devils are giving up 40 shots in the first now that they’re reeling from losing Paulie. Because Paulie is twice as important to them as Marty, right? Right?

— The potential for Johnny Oduya to take over as the temporary emperor-god in place of Paulie suffers a serious blow when he stands around watching while some stupid Sabre scores a stupid goal to make it 1-0 Sabres. Sure, other Devils might also have been at fault, but we both had crappy days at work and are drinking wine with dinner. We’re blaming that on Oduya and moving on.

— Schnookie is extremely cranky tonight, and has also guzzled the aforementioned wine. In response to watching Boogerfors and Clarkson wheel around the Sabres zone with no purpose shortly after the early goal, she snaps, “Gah! I hate the Devils! Let’s watch the Blue Jackets instead. At least they’re in HD.”

— This game just keeps getting stupider. We have no idea how it happened, but suddenly it’s 2-0 Sabres. We were busy showing Boomer how to download a Battery Bar for her laptop, and missed the goal. From what we could glean from the surprisingly unillustrative replays, it was stupid. How long before Paulie comes back?

— Okay, so after the game got pretty far out of reach there in the first period (honestly, do the Devils look like they can overcome a two-goal deficit tonight?), we spent until intermission focusing our attentions on ordering an extremely exciting Devils-related holiday present for Boomer. Don’t tell her, though — it’s a surprise! Anyway, when we look up, Patty Elias is on our TV screen. Pookie squeals happily, “Patty! He is alive!”

— How far has Andy Greene come since losing Sutter as his coach? So far that when he scores on the PP to make the game 2-1 Sabres, Doc calls him Parise in his play-by-play. Then, when he realizes it wasn’t Parise, announces with complete disbelief that it was Greener of all people. Greene! Scoring on the power play! Who ever would have thunk it (other than us way back when Rafalski signed with the Wings, and we were all, “Pfft. Andy Greene is the younger, cheaper, BETTER Rafalski!”)?

— Late in the second period, Langer leads the Devils on a possible shorthanded odd-man chance, on which he is being defended by a guy with no stick. And when he goes to dish his telegraphed pass, he very carefully makes sure that it’s placed so that the defender can easily block it with his feet. Pookie wonders aloud, “Has Langer made a single good play yet this season?”

— Tonight’s “Chico Eats!” features Chico trying to defraud a local coffee establishment by using his comp tickets to get their Devils fan discount. Chico is such a rapscallion!

— SHOUT OUT! SHOUT OUT! Chico leads us in after a commercial in the third period with a little featurette about Crunchy’s mask. (Like we’ve never seen that before, just by the way. Find some new material, MSG+ 2.) And first he walks us through the “exploded Buffalo” on the front, then, when he gets to the back, he says, “‘Miller Time’. It’s a play on words.” (Okay, it probably doesn’t count as shout out when we’ve just been making fun of Crunchy all this time. Maybe it’s just hilarious that Crunchy is still, four years later, claiming that “Miller Time” is a “play on words”.) For the record, after the mask feature, Chico finds himself completely stymied trying to describe the hat Crunchy was wearing while showing off his mask. It wasn’t a fedora, but apparently had a “beak”. Chico, you can just leave it at “Crunchy was wearing a toolish/dumb hat”. We know what you mean.

— Also dumb? This game. Midway through the third, it’s 3-1 Sabres.

— When Goose tries to take Zach’s face off with his stick, Pookie realizes something we all should have known ages ago: Paul Gaustad can’t handle the Devils who are prettier than he is. That’s why he’s targeted Paulie and Zach. (That’s her theory and she’s sticking to it.)

— How many too many men penalties can one team take before someone on the coaching staff gets fired? (Pookie, ever single-minded, says when the Devils get called on the too many men during their power play, “When Lemaire was complaining about the too many men calls last time, I thought he was singling out Paulie for not paying attention. So at least this time I’m like, ‘It’s not Paulie’s fault!'”)

— The Devils take another penalty mere moments after killing the too many men one, and we finally decide life is too short to be watching bad hockey in standard def. We move on to find a different game in HD, ostensibly just during the commercial break. Not to watch for good, mind you. Just a nibble.

— We come back after the “commercial break”. It’s now 4-1 Sabres. Pookie, who mans the zapper at stately IPB Manor, says, “Whoops. Sorry we missed the goal. I’m going to assume it was Oduya’s fault.”

— Welp, that game was poopy. Thank heavens we’ve got Yodels and ANTM to fall back on.

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The one and only good thing to come out of Brent Sutter’s morbid obsession with rendering Jay Pandolfo obsolete last season was that PandoNation was forced to face directly into the void and answer some very difficult questions. Questions like, “In the absence of our benevolent emperor/god, whose nation should we become.” And the answer presented itself with a Mona Lisa smile and a whiff of macrame; so the corrupt ruling priest class of PandoNation calmly formed AcornsNation on the side. Just to be ready when the time comes. And now that the terrible news has come down from on high that Pando will be out for 4-6 weeks, AcornsNation is ready to step up (while PandoNation spends the next month and a half raging a holy war against RuppNation).

Sadly, though, PaulieMartinNation had no such back-up plans in place, and is now emperor-godless for the next 4-6 weeks as well. It’s time to start looking at contingency plans, and here Pookie, the head corrupt ruling priestess of PaulieMartinNation, will give her opinion of each of the candidates, extemporaneously, as each player’s name is read aloud to her:

Niclas Bergfors: Oof. He’s upgraded from “sell” to “don’t sell”, but he’s not emperor-god material. Emperor-gods must stay upright at all times. And a have a minimum of, like, 25 NHL games.

David Clarkson: He’s a tasty morsel! He’d look good in a toga. I think he has the godlike appearance that an emperor-god requires, but not the consistency. Also, I’d have to fight Frisby for ClarksonNation, and I’m not ready to wage an all-out war.

Matt Halischuk: Who? NO!

Jamie Langenbrunner: That’s not even funny.

Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond: *Cracks up*

Rob Niedermayer: That’s just wrong on so many levels.

Zach Parise: *Heavy sigh* That’s a tough one. It seems like ZachPariseNation is a global superpower democracy. It’s no one’s Nation to own.

Egg Pelley: Well… he meets the 25 game requirement. Um. *Loooong pause* I don’t… My mind is strangely blown by the idea of EggNation.

Andrew Peters: No.

Ilkka Pikkarainen: There is no emperor-god in Lowell.

Brian Rolston: Please. I may be a Devils fan, but I have some self-respect. He is the single worst hockey player ever.

Travis Zajac: He’s taken! I don’t have the proper block crayons to fill out the citizenship forms for AcornsNation.

Dainius Zubrus: *Extremely long moment of contemplation* You know, I’d seriously consider him, but I don’t think there’s been a single moment when I’ve noticed him on the ice this season. I like my emperor-god to be visible to the human eye.

Mark Fraser: He’s foxy, but doesn’t meet the 25 game requirement.

Andy Greene: He’s not tall enough. *Pause* *Shifty eyes* You must be taller than… Andy Greene to be emperor-god. I mean, all of the statues we would erect of him would be miniature. We have massive bronze stores in PaulieMartinNation and we want to be able to use them.

Mike Mottau: *Hopeful* Isn’t he also injured?

Johnny Oduya: It would be a lateral, safe move. And he is putrid, so when Paulie comes back, if he’s also putrid, I would be able to view that as a normal baseline.

Bryce Salvador: Oooh! I didn’t even consider IronBoarNation! *Pause* Our money would kick ass. My one concern with him is that he blocks shots too much, which I hate. There would be a tough relationship then between me and my emperor-god. He’s a very strong choice. I daresay an Iron one.

Colin White: *Long, inscrutable silence* He’s like… *Longer, more inscrutable silence* I fell like he’s a little like Miracle Max. I feel like he’s kind of outside the emperor-god kingdom. If I want a really stay-at-home, never-try-anything-fancy d-guy, I’ll remember Miracle Whitey. But until then…

Martin Brodeur: If Zach is a global superpower democratic Nation, Marty is an intergalactic federation. Of starships. Also, I’d worry about the dormice population in PaulieMartinNation. They’re a protected species there.

Yann Danis: Why not just stick with Paulie then? What would be the difference?

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We haven’t done much to hide the fact that, for the first few weeks of this season, we haven’t really been paying very close attention. At the very outset it’s all just a blur of fuzzy, happy “hockey’s back!” vibes for us, and since then we’ve been anticipating and then participating in Patty Party. So now that Patty’s back (In Dallas) we’re ready to hunker down and take some stock of the hockey landscape. Here are some of our thoughts:

— *Meow Mix jingle*

— We really liked that the Devils won fairly deliciously in Pittsburgh last night.

— We really, really liked that in addition to the old reliable players like Brodeur and Parise, the keys to the win included fresh faces like Bergfors, Egg, and Fraser. Let the youth movement begin! Or, at the very least, let the young players continue to score fluke goals against a kinda shaky Fleury.

— We really do not like that the delicious win in Pittsburgh came at the expense of Pando and Paulie. All kidding aside, the Devils are a markedly worse team without Paulie than they are with him. All kidding front and center, that’s saying a lot, because even with him, they’re awful. No, really, just kidding. Now, we are not surprised that it was Butthead who broke Paulie, because that’s just the sort of thing Butthead does. We already had his name engraved indelibly in the ledger of officials enemies of PaulieMartinNation, and now his name is being added again. What surprised us, though, was that it was Rupp who broke Pando. Of all the guys PandoNation thought we’d have to add to our ledger of official enemies, Rupp was probably the last one we’d have considered. We mean, we rode in an elevator with him once, and he seemed so jolly and nice! Turns out we were lucky to get out of that elevator alive.

— Based on current trends in the NHL’s injury-reporting system, we can predict already what the prognosis is for Pando and Paulie: they’re both going to be out for “weeks”. This “weeks” thing is even more annoying that the “upper/lower-body injury” thing. Just give us a window, okay? Or someone make clear now that “weeks” means “less than five weeks, because once we get to five, we’d be saying ‘month(s)'”.

— Based on current trends in the NHL standings, we can predict that our preseason choice of the Ducks for the Presidents Trophy might be wrong. Might.

— Based on current trends of the first nine games of the Devils season, our preseason prediction of Lemaire being a terrible choice for the new head coach might be wrong. Might. We might not currently hate him. Might.

— Based on his performance so far this season, Brian Rolston is the almost certainly the single worst hockey player to ever lace ’em up. Almost certainly.

— Based on his performance so far this season, Travis Zajac might be super-dreamy. AcornsNation is so proud to have splintered off from PandoNation after annexing those western territories. Especially now that Pando is surely out for “weeks”.

— Based on the performance of the Devils in last year’s playoffs, we are never, ever, ever going to look at current trends and try to extrapolate them into some sort of prediction, though. So we’re just saying that nine games in, we like the Lemaire hiring, hate Rolston, and swoon for Acorns. Of course, 58 minutes and 40 seconds into Game 7 against Carolina, we thought the Devils were going to advance to the second round, so make of all of this what you will.

— We have absolutely no idea how the landscape of the NHL looks right now. Because we think looking at the standings this early in the season is stupid (other than to be cognizant that our Anaheim Presidents Trophy vigil can probably be called off), we don’t know what anyone else’s record is. And because the NHL thinks it’s really cute to keep scheduling all 30 teams to play at the same time on the same night, we don’t ever watch any teams other than the Devils (and in the last week, the Stars).

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Well, Patty Party is now officially over, so we’re going to spend a Saturday evening with a full slate of hockey while drowning our sorrows with wine and enjoying an open thread. There might not be any Patty, but it’s always a party here at IPB.

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When the schedule was released back in July, we immediately put our heads together with Patty (Still In Dallas Back Then) to find the perfect October week to come here to see a Devils game in person and enjoy all the wonders that New Jersey has to offer. We targeted this week for one specific reason: we could use Patty as our excuse for not writing a game diary for this game (or even watching it very closely. Or at all). But we kept that to ourselves and just pretended instead that this was the best week to visit for reasons like “foliage” and “whatever”. So imagine our horror when Patty showed up, we assessed our hockey television schedule for the week, and she exclaimed with delight about tonight’s game, “Ooh! Are y’all goin’ to do a dang-tootin’ diary that night, so I kin see it all in-person-like? Yee haw!” (She may or may not talk like that in person.) And we groaned and pulled our hair and rent our garments and made a huge fuss, but in the end hospitality won out, and we agreed to diarize while she was here. She is under express orders to bring some hilarity, to make our jobs easier.

Meanwhile, making our jobs decidedly NOT easier, Devils fans are once again getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop, and are stuck watching in miserable, loathsome standard def. And our intro to tonight’s game includes Doc putting a hex on Travis by talking all about how he’s only missed two games in his career. Pookie: “Ten bucks says he goes down with a terrible injury in this game.” Schnookie: “No bet.”

We get a “Poll Question Of The Night” that asks which player we like most to watch. Our options are Malkin, Kovalchuk, Ovechkin and Crosby. Pookie: “Wow. They don’t even include Zach as an option. That’s how crappy his start has been this season.” Pause. “They also don’t have Marty on there. And the big story tonight is that he could catch Sawchuk if he gets a shutout tonight. Nice.”

FIRST PERIOD

19:37 The lines are stupid again tonight. We’re not going to dignify them with a response. Oh, and as the game starts, Pookie observes that they can put those “fancy” digital ads on the glass, but they can’t give us HD. Patty: “What is this? 2008?”

18:23 Putrid Paulie is dressed tonight, instead of Perfect Paulie. Marty makes a stop on the first Devils shot of the night, from Gaborik, and Paulie skates up to the well-directed rebound, makes like he wants to clear it, but instead flubs it and leaves it in the slot. PaulieMartinNation is deeply ashamed.

15:13 Some nice work on the near boards turns into the possibility of Zach getting a shot from the high slot, but he’s all spaced out and unresponsive to the incoming pass, and basically the whole thing just falls apart into a huge pile of poop. Pookie: “If Zach wasn’t having that Hooters Baby, we’d be up by a goal right now.”

14:30 Avery and Applesauce fight.

IPB Fight

Whatevs.

13:46 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Zach says, “Hooters Baby THIS!” as he sneaks behind all the Rangers to be the end recipient of a fantastic passing sequence (started by Perfect Paulie), gets in on the Prawn on a short breakaway, and scores with a sublime economy of motion. 1-0 Devils, and Pookie’s not sorry she accused Zach of having a Hooters Baby. We’re beginning to suspect he’s the new Patty Elias, in that we have to be constantly complaining about him in order for him not to suck.

12:15 The scorched-earth PP gets a chance to show off its stink lines when some Ranger trips a guy.

10:15 AIEEE!! The stink lines! They burn our eyes!

6:35 Gilroy attempts a point shot, and Boomer cracks, “Oooh, Gilroy. I can’t believe that didn’t go in.” Pookie adds, “I can’t believe the puck didn’t just ascend to heaven in a fiery chariot.” Patty: “He was doing that a lot but they finally had to ask him to stop because they were running out of pucks.”

4:46 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO WAY! We thought all Bergfors knew how to do was skate behind the net and fall over. But it turns out he can also beautifully tip a Clarkson shot/pass over the Prawn’s shoulder to make it 2-0 Devils. When he grins in celebration, Patty coos, “Aww. He hasn’t even grown into his adult teeth yet!”

0:47 Marty has to scramble to make a great goal-line stand because Paulie sets Langer up to be the outlet pass guy after offensive pressure from the Rangers, and Langer decides, after assessing all of his options, to feed a perfect pass to a streaking Blueshirt just inside the center of the blue line. There are no Devils anywhere around him. It’s hard to figure what prompted that play, if you discard out of hand the notion that Langer is on the Rangers payroll. And that’s not a notion we’re discarding out of hand. Just sayin’.

0:00 Well, we’ve certainly seen worse periods between these teams!

SECOND PERIOD

18:54 Chico is blathering on about how the Rangers are leading the league in goals by d-men, and how the Devils need more offense from the blue line, and then something about how the Bergfors goal is the first deflection goal for the Devils this season, and then he spends a lot of time trying to extricate himself from the facts of the Bergfors goal. Namely, that the deflection was on a Clarkson shot, and Clarkson is not a d-man. Facts and Chico are not good friends.

18:19 Applesauce spears an on-charging Ranger in the face while trying to avoid being hit, and Chico starts to complain that all he saw was Applesauce getting hit, and now he’s the one going to the penalty box. A perfect, slow-mo replay showing the Ranger’s head being skewered by Applesauce’s stick forces Chico to trail off a bit, and Pookie challenges him, “Just try to tell me that shouldn’t be a penalty, Chico.”

18:10 The PK is a brief and unsuccessful one. A long point shot through a thicket of players makes the game 2-1 Devils.

13:45 The Iron Boar looks gimpy after being forced to block a shot on a dreadfully putrid Putrid Paulie turnover in front of the Devils net. And then Putrid Paulie splays on the ice, swirling like a fallen windmill, as Gilroy (the Golden God) skates easily around him. Marty stops the play in its tracks, though, with a sassy break-up of a cross-crease pass.

12:46 After Halischuk gets in on a one-on-one but decides to pass instead of shooting, the Rangers head down the other way and Marty is called upon to make a dazzling little toe save. Chico stuns the entire MSG+ audience by sniffing that Marty just stuck his foot out and the puck hit it. Is this Joe Micheletti in a Chico costume?

11:23 This game has been taken over by Putrid Paulie.

10:23 Play is looking a little choppy right now, but mostly tilted, as Doc would say, toward the Rangers. Patty sums things up nicely while responding to a play at center ice, “Oh my gosh! If I was a Rangers fan I’d be mad.” Pause. “But then I’d be relieved.”

9:56 We had been mellowing a bit recently on our hard-line anti-Niedermayer-the-Lesser stance. But now we’re back to where we started with him; he hits Roszival on an icing and gets penalized for it. (Chico tries to tell us that it’s not Niedermayer’s job to know whether icing is being called on any given play where he might be chasing down a potential icing. It’s clearly not Micheletti anymore.)

7:56 It’s a miracle! The PK manages not to give up a goal!

6:21 Shortly after the Devils scored their second goal, Schnookie declared, “The game can end now. This was awesome.” It seems the Devils thought that was actually happening.

5:35 The Zach/Zubrus/Langer line manages to put together a good scoring chance, with Zach leading Zubrus for a shot from the near circle, but there are no Devils in sight after the shot to follow up on the rebound. And there also aren’t any Devils in sight defensively behind the play, and Kotalik scores on the ensuing breakaway. 2-2 game.

3:30 Schnookie has been on a loud, wine-fueled rant about how much she hates Devils/Rangers games, and finally Pookie tries to defuse the situation with a little Katamari humor. “Knock knock,” she says. “Who’s there?” Schnookie shouts belligerently. “The Rangers,” Pookie answers. “The Rangers who?” “The Rangers. That is our name. And we are assholes.” Good one, Pookie!

2:43 Niedermayer the Lesser (whom we may have mentioned recently we fully hate again) and Bergfors have an opportunity to get a two-on-none on a terrible Rangers change… and they go offsides. It seems like the Devils hate Devils/Rangers games as much as we do. At least we hope they do. Because they really suck at them.

0:30 Paulie makes a good play to keep the puck in the Rangers zone. “Come on, guys,” Pookie exhorts, “Build in that!” Still in the pits of despair, Schnookie grumbles, “He’s still got a lot of putridity to make up for.” Pookie: “Yeah, but I was hoping that was the courageous play they could all get behind.” Even she doesn’t believe that.

0:00 Well, we’ve seen better periods between these two teams.

THIRD PERIOD

19:53 We’re making ourselves feel better about this game by looking at pictures of a fabric line called “Chum=Chum bear”. It’s adorable. Chum=Chum Devils/Rangers is less adorable.

18:00 Rangers fans start their chant for The Prawn after he stops a Clarkson shot from the side of the net. Silly Rangers fans. Clarkson never scores from the side of the net unless he carried the puck around behind the net first.

16:55 Boyle tries to truck into the Devils zone, but after a long rush up the rink, has the puck roll off his stick around the faceoff circles. Doc’s call, though, is that Boyle was defended off by Andy Greene, who, by our judgment, seemed just to have been standing nearby when the puck was lost. Patty: “He was defended off by Greene’s heat shield. Which extends about eight feet in front of him.”

16:24 Pookie, grumbling to herself as Paulie goes offsides: “Paulie’s having a Mrs. Pancake Baby.”

15:31 In the course of his play-by-play, Doc says someone was “defended off by Rolston”. Pookie: “I’ll believe that if I see it.” Pause. “And because this is standard def, I can pretend I didn’t see it.”

13:37 Applemotherfuckingsauce saves Marty’s bacon hugely when Marty passes the puck from behind the net to a Ranger in the slot. As the MSG crowd is warming up its best mocking, goal-celebrating cheer, Applesauce dives to break up the turnover at just the last second. The crowd is left with the far less satisfying mocking, no-goal-was-actually-scored chant.

12:09 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wha-HUH???? No one – and we mean no one — is paying any attention as the Rangers seem to have everything under control with the puck behind their net, and suddenly the d-man is being pressured by a Devil, the puck gets turned over to Zach high around the far boards, Zach moves a shot netward in a blink of an eye, and Zubrus is on the spot to tip the shot past a completely oblivious Prawn. It’s 3-2 Devils, and even Chico thinks that lead came out of nowhere.

9:30 In the course of his play-by-play, Doc describes Girardi as “kneeling”. Pookie: “Girardi’s kneeling to pour libations for Gilroy.”

9:05 Travis gets a mini-break on the Prawn, but the Prawn’s glove is stronger than Travis’s shot.

6:39 Uh oh. The Devils are Applesauceless right now, and our intrepid broadcast team doesn’t know why.

5:53 The Rangers have a thousand glorious opportunities, with a madly scrambling Marty and Devils D losing the puck and their bearings, but all of a sudden Rolston’s got the puck, is looking to clear it, and the Ranger holding the point just decides to let him walk on by. So Rolston and Zach get a rink-long two-on-one on which neither guy wants to shoot the puck. What, because both of them are shy? Neither believes he deserves a chance to shoot? We hope it’s because neither thinks he’s good enough to score, because that would be correct.

2:38 Pookie: “Okay, there are two and a half minutes left in this game.” Schnookie: “Plenty of time for them to rip my heart out of my chest.” Pookie: “And put it in a tote bag while it’s still bleeding out.”

2:00 Callahan gets unleashed on a long breakaway, and at the very last minute, as his stick is just about to strike the puck on his big shot, Whitey dives from miles behind him and gets just the tiniest piece of the stick, breaking up the play. Yowza.

0:40 When the Rangers pulled the goalie, Pookie asked, “Why is Zach out there?” Well… WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! He’s there to score into the empty net. 4-2 Devils, and now we all get to revisit JP Parise’s first goal with the Northstars thanks to Chico never being able to let us get through a Rangers game without talking about him.

0:23 Oduya takes a hooking penalty. Argh!

0:00 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have definitely seen worse games between these two teams! Not only that, but in closing out the broadcast, Doc says that Gel-O and Stan are going to “break down the game with soldering irons and saws”. Shout-out! Shout-out!

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