Thursday, October 11, 2007


Well, That Sucked

The Florida Panthers just defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-0. The game summary is complete at It was their first win of the season and the team's first shutout. As the score would suggest, the Devils certainly did not play well. Let's count the ways:

1. The Devils gave up 31 shots, including 16 in the second period.
2. The Devils were Vokoun-ed (say it out loud, it makes sense, really) all of their scoring chances.
3. The Devils committed 8 penalties for 7 power plays - including a two man advantage (the bad kind, not the blog) as of a result of Brent Sutter presumably yelling at the referee about the interference call on David Clarkson (which was sketchy considering he was bumped into the goalie). I'm not really sure, but I think it was something that I think included a duck, a shoe, a mother, a bull, and fecal matter
4. The Panthers scored two power play goals - which sunk the Devils.
5. The Devils had 5 power plays and did little with them after the first period.
6. The Devils got out hit 24-20...OK, that one wasn't so terrible considering the first five points.

The sad fact is that these games will happen. They happen to everyone. It happened to the Atlanta Thrashers - incidentally, the Devils next opponent - tonight as well. They got creamed 6-0 to the Buffalo Sabres. The Thrashers remain as the only team in the league without a point so far this season. As I stated before, with a new system and coaching changes and everything else; things may not go well. That said, it's frustrating to watch your favorite team be outplayed for a majority of the game and lose decisively as a result. Especially by the one team that they have beaten so far this season.

As it is, the game is over and the Devils need to re-tool for Atlanta. Tonight, Sutter mixed up the lines by switching Zach Parise and Patrik Elias at left wing, put Aaron Asham on the second line with Dainius Zubrus and Parise, and slotted David Clarkson on the checking line. The lines didn't look too bad. But considering the Devils lost by the Panthers chiefly capitalizing on poor discipline, the Devils have a lot of work to do to improve in all facets in the game. Replacing Parise and Elias again or moving some other players along the forward lines and defensive pairings alone isn't going to improve the situation. The players need to keep their focus for 60 minutes, keep their focus to avoid taking eight penalties, keep their defensive coverages straight, keep driving to the net, keep putting shots on net, and to keep trying to make a comeback instead of throwing down the gloves or giving up altogether. How to do that, I don't know; it's not up to me - I'm just the fan. Regardless of what I think. the Devils need to get ready for Atlanta and hopefully continue the Thrashers' losing streak.

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for several years now our fearless GM has been firing coaches left and right. I think it's time to admit that it isn't coaching that's the problem, but rather the players the team is made of. I hope Sutter stays with the team, and has some say in the roster. For one thing, it's evident that the devils need serious help on both offense and defense. Clearly Zubrus is no number 1 center. A second line winger, sure. This team also lacks leadership. Suddenly signing Forsberg doesn't look so bad.
I think it's far too soon to prescribing problems with the entire team.

Anyway, I think the Devils need to just play better at both ends. Outside of Danny Markov, I don't think there's anyone out there who can feasibly improve this team completely. And if White's coming back eventually, signing Markov makes little sense unless Lou wants the Devils up against the salary cap ceiling just because.

While Peter Forsberg has the talent, his career historically shows he doesn't have the longevity or the endurance to play an entire season much less as the #1 center for a team in an ultra-competitive division. He's too injury prone and when he does get injured, the Devils will be back to square one, so to speak.
The defense is not the problem. The front 12 are accomplishing nothing with a defense that does, despite what many are saying, a decent job of getting the puck up ice.

The defensive zone is a group thing. The defensemen need to mind the net, they cannot be along the boards digging it out ... something no Devils skater seems capable of doing.

The Horton goal was the best example of it this season
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