Well, opening night has come and gone, and the question we have is…What did you expect? What did you expect from a team where four players on the opening night roster were not on an NHL roster five days ago? What did you expect when Snow did not fill the very glaring holes that have been open for a minimum of six months but realistically for three years? What did you expect from the waiver wire being plucked again and again while our vaunted draft picks could not crack the lineup? What did you expect from a second power play unit centered by career AHL’er and TORONTO reject Keith Aucoin? Toronto is awful, and even they saw Aucoin as unfit for service. And lastly, what did you expect from an Isles-Devils game?
You want positives? The Isles are projected to win anywhere between 17 to 21 games (according to whomever Chris Botta asked, anyway). What does this mean? We still have 17-21 wins to see over the next 47 games. Had we won, we would have fewer wins to look forward to. Ok, maybe we are stretching on this one, but really, were there any positives from last night’s game?
Sure, Tavares, Grabner and a few others looked okay. But let’s be honest, they looked good compared to the boring, slow, and sloppy play that was apparent from the get go on both sides. The Islanders has no sustained pressure, no transition game, and very little physical play. Much of this comes from playing the Devils, so there is no reason to put all blame on the Isles, but you have to expect more when a team knows that: 1) fans are pissed, 2) you cannot lose games early if you want to have a chance in this shortened season, and 3) it’s the home opener.
We are not fans of the staged fights that goons generally engage in, which do nothing for momentum or to change the game. However, if Eric Boulton is going to play over a Casey Cizikas, then we want to see some punches thrown. Cizikas would have brought energy and could actually chip in on offense in his limited role. This game lacked every bit of emotion that Devils-Isles games have lacked for the past three years.
As for trivia, Martin Brodeur made his 18th opening night appearance for the Devils. Brodeur was a rookie in the 1994 season, and we hated him for letting Stephane Motteau score that overtime goal and basically have hated his sister-wife butt since. That said, he is the Cy Young of goaltending. He won a cup before his ELC was up. He is an all time goalie. His durability is astounding. He has started 18 opening nights for the Devils, and, to compare it to us, that’s as many opening nights as DiPietro’s Islanders contracts have covered from rookie year and into the future. That begs to ask a question: What were we thinking?
So, going forward, what does this mean? Since the dawn of the Snow era, nothing has changed. Expect more of the same over the final 47 games.
About the Author: We are two long time hockey fans who certainly have our own opinions and points of view. Feel free to share yours. Follow on twitter @joshbarely