Your hatred of Kovalchuk has clouded your judgment. You honestly think this team is capable of winning a championship anytime soon? Unless Lou pulls off a couple more huge signings or trades, or unless Schneider ends up being the second coming of Brodeur, Marty's retiring without a fourth Cup. I don't think the situation is as doom-and-gloom as some others are saying, but I also don't see the Devils being anything close to championship caliber for at least a few years.
I disagree. Since when was making "a couple more huge signings or trades" what contributed to our success in the past? I like our roster, especially if Brunner gets added to it. I loooove that we have Schneider. The players we have at our disposal, I feel they can execute DeBoer's system perfectly (Zajac won't have a slump like last year, easy to say; Zubrus/Elias are back, etc.). Clowe and Ryder are great acquisitions and Clowe will especially fit in very well, if he can stay healthy. We have a BIG team with a lot of grit and some edge, which can tire out the opposition with DeBoer's system. Add onto that that we've improved in goal, and I think we're a better team than last year. We're not unlike the Boston or Los Angeles teams in the past few years as far as the makeup of our roster is concerned.
I think we'll be seeing the end of an era in Pittsburgh. Swept by the Bruins? Shaky goaltending? Their cap will be hard to squeeze players in? We always just assume that's where UFA/trade bait players want to go, but I can't help but think those feelings are changing.
We're seeing teams built like Pittsburgh and New York not winning Cups. Teams built like Boston, L.A., Chicago (and I'll throw Detroit in there still too based on their style) are.
Unfortunately, the loudest Rangers fans are the dumbest least knowledgable (kinda goes for most sports, right?)... Older Rangers fans (40-50+) know their role and know how much time can pass between Championship-winning seasons. Younger Rangers fans only know the Sean Avery "fatso" era and, CONVENIENTLY, anything after the Devils' dominance of this area. That's mostly why last year's ECF win was so sweet, it put the reality check on a whole lot of young Rangers fans that have somehow developed the theory over the past 10 years that somehow they're the superior organization. If you watch MSG summer programming over and over again, you might get as brainwashed of that as they are.
The way they mouth off, you'd think the Rangers were the Yankees and the Devils were the Mets...
I've noticed the attitude of the fans a bit different than last year. Probably some more bandwagoners than usual in previous years, and a lot of people railing on Kovalchuk or Brodeur or Salvador for messing up; it's as if you need to be a play-by-play critic to be a real hockey fan. Sometimes I like empty seats more than a full section of loudmouth bandwagon fans. "KOVEEEEEY WHAT THE HELL DO WE EVEN PAY YA FAW?!?!" I feel like I'm at MSG during a horrible powerplay, hate those kind of fans.
I got in more arguments at the Devils-Capitals game with Devils fans than I did with Caps fans. If Kovy didn't shoot, they were cursing him out. If Kovy did shoot and it went wide (for a tip-in attempt), they were screaming bloody murder. When he scored the goal in OT, I turned around and mouthed "fvck YOU" to a fan that was railing on him the whole game. It's hard to enjoy a game with all that uneducated negativity in the air. If I wanted to be surrounded by Rangers-type fans, I would go to Rangers games.
fvck Kovalclaims. No way we give him the Captain after this debacle, he is showing no leadership, no commitment to the team and no commitment to the league.
On the contrary, he's actually showing some admirable leadership-quality backbone and class, if you look at the situation he finds himself in, from his perspective.
It's stressful for all us Devils fans, but think about it for a second. Compare all the Russian players that flew back into the U.S. today to Kovalchuk, and ask yourself, who loves the game of hockey more? Ovechkin will be comfy at home clubbing it up this Saturday night in D.C. the way he's done for years, while Kovalchuk is graciously saluting his fans and teammates one last time.
If anything, I wouldn't be surprised if the Devils pick up a nice big Russian addition to the fanbase after this is said and done; more jersey sales, TV opportunities, etc... Not to mention, Kovalchuk won't have time to get comfortable or lazy on Monday, as he'll be right back into the swing of things. I would imagine his fitness and midseason form will have a good impact on the rest of the boys in camp on Monday, who may be rusty.
I'm specifically not asking for a refund BECAUSE my financial situation was better a few months ago (when I paid for my package) than it is now. If I were to get all my money back, and the season were to unfold next month, with playoffs and all that a couple months later, I'm not sure I'd be able to come up with all the money (then) to go to the games. Patiently keeping it in my Devils account knowing that I have those games gotten and paid for and credit to get a bunch more, it's a comforting thought!
Had a blast, great atmosphere and the only time things will ever be somewhat civil considering the teams' fanbases that were in attendance elbow-to-elbow. The "We want hockey!" chants every 10 minutes should have been a nice message to the players.
As for Marty, he didn't make it too easy for us to wear the Devils jersey during the first period (4 goals in 10 shots) haha... But he obviously knows how a charity game works and you could tell he really didn't stress himself to play his heart out. Something tells me Henrik didn't get the memo, as he looked like he was in ECF Game 5 mode until I think they gave him a speech during the first intermission to turn it down a notch... The Rangers players looked like they had something to prove, while Marty was more than happy to give it to them. If you think I'm overreacting, imagine this: Dan Girardi even dove down to block a shot at some point in the second period haha...
The Flyers fans were more than happy to playfully jeer the Devils fans over Marty's performance, completely ignoring the fact that two Devils (and several non-Flyers) were the ones to score. On the way out, someone even screamed out "I bet Devils fans are praying the lockout continues because Marty looks TERRIBLE!", and I said "Yeah, and I bet you need the extra time for your butt to heal after the playoffs" and some Rangers fans laughed... All in good fun, I had a great time, and it was an unforgettable evening for everyone involved, I'm sure!