They Stink Despite The Kink
Jersey's Team. Destroying blog headlines one shootout loss at a time. How perfect would "Let's Get Kinky!" have been. I'll tell you how perfect. More perfect than the glove save you watched above. Absolute stellar effort from the rook. No doubt about it, after waiting month after month to get a start, the kid deserved better. Keith Kinkaid was the first, second, and third star for your New Jersey Devils tonight. Your goalie being your best player is usually a recipe for success (Jonathon Quick and his Stanley Cup rings say hello). Your backup goalie being your second best player is decidedly not a recipe for success.
I get that this team is completely void of talent. That is only exacerbated when they average one higher end player going down to injury every single game. However, that's what this team signed up for. When your roster is more suited for a group home than a locker room you are bound to deal with a couple nicks and bruises. That's not what aggravates me. What's aggravating is that this team doesn't lose games because they suck. They lose games because they play scared. They lose games because they play dumb. If you are going to stink, you have to at least play smart. That's what never fails to astound me. Despite how bad they are, it usually takes a complete mental breakdown for this team to lose.
Let's look at the goals against tonight. Both insanely avoidable. The first coming off a dumb pinch that turned into a 3 on 1. Inexcusable to give up a 3 on 1 to one of the more high powered offensive teams in the league. The second goal a result of losing track of one of the best offensive defensemen in the league. I realize it is easier said than done to shut down the firepower of the Chicago Blackhawks. However, a Norris Trophy winning defenseman walking in from the point untouched for an easy rebound goal can not happen. Especially in the waning minutes of a game you had played so well up until that point.
I have never seen a team work so hard to keep the puck stuck in their own zone. There are multiple times a games where the puck's ability to stay in the Devils' end defies physics. Take the play in overtime for instance. Merrill has Gomez's stick (which he generously gave to him) with an opportunity to clear the zone after a hard fought shift. What does he do? Dribbles one to Gomez, who is obviously without a stick, only to eventually cause a Jagr penalty. Yes, a great penalty kill eventually sent the game to a shootout, but you didn't need a crystal ball to see how that was going to end.
I feel bad for Kinkaid. I feel bad because he caught a raw deal tonight. Welcome to the life of being a Devils' goaltender. Schneider has lost years of his life thinking of all the points that could have been. I also feel bad because he hasn't gotten more playing time this year. After one period tonight it was already head scratching why Scott Clemmensen was ever even signed. Clearly the kid can handle the backup role. I'm not sure how much of a 'role' that is, given Schneider's workload, but it's pretty clear Keith deserves it.
P.S. If you didn't see the writing on the wall when Havlat's nifty backhand clanked off both post and crossbar, you clearly do not watch this team enough.
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