Game #73: Sliding Sunday – Avalanche 3, Devils 0

In seasons past, Devils related countdowns would be the number of points left to clinch a playoff spot or a division title. Now the only countdown is the number of games left in the season (nine left) before we can finally put this corpse team out of its misery. It wasn’t even worth noting the other day when the Devils were officially eliminated from playoff contention, we’ve known that for months. I’ve never looked more forward to an end of the season than this one, especially since it seems as if with each game that passes by there’s more and more injuries to add to the ledger.

Thankfully the draft lottery will be held in short order after the season this year, a welcome change from prior years where it got extended weeks into the playoffs. This time, it’ll be before the playoffs even start, on my birthday ironically enough. At least a lottery win would be a far better birthday present than the Devils have given me some years – a 2008 playoff loss at home to the Rangers in the playoffs comes to mind.

Was there really any doubt how this game would turn out against a desperate Avs team against an undermanned Devils team playing a third game in four nights? As has been the case so often throughout this last month, the score flattered the team’s level of play with Cory Schneider making 31 saves, only letting two Tyson Barrie goals beat him. However, that was more than enough for another defeat in a 3-0 Avs shutout win. At least there were no new injuries as far as I know today, that in itself is a moral victory at this point. As it is, our injured list was practically enough to fill a suite at the Red Bulls soccer game the other day.

I bet broadcaster Steve Cangialosi is counting down till the days he can go back to doing the Red Bulls full-time as opposed to having to manufacture excitement for meaningless hockey. I’ve never gotten into MLS much but would rather watch one of their games at this point than the Binghamton Devils. Of course once this season mercifully ends it’ll be another 5-6 months before any kind of hockey, and the entire dynamic of the team could change this offseason for well-documented reasons it’s not even worth getting into now.

Right now my immediate concern is the Devils’ next thrashing game against the Caps on Tuesday, which I’ll probably be compelled to go to both because I haven’t managed to sell this pair of tickets, and just because I haven’t gone to the arena in a while or seen my arena friends. I haven’t seen my former seatmate Rudy or his sister in months, they’ve probably been to almost as few games as I have lately. It’d be nice to see another arena friend and her brother too, I haven’t seen Kristi since I sat with her for the first two periods of the Kings game last month before she went downstairs to sit with her family and the roof fell in on the game.

With the Caps still jockeying for position in the playoffs I don’t think they’ll turn the off switch just yet, again Alex Ovechkin and company can probably name their score. Which at least means an early exit from a weeknight game for me. My other two games left are both on a Saturday which is good at least, though I don’t expect either the Coyotes next weekend or the Blues the following weekend to be a win. That would finish my 2019 at 0-8, and emotionally that Blues game will end my season. Forget the stupid home finale the following Monday against the Rangers which I wouldn’t be caught dead at or the even more yawn-worthy season enders on the road at Carolina and Florida following that.

Maybe they’ll manage to at least give me one good performance out of the three. Then again with the games I’m going to myself this week it’ll be easier to be agnostic and rationalize a bad result. It’s harder for me to root against the team when I’m sitting with other people, that’s why I demurred going to one of the final Jets home games of the year which turned out to be an entertaining game, for a predictably dull Devils game. Because I was going to be sitting with mostly Jet fans and didn’t want to go when I wasn’t 100% invested in the result. I’ve managed to avoid the meaningless Devil games lately but with the season coming to a close might as well suck it up and do a couple more trips there before another forced break.

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