Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Injuries Are a Pain

No, really, they are a pain.  I would know, I'm in the midst of some injuries now, but that's neither here nor there.

At the start of the Devils season, I, we, Devils Nation, we're all somewhat glad with the two injuries that hit the Devils roster.  Both Annsi Salmela and Bryce Salvador were hurt and because they were placed on the IR, the Devils had enough salary cap space to fill out the roster.  Great.

However, the damn injury bug kept biting.

Marty Brodeur (elbow), Zach Parise (knee), Jacob Josefson (thumb), Jamie Langenbrunner (neck), Brian Rolston, Matthew Corrente (upper body), Mark Fraser hand), Matt Taormina (ankle), and Anton Volchenkov all hurt at one point or another.  And of that list, only Rolston and Volchenkov are back!

Look, I'm sure in due time, and maybe even later this season after some more minor league season, that Stephen Gionta, Alexander Vasyunov, Olivier Mangan, and Mark Fayne will round out, gain some more skill and can help out.

But in the meantime, let's start getting our boys back and healthy.  Jamie should be back on Thursday night, but the rest are a toss up.  Just like the games, one at a time.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Almost Typical

As much promise the Nets show you one night, it's as much head scratchingness they show you the following.  Look, I know, I get it.  The team was not going to be, and will not be, a playoff team this season.  I knew that coming into the season.  All I asked for was to play hard and competitive each night and continue to get better.  Grow the kids.  Show some emotion and excitement.

And for the most part, they've done that.  The record isn't the prettiest in the league, 6-11, but that is half the amount of wins from all of last season, and they haven't played a quarter of the season yet.

But damn.  Brook Lopez.  Not the stud night in, night out that you should be.  There is no question or doubt that you are a 20-10 guy for this team and yet you sometimes, most of the time, struggle to be a 15-7 man.  Devin Harris.  Too inconsistent.  I don't admit to watching all the games, or even some of all the games, but I watch every now and then.  Why, to me, does it seem as if Jordan Farmar is playing more than you?  You're our All-Star.  Act it.  Terrence Williams.  D-League?!?!?!?!  Really dude? You're that immature and dumb that you need to get shipped to the middle of the country to play?  Can't get any sloppy minutes with the big club?

Ah there's a lot more to ramble on now.  But I'm hungry and don't want to lose my appetite.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Game Recap

My first ever holiday sporting event took place last night as I was lucky enough to be at The Meadowlands with my ever-thankful-for-girlfriend for Jets-Bengals.  A match up of teams with mirroring records; 8-2 for the Jets and a lowly 2-8 Cincinnati.

Last night's Jets game meant so much if everything went right but would be so bad if things went wrong.  Playing on the Thanksgiving for the first time in a few years, we went into the game totally expecting to win.  The Bengals may be one of the worst teams in the NFL, had a wide receiver that may be stinkier than poop but runs a big mouth, and is coming off an embarrassing loss the week before.  But the Jets have a tendency to play to the level of their opponent, knowing that New England won earlier in the day and it immediately became a larger game they could not lose.

And as usual, the game started very slowly for the Jets.  Painfully slow and disappointing.  The way the first half went was as typical as the last number of games, the offense could not move the ball whatsoever but the defense was stout as always.  Only down 7-3 at the half, the boys really took it to them in the last 30 minutes.

All season long the team has tried to run its version of the Wild Cat, the Seminole as they call it.  And run it they do, just never successfully.  And while last night it didn't really run all that well; the main person behind it had his breakout performance of the season.  Brad Smith had two different electrifying runs, a 55 yard end around and a 90 yard kick off return, for touchdowns.  The man was so hot he burned his shoe off his left foot on the kick off return run.

A 7-3 deficit became a 26-10 victory.  A win that was decided well before the last few minutes of the game.  A record that keeps them at the top of the AFC.  A date with the Patriots next Monday night, which will be the biggest regular season game of the year.  A holiday game to remember.  A season, so far, to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Here We Go

It took over time.  It took a shoot out.  But in the end, the Devils went to bed last night with two more points and another victory.  It's very, very sad to say but the Devils are the last team in the league to record back to back wins this season.  Yes, sad, I know.

But they have won two in a row now.  And gotten five out of a possible six points at home in the last three games, so they are moving in the right direction.

Tomorrow is the key.  1 PM game against the league worst Islanders, a team that has lost 14 straight games!  14!  We can not let them get their first win in a long long time.  Gain that killer attitude and take them out.  Make life miserable for them and keep continuing to churn out points.  Up, it's the only way to go.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Easy Does It

One game isn't going to change everything (in the World Cup, one game can change the world, but that's neither here nor there).  However last night's Devils victory did enough for one night.  Did enough to allow the players to breathe.  Did enough to potentially jump start a decent offense.  Did enough to showcase a promising 20 year old, Mattias Tedenby.  Did enough to keep Coach MacLean's job for the time being.

Again one win, a 5-0 stomping over the NHL's top squad, the Washington Capitals, will not change how poor this time has played the first 20 games of the season.  It's not going to change that we're still tied for 29th in a 30 team league.  It's not going to change all the injuries that have mounted.  It's not going to change the notion that this team might not make the playoffs.

But it will help.  It'll help when we face off against the Calgary Flames, and old Coach Brent Sutter, at home tomorrow evening.  It'll help when we play the 30th ranked team, the New York Islanders.  It'll help keep the fans a bit interested, even though we're still in the final week of just November!

Easy does it.  They say that one game doesn't make or break a season for professional teams.  Well, right now, the Devils are as close to breaking and losing their season as they can afford.  But the one win can help. And that's all I can ask.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Man In Charge

In the end, it became Terry Collins.  Mr. Collins, the 61 year old, the former manager of the Astros and Angels, the fiery and intense and demanding man has been given the reins of our New York Mets.  Only a two year deal, so we'll see how it lasts.  But he is our man for the time being so we must accept it, whether we love it or not, got to accept it.

And I do.  He's different than Jerry Manuel, Willie Randolph, and Art Howe.  He's closer to Bobby Valentine.  Surprise surprise. The last great Mets manager, the one that the fans wanted back at the end of the 2010 season, most resembles the manager the Mets just hired.  He did well, that man.  Took us to the playoffs.  Even the World Series.

Here's to hoping that Terry does the same.

Good luck.

Santonio Holmes!

Back in April, when the Jets made the trade for Santonio Holmes, I was cautiously optimistic, probably the way most Jets fans felt.  Yes, the team was getting a Super Bowl MVP and a clutch reception receiver but they were also getting a potential character issue.  I mean, he was suspended for the first four games this season, he is one strike away from a full season suspension, he has to compete with Braylon Edwards as the alpha receiver and he's a free agent at the end of this season.

So really, who were we getting?

Well, since he's come back from suspension, especially in four of the last 5 games, he has been the Jets MVP and can be a league MVP if he keeps it up.  Holmes has been everything and more for the Jets the last month.  A perfect teammate and the best friend for Mark Sanchez.

- Set up the winning touchdown by drawing a pass interference call in Denver.
- Catch and run to set up the winning field goal in overtime in Detroit
- Game winning catch and run, again in overtime, in Cleveland.
- 120+ yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner with 10 seconds left yesterday, vs Houston.

It has definitely turned into Holmes Time!

Holy sh*t

Ok, so going into yesterday's Jets game, I knew that I was going to be missing the game live.  I had my Tough Mudder run in the late morning/early afternoon so I would be DVRing the game and watching when I got home.  And watch it, I did.  I wasn't as loud and energetic and crazy as I usually am, mostly because the game wasn't live.  I had no idea what was taking place, but it just wasn't live.

As advertised, the defense is playing shut down football, Darrell Revis is an absolute stud, Mark Sanchez is leading the offense nicely and everything is moving along perfectly.  We're winning, 23-7, and I couldn't be feeling any better (except for the almost entire body soreness of my event, yeah, that's me, smiling with the beard).

And then Shonn fumbles and everything positive and all the emotion from the Meadowlands gets sucked out.  Bang!  Matt Schaub hits a ridiculously wide open Kyle Dressens for a 40 + yard touchdown.  Bang, the Jets give the ball back.  Bang! Arian Foster dives in for the touchdown and just like that, just over two minutes to go, we're trailing 24-23.  WTF!  But it's okay, we have 2 time outs remaining and plenty of time to move into field goal range.  But then, Bang!  Sanchez throws a pick and all seems to be over.  And then, Bang!  My DVR shuts off, it's 4 PM.

Upset, pissed off, annoyed, I grab my girlfriend's phone to look up the final score, expecting it to be the same or for us to have lost 27-23.  I'm staring at her phone in disbelief, until she asks me what's wrong.  All I can mutter is, 'we won'.  What the hell happened!  30-27, Jets win!  8-2, still atop the AFC East!  Sanchez, Holmes, Edwards, Tomlinson!  The Cardiac Kids do it again!

Like I said... Holy sh*t!

Friday, November 19, 2010

How Much Longer?

Look, I'm almost as big of a Devils fan as you're going to find and I'm also a huge fan of John MacLean.  I remember #15 from what I first start watching hockey and formed my bond with the New Jersey team.  He was the man that I wanted in charge of this club this past summer.  Very excited with Lou when he made the decision to make the next Devils coach an in house member, a person who paid his dues as a player and as a minor league coach.

Although I'm a fan, I'm a realist.  MacLean's time has run out.  He must be fired and somebody (at this point, anybody) else must get on board and try to right the ship. The team can't win.  They can't score.  Can't stop the other team from scoring. Not playing Devils hockey.

It will be a painful thing for Lou to do, and for the lifelong fans to go through.  For him to pull the trigger and fire the man he put in place only five months ago, but it has to be done.  Although many outsiders probably think it, the season is not yet over.  They haven't quite yet played a quarter of the season, so it can be turned around.  But, not with this coach, not now.

#15 will always be in our Devil hearts and Devil minds.  Heck, he scored the overtime goal to get the Devils into the franchise's first ever playoff appearance.  For a long time he held the record for most points as a Devil.  But he unfortunately will also go down as one of the most unsuccessful Devil coaches.

Do it Lou.  Pull it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jerricho Cotchery

Coach Ryan said after yesterday's win that Mark Sanchez is 'tough as nails'.  If that's the case, what is Cotchery after this amazing play?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekend Recap

Now that's what I'm talking about!  For most of the game it was ugly and gut wrenching.  The stupid kicker misses three field goals and you watch the opposing team start to move quickly into your own territory during overtime until FUMBLE!!!!  Oh Chansi Stuckey, the ex-Jet, we love ya, we love ya, we love ya.  Keep fumbling the ball baby!

Going into the Dog-Pound this afternoon the Jets and its fans knew that this game would not be an easy one.  Although it was the Browns, and their 3-5 mark, on the schedule, it was not the same old Browns. Coming off two impressive victories over the Saints and Patriots while featuring a new power running back, the Jets had every reason to show up 100% today.  And when they needed it most, show up they did!
Mark Sanchez just keeps growing up this season.  Three more touchdowns this afternoon (two with the arm, one via the feet) and another late win.  The leg injury sure as hell scared the fans because there is no trust in Mark Brunell, but we didn't need to worry.  Sanchise bounced right back up and, when it matter most, found Santonio Holmes on perfect inside cross and Holmes made sure he wasn't going to get caught from behind this time around.  Touchdown.  Game over.  26-20.  Jets.  7-2!
I'll come back to talk about the idiot kicker later in the week.


Friday night - Back and forth and back and forth and then again.  Back to back games for the Devils ended up in overtime and for the second straight time the game ended up on the stick of Ilya Kovalchuk.  Good thing this one ended with him taking a shot.  A shot that hit the back of the net!  Devils knocking off the Oilers 4-3 in overtime.

I'm fully away that they are still mightily struggling, hell, some would even say still sucking.  And as a huge Devils fan (with probably too much bias) I can't argue that, the record shows it.  But, nonetheless, they have accumulated three out of the last four points (reaching, I know).  They've scored seven regulation goals in those two games.  And they are getting a bit healthy.
They need to keep gaining points and scoring goals and winning games.  Get the confidence.  Get some swagger.  Start climbing the standings ladder.


Oh yeah, the Nets.  Tough loss the other night.  Damn Nelson hitting that jumper with four seconds left.  You are what we thought you are, a young and struggling team that will provide some glimmer and disappointments this season.  3-6 so far.  Good thing that everyone outside of Boston in the division is pretty bad, so there's a chance for some Ws.  And, four of those six losses are against Miami and Orlando; two teams that will/should be battling each other in the playoffs come springtime.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Heeee's Back

Selfish contract hold out and stupid, subsequent hamstring injury had really slowed down the start of the 2010 for Darrelle Revis as well as the entire Jets defense to be quite honest.  However Mr. Revis Island woke up last weekend, shutting down arguably the best receiver in the NFL, Calvin Johnson.  Megatron was limited to a paltry 13 yards and only one completion.

As I said.... he's back....

Just About Fed Up

I mean really, who isn't fed up with the Devils by now?  They've played 16 games and only got their 10th!!!! point of the season tonight.  That's a disgrace for such a high and proud and historically successful franchise.

Yes, I know there have been injuries.  But this team was under-performing before the main injuries took place.  Unless you're going to sit there and tell me that Bryce Salvador and Brian Rolston are the main #1 components of this team and with them our record would be flipped.  Yes, they did play better tonight.  They scored 4 goals.  They also allowed 4 goals and lost in a shootout.

This season sucks so far if you're a fan.  I went to about 12 games last season at The Rock.  I've been to only one so far with tickets for one more.  Any more than that, who knows?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Game Recap

I'm not even sure where to start on this one.  I said all along last week that I was not to confident going into the game and that the match up against the Lions scared me.  And I continued to feel that way until the last Nick Folk field goal went through the uprights and the Jets were 23-20 victors on the road in Detroit.

This was suppose to be an afternoon that allowed Sanchise to bounce back and regain his confidence against a weak Lions secondary.  Hell, Detroit even know that Sanchez had been struggling a bit and continued to put 8 men in the box and dared the Jets to win the game by passing the ball.  All Sanchez could do for the most part was overthrow and too widely throw his receivers.  Thank God that he was able to launch a beautiful pass down the left side line right before half-time to give the Jets some points, some momentum, some excitement and the lead before halftime.

Again though, in the second half, it was almost infuriating to watch.  I know that I was losing faith and getting extremely pissed off at how the team was 'moving' the ball on offense.  Use of the quotation marks because they couldn't move the ball.  Down by 10, under three minutes to play and only one time out, really there wasn't much to be optimistic about.

Then, the offense woke up.  Just like that it seemed.  With precision, Sanchez moved the team, quickly, down to the 1 yard line before sneaking it into the endzone on a keep.  Ok, defense, let's go!  And they did.  Thanks to some boneheaded Detroit coaching, the Jets force a three and out and get the ball back with 100 seconds left.  The offense kept it up (who would have figured), kicked a game tying field goal, got the ball first in overtime, kept with the spread formation, huge catch and run by Santonio Holmes and then the game winning field goal.  Just like that.  That easy.  Jets win!  6-2.  First place in the AFC East.  Damn.

Some of my thoughts from Section 316... Ford Field, pretty nice.  Lions fans... well, you can tell they aren't from New York.  They do an entire sing along song after each Lions touchdown; too gimmicky and stupid.  Ndamukong Suh kicking an extra point?  Again, stupid.  The referees were way to flag happy, on both sides.  Jets are loving the turnovers lately. Brian Schottenheimer, horrible offensive coordinator, until the last 100 seconds.  Sanchez; ulcer giver.  Jets, 6-2, first place in the division.  Good teams know how to win.

All comments are welcome.

Friday, November 5, 2010

@ The Game

I've been lucky enough this season to already catch on Jets game live and witnessed a great second half comeback over the New England Patriots.  This weekend I'll be even luckier because I not only be catching the Jets game in person but will be doing so from Ford Field in Detroit as the Jets visit the Lions.

This is a game that scares the absolute crap out of me.  Hands down.  100%.  If the Jets had managed to win last weeks debacle against the Packers, I would have felt really, really good entering Sunday's game.  Now?  Oh the exact opposite.  Yes, the defense has been fantastic for the most part this season but the offense is just upsetting and disturbing.  Shut out last weekend, struggled like whoa three weeks ago in Denver.  Last week the #2 ranked running game in the NFL!!!! was held to under 100 yards and Shonn Greene only had four carries.  Jericho Cotchery and Dustin Keller were each extremely weak and had passes ripped out of their hands for interceptions.  And Sanchise, Mark Sanchez again struggled to find the right receiver some times and a case of happy feet.

But isn't that how all of us Jets fans feel after a loss?  That the world is coming down, the other shoe is finally dropping?  Who knows.  Maybe we'll see the Tomlinson and Greene combo that ran rabid in Buffalo, with each other them gaining over 100 yards.  Lets imagine Sanchize showing up the way he did in the second half against New England and in Miami; throwing for over 250 yards and two scores.  How about the offense line keeping their Q off the turf and not allowing Ndamukong Suh any freedom?  I truly believe that Matthew Stafford will have a much more difficult time this weekend connecting with Calvin Johnson for three TDs because Darrell Revis is healthy and showed that last week.

6-2 is much much different than 5-3.  Especially when your, currently, staring up and trying to chase down the Patriots.  It's time for every person on that roster to show up at the same time, the same game and play a complete Jets game.  I will be there, in the third row, endzone, upstairs.  I'll be there cheering and cursing and praying and rooting and hoping.  I hope they all show up as well.  Get angry boys and get it done.

Season Comes to a Close

At Red Bull Arena last night, in front of over 23,000 fans, the New York Red Bulls saw their 2010 campaign come to an abrupt close thanks to a 3-1, 3-2 aggregate loss to the San Jose Earthquakes.

RBNY entered the match sporting a 1-0 aggregate lead thanks to a Joel Lindpere goal last Saturday evening in San Jose but that lead disappeared pretty quickly as Bobby Convey struck for SJ's first goal only six minutes into the match.  The teams played at the score for most of the remaining match until the 76th minute when Convey struck again.  Potential departing Red Bulls DP Juan Pablo Angel connected only two minutes later to give RBNY hope and a tied aggregate score.  However, MLS Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski gave the visitors the final goal of the match.  New York subbed on two forwards for the final 10 minutes, including Frenchman Thierry Henry, but weren't able to get a dangerous shot on goal as time expired.

New York set an MLS record during the regular season for the largest increase of victories from one season to the next.  They finished in first place in the Eastern Conference with 51 points.  The team will now break for the off-season and reconvene in February.

Long Week

Apologies for the lack of posts this week, it's been a long one with work and training (check it out - Tough Mudder) and I basically just haven't had an opportunity to get on.

As per the usual this season, it's been extremely troubling to watch or follow my Devils.  As many a good people I know would say, "they give me grief".  It's still a complete shock as to why they are off to such a bad start as they are.  When the season began, there weren't any crippling injuries or concerns on the surface that would force people to question their ability.  But, ya start off with three loses and then pile on the injuries and next thing you know, you're wrapping up a six game road trip and staring at an overall record of 4-9-1.  For a team that is so sound, and so deep, and historically good, the record should easily read 9-4-1.  Who knows, maybe the turn around will come now.  They did finish off the trip with a pretty complete 5-3 victory in Chicago.  They play their best friends, the New York Rangers, tonight back at the Rock.  Win and the grass may be getting a bit greener.  Lose and I may be getting a bit greener.

Ahhhh, I don't even want to get into what happened last week during the Jets game.  It was putrid to watch.  And I think the reason it was such is because for almost the entire game the Jets were only one possession down, that's how amazingly great the defense played.  But the offense, for the second and arguable the third game in row, was trash and did not show up.  Sanchez has taken major steps back from Weeks 2-4 and all of the wide receivers seemed as if they were still on their Bye Week, except for Braylon Edwards.  Weird, I know.

I am excited about the slow-moving movements of the Mets.  Slow and methodical are the ways this organization will turn themselves around and I'm cool with that.