Saturday, October 27, 2007

Better know an Enemy: The Fightin' Devils!

The Sens Army blog recently posed some questions to Jeremy Kenter of blog. I seemed to insult the Devils with my final question, but Jeremy fires back! Enjoy!

Sens Army: What's wrong with Martin Brodeur this season?

Historically, Martin Brodeur is known to be a slow starter. He started last season at 5-4 while allowing 26 goals over the first nine games. This season, he was forced to start seven consecutive road contests against fierce competition. Of the seven games, five were against 2006-7 playoff teams (Rangers, Senators, Lightning, Thrashers, and Penguins). He finished with a record-breaking 48 regular season victories this past season, after an average start. In 2005-2006, Brodeur started out 4-5 and the season before that, he was 4-3-2 before securing 38 victories on the season. I am not worried about his rather slow start, as we see from his historically weak starts, yet big finishes, when it matters most. He is still Marty and one of the game’s greatest goaltenders. There are definitely others out there playing superbly and it’s possible that Brodeur’s age and his wear and tear are taking a number on him. I’d still rather have him in net than anyone else out there. (I am more worried about the Devils defensive unit, PP, PK, and inability to score).

Are you missing Scott Gomez?

The Devils are missing Scott Neidermayer and Scott Stevens, not Scott Gomez. They are generating plenty of offensive chances and they’ve had many power plays where they could not find the net. Gomez was known as a passer, not a scorer, and besides… is he really getting paid $10 million for an average 60-point scorer? That means Sidney Crosby, Jaromir Jagr, and Martin Brodeur are making more right? Guess again. He was a member of two Cups, won rookie of the year honors, and is a pretty good player. I definitely would not have signed Zubrus over him even thought the money was nearly half the price. I am disappointed that the Devils did not sign Daniel Briere, as I believe that he is worth the $10 mil per year jackpot. Sweet Lou Lamoriello had other plans, ones I am almost starting to question.

Who is the Devils' most underrated player?

Jamie Langenbrunner- He is the point man on the power play, a veteran of this game, and is going to be a huge part of the team when he returns from groin surgery during the offseason. He had seven game-winners last season, including 22 power play points, en route to a 60-point campaign. Are there others who can be on this list? Truthfully, I need to see them better before changing my mind.

Where do you expect the devils to finish in the conference this season?

Where the Devils will finish in the conference this season- that is a difficult question to answer. From their poor start and heavy Eastern Conference competition this season, they can finish out of the playoffs for the first time in over 10 years. Knowing this, the odds are that the Devs will place in the bottom half of the eight teams who qualify for the playoffs. I just cannot see them missing the postseason, even with an inefficient defensive core and inability to score goals on offense.

After the sens whopping the devils last year in the playoffs, how do you
expect to beat the sens on Saturday?

I respect the Senators greatly for what they did to the Devils last postseason. Let’s not forget that the Sens got their asses kicked by the Ducks in the Stanley Cup (when it mattered most). The playoff games were closer than the 4-1 series dictated. Four of the five games were decided
by one goal.

In regards to your question, the Devs will need to generate many scoring opportunities, step up their penalty kill, and use the fans as momentum, while playing in the Prudential Center for the first time ever. The Sens are a well-balanced team, up and down their roster. In my opinion, they are the best team in the NHL right now. To upset the Sens, Patrik Elias, Brian Gionta, and numerous others must be on their “A” and not “C” game, from start to finish. Head coach Brent Sutter must find a way to neutralize Alfredsson, Heatley, and Spezza, who have already combined for 36 points in the first nine games (8-1-0). To be honest, they remind me of the famous saying referred to Michael Jordan. “You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him.” The same holds true for these fine gentlemen, who have excelled in the league with their lightning-fast speed, quick release on their shot, and terrific passing skills.

That's all folks! Go Sens!
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