Wednesday, March 26, 2008

WRIST SHOTS: PITCHFORK VS. SABRE

Kris greeted me with this little beauty in my email this morning:

"after all my optimism for the f--king Sabres they go and do f--k all. screw that. i'm done. they'll not make it and I don't effing care. Let's go Ran-Gers!"
Two things about this irked me. One, it pegs Kris as a Buffalo bandwagon jumper, and two, it was constructed to get under my skin as I'm a Devils fan. (Three, the use of "f--king and "effing" in the same email--well, which one is it?) I pretended it bothered me by stating I will never ever root for his jerkass team again, and that his optimism doesn't help them win games. His best comeback was to call them "boring", a hack analysis endlessly regurgitated by every two-bit sports critic since they put a rink in the Swamp. This is as tired and clichéd a statement as "don't root for Buffalo teams as they will eventually choke on moose cock in the end".

Since I bleed red and black (I should get that checked by a physician) maybe it's relative and I'm a little biased. But with guys like Gionta, Madden, Parise, and Elias (when he's healthy), and Marty playing possibly having his best season ever (think about THAT), and Sutter employing a forechecking system that has nicely payed off, this team is more fun to watch than previous incarnations. I'd certainly take them over an undisciplined, punchless team filled with Vaneks and Maxims who score hat tricks in an 8-4 loss while missing the playoffs. For the Devils (or anyone), I realize that the playoffs are all that matter, but I'm seriously worried about them. They've been handing out points to fellow Atlantic foes like free soup . . . at a place . . . where they give out free soup. Yeah, I suck at analogies, just like the Devils suck at scoring goals (0-3-1 over the last 4, with 3 goals scored). I want them to rest Marty down the stretch, and maybe even dust off Weekes play against the Rangers. REST HIM. NOW. LISTEN TO ME. PLEASE.

Kris (with his team sitting 5 points out with 6 to go, and his back clearly at the wall) went on to say, "At least we didn't get shutout last night". (I guess he was being facetious, referencing the Sabres 6-3 loss to the Sens in which they gave up 5 unexplained goals, including Miller's awesome 4 goals allowed in a 6 minute stretch.) But really, WTF does that matter? A (regulation) loss is a (regulation) loss is a (regulation) loss. Or is it? Yes it is. Unless they encorporate that into the scoring system, like the new improved Open Hockey Blog Awesome Scoring System (OHB-ASS)™:

Shutout loss = 0 points
Non-shutout loss = 1 point
Loss, but Ovechkin/Maximvanek/Malkincrosby/Okvagbakbfvkabprov gets a hat trick = 2 points
Win in shootout = 3 points
Win in regulation = 4 points
OT loss = -2 points
OT win = 7 points

I know what you're going to say, and yes, the 7 points is definitely very "MTV Rock n' Jock". But screw it, I think it's a winner!

So yes, the Devils got shutout last night 2-0 by the Sidsburgh Crosbys, but they also got completely jobbed by the refs. Mirroring a similar play in the Sabres/Rangers game a few weeks back, they waved off a Devils goal because of "goalie interference" midway through the 2nd. Check out the highlight reel starting at 1:08:



Watch as Betang (who lost his stick) grabs Asham around the waist, and pushes him into goalie MAF with his right hand (AND even pushes his own goalie down!) as the Devils score the tying goal. Marvel as you witness Betang make the "wave it off" motion, which I'm guessing he did because he knew he was guilty. And yes, the Penguins' commentators agree with me that it was complete horseshit (my words, not theirs). I love crap officiating as much as the next guy, but when it means the difference between "tied for the division lead" and "4 point cushion" and possible playoff seeding, it really boils my gnocchi.

As we look at the playoff picture, it appears that the Buffalo Sissies have taken a pass and will allow the shitacular Philthy team in, while Boston might get passed by the Evil Kapitals for #8. (Just think of the masturbatory sports reporting that will surround a first round 1/8 Crosby/Ovie matchup. Oh, the horror!) The Devils seem to have no jump right now and will probably end up in the dreaded 4/5 series. Can we start the playoffs now so Ottawa can eliminate them and I can get on with my life? (Okay, maybe that's a bit much. They'll lose in the second round of the le playoffs de Coupe Stanley ala Antoine.)

I didn't know that Armée Sens (is that like KISS ARMY?) used the slogan "EMISSION". That army sounds faaaaaabulous! (Sorry, it's EN MISSION. My mistake.)

In conclusion and in support for lazy wrap-up phrases, I root for the Devils because they're not filled with sissy Europeans or crazy Russians, they're lousy with Amuricans. Actually, maybe that's their problem. Meh. Call me when the playoffs start, until then I'm going to be watching NCAA basketball (at least until Villanova's final game, which might come sooner than you think).

Karl pointed this out to me: Devils LW Jay Pandolfo played in his 700th game last night. That's pretty astonishing. He's one of those players that doesn't stand out, but is completely solid and fits like a glove into the Devils' system. You can't imagine any other team picking him up because he doesn't have "numbers", but he's a team guy, which is perfect for a team that doesn't care about individual achievement. Yeah, that's the most exciting Devils news I have, because they're so booooooring. Or as I like to call it: they get the job done.

When I'm choosing weapons, I'll take the pitchfork over the sabre every time.


3 comments:

Kris said...

For the record, NHL.com's NJD roster returns a 27.27% (9/33) Europeanization rate. Those players that have more than 50 games is exactly the same...27.27% (6/22).
Yes, the Sabres are more infused (~39%). Maxim for Men and Vanek are the most frustrating players that I've ever had to root for...Maxim has so much talent and potential, but he just does fuck all when it comes right down to it. Vanek: Yeah, he's good, but damn it, he's just slow and lazy sometimes. I watched two periods against OTT last night (up to the 5 unexplained goals) and Vanek doesn't move if the puck is more than a stick-length away from him.

I also take exception to calling me a "bandwagon jumper": I've been supporting them since 1996 and will to do so. Hockey for me is the Sabres.
Without trying to justify myself, I will support the Devils against most teams in the East or the West if it goes that far. There's much more similarities between the NJD and BUF than either of these teams and NYR.

Apparently someone's a bit touchy about their team.

BTW: Isn't it almost time for Sutter to be fired?

This also comes from the extreme frustration of going on the record less than a week ago and saying that I was confident that the Sabres would make the playoffs. They've gone 0-3 since I said that (including last night's embarrassment).

Jeff K said...

Eh, I just needed some material for a blog post and you gave me it. As always, it's pretty tongue-in-cheek.

Ha! Yeah, there are only 6 games left and the Devils are 4 points from first place, how does Sutter still have his job? Someone check on Lou and make sure he's okay.

And even if you denounce the Sabres, you're still the Biggest Sabres Fan in France.

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