Tonight is cheese night at stately IPB Manor, so we start this evening’s broadcast by settling onto the couch with our plates piled high with Bra Tenero, Caciotta al Tartufo, and Laurier. While in a state of cheese bliss, we are happy to find out that Patty is playing tonight, and Rolston isn’t. And the Devils are honoring the 2003 Cup team (welcome back to Jersey, Ducks!). And in honor of Veteran’s Day, MSG+ is letting us see Arlette sing the national anthem. Does it get better than this? (Seriously, these cheeses are really good.)
19:22 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! We’ve been watching a lot of the Ducks this season, in part because of our pervasive fondness for Getzi and in part because we picked them to win the President’s Trophy when asked by a certain major media outlet’s hockey blog. And what we’ve seen has been hilarious – they’re defensively suspect, have no scoring depth at all, and their goaltending is just dazzlingly bad. So we assumed the Devils would be the Ducks’ get-well team, just because that’s how these things go, right? Well, so far… wrong. Andy Greene fires a soft shot from the point after Getzi loses a Ducks-zone draw, and with a tip from up high from Langer, the puck ends up behind Hiller. 1-0 Devils, and HAHAHAHAHA! WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
16:00 The play is sort of gently back-and-forthing when MSG+ shows us a close-up view of Peters clumsily stick-handling on his way to the bench for a change. Pookie: “I was about to say that I have remarkable faith in the Devils tonight. But then they showed Andrew Peters, and I reconsidered.”
12:01 We go to commercial with Doc and Chico discussing Giguere’s recent douchey comments about preferring retirement to playing as a backup. It sounds as though he tried to clarify his remarks to Chico, but Chico’s explanation isn’t making it sound much better, as he’s being all, “Wah, wah, I had such a bad year last year, and now the only way I can get better is if I get to be the starter.” He’s basically just a few steps short of pulling a Clemmensen-style “if my defense plays better and doesn’t let the other team get shots against me, I could be awesome!” self-pitying rant. Then Doc points out that he’s the second highest-paid player on the Ducks. We love it when Giggy looks like an ass.
8:30 Cindy Crosby’s mother Ryan Whitney high sticks Zubrus in the face. And MSG+ gets to tell us that the Ducks have a PK that’s gunning at 68% effectiveness. That’s their polite way of saying that if the Devils can’t score here, they’re stupid.
7:56 Yep. The Devils are stupid. Brown carries the puck shorthanded into the Devils zone, and Clarkson has to attempt to hog-tie him while he bulls toward the net. The PP ends when Marty freezes the puck and Clarkson heads to the box.
5:40 The four-on-four and brief Ducks PP pass without event, but then Clarkson, leaping out of the box, leads the Devils on a mini-rush that concludes with him taking a tripping penalty in the offensive zone. We go to commercial on a shot of Clarkson doing that dumb “WHO ME???” bewildered face of his. Oh, Clarkson. Don’t ever change.
0:45 As the Ducks are looking increasingly focused on trying to play hockey well, Doc tells us there have been seven scoring chances in the game, five of them by the Devils. We find both of those numbers difficult to believe.
0:00 We’re all in very good moods at stately IPB Manor as the period winds to an end. Like we said at the start, an evening of early-season hockey and artisanal cheese is pretty delightful. (We get an interview with Andy Greene, by the way, in which Greener totally gives Getzi’s wino kokopelli a shout-out.)
19:38 Many years ago, when we were still living in Arizona, we took a road trip to LA to see the Devils win against the Kings and the Ducks. When this period starts, Chico tells us the Devils have lost every regular-season meeting between these two teams since ’02-’03 (which is, to be fair, only four games), and Pookie is stunned. “Wow. Did we see the last Devils win over the Ducks in person?” Pause, as we all remember Pando’s game-winning shorty from that game. “Well, they’re not going to win without Pando.”
17:34 The Ducks run to the President’s Trophy starts on this shift: Ryan handcuffs Marty on a wraparound, Getzi punches the puck through Marty into the crease, and CoreyPerry (CoreyPerry) is there on the doorstep to tap the puck over the goal line. It’s a 1-1 game.
15:57 During a stoppage, MSG+ shows us a replay of the lousy defensive-zone coverage on the Ducks goal. Pookie sighs, “I’m looking forward to Paulie coming back. And Oduya.” Boomer watches the umpteenth replay and asks, “Did Whitey put that puck into the net?” Pookie: “No. That’s the one good thing you can say about Colin White on that play. That he didn’t shoot the puck into his own net.”
14:59 Well, it’s not a Devils game until there’s a too many men penalty. And just when we were getting warm fuzzies from the graphics screen illustrating how our boys have dropped an entire goal off the team GAA since October 12, and are now first in the league in team D. It’s an impressive stat when you consider that they’re a team that can’t execute a simple line change. (Pookie is dismayed by this stat, though. She wails forlornly, “Paulie’s a bad apple!”)
12:15 Schnookie suddenly realizes that it’s almost halfway through the game and the Ducks have had more PPs than the Devils: “You have to be really stupid to not be outchancing the Ducks on the PP by a wide margin.”
7:42 No one was more disappointed than we were that the GM meetings have not yielded the removal of the dumb trapezoid rule. No one, that is, but Doc and Chico.
7:06 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Clarkson is continuing his relentless drive to ascend to emperor-god status – one shift ago he skated through all the Ducks defenders with such ease that Doc called them pylons, and here he bests Wisniewski and Hiller with an absolutely sick toe drag/wrister combo. It’s 2-1 Devils, but Clarkson isn’t an emperor-god just yet, considering how embarrassingly bad his goal celebration is.
6:26 The Clarkson goal hasn’t even been announced over the PA yet and Pookie is grumbling, “I feel like Zach would be well served to get his head out of his ass anytime soon.” Pause. “It’s like he brown-nosed up to Lou by going to Toronto for the HOF thing, and now he thinks he doesn’t ever have to do anything again.”
2:20 The play has been, in Doc’s words, “fancy” since the Clarkson goal (Schnookie: “Doc just called the Devils ‘fancy ladies’!”), and Doc and Chico have spent much of the time talking about how eagerly coachable Clarkson is. Schnookie: “Clarkson is the most golden retriever-y a hockey player as ever there was.” Doc adds that there is an unnamed EC GM who confided to Doc that he would sign Clarkson to a 12-year deal if he could. Pookie: “And that GM? Was Mike Milbury.”
0:58 Zubrus takes a penalty for something or other. The Ducks are like, “That’s strange. We never go on the power play at home.”
0:10 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There’s Zach! Whitey bests Nieder (the Greater) as the Ducks try to gain the Devils zone, Langer digs out the suddenly-loose puck, and he laces a perfect pass to a streaking Zach for a shorthanded break. With a Duck racing back to put some backchecking pressure on, Zach doesn’t have a ton of time to make one of his patented unstoppable breakaway moves, and instead puts on some of his patented unstoppable tenacity and puts a fluttering rebound past Hiller to make it 3-1 Devils. That’s our very own little brown-noser. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!
0:00 We get an interview with Zach in which he is extremely spiky and does his patented, “Oh, did I score a goal there? Golly gee!” thing. He also does not give a shout-out to Getzi’s wino kokopelli.
We get an interview with Turner Stevenson. Gel-O asks him about the SCF G7 in 2003, and whether the G7 loss in 2001 affected how the Devils approached that game. Turner says of the 2001 SCF, and I quote, “A lot of people don’t remember that we had a chance to win at home.” Schnookie, extremely bitterly: “I remember. I was one of those people, Turner.”
15:57 We have spent this period in a feverish negotiation in email with Patty (In Dallas) about procuring real Texas pecans. It seems we haven’t missed anything colossal, as the score is still the same.
14:52 Want proof that Doc is the best play-by-play guy in the business? He calls CoreyPerry just “Perry”. Yeah. He’s just that good.
12:57 Woo hoo! Another too many men penalty for the Devils! A reaction shot of Jacques on the bench shows his head is about to explode. And MSG+ informs us this is the seventh such penalty for the Devils this year, after they took eight in all of last season. So we can be excused for being shocked at how high in the overall standings the Devils are right now.
7:33 EEE! The whistle blows when the Ducks touch the puck on a delayed penalty, and suddenly Getzi and Zach are posturing about coming to blows in the neutral zone. Pookie, in her Getzi voice: “My wino kokopelli can beat up your turtle!” We hope against hope that they’ll really fight, but they don’t. Replay shows the penalty is on Getzi because he was standing around in the Devils zone and Zach skated backwards into him and fell over. Getzi seems to be a general crankypants when he’s playing, but he’s especially cranky when his opponent dives; Pookie cracks in her Getzi voice while we watch him scowling in the penalty box, “I play with honor. Why can’t you?”
6:32 Well now it’s starting to feel like a real Ducks game, as they’re taking inopportune, terrible penalties. Here Nieder (the Greater) takes a hooking penalty on Zubrus in front of the Anaheim net. To be fair, Zubrus could probably have gotten a matching diving call on this one, but we’re not complaining. And furthermore, the Devils are terrible on the 5-on-3, so the Ducks shouldn’t worry.
3:44 The Devils PP does not put the game away. And here Applesauce takes a penalty to keep the Ducks confused about how they could possibly be getting more power plays than the Devils.
0:00 Well! That was workmanlike! And that was a sixth win in a row, and something like the billionth out of the last billion and one (we got lost in the litany of impressive numbers Doc read off at the buzzer). We are really liking the Devils so far this season! Of course, that can all change tomorrow in Pittsburgh, with first place in the division (in November) on the line. Our only regret tonight is that Getzi and Zach didn’t strip off their shirts for a knock-down, drag-out, hair-pulling (decided advantage: Getzi) fight at center ice. Oh well. Next time.