Archive for the ‘Vinny Lecavalier’ Category

The All Star Game starting line-ups have been announced and as usual we’re incensed at who’s been deemed an “all star” and who’s been deemed “less than”. We look at the guys who were “voted in” by the “fans” and have a hard time trying to figure out which league these so-called “fans” have been watching, because it’s clearly not the same one we are. Let’s take a look at the starters, position-by-position, and see how the “winners” match up to the guys we think are the real all-stars.


Our pick: Dainius Zubrus

Zubrus was brought in to fill some mighty big shoes following the departure of Scott Gomez and his 60 points, and he brought with him a whopping cap hit of $3.4 million, a staggering sum that could have handcuffed most teams. But did he buckle under the pressure of being the Devils’ new go-to guy? No way! Zubie’s going into the break sporting some pretty hefty point totals: 7g 14a (21p). Dude, if he was a defenseman, he’d be kicking ass! And defense is just about the only position he hasn’t played this season (oh, and goaltender, too. But point us to the skater who has…); Zubrus has been like a 6’5″ Sergei Brylin, making him the biggest interchangeable part we’ve ever seen. So while he might be 151 slots out of first in the Art Ross race, he’s totally played in every position on every line for the Devils. And not just because Coach Sutter had a hard time finding a place where Zubrus would be effective. So that’s why Zubrus gets our pick to be the starting All-Star center — he plays anywhere and everywhere the Devils ask him to, showing a hell of a lot more utility than Gomez ever did, and Gomez was an All-Star, wasn’t he?


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(Final Score: Devils 3, Lightning 2)

Our pre-game predictions, based on the Devils long and storied history of choking in possible elimination Game 6’s, hover between 4-0 and 6-0 TB.


Oh no. Pierre McGuire’s working the game. He starts out with an interview with Vinny and it looks like Pierre is trying to climb into Vinny’s uniform with him, then when the angle cuts in closer to show Vinny’s face, you can see Pierre’s lips moving hungrily. He could not possibly be more creepy.

We really don’t like watching the feeds on NBC. Yes, the HD is nice (no Devils HD availability here in Flyer Country), but the three-man “booth” makes for very awkward chemistry. Could they possibly make Pierre behave like a sideline reporter rather than a second color guy? Doc ends up not doing play-by-play but rather serving as an Eddie-Pierre facilitator, and the dynamic between those two always reeks of pathetic toadyism on McGuire’s part and thinly veiled disgust on Eddie’s.


19:51 Icing already? SERIOUSLY???

19:42 Madden and Pando on a two-on-one, Madden misses the net. Pierre is horrified Torts is going with the checking line against Vinny. Um, that’s not been a bad matchup for TB.

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Devils 5 Lightning 3

Let’s revisit, for a moment, our “ifs” from our prediction post:

If Patrik Elias’s heart can grow three sizes, back to where it was last year when he came back from the Hep, if Gionta can find his hidden store of scoring sticks rather than the slumping sticks he’s been using for the last three months, if Marty, miraculously, isn’t as tired as he looked in March, and if our boys can stay healthy, then maybe the Devils have got a shot.

Well, what do you know? Every single one of those things happened. And the team won. And looked awesome doing it. Aside from two exceptionally ridiculously terribly awful penalties courtesy of rookie Johnny Oduya, top-to-bottom the boys were playing exactly how we want to see them playing. Sure, they could tighten it up a bit, but for a first game of the playoffs, we’ll take it. What’s especially encouraging to see is the way the boys were backing each other up. Once again, we find ourselves remarking, “Oh, so that’s why Julien was fired.”

Specifically, Patty, Gio and Gomer showed a tenacity that was completely absent from their collective game all season. On the fifth goal, was that the first loose puck that Patty beat an opponent to all year? They could still stand to learn from the ZZ Poppers how to follow up on their scoring chances, but baby steps, baby steps. Speaking of the Poppers, our very own Zach Parise has clearly been studying at the feet of Jamie “Screw This ‘Being Tied’ Crap” Langenbrunner. That game-winner was a thing of beauty, and very much like a classic clutch Langer. Is that a good sign for the Devils that they’re now fielding a Langer and a Baby Langer?

It’s less of a good sign that the Devils are going to need to stop the force of nature that is Vinny Lecavalier. This just in: that dude’s scary good. What we find most frightening about the Lightning is that you can give them literally nothing, and they can and will still score against you. Tonight, though, Madden and Pando, who have at times looked overmatched by Tampa’s top line, came up big for the most part. Moreover, the team PK was back in masterpiece form — it’s so nice to be a fan of a team that makes you calmer when they’re playing down a man than when they’re at even strength. It’s also nice to be a fan of a team that blocks shots with their sticks rather than leaving their feet, getting out of position and risking unnecessary injury; Paulie Martin really set the tone for the game in the first few minutes with a monster block-and-clear. PaulieMartinNation rejoiced as Paulie seemed to be channeling Nieder’s unruffletitude.

All in all, we are tickled by what we saw tonight: a Devils team playing with professional pride, hunkering down on D, taking advantage of shaky goaltending, and looking like they might be tough to beat. It’s going to be interesting to see if they can keep it going.

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