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Archive for the ‘Kevin Weekes’ Category

Now that it’s after Thanksgiving, that means it’s full-time Christmas Season! WOOOO! It also means the quarter mark of the NHL season has passed, so Santa has a substantial enough body of work to assess when he makes his list of which Devils have been naughty and which have been nice. Sure, he’s still got a month or so to check the list twice, so these are entirely unofficial results, but we’re proud to say that we have spies in Santa’s workshop who have smuggled out — at great personal cost, no less — the preliminary draft. Let’s take a look at who on our team can expect a shiny new hockey stick for Christmas, and who’s in line for a honkin’ lump of coal.

Forwards:

Dainius Zubrus: Nice After spending last season being the 6’5″ Sergei Brylin, Zubrus has spent the last few weeks being the not-flakey Jason Arnott. We knew it! We knew he could be a good linemate for Patty! We don’t expect him to keep this up for very long, but even for just a few games, it’s worth a great present from Santa.

Zach Parise: Extremely Nice Santa should stop two or three times at Zach’s house this year for how extraordinary Zach’s first quarter has been. When all was darkness and despair, Zach was a bright shining light of talent, heart, and third-in-the-league-in-goal-scoring. We’ve been hearing for years that Zach is all but guaranteed to be the next captain of the team (we personally are pulling for Travis, but that’s a whole other post) and so far this season, we’ve seen why. When everyone else was content to say the season was a lost cause, Zach said, “Pshaw! Lost cause my arse! I’ll score fifty goals! What? Our defense and goaltending sucks so bad it won’t help? Whatevs.”

John Madden: Undecided Is it just us, or does it seem like Madden hasn’t been playing this year, even before he was injured? Santa has no idea. He’ll probably put him on the nice list, just because Madden’s a stalwart and a cranky-pants, but he’s our stalwart cranky-pants.

Brian Rolston: Naughty Oh, some people might say you can’t judge Rolston because he’s been injured all season, but you know what? That’s exactly why Santa’s stuffing his stocking with nothing but coal. You can’t go filling Devils fans with hope by being the first sought-after free agent to sign with New Jersey, then fail to make the power play instantly awesome right out of the gate, and then get injured in such a way that no one knows when or how you’ll ever be back, and have that injury happen to be the starting point for the most devastating team-wide run of injuries we’ve ever seen. No, Brian Rolton’s on the very top of Santa’s naughty list.

Brian Gionta: Nice Enough to Not Get Coal But… We had high hopes for Contract Year Gio. Those hopes haven’t really been fulfilled. He’s not been terrible, but we’re hoping Santa’s elves don’t knock themselves out making Gio’s toys this year. Give him a wooden train or two, but make them small enough to be packed in a suitcase come Trade Deadline Day.

Jamie Langenbrunner: Naughty, But Surprisingly Only Barely Langer can thank his lucky stars that Zach is a superstar and Travis remembered how to play hockey this year, because the resurgent ZZ Pops line is the only thing saving his petulant, stupid-penalty-taking, ineffective-captaining, open-net-missing, sucking-on-the-point-on-the-PP, craptacular ass. It’s hard to imagine what Patty did to make Sutter hate him so much, because there’s no way in hell that Langer is any better a captain than Patty was. But again, he’s the Pops for the Poppers (and that’s “pops” as in “lousy old man”, not “pops” as in “he’s what makes the offense pop”), so his lump of coal will at least be attractively wrapped.

Blobby Holik: Naughty There’s nothing Holik could have done to make Santa put him on the Nice List because, come on, Santa’s no dummy.

Mike Rupp: Nice As a jolly, fun-loving guy, Santa surely must love Rupper, what with his big grin and easy-going manner. We love Rupper, too, especially since this year’s he’s getting one of the greatest gifts we can bestow upon a Devil: The IPB Order of Pleasantly Surprising. That’s right, with Asham off being predictably bad with Philly, Rupper’s taken over the mantle of that player of whom we’re mostly likely to say, after a high-energy shift or an expected goal, “my, but I’m pleasantly surprised!” What fourth liner could ask for more?

Travis Zajac: NICE!, With A Capital “N-I-C-E” He’s still a tiny bit afraid of the acorn, but Travis has not only remembered how to center the ZZ Pops line, he’s become even more dynamic doing so. Santa is going to pile mountains of toys under Travis’s tree (that’s what she said!) to reward the way he’s become a dynamic, confident, powerful player in every zone. Of course, we fully put forth that we are totally blind to Travis’s flaws, but apparently so is Santa.

Jay Pandolfo: Nice, As Always Santa, like every important person of influence, is a citizen of PandoNation. Pando could have been sucking so bad that he was a healthy scratch every night and he’d still get every present he asked for. Sure, he’s not scoring as much as he was when he was in a contract year, but Santa doesn’t expect goals from Pando. We all spent half of last season with our hearts in our throats waiting for Pando to overcome his tragically shifted bits, but this year he’s bucked the teamwide injury trend and been his usual stoic, penalty-killing, defensively delightful emperor-god self. Santa will reward that handsomely.

Petr Vrana: Naughty Vrana Vrana Vrana! No matter how many times Santa sees his name on his list, it still doesn’t make him an NHL player.

David Clarkson: Nice Looking Santa’s elves are expected to be creative (no one wants the same dolly or toy truck year after year, do they?) so it would only follow that Santa would appreciate creativity in his gift recipients, too. So far this year, Clarkson has shown a shocking willingness to attempt moves other than his patented Clarkaround. Sure, those other moves aren’t really resulting in a huge increase in points, but as long as Clarkson’s still one of the prettiest names on Santa’s list, he won’t need to worry about making space in the coal bin. Santa may be smart, but he’s also pretty shallow.

Patrik Elias: Nice-ish, But Trending Nicer There was a time this season when Patty was heading up the Naughty list, but Santa’s been swayed by his recent resurgence. It might be because he’s got the same linemates every night for the first time in the Sutter Era (thanks to all the injuries making it impossible for Sutter to keep shuffling guys as much as he’d like to), it might be because Zubrus has been possessed by ghosts of the A Line, and it might be because he’s suddenly realized that with Marty out, the team MVP award is up for grabs (psst, Patty — as long as Zach’s on the team, that award’s not actually up for grabs), but whatever the reason, Patty’s playing decently again. For that, Santa will be bringing, like, an orange to put in the toe of his stocking, and maybe some shampoo, like a friend of ours always got in her stocking as a kid. He’ll need a few more good games before Christmas if he wants to upgrade past hair care products.

Defense:

Sheldon Brookbank: As a Defensmean, Naughty; As a Forward, Nice Santa doesn’t usually do the conditional thing (if there’s too much wiggle-room, the elves get confused), but in Brookbank’s case, there’s not much choice. Maybe he’ll get a Transformer in his stocking that goes from coal to toy and vice versa depending on where Sutter puts him in the line-up.

Colin White: Nice He didn’t spend the beginning of this year devastating the Devils d-corps with an eye injury, so Santa’s bringing him that pony he’s always dreamed of.

Andy Greene: Undecided Uhhh… right. Santa’s highly likely to accidentally fly right over Greener’s house, completely forgetting that he’s supposed to stop there.

Paul Martin: Nicest! Two seasons in a row now we’ve seen the team go into a tailspin when Paulie’s missed more than two games due to injury. No, he’s not the Niedermayer replacement we were promised (remember those days, Gentle Reader? Ha! Sigh.) but he’s clearly the North Star leading the d-corps to respectability. He’s also played well enough to convince Sutter to let him have carte blanche in the offensive quadrants — now if only he can convince all of us (especially his father) that he can finish. Fortuantely, Santa’s a Devils fan (we mean, duh! Whose team colors does he wear? Yeah. We rest our case) so making the nice list isn’t contingent on being a good finisher. (Unless your name rhymes with Blian Blionta.)

Bryce Salvador: Super-Duper Nice The Iron Boar went from “guy who was so bad in the playoffs last year that it was later reported that he was playing with an injury” to “guy we don’t really like being a Devil” to “Pookie’s fifth- or sixth-favorite Devil”. That’s quite a trajectory of niceness!

Mike Mottau: Naughty Sorry, it’s too soon after his deserved two-game suspension for Santa to be bringing Mottau the guitar and dog he asked for when he was a kid. Sure, it was an accident that he threw such a dirty hit, and he truly didn’t mean to hurt anybody, but still. Santa can’t go rewarding that kind of behavior. If Applesauce really wanted those things, he should have waited until after Christmas to go around hitting people in the head.

Anssi Salmela: Nice, And Batshit Bonkers Finally — finally — there is a d-man on the point on the Devils power play who will wildly fire the puck no matter what things look like in front of the net. And more than that, he so loves firing the puck no matter what things look like in front of the net that he is remarkably capable of retrieving it after it ricochets off people in front and keeping it after defenders have been able to stop his ill-advised shot attempts. But he’s crazy! It’s marvelous! We love it! And so does Santa.

Johnny Oduya: Much Nicer Than This Time Last Year Santa’s all about rewarding improvement, and for that, Oduya’s going to get some wicked awesome educational toys that teach fine motor skills — just like us, the elves don’t want Oduya regressing back to his “dropping the stick at every key opportunity” ways.

Goaltending:

Marty Brodeur: Naughty Every other record that Marty’s approached in his career has caused his game to go into a giant tailspin — just look no further than every time he approached 48 wins in a non-shootout season. So we fully expected that trait and his traditionally slow starts to seasons to combine to make the first two months of this year excruciating as we waited for him to round into form before surpassing Patrick Roy on the all-time wins list. So what does Marty go and do? He comes out of the gate on fire, plowing his way mercilessly toward the wins and shutout records. But that’s not how it was supposed to be! More than that, he changed his mask. As soon as he put on that douchey, stupid, website-promoting mask, we all knew bad things were going to happen. And oh how terribly, terribly bad those things have been. We hope he enjoys his giant lump of coal this Christmas, and more than that, we hope that “MB30” mask of his makes him happy this June when he’s watching one of his rivals accept the Vezina. In the meantime, we’ll just keep vomiting on the floor every time we have to hear the words “Scott Clemmensen, New Jersey Devils starting goaltender”.

Kevin Weekes: Naughty Sure, it’s not his fault, but he’s naughty by circumstance here. If he’d been even remotely passable as a starting goalie, we’d all have been spared the Clemmensen Reign Of Terror.

Scott Clemmensen: Naughty Just… no. He’s still on Santa’s naughty list for the way he whined to The Sporting News about how unfair it was that he had to sit on the bench because the Devils were giving too much playing time to a guy who can rightly consider himself one of the all-time greats. And now that he’s smugging it up after games with Stan Fischler about what a total bad-ass goalie he is just because the Devils finally had to pay for putting all their eggs in one goaltending basket, he’s doubly on Santa’s shit list. In fact, Santa isn’t even going to bother giving him coal, because to add insult to injury, Clemmensen’s been very good in net simultaneously with being very bad. No, Santa’s just not even going to stop at Clemmer’s house. He’s going to be like us and keep pretending Clemmer isn’t even on the Devils roster. Wait, Clemmensen who now? Isn’t he the guy who couldn’t crack the Leafs depth chart last season? Sigh. Is it March yet?

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Gentle Reader, if you remember back to the first post-Marty game of this season, you might recall that we compared Kevin Weekes in that godawful Sabres game to George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. We were really just patting ourselves on the back for the obscure cultural reference, because we’re of the generation where obscure cultural references are almost a currency, but it’s suddenly struck us how deeply — and troublingly — apt the comparison is. Think about it, Gentle Reader: a handsome man is brought in deep over his head to replace an iconic face of a franchise. He fails miserably. And then he is replaced by a vapidly handsome, less talented hack who goes on to inexplicable success because the franchise around him becomes increasingly its own creature, less and less reliant on the insubstantial man at its core.

That’s right — Scott Clemmensen is the New Jersey Devils’ Roger Moore.

We can only assume that Sunday’s win in Tampa, and Zubrus’ four-goal night, were this season’s The Spy Who Loved Me, and it’s all going to be downhill in quality from here. What have we got to look forward to? Yeah, you guessed it. Our very own Moonraker.

So this has us wondering: how will the goaltending Bond trajectory play out after the season bottoms out? We figure Clemmer/Moore will finally be put out of his misery and then either Weekes will come back in for an atrocious Never Say Never Again encore or Marty will come back too soon from his injury to play the role of the over-the-hill Connery. After that, Lou will be forced to swing a trade for Dwayne Roloson/Timothy Dalton, with predictably dour results. And then? We’ll jubilantly return to the giddy, goofy heart of what the Devils are all about, in the form of a fully recuperated Marty/Pierce Brosnan. Sure, it won’t be his Cup-winning, Rangers-beating Connery-in-his-prime self, but there’s no denying Brosnan brought the Bond franchise back to relevance, and as long as the NHL still insists on the trapezoid rule, it’s not like Marty could ever return to his full Connery form anyway.

And the best part about the Bond trajectory is that it means that Marty will either turn into a sleek, ass-kicking Daniel Craig at the end of all this, or it means that after Marty’s gone, the Devils will reinvent themselves again with a super-foxy new goalie with steely blue eyes. Either way, we’re on board. We’d try to spring some sort of clever Bond line on you now to wrap this up, but all we can think of is Clemmer/Moore in Moonraker spouting lame “pithy” lines like “He had to go into space.” Yeah, we’re not trying either.

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As we’ve come to the crushing realization that our Devils are, unexpectedly, going to really and truly suck this season, alix has been helpfully suggesting a way to make the long, miserable months ahead much more fun. Her recommendation? Invent cocktails and name them after the reasons why our fandom is such a terrible burden to bear. This is an activity we can totally get behind, and we kicked things off last weekend.

The Kevin Weekes Era

The situation was that we had half a bottle of red wine leftover from the night before, a hankering for mixed drinks, a limited number of ingredients, and a plan to name our cocktail of the day “The Kevin Weekes Era”. So Schnookie perused her library of mixology books and discovered a recipe for a noxious brew that combined a lot of gin with a little bit of the wine, some rum, and a dash of orange juice. The finished product was lovely (see above), but as nasty-tasting as you’d expect.

We hastily poured them down the drain and decided to drink vicariously through an episode of Semi-Homemade Cooking With Sandra Lee. Well, what do you know? That day Sandra was making things with wine, and her Cocktail Time concoction was a red wine spritzer. We still had most of that half a bottle of wine, so, inspired by Sandra, Schnookie mixed that up with seltzer, some brandy, and some Cointreau. It was considerably more palatable, but still not the finest beverage known to man. We decided the first drink should be renamed “The Scott Clemmensen Era” and the tastier one “The Kevin Weekes Era”.

Well, it turns out we were right the first time. The Kevin Weekes Era apparently sucks worse than the Scott Clemmensen one, but you know what? They’re both not as good as the wine would have been on its own. And the moral of the story is you should only subject yourself to either of these Eras if you have no choice at all.

On that note, let’s all sit back, have many drinks, and enjoy an open thread for tonight’s hockey.

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Ever since we saw the call for submissions for questions for Paul “Paulie Martin” Martin to answer, we’ve been on tenterhooks. Would he answer our questions?

Dear Paulie,

Who are your favorite bloggers whose names rhyme with “ookie”?

Dear Paulie,

Have you ever seen Zach and the Itty Bitty Katamari prince in the same place at the same time?

Dear Paulie,

Can you swim?

It was with much anticipation that we opened up the article today. No, our questions weren’t there — but we’re not too upset as we know the answers already; us, no, yes/maybe/no — but there was ever so much more there to squee/swoon/die-laughing over. Here is a look at some of our thoughts about Devils fans’ questions and Paulie’s answers:

— When asked about his worst roommate experience Paulie offered up yet another priceless chapter in the annals of “Welcome to the NHL, Whippersnapper: By Scott Stevens”. No, it’s not quite as good as “Gomer, pick up the birds”, but Paulie bemoaning that his rookie season involved rooming with Stevens, a prospect Pauile admitted “scared” him, is up there. You see, Paulie goes on to admit that Stevens declared lights out at 9 p.m. every night. This breaks our little hearts! Poor, poor Paulie! Finally making it to the bigs, dreaming of all the wild scenes he’d get to experience on the road as a professional athlete, eager to report back to his college buddies what great partying he’s up to! Instead, he was left “staring into the dark”, wide awake after Scotty’s draconian old-man curfew, because he couldn’t fall asleep and didn’t know what else to do. We started to feel a little less sorry for Paulie when, halfway through the answer, he suddenly declares it wasn’t a 9 p.m. lights-out, but 8 p.m.. We’re pretty sure the editor of the Devils website has the original copy of this that concludes with Paulie saying, “It was a 5 p.m. lights out. If I wasn’t in my bed at 5 p.m., even on game days, I was locked out of my room. And not given anything but gruel and stale bread for dinner. And I was forced to pick up lots of dead turkeys. Lots of ’em! It was awful!”

— We were surprised at the question asking, “Have you been to any amusement parks this summer? Are there any rides that you absolutely won’t go on, or are you fearless?” Joe from Stockton, NJ, that is an awesome question. That’s like “Can you swim?” but less out-of-the-blue, assuming Paulie is a noted amusement park enthusiast, of course. Which we didn’t know he was. In fact, we had this exchange about it:

Schnookie: I didn’t know Paulie was into amusement parks, but I guess he must be, since he answered the question.

Pookie: It does seem like an unusual question to ask a stranger. [Suddenly growing increasingly panicky] I know what would happen if someone asked me that. [Shouting] I’d answer, “NO!”

Schnookie: I’m going to post that on IPB.

Pookie: [Pertly] Well, it’s the truth.

— When asked about the offseason changes the team made, Paulie is predictably pro-Rolston and Holik. Then he adds, “I’m a big fan of Rollie”. No, it’s hardly Mike Rupp saying, “It’s good to have interchangeable parts”, but we’re still taking that as a shout-out. Or at least, a shout-out to our cat Rollie. Who knew Paulie liked our pets so much?

— Riley from Red Bank asks Paulie about how he and Johnny Oduya worked so well together (Riley’s phrasing was artfully delicate: “Your pairing with Johnny Oduya turned out to be one of the highlights of last season.” That’s a deft touch, Riley! We probably would have said, “Okay, really the only good thing we can think of about last season is how surprisingly competent you and Oduya ended up being by the end of the year”), and Paulie says in his answer, “He’s as good a guy off the ice as he is on”. That’s awful! That means poor Oduya was a raging loser off the ice, too, for the entire first half of last season! Poor guy.

— When Paulie says he loves burritos, does this mean he wants to go on an IPB picnic to Pookie’s absolutely favoritest restaurant on Earth, the one and only Burritoville, this season? We’re pretty sure it does. We mean, how could it not? Don’t answer that.

— In unrelated news, while on the Devils site, we took a gander at “Catching Up With… Kevin Weekes” and were pleasantly surprised (yup, it was all Asham-like). First up, Weeksie answers the question we’re always asking — “I don’t even swim!” Shout-out! Shout-out! Shout-out! Thanks, Kevin! One down, 29 to go! Secondly, in discussing the charity work that filled his summer activities, he actually used the phrase “bridging the digital divide”. Dude. Just… dude. Kevin Weekes might just be the hottest guy the Devils roster has ever seen. Sure, some of those other guys are foxy, but ten bucks says if asked, Zach Parise would probably tell you the digital divide is a thing of the past. We know better, and evidently, so does Kevin Weekes.

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