Jeff: Dave, I have to be honest…for me this game had an eery, weird feeling right from the start. I soon as I heard about Brodeur, I thought the worst. In the beginning of the game, the arena was quiet after they had got wind of what was going on. I thought the game had disaster written all over it and that’s what happened. In the first few minutes, the crowd had no life. Then a quick Winnipeg goal and the crowd was just shell shocked. I think those things set the tone for the game.
Dave: Absolutely, it just had an odd feel right from the get-go. Then, next thing you know, the Devils were ahead and there was some optimism abound. That was, until Winnipeg turned the tables and the air seemed to be sucked out of the building. The team never responded once the Jets took a 3-2 lead.
Jeff: Yea, this Brodeur thing put the microscope on the other goalie. And he got bombed again for the third straight start. Anyone who was drinking the Moose-Aid after his first three games that he should be getting more playing time can now calm down. He’s a backup goalie; no more, no less. Hopefully, Thursday won’t be an issue for Brodeur…or else…
Dave: I think they’re in a very delicate situation right now. All teams slump, it will happen. The issue now is that they can’t let things spiral out of control. As of right now, it’s not so bad, but when you look at today, it’s troubling. For all of the bad performances they’ve had lately, when they got the lead I was thinking to myself, “okay, here we go, time to break this thing open and win a 5-2 game or something.” Then they just never built on that.
Jeff: Yea and you know what the problem is. All three facets are under-performing
Dave: It certainly is troubling to see all facets of their game struggle at once, but you have to believe that something will give eventually. Maybe not all at once, but they’ll turn it around. I find it hard to believe that this team is as bad as they’ve looked lately, but they may not be as good as the team that beat Pittsburgh in consecutive days. There has to be a middle point somewhere.
As for Moose, I understand that being told you’re starting minutes before a game is difficult, but he has been dreadful lately. At this point I wonder how many more bad starts it would take to see the likes of Frazee or Kinkaid in the mix, because Marty will need nights off and you need to be competitive in those games.
Jeff: We’ve talked about doing little things right too. And while I agree, they’ll eventually come out of this, doing some of those little things will help restore some stability and then the other aspects of the game will flow. Last night, I didn’t see one extended shift of cycling, very little pinching in from the defense in the offensive zone as well as very little physical play in their own end, like sealing guys to the boards. That’s what may even be more discouraging, is that they normally thrive on those fundamentals and presently they have lacked in that department on top of everything else.
Dave: It almost seems like they’re playing a bit timid, as if they’re unwilling to play as aggressively for fear of making a bad play. Early on we were seeing defensemen make smart plays pinching into the zone or making a quick breakout pass, but that’s gone. The Jets play a very hands-off style in the neutral zone and they really like to sit back and let you gain the zone and try to quickly counter. When I saw this, I was thinking that the Devils would have success, but they weren’t even able to collect themselves in the defensive zone easily enough to take advantage of that and get some odd-man rushes going the other way. Right now it almost seems as if they’re now a team without an M.O.
Jeff: There is no identity…totally agree. Now, this all said and with Devils Nation having three days to freak out about the state of the team…they’ll probably win 5-0 up in Winnipeg on Thursday, haha.
Dave: I’m not really sure what to expect at this point. They’ll have a few days of practice that might help sort things out. I think we’ll learn a lot about this team over the next few games. Right now, it seems like it can’t get much worse. Let’s hope that’s the case, at least.