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Archive for the ‘Richard Matvichuk’ Category

We have a terrible track record when it comes to attending NHL practices. We’ve had the distinct pleasure of sitting through an optional game-day skate in Buffalo that featured a grand total of six Amerks and Andrew Peters, and on this past Saturday we spent three hours freezing our fannies on the bleachers at South Mountain Arena so we could take in the sights and sounds of exactly zero players taking the ice. So when Pookie decided to take a day off from work so we could make the long drive back up to West Orange today, we should have expected the worst. Well, call us optimists (or people who don’t learn from our mistakes), but we had high hopes. We also came prepared — after spending over five practice-less hours lurking at the rink over the weekend, this time we brought a travel cribbage board.
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We just spent a few minutes wandering blindly around stately IPB Manor repeating over and over through our giggles, “Oh my God! Oh my God! I can’t believe it!” That can only mean one thing: the Devils advanced out of the first round. As our biorhythms have settled back into a state of relative normalcy, it’s time to assess the good, the bad and everything in between from our beloved boys’ series with Tampa

Our Three Stars for the series:

    1. Duh — Zach Parise. This series gave Zach a chance to demonstrate to the league something he’s known since 2003: he shouldn’t have fallen so far in the draft. (We bet the Islanders would really have liked to have had a player like him during their first-round loss… And no, we’ll never get tired of saying that.) He’s had that crazy motor all year, but in the first four games he just kicked into overdrive. He got skill goals, hard-work goals, lucky goals… whenever the Devils needed it, Zach was there to score. The best part about having a player like Zach on the second line is that externally it takes a lot of pressure off the top line as they know there are other reliable sources of offense, but internally it puts a ton of pressure on the EGGers to keep up. At least we hope that’s the case. Surely Gio, Gomer and Patty have enough pride to want to be more than just the nominal top line. Right? Right?

    2. Richard Matvichuk. How is it possible that a guy who played only one game all year makes us completely unconcerned that Colin White missed the bulk of this series? Matvichuk led the way for our entire D-corps, playing smart, solid minutes and blocking shots as consistently and intelligently as any guy in the NHL does these days. (The general media obsession with defenseman shot-blocking is one of our major pet peeves. So often you see guys leave their feet and get out of position, or stick out vulnerable body parts and end up injured, or deflect pucks into the goal, or screen their goaltender. But the Devils, and Matvichuk in particular, are brainy blockers, knowing when to let Marty handle shots and managing to stay engaged in plays or in position when they do take the blocks.)
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Devils 3, Lightning 0

(As we are writing this Boomer is sitting to the side, narrating her own blog post to herself, “Like a vintage Rolls, Marty was priceless… And Patty at auction wouldn’t draw a bid.”)

Well that’s a bit more like it! That was 60 minutes of classic Devils hockey; they gave up a zillion shots but Marty was only called upon for monster saves on a few occasions, they took only a handful of shots themselves but managed to score when it mattered most, and somehow it just never seemed for a second that the outcome was in doubt. Tonight we named Marty, Matvichuk (recently upgraded in IPB nickname parlance from “Matvisuck” to “Matviclutch”) and Gomer the three stars. Yeah, that’s right: Gomer! (The anti-star award goes to Zach Parise. What is up with him not scoring even one goal? We expect so much more from him!)
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