Devils. Buddies. C’mon.
Listen, I know that teams are going to have their ups and downs, but fellas, we don’t need to do this.
You reeled us all in in November. You were excellent. Breathtaking, even. You dragged a dejected and fatalistic fanbase out from our pessimistic bunkers and forced us to believe in you with an absolutely stunning stretch of hockey.
With 13 straight wins, you put yourselves at/near the top of the leaguewide standings and forced everyone to pay attention, tying the longest win streak in franchise history and also putting together the best start to a season in franchise history. You did it by beating opponents with a mixture of comebacks, defensive clinics, and absolute offensive drubbings, all while consistently overwhelming teams in the run of play. But for a collection of three disallowed goals in a game against the Maple Leafs, you would have completely laid waste to Canada’s collection of professional hockey teams over a three week stretch. It all added up to “This team is for real, they are not the same old Devils.”
That was November.
December has featured a run of results thus far that has very much reintroduced everyone to “same old Devils” hockey. The Devils set themselves up on such a high perch that they basically had to go into a tailspin to let everyone back into it. About that. After the win over the lowly Chicago Blackhawks on December 6th, the Devils were alone in first in the league on the morning of the 7th, nine points clear of the second-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division, and 14 points ahead of the first team out of the playoffs, the New York Rangers. It’s 12 days later and here are the standings, following the Devils taking one point from their last five games:
The Devils are now closer to out of the playoffs (8 points) than they were to second place in the division (9 points) less than two weeks ago. They are three (3!) points ahead of the Rangers. The team, instead of finding ways to win and overwhelming teams constantly, has flipped the script on itself. Now the Devils are the ones squandering leads. They can’t finish, the goaltending is shaky, the special teams are lousy, and the team feels like it is flailing at times, even with territorial numbers that look half decent. If that sounds familiar, it should, because it’s real estate the Devils have frequently occupied in the past decade.
The 13-1-0 November has given way to a 2-4-2 (so far) December, and the team is battling it in a bad way. So, all I have to say is this:
Knock it off.
We get it, you wanted to take a stroll down memory lane. The last decade has been a joy to suffer through for all of us so you’re just taking a step back to play the hits.
I love making terrible goalies seem like they are prime Dominik Hasek after a dose of gamma radiation that gave him superpowers. We all do! But maybe let’s go back to making .890 goalies look like .900 goalies at best.
Blowing leads rocks, too! I totally see where you’re coming from. The sinking feeling that a lead is not going to hold up is absolutely essential to the enjoyment of a hockey game, and you’re trying to bring it back. I think the little taste you’ve given us this month is enough, though.
I’m also a big fan of hoping the other team doesn’t take any penalties so I don’t have to witness an absolutely atrocious power play obliterate any positive momentum the team has, and to your credit, you’ve brought this one back too. Again, I’m going to say that I’m all set on this feeling now for the time being. You can go back to making it seem like it’s good to have more guys on the ice than the other team.
So, one more time, I’ll say I respect your artistic vision, but you [series of increasingly vulgar expletives], it’s time to figure yourselves out again. I realize “absolutely catastrophic collapse of staggering magnitude” would be a new tune to play for this group but, to be honest, I’m not interested in hearing it.
Cut it out. It’s enough. We get it. Please and thank you.
Anyway, glad we had this talk. Go Devils.