Thursday, November 02, 2006


Game: Islanders @ Devils

Tonight, the Devils host the New York Islanders at 7:30 PM EST

TV: Fox Sports New York
Radio: 660 AM - WFAN

Before I get to the game, I'd like point out that the NHL and Google have an agreement for NHL games to be shown on Google Video. It's my understanding it's free for the first two weeks in November, you'll have to pay for games afterwards. This is a shrewd move by the NHL to allow this. It allows Devils fans all over the world to watch their favorite hockey team (hopefully) drop the proverbial train the poor saps that are their opponents. It's also good for people who will miss a game and don't want to deal with a VCR (like me for tonight thanks to a grad. school class). The Devils games on Google Video are right here.

Also, before I get into Devils news and tonight's game, thanks to the Devils Due blog for mentioning ILWT. WE'RE GOING TO THE TOP OF...something, I guess. Further Update: On Fire has also got the word on ILWT. Thanks Trendon. Slowly but surely, ILWT is getting around - like Brian Gionta getting up in the goalie's face. (OK, perhaps not.)

The Star-Ledger reports that the Devils have just signed THE Jim Dowd to a one year deal.
Dan LaCouture was assigned to Lowell, but I think Dowd is an upgrade on the fourth line. He's not going to go out there and score a lot of points, he's a veteran checking center who, if I recall correctly, is pretty good on faceoffs. He just needs to be better than Mike Rupp there, so I'm not concerned. He's cheap, he's not useless, and he reminds me of the old Lemaire days, where Dowd would win a crucial faceoff to help NJ march towards the Stanley Cup in 1995.

What I am concerned with is that the article says that Elias and Gomez are still "questions" due to a hip flexor and a groin injury, respectively. They're practicing, which is good. More importantly, Elias says he's fine; so I expect him to play tonight, which is very good. Gomez is more of question, here's what he had to say (also from the Star-Ledger column):

"It felt good to get through a practice," Gomez said. "I'll see how it reacts. That will be the key. You can feel great and one little movement or hit can send you back to square one. It all depends on how I feel. Other guys have had this injury, so I've got 20 guys saying: 'Don't rush it.' You know when you're ready."
Very true. If Gomez is not ready to go, expect Dowd to immediately play tonight (I don't see any call ups by NJ) and Julien to go with something like this:


On defense, the Star-Ledger article linked above notes that Richard Matvichuk is improving and while Brad Lukowich skated on his own today, he will miss tonight's game. So the defensive pairings should be:

Brooks-Fahey (a.k.a. The Disgruntled Grunt Pairing)

That last nickname is my own because those two are not full-time NHL defensemen, and it shows on the ice most of the time. Expect, as always, Martin Brodeur to come in tonight and hopefully extend his shutout streak to 3 games.

All this typing and not one bit about the Islanders. Well, they did win their last game, a 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Things aren't going so bad for the Islanders so far. Their ridiculously expensive and over-paid forward, Alexei, Yashin is leading their team in scoring with 5 goals and 8 assists in 11 games. The team is getting production from Jason Blake (6-3-9) and the Traveling Man, Mike Sillinger (5-3-8); as well as ex-Ranger "defense" man Tom Poti(2-7-9). But there is plenty to make fun of with this squad, which we should do as they are a division opponent and, hey, they are the Islanders. Look at their salaries from the NHLPA. $7.6 mil for Yashin, $4.25 mil for Miroslav Satan (1 goal in 11 games), $4.5 mil for DiPietro (FOR 15 YEARS), $2.5 mil for Brendan Witt (includes 30 penalty minutes, no fighting majors), and $2.75 mil for Poti (yes, offensive production, but he leads the team with high of 24:20 on the ice and a team low -4). More to the point, they signed Viktor Kozlov. 6'5", 235 pounds, and he can't play his way out of a paper bag some nights. Devils fans, you know from last season why he's not good; Islanders fans, I hope you enjoy the, uh, Kozlov Experience.

Anyway, the Islanders won 6 games (2 with the shootout) against NJ last season. They do play the Devils tough. Therefore, it's important tonight for the Devils to step up on offense and put most of the shots on net instead of next to it or off the opposing d-man's stick/foot/etc. like they did against Columbus. Go Devils.


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