It turns out that, contrary to popular belief, there are in fact, more than 10 hockey fans. Thanks to an early announcement, we have been flooded by requests to join the MYFO ranks to represent their team. This all makes for great theatre and quality posts that involve little or no work, so Raskolnikov can stop punishing himself now, but I think he kind of likes it. All this week we here at MYFO will be bringing to you the best applications we have received, so let us know what you think: do these guys suck, should we keep them around for good, do you want to see more before making a decision, or do you think you can do better? If you want to give this thing a whirl, email me at MeltYourFaceOff@Gmail.com.
Today: Pam/ZPS – New Jersey Devils
Sometimes, I see red. (Just kidding, I’m not going all Bill Simmons on anyone.)
You think it’s easy to be a Devils fan? Well, it’s not. We are constantly subject to the vitriol of the media and other fans alike, saying things like “the Devils ruined hockey!” (Side note: some tool actually made ‘devilsruinedhockey’ his ESPN.com username. What a douche!) Prominent media outlets speak as if the whole world would better off if the Devils just disappeared, taking that goddamn neutral zone trap and their three Stanley Cups with them.
“They’re so boring!” Excuse me, maybe I’m in the minority here, but success isn’t boring. It does however, set unfair standards. For instance, it’s a big fucking deal that the Rangers won a playoff series (over the exceedingly terrible Thrashers no less). The fact that they made it to the second round was one of the most resounding achievements in modern sports, according to Stan Fischler. Pats on the back for all. But for NJ, this season was a terrible disappointment. They lost in the second round? To Ottawa? Are you kidding me? (Well, at least Ottawa was able to avenge their loss in Game 7 in the 2003 ECF and go on to finally lift Lord…oh, they lost, that’s right. Memo to Wade Redden: it doesn’t take two people to cover Grant Marshall. Just a reminder.)
Picture it: some random Thursday night in the middle of winter in NJ, and the Florida Panthers are town. If that doesn’t paint a picture of pure excitement, nothing will. So me, my sister and 13,998 other people brave the Turnpike to get to the Continental Airlines Shithole. Here’s how it goes down: Arlette sings the anthem, the puck is dropped, and some nobody on the Panthers scores on his first shot of the game because Marty was sleeping. Happens all the time. BOOOOOOO! You suck Marty! So finally, some 30 minutes and 40 shots that never came close to the net later, Zach Parise scores. I love him. 1-1 suckers! Some random guy just pulled off the streets in is net for Florida, and he is on fire! Diving splits, sprawling stops, and a lightning glove – he is in their heads. Then you remember: no goalie ever “gets in the heads” of the Devils. They just suck at scoring. So finally, someone hooks Sergei Brylin’s untalented useless ass, and they get a powerplay. So far tonight they are 0-7 on the PP. But this time, a loose puck comes out to Gionta, and he slams it home, 2-1 Devils. The waning minutes of the 3rd period are intense, especially since Pittsburgh won last night, so the Devils need to maintain that 2 point division lead. Marty stands tall. Happens all the time. Well the horn sounds, the Devils win, Bruce Springsteen is blasted on the PA system, and all is well in New Jersey. This is my life.
Well for me, I love this shit, and I live for it. Let’s face it: no one on the Devils is ever going to lead the league in scoring, they’ll never have a lethal powerplay, and ESPN will never rank them #1 in the power rankings. Oh well. Let’s look at this upcoming season…
Everyone and their brother predicts the Devils’ demise every single season. And the same thing happens: they’re relatively competitive, and then they’re easily dispatched in the playoffs. I’m thinking this year will be no different. They’ll probably be like a 6-8 seed, since everyone else felt like trying to improve this offseason, especially in the Atlantic Division.
Ok you were waiting for it, right, the part when I discuss Gomez and Rafalski. I’ll start with Gomez. He’s talented, that’s for sure, but he couldn’t put the puck in the ocean. Last year he had a shit year. 13 goals. And he didn’t even lead the team in assists. He pisses me off, and I knew he was leaving. I was surprised by the Rangers. I didn’t think he was going there, for some reason I thought it was going to be San Jose. What will I miss about Gomez? His passing, his vision…no. I’ll miss the way he carries the puck into the zone. It’s beautiful really. He’s so fluid and unique and I’m a woman so it doesn’t matter if that comes across as too gay. When I forgot to bring my glasses to the game, I could still tell when Gomez had the puck because the way he moves with it, even all the way from Section 216, row 20. I’ll hate seeing that in a Rangers sweater (especially the gay one with lady liberty on it). But otherwise, I’m over it.
And as for Rafalski, good fucking riddance. He’s a poor man’s Niedermayer. We learned that in the ’06 season. He’s weak, and is prone to lazy moments. His blueline blast on the powerplay must clock in somewhere around 45mph. Enjoy him, Red Wings. You overpaid. I was more upset about Lukowich going back to Tampa. He’s a quality defenseman who was really getting used to the Devils style.
So the 2007-2008 Devils will trot out a bunch of too-small untalented forwards led by uninspiring captain Patrik Elias (I think Gionta should be captain). They’ll struggle to score, and they will rely on Marty more than ever. I feel good about Kevin Weekes, though. Sure, he sucks, but really, no one is worse than Scott Clemmensen. Ask Kid Canada. The Devils will always give up fewer goals than average, especially with superstars like Johnny Oduya and Karel Rachunek back there, since they play that god-awful defensive hockey. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Except that this season I’ll be in that sweet new Prudential Center.
Oh yea, so why in hell is my team better than yours? Because this is NJ and I fucking said so!