Thursday, March 27, 2008


Devils 2 - Rangers 3

A level headed thought about the game would say that despite the 3-2 loss, the Devils played much better than they have been in the last 4 games. Such a thought would point out a more diverse attack, the Devils looking good on the rush and getting odd-man rushes at all, the team getting many more suitable scoring chances, and how close this game really was.

This isn't going to be one of them. The Devils have now squandered their Atlantic Division standing to the point where they are tied with Our Hated Rivals, gave up a lead whilst giving up stupid as hell penalties (Aside #1: Colin White is more than deserving of this criticism), and being punchless in the third period and lost on defense (Aside #2: The Sheldon Brookbank-Vitaly Vishnevski pairing experiment must end).

And so they lost to Nigel Dawes' arm pushing a puck into the net. Thanks to the refs, Toronto, and the NHL for changing the rules of hockey where hand passes aren't allowed, but pushing the puck with the arm while sliding for a goal is absolutely OK. There's questionable calls, but that was absolute garbage. If any of you can find what rule allows that as a goal, I would love to see it. The Devils were felled by a man sliding on the ice who directed the puck in with his arm. An inadvertent deflection? Please. Dawes stretched his arm out like that for a reason; he knew what he was doing.

If tomorrow night doesn't yield a massive win against Philadelphia; I have to seriously question whether the Devils even want to make the playoffs. Because this is not a playoff ready team, this is not a team that wants to win the tough and close games, and this is not a prepared team. This falls on the players, the coaching, and management. Going winless in five games is never good; but it's absolutely horrific when it happens with less than 10 games in the season, and all against division rivals.

Once again, I say this is unacceptable and it needs to change now. Other and similar thoughts are available at IPB.

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I felt like the Devils played a good game tonight, but I think tonight shows that even when they put forth a good effort, it just may not be enough.

I really think this team over-achieved for most of the season and now other teams are turning it on and the Devils just do not have the offensive skills to match.

It's a shame because I think they are one or two players away from being one of the best teams in the East and they have a good nucleus, but I think if fans are honest with themselves, they will admit that this is just not their year. If Lou had been able to pull off a deal at the deadline, maybe things would be different, but, he did not, and the team as currently constructed is in trouble.
Because this is not a playoff ready team, this is not a team that wants to win the tough and close games, and this is not a prepared team. This falls on the players, the coaching, and management.

I agree 100%. And for all that there is some validity to Mike's point above that Lou should have made a move for a scorer (although it's hard to say, looking at who moved at the deadline, which traded player we all think the Devils could have traded for), it should not be overlooked that there are plenty of capable forwards currently on the Devils roster who simply are not scoring. Zach showed up tonight, but for the first time in weeks. Patty's been invisible pretty much since his contract season. Langer hasn't been effective on either side of the puck since well before the trade deadline. Gionta's only truly competent stretch of the season was in the weeks leading up to the deadline when he was fearing for his job. Those guys are not incompetent. Well, at least, not on paper at any rate. I really think you hit the nail on the head when you say this is a team right now that looks like they don't want to win.

Plenty of times in recent years we've seen the core forwards on this roster score on strength of pride alone. I'm beginning to wonder where that attitude has gone, because all I'm seeing from them right now is a group of players just going through the motions. And that's a problem that goes way beyond just the guys on the ice.
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