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officerfarva

Member Since 30 Aug 2006
Offline Last Active Apr 29 2007 09:45 PM
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Topics I've Started

Howard Berger says it wasn't a sellout

29 April 2007 - 02:40 AM

http://www.hockeybuz...hp?post_id=7208

If you thought this nut was crazy before, read this blog. This Leaf lover really hates us and the Devils, it's laughable at this point.


Devils Respond; Fans So-SoToday @ 2:35 AM ET | Comments (14)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Apr. 29) -- New Jersey's hockey fanatics are popping open the bubbly because the team announced that all 19,040 seats were sold for last night's Game 2 of the Devils/Senators series. Only in this region would that be so novel as to elicit celebration. In just about every other NHL city, selling out a playoff game would not be a discussion topic. Here, it will probably spawn headlines in most of the local newspapers later today. Saturday's number was also deceiving. Just as the Devils announced that more than 15,000 tickets were sold for Game 1, this crowd was far below the posted figure. Anyone who was at Saturday's match knows there were thousands of empty seats in the Continental Airlines Arena -- entire rows were unoccupied in some sections. The actual body count was probably more like 15,500, which is pretty good by Jersey standards. Why so many people would spend the inflated figure to buy playoff tickets then not show up is a mystery.

The larger crowd had an immediate impact on the Devils, who came out of the gate with much more energy -- matching the electric atmosphere in the building... the opposite of Thursday's opener. It's amazing what 3,000 extra fans can mean to the club. Brian Gionta capitalized with an early goal, and the Devils deserved to win the game, even though they coughed up a lead in the final minute of regulation.

Martin Brodeur also bounced back with a more typical playoff effort. His glove-hand, questioned after Game 1, was lightning quick in the second match, and it's possible that the Senators will be gripping over the veteran goalie in the hours leading up to Game 3. That's the primary edge the Devils have had all these years, and Brodeur did enough good things in Game 2 to get in the heads of the Ottawa shooters. It will be interesting to see how the Senators respond in front of their home patrons.

E-mail howard.berger@rci.rogers.com

The great Howard Berger ranks NHL team support

28 April 2007 - 06:05 PM

http://www.hockeybuz...hp?post_id=7205

29. NEW JERSEY: As clearly pointed out in this space, the Devils have a core group of loyal supporters, but an otherwise lethargic fan base that is chalk full of lame excuses for not attending games at Continental Airlines Arena. Devils' fans are, however, among the most loyal HockeyBuzz readers, breathlessly waiting by their computers for the latest mention of their team. But, no club in the NHL gets ripped off more spectacularly by its followers. The Devils have been the league's model franchise on the ice for years, but few people seem to care. The new Prudential Center in Newark will be a big draw while it remains a novelty. After that...?

A new Howard Berger blog

28 April 2007 - 12:46 PM

http://www.hockeybuz...hp?post_id=7201

Final Thoughts On Devils' SituationToday @ 12:46 PM ET | Comments (7)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Apr. 28) -- Given the wildly defensive posture of those who support the New Jersey Devils, it's no wonder the team has an unfounded reputation for being one-dimentional. So, let's try for a final time to determine if people here can actually read and comprehend, without getting silly.

It boggles me why anyone would think these thoughts are aimed at fans who regularly attend Devils' games. Loyal fans here are no different than those who pay to watch hockey anywhere else. So, to tell me that you routinely drive to the Meadowlands to cheer on the Devils is fine. Keep doing it. The foundation of my argument is that your hockey club long-ago earned the right to have many more people join you at Continental Airlines Arena. If this were the Nashville Predators -- a good regular-season team with no playoff credentials -- the argument wouldn't fly. But, the Devils are the most proficient NHL outfit since 1995... a point I stressed in both of my previous columns. So, let's try and lose the notion that I'm disrespecting the hockey club. It has nothing to do with that and I'm surprised people who regularly don their red-and-black jerseys and make the often-difficult trek to the Meadowlands aren't screaming for the same thing I am...

*That hockey fans on the west side of the Hudson River -- who willingly battle traffic jams in the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, or on the George Washington Bridge, to go into Manhattan for Rangers' games at the Garden -- should turn their attention to their "home" team, an organization that has been infinitely more competent than the Blueshirts in recent years.

*That there should NEVER be six or seven-thousand empty seats for a Devils' game in the second round of the playoffs. Don't you agree? Wouldn't you rather see the building full of hockey fanatics just like yourself? Haven't the Devils earned that right over the past 12 years? And, isn't it slightly demoralizing to you, as well, that rows and sections of seats are unoccupied in the post-season? That's all I'm saying. It's not a general commentary on "Devils Nation". Surely, there's a much-bigger following for the club than is evident at the arena. Instead, this is a strong appeal for fans of the Devils to get off their backsides; lose the excuse of trying to make it to the hard-to-reach arena, and join those who overcome the same obstacle on a regular basis.

Say what you will about the legion of hockey followers in Toronto. But, there isn't a weather or traffic dilemma that prevents these folks from packing the Air Canada Centre every single night of the season. And, don't give me spiel about the ACC being easier to reach by public transit. I am well-aware of the difficulties trying to get to the Meadowlands. It isn't always pleasant, but neither is it impossible. And, there are thousands of Maple Leaf ticket holders who drive to games in the cramped and tangled corridor of downtown Toronto. Trust me, my city doesn't move a whole lot faster than your's. The difference is that the Leafs have not come close to matching their fans' loyalty in recent years. The Devils, on the other hand, have given New Jersey hockey followers just about the best that any team possibly can over a period of more than a decade. The club is deserving of the small amount of "hardship" from hockey fans who otherwise choose to show support from a distance.

E-mail howard.berger@rci.rogers

Howard Berger on Devils fans

27 April 2007 - 10:11 PM

http://www.hockeybuz...hp?post_id=7192

Nets Set The Bar For DevilsToday @ 10:56 PM ET | Comments (1)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Apr. 27) -- I closed my eyes and wondered where I was for a few moments earlier tonight. Could it possibly have been the same, lifeless building I'd watched a hockey game in 24 hours earlier? Indeed, it was the Continental Airlines Arena, but the joint was hopping on this night, as Vince Carter and the New Jersey Nets eviscerated the Toronto Raptors in Game 3 of their NBA playoff series. Oh, there was the usual compliment of empty seats; the particular sport on display doesn't seem to matter in this area. But, the people on hand appeared to be genuinely excited from the outset -- a stark contrast to the moribund Devils' audience of the previous night. It made for a wonderful atmosphere.

Based on the tone of e-mails received today, yours truly definitely struck a nerve with my observations in this space about the meager following for the Devils in their home arena. As if that's an unfounded theory. There was lots of colorful language and passionate support in words, yet not a single e-mailer dared to suggest that he or she might get off their rumps one day and actually buy a ticket to see the Devils in action. The excuses were plentiful -- about the poor location of the arena, and the traffic tie-ups, and the cost of parking. As if other hockey markets don't face those issues. Heck, even the Associated Press reporter who covered tonight's basketball game pointed out in his story that there were many empty seats, but he came up with a dandy, blaming flooding in the region for the less-than spectacular turnout. That's odd. I drove about 100 miles today, covering the Ottawa Senators' practice at Montclair State University, while later visiting several shopping centers here in New Jersey, and I had no problems. I also happened to be driving through the teeth of the monsoon-like rainstorm early in the day. The rain had stopped long before the basketball game tipped off at 7:05 p.m. It's supposed to clear up late tomorrow. Will the Devils' crowd for Game 2 be hindered by a blinding sun, low on the horizon?

I don't buy any of this baloney. People here are either lazy, or there simply is not a large enough following for the Devils to sell out their arena. If that's the case, it will be a disaster for the hockey club once the novelty of attending games at the Prudential Center subsides. Sure, it's no piece of cake navigating the silly roadways in the area of the Meadowlands, and traffic IS a problem, just like in any other metropolitan area. But, it seems that fans of the New York Rangers have little difficulty making it to Continental Airlines Arena four times per season. It's virtually the only times you will see a capacity audience for a Devils' home game.

The underlying point, once again, is that the New Jersey club has earned much more of a loyal following than it receives. If this were a stumbling organization, no one would bat an eyelash at the poor attendance figures. But, Lou Lamoriello and Co. have iced a championship-caliber product virtually every season since 1995. There are markets elsewhere in the NHL that would kill for such a routinely excellent club. I find it amazing how the alleged hockey fans on this side of the Hudson River staunchly defend their team, but allow lame excuses to pour off their laptops about not attending games in person.

Giving ME the proverbial finger might feel good. But, it won't fill a single seat when it matters most to your favorite team.

E-mail howard.berger@rci.rogers.com

Why do NHL fans think the Devils are boring?

24 April 2007 - 11:44 PM

I was reading about the upcoming series on TSN.ca and Hfboards and something is really bothering me. Why are the Devils considered boring because, although I'm a fan, I think the Devils are pretty talented up front and they played an exciting series against TB. Every stupid comment from "hockey fans" talk about how bad the Devils-Sens series will be because the Devils "trap" and how the Canucks are the Devils of the West(I guess that means they are boring). Brett Hull has been on NBC calling the Devils unwatchable. I just want to read one Devils-Sens series preview without hearing the words "boring" and "trap" in them.

Am I missing something? Is it jealousy because of the Devils success? While I find certain games boring, as a whole I've never felt any one team is boring.

Are the Pistons, Spurs, Ravens, and Bears boring because of their defensive style or is it an NHL thing? I really hope people like Derek and Sensfan and LOTCB respond to this so I can get a non-Devils fan opinion.

How many times did I type the word "boring" in this post?
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