I Would Really Appreciate It If The NHL Stopped Cheating The Devils So I Could Truly Accept Their Shortcomings
I don't want to make it sound like I'm not appreciative of being granted a scapegoat. because if there is one thing that suspect officiating doesn't "challenge" it is the fan to think objectively about the performance of his own team. The Devils weren't playing a great brand of hockey going into their bye week, but - considering their shitty 5 game skid was marked by three OT losses in which a regulation goal was suspiciously taken off the board - it was easy to point to the transgressions of others in explaining their suddenly tumultuous relationship with winning.
The NHL and their inconsistent enforcement of rules have only been consistent in staying unfaithful to the Devils as of late, which is ironic because - much like a cheating significant other - it has encouraged fans to defer blame. As a general rule of thumb, no one finds out they are on the ass end of infidelity and immediately looks in the mirror to self-examine what may have led to their losing situation. That moment of shock and distress is not often immediately followed by an admission that you've become selfish, emotionally detached, and put on a couple dozen pounds. In that same vein, it was easy to push the lack of focus, discipline, and effort that was responsible for a blown lead third period lead to the back of the mind after a dominant first period was made fruitless by a ruling so drawn out and inconceivable that you'd swear it was made by a jury of O.J. Simpson's peers...
I suppose - by definition - that the above picture is goaltender interference. I'm not sure why a goaltender interfering with the clear path of an attacking forward would be enough to have a clear goal officially erased after approximately 20 minutes of deliberation, but what fun is hockey without extensive examinations into the millisecond-by-millisecond actions of those playing it at 10,000x the speed that it's rewound ad nauseam?
Whatever, that's not the point. The point is that enough time has passed for us to now move on from the adultery portion of Sunday's affair against the Islanders and step up to the 'acceptance' stage of the grieving process. In doing so, all outside excuses should be shunned, because anything that makes the Devils seem less guilty of pissing away a sure win is disingenuous. They simply have to be better in the second half of the season if they want to continue what they started in the first. That means more 60 minute efforts, less turnovers, and an equal amount of attention paid in the offensive and defensive zones. It would be a welcomed change if they stopped getting dicked by the officiating, but - over the last few weeks - they have made it pretty easy to get in on the action by submissively bending over and letting some bottom-feeding teams assume the role of the top for long stretches late in the game.