Dater & Muir rip into the Devils . . . but mostly us.

Here's the uber-pessimistic link.


MUIR: I wasn't surprised by the lousy ratings. The Kings have some great fans, but it's not like there's been a SoCal diaspora that gives them a national footprint like the Red Wings and Blackhawks. If you're a Kings fan, you're local. The Devils? Lousy support, both locally and nationally. They've been hockey's equivalent of ratings DDT since the Jacques Lemaire days and it's going to take more than a season of Pete DeBoer to change that perception. You pretty much had to be a die-hard to stay tuned after Game 1...and given that, the ratings were probably better than I expected.

Since when are OT games in 1 & 2 boring? The media was harping on that. It could've been much worse, but it was treated like the hockey apocalypse was upon us.

The Devils have a great GM in Lou Lamoriello and have had some great players, but they again disappointed everyone in the league with dud crowds that were clearly outdone in passion by Kings fans. I wonder if New Jersey just isn't a good fit anymore for this league. They were 24th this season in attendance with an HOF goalie, great hockey management and some really high-paid stars. If they can't draw with this group, when will it ever happen?

MUIR: A friend in New York told me she got an email from Ticketmaster the day of Game 5 offering seats. I mean, how is that possible? This team gives you a chance to watch the greatest goalie of all-time (start your engines, AD), an edge-of-your-seat thriller in Kovalchuk, the All-American boy Zach Parise, and a really likable supporting cast...and the fans treat it like they're getting Joey Lawrence in the touring version of Death of a Salesman. The lack of support was embarrassing for the league and the franchise.

Were these guys in Newark for any of the playoff games?

And then they go in for the kill:

So, what does it mean for the future? You know Bettman will do contortions worthy of Cirque du Soleil to keep a team in place, but it might not matter. If Jeff Vanderbeek can't come up with a financial angel to buy out his partner and start paying down that debt (paging Kevin Smith!), I wouldn't bet on the Devils long term.

DATER: I'm with you here, except the greatest goalie part. Patrick Roy is the best. And no, I'm not biased here. Because Patrick Roy and I did not get along A LOT, with me being his former beat writer for nearly nine years. I know he once criticized your shirt Allan -- and rightly so, I might add, mustard brown and lavender just aren't a match -- but Patrick got in my face a few times, too, and vice versa at least once. But he's still the best. He didn't invent the butterfly, but he perfected it. He's the only player in NHL history with a Conn Smythe in three different decades. And, oh yeah, he's 1-0 against Brodeur in head-to-head Cup finals matchups (2001, when Roy was 35 and Brodeur 29). But yeah, New Jersey is a bad hockey market.

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