Devils Leave West On Top

So perhaps my previous posting was a bit harsh. It was late, I stayed up to see what the Devils could do against the Western Canadian teams, and they fell flat to the Canucks.

But since then they ended their tour with two wins, and are currently 7 and 4.

By far their worst week was the week of December 9th when they lost to the Rangers, the Capitals, and Coyotes.

But overall they’ve had a relatively successful month and sit ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Atlantic Division second place team, by 5 points. They also sit in second place in the Eastern Conference, 2 points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Devils key to success so far? Prior to the return of Colin White and Jamie Langenbrunner (November 12), the Devils had a record of 7 and 10. Since they have both returned (November 21), the Devils have a record of 12 and 4.

The Devils have received a nice Christmas gift in the meantime, heading off on their holiday break with a 20-13-3 record and a decent lead in their division.

I would also like to personally wish all of the visitors to and At the Red Line a happy holidays and wonderful Christmas. We’ll be off for a few days but should return when the Devils come back on December 28.

The Sign of Mediocrity

This is a topic that has been discussed here once before. Actually, many times it seems. But since the inception of the new era of the NHL and a post-lockout game, the Devils still have yet to completely grasp the reins and take off to their once competitive level.

You can panic during a losing streak, you can celebrate during a winning streak, but night after night consistency is not something the Devils have mastered right now.

It is frustrating when you see them play the Coyotes and you shell out $100+ per ticket and watch a lack-luster team. And then when you turn on the TV the day after and see a completely different team that can’t be beat. And then two days after that, you watch a game that, as a fan shouted behind me on Saturday against Phoenix, makes you want to “PAUSE… RESTART!”

Yes, growing up playing video games I would often do that when you can’t score even when you manually pull the opponents goaltender.

But watching an undisciplined, inattentive, unresponsive, unable, and careless game from start to finish is upsetting. At least when they just don’t play 60 minutes you can say “But yeah, that second period they were on fire.” But this was just a complete lapse of play from every aspect of a hockey game.

The Devils have been shut out 7 times this season, which is tied with the Devils all-time franchise record. And yet they still sit atop the Atlantic Division. It is that statistic that proves the Devils just are not present for every game played.

From my perspective, this is a coaching issue. The players are not prepared properly if they can be shutout as many times as they have been this early in the season, and yet still have as many wins as they do to be as high as they are in the standings.

I am glad that Devils coach Brent Sutter left net minder Martin Brodeur in net during this meltdown. I have always disliked coaches that pull Marty when things get too rough. I believe when the team as a whole has played as poorly as a whole like they did Tuesday night, Brodeur needs to suffer with the 18 skaters in front of him.

Brief Site Notes: Multimedia for will return after the holidays. Box Scores will be updated by the end of the week, at the latest.