Editor's Note: This was originally written on March 31; but given that the playoffs are imminent (you can buy individual playoff tickets now), I figured the attached poll needs more attention prior to April 14, the beginning of the playoffs. Hence, it's front-paged now. Incidentally, given the Devils' second-half of this season, this particular post at Behind the Net is also relevant. Lastly, in case you don't know what the Stanley Cup is or never have seen it in person, you can do so at the NHL Store in NYC on Monday, April 12 from 5-7 (thanks to the NHL for telling me this).
Before last night's game, I had hope. I even had it after the Flyers game. I had it after we got crushed by the Islanders 4-2, and lost to the Rags 4-3. But after last night, I don't know. We are obviously going to be in the playoffs. But how far we are going to get, that my fellow fans, I do not know. After Marty's 104 shutout, I said to myself "wow, I think they can win the cup this year!". But as John said, the whole team wasn't there. Only Marty and a few towel boys.
Does this yank anybody else? That year after year, we have a spectatular regular season, and then crumble in the end and the playoffs are busts? We are slowly turning into San Jose East. What can they do? Lou has gone through 3 coaches in 4 years, and I don't want to lose Lemaire. But player-wise, what can we do?
I'm a pessimist and a perfectionist. I need the team to look good before the playoffs, and clearly, I am not seeing that. I honestly don't think they can go past the first round, especially if they play the Flyers. But, if they can somehow avoid the Flyers and get the Penguins in the second round, maybe we could make a nice little run at it, but it will be a stretch.
I will love this team until I die, but I would like to return to that greatness that they had winning three cups in 9 years.