Monday, March 23, 2009

Bruins- Lucky and Good.

Great game by the Boston Bruins today as they were both lucky and good.

They got some goals through Brodeur that you don't normally see beating that guy, but he was due for a letdown, and this game meant a heck of a lot more to the Bruins that it did to the Devils.

The Bruins goals were examples of making your own luck. Yes, they got lucky with some bounces or shaky goaltending, but each goal was a direct result of going hard to the net, and following the puck into a danger area. They desperately needed this win, especially against a good team.

The Devils, for their part, are coming down from Marty's big win. Sure, it'd be nice for them to catch the Bruins, but they've been too hungry and too hot ever since Marty came back, and they just plain old didn't NEED this win. It was anybody's game in the first, but Marty was due for a letdown, and this was it. It'll be interesting to see how the Devils handle the final ten games. They played fine, and scored a beautiful goal, but the Bruins played slightly better, got some bounces and had far superior goaltending. Also, the Bruins really pinned the Devils down in the third, a skill they desperately needed to regain of late.

Despite their next three meaningless contests against the Leafs, Flyers and Bolts, the Bruins will close out April with an opportunity to potentially dash a team's playoff hopes for the next five in a row. The Senators are still a VERY dark horse to make the playoffs, but given their recent winning ways, if they can stay in contention, and the Rangers, Habs and Panthers continue to not get points they should be getting, I can't imagine that they'd be dreading playing the Bruins twice in their final five. If the Bruins had blown this lead against the Devils, the Sens would definately be circling those games on their calendars. They still might. Bookending the second Senators game are first the Rangers, then the Canadiens, two teams who will likely already be in the playoffs for those games.

As a Bruins fan, I'm far less worried about the postseason than I was earlier this week, as they played a 60 minute game today against a good team. That's all you can ask.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Marty Breaks the Record - Video Highlights

St. Marty's Day kicked off with a small parade:

Then it was right to warmups. Note the hot dogging at around the :25 mark...perfectly appropriate on free hot dog night:

The scene and standing ovation right after St. Patrik set up the short-handed game winner. And, oh yeah, becomes the Devils' all-time leading points leader:

Marty takes a victory lap:

Witnessing Dyslexia

Sorry about that.

I mean't Five Hundred and Fifty Two.


Not Five Hundred and Twenty Two (see comments.)


I am a Dumbass.

You see what happens when newspapers fold?

Sorry about that folks.

Witnessing History

Ben and I just got back from the Rock, after seeing Martin Brodeur become the winningest goaltender of all time, and as a nice bonus, we also saw Patrik Elias become the leading all time scorer of the New Jersey Devils.

You need anything else to go well?

I still got my free beer.

Take that, Deb Kaufman.

I have been to a lot of hockey games, but this was the first time I really felt I witnessed something historic, and just about everything about the game was something special. Here are some initial thoughts:

-The Devils were relentless in the opening minutes, blazing out to a 2-0 lead. I was sitting with Ben and I asked him, "what do you think was said in the locker room before this game- anything?" He replied,"if it takes a speech to get you motivated for this, I don't know what I can do for you." Just imagining the intense silence before the game in the locker room was pretty cool.

-The Hawks were blown off the rink for the first 10 minutes, yet according to recorded shots, remained competitive. I'd be interested to see how many of those first period shots were from way outside, and how many of those shots the TV broadcast judged as quality chances. I can't imagine there were many.

-As shellshocked as the Hawks looked early, Duncan Keith looked great. In the largely ineffective Chicago powerplay in the second half of the first period Keith almost singlehandedly kept the play alive and the puck in the zone. That dude is a good hockey player who played with a cool head when almost everyone else on that young blackhawk team was gripping their sticks so tight they almost snapped in their hands. Both Kane and Toews in seperate instances seemed insistent on beating everybody on the Devils instead of getting a safe, smart shot off, only to be broken up by the aggressively collapsing Devils.

-Elias became the leading scorer for the Devils with an assist on a shorthanded goal by Brian Gionta in the later part of the second period. Despite the fact that the Blackhawks answered right back, the fact that Marty had been scored upon did not phase the crowd or the energy one bit, as we were still all on our feet cheering Elias. Truly, Elias took the heat off of Marty, and denied the Hawks any ability to take the crowd out of the game. Ben and I wondered how many times each one of those men have done that for each other over the course of their long Devils careers.

-I saw a woman wearing a Patrick Roy Avalanche Jersey. This struck me as poor form, seeing as Roy, in that sweater, had defeated the Devils and Brodeur in game seven of the Stanley Cup finals. While I hate Patrick Roy completely, I understand honoring him on this night. But at least wear a Canadiens jersey, lady. I mean- for Christ's sake. You're in the Devils house, and it's Marty's night. No need to bring up that game.

-The New Jersey Devils Fan "Rangers Suck" chant needs to stop. You wanna know why? Cause it's true. You have the winningest goalie in NHL history and have mopped the floor with the Rangers since the mid 1990's. Enough with the goddamn inferiority complex. It's time for a grown-up rivalry. I enjoyed hearing the "Marty's Better" chant. It was born out of a legitimate gripe when Jean Sebastian Giguere won the Conn Smythe trophy for the Most Valuable Player of the Stanley Cup finals, despite losing to Brodeur's Devils. And now, he is better. Than everybody. This chant, and greeting Gretzky's Coyotes with the "Mickey Mouse Club" theme song, are the chants I'd like to see grow and flourish. Hey Devils fans- you're winners. Act like it.

-Chicago, to their credit, made Marty work for it. Great finish to a great game.

-It'll be real interesting to see how this Devils team reacts to this down the stretch, and into the playoffs. Was this their Stanley Cup, or the event that forges them into a playoff beast? Only time will tell, but as a Bruins fan, I'd rather not speculate- I'd rather just enjoy this night, enjoy this moment and celebrate being a hockey fan who got to see something special tonight.

Five Hundred and Twenty Two.

Congratulations to Martin Brodeur on being the best.


(UPDATE: I know, I know. I fucked up. Thanks commenters!)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Oh What a Night

Please write your own introductory paragraph connecting that song title → The Four Seasons → Jersey Boys → the New Jersey Devils → Martin Brodeur, because I'm too damn tired.

And yes, I know it's a tenuous connection. I mean, what the AHF staff witnessed at the Prudential Center in Newark tonight was a once in a lifetime event, while that song is about something (a guy losing his virginity to a hooker) that happens all the time.

Or so I'm told.

Full wrap-up coming tomorrow (barring laziness), but for now:

Congratulations, Marty.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Go, Marty, Go!

Watch this space Tuesday and Wednesday, as both Ben and I will be attending Tuesday's potentially history making game as Marty Brodeur attempts to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks and become the winningest NHL goalie of all time.

While tickets are still available to watch the most significant record we've seen challenged since Wayne Gretzky eclipsed Gordie Howe in points, it seems like the Devils have cancelled their "Guys night out" promotion, which offered seat upgrades and a free beer.

The website says it's a "system error," but I'll be surprised if that gets fixed before Tuesday. I already got my ticket, and if Big Lou welches on my free beer, there will be hell to pay.

Islanders glass reporter Deb Kaufman once claimed to get me a beer and welched, and I still haven't forgotten about it.

Watch your ass, Lamoriello, watch your ass.

Friday, March 13, 2009

What the fuck?


What the fuck?

What's the message there?

Bobby Orr played his heart out, sustained severe knee injuries that required multiple surgeries, became the greatest player in NHL history, and the message that fucking Mastercard takes out of that inspirational story is "Buy now, pay later?"

Hey Mastercard!

Go fuck yourself!


Go fuck yourself.

Sometimes I'm envious of Canadians...

My brother is on a business trip in Calgary this week. We were talking on g-chat, and he said he met a guy up there who was a big hockey fan, young kid, in his 20s. They apparently talked about the game for about 20 minutes, and when the discussion turned to Barry Melrose, this Canadian guy told my brother he had no idea who that was.

As I said, sometimes I'm envious of Canadians.

Let's Go Devils!

It's a tough time to be a Boston Bruins fan.

Not this season, this week.

While the B's are still holding a six point lead over the Devils (and everybody else in the east,) they are slumping. Over the last 10 games, only the lowly Tampa Bay Lightning have a worse record, and against the non-playoff bound Ottawa Senators, they allowed anxiety to creep into what had been a great start, and a game that should have been a slam dunk turned into a bit of a nail-biter. Had they lost it, it would have been devastating to team and fan morale.

On the other hand, who really cares?

All good teams go through slumps, and the question becomes not "are you in a slump?" but "when are you in a slump?," or "how do you respond?" And for right now, the Bruins are allowed to drop a couple games. They have earned that much. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Bruins fan, and I'd like to see them win 'em all. But if both the Bruins and the Devils play the next 10 games the same way they played the last 10 (Bruins 4-5-1, Devils 7-3-0) the Bruins are still tops in the east. And while that isn't an ideal outcome, from where we're sitting now, they would still be THE BEST TEAM IN THE EASTERN CONFERENCE.

That is by no means the end of the world, and it might do the Bruins a little good to feel vulnerable. They also would have three games to get their act together, including one against Montreal and another against Buffalo, games that just might give them an opportunity to knock one of those squads out of the playoff hunt. For the record, of their last 13 games half of them are coming against non-playoff teams, so I really don't expect a collapse.

Even if the Devils do catch the Bruins, that really doesn't matter either. Home ice is cool and all if you're a season ticket holder, but ask the Montreal Canadiens how much it helped them last season. In so far as opponents, the team who finishes in 7th or 8th is even more arbitrary than a flip of the coin, and right now, one win can make the difference between 9th and 6th in the East. The Bruins or the Devils are going to be playing the Rangers, Penguins, Sabres, Habs, Panthers or Hurricanes. Of that group, I'd like to avoid the Pens or the Canes right now, but there is no way to predict that. And the Bruins potentially dropping from first to second has no bearing whatsoever on predicting who they might play.

So it's in that spirit, that for the next two games at least, I'm rooting for the Devils. Marty Brodeur is two wins away from Patrick Roy's all time victories record, and is playing in his hometown of Montreal under the recently raised 33 banner of the player whose mark he is soon to eclipse. The only regret I have about that game is that I live in the New York Metropolitan area, so the Hockey Night in Canada Broadcast will be blacked out.

Should Marty tie the record in Montreal, in front of the fans who cheered on Patrick Roy for so many seasons, they return home on Tuesday to face a strong young Chicago Blackhawks team who while talented, have played .500 hockey over their last 10, and had to get two of their Ws via overtime or shootout.

And, I'm going to that game.

So the way I figure it, I'll be looking in on the Bruins for the next week or so, but I just can't obsess over them. For the next 5 days, I'm a Devils fan. All I have to do is root against the Canadiens (easy) and then head to a live hockey game on Tuesday, and hope to witness history. Even if the Devs lose in Montreal, I can go root for Brodeur to tie on Tuesday. And, unlike most Devils games, this history making contest looks to be a full house.

Oh, no- not because of Marty Brodeur.

They're giving away free beer that night. I know it's St. Patrick's Day and all, but I'd like to think this promotion is Lou's gift to Marty.

So go Devils, go!

You know, until Wednesday.