The wonders of Internet photoshopping…sometimes a picture can tell a whole story. For the younger fans who don’t know what Mickey Mouse has to do with the Devils, hockey’s GOAT Wayne Gretzky once bitterly called the Devils a ‘Mickey Mouse organization’ in their early days. While he regretted the insult later on, it’s stuck as both a rallying cry in good times and a convenient insult when things aren’t going so well. Right now we’re clearly in the latter of the two situations.
Actually right now comparing the Devils to Mickey Mouse is an insult to Mickey.
I’m running out of different ways to say the same things after every game. Our negative stats keep on piling up. Now the team has just five wins in twenty-two games after the 4-0 start. Add in a season sweep at the hands of the neighborhood bully Tampa Bay – who outscored us 18-6 in the three games – a powerless play that continues to fire blanks and a starting goalie that’s given up four or more goals in five straight games (and no, I’m not referring to Cory Schneider this time) and you have a recipe for disaster.
Coach – but for how much longer? – John Hynes is desperately searching for answers, even benching reigning league MVP Taylor Hall for long stretches in the last half of the game. It was a deserved benching honestly, if for no other reason than Hall’s been so bad the last couple games I didn’t even notice he was benched for the final seven plus minutes of the second period. Not that I was really paying much attention at that point in general. Once again after a decent first ten minutes the Devils cowered under their chairs against Tampa, who wasn’t even that great but before you know it another Devil powerless play gave them momentum and Keith Kinkaid giving up a soft goal to Devil-killer Nikita Kucherov didn’t help matters at all.
Guess I shouldn’t have gone to this game in the first place, and because it was a weeknight I figured I wouldn’t see as many people I knew around as I did Saturday. However, since I had missed so many home games earlier in the season, and because they wouldn’t be back at the Rock for another couple of weeks with the dreaded West Coast swing coming up I figured I’d make myself go – and if things went awry with nobody around I’d be exiting stage left after the second period.
Usually my rule is I don’t leave a game early unless the team’s down five after two periods but on a night like this really, what was the point of staying? As I’ve said before I don’t mind going solo to games, but when nobody else I know personally is in the building at all like tonight, there’s no fun left in just sitting there to watch a trainwreck. Right now watching this team is a chore. Down three goals after the second period with zero sign of life, with a full Tampa power play to start the third and our best PK’er (Blake Coleman) in the box, that was as good as a four-goal deficit for me and that was even before I knew Hynes was hooking Kinkaid for Cory.
Poor Cory gave up a softie to Steven Stamkos and I’m sure earned his share of boos too, at least from the people who were still there. For a Monday night pre-winter crowd, it was decent in terms of attendance but the patrons were not happy with what they saw. The early failed power play (which I actually thought was the worst I’d seen from this team yet this year) earned loud boos, which were reprised at the end of the first period after falling behind by two goals. Anger gave way to apathy in the second period as the team went down three goals and continued to play stupidly like when Miles Wood canceled out a power play with an ill-timed roughing penalty.
Truth be told I wasn’t even that unhappy considering the state of our power play plus it was nice to see a little emotion from Wood at least, even if horribly mistimed. Perhaps the most apt punking of the night came when poor Egor Yakovlev scored his first career NHL goal, but right when PA announcer Kevin Clark started announcing it Tampa regained its three-goal lead (and quelled any emotion from the goal announcement) when Yanni Gourde made it 4-1, basically ending the game as a contest. Ironically that was the only goal Kucherov didn’t get a point on tonight, as he continues to use us as his personal whipping boy.
Between the Hall benching and captain Andy Greene calling tonight’s performance ‘unacceptable’ maybe something will come to a head soon. Clearly everyone’s getting testy, even the head coach made an…interesting comment in the postgame:
A shot at GM Ray Shero and/or ownership perhaps? I might be overthinking things but it’s odd – to put it mildly – that Hynes would make an unsolicited comment about Tampa being a cap team. Not that I mind someone pointing out (even if tacitly) that we’re far from one ourselves, but I’m not sure the comment made Shero all that happy with his head coach. Or maybe they’re already having issues behind the scenes and that prompted the cap team comment?
While it’s one thing to want the head coach out, as I said a few days ago it’s hard to really picture who the replacement is at this moment. I seriously doubt the next head coach is on the current staff. Hopefully the team somehow comes together and picks it up on the West Coast but with each game that passes by it seems less and less likely and the hole just gets deeper, even in a mediocre East.