by David Pavlak on 01/03/12 at 12:58 PM ET
As a blogger for the New Jersey Devils, it is easy enough to try to find the good in a bad game. It is easy to pick out the moments that allow you to hang your hat on them, and come back a few nights later, parked in front of the TV, to watch again. Every fan does it. The problem I am currently facing is what happens when you run out of patience for the things that never seem to change.
On a consistent basis, the New Jersey Devils are a 40 minute hockey team. That’d be great if the game ended after the second period, but last time I checked, this is a 60 minute game. That requires all the players to have to work for 60 minutes in order to achieve the ultimate goal of the night: win.
Far to often I am seeing the Devils come out for the third period looking and playing as if the game has already been decided. This problem begins with the coach, Pete DeBoer. Coming from Florida, he has a lot to bring to this team as a whole. He is defensively minded, but likes to try to push it to find different ways to put some points on the board. I can respect that. However, something is seriously lacking in the motivational department. The team seems ready to play MOST OF THE TIME at the start of the first period. However, there attention and focus seriously dwindles as time progresses. He needs to find a way to motivate this team to play a full 60 minute game. If he is unable to spark some sort of late motivation, the Devils will continue to put out a lackluster performance in the final frame, a crucial time which normally decides the outcome of a game.
In last nights matchup against the Ottawa Senators, the Devils came out of the dressing room after the second period with a 2-0 lead. The Senators scored in just over a minute. Talk about being prepared to defend your lead. Ten minutes later, the Devils gave up their 12th shorthanded goal of the season, which leads the league. The game went into overtime, where the Sens won it on the powerplay. Serves them right.
The shorthanded goals is another thing. Twelve shorties? I can understand having a few, every team scores them now and then. But 12!? What is being done in practice to stop this? Do they only work on the offensive part of the powerplay? The penalty kill is great, leading the league at 91 percent, but what is going on with the powerplay unit that the other teams penalty killers are turning it into scoring chances? You know who currently owns the fourth worst powerplay unit? The Devils. 13 percent. You know who has given up the most short handed goals? The Devils. 12 of them if I didn’t mention it already. Six other teams are tied for giving up the second most short handed goals, they have only let in five. Does DeBoer not see something that I am seeing? Why is this problem not being fixed.
I know Marty is also part of the problem. The guy is certainly a H.O.F lock, but at 40 years old, you begin to wonder if he can keep up with the speed and power of the players. At times he shows greatness, but other times he looks slow and as if the mechanics are not as quick to respond as they once originally had. The Devils will most certainly have to begin to shop around for a young goaltender that they can begin to remodel the franchise after, because whether or not he decides to return next year, Marty is old and he is only getting older. His numbers certainly aren’t stellar either. A 2.85 GAA and an .893 save percentage. Very un-Marty like numbers. Of course the defense nothing of what it used to be, but some of these goals that are sneaking by make you shake your head.
Now it isn’t all bad, and I can’t be so down about the Devils because they are finding ways to win and stay relevant in the conference. With the new playoff system set for next year, it may be awhile until we see the Devils in the postseason if they don’t add some new big pieces to the puzzle. For now though, things are working out in an average way. They currently sit seventh in the conference with 44 points, only two back of Pittsburgh and four back of Philadelphia in the Atlantic. There is no reason that the Devils shouldn’t make the playoffs, but I can also see this team having the ability to take a nose dive. For now, its nothing more then just hoping to see chance. I will be back in front of the couch to watch again on Wednesday against the Bruins, and can only hope that within 48 hours, some sort of change has occurred for the good.
I will now step down from my soap box, thank you.
Add a Comment
Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.
Most Recent Blog Posts
About Devil's Advocate
I am an all around NHL fan. I love to watch Atlantic Division, and root for the Philadelphia Flyers. Just because I cheer for the Flyers, doesn’t mean I don’t keep up with the other teams in the division, specifically the New Jersey Devils. Devils Advocate will provide you with the most important Devils news, filled with my opinion about the selected topic.
Like what you read? Hated it? Have something else you want to read about? Let me know, I always like to hear from my readers and what they want to see.