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Archive for the ‘Calling For Sutter’s Head On A Plate’ Category

Literally the instant we hit “Publish” on this doozy of a post, Pookie remembered — kind of — what we wanted to write about:

We were discussing how Edmonton and Calgary could both have seceded from the NHL without us noticing this year, and Pookie marveled at how she was only discovering right then that Pat Quinn was coaching the Oilers. To which we wondered aloud who was coaching the Flames.

There was a pause.

Then Pookie smirked, “Oh yeah! I remember who! Heh heh.”

Then there was another pause, while Schnookie caught up.

And then Pookie said, “Brent Sutter. I like to think of him as the Kevin Constantine of the late Aughts.”

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen! Thank you very much!

And this is why they pay us the big bucks.

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After an afternoon of contemplating the news out of Newark today, here’s our official stance on Sutter’s decision to step down as head coach of the Devils: Meh. A big, fat, hairy “meh”. Or, since it’s Sutter we’re talking about, a “meh” that looks like Edward Gorey’s Beastly Baby. In any event, the whole thing is just another chapter of our lives as Devils fans when the team didn’t win shit. We can’t get too worked up over losing a coach that led the team to two straight first-round losses. We can, however, start day-dreaming about who Lou will bring in to replace him. No, we’re not talking Carbonneau, or Nolan, or Johnny Mac (now that would be the stuff of nightmares) — we’re talking some newbie AHL hidden treasure like Pete DeBoer or Dan Bylsma. Youngish, bookish-looking, more likely to appreciate Pando more than Rupp, and maybe even willing to strip to Langer of his C. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

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We’ve been feeling for the last 48 hours somewhat disconnected from our peers in the Diablogosphere because, well, we’re not stunned and horrified by what happened to the Devils in Game 7 against Carolina. Sure, there’s no question it’s a terrible and humiliating loss, but it’s also completely in character for the Devils. If it was at all uncharacteristic, we’d be feeling like we were punched in the gut, but since it’s not, we’re feeling a lot more like it’s something you just shrug your shoulders at and maybe roll your eyes.

Now, we’re sure there aren’t statbits to back this up, but our tra-la-la-feelingsbits about the last three-plus seasons have been that the Devils are simply terrible at closing things out. It is not uncommon to see them give up a late lead. In the seminal “blown late lead” Carolina/Jersey playoff game, Game 2 in 2006, we chorused afterwards, when a national television commentator asked, “Who saw this coming?”, “WE DID!” It is not uncommon to see them wilt down the stretch after a powerhouse January and February. When Claude Julien was fired with three games left in the season in 2007, we weren’t stunned — nope, that’s just the Devils. Not the coach-killing (well, yes the coach-killing), but the late-season craptitude. It is not uncommon in the Sutter Era to see the Devils stop pressing late in a game when they have a one- or two-goal deficit as soon as they pull the goalie for the extra attacker. In the moments when they should have the most advantage in the clutch, they disappear. Basically, the character of the New Jersey Devils over at least the last three seasons is that they are not closers.

So when they couldn’t get a two-goal lead in the third period on Tuesday, we knew, as seasoned Devils-watchers, that every minute that ticked off the clock was just getting us that much closer to a more legendarily colossal collapse. And now that’s back-to-back playoff years that have concluded with Lou saying it’s the worst loss he’s ever seen the franchise suffer. Last year it was a complete failure against our hated rival, this year it was 80 seconds of suck. So what do we need to change all this? What is the key to making this franchise into a finisher, or, better yet, a winner again?

Is it a new coach?

New captain?

New players in the place of departing graybearded free agents?

Or maybe just a motivational speaker? (NSFW)

If this isn’t what the Devils’ exit interviews play out like this year, maybe it’s time to get a new GM, too.

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The scene: stately IPB Manor. Schnookie and Boomer are sitting in the living room watching a smorgasbord of hockey games while Pookie is in the next room cutting fabric for a quilt. It’s quiet.

Schnookie absently flips from blog to blog on her laptop while paying only nominal attention to the TV. She reads the latest post on Fire & Ice.

Schnookie: “Well, Lou says he’s not considering firing Sutter.”

Pookie: “Right this minute.”

Pause.

Boomer: “How about now?”

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As the saying goes, fool us once, shame on you; fool us twice, shame on us. We spent two and a half hours that we’ll never get back on Monday night watching the continuation of the Devils’ rapid descent from Cup favorite to enormous pile of puke. We’re not making the same mistake tonight. We were on tivo delay with Pookie working late, and now that she’s home at 10:00 after a crappy day, there are about a zillion other things we can think of that would be better uses of our time than watching this game, even on fast-forward. Screw you, Devils.

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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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With training camp starting this week, it seems as good a time as any to take a look at how the team shapes up heading into this season. Instead of doing an all-around season preview, we’ve decided to take the hard-hitting magnifying glass of IPB’s investigative team to each individual player listed on the Devils current roster (excluding salary dump KHL defector Vish-dog) to determine which players are trending up from last season, and which are trending down.

Forwards

David Clarkson: Trending… Up, But Like A Rollercoaster. Okay, we’re kind of troubled by Clarkson, because we’re not quite sure what year he’s in, so we’re not positive he’s staring down the barrel of a sophomore slump. And after looking at the recent history of Devils rookies (it’s a brief history), it seems the guys who get a few games in during the season before their official rookie years have half-year slumps. See: Oduya, Johnny. So our mad trendspotting skillz have us calling a spectacularly crappy first half, and then a reaffirmation of the Devils-fanbase-wide crush on Clarkson when he comes back with a vengeance, on an unholy tear not unlike Oduya’s last year. It’ll be kickstarted by a coast-to-coast wraparound goal against the Hurricanes. Mark our words. (Seriously, the Devils play the Canes on January 6. You can mark it on your calendar in pen: Clarkson will get the goal of the year in that game.)

Patrik Elias: Trending… Down. We’re kind of torn on this. One of us thinks Patty’s going to have a bounce-back year, “now that Sutter isn’t fucking with him.” The other of us says, “Sutter wasn’t fucking with him.” “What about the captain thing?” the first one asks. “That was long over while Patty was still sucking,” says the other. An uneasy silence ensues. We’re not in agreement until the one arguing that he’s trending down points out, “He was godawful all last year and we spent the whole season hating on Oduya and then Gio, totally ignoring Patty. He’s going to test to see how long that can last.” Yeah, he’s trending down.

Brian Gionta: Trending… Up. Two words: contract year. Two more words: we’ve spent the last year begging for him to be traded and there’s nothing the Devils love more than making us look like idiots. Hey! That was more than two words! See, Devils? We’re perfectly capable of making ourselves look like idiots, thank you very much. Gio, this means you don’t have to go back to your habit of making us all do spit-takes when we’re reminded that you once scored forty-eight goals in a single season. A single contract year season. We rest our case.

Bobby Holik: Trending… To Lowell, if we’re lucky. We considered issuing a ban on all things Blobby Holik, but then we realized that the ONLY silver lining to this dog of a free agent signing is that it will give us a worthy subject for our relentless negativity. We’re kind of a match made in heaven, Blobby Holik and us, considering he openly hates Devils fans as much as we hate him. It should be fun. (And while we understand the idea that having a guy on the team who can win a faceoff is a good thing, there’s a serious flaw in the logic when that guy is Holik. Because how does it help the Devils if they’re in a “must win the faceoff” situation, and after winning the faceoff, they find themselves with Bobby Holik on the ice?) Pookie declared at one point this summer that if Holik gets more than eight minutes a night she’ll call for Sutter’s head on a plate; we’re going to go out on a limb and start firing up our “Calling For Sutter’s Head On A Plate” tag now, just to save ourselves the time.

Jamie Langenbrunner: Trending… Wherever Travis Can Take Him. We stand by our belief that Langer’s career goal-scoring year two seasons ago was fueled entirely by skating with Travis before Travis forgot how to play hockey. Not that we want them to skate together again, necessarily, but it’s likely a totally spiritual thing. Oh, and really, we can’t expect much from Langer until he gets out from under the weight of the C — we’d call for it to be given to Madden this season (because what’s a post-Stevens Devils season without wonky captaincy issues?), but frankly, we’re wondering if maybe Niedermayer didn’t curse it. Or, more likely, Rafalski, during those random preseason games when he got to wear it.

John Madden: Trending… The Sky’s The Limit. We all saw what a man possessed Madden was during his “Let me prove to the new coach what a complete moron he is for breaking me and Pando up, for suggesting we’re not the heart and soul of our PK, and for not giving me the C” season. Yeah, and now he’s in a contract year. One of our favorite things to laugh at Madden about is his prediction many years ago that he’d be a 40-goal scorer. You know what? We’re penciling him in for that now. (But in invisible pencil. Like those white ones that come with a big set of colored pencils, the ones you wonder what the point is, because we never write with them on dark colored paper.)

Jay Pandolfo: Trending… We Daren’t Say It. We put a lot of stock in the power of contract years. Even with Pando. So we’re not expecting the kind of production he was putting up before his season-derailing shifted-bits injury. Even if his bits have shifted back into a contented, healthy place, we see him going back to being normal old Pando. And that’s more than good enough for us, considering he was our emperor-god when he wasn’t a goal-scoring machine, but still. It is, technically speaking, a downward trend. A lovable, Pando-riffic downward trend, though.

Zach Parise: Trending… Up-ish. Every year Zach has exceeded his prior year’s points total: 32 points, 62 points, 65 points. So look for Zach to get 66 points (33 goals and 33 assists, you heard it here first) and then stop short. Yeah, that’s right, we’re going against the grain here and saying Zach is not going to get 100 points. Sad, but true. Still, with the linemate upgrade from Travis to Rolston, Zach is going to have a serious opportunity to counteract some of our relentless negativity as he transitions from “future of the team” to “present of the team”. Of course, we already know how Zach handles the present, and it ain’t pretty. *Clank!*

Egg Pelley: Trending… Her?

Brian Rolston: Trending… We Don’t Care. We don’t care because he was a big-name UFA who chose to return to NJ. That’s all we need to love the guy. Also, he didn’t have any statbits as a Devil last year; how can he do worse? As for that whole, “he’ll score 30 goals” thing, meh. He’s a Devil. We’ll pencil him in for a more sensible 12-15. 12-15 goals other teams can’t have because he wanted to return to Jersey.

Mike Rupp: Trending… Down. There’s quite a bit of competition for the fourth line spots and we’re afraid the lovable, scampish folk-hero inventor of the Rupp-around is going to be one of the victims of Project: Overstock On Fourth Liners. This makes us endlessly sad because Rupp’s suggestion box was one of the highlights of last season for us. Who else on the team would do that? Zubrus? He’s too unassuming. Pelley? He’s too short; the suggestion box is a giant’s job! Holik? He’s more likely to put boxes in everyone else’s stalls to stuff with suggestions on how to improve.

Travis Zajac: Trending… Up. Travis can’t possibly trend down after last season. His statistical season went beyond a cute-sounding Sophomore Slump — it was like a Post-Rookie-Year Post-Apocalyptic-Wasteland. His spiritual season was even worse, though. Think about it. The highlight of his season was getting bit by Darien Hatcher. There is literally nowhere to go but up. Unless he’s going to get bit by someone worse. Someone like… Bobby Holik. Oh man. Let’s move on before we consider the possibilities of how much worse Travis can be.

Dainius Zubrus: Trending… Up. Now that he’s unburdened of the mark of shame he had last season (namely, Bobby Holik’s number), and now that the original Sergei Brylin is gone (but never forgotten, unlike when he was actually on the roster), it’s time for our 6’5″ Brylin to become the all-purpose tool we know he can be. Considering he had a pretty underwhelming season last year but still came out of it looking like one of the few functional forwards on the team, we can only assume things are going to get better for him. Or at least he’ll be more comfortable with the notion that Sutter is never going to ask him to do the same thing twice.

Defensemen

Sheldon Brookbank: Trending… Up. Brookbank’s future looks bright only by virtue of there no longer being nine “NHL caliber” (a questionable title last season) d-men on the team. This means he’s mathematically less likely to be the odd-man out on any given night. Right? Right? Of course, given his proclivity for hitting Patty Elias injuriously with his point shots, he’s probably Sutter’s favorite blueliner, and is thus likely to get top-pairing ice time this season.

Andy Green: Trending… It’s a Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma Wrapped in a Puzzle. Andy Greene’s season made Travis’s Sophomore Slump look like Gretzky in his prime. The words “wet”, “hot”, and “mess” come to mind. Maybe having another season defending against NHL-calibre players under his belt will help. Maybe having Tommy Albelin on the bench coaching the d-corps instead of Larry Robinson will be a shot in the arm for him. Maybe not being one of nine d-men will take some pressure off and allow him to be the cheap Rafalski replacement we were all hoping for last July. Or maybe he’ll continue being too small to go to the Super Bowl. Only time will tell.

Paul Martin: Trending… Comfortably But Not Spectacularly Up. Paulie was predicted when he was drafted to be another Niedermayer, and last season he proved the one way that was actually true: he very quietly, with absolutely zero fanfare, rounded into a form that is not at all what anyone really had in mind originally. Now he has to wait for everyone else’s expectations to be reshaped as we all come to terms with what he is, just the way things did with Nieder back in the day. Of course, Nieder then won a few Norrises. Paulie? Is probably not going to match that, as much as PaulieMartinNation thinks he should. No, the best Paulie can probably hope for is Devils fans someday not cringing when they think about the fact that he’s their top defenseman.

Mike Mottau: Trending… Wicked Up. After years of career-minor-league-titude, Applemotherfuckingsauce is starting this season as an established NHL defenseman. That and he’s wicked hot. But more on that in our next post.

Johnny Oduya: Trending… Down. He spent the first half of last season being constitutionally incapable of hanging onto his stick whenever he was faced with a defensive situation, and somehow still finished the season as a +27. There is no way he’s not falling back to earth a little bit next year. He just flew too close to the sun for our liking. But at least he’s not a full-on laughingstock or anything. Anymore.

Bryce Salvador: Trending… Down. Our prediction for Rolston should suggest that we’ll be happy with Bryce “The Iron Boar” Salvador thanks to his decision to re-sign with NJ but… We recognize every team needs a serviceable d-man, but we already have Colin White. Despite his kick-ass nickname (which the Devils players and media are more than welcome to run with), The Iron Boar doesn’t really blow our skirts up. As it were.

Colin White: Trending… Ever Increasingly Invisible. Now that Brylin is gone as the team’s resident Devilishly invisible player, doesn’t Colin White strike you as the newest Devil You Most Quickly Forget?

Goaltenders

Marty Brodeur: Trending… He’s Chasing Records And We All Know What That Means. Considering how Marty’s always struggled as he’s approached milestone wins, we suspect this is going to be a long, painful season. And that’s all we’ll say. Move along, Hockey Gods. There’s nothing to see here.

Kevin Weekes: Trending… Up. If Marty’s tying himself in knots chasing the all-time wins record, Weekes is likely to see more minutes. HAHAHAHAHAHA! Just kidding.

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