Saturday, December 4, 2010
And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...
...which is watching the pile of crap that is the Devils 2010-11 season. Really, if you look at it 2010 is about as big a mess on-ice as you could ever have on a Lou Lamoriello team. Between the team's 25-36-8 record since last January 14 (with no winning streak longer than two games) to the unprecedented Ilya Kovalchuk fiasco during the summer, I really cannot wait for 2010 to end. Maybe all we need to turn this team around is a new calendar haha.
At least the effort today in Philly was a lot better than that clown show in Newark two nights ago but the result was the same, a loss which kept us eleven points back of a playoff spot. It's to the point where you're almost looking for moral victories. At least Kovalchuk and even Travis Zajac (arguably our two biggest dissapointments offensively on a team full of them) both finally scored goals, and the offense got three - there must have been a lunar eclipse.
I wasn't with this game from start to finish, did watch the first period - actually a very good one from the boys in white, considering we were leading 2-1 and playing fairly well territorially though Anton Volchenkov almost gaffed away a goal in the final seconds of the period, when Johan Hedberg bailed the team out of what would have been a crushing equalizer with a great sprawling save.
Of course, the equalizer did come early in the second period, one the Flyers dominated. By then I was listening to the radio and heard Matt Loughlin and Sherry Ross talk about Danius Zubrus's knee problem that he's been battling all season - which is news to me, since I haven't heard anything about this on TV or in the media. Perhaps it's why his icetime the other night was particularly low in a game where Johnny MacLean remarked he could have benched nine forwards.
Maybe he'll have to bench four defensemen the next game, or at least keep Andy Greene and Henrik Tallinder (who are about -100 and -99 on the season so far) apart. Granted, I didn't see just how badly they screwed up the Flyers' fourth goal midway through the third period, but I'm worried if I do I'll want to bang my head through a wall. All I know is one ain't worth the money he's making now and the other one ain't worth the money people assumed he'd be getting as a UFA this offseason.
Still, it's not like I didn't expect the Devils to lose...let's face it, the Flyers are just a much better team right now. However, this is why imo the Devils basically forfeited any chance to go to the playoffs this year by no-showing for road games against the Isles and Toronto and Thursday night against the Habs, which may have even been worse than the other two considering how quickly and easily the Devils gave up two goals in less than a minute forty seconds. Not to mention MacLean's asinine move of pulling Hedberg after seeing three lousy shots. That was Keenan-esque, and not to mention dumb after a four-day layoff. As a result of that, Hedberg played exactly 98 seconds of competitive hockey in a week's time from last Saturday to today, just when he'd gotten on a roll.
What's going to be interesting about the rest of this season is how vets who are used to making the playoffs every year react to being in a hopeless situation (and just how soon it sinks in with everyone involved that we are playing out the string). We're gonna find out who wants to be here and who's along for the ride. Of course it's always possible Lou could be a seller at the deadline for the first time like ever, with UFA's such as Jamie Langenbrunner, Jason Arnott and the aformentioned Greene, though the first two have NTC's and the third one is basically playing himself back to scrub status, in spite of his high point total. Ask Marc-Andre Bergeron how easy it is to get a job when you're a joke in your own end, even if you have offensive skills...and Greene doesn't have Bergeron's shot.
Earlier in the season people were saying, look at the point totals...it's only gonna take 84 points to make the playoffs, so we still have a shot. However, with our continued poor play and the expected improvement towards the bottom of the standings (usually it does take 91-92 points to make the playoffs in the era of three-point games), the mountain to climb is bigger than Everest. New Jersey would have to basically get 73 points in its last 56 games to reach that total, which is .700 hockey. This team's gonna play .700 hockey, when Martin Brodeur is at least another game or two from coming back and Zach Parise is still weeks away at best? Not to mention Bryce Salvador's on the back of a milk carton somewhere and early-season revelation Matt Taormina somehow got a high ankle sprain in practice and hasn't skated yet.
The only silver lining in all of this is now it finally forces Lou to start a process of overhauling the team I felt he should have after last year's disgrace. That's what the rest of this season's going to be about - sorting through the dreck to find out who's going to be a part of the solution going forward and trying to unlock the key to get Kovalchuk going. Not to mention somehow convincing Parise to sign a long-term deal in the offseason.
It'll be interesting but I'm quite tired of the soap opera and would just like to have fun watching this team again, wins or no wins.