Friday, February 11, 2011

The Tale Of Two Seasons

This epic post-OT winner celebration picture of Ilya Kovalchuk says everything about how I feel inside. The Devils 11-1-2 tear has got fans and experts talking playoffs (don't say the word!) After the disastrous, nightmarish start to this season, fans, though still loyal, were beginning to salivate over the prospect of our first high 1st-round draft pick in many a year. Sitting in the basement of the league, last in goals for and highest in goals against, a first-year head coach who in hindsight was pretty terrible and yet is still a franchise legend, a marquee high-scoring stud injured for what appears to be the entire season, a struggling Hall of Fame best-in-the-world goaltender, and a $100 million dollar face-of-the-franchise Russian superstar unable to score, the Devils looked done, out of the playoffs for the first time since 1996. The first 41 games yielded a 10-29-2 dead last result.

And yet, hope.

Jacques Lemaire, sent from angels/Lou Lamoriello, is back behind the bench (and just earned his 600th career win as head coach last night, putting him in rare company). Martin Brodeur, though a bit banged up currently, has been stopping rubber like an abstinence program, and though Zach Parise is still watching home games from the press box, Kovalchuk is lighting lamps like it's Diwali (15 points in 14 games). Suddenly the Devils, though still closer to the bottom than to the 8th seed, are 21-30-4. This year's campaign really has been the tale of two seasons. Although we're 13 points out of the playoff picture and are heavily reliant on Carolina, Buffalo, Florida, Toronto, AND Atlanta all simultaneously tanking while we win out 90% of our remaining schedule, I still believe. And if we don't make the playoffs this year, well at least Devils Nation can take pride in the fact that our team didn't go out like a bunch of punks fishing for a draft pick (see certain Canadian franchise located in nation's capital).

Shark hunting tonight in Jersey. LET'S GO DEVILS!

Screenshot via

Step into the rain:

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