I haven’t felt like blogging much in recent days, at times this season my blogs will be more of a weekly recap than a daily blow-by-blow though I still want to at least recap the home games I go to. Unfortunately me and the Devils are both 0-for the season at home after the Devils’ shootout loss (yes, that again) on Chico Resch night last Friday. Oh well at least I liked the ceremony and Chico of course ran over his allotted five minutes for his speech by about four minutes more. Probably my mental state would have been helped by watching the telecast as opposed to being at another half-empty arena Friday, since during the second period there was even an extra special treat – hearing several minutes of Chico and Doc Emrick in the booth, together again…of course I did tape the game and was able to watch their repartee later though.
There was insane traffic on route 21 on the way up and back to the arena though, preventing even more people from getting there on time for the Chico ceremony which was unfortunate. So were the boos for captain Bryce Salvador before the game. Hate his play and the fact he’s in the lineup all you want, but personally it’s a bit distasteful we would boo Salvador who at least gives max effort (and even fought Antoine Roussel on Friday at a dead point in the game to give the team a spark) and yet never booed Brian Rolston, who to be kind didn’t exactly do enough to earn his money after re-signing as a free agent. Of course with only about 12000 there for the pregame intros – actual attendance wound up being just under 15000 – a few yahoos could sound like the majority of the crowd.
Granted there wasn’t exactly much to cheer about on Friday though at least early-season scratches Jacob Josefson and Damien Brunner both made an impact with Josefson getting a nice assist on Eric Gelinas’s first period bomb and Brunner himself scoring a semi-contreversial goal in the third period when Patrik Elias hand-passed the puck through the crease and off goalie Kari Lehtonen to Brunner, but fortunately that went unseen. As apparently did every Dallas Star infraction during the game since the Devils didn’t get a single power play, so maybe that allowed goal was our payback. It’s a pity there were only two penalties called total during the game since whoever the official was announcing penalties (one of the refs was Wes McCauley but not sure whether it was him or the other guy) was pretty….theatrical and demonstrative when announcing penalties. Maybe he has an acting job on the side since being a ref isn’t ‘quite’ a year-round job. Not that I would want to see us on the PK any more than neccesary since our PK’s been positively brutal this year.
The less said about our inevitable shootout loss Friday the better. Clearly it’s mental at this point and once again it was same crap, different season. At least on Saturday the Devils managed to win in overtime at Ottawa during an emotional night when the Senators played their first home game since the recent tragedy there, with all three Canadien teams (Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa) taking part in a simultaneous ceremony in the YouTube above. During the actual game, special teams were once again the story for the Devils as their power play remained hot with two more goals…including Jaromir Jagr’s OT winner that spared the Devils another shootout of doom, though they had to overcome a PK that once again couldn’t kill off a mighty mites power play much less an NHL one. Alex Chiasson and Bobby Ryan scored both Sens’ goals with the man advantage, with goaltender Cory Schnieder continuing a troubling trend of allowing shortside goals on Chiasson’s opening marker in the second period. A great individual effort by rookie Damon Severson in the second period – when he broke up a pass by Erik Karlsson and then went down the other end and scored on a bomb – proved to be the only even-strength goal of the game. For the second straight game Severson got an incredible 25+ minutes of icetime and with his four goals already he’s staking an early claim for the Calder trophy.
However, as was expected by many before the season injuries are already starting to become a factor on an older forward core with two of our 30+ forwards (Jordin Tootoo and Martin Havlat) going on IR and Mike Cammalleri being checked out for a jaw injury suffered in Ottawa. With Brunner and Josefson already in the lineup for our IR’ed forwards, the Devils called up prospect Reid Boucher in case Cammalleri can’t go tomorrow night in Pittsburgh. Not much will change on defense, as Adam Larsson will sit out his seventh game out of eight and the regular six will go again, with Cory Schnieder in net for the eighth straight time tomorrow. Schnieder has made plenty of spectacular saves thus far – especially considering our high shot totals allowed in most games – and you can’t really argue with getting points in six of eight games, but as previously noted it seems like he’s given up a shortside goal every game lately. That’s going to have to stop asap, especially if we’re going to continue to allow 30+ shots a night and get most of our scoring from the defense as opposed to up front.