Friday, November 26, 2010
Normally I’m coming home from work to relax before the Devils game where more often than not this year I get annoyed with the team, but today I’m coming home from work already ticked off at this joke of a team after their embarrassing no-show on Long Island during a holiday weekend matinee. Yes, you have to say the Islanders were due for a win after fourteen straight games without one and Rick DiPietro's getting almost Henrik Lundqvist-like with his ability to shut out the Devils.
All that said, there was absolutely no excuse for this team to come out the way they did in the first twenty minutes. I could have (and did for a while) turn off the radio when the Isles scored inside of two minutes, on a goal where both defensemen got caught up ice according to Matt Loughlin. This is just something that’s not done even if you’re mentally asleep and that told me all I’d need to know about this afternoon’s game. Masochist that I am though, I eventually tuned the game back on and the Devils continued to no-show right through the first period where they got outshot 13-4.
I’m sorry, if you’re getting outshot 13-4 by the Islanders you’re not trying. This is an Islanders team that was way under the salary floor even before injuries hit and is literally icing an AHL roster right now other than goalies DiPietro – who really hasn’t shown the form of his earlier career against any other team – and Dwayne Roloson. If today had been one of ‘those’ games where we outshoot the Isles 45-20 and still lost I would have been annoyed but not disappointed, but to come out like that when you need every game to try to get back in the playoff race is just flat inexcusable.
I hate to go back to this again, but this is the kind of game that gets coaches fired. Just ask current assistant Larry Robinson, who got canned in 2002 shortly after the Devils lost to a still expansion-ist Atlanta team (though they at least had an Ilya Kovalchuk with a pulse). I would bet money on it that something’s going to happen when - not if - the Flyers run us out of the Rock once again tomorrow afternoon, a game I’m unlucky enough to be going to. It’s as if I can already see what’s happened before it actually does. We lose 5-1, 6-2, the near sellout crowd boos for most of the game and starts ‘Fire Mac!’ chants and with a few days off before our next home game against Montreal something’s going to give and I can no longer complain if it involves the coach. When you can’t get your team to show up for an absolute must-win it’s just shameful.
If I have to hear the Devils just aren’t any good talentwise I’m going to scream. Even without Zach Parise, Jamie Langenbrunner and Martin Brodeur right now they’re certainly more than good enough to put out something other than the garbage they left all over the Nassau ice. Right now, and really for this entire calendar year the Devils are every bit the disgrace that the Jeff Torborg Mets were, the ’95 Jets with Rich Kotite and the pre-lockout Rangers. This is no longer a team, it’s a collection of high-priced talent that isn’t doing jack with historically bad results to show for it.
There’s really not much else to say about today’s game except sure enough, the second period wasn’t much better as the Devils gave up another goal and continued to sleepwalk through long stretches, before finally waking up in the third period and as has been their forte, dominating without getting a goal to show for it – which included an embarrassingly inept five-on-three wrapped in the middle of a double major penalty on James Wisniewski (probably the only current Islander defenseman I’ve ever heard of with Mark Streit and ex-Devil Mike Mottau on the shelf, among others).
To call tomorrow’s game a must-win is being too generous of our chances to actually win the game, especially after CALGARY of all teams beat the Flyers in a shootout today. Unlike our team, which seems to enjoy wallowing in misery - they’re not going to stand for two subpar results in a row. They actually have leadership, not to mention coaching (gee, too bad Lou didn’t even give Peter Laviolette an interview when he was sitting out there). However, let’s call it like it is - it absolutely is a must-win for Johnny MacLean. I’m not a betting man but again, I’d wager serious dough the other shoe drops by Monday if we endure the embarrassment I expect.
And from what I’ve seen from this team since January there’s no reason to expect anything different from tomorrow’s game.