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Archive for the ‘New York Islanders’ Category

What kind of holiday is this? Schnookie gets the day off, but Boomer and Pookie don’t? And Pookie’s working the late shift at the reference desk, so she won’t be home until 10:00 tonight? And the Devils are playing a matinee?? This sucks! So… we won’t be watching this until laaaaaaaaaaaaate tonight. But spoilers are welcome. Because no one wants to watch a bad Devils/Islanders game at 10:00 on a Monday night without some kind of advance notice, right?

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It’s Wednesday night, Gentle Reader, so you know what that means: Tivo delay! We’ll be watching Pando’s sure-to-be-triumphant return to the lineup much later this evening, so in the meantime, we’ll leave you with a portrait of Victory Euro Mats.

TTV VEM 2

V.E. Mats loves Pando. Look how happy he is! We’re assuming he’ll be just as happy when the game is over.

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PREGAME

Mood: Blissed out. We’ve spent the previous two Martin Luther King weekends traveling for family reasons, and while we always like to visit family members, we also really like being home. So this year we’re not going anywhere for the weekend, and as a result managed not to be flying out of Philly on the same day Obama was flying in, and have been all cozy and warm in the embrace of the halls of stately IPB Manor on the coldest days in New Jersey in over four years, and also have not crashed into and frigid rivers. We’re not going to lie — the Devils haven’t really crossed our minds at all yet today.

Favorite Devil: Travis. We like to try to point to one single player as the straw that stirs the drink for the Devils, and while we believed it was Zubrus for a while back there when the team was scoring a lot, now we’re starting to think it’s Travis. When he’s skating like a sluggardly lagabed, the rest of the team does the same. And when he’s doing his best motoring-around-the-ice Zach impersonation, the team wins. In Columbus, he did the latter, and gave the rest of his teammates the slap in the face they all needed after two craptacular periods, and as a result they snatched victory from the sleepily-yawning jaws of defeat. Plus, he’s looked really cute in the postgame interviews and in all those curling stories this week.

Least Favorite Devil: Well, it’s not a Devil, per se, but whoever at the MSG Network decided the Islanders fans get an HD feed tonight and we don’t. Fuck you, MSG Network.

Prediction: The Devils have lately developed a taste for somnambulation. The Islanders are, well, the Islanders. This should be like watching chessmen watch paint dry.

Photograph From The Year Brendan Shanahan Was Drafted That Represents Our Feelings For This Game: A racecar.

race-car

We’re rarin’ to go, but we don’t know where we’ll end up. Nor do we think we’re going to get there very fast.

AFTER THE FIRST PERIOD

Mood: Acorntastic! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Travis was such a dreamboat that we feel like it’s 65-0, even though you’d think it’s only 1-0 Devils if you looked at the scoreboard.

Favorite Devil: A foolish consistency might be the hobgoblin of little minds, but a Travisy consistency is the hobgoblin of lovestruck Devils fan minds. A shorty and a second shorthanded breakaway? Travis, what are you trying to do to us? We were swooning already before the game.

Least Favorite Devil: Still not a Devil, per se, but whoever at MSG Network decided we’d rather watch Jimmy and Stan talking about Pando losing his job to Shanahan than the pregame ceremony for Butthead. Fuck you, MSG.

Prediction: At least four more shorthanded goals from Travis.

Photograph From The Year Brendan Shanahan Was Drafted That Represents Our Feelings For This Game: Mustachioed Pilot

skys-the-limit

The sky’s the limit for our love of Travis!

AFTER THE SECOND PERIOD

Mood: Delighted, and a little drunk. Yay for wine and 3-0 leads (the first is responsible for the former, and the second the latter)!

Favorite Devil: What the hell? Travis! Now and forever! In fact, we’re going to pretend he scored Clarkson’s and Zach’s goals, too. All of them. For the whole season.

Least Favorite Devil: We love each and every one of them, although they all pale in comparison to a certain someone. Except for Holik and Clemmer. And Shanahan. Ugh. There goes our buzz.

Prediction: A wild, goal-scoring rampage by the one and only Travis. He’s going to wreak a swath of destruction the likes of which the Islanders have never seen! That, or the Devils will cough up two quick goals and we’ll spend the remainder of the third period waiting for Clemmer to give up the inevitable game-tying goal in the final five seconds.

Photograph From The Year Brendan Shanahan Was Drafted That Represents Our Feelings For This Game: A mighty steam locomotive!

Train

This is what opposing goalies see when Travis is bearing down on them. He might not be the Iron Boar, but he is the Iron Horse. And Shanny still isn’t sure he can trust that newfangled steam technology.

AFTER THE THIRD PERIOD

Mood: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We’re feeling blissed out and like the Devils just won. Life is grand!

Favorite Devil: The Devils are like beautiful snowflakes, and we love each one uniquely. The most beautiful one, though remains Travis. He’s the snowflake that stirs the drink.

Least Favorite Devil: That horse-toothed chemistry-destroyer looming on the horizon. (Oh, sure, we might end up eating those words. But we highly doubt it.)

Game Summary: Last year the Devils were catastrophically awful against every team with “New York” in their name, and while we have nothing to say about that one whose name also rhymes with “Blangers”, we would love to spend the rest of this season playing exclusively the Islanders. This year’s Devils might have trouble against teams like the Thrashers, but when facing an Islanders team that’s quite probably tanking for Tavares and feeling dispirited by the talk of relocation, they manage to beat an opponent they should be beating. That’s a refreshing change!

Photograph From The Year Brendan Shanahan Was Drafted That Represents Our Feelings For This Game: A Giant Parade!

celebration

All those horses have been trained to say “WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”

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FIRST PERIOD

7:30 pm What are the chances Paulie gets another gamewinner tonight? Very high, says PaulieMartinNation. Shut up! It could totally happen!

7:35 pm When Gio found out there’s an 6’8″ guy on the other team, his eyes turned into 6’8″ platters. There’s nothing Gio loves more than taking on the giants!

7:50 pm Last night, Clarkson seemed to freeze up in the prescence of his beloved former coach. He looked a lot like the girl on ANTM who completely freezes up when one of the panel judges is in charge of a challenge or photo shoot. Tonight, he looks like the girl who’s edited to be the worst contestant in one episode but then the greatest model ever in the next. He’s been a beast out there, showing off his entire bag of tricks! If this game ends with less than three attempted Clarkarounds, we’ll be shocked.

7:53 pm What is this thing we see on the ice? Is it… pace? Uptempo pace? Whither the “it’s like watching two drying cans of paints play chess” style of Devils/Islanders match we’ve grown to know and love so much over the last few seasons? Someone make it stop!

8:04 pm Salmela tries to play the puck after committing to making a change, and the Devils get called for too many men immediately after killing Salmela’s previous tripping penalty. Pookie: “Somewhere, Larry Robinson is shouting something that would get a coach an bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct.”

8:12 pm Patty has rarely been as fired as he is now, shooting the puck into a defender’s chest when he has a crack at the goal with MacDonald having fallen over way above the faceoff circle. Yes, there were two Islanders blocking the goal mouth, but still.

8:15 pm WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Clarkson has a new move! It’s his “tipping Oduya’s shot while standing in front of the net on the power play” move! Yeah, you heard us — ON THE POWER PLAY!

8:16 pm WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! It’s All-Hotties-Scoring-Goals Night at The Rawk! We barely have time to emerge from our swoons from watching Pando celebrating with Clarkson on the bench when Travis scores on a gorgeous tip, and then he and Zach have an enthusiastic snuggle behind the net. This game is adorable!

SECOND PERIOD

8:38 pm Dude, what is with the Islanders trying to injure Weekes? Don’t they realize that it’s probably better for them the longer Lou’s hand isn’t forced to trade for Roloson?

8:43 pm Crap. Andy Hilbert scores by shooting a goal over Weekes’s shoulder, further cementing Pookie’s theory that he’s just too short to be an effective Marty replacement.

8:44 pm WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! The Devils get another back just 23 seconds after the Islanders goal — and from the d-corps no less! — as Salvador decides it’s time to stomp down on the Islanders’ throats with his little Iron Boar hoof. That booming shot from the point was meant for tipping — which is why four Islanders were in front of the net and the Devils were all prancing around the perimeter, just like Johnny Mac taught them in practice.

8:59 pm We decide we really like the cut of this Salmela kid’s jib. When was the last time we had a point guy who is this willing to grip it and rip it? Schnookie: “Sorry, Rolston. You’ve lost your place on the point.”

8:59 pm Poop. The Islanders score again. Let’s see if the Devils can answer in under 30 seconds again.

8:59:30 pm Nope. They don’t.

9:05 pm Now we have it! Now they have it! Now we have it! Now they have it!

9:06 pm We have to cry bullshit on that penalty to Pando. BULLSHIT! There is much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments in the streets of PandoNation.

9:08 pm WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! The rest of the Devils are just as insulted by the call against Pando and put on their most inspired penalty kill in ages. Gio is the one fighting hardest for Pando’s honor, getting an good shot on a shorthanded rush with Patty, then drawing an interference call on a chase for a breakaway loose puck, and then being the guy plugging away in the crease on the delayed penalty and punching home the shorty. Maybe Pando should get called for phantom penalties more often.

9:11 pm Salvador puts his hat in the ring for the title of Henchman with a fight against Jackman.

IPB Fight

THIRD PERIOD

9:35 pm Applemothefuckingsauce hits Neilson high, with a hit to the end. The entire thing looks like Mottau probably saw that from an almost out of body experience thinking, “Uh… this looks likes a bad idea but… TOO LATE!” But it still sucks. It also seems a little unjust that Mottau easily beats down Trent Hunter who rushes in to defend his fallen teammate. These kinds of hits always deflate the Devils, intentional or no. We hope the two goal lead is enough to fend off the inevitable malaise of the boys when they see a colleague lay a stupid, illegal hit.

9:42 pm Doc canNOT stop talking about how much he loves Pando. He’s been going on all game about Pando’s career penalty totals, and his career playoff penalty totals, and his defensive responsibility, and his all-around awesomeness, and his total dreaminess, and we agree with every word of it.

9:51 pm WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! With the majority of the Islanders’ 5-on-3 PK unit playing without sticks, things are looking bleak for the Devils, thanks to Zach missing on three consecutive wide-open tap-in attempts. But then Paulie — Paulie! — steps up and just cranks a shot right into the net. We’ve been joking all night that Paulie’d gotten a taste of goal-scoring in the last game, but found it too spicy for his delicate palette. It seems we were wrong. He’s a goal-scoring machine! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! And DUNK! (Oh, and Zach is never going to score again.)

10:05 pm Well that was a fun and exciting game! And while it’s not quite the monumental goaltending milestone we were hoping to see this season, we’re super-happy for Weekesie’s 100th win. We’re also super-happy for the huge, adorable hug he got from Patty. That’s just hopelessly cute. WOO HOOO! Yay for hockey making us happy again!

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There will be no diary for tonight’s Devils-Bruins game. All that positive thinking last night took too much out of us. (OK, really, the lack of the diary is simply thanks to Pookie’s uncompromising work schedule.) We will be watching Claude Julien’s (almost certainly) triumphant return to New Jersey on a lengthy TiVo delay. Please do not worry about leaving spoilers in the comments as we’ll be on strict radio silence. In place of a diary, we would like to take a moment to reflect on one of the shining lights of this hockey season. This shining light has nothing to do with Marty’s exceptional season, or with Paulie Martin taking the final step to becoming the d-man we’d all hoped he would become, or with Zach Parise eclipsing his previous season highs for goals and points. Nope, this shining light is all about Steve the Do-er.

You see, Gentle Reader, by this time every season, there is one commercial that has asserted itself as That Commercial. The one you can’t mute fast enough. The one NBC plays twice a break in every period of every game. The one that makes your humors go from sanguine to bilious in less than the blink of an eye. Viewers of last year’s playoffs will remember, not fondly, the “Daddy, What Are You Thinking About” insurance spot. Two years ago it wasn’t butterflies making our heads spin, but rather that stupid and offensive Dodge fairy ad. Way back when, it was the Bud Ice penguin. This phenomenon is most likely as old as sand. It’s such a pervasive evil it probably predates both televisions and hockey. And yet, here we are with less than a week to go in the season and not a single significant commercial has stepped up to claim the title of That Commercial. Instead we’re seeing what must be a Golden Age of tolerable-to-downright-entertaining advertising peppered throughout the broadcasts. From the sublime Geico and the Pips ad to the ridiculous Cinnamon Melts at Tim Horton’s, we find ourselves remarkably unmuting spots, and looking forward to them being shown multiple times a game. Even our humors are well-balanced.

Gentle Reader, you’re probably wondering why we’re bothering to write about commercials again, so soon after dissecting the contact lenses/flag football/Victorian same sex longing (thanks to IPB Irregular Stalky, we’ll never be able to think of that commercial in any other light) Acuvue spot. The thing is this: there is one commercial that has been a salve to us in this trying time of the Devils attempting to fall out of the playoffs while not being good enough at anything to even lose when they should. And that commercial is the one where the artist mounts a gallery show dedicated to Steve, his Farmer’s Insurance Agent. Every single tiny bit about this ad is delightful, from the script, to the art design, to the performances. The turn of phrase “Steve Skin Roll” is all we need to shift our focus from ruing the day we became Devils fans to something brighter and cheerier. While That Commercial turns into the inevitable metaphor for the Playoffs as they go deeper (the same teams we hate winning game after game after game; the same teams we love losing game after game after game; the talking heads are banging the same drums game after game after game, never looking past whatever tidy storyline has been deemed “what the fans want to hear”), Steve the Do-er is like the fresh fun parts of the season, when a fan can just relax and enjoy the show.

While there’s still plenty of time for some 30 seconds of Hell to reveal itself as That Commercial (those Jason Jones Molson spots are a clear front-runner), right now we just want to revel in the the joys of “Who is Steve the Do-er?” and the look of reverence on the artist’s face when he speaks of Steve just before offering his guests some Steve-On-A-Stick. Those moments elicit the same joy and happiness we get from non-playoff hockey: the missed shot that you can laugh about, the bumbling plays on the blue-line that seem more slapstick than sickening, the quiet peace of the out-of-town-scoreboard being an afterthought rather than The Thing That Controls All That Is Good In The World. When all is said and done this season, and the Devils have slunk out of the Playoffs after a first round lost to the Rangers (really, what else could possibly happen, the way this season has been going?), we’ll still have something that makes us happy throughout the rest of the post-season: Steve the Do-er and his Steve Skin Rolls.

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Hey, Gentle Reader, here’s an April Fool’s joke for you: we’re going to be positive about this game! (Yeah, it would be better if we did the reveal at the end of this post, but we’re not kidding when we say we’re terrible at pranking.)

So… we feel GREAT about the Devils! They’re facing some kid named Joey MacDonald, who is going to be the first anonymous scrub third-string goalie to not get a shutout against the Devils. In fact, he’s going to get shelled. We’re calling at least a 25-0 win for our boys. Also filling us with confidence tonight? The much-anticipated return of Andy Greene to the lineup. After a few games off, he’s probably mentally stronger than he’s ever been before, and ready to not make a single game-breaking mistake.

FIRST PERIOD

Boomer is getting into the positivism, too. Before the faceoff, MSG+ gives us a look at the stands, and she says, “I can see we’re a huge draw for the Islanders.” No, wait, she’s being sarcastic. Watch it with the negativity, Boomer!

19:47 The gameplan is being played to perfection: give Marty a test right off the opening draw and maybe, if he’s not awake yet, get in an early hole. Marty looks awake. So that’s another good thing.

19:34 Madden takes a really smart hooking penalty in front of the net, allowing the PK a chance to get into the game early. Pookie: “You know what positive I’m taking out of the first half-minute of this one? We haven’t made their goalie look good yet.”
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Looking on the bright side tonight, at least it’s not the Rangers, right?

Looking on the bad side, though, Patty’s still out. That should help make the Devils offense awesome.

Doc leads things off with a deftly-worded, “A good and meaningful holiday season to you.” The guy’s not considered the best in the business for nothing.

The broadcast moves on to talk about the brightest light for the Devils from the last game – the Rupp/Zubrus/Clarkson line. Chico says of Rupp, “He’s like a big bird…” Pause, as he realizes he’s digging himself into a hole. “That’s just left the nest.” Chico’s not not considered the best in the business for nothing.

FIRST PERIOD

19:11 The aforementioned Rupp/Zubrus/Clarkson line (the ZRC Welders?) starts the game off with a deliciously uptempo shift. Sadly, Zubrus has not scouted Clarkson’s shot selection habits, and is caught flat-footed on a really bad rebound by Dubie on a really nice wraparound shot.

17:03 The Poppers are not pressuring well, and the mostly-empty arena is quiet. Pookie: “This feels like a pre-season game. Is it just me?”
(more…)

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