Derek Felix Interviews 2man's Patricia Greuter:
DF: Can you tell us a little bit about 2manadvantage?
PG: After I parted ways with NJDevs.com, Joe McDonald approached me with the idea of covering the Devils in a blog for his site. I've worked with Joe Mac before, so I knew it was definitely a great opportunity. I kind of left NJDevs on a sour note (I had been an administrator for well over three years and was forced out over difference of opinions), so I really wasn't into the idea of working a website again, but I just couldn't pass up Joe's offer. I accepted on the condition that a good friend of mine and fellow hardcore Devils fan, Joe Bechtel, could write alongside with me. We dish the dirt about our favorite team, no holds barred. We experience the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows with this team. I guess you could say we definitely suffer from some sort of hockey-related mood disorder, that's for sure.
DF: You have to be pleased with where the Devils currently are compared to last year at this point. What do you feel the keys are to this team making a deep postseason run?
PG: There are three keys to this team's success in the playoffs:
a) Johnny Oduya not throwing the puck in the stands for delay of game penalties
b) Colin White not taking dumb, you-really-should-be-arrested-for-that penalties
c) Martin Brodeur not spontaneously combusting before the season's end
…in all seriousness, I think the Devils need to rely on the likes of John Madden, Jay Pandolfo (Sergei Brylin), and Jamie Langenbrunner for a deep postseason run. Madden and Pandolfo (and Sarge) can do wonders shutting the opposition down, and Langenbrunner can easily shine in the playoffs once again. For real, these three guys have been amazing this year. The team really excels when these guys come to bat, and they've hit more homeruns than strikeouts.
I'd also like to give a quick shout out to Brad Lukowich. He has come on so strong with the Devils these past few months that I genuinely hope he is re-signed. In a new Devils era where Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, and Ken Daneyko no longer exist, it's really hard to find defensemen to really trust. I'm starting to find that trust in Lukowich.
DF: Martin Brodeur is having perhaps his finest season. He leads the league in wins, shutouts and almost every other category. Is this the best he's ever played?
PG: Without a doubt. I've been hard on Marty for what feels like forever, but he's really shined this year. The guy is unreal. He's got to be eating Super Wheaties or something, you know? No one should be able to carry the load he carries and not falter. It really amazes me.
DF: As usual Brodeur has played a ton of games under Claude Julien. I believe it was 27 or 28 straight starts after yesterday's loss to Tampa. Are you concerned that the 2-time Vezina and 3-time Cup winner could wear down?
PG: I'm always concerned about wear down for Marty, but don't always think it'll be a physical one. Playing as much as he plays, it has to take a toll on his mind. To be in the zone, that focused all the time really takes a lot of energy. Ultimately, I don't see him breaking down, but I definitely worry. I'll worry until I see him able to hoist the Cup again…and not pass out from overexertion.
DF: With the deadline a couple of weeks away, is there anything you feel the team should address? Given their cap issues, can they make a move if needed?
PG: To the dismay of many Devils fans, I unfortunately don't see a move being made by the Devils this deadline. I know, I know, I've felt the pain before ladies and gents, it definitely stings not seeing your team make a (needless) move on the deadline. Hey, I've been there before. In all fairness, I just don't see anything this team needs to address right now. Sure, I'd love to see a bit more scoring, who wouldn't? Bottom line though, they're scoring enough and Marty is doing his job well enough to get more wins than losses. If there's a move to be made, though, I could potentially see a David Hale deal. He's fallen out of favor in the Meadowlands, and I just don't see him progressing like he should be at this point. He'll be a good defenseman someday, but I'm starting to really doubt it'll be here. Sorry, David.
...oh, yeah. The cap. Almost forgot about that little beast. Do the Devils have cap issues? Hey, who cares? If Lou needs to do something, he'll find a way to do it. Ask Vlad Malakhov. If he's not too busy on a skiing trip, I'm sure he'll concur.
DF: One of the big keys to this year's team has been the play of the North Dakota connection Travis Zajac and Zach Parise. They have meshed well with Jamie Langenbrunner to form your most effective line. Can you talk about how important they have been thus far?
PG: Patrik Elias didn't really have the great start fans were hoping he'd have, and while Gomez and Gionta have had respectable years, I think fans were expecting a bit more. Zajac really came on strong early this season in his rookie campaign, and Parise has all but shut down the nay-sayers at this point. I do remember just one year ago when Devils fans were asking each other if they though Parise had been a bust, but look at Number Nine go now! Trust me, he's only going to get better. As for Langenbrunner? Like I said earlier, he's been one of the most important keys to this team's success thus far. He knows when to chip in that important play or goal at the most important moment. We like those kinds of players, especially in the postseason.
DF: Given the whole debate over the unbalanced schedule, would you make any changes to it in future seasons?
PG: I must say, I do miss seeing the West, and playing the Islanders nine million times in one season is a bit much. If this were last season, I'd say let's just eliminate Devils-Islanders games altogether, but I think I can deal this time around. Oh I love being jaded.
DF: Many games have gone to shootouts this season. Would you make a change to the points system?
PG: I'd make it mandatory that Patrik Elias not be allowed anywhere near the arena when it comes time for a shootout.
DF: There's been some discussion about the lack of goalscoring. Even some speculation that they might increase the size of nets. Does that go too far? Is there anything you would suggest instead to improve scoring without infuriating traditionalists?
PG: You're never going to satisfy everyone. I just think that good hockey is good hockey. For some, low scoring affairs are where it's at. For others, it's all about lots of goals and lots of flashy plays. Leave the nets alone. They're fine the way they are. I know this somewhat goes against everything I should believe as a Devils fan, but I really think the best way to try to fix the problem is to just drive at it even harder. Need more goals? Take more shots. Clone Ovechkin and Jagr, maybe. I don't know. I still think some goalies' equipment could be a little smaller.
DF: How excited are you for the Devils to finally get out of CAA and move into their new arena in Newark next season?
PG: Believe it or not, it's a bittersweet moment for me. I actually *gasp* LIKED the good ole Continental Airlines Arena. Sure, it's a massive beast of a place with eight-thousand safety hazards, but I did grow up in that arena. I'll be sad to see it go. Newark is definitely going to be cool, just as long as I don't get mugged. I really would rather not get mugged. I'm told it won't happen, but we'll see. It's not exactly the best advertising to tell prospective fans that they may or may not be mugged when going to a hockey game, you know?
DF: If the playoffs were to start today, the Devils would face the Canadiens or Lightning. Is there a team fighting for playoff position that you're not crazy about seeing in the first round?
PG: Philly. I'd rather not see the Flyers in the playoffs. …oh wait.
DF: Final question: Out of these three prominent rookies, which do you like the best and why?
Evgeni Malkin, Anze Kopitar or Jordan Staal
PG: Joe would kill me if I didn't say Kopitar. Lucky for him, I'd have to agree. This kid is a beast. I know Joe has been foaming at the mouth for an opportunity for Anze to play on the Devils, and I wouldn't exactly mind it either. Malkin and Staal are both incredible players though, and I really see all three men potentially dominating the league in years to come.
As usual, some very entertaining and inciteful answers from Patricia. I would like to thank her for getting back to us so quickly. Keep up the good work with 2man and enjoy the rest of the season.
If you missed the link earlier, don't forget to visit her site: