Adam Henrique's Dim-Witted Line Change Is A Perfect Example Of The Devils' Biggest Problem
This may surprise some people, but I'm not all that bothered by the fact that the Devils haven't been winning. That's partially because the last couple of months of complete ineptitude have made me immune to losing, but it's also because they are nowhere near talented enough to compete for a playoff spot in a Metropolitan Division that has become desensitized by double digit win streaks. It's certainly not in my nature to be rooting for a higher draft pick by mid-January, but the harsh reality of the rebuilding process has hit harder than the coldest of winters. No offense to Karl Stollery, but a team that is so void of capable defensemen that first time call-ups go from riding the bus in Albany to manning the point on the primary powerplay unit in a matter of hours is one that could absolutely benefit from bottoming out. I'd always rather see the Devils' win - regardless of whether or not they handicap their immediate future in the process - but I have come to grips with that fact that it's simply not going to happen with regularity given their current construction. That clarity - as depressing as it may be - makes it easier to accept hard fought losses to teams like the Edmonton Oilers.
What it doesn't do, however, is excuse dumb ass line changes that leave a much maligned, oft-underrated goaltender facing one of the most talented players in the sport on an odd man rush in overtime. What Adam Henrique did by botching an elementary situation in such careless fashion that it would make Gordon Bombay quit coaching youth sports and go back to reckless, drunken driving was indefensible. More importantly, it was symbolic of exactly the type of crap that ails the team that he's supposed to have assumed leadership of by now.
Forget the lack of high-end skill up front. Forget the shocking absence of speed and instincts on the back end. Those are issues that can only be corrected by changing personnel. The sheer stupidity displayed by Adam Henrique when he quit on his shift/saved himself a minus/completely baffled the entirety of his bench/put Miles Wood at immediate odds by skating right past his defensive responsibility can be fixed with the most minute amount of focus. I won't be one of those fans that claims someone "doesn't care" when elite competitiveness is essential to their occupation, but I'm not sure how else to explain a level of apathy that should be finable because you shouldn't get paid in full when you mentally clock out early.
I have seen the Devils win enough over the years to deal with the inevitable losing, but there's no amount of organizational success that can mask a loser's mentality. The latter is the main difference between the inferior team that overachieved last year and the slightly improved team that's going to give Cory Schneider an alcohol dependency by the end of this year. They look like they don't give a fuck, and it's making it excessively hard to give a fuck about them.
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