An Almost Entirely Unrecognizable Group Of Players Wearing Devils' Jerseys Are Set To Take On The Calgary Flames Tonight
Being that almost the entirety of the season to date has been governed by Murphy's Law, I should really only be surprised in how little I'm surprised by looking at a woefully underwhelming lineup. Still, I found myself genuinely taken aback by the shocking results of the New Jersey Devils' forwards falling victim to a bizarro world plot of 'Final Destination' in which their inevitable and eventual resting place is with the dregs of the draft lottery. In between short stints of rooting for Cory Schneider to have some long overdue success, I have been a loud and less-than-proud member of Team Tank for awhile now, but having their odds increased by the whole damn team taking a group trip to the emergency room sort of feels like a sick joke.
For example, let's take the curious case of Egor Yakovlev. I spending the last month or so merely wanting nothing more than for a mildly promising Russian defenseman with an impending incentive to defect to scratch an NHL ice surface ahead of the lame-duck likes of Eric Gryba, Mirco Mueller, and - to a much lesser extent - Ben Lovejoy. Hoping to see more of someone who'd shown flashes that could light the night sky relative to those of his competition at a depleted position felt like a reasonable request. Yet, here I am - having watched him go from inexplicably playing in Binghamton to bringing so much of Binghamton with him out of necessity that he's been forced into playing forward - realizing that no wish is a careful wish during such an apocalyptically anti-climactic year.
I wanted to see the young players in the system be given a shot to make an impression at the end of an otherwise lost season. So, in that sense, it's refreshing to see Michael McLeod, Nathan Bastian, and Connor Carrick being given a sizable opportunity to do just that. I just didn't think the means to that potentially encouraging end would be the injured list looking nearly indistinguishable from the list of high scorers.
Neither the players, the coaches, or the front office would ever say and/or think so, but each loss is a bit of a win at this point. For that reason, it doesn't really matter that they are rolling out four lines that couldn't even intrigue a desperate junkie going through withdrawals. Still, the harsh reality that their goaltending has somehow gone from their achilles heel to their main source of excitement in the blink of an eye is...well...the type of painfully ironic yet entirely unexpected plot twist that would make M. Night Shyalamalan hit the pause button and take a deep breath...