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We are going to be performing a bit of an experiment tonight, Gentle Reader. We’re going to watch the game… without sound. This is a huge thing for us, because, since we do stitching handiwork during hockey broadcasts, we tend to listen more than we watch. Maybe it’s because of that that we find ourselves so at wits’ end with Chico’s baseless optimism, or maybe it’s just that the combination of Devils sucktitude and Chico’s spin on it is nauseating to everyone, whatever their approach to watching the games. Whatever the case is, we’re going Chico-free tonight. And sound-free. It’s going to be an adventure. We will attempt to give regular updates of our hopes and dreams. Please join us!

7:14 pm Our happiness level is high! The Devils sucktitude level is shockingly low! Neidermayer the Lesser scores while Schnookie’s making dinner and Pookie is soaking in how peaceful a game on mute seems.

7:15 pm Scratch that. Happiness level is low, Devils sucktitude is high. Prospal scores. This muted game is bringing us peace — quick, break its legs!

7:23 pm Happiness level is high again, as we’re all ensconced in front of the TV with plates of what we’re lovingly calling, in honor of our recent research into Scandinavian food, “Taco Chickentaco”. The Devils sucktitude level is questionable, as we’re silently watching commercials. We suspect it’s high.

7:35 pm You know what’s crazy about having the game muted? You have to actually watch and pay attention. When MSG+ shows us a replay of Dubinsky getting hit by two Devils, Pookie remarks, “Fraser’s back in the lineup!” Then, in an effort to figure out which d-man came out to make room for him, she proceeds to name all of the Devils’ d-men. She is stunned. “That’s the first time all season I’ve been able to name people in the lineup.” This makes us happy. And the Devils are in the offensive zone, so their sucktitude level is shockingly low.

7:37 pm Happiness level high! Sucktitude level low! WOOOOOO!!!!

7:38 pm Immediately after the Devils take a 2-1 lead, PL3 and some Ranger whose name we can’t read because his sweater is getting all wrinkled around his nameplate fight. Pookie: “Happiness level is low. Why do we have Leblond?” Schnookie: “Please. He’s not Peters.”

7:44 pm Happiness level super high! Thanks to the game being pre-muted, we don’t have to race to silence the television before Stan starts to speak. We are completely and utterly Stan-less and it’s fan-fucking-tastic.

7:59 pm Happiness level pretty much the same, but smartless level? Through the roof! Instead of listening to Dano and Gel-O, we spend intermission discussing the whaling industry (and we didn’t suggest harpooning Peters once!). But, some of us are doing better than others at this whole “muted game” thing. As we cut back to the game, Boomer chirps, “Oh, we got a second goal!”

8:07 pm Hm. One the one hand, we’ve discovered that when the game is muted, the players seem to be skating faster. On the other hand, the Rangers scored again.

8:17 pm The Devils sucktitude meter is vacillating wildly, first dropping dangerously low with a power play goal, then rebounding strongly by promptly giving up an answering goal off a grotesque turnover. Our happiness level, however, is holding steady. Because at least we’re not hearing about it.

8:21 pm Happiness level… dropping… dropping… We come back from commercial to see an “upcoming broadcasts” screen. They are Pittsburgh, the Islanders, and Pittsburgh. Schnookie: “Ew. Really?”

8:23 pm Having the television muted means we hear more of the environmental sounds around stately IPB Manor. Which in this case meant an old, uncoordinated cat going down a long flight of stairs. It sounded a lot like a pirate with a peg leg or two. We’re pretty sure the prospect of the basement being overrun with peg-legged pirates is always going to trump a Devils-Rangers game.

8:25 pm Happiness level warily high. That happiness gauge isn’t over-committing as the Rangers will most likely tie up before we can finish typing this.

8:28 pm Rolston makes the game 5-3 (or rather, Dan Girardi does, by tipping a shot through the Prawn), and our happiness meter commits to “high”. There is little funnier than a slow-developing three-on-one down low with no sound. It looked like everyone was skating underwater. While we watch the replays of the goal, Pookie says, “Wow. Girardi looked like Redden there.” Schnookie: “Whoa. I’ve thought he was Redden all game, because I got their numbers mixed up.” Pookie: “That’s the worst thing anyone’s ever said about Dan Girardi.” Boomer, looking up from where she was checking online for her jury duty requirements: “Hey! We chased King Prawn!”

8:36 pm The happiness meter is off the charts! They keep showing us shots of mopey Prawn sniffling sadly on the bench, as this is apparently the first time in his career that he’s been pulled in a Devils game. Pookie: “His little buggy prawn eyes are going to be crying themselves to sleep on their little buggy prawn pillows tonight!”

9:09 pm Whoa. Having the sound off means you can suddenly look up and realize that there are less than 10 minutes left in the game. Sucktitude level seems low. Happiness level is high. This experiment so far is a success.

9:21 pm The Showdown at the Triple Z Ranch silently strikes to make it 6-3. The Devils are showing woefully low levels of sucktitude. It’s almost as if they transferred all their sucktitude to the Rangers. If this is the end result, we might never watch hockey with the sound on again.

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