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Archive for December, 2009

It seems sort of strange that we should have to chase yesterday’s amazing game against the Pens with another game right away. Shouldn’t the schedule have built in some time for savoring? What gives? Anyway, we’re back in the saddle already, with the Devils in Chicago and in lo-def. BOOO! We wanted 2009 to go out with a bang, and instead, it’s going out with a murky haze of what might be two of the top teams in the NHL, but might also just be some red- and white-colored blobs moving around a blueish-white TV screen.

Our intro is all about Madden, whom we’d pretty much forgotten. If Marty lets him score tonight, our entire decade will have been ruined.

Wait, never mind – it doesn’t matter if Madden scores, because Stan manages to fit a whole bunch of so-lame-they-don’t-even-qualify-as-terrible puns about various players’ names before the game starts. And with that, our decade has been ruined. And the cherry on top is that Peters is back in the lineup tonight. Did we ever say we liked hockey?

FIRST PERIOD

17:11 When Land Zhark’s name comes up in the play-by-play, it’s greeted with a chorus of “Candygram!” here at stately IPB Manor, and then Pookie suddenly blurts, “Blandygram!” Pause. “Have I said that before?”

16:30 Chico chortles about Peters’s excuse for his tie-down issue in the last game he played. Apparently he was “so excited he forgot to tie his sweater down”. On the one hand, we want to complain about what a complete fucking idiot he is, but on the other hand, we really liked that he got tossed out of that game early. Peters makes life so difficult.

13:47 The first big scoring chance of the night for the Devils comes from some hustle by Zach in front of the net. It’s stopped by Huet, and then our audio picks up some jubilant female squealing that makes it sound as if Gel-O and Chico are broadcasting from a party boat. Which, considering the legend of Gel-O that Stalky thought up last season, is probably the case. It is the New Year, after all.

8:59 We miss a few minutes while assembling our meringue mushrooms, and come back to hear a story that Madden asked Marty to bring him a few game-used sticks that he could give to people in Chicago. And Marty apparently said that if Madden scores on him, those sticks will get packed up and go ahead with the team to Minnesota. Heh.

5:50 Marty makes an amazing save on what looks like a gimme at the far post (or maybe the Blackhawk just whiffs on his shot, or hits the post – we can’t really see because this picture is so terrible. It’s like we’re watching through the windshield of the Med U.S.A.) on a delayed penalty, and after the shot, Madden goes down in a giant, flailing heap, his gloves flying everywhere as he clutches his face as if his life force is ebbing out of it. Pookie then reminds us of our favorite Maddenism from his Devils days: “THAT STICK TOUCHED MY EYE!” We go to commercial, and when we come back Chico is confused about whether a second penalty is being called on the play, with the initial whatever-it-was, and then the high stick on Whitey. It turns out that Whitey is in the box, but only for one penalty. Madden hasn’t gotten any better at drawing high-sticking penalties than he was in Jersey.

5:16 Blandy didn’t bring his A game with him on this trip, it seems, and Brouwer scores the first of what we suspect will be many Hawks goals tonight. 1-0 Chicago.

3:31 The Med U.S.A. is taking on water! Blandy didn’t even bring his B game with him on this trip, and after he whiffs on an attempt to just carry the puck in the defensive zone, Eager scores. It’s 2-0 Chicago, and you know what? If the Devils are going to have a let-down game (which they clearly are, and we can’t blame them for that, since we’re not exactly all that interested in them playing tonight either), would it killthem to let the hot guys on the Blackhawks score? What’s with this Brouwer and Eager crap? Why not Mr. Beefy or Duncan Keith?

0:00 Remember how good that game against the Pens last night was? Remember that feeling? Yeah, we don’t either.

SECOND PERIOD

19:38 Gel-O brings us back to the action by casually mentioning that the Devils are down by two. Schnookie: “Yeah, but it feels like 17.” Pookie: “If they let in another, I’m throwing mushrooms at their heads.”

17:49 Just as Pookie gets up to check on the mushrooms, the Devils make themselves into mushroom targets by all stopping in the neutral zone to watch while the Blackhawks get a two-on-one way in close, and Ladd makes it 3-0 Chicago. At least Mr. Beefy got the assist, so there was some pulchritude involved. Boomer sums things up well by sighing, “Well, put this in the loss column.”

16:50 The Devils respond well to falling into an insurmountable hole by taking a penalty. Chico tries to cheer us up by mentioning now that the Hawks have such a terribly-managed salary cap that they are in a hard-and-fast “win now” situation. And you know what? We’re petty enough that it does help to hear that.

15:34 Gel-O decides to tell us now that the penalty was to Mottau, for holding. We don’t really care. It’s all of the same here on the bleak ship Med U.S.A.

13:51 Zach fails to score on a penalty shot. Pookie points out that he’s gone an entire game without a goal, and maybe it’s time for us all to get worried again.

13:03 The Chicago crowd gets to roar with derision at the patheticness of the Devils when Rolston winds up to take a giant slapshot on the fly, and a Hawk just skates up behind him and takes the puck away. Don’t get too excited, Hawks fans – after all, Rolston is the worst hockey player on earth.

8:30 Hey! There’s Mr. Beefy! Taking a tripping penalty! Thanks for letting a handsome guy on the scoresheet, Devils. Oh, and now it’s time for the first PP of this fine, fine let-down game. Should be exciting.

6:30 Hmph.

6:04 As if this game is feeling sorry for us, the Devils get another PP. Chico tells us the Devils need to start doing something to generate something. We’re not waiting for that while hanging from a rope around our necks. (We have spent the last few minutes reading the final entry on the Top Ten Reasons Why This Feminist Is A Sports Fan” list we linked to yesterday. The reason is “Sports are Joyful”. Schnookie reads it aloud to Pookie and Boomer, and after we contemplate that, we agree the author can only be saying that because she hasn’t seen this game.)

4:04 This entire fucking power play has been in the Devils’ zone. It is capped off, though, by Madden attempting a spin-a-rama shorthanded chance. It’s exactly as hilarious as it sounds.

2:25 If we had to come up with a list of top ten reasons why we hate sports, this game would be at least six of the items on that list. Gotta love going from the high highs to the low lows.

0:44 Boomer puts things into perspective by asking, “Which would you rather have? The shutout against the Pens, or winning this game?” She makes a good point, but would it have killed the Devils to give us both?

0:00 Woo hoo! Only 20 more minutes! (We get an interview with Andrew Ladd, and as Pookie emphatically hits the mute button, she snarls, “Shut up, Ladd. I don’t like you.” Pause. “And my friend doesn’t like you either.” Boomer then adds, “And shut up, Stan.” Schnookie: “I like you even less.”)

THIRD PERIOD

19:38 Pookie is busy staging a meringue mushroom photoshoot, and can’t unmute the TV. So we’re spared whatever Chico’s trying to say right now about how easy it’ll be for the Devils to get back in this.

18:44 Back-to-back icings is not, we don’t think, how the Devils are going to get back in this.

17:40 Pookie finally comes back into the living room and says, “Well, at least it’s not 4-0, which is better than last time I came in from the kitchen during play.” As if on cue, the Hawks take a delay-of-game penalty. Chico tries to suggest that the comeback is starting here. We’re not sure we believe him.

17:12 A clearing attempt whips into the Hawks bench and drills Hjarmalsson in the side of the head. He goes down hard and is slow to get back up, then staggers slowly off the bench into the dressing room. That’s not cool.

15:19 Well now it’s 4-0 Chicago. Instead of watching this game, would you like to see some baby pictures of our meringue mushrooms? Why, of course – we’d love to share them with you!

Makin' Mushrooms

Meringue Mushrooms 1

Meringue Mushrooms

10:30 We return to paying attention the game in time to hear Chico telling us all about how John Madden’s kid was all sad about having to leave New Jersey, and blah blah blah, and if he’s trying to get us to gain sympathy for the Madden family while we’re watching this crap, Chico’s crazier than we thought.

4:49 When Madden scores from long range to make it 5-0 Chicago, we call it quits. Pookie: “There goes that decade.”

0:00 Welp, that sucked from tippy top to tippy bottom. Regardless, Happy New Year, Gentle Reader!

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We spent some time before the broadcast here started by reading the totally awesome series, Top Ten Reasons Why This Feminist Is A Sports Fan from Bitch Media. If you want to feel great about sports and why you enjoy watching it, male or female, feminist or no, take the time to check it out (it’s only reasons 10-2 as of this writing). We’re feeling all warm and fuzzy and choked up right now. Being a sports fan rawks, doesn’t it?

Oh, there’s a hockey game on! Let’s get to it, shall we?

FIRST PERIOD

Wait, no Doc? BOOOOO! This blows!

18:13 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! What the hell? Boogerfors is standing at the near boards, just a bit north of the corner, his back to the goal, with Travis working a little bit of puck-loosening forecheck, and suddenly Boogerfors whips the puck toward the goal and it goes right though Johnson into the net. 1-0 Devils, and we haven’t even had time to feel insulted that Fleury isn’t in net. Pookie wonders if maybe the NHL isn’t suffering an epidemic of crazy-ass, what with the Pikkarainen, Salvador, and Mason Raymond goals recently. She might be on to something.

14:49 Lemaire must read IPB, because he’s placated the militant LandZharkNation by putting their emperor-god on a line with Clarkson. Considering all the unrest between those nations’ borders recently, this could help facilitate a détente.

12:40 Gel-O and Chico are chortling about how Mike Rupp was in the starting lineup so he could be cheered by the Devils fans when he was announced over the PA, but Pookie speaks for all of PandoNation when she snarls, “Or they could boo him. Like the butcher he am.”

10:59 Hambone makes a great defensive play to help Marty with a juicy rebound under Pens pressure, and the fans cheer when Marty finally covers the puck. The audio is kinda bizarre, though, like we’re hearing the fans through a seashell or something.

10:25 Gordie Howe is in the house again! Yay!

9:29 Land Zhark touches the puck during a nothing kind of sequence in the Pens zone, and after a few seconds, Schnookie mutters into her bowl of soup, “Candygram.” Pookie: “Thank you. I’m so glad that’s caught on. Here. With you guys. It hasn’t taken the entire fanbase by storm yet, but it will. Someday Zharkov is going to be a Folk Hero, and Doc’s call will be, ‘BIG DRIVE! And CANDYGRAM!‘” What can we say? Pookie’s a dreamer.

6:11 We’ve been chuckling all evening over our new tranny gentleman callers’ approach to righting their epically sinking ship; it seems the Blue Jackets have gotten t-shirts that say “It Starts Now”. That’ll make it all better! Anyway, we’ve been trying to think of what dumb-ass acronym that could be, along the lines of those idiotic t-shirts teams invariably cook up during the playoffs, and Boomer suggested the guys are all required to carry the t-shirts in their pockets with them at all times. As the Devils let a power play chance peter out with a whimper, Pookie starts in again on the BJs. She suggests that Rick Nash’s new approach to captaining is to be all “Good Will Hunting” on his teammates, randomly hugging them and repeating “It starts now” over and over like the “It’s not your fault” scene.

4:09 Pookie, watching the Devils wheel pointlessly in the Pittsburgh zone: “This game has been like watching paint dry.” Pause. “It’s like watching a very thin coat of really beautiful paint dry.” Pause. “It’s been like watching the paint dry on the canvas after Monet’s painted.” Pause. “Just kidding. It’s like Klimt.”

4:02 Our Geico Quotebook is Langer’s remarks about how great a captain Captain Hugs will be for the Czech Olympic team. Chico tells us that Langer would be a reliable judge of that, because he knows a lot about what it’s like to be a captain. Schnookie: “He knows a lot about what it’s like to wear Patty’s C.”

2:08 MSG+ gives us our favorite stat screen so far of the season: the Devils have played the fewest games in the conference, and have the most points. It’s been a great slightly-less-than-first-half-of-the-season, hasn’t it?

0:00 Well, we’ve got no complaints about that period!

SECOND PERIOD

18:26 Just as Gel-O is telling us that the Applesauce/Whitey d-pairing is staying intact while Lemaire deals with the Iron Boar being out of the lineup, the Devils commit a series of defensive blunders that lead to a dazzling five-man turnover. That is some marvelous ineptitude in action there.

17:52 Applesauce shows off that he doesn’t need teammates to help him commit egregious defensive-zone turnovers. He can do that all by himself, thankyouverymuch.

14:41 So far, the Pens look like they might be remembering how to play hockey in this period. Marty is called on to hold fast as a handful of Pens get some pressure right on the doorstep. Meanwhile, we’re discussing the time that Pookie had a patron request the Clive Cussler book “Med U.S.A.”, which took her forever to realize was actually “Medusa”. When Marty has to make a snappy glove save immediately off the ensuing faceoff, Pookie steps away from her contention that “Med U.S.A.” totally sounds like it could be a Clive Cussler title (“It would be about a submarine class called ‘Med’ that belongs to the USA…”) to interject that she is confident the Pens are scoring the next goal. To which Boomer adds, “The next goal? Is huge.”

12:55 Why is all the background noise being muffled when Gel-O is speaking? This game sounds so weird. Like we’re watching it underwater or something, almost as if we’re aboard the Med U.S.A. There is now no audible sound from the crowd, and only the tiniest bit of schuss-schuss and clatter and clack from the ice.

11:36 Rolston goes offsides on a three-on-two. Pookie neglects to boo, but does remark, “He’s like the new Brian Gionta.”

10:33 There’s a stoppage in play, and the officials give a long lecture to Bylsma. Chico tells us that he wouldn’t want to conjecture about what it could be, but it could be because of verbal abuse from the bench. Or something. He wouldn’t want to say anything, since he doesn’t know for sure. Pookie, as Sid: “You can go fuck yourself!” (After the talk with Bylsma, the ref gives a shorter talk to Lemaire. When he finishes and turns back to the game, Jacques breaks into a smirky, shit-eating grin. We wouldn’t want to make anything up about what happened there, since we don’t know for sure, but we like to think that whatever it was, Jacques well above it all. Heh.)

8:37 Gel-O tells us the Pens are clearly showing frustration now. Which can only mean they’re about to score.

8:11 Whoa! Malkin, not looking even remotely frustrated, turns Fraser inside-out and appears to be about to score a highlight-reel goal with absolute ease, but Marty challenges hard, skating out of the crease to meet him, and makes a gorgeous stand-up save to stop Malkin in his tracks. It’s neither the first nor the last time that a defender is grateful for having Marty in the goal behind him. Rolston and Rupp take matching minors in the ensuing scrum.
We come back from commercial to find out that Clarkson has left the bench.

7:16 This four-on-four has been insane. First , Marty makes a lightning-fast save off a wildly clever faceoff move by Sid, then Sid humiliatingly shanks on a one-time attempt on the next rush, and then Travis gets in alone on a two-on-one with Zach, but can’t beat Johnson. Schnookie: “Argh! Those always go in against Fleury!”

4:21 The last few minutes have been utterly fantastic and uptempo. We’re sure the Pens announcers are currently telling their audience how boringly trappy this game has been, though. It is 1-0, after all.

3:31 Chico tells us that the Pens’ secondary is obviously going to have to score, since the “big guns” aren’t getting anything against the Devils this season. Schnookie: “Please. There is plenty of time for Sid and Malkin to score in this game.”

0:59 Pando yoinks the puck like the yoinking supahstah he am, then springs Langer in alone on Johnson, but stupid Langer doesn’t convert for a goal. Pookie speaks for all of PandoNation when she grumbles, “If he wasn’t saddled with such crappy linemates…”

0:00 We don’t have much to complain about with that period either.

THIRD PERIOD

17:45 Oduya puts on a little bit of a show, stutter-stepping around a defending Penguin, then circling behind the net, then lacing a perfect feed through a thicket of players in front, but his set-up comes to naught when the recipient of his pass, Pando, fires an eminently stoppable shot on net. Pookie: “If only Oduya wasn’t saddled with such terrible forwards…” Not. Funny.

16:48 Official word: Clarkson has a lower-body injury. Isn’t it reassuring to get that official report?

16:43 Cooke gets called for slashing and Chico insists that he has no idea what happened. Neither, apparently, does the director of tonight’s broadcast, because there is no replay. Hey, if we wanted that kind of coverage, we’d watch Versus or NBC! (Chico does assure us, though, that just because he didn’t see it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good call. Thanks, Chico. We were wondering.)

15:40 MSG+ is married to the behind-the-net overhead camera during this PP, even with play in the neutral and Devils zones. Pookie’s eyes suddenly start watering and she declares that her allergies always flare up around terrible live-action camera choices.

14:43 That was not a power play for the ages.

12:18 It looks like Blandy has just thrown his glove and stick at Dupuis while skating out of the corner to Marty’s left, but when the officials blow the whistle and call a penalty, it’s to Kunitz for slashing Blandy’s stick (and glove) out of his hands. That’s kind of sad. It looked like Blandy was losing his mind for a second there. When actually it’s just that he’s like a hockey-playing robot, who can’t be swayed from his mission to defend against Dupuis, no matter how bereft of stick and glove he might be.

11:14 Zach is stopped on a great set-up by Blandy, and Chico informs us that the Devils might not be scoring on their PPs, but they’re getting ever-so-much-closer with every chance. Schnookie, ever the optimist, says, “Cue: short-handed goal.”

10:52 Marty makes a snazzy glove save on a backhand shorty attempt by Sid, then feeds the puck up to Land Zhark for a three-on-two on which no one wants to shoot, but on which Zharkov emphatically launches one of the zippiest drop-passes we’ve ever seen. We’d still prefer to have seen a goal, though.

10:47 Sid attempts to make a rink-length clear, and instead lofts the puck and gets what is nearly a rink-length delay-of-game penalty. Pookie: “He didn’t know his own strength. He used his buttcheeks just a little bit too hard.” It’s now time for the Devils’ brutal five-on-three.

10:18 That five-on-three was, as advertised, brutal. Even with Gonchar hobbled (Boomer: “He’s hopping around on his bloody stump.”), the Devils can’t score. Chico cautioned us during Jacques’s timeout before the two-man advantage that scoring on the five-on-three “isn’t automatic”; we’ve been watching this team all season, so we didn’t really need that heads-up.

8:16 Gel-O alerts us that Bylsma is shaking up his lines. Malkin’s out right now with Rupp and Butthead. We wonder how Malkin feels skating with two butchers. It’s like an unholy monster line, with one Marty-killer, one Pando-killer, and one Paulie-killer.

5:53 Pookie has a coworker who recently lamented that she doesn’t know what to do with her free time since finishing grad school, and Pookie suggested she try watching hockey. The coworker’s response was that she can’t watch sports, because they’re too confusing. There is nothing confusing about what’s going on here – end-to-end, wild action, with Marty making a save at one end that draws a “Marty! Marty!” chant that even we can hear on the bottom of the sea in the Med U.S.A, and then a three-on-one the other way that leads to a great shoulder save by Johnson on Zach. Sports are great.

3:24 Gel-O’s play-by-play remarks that “the Pens captain” was met by Blandy behind the net, and Pookie finishes for him, “and the Pens captain is bested by Andy Greene.” This prompts Schnookie to start muttering, “You’ve bested my giant…”, and soon we’re imagining the Vizzini/iocane powder scene from “Princess Bride”, featuring Bylsma against Blandy. Pookie: “Clearly the poison can’t be in the burrito in front of me!”

1:26 Travis decides to be a human blanket on Malkin in the corner to Marty’s right, and when he gets called for it, it’s the Pens’ first power play of the night. The Pens call a timeout, and when they come back to the ice, Johnson’s on the bench for the extra attacker. Thank heavens Marty got 104 against these guys already, or we’d be losing our minds right now.

0:11 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What does it take for Langer to score into an empty net? Getting past the guy at the point and being able to skate the length of the ice to score from two feet out. 2-0 Devils, and honestly, the last minute and a half has been just fantastic goaltending, defense, and awesomeness in general.

0:00 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! What a game! It might as well have been 1-0, and don’t let anybody ever tell you that a 1-0 game is inherently boring. This was 60 minutes of kick-ass marvelousness. Hockey is awesome, and right now, the Devils are awesome.

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APPLEBEES HOSTESS: “I’m sorry, sir, but you can’t eat here without pants. It’s a policy put in by the corporate heads.”
PAULIE: “Well they can go fuck themselves!”

***

OFFICIAL HOCKEY HALL OF FAME STATISTICIAN: “I’m afraid ‘plastic star’ is not an officially recognized award.”
ZACH: “You can go fuck yourself!”

***

GROCERY STORE BAGGER: “There are no more plastic bags. You’re going to have to take paper.”
LANGER: “You can go fuck yourself!”

***

ART STORE CLERK: “Nope, we don’t have block crayons. Only stick ones.”
TRAVIS: “You can go fudge yourself!”

***

ANDY GREENE: “Uh, there isn’t an all-star game this year. The NHL is participating in the Olympics instead.”
STAN FISCHLER & RICH CHERE: “They can go fuck themselves!”
ANDY GREENE: “Word.”

***

US BORDER GUARD: “ClarksonNation is not recognized by the United State of America. This ‘passport’ has booked you a one way ticket to the detention room, mister!”
CLARKSON: “You and your ‘real’ nation can go fuck yourselves! Er, I mean, here’s my real passport. No, no! Don’t deport me!”

***

MARTY: “I’m the all-time wins and shutouts leader! Go me!”
PATRICK ROY: “You can go fuck yourself.”
MARTY: “::Smirk::”

***

LOU: “And that completes our trade of Cam Janssen for Bryce Salvador.”
BLUES GM: “Aw, fuck me. Cam Janssen?!”

***

YANN DANIS: “Please, sir, I’d like to start.”
LEMAIRE: “Go fuck yourself.”

***

ANDREW PETERS: ::Breathes::
THE OOKIES: “You can go fuck yourself.”

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It feels like it’s been a thousand years since we last saw the Devils, and it’s going to be a couple extra hours beyond that for us tonight, as we’re on tivo delay. We’ll try to post our increasingly incoherent thoughts, though, as we watch the game in the increasingly late, late night tonight. It should be fun!

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— What is UO with that commercial for whichever car it is that has that man-sized hamster driving the car? We keep waiting for the payoff, or at least the explanation, but no. It’s just a man-sized hamster gazing into the car showroom, and then driving around in the car. Why? What’s the point? Do they want us to think of their vehicles as hamster wheels? Because that doesn’t seem like a great thing to be associating an automaker’s product with. Good thing we have no idea which automaker is responsible for the commercial. (Way to be a doubly effective commercial, hamster. We don’t understand you, and we don’t remember what you’re for.)

— Meanwhile, and perhaps more importantly, the armed forces of ClarksonNation are practicing all their finest parade formations, because their emperor-god is supposed to return to the lineup tomorrow! WOO HOOOO!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2368282165/

The only bad news there is that just across the border, all those ceremonial displays of military might from ClarksonNation are making the citizens of the young ZharkovNation nervous. They are mounting their own displays in response.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2179059493/

This could get ugly.

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Open Thread Saturday

Welcome back, Gentle Reader! Or, if we want to annoy Heather with our Texas-yness, howdy! We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, and that everyone expecting a visit from Santa had a good one. We’re currently buried under a mountain of loot and leftover foodstuffs, and ready for what we consider the second half of the hockey season to begin. (We’re actually going to be out with friends this evening for our annual December 26 Discussion Of The Loot but we shouldn’t be back too late…)

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Merry Christmas Mats

‘Tis the day before Christmas and all through stately IPB Manor not a creature is stirring except for Victory Euro Mats.

Christmas Mats

He’s here to wish all of our Gentle Readers a safe and happy holiday.

Merry Christmas Mats

Since hockey is taking a break for Christmas, so are we; we’ll be spending the holiday enjoying good food, good cheer, and good company, and hope for all the same for y’all.

Merry Christmas Mats

We’ll see you back here again on Saturday!

Merry Christmas Mats

What should we have asked for for Christmas? Better photoshopping skills.

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