Despite selling my tickets off for today’s game I had planned on watching this afternoon, or at least having the game on while I was doing other things but an utter lack of sleep on Thursday caught up with me and I needed a nap, figuring if there was anything worth watching on the replay I had nine days to do it till the Devils’ next game. As it turned out today’s game was a rarity of late – one where the team played well…but the result still stayed the same in the end. Another regulation defeat, and our miserable record stands at eighteen wins in the season’s first 48 games.
So in the end it was a good thing I decided to avoid the possible snow on the drive home and the hilariously early state of emergency declared in NJ from noon on. Would have been okay with going to hopefully see a couple of arena friends but it wouldn’t have been surprising if all of them failed to show as well with the forecast and the team’s current plight. Truth be told, this is definitely a game I’m at if the team was in a better situation since the forecast wasn’t that bad until a bit ‘after’ the game at least.
As it worked out I was better off taking a nap than watching.
That’s not to say there wasn’t good things about today’s game, it just didn’t really matter in the end because our popgun offense had little chance against John Gibson in the Ducks net. 1.5 goals would have been about the over-under for the night, and after an early Marcus Johansson goal we would have still barely hit the over when Jesper Bratt scored late. It’s easy to rip your own goaltending when you get outshot 31-14 and lose but really I can’t describe any of the goals against Mackenzie Blackwood as bad. Maybe the third one he wasn’t giving up earlier in the season, but it was still a bang-bang one-timer from the slot after a turnover behind the net. To his credit poor Nathan Bastian (in his first NHL game no less) took the responsibility for that goal:
My first thought reading that was ‘we have a system?!’
Seriously though, while self-accountability is nice there hasn’t been a lot of collective accountability around here the whole season. Sad that it took a fourth-line vet in Drew Stafford to be the one to call an on-ice team meeting after practice yesterday, following two straight desultory road losses. When guys like Stafford and Brian Boyle are your bad cops and (no offense guys) not among your better players, the message isn’t going to get through as easily. To their credit the team did at least respond for a game, but it was kind of odd timing for a butt-kicking meeting in the first place considering there was always going to be the long break after this game.
To continue the bad news, Taylor Hall remains out through All-Star weekend so for the second straight season he’ll miss the 3-on-3 classic. At least Kyle Palmieri’s a deserving stand-in, one of the few left on the roster. Not that I really care to watch it other than maybe the hardest shot competition for a few seconds, assuming that’s the skills event K-Palm is entered in. Plus I’ve seen enough bad three-on-three this season to not want to run to watch it next Sunday anyway.
I could bother with an All-Star wrapup post but what’s the point? I’m just glad to have the break from even the long-distance angst this team is giving me.