Wednesday, April 19, 2006

RANGERS vs. DEVILS- Round One

How about those Devils?

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, what a game last night, what a stretch of wins, what a story.

I'd love to say that I called it on Ken Daneyko night (when they KILLED the Bruins) and that I've been saying all along you can't count out the Devils, but- hey, wait a minute! I just started this blog a few days ago, so there's no way you could know that I haven't been. Screw it.

I'VE BEEN SAYING THIS ALL ALONG!

Ever since Ken Daneyko night, the Devils have been playing like a team possessed by, well- the Devil. Let's not forget, the Devils have the best playoff goaltender of the past 10 years and (maybe the history) of the NHL, and every other team in the East has a goaltender that five years ago, probably owned all his own equipment.

Which is something. I mean, that stuff is expensive, and there's a lot of it to buy.

The only thing that's a shame about the whole thing is that I live in New York, and it would have been nice to have 2 complete first round series televised plus the OLN and NBC coverage. The way it stands, the national game will be Jersey and the Rangers every time they can manage it, and I'll get to see the same game on three channels.

Fuck.

Still, it's my own fault, as I didn't get the hockey package this year. I held off in the first half cause the new rules insured that every game had roughly 40 seconds of five on five hockey. I figured I'd wait for the second half of the season when I could get a price break and the officials settled down. Of course, I'm a die-hard Bruins fan, and by January, the idea of watching that meltdown up close was too unpleasant to contemplate. I mean, that's an underrated trauma, and one that I'll perhaps address in the future, the idea that after the lockout, some fans were so happy to have their game back at all that they hadn't at all prepared themselves for the contingency that their favorite team might suck.

By the way, you know what that phenomenon is called?

It’s called Bruins.

I’d say it probably sucks for fans of pretty much every team that didn’t make the playoffs, but in particular, I’d say fans of the Canucks, Bruins and Penguins fell the hardest this year. Who am I forgetting? I’ll leave the Saint Louis Blues out of it for now, as Scott Burnside wrote a great series of articles on them on ESPN.com, and if I tried it, I’d be far too tempted to just write fat jokes about Keith Tkachuk the whole time.

OK- I’ll do one: Hey- did you hear that the new NHL rules actually gave Keith Tkachuk a penalty during a warm-up skate? Yeah, he got 2 minutes for “Too much man on the ice.”

Sorry about that.

The point is, I didn’t get the package this year, so the first round is gonna be all about Rangers Devils for me. Still, for all I bitch about hockey coverage on TV, New York is a damn good place for hockey, as having local coverage of Devils, Rangers and Isles plus the national games is a pretty good East Coast hockey package without having to pay a dime. And you wonder why the New York media doesn't watch the West Coast games.

Either way, the Devils are now highly favored against the slumping Rangers, but I say don’t count the Rangers out. Lundqvist may be young, but he’s a gold medal winner and in my opinion, the real deal. Also, the fact that for some bizarre fucking reason, the Rangers have always been more popular than the Devils in this town, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see The Meadowlands filled up with Ranger fans. Ultimately though, if I run through the roster, just off the top of my head, the Rangers have Jagr, Straka, Nylander and I dunno, Petr Prucha? The Devils have Madden, Elias, Brodeur, Langenbrunner and Gionta. That’s fucking scary, especially in April and May, and even more so if they’re playing well, and- they are playing out of their heads right now.

Lundquist will steal a game or two for them, and Jagr will do his best, but mark my words- he’ll get anywhere from 7-10 points in the series yet end up (at least) minus 2. Plus, I fucking love the fact that the New Jersey Devils managed to adapt and excel under a system of new rules that were pretty much DESIGNED TO STOP THE NEW JERSEY DEVILS. And it didn’t work. Any American Hockey Fan should be proud as hell of the New Jersey Devils, and if you’re the kind of person who bitches about how the trap was “so boring,” I’ll tell you this- you’d fucking LOVE it if your team was as good as them.

If I had just three words to say about the Devils, it’d be these: God Bless Them.

JERSEY IN 6

2 comments:

Ben said...

Hmmm...I just happened to stumble across this blog, despite the fact that I am not your brother, nor am I one of the guys in your fantasy league.

OK, I'm one of the guys in your fantasy league. Sue me.

Anyway, if this kind of reasonable, clear-headed reportage of how hard the Devils rule continues, you can be sure I will continue to read.

Seriously, though...I think the Devils take the series, but I don't think it'll be easy. There's a lot of history hanging in the balance here, not to mention a long and storied blood hatred. But in the playoffs, anything can happen. How else do you explain Anaheim in 2003, for God's sake?

Also, for the record...there are definitely no other teams in the NHL that play the trap. They play a 1-2-2...nothing boring about that, my friend!

colelab said...

Hmm... still not a big fan of watching the Devils, hoping this series will change my mind. Perhaps, if they move to Brooklyn with the Nets they can remove some of that NJ stigma.