Monday, March 7, 2011

What is different about the second half New Jersey Devils?

The New Jersey Devils have not had a season in which they lost more games than they won since the 1990-91 season.  They've made the playoffs every year over the past 13 and missed only once (1995-96) since 1988-89.  During that time, they've won three Stanley Cup championships, made it to the finals four times and haven't gone more than five years without making the conference finals...until now.  2003 was the last time the Devils made it to the conference finals.  This season, the team started the season a miserable 10-29-2, last in the NHL, but since, they have gone 20-2-2, and are now within striking distance of (dare I say this) a playoff spot.  In the first half, the team's theme song could have been "Sympathy for the Devil," but now, you're lucky to be "Runnin' with the Devil."  That, in itself, is remarkable, however, there must be an explaination for this incredible turnaround.  DGA investigates.

Differences between the first half and second half of the season for the Devils (from the eyes of a player):

FIRST HALF - Shoot from anywhere, even if it has absolutely no chance to find its way to the net, let alone in it.
SECOND HALF - Who are we kidding?  We don't play Ottawa every night.

FIRST HALF - Our team spent $100 million on Ilya Kovalchuk, let's make him score all the goals for us.
SECOND HALF - Our team spent $100 million on Ilya Kovalchuk, let's make him score all the goals for us.

FIRST HALF - We get booed off the ice every night, but at least our physical safety is not a factor.
SECOND HALF - Damn, I sure hope our fans aren't as creative idiotic as Toronto Maple Leaf fans.

FIRST HALF - Man, I'm tired.  Maybe I'll just take a shift off.  It's not like John MacLean will notice.
SECOND HALF - Mattias Tedenby can't even take a shower, since he can't work up a sweat, because Jacques never lets him play.

FIRST HALF - Johan Hedberg looks just like he did in Atlanta.  No defensive support and he gets lit up every night.
SECOND HALF - Hmm, maybe Martin Brodeur does have it easy in New Jersey...

FIRST HALF - Another loss, another night of crappy officiating.
SECOND HALF - Another win, another night of crappy officiating.

FIRST HALF - The Devils are absolutely terrible with Jamie Langenbrunner.
SECOND HALF - The Dallas Stars are absolutely terrible with Jamie Langenbrunner.

FIRST HALF - John MacLean cancelled practice today.  He probably had to plan his retirement funds a bit earlier than expected.  At least he left us shooting drills to practice.
SECOND HALF - Jacques Lemaire's idea of shooting drills at targets shaped like John MacLean's face are really working well.

FIRST HALF - "Collapsing" is referred to as something the Devils do every spring.
SECOND HALF - "Collapsing" is referred to as a brilliant defensive scheme that most successful teams impliment to win, yet the Devils constantly get accused of ruining hockey by using it.

FIRST HALF - I thought signing Kovalchuk was supposed to help attendance...
SECOND HALF - Why did we have to come all the way out to Long Island for another sold out home game?

FIRST HALF - Uh-oh, Lou Lamoriello mysteriously brought a bag filled with jars of jelly to his office today.
SECOND HALF - Oh, he just legitimately enjoys eating jelly.

FIRST HALF - Wow, if Jamie Langenbrunner is only worth a 3rd round pick...
SECOND HALF - What?  Jason Arnott brought a 2nd round pick back and the guy who knocked Sidney Crosby out during the Winter Classic?

FIRST HALF - Well, at least I can have a longer summer this year.  I better call my buddies on the Panthers (too bad I don't know anyone on the Panthers...) Maple Leafs to find out exactly how that works.
SECOND HALF - Dammit, I might lose my summer plans!  Oh well, I could always retire, since I have pretty much every record a goalie could ever get.

FIRST HALF - You'll give us a 5th round pick for Kovy?  Hmm...
SECOND HALF - Oh, wait, that Kovy?  He's worth a 7th rounder...

FIRST HALF - Is that the same suit John MacLean wore yesterday?
SECOND HALF - Is that the same piece of gum Jacques Lemaire was chewing yesterday?

FIRST HALF - Pierre LeBlond?  What an idiot...
SECOND HALF - Kris Letang forgot to tie his jersey down?  If he only learned from Andrew Peters last year.  See, I knew that Peters guy was useful for something.

FIRST HALF - Still awaiting Anton Volchenkov's first goal as a Devil.  Oh well, he was injured, he'll be fine.
SECOND HALF - Wait, Brett Lebda and Hal Gill scored goals this year?  Gill has...2???

FIRST HALF - Man, this Tedenby kid is fast.  Gionta who?  Stephen?
SECOND HALF - Trevor Gillies had more ice time than Mattias Tedenby last night?

FIRST HALF - I can't believe Matt Cooke has more points than Ilya Kovalchuk.
SECOND HALF - Matt Cooke still has a higher shooting percentage than Kovalchuk...