The Christmas break is upon us and we're one of the best teams in the league. I think this year was the year more than any other that the experts decried "This is the year the Devils fail, Two many key players lost and Leamaire can't coach in the new NHL" and well lo and behold, we're on top again. Call me a Homer, but I truly believe that Lou ices up a team every single season that can compete but this year it's different.
So with almost half the season gone where do we stand? Are these Devils for real?
This team really reminds me of the 2000 Devils. The influx of youth coupled with the veterans all of whom are playing well and this is with many an injury to key players to boot! While Parise is Parise, Elias is Elias and Brodeur is Brodeur. The way guys like Greene, Bergfors, Clarckson (pre-injury), Mottau, Salvador, McAmmond, Niedermayer, Zharkov & Fraser have stepped up their game is unbelievable and make me excited for the franchises future even more than ever. And lets not forget Rolston finally back to being Rolston, our Captian, Jamie Langunbrunner who seems to get better with age and the guy who is quickly turning into one the legue's best two-way centers, Travis Zajac.
And while I can shower accolades on the players all day long, I think the teams true MVP is Jacque Lemaire. Oh= I had my doubts like many of you on weather the old dog can learn some new tricks... and while a good chunk of the media like to stick with their old adage that the team still plays boring, trap devils hockey" us fans who watch every game know that this team does not remotely play boring games nor do they trap their way to victory. There have been nights where we clearly were not the best team on the ice, yet we are were still the team to walk away with the W. Why? because despite our talent, the team is ridiculously well coached and manages to make the necessary adjustments for whatever problems they encounter with the sometimes superior opposition. That is the mark of a great coach, and Lemaire is just that.
I look around at our nearest opposition and i think we're able to take them all down if it came down to it.
Penguins: While they are not easy to beat, we seem to really know how to outplay them and i think that is something that will continue all season long
Capitals: another team we're 3-0 against but one win was in a shootout an dthe other 2 were without Ovechkin playing. Still Ws are Ws and I feel teh Capitals have way too many questionmarks in net and on defense to go the distance come the playoffs.
Buffalo: While surprising and have the possibility to play spoiler i don't think they they have the components to make that long of a run. But besides Brodeur, i think Miller is truly the leagues most elite goaltender. Yes ahead of Luongo.
Blackhawks: While we haven't played them yet I look forward to the challenge. Also like the capitals I feel come the playoffs i don't trust their goaltending.
Sharks: Call me naive but i think whoever the Sjarks bring in every seasson to ensure them a cup, it'll still end up being the same old story come the playoffs. They have the talent, but i don't think they have the heart or are that well coached to win those games they should have lost.
So I ask all of you, realistically... knowing we have not fared well the past few years when going into the post-season. How do you like the looks of your Devils now and can and will they continue playing at this level for the rest of the season?