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Our volume control isn’t fantastic when this (heinous, low-def) broadcast starts, so our opening statement for the evening is Pookie screaming at the television, “Gel-O, why are you shouting at me???”

Apparently we’re supposed to be really amazed at the Devils’ resilience for winning 20 of 30 with Zubrus out of the lineup. We suspect that’s more a statement about Zubrus than it is about the Devils.

FIRST PERIOD

19:32 Wait, what? Doc takes this moment to drop the terrible news on us that Zharkov’s out of the lineup tonight, and Andrew Peters is in. No wonder Gel-O was shouting at us – who can help but be angry when facing the prospect of an evening of Andrew Peters being in the lineup?

18:45 Zach and Travis (who got a title screen in the pregame that read “ZZ Tops the Charts”, prompting us to wonder if MSG+ has finally scraped the absolute bottom of the barrel) get a rink-length two-on-one, but the pass is too well defended, and Zach is left taking a not-entirely-great shot that Elliott easily blockers aside.

16:40 During the wait for a Devils-zone draw, MSG+2 shows us an iso of Zubrus’s last shift. Chico narrates is as an example of “Dainius doing what he does best”, and Schnookie asks, “Dainius doing what he does best? Does Chico mean that Zubrus is being forgotten by everyone on the ice?” Just then, the replay shows Zubrus following a Senator behind the Ottawa net, falling over, getting his stick blade caught in the glass, and then being hit by a Senator and a Devil while prone on the ice. Ah yes. That is Dainius doing what he does best.

15:52 Michalek gets a point-blank chance when he sneaks behind the D to receive a glorious feed from Alfredsson, and the Ottawa crowd is already cheering the goal when Marty casually just scoops up the shot with his glove while looking like he’s just nonchalantly standing in the crease. That is just super-sassy by Marty. And remember, you can’t spell “sassy” without “assy”. We love it.

12:13 Captain Fuck This Shit and Alternate Captain Fuck This Shit team up on a spunky sequence along the far boards, as Langer takes a hit but frees up the puck, then, with a glance over his shoulder, tosses it to a streaking Zach, who inside-outsides his way around his defender to rip a tricky shot on Elliott. But, for all that, they don’t score.

10:45 We are barely paying attention as we’re discussing the pork chile verde we made over the weekend, and suddenly the dumb goal horn is honking and all those poor souls who are stuck being Senators fans are cheering. The goal is Kovalev’s, and clearly the Devils shouldn’t be taking their cues from us about when to be paying attention to the game in front of them. 1-0 Senators.

9:42 The game goes to commercial with Rolston heading to the box after taking an offensive-zone penalty. Why must the Devils always play down to the quality of the picture of their MSG feed?

7:42 The Devils miraculously survive the idiotic Rolston penalty. Meanwhile, what’s uo with the Senators? Since when are they not a living joke? They make no sense to us.

5:56 Zach tries to bust up the wing after chipping the puck past the last Senators defender, but he gets just barely caught on a hipcheck while passing the guy, and tumbles to the ice. And when we say “tumbles” we really mean it. He, like, somersaults six or seven times, looks like he’s about to burst into flames, but then springs immediately to his feet to keep skating.

3:51 It only took 16 minutes and 9 seconds of listening to the way Doc says “Elliott” before Pookie pointed out how Doc makes that name sound just like ET did.

2:44 BOOOOOOOO! This game is shitty. What happened to the sassy Marty? The Devils are a bunch of dysfunctional morons in their own zone, all of them literally standing still with their arms pinned to their sides, and finally Cheechoo kicks the puck into the net to get what looks like a 2-goal lead. Pookie: “Jesus Christ. We just gave up a goal to Jonathan Cheechoo? That’s pathetic.” A lengthy review ensues, though, and the Devils get bailed out by the War Room, as the goal is considered to have been kicked in and is waved off.

2:04 Niedermayer (the Lesser) and Mike Fisher take a faceoff. Pookie: “Those two are like the ferrymen to Old NHLer Island.” Schnookie: “You know what’s great about that? Mike Fisher isn’t even old.” Pookie: “I know, but doesn’t he seem like a guy I should be really tired of hearing about?”

1:18 Oh, good thing we bothered having that Cheechoo goal waved off, because the Senators take almost no time at all to get it back. Mottau (it’s always Mottau, isn’t it?) gets a rebound on his stick right in front of the net, opts to make the high-percentage play of blindly flinging the puck straight up the middle, finds Spezza with his pass, and Spezza blows a shot through Marty. 2-0 Senators. It hasn’t even been a full period yet, and this game has become vomitously interminable.

0:00 Honestly, that was despicable.

FIRST INTERMISSION

Googly Devils Logo

SECOND PERIOD

18:32 When the period started, Doc did his usual bookkeeping announcement of there being no carry-over penalties from the previous period. Schnookie: “Yeah, but I bet there’s plenty of carry-over suck.” Now, after 90 seconds of the Senators staging a shooting gallery in the New Jersey zone, the Devils are proving us right.

16:20 Chico thinks this might be the Devils’ big break – a too many men penalty on the Senators. Boomer: “See, they’re going to get right back in this!” Pookie: “Yeah. If losing by one goal instead of two is ‘right back in it’.” Doc opts now to dryly point out that the Devils are 0-for-24 on the PP over their last nine games. Those numbers seem low. Surely it’s been a lot more fruitless power plays over a lot more games.

14:59 The PP is being just as shitty as you’d expect, but Chico tries to drum up some rah-rah attitude by explaining that all you need to be successful on the PP is “hunger as well as skill.” Pookie: “There you go, guys. They’re just ‘hunger and skill’ away from being right back in it.”

14:20 Make that 0-for-25 over ten games now.

13:07 The Devils are failing to keep the Senators from playing keep-away in the Ottawa zone while Doc is apologizing profusely for misleading us. It turns out the Devils are actually on a 1-for-25 run on the PP, because they scored with the man advantage on the Island the other day. Well that makes it all better.

11:57 It’s the point in the game where Doc and Chico are assessing the game-blowing interception by Brett Favre last Sunday. No, they’re not missing anything hockey-wise.

11:05 Everyone roars back to life for a second when Davis leaves the puck behind while attempting to skate out of the slot, but the momentary excitement fades when it’s Cheechoo who scoops it up for a great scoring chance. It’s reassuring, after our panic in the first that the Devils had given up a goal to him, to see him shoot well wide.

9:10 We believe we’ve mentioned here before that we are ardent fans of the great television show Make It Or Break It. If you’re not familiar with it, MIOBI is a soapy teen show about gymnasts, and it rocks. So anyway, last night’s episode featured the heroines performing in a gymnastics expo, and when they grumble about having to participate in it, their coach explains that their preparation for the event is going “to be all about fun. F-U-N.” Needless to say, this prompted a lot of jokes about how Lemaire was saying that to the Devils, only a bit more like, “Today’s practice is all about fun. D-E-F-E-N-S-E.” Or “S-O-U-N-D D-E-F-E-N-S-I-V-E P-O-S-I-T-I-O-N-I-N-G.” Now we’re hoping their next practice will be about fun. B-A-G S-K-A-T-E.

6:34 That weird Davis kid gets the puck behind the Senators net, spins, and falls over. Pookie: “Well, Davis has a tornado move of his own.” Schnookie: “What has that ever gotten any of the Devils?” Pookie: “At least we know he’ll fit in.”

4:13 It’s sometimes really hard to fathom why we bother watching when the Devils are playing like this. Spezza taps a shot in off a great diagonal pass across the zone. The best part is that he’s being “defended” by Mottau while doing it, which means he just has to stand there and put his stick between Mottau’s feet to easily put the puck into the net without any kind of impediment or hindrance from Mottau. It’s almost hypnotic how bad it is. 3-0 Senators.

2:45 Schnookie: “Is this going to be the night we finally just don’t watch the third period?” As if on cue, play is stopped thanks to some kind of fracas behind the play, and when the camera catches up with the scuffle, it turns out to be Peters standing all lunkishly over a fallen Ruutu, possibly thinking that this is finally going to be the time that pesky guy fights him to even up the roughing penalty he’s already taken. It’s like Charlie Brown thinking Lucy’s finally not going to pull the football away. It wouldn’t be quite so galling that he’s a terrible hockey player if he wasn’t also so fucking stupid about it. Yeah, this would be the night we finally just don’t watch the third period.

0:00 Did it suddenly become April and no one told us?

THIRD PERIOD

We got up and walked away, and didn’t miss anything.

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Our pregame tonight leads in talking about the promised offense-stimulating line changes for the Devils, and Doc tries to sell us on the line “The Steamrollers” for Rolston/Elias/Zharkov. That is not better than the Pickled Eggs and Ham. (In a related aside, after coining that name for the Pikkarainen/McAmmond/Pelley line, Schnookie began to wonder whether it could really catch on, like, for reals. Surely, she thought, it’s no dumber than ZZ Pops. It wasn’t until much later that she realized that the reason it won’t ever officially catch on is that non IPB readers don’t call Pelley “Egg”. We need to work on this.) During their discussion of the line, Chico tells Doc that this line “oozes hockey sense”. Pookie: “That’s why I call them ZZ Ooze.”

FIRST PERIOD

18:57 We get as far as one minute into the game, and the fabled breaking up of the Zach/Travis/Boogerfors line has already fallen by the wayside. We love it when Jacques sticks to his guns.

18:18 Zach is never going to score again. He gets a mini-breakaway, but his unstoppable move is unstoppable no more, and he’s not able to beat Elliott on the backhand.

17:00 Doc: “The Devils have had a little trouble in their own end lately.” Chico: “That’s being really kind. They’ve had a lot of trouble in their own end.” Pretty much.

16:17 Pando — Pando!! — trips Fisher. We are horrified. Fortunately, Boogerfors gets called for it, so PandoNation breathes a sigh of relief and smirks at the burgeoning BoogerforsNation across the heavily fortified border.

14:05 We are distracted during the scrambly-yet-effective PK by our giddiness about the impending snowstorm bearing down on stately IPB Manor. We can’t wait to hunker down for wall-to-wall hockey tomorrow while the snow gently falls outdoors. Which means we’ll probably be shivering in a powerless house all day while the snow rages furiously outdoors.

12:11 Pookie: “I think Zach’s afraid of the acorn.”

8:51 Just when we are beginning to wonder what Senators end of the ice looks like, a Sen helpfully takes an offensive-zone penalty well off the puck. There’s nothing the Devils are less effective at lately than scoring on stupidly-taken penalties, so this should be awesome!

8:05 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Who is this team, and what did they do with the Devils? Langer carries the puck up the ice, dishes to Game Over Greene to go wide around the defenders and go to the net, and Greene dishes the puck back to Langer across the crease for a tap-in goal. On the power play. Will wonders never cease? 1-0 Devils, and Marty picks up an assist. After the goal, Pookie says, “I just noticed something weird on the back of the goalie’s mask, and I was going to ask about it, but you know what? They’re going to tell us about it later.”

5:03 Doc is talking about some guy with Ottawa who was just called up, and was leading the AHL in +/-. Schnookie: “Why is it that even when Doc’s talking about guys who are currently in the minors, it always sounds like he’s talking about guys from the ’50s?” Pookie: “I don’t know, but I’m going to start calling Vrana Vrana Vrana ‘Scrap Iron’.”

3:39 Schnookie, still mulling over the Vrana Vrana Vrana thing: “I’m going to call Vrana ‘The Moxie Kid’.” Pookie: “That sounds very Stannish.” Pause. “But other than that, I love it.”

3:15 Based on what Chico’s saying the Devils aren’t cycling – they’re doing “The Swirl”. Pookie: “The Devils are doing a-swirl?” (ANTM fans will know what she’s talking about. In a quick check of the YubeTubes, we couldn’t find a clip of the Aswirl Twins, or whatever they are.)

2:39 Applesauce hooks Fisher while he’s headed to Marty’s net. Chico: “The Senators will have a chance to tie it now on the power play.” Pause. “Or the Devils will have a chance to score shorthanded.” We guess it’s not an option that the penalty could be killed without any change on the scoreboard.

0:39 Well, we were right and Chico was wrong.

0:00 That was a fun, fast period – we got to complain about the Devils looking hapless in their own zone, cheer for a surprising PP goal, nervously bite our nails over the tenuous lead, and Pookie practiced her booing Rolston. It was great! Meanwhile, Stan interviews Blandy, and Blandy happily reports that he takes more pride in his defense than his offense. Good answer, Blandy, in case Lou is watching. (Stan does not drop the word “moxie” in the interview.)

SECOND PERIOD

19:21 Tonight will not be the night of Shutout 104. The teams start the period rather how the first was played, with the Senators controlling play in the Devils zone, and finally a wonky point shot gets deflected high over Marty, hits the crossbar, and drops into the net. 1-1 game.

18:03 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Huh? There doesn’t seem to be anything going on, but suddenly Rolston takes a slapper after the Devils win an offensive-zone draw, it goes through some traffic in front, Elliott doesn’t seem to notice it, and just like that it’s 2-1 Devils. We were not ready for so much scoring right away in this period.

14:37 Marty gets barreled into by Cheechoo in pursuit of a loose puck, and Marty goes down like a sack of bricks. Nothing gets called, and Marty is slow to get up. Replay shows Cheechoo kneed Marty in the head, and Chico informs us that Marty’s neck is hurting right now, not his head. After a bit of drama queening with the trainer, Marty gets back up and seems fine. On the ensuing faceoff, Cheechoo’s stick immediately breaks, and Doc snips, “Is that the hockey gods paying him back? He definitely could have avoided contact.” Tell us how you really feel, Doc!

14:06 Doc is still complaining that Cheechoo “got away with one”, and gleefully notes when Cheechoo looks hurt after blocking a shot.

13:54 Ruutu roofs a shot over Marty while toppling over on the rush. 2-2 game, and Pookie snaps, “Maybe the Devils should have been looking ahead to this game.”

11:38 If the Devils win tonight, and the Caps don’t, the Devils will have sole possession of first place in the conference. Watching them Keystone Kops their way around their own zone, that is a staggering fact.

9:41 Langer giveth (with the PP goal in the first), and Langer taketh away (with this idiotic tripping penalty behind the Ottawa net).

7:41 While the PK was, on paper, successful, it was not the most encouraging one ever. If the Senators didn’t suck, they would have scored easily there. That’s probably why the Devils aren’t trying very hard defensively – they’re like, “Oh, that team will beat themselves for us.” We don’t think that’s a great strategy, but who are we to judge?

5:44 Ruutu returns Langer’s favor of taking a stupid offensive-zone penalty.

5:30 Now Niedermayer (the Lesser) takes up the theme of this evening’s game – stupid offensive-zone penalties – by whacking a Senator in the face with his stick just as the Devils are getting a good point shot set up. Pookie: “And to think – I said he was better than Mike and Mark Pandolfo combined. I take it back!”

4:53 The teams trade partial breakaways. Zach deftly backchecks the Senators’ chance into oblivion, and then Travis shoots wide to render the Devils’ opportunity moot. AcornsNation is beginning to suspect that maybe its emperor-god is also never going to score again. Zach’s drought is spreading like the plague!

1:36 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! PandoNation erupts into jubilant riots!!! The celebration might even spill across the fortified borders into BoogerforsNation, just for fun! Niedermayer (the Lesser) carries the puck below the goal line, then dishes from behind the net to Pando, waiting on the doorstep. And Pando makes no mistake going to one knee (the corrupt ruling priest class of PandoNation will say that he taught Sid Crosby that move) and shoveling the puck through Elliott. 3-2 Devils. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

0:00 That was a zippy period, full of terrible play, fantastic play, horrors and thrills. We might go so far as to say it was the best of times and the worst of times, to coin a phrase. And you can quote us on that!

While we wait for the intermission interview, MSG+’s filler is about none other than Pascal Rheaume. Doc says, “Remember Pascal Rheaume?” Us: “As a matter of fact, we do!” Pookie: “He was the original pleasant surprise.” Less pleasant a surprise? Our interview is with Niedermayer (the Lesser). We demand more Pando!

THIRD PERIOD

Our period starts with a new look at Santa Chuck the Duck outside Newark’s City Hall Christmas decorations. And Doc says, when he concludes the sponsorship spots, “Charles!” Chuck’s like, “Please, Charles was my father. Call me Chuck.”

16:26 For all the faults of this game, you can’t complain about the pace. This period picks up right where the others left off, with neither team looking like they know how to stop the other. Pookie: “I realize the Devils have the lead, but I really don’t think they’re going to win this.”

13:44 We come back from commercial to see Chico’s tour of the opponent’s mask, and Pookie gets all excited to find out about the mystery item on the back of Elliott’s mask. But instead, we’re learning about Pascal Leclaire’s. Rats. Anyway, first we get to see the “scary” and “mean” Roman legionnaires, and then, on the back, the kinder, gentler side of Leclaire: he has a little dancing goalie Snoopy there. Chico tells us his nickname is Snoopy, and adds: “Snoopy could mean a bunch of different things for a nickname.” Right.

13:19 Ooooh, Chico’s pissy about how the visiting Ottawa media people were apparently all “trap this, trap that” about Lemaire’s current Devils. He gets so mad about it that his voice cracks. “It’s from ten years ago!” he snarls, and concludes that the people who complain about the Devils trapping “just don’t know much about hockey”. Doc smugly explains that you tend to hear about the Devils trapping when you turn on the radio on your way out of a game that the Devils’ opponents lost. Heh heh heh. That placates Chico somewhat.

10:06 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! Pikkarainen seems to have given trick shot tips to the Iron Boar, because he fires a dump-in/shot from outside the blue line that Elliott stops, but then loses sight of when it flips high up in the air over his head. The puck takes what seems like forever to fall, but when it does it rolls off Elliott’s back into the net. 4-2 Devils, and just as Pookie is starting to say that it’s seemed like forever since the Iron Boar’s last goal, the announcement goes up that it’s his first of the season. “It’s seemed like forever,” she concludes, “Like, almost the entire season!”

7:58 We are discussing the merits of the McAmmond pick-up; Pookie says, “I daresay I’ve been pleasantly surprised by ol’ Dean-o.” Schnookie: “Yes, I’ve been quite pleasantly surprised by Hambone.” Pookie: “Now that sounds like a solid ’50s nickname.”

6:17 Hambone hooks Kovalev, who goes down like a ton of bricks. Chico says on the replay, “Look at the majesty of Kovalev there…” and as we start cracking up, thinking he’s snarking about the embellishment, he continues to marvel at Kovalev’s stick-handling skills. Bummer.

5:40 Why is it that Langer is often the biggest idiot on the ice for the Devils? After clearing the puck from the zone, he decides to finish off the play by hitting the Senators point man in the face with his gloves, just to give the Sens a long 5-on-3. There is a bit of scrummage after the infraction, but the only positive result of that is that Alfredsson gets a coincidental extra minor with Langer. The two-man advantage remains on the board.

4:15 That was some solid 3-on-5 penalty killing (Langer should buy all the Iron Three guys cars as thanks for saving his sorry-assed bacon there), and then Hambone gets a partial breakaway coming out of the penalty box. He doesn’t score.

3:41 We think perhaps our groan of disappointment can be heard for miles around after the mind-blowingly awesome two-on-one rush of Travis and Pando yields… and embarrassing failure. That was not pretty.

3:30 At the conclusion of all the penalty killing, Boogerfors gets a breakaway coming out of the box where he was serving Langer’s initial minor, but he, like the two odd-man rushes that preceded him, fails miserably. Pookie sees the silver lining, though: “Boogerfors has come so far! He no longer just falls over when he gets the puck!”

2:20 A doofusy Senator takes a roughing penalty.

1:50 Marty coughs the puck up to an attacking Sen while nowhere near the net, and it seems like everything in the arena stops moving for a looooong moment before the Sen spazzes out and loses the puck without even being able to take a crack at the vacated goal. Marty then resumes his position in the crease and makes a show of looking at his stick, as if trying to suggest it was solely responsible for that gaffe. Marty, a good craftsman never blames his tools.

0:00 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That game was wackadoo! And since they lost, the Senators media will probably report that it was a snorefest, dullsville trap-a-thon. Good thing we all know differently.

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What is this wonderful thing we see on our television? Can it be…? For reals? Is it… hockey??? Yes it is! WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Of course, we’re still a little disgruntled, as this conversation we had during dinner would attest:

Boomer: “Is Pando scratched again?”
Schnookie, bitterly: “Yes.”
Boomer: “I didn’t realize he and Sutter had such big problems.”
Schnookie: “I’m not sure it’s that. I mean, the team is playing well – who else would you take out to make room for Shanahan?”
Boomer: “Shanahan.”

During the pregame, our conversation progresses from benching Shanahan to wondering what Gel-O would look like in drag. You don’t want to know, Gentle Reader. Trust us.

PREGAME

20:00 The Sens are wearing their version of the BOLTS! Sweaters. When we first embarked on this blogging adventure, we encountered someone saying that insiders in Ottawa know that the Senators do not go by the nickname “Sens”, so we endeavored during their run to the SCF to never call them that. Well, now we want all the time we spent spelling out “S-E-N-A-T-O-R-S” back, assholes. It probably totals up to about 15 minutes. You can make that payable to The Ookies, Ottawa.

17:57 We’re busy discussing how we’re never not going to call Ottawa’s team the “Lightning Sens” or “SenBOLTS”, and meanwhile, on the ice, the Lightning SenBOLT goalie shuts down a rush by Rupp.

16:10 It’s a torrid pace here to bring us out of the All-Star break – the shots are 1-1. Doc is snidely pointing out that the SenBOLTS are, like the Penguins, now buckling down defensively. Oh how he loves jabbing at teams that have loudly decried trapping, but succumb to the system when their run-and-gun fails them.

15:23 This is the first Brodeurless Devils game in Ottawa since Marty first debuted in the NHL. Pookie: “It’s going to be weird when he gets back.”

15:06 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gio darts up the far wing, whips a feed from a bad angle into the crease, and places the puck perfectly on Patty’s skate for a deft tip-in to make the game 1-0 Devils. The goal is reviewed, and during the delay we get to see how tan Patty looks after his Mexican vacation.

14:23 Some SenBOLT hooks a Devil. We don’t really know what happened, and Doc and Chico don’t tell us because Chico’s too busy snotting that Marty would have broken up Gio’s pass if he’d been facing the rush that led to that goal. That’s right, Ottawa – this Elliott kid is no Martin Brodeur.

12:23 That was one of the quickest two minutes of hockey in recent memory. And sure, the Devils didn’t score, but the sequence still prompted Pookie to stage whisper, “Ottawa’s not very good.”

11:22 We wiled away a few hours this past offseason watching That Mitchell And Webb Look, and they have a sketch in which a couple is unwinding after work by talking about the difficulties they’ve faced in their jobs that day. One of them goes on and on about how devastating it is working in the hospital ward for terminally ill children, and then the other feels pathetic having to gripe about his grueling job as a taster at an ice cream factory. In that same vein, Doc tells us about how Elliott is serving in the bright spotlight of the Ottawa hockey world while his girlfriend serves in the U.S. Air Force in the Middle East.

9:31 Pookie: “These SenBOLT unis look like court jester outfits.”

8:12 Schnookie: “This Elias/Elliott thing is confusing me.” Pookie: “Me too. Therefore, I think the SenBOLTS should not be permitted to have a goalie tonight!” Pause. Pookie: “The Devils would probably still not score.” Schnookie: “You do know how bad they are with empty nets.”

7:40 The play is pretty much permanently set up in the Ottawa zone, and there’s something goofy going on with the mics on the ice, because every time play goes down along the end boards it sounds like a slinky is unfurling.

6:42 The SenBOLTS finally get the puck into the Devils zone and one of their guys gets hauled down by Blobby. The fans try to roar their displeasure at the lack of a call, but this crowd is listless and sounds like their spirits have been well and truly broken. After all the unearned arrogance from their 2007 playoff run and the first half of last season, we’re not sorry to see them coming back down to earth. Heh.

6:39 Brankahan goes to hit Phillips in the corner to Elliott’s left and gets him in the head with his elbow and his stick. He gets called for high-sticking and Chico whines about it. Pookie, meanwhile, proposes giving him a game misconduct for the game passing him by.

3:58 Blobby gets called for high sticking, and just as we are all in full volcanic eruption of rage at how much we hate Blobby and Brankahan, and how having them on the same line is just concentrating our loathing into one huge, slow, ineffective penalty-taking machine, replay shows the call is pretty crappy. There is a long pause, and then Pookie says, “It’s his reputation drawing that call. It’s still his fault!

0:00 The period ends, and we have to say, the Devils looked pretty solid there. Good puck possession, good penalty killing, and yes, even good goaltending (as much as it pains us to say that). We get an interview with Patty, and he credits the soccer warm-ups for his footwork on the goal. Surely he’s implying that if the team had done soccer warm-ups in previous years, he’d have scored more then, too.

FIRST INTERMISSION

We spend the intermission watching our Tranny Gentleman Callers on Versus.

SECOND PERIOD

CHUCK THE DUCK!!!! CHUCK THE DUCK!!!! Today he was hanging out on the Rideau Canal, sans cigar. Doc tells us the cigar is Cuban, so Chuck couldn’t bring it to Canada out of concern that he wouldn’t be able to bring it back over the border.

18:11 During a stoppage we look at Patty randomly shouting “FUCK!” on the bench while a stat caption informs us he had 55 points in all of last season, and now has 55 this year with his goal tonight.

18:01 Fisher hits Salvador from behind and gets called for boarding. Chico whines about the call. Chico, whose side are you on?

16:34 The PP is going so well that Doc is spending his play-by-play time telling us that he was a bit disappointed that the All-Star jerseys only had numbers on one sleeve, thereby making it difficult for him to call the ASG. Considering Versus’s approach to having him call that was to ask him to chat randomly with Brian Engblom for two and a half hours, we’re not sure how a lack of sleeve numbers was a handicap. (He also takes this moment to bitch that Atlanta’s sweaters also only have one numbered sleeve. Burn! Take that, Thrashers!)

14:55 There is a steady snoring buzzing from the floor next to Boomer’s chair where Rollie the cat is curled up. The “action” in this game thus far prompts Boomer to say, “I agree with Rollie.”

13:18 We come back from commercial to hear Chico telling us that the Brankahan/Blobby/Rupp line, the Devils fourth line, has scored 1002 career goals combined. Chico thinks that makes them the greatest fourth line in NHL history. Schnookie: “Or the oldest.” Long pause, then Boomer’s head explodes: “They didn’t score them together!”

11:55 Before the period started, Doc and Chico tried to lure us into thinking this was going to be a kick-ass twenty minutes for the Devils, because the SenBOLTS were outshot 19-3 in the second of their last game. Of course, this is the Devils, so the SenBOLTS have had the puck pretty much for the entire frame.

10:45 Pookie: “Actually, this looks a lot like the second period of the All-Star Game. Only minus the talent.” Pause. “Tonight’s version of the second period of the All-Star Game will be performed by talentless hacks.”

10:36 The Iron Boar takes a hooking penalty immediately off a defensive-zone draw.

9:06 We are busy discussing the off flavor of a can of Diet Coke that Schnookie just opened, and when we look back to the TV, the SenBOLTS are scoring. Great penalty, Iron Boar! The goal is Picard’s, and it’s a 1-1 game.

8:28 Remember how Pookie stage-whispered earlier that the SenBOLTS aren’t very good? Psst – the Devils aren’t very good.

8:10 Our stats people spent the All-Star break looking up the state of the team in comparison to last year, and it seems the Devils had 30 more goals through the first 47 than last season. Of course, the Devils got shut out in something like 39 of their first 47 games last season, so it would be hard not to have that many more goals.

5:41 The Poppers step out on the ice to remind their teammates that there’s still a game going on, and after a long, feisty shift in the Ottawa zone (during which we can only imagine that Zach is telling Travis and Langer repeatedly, “You guys, Vinny and Marty were so much better than you two”), Oduya fires a point shot that gets the glass, and Langer is there to bank the rebound from the boards off Elliott and into the net. 2-1 Devils, and Doc and Chico point out that Marty would have leapt out of the way of the desperation shot from behind the goal line. That’s right, Elliott – once again, our announcers want you to know that you’re no Marty Brodeur.

1:00 Zach spends this shift showing off to anyone paying attention that he was an All-Star. He doesn’t score, but he’s still pretty fancy. We begin to suspect that Sutter was right, and Zach is going to need a bigger helmet after all.

0:00 The period ends with two cats snoring audibly in our living room. Langer talks with Steve and spends the first part of the interview looking like he’s not paying attention while undoing the fly of his shorts. He spends the second half of the interview telling Steve that now that Zach’s back with the Devils, he needs to go back to not expecting to get any passes on his tape. We’d laugh, but it’s true.

SECOND INTERMISSION

Back to the Tranny Gentleman Callers.

THIRD PERIOD

19:41 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Poppers start the third period as if they’ve been shot out of a canon, rushing the length of the ice, crashing the net, Zach leaping through the air headfirst toward the end boards while passing out to Langer at the side of the goal, and Langer whipping a shot through Elliott. That was snappy! 3-1 Devils.

17:24 A mild scrum in front of the Devils net turns into a Neil/Clarkson fight. The two swing wildly at each other, rarely connecting, and are an hilarious dichotomy between caricature-ugly and super-foxy. Pookie: “Neil looks like a psychopath. Or like a five-year-old whose toy was stolen. Meanwhile, Clarkson looks like he’s in a foxy bar brawl, fighting for my honor.”

IPB Fight

Ruutu gets called for a penalty elsewhere on the play.

16:35 While the Devils mill about aimlessly on their PP, Chico tells us that the Senators players are apparently all wistfully jealous, and wish they could be Devils too.

14:19 During Brankahan’s last shift on the PP, Pookie wagered $10 that he’d take a penalty. He might not have done so then, but he makes up for it in spades here, waving his stick around Alfredsson’s face while lagging behind him and whacking him in the mouth. It draws blood, and it’s time for a four-minute kill.

12:12 The puck goes behind the Devils net, and one of the SenBOLTS actually lifts the back of the net up, pushes the puck in under the back of it, and then bothers putting his hands up to celebrate the puck being in the net. We are not making this up.

10:18 Thanks to a solid PK from the Devils and an emphatically awful PP by the SenBOLTS, Clemmer gets to spend the entire double minor sitting on a beach somewhere drinking pina coladas. The fans are drumming up the energy now to boo.

8:41 woo. Brankahan scores from up high on a snappy wrister off a feed from Rupp. It’s 4-1 Devils, the fans are streaming to the exits, and Schnookie remarks, “You know what I like about goals from Shanahan? They probably piss the hell off of Rangers fans.”

8:18 Ruutu’s a supergenius and takes a moronic slashing penalty behind the play. Good thing most of the fans are gone already.

6:23 Our ever-hopeful stats people tell us Langer has no career hat tricks. HINT, HINT!

5:28 Doc sends us all into a panic by noting that Madden is out with Travis and Langer.

4:09 Chico exclaims, while we ignore the “Where’s Zach????” question eating at all of us, that Devils fans should be eagerly looking forward to Thursday’s game against the Bruins, which will show us all where the Devils really are. Schnookie: “Considering how well the Devils played last time against the Bruins, I’m totally excited.”

3:10 Where’s Zach????? Oh. He’s out now. With Zubrus. The hell? What’s Sutter doing?

0:20 Wait, no, the lines look normal now. Whatever, Coach Sutter. Whatever.

0:00 The buzzer sounds, Langer still doesn’t have a hat trick, and Clemmer is now a 20-win goalie. What a strange, strange season this is turning out to be.

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Devils vs Senators

Today we made the long, long trek up to The Rawk to take in all the sights and sounds of the Devils facing off for a 5:00 Sunday game. Along for the ride? Pookie’s coworker Elizabeth, a Mets fan who is considering becoming a hockey fan to help pass the offseason. We couldn’t have picked a better game to showcase all that’s great in hockey.

Just kidding!

Okay, only kind of kidding. We had fabulous seats right up close to the net the Devils shot at twice (almost exactly where our old season tickets were, actually), so the big goals all happened right in our laps, and the Senators’ goals mostly happened way down at the end of the ice that we couldn’t see, so it was kind of like they never happened at all.

View From Our Seats

We’re both terrible at seeing hockey well in person, so we’ll go easy on the game analysis here. As far as we could tell, the Devils were not great for about 55 minutes (with the exception of the Zubrus/Patty/Gio line), then Captain Fuck This Shit was reminded that his opponent was the Senators, so he took his patented Fuck This Shit move out of mothballs to tie the game up late, and then Patty kicked in when he realized it was OT, drew a penalty, set the tone on the 4-on-3, and then Rolston sent us all home happy. That’s about it, right?

Zach, In Thirds

So the fact that we went into the game telling Elizabeth, “The only thing you need to know is that the Senators are profoundly awful,” then kept repeating it to her every time they took the lead, is beside the point. As is the fact that the Devils were catastrophically bad on the PK. Two points is two points, and Pollyanna would say that good teams find ways to win, even when they suck.

Most of all, though, we love that we got a picture of Pando as King Of The Good Ole Hockey Game:

Good Ole Hockey Game

And when we ordered our beers (Hoegaardens), the lady manning the tap declared, “Three hos!”

January 4 2008

Three hos. That’s us.

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It’s icy and rainy and awful outside, but inside the walls of stately IPB Manor we’re cozily ensconced in front of the TV, ready for some hot Devils/Senators action. And can we just say we’re so happy that we didn’t have to deal with getting up to Newark tonight in this weather. Kudos to everyone who managed to drag themselves to the game.

So the latest injury news is that Madden “took ill” (Steve’s words, theoretically quoting the team) after the Sabres game, and the Iron Boar has an upper-body injury. Which means it’s time to find out which Andy Greene is going to be coming back from IR tonight – will it be frighteningly ineffective Greener, or the surprisingly good one who was just rounding into form before getting hurt?

Meanwhile, the Sens are hardly juggernauting their way into town. The big news from their side is that the big Heatley/Alfredsson/Spezza line is being broken up. Madden’s probably faking his “taken ill” in a misguided attempt to prove to Sutter how wrong he is about not needing a checking line, and this development is not going to help Mad Dog’s cause one bit.

FIRST PERIOD

Right before the opening draw, we get a loooooong look at Greener huffing smelling salts. He doesn’t look any more alert when he’s done.

19:39 There are, like, four people at this game. Like we said, major kudos. No one should be outside on a night like this.

19:20 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Patty/Gio/Zubrus line looks eager to assert their wills on the Senators, and after a smart shift of sassy perimeter passing, Paulie cranks a point shot that Gio tips on its way in. 1-0 Devils, and Paulie looks like maybe that Gaustad crosscheck in the last game is going to be his version of getting bitten by Derian Hatcher.

17:26 Doc points out that the Devils have scored the opening goal in their last three games within the first two minutes. Pookie, suspiciously: “That’s not the Devils’ way…”

16:10 Chico goes on and on about whatever it was Clemmer was saying about his own awesomeness as a workhorse starter, and Schnookie grouses, “This is the yakkiest gag order I think I’ve ever heard.” Pookie: “Unfortunately, he’s only gagged for part of the day.”

12:44 Greener turns the puck over twice in his own zone. The Sens respond by hitting the crossbar with a shot, a play that Clemmer will doubtless later spin as a miracle save on his part. We guess that answers which Greener would be in the lineup tonight. And hilariously, Chico sternly reprimands Clemmer on the play for going down too early on the play, and says he clearly doesn’t have his head in the game yet. Clemmer’s probably trying to prove to Lou that the gag order is only going to make him a worse goalie.

9:40 Paulie holds up behind Clemmer’s net while, one would imagine, waiting on his teammates to change. Seconds turn to minutes, minutes turn to hours, hours turn to day… Christ almighty, Paulie! Just pass the fucking puck! Sheesh. It’s like he’s planning to kill the final ten minutes of this period just by chilling back there.

8:22 The Senators are third-best in the league in team GAA? Seriously? Since when?

7:58 We have been discussing how we’re all just totally blissed out by it being a holiday-season Friday; we’re all in such good places that the game, at least up until now, has been like the most delightful ambient mood music. Pookie says, “This game is like a Japancakes song.”

7:53 Leach and Neil fight. It ends when Neil tries to pull Leach’s face off with the chin strap of his helmet.

IPB Fight

7:31 Yayson gets called for goaltender interference. Replay suggests Clemmer dove. Although we might be biased.

5:30 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Devils work their “pass the puck down to Zach next to the crease, then have Zach laser it across the crease for the guy sneaking down to tip in” play to perfection. The wrinkle is that Travis is playing the decoy in front and tying up the defender who would normally cover the sneaky backdoor play, so Oduya is able to dart down completely unmolested to make it 2-0 Devils. Chico informs us it’s another goal from the “smoking hot” power play, and we agree – any goal by Oduya is smokin’ hot.

0:00 The period comes to an end with Heatley trying to mount some kind of rush, but being stymied outside the Devils blue line by Zach waggling his ass at him. Seriously. That’s exactly how it happened. We get an interview with Gio, but Stan’s the one doing the interviewing, so we vomit copiously.

FIRST INTERMISSION

Dano doesn’t have a single nice thing to say about the Senators. He is nigh-on appalled at how shitty they are.

SECOND PERIOD

17:51 The teams are sort of just mellowing out right now, so Doc is rambling. Among many other things, he ruminates on the next Devils game, which is against the Flyers; he says “It’s one of two rivalries involving the Devils in which the fans wear tie-downs on their jerseys.” Heh.

15:45 As we have been pondering the precipitous collapse of the Senators, Schnookie announces, “I know what’s happened to them. Craig Hartsburg is not a good hockey coach.”

15:23 Just as Chico is mentioning that the Senators are as bad now as they were back when he coached them (they have three goals in their last three games and only three shots in this one so far), Alfredsson finally decides that conventional hockey isn’t working anymore, so he tries to flip the puck over the net from behind to bank it in off Clemmer’s head. The puck ends up landing on top of the net, and Alfredsson is left to meekly poke at it until the officials take the faceoff to center ice.

14:57 If there’s one thing that can cure the Sens, it’s playing the Devils in the second period. They’ve had more puck possession in the last five minutes than they had in the first period.

14:29 Mottau takes a tripping penalty, upping the ante in this standoff of suck vs. suck. Which is worse – the Senators, or the second-period Devils? And will a man advantage tip the scales? Stay tuned!

12:19 The PK ends successfully, and Applesauce is even able to spring Gio and Zach on a two-on-one when he steps out of the box. The standoff continues.

12:02 Oooh, the Sens are highly committed to being the worst team in this period – they take a too many men penalty.

11:23 Sneaky, Ottawa. Very sneaky. They take advantage of Langer’s defensive lameness on the point (Chico tries to blame Paulie, but says that Paulie’s fault there is thinking Langer’s playing better than he is, so we’re not buying it) and Ruutu scores the first shorty against the Devils this season. 2-1 Devils.

10:40 Clemmer very nearly lets another shorty past him, but Applesauce is there to dig the puck out of the crease behind him. Sigh. Pookie: “We’re not winning this game.”

8:18 Gio gets a nice chance off some hard work by himself and Travis, but Zach isn’t able to get his stick on the ginormous rebound Auld kicks back up the middle.

7:33 HAHAHAHA! It turns out that Neil might have won the battle in that fight with Leach, but lost the war thanks to sustaining a knee injury in the doing. When Doc announces he’s out of the game, Boomer chortles, “There’s nothing I like better than seeing the end of Neil.” Pookie responds, “Except seeing the end of Clemmer. Come on, Leach! Fight him!”

5:35 Our Geico Quotebook is about Marty’s rehab process, and then we get to see a shot of him sitting in his box, reading the game notes. He looks massively flummoxed by all the little letters and punctuation marks that make up this thing called “the written word”.

3:24 Brookbank’s playing tonight? We had no idea! Well, he’s on the scoresheet now thanks to an utterly moronic high-sticking penalty behind the play. On Neil, who apparently was not informed that he’s no longer in the game. Boomer: “Obviously Leach is going to have to fight him again.”

1:24 Zach laces a perfect clear at the end of the PK to send Brookbank in on a breakaway.

1:04 Brookbank doesn’t score (shocking, we know), but the ensuing bit of forechecking by Zach draws a penalty on Schubert. As he skates to the box, we get a long look at Schubert’s mustache, one of many on a team that is apparently doing a mustache-growing thing these days. Pookie correctly observes, “These mustaches make the Senators look like the boring guy who loses the girl in a period British movie.” Boomer elaborates, “They all look like they’re Edwardian bank clerks.”

0:53 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Patty basically unleashes a whole heap of subtle artistry on the PP, starting a back-and-forth with Zach to get the PKers moving, then tapping a gorgeous tip pass to Paulie at the point, then deftly parking in front to dig a rebound out through the legs of the defender at the top of the crease, and suavely shoveling the puck into the open side of the net before Auld even realizes what’s happening. 3-1 Devils, and that was a thing of beauty.

0:00 How bad are the Senators? They couldn’t capitalize on the Devils in the second period. That’s really bad.

SECOND INTERMISSION

Dano spends the better part of the intermission belaboring how horribly at fault Paulie was on the Ruutu goal. We are horrified that Stan is the only person coming to Paulie’s defense to point out that Langer might also have to bear some of the responsibility for misplaying the puck at the point and then not getting back at all on the two-on-one. Dano will have none of it, and Pookie narrows her eyes at him meanly while adding his name to the list she keeps of people who have wronged Paulie.

THIRD PERIOD

EEEEEEEE!!!! Chuck the Duck! Doc tells us he “has some owl in him” as we get to see some footage of him sitting in snowdrifts at night in Montreal and Buffalo, while wearing sunglasses. Chuck is the bomb.

19:22 Doc tells us the assists on Patty’s goal have been changed from Zach and Paulie to Zach and Travis. Pookie hisses, “Did they just take Paulie’s assist away? I’m going to have to add the scorer to my list.” Schnookie asks, “Not Travis?” and Pookie chirps, “Of course not! That would be stupid!”

16:22 It seems Gio’s allowed to hit Auld. Not that anything comes of it or anything. Just saying. We’re back in Japancakes mode here.

15:07 Patty gets a mini-break, but does such a weird job of making it look like he didn’t take a shot that Doc has no idea how to call it. The whole play just sort of peters out with a soundtrack of Doc making a sound that verbalizes “???????” perfectly.

12:51 As we go to commercial, Boomer is pretty much talking to herself about the Senators’ mustaches: “They look like they made a run on Gary Meadows’s merchandise. Like it was a Gary Meadows clearance sale. Saved by zero, at Gary Meadows.”

12:15 Yikes! Doc tells us Travis has a faceoff percentage on the season over 50%, and was 11-for-13 going into the third. We guess he’s really leaving that sophomore slump behind. It’s probably a good thing we didn’t trade him for Lecavalier.

10:57 Doc is excited to point out the numerical oddity the Senators are sporting: a defenseman who is wearing 9. Chico offers a free hot dog to the first fan who can come up with another NHL d-man who wore or is currently wearing 9. Have we ever mentioned how much we love Doc and Chico?

9:55 Rupper wants to finish the job on Neil, but the linesman breaks the scrum up off camera before it can turn into a rowdydow.

7:46 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Travis bungles a go-ahead pass to Langer on a three-on-two, but Langer goes ahead to retrieve the puck in the corner on the goal line and flings it creaseward. Zach, of course, is hanging around the goalmouth and beats the defender and Auld to the puck to punch it into the net before tumbling to the ice in a cartwheely celebration. It’s 4-1 Devils, and have we ever mentioned how much we love Zach?

6:15 We come back from commercial to see a replay of Zach informing the officials that he did not, in fact, get a stick on that last goal, and that it deflected in off Volchenkov, making it’s Langer’s. Awww. But we’d like Zach better if he was insisting it was Travis’s goal instead. [Much later, we discover the goal was Travis’s after all, and we’re just terrible at paying attention. WOOOO!!!! Good choice, Zach!]

5:57 Vermette throws Patty to the ice after a faceoff in the Devils zone and gets called for interference. Chico remarks that Patty could probably have gotten two for diving, but given the calls that have gone against Patty in the last few games, it seems fair. If you can’t beat the divers, might as well join them. Or something.

5:21 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s a really nice feeling when the Devils have a competent PP, or when they’re playing a team with an incompetent PK, whichever the case may be. It looks like they don’t even have to break a sweat as the Devils fan some passes around the points, then move the puck down to Zach, who takes advantage of the Sens high PKers who have overcommitted to rushing the points. Facing a gaping passing lane, he dishes to Patty in the slot, and Patty deftly tips the puck up into the net to make it 5-1 Devils. Pookie wonders, “Do you think Patty and Zach like playing together on the PP?” Then she adds, “This is like the best Japancakes song ever.”

3:07 Oduya gets jumped on by a Senator and gets called for interference. The ensuing stoppage gives us a chance to see the attendant in the Senators penalty box dabbing at his forehead with a towel, and it turns out Vermette got pissy when the Devils scored their last goal, slammed his stick on the glass, and ended up hitting the dude in the box. We never did like that Vermette kid.

1:07 Not an impressive PP by the Senators, a team that seems to have given up all hope. Heh.

0:25 Chico gives a tip of his hat to the fans who made it to the game, who are on their feet and cheering the Devils for an awesome showing tonight.

0:07 Doc says, of the fans, “They are taking a liking to Clemmensen.” We scream in unison, “NOOOOOOOO!”

0:00 WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! That was a delightful game! Seriously, we love it when the Devils play really bad teams. Chico concludes his thoughts about the game by telling us how well Clemmer played, and Pookie retorts, “It helps that the Senators never had the puck.” The three stars are Travis, Zach and Patty, and we are overcome with tremendous fondness for our boys in rouge, blanc et noir. All hockey seasons have their stretches that make you question your reasons for following your team, so it’s always wonderful to recognize those moments that remind you again why you do.

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We’re sorry to say it, Gentle Reader, but there will be no game diary tonight, as we are doing things like “enjoying a nice dinner” during this game. Please enjoy an open comment thread, and we have hopes of composing some thoughts about the match during intermissions, but make no promises.

FIRST PERIOD
After the first period (which, admittedly, half of us didn’t see very much of because we were caramelizing pounds and pounds of onions), we are cautiously optimistic. A goal? From just putting the puck on net? That’s shocking! After that tentative first power play, where the Devils looked like they were thinking Emery is of the Luongo ilk of goalie, we expected far worse. Pookie is armed with some good hockey platitudes for this opening frame, though: “I thought they played a good road period. Took the crowd outta the game.” Damn straight. Now let’s see 100% of them give 110%, and put the cat in the hat, and it should all be smooth sailing from here out.

SECOND PERIOD
We’re breathing into paper bags here after what was probably one of the most exciting periods of hockey the Devils have been involved in all season. Holy crap. That was insane. How could we not love how swaggery and awesome the Devils looked gaining a 3-0 lead? And even when the Senators had the better of the play in the second half of the period, we liked three things about that:

1. The play opened up and was just wild, end-to-end action.
2. The Devils at least looked puck hungry, if not totally in control. Even though they had prolonged possession and pressure in the Jersey zone, the Senators did not have a lot of opportunities to make plays cleanly because Devil players were getting to most pucks.
3. Marty has been out of his mind. Except, uh, for that goal. Which Chico has absolutely no business blaming on Rachunek — if Marty mishandles the puck behind his net, just say Marty mishandled the puck behind his net, Chico. We all have eyes.

Last time these teams played they combined for 29 shots in the second, then managed just one shot in the first five minutes of the third period. We hope that doesn’t happen again tonight. Unless, of course, the alternative is the Senators coming out and tying things up quickly. If that’s our other option, we’ll take the one-shot-in-five-minutes thing, thanks.

THIRD PERIOD

Okay, so the Devils looked like they were doing the whole “let’s sit back and enjoy this lead” thing, but that’s probably the three glasses of wine and our general, overriding negativity talking. The fact is that Ottawa remembered how to play hockey and came hard at the Devils starting at about the midway point of the second period. And while we would have liked to see our boys looking a hair more interested in adding to their lead, the fact is that they did an admirable job of bending but not breaking. To keep with the hockey platitude theme. And tonight gave us yet another look at why Marty Brodeur, even with all the praise he gets, is still underrated by many (and you know who you are…). If anyone is ever looking for a 60-minute chunk of hockey to demonstrate what’s so entertaining about this sport, we’d nominate this game. Thanks, Devils and Senators, for playing a real barnburner tonight, and thanks even more, Devils, for winning it. WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

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It feels like it’s been about a zillion years since the last Devils game, which was, of course, the 6-1 romp against Carolina. So… coming off a giant win, after three days off, we’ve got the Senators tonight. We, um, don’t have a great feeling about this one.

After talking a bit about the Stillman/Commodore move to the Sens, Doc and Chico talk some about the recent spate of scoring by the Devils’ blue line. We figure the defensemen finally said to the forwards, “Fine! We’ve waited over 50 games for you losers to kick things into gear, but obviously you’re not going to start scoring any time soon, so we’ll just have to.”

Oh dear. Steve is sick today, so we’re stuck with Stan hosting our game tonight. Why, Hockey Gods, why??? (And no, Stan, talking about Pando’s awesomeness is not enough to make us like you.)

FIRST PERIOD

19:35 We start things off with a bang, with a great scoring chance for the Alfredsson line, and then a Devils icing.

18:35 Ever since FSN let Stan speak, the sound on our feed has gone wonky. It’s all hissy and loud and tinny and shrill and awful. Stan ruins everything.

17:53 The Lalime Era is definitely over in Ottawa: Pando gets a good chance from below the right faceoff dot, but Gerber kicks it out easily.
(more…)

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