Monday, April 07, 2008


In Preparation

Since I didn't go into it in much detail, here's a summary of what I thought about yesterday's game. Great first period, not so great second period, a better yet unfortunate (especially for Zach Parise) third period, an alright overtime, and a sweet shootout. It was yet another close game in the Hudson Rivalry, but this time the good guys won.

Now, it's on to the playoffs. The Devils and Our Hated Rivals played eight games against each other this season. Five of these were one-goal games; four went beyond regulation, three went into the shootout, and none of the games were decided by anymore than two goals at most. Expect a close, defensive, low-scoring series. In a short analysis - maybe something I'll go into more depth, maybe not - the Devils have as good as chance as any to win this series. If there's any team in the league that is used to winning close, defensive, and low-scoring games; it's the Devils. Martin Brodeur alone gives them an advantage in that category, along with a defense that is greater than the sum of it's parts (seriously, look at the parts).

Interestingly enough, the Rangers have been successful season playing like...the Devils of old. A reliance on the trap, scoring coming off the transition, and riding Henrik Lundqvist if things get hairy. We are talking about a team that despite big names like Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Shanahan, Scott Gomez, and Chris Drury, they only scored seven more goals - and gave up only two more - than the Devils this season. And all those seven wins against NJ and they still finish two points behind them. The teams are quite similar in terms of results and styles. Too bad that the Devils have been doing this for a while, the experience could see them through.

What else is going on? Well, David Clarkson has been highlighted at with as a part of their Rookie Watch. They praise his work ethic and we learn that Clarkson digs Wendel Clark. In a second article, Dan Rosen focuses on the Devils' cornerstone - Brodeur. If the Devils crash out of the first round, it's not going to be because of Brodeur. For a series preview, even has that for you and it's pretty meaty. There are many other previews, such as ones at TSN and ESPN wherein we learn that Scott Burnside thinks Mike Mottau and Bryce Salvador are young. Well, in the long term, 30 years old isn't that old; but it's clear Burnside could have researched his preview a little better.

IPB also previews the playoffs as well. They start with the East and approach it in an interesting way. They base their preview on how the team does and does not deserve to win the Stanley Cup. Here's a snippet from their Devils preview:
Why They Don’t Deserve To Win:
There are no reasons why they don’t deserve to win. Please.
Well, I can't argue with that. I think most of the people at the now-live Devils Legion fan section of the official team website would agree with that.

Also, at, the league pats themselves on the back for their highest average attendance ever. As they should. On the internet and in general sentiment, there's so many negative feelings about how the NHL is terrible, how Gary Bettman is horrible for the sport, how hockey will never be big here, and so on and so forth. Yet, here is a big stat - some would call it a "statbit" - that completely flies in the face of what some would call "tra-la-la feelings."

In international hockey news, Pat Burns has been named as an assistant to Team Canada according to Tom Gulitti. Awesome news. Good luck to Burns and Team Canada - except when they play the US, of course.

Lastly, the big winner of the Steve Stamkos sweepstakes? Tampa Bay. Good job to the Lightning for winning the lottery. Check out Steve at Kukla's Korner for full national coverage listings to get ready for the playoffs on TV. Gulitti reports that the TV for the Devils-Our Hated Rivals is going to be mostly local. The playoffs are here.

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Yet, here is a big stat - some would call it a "statbit" - that completely flies in the face of what some would call "tra-la-la feelings."


And thanks, as always, for the link, John!
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