Nut Up or Shut Up, No More Room for Talk & Excuses | Devils @ Flyers Tonight, 7:00 >

by Michael DeNicola

Friday, March 15, 2013 --

It isn't a secret. It is not like trying to discover the lost Ark of the Covenant. The New Jersey Devils' strategy is attack, forecheck and capitalize on the Flyers mistakes. That gameplan has seen the Devils through seven consecutive victories against our boys, and the story's getting a bit old. 

During these tilts with our Newark rivals, the puck spends more time in our zone than a correctional officer with Billy Tibbetts. This "defense" of ours is a complete embarrassment. It hasn't shown any capability of breaking up possession in our end and keeping the forwards on lengthy scoring chances. Game after game, it's the same thing; the rubber's deposited in our corners or behind Bryzgalov, New Jersey's forecheck blankets the play like a suffocating wave of dominance, our protection scatters into chaos, and the Devils skate away after lighting the lamp. 

It has literally become regularity, like reading the same pages from the same textbook on different days. If it's not that situation, it's a turnover in the neutral zone that transitions into an odd-man break against our cage. Fatigued, frustrated, overused, whatever excuse you Bryzgalov apologists want to drool from your ignorant faces -- an odd-man rush on our $51 million netminder is almost a certain goal, followed by more irritation and miserable inhibition from the post-game interviews in our dressing room. 

Same song, same dance.

On top of that, we're subjected to our general manager deflecting any and all blame from the head coach and seemingly laying it on our players in its entirety. Ya know, the same players he spent two years adding while simultaneously nuking the roster of virtually every skater our organization developed.  

Here's a newsflash to anyone who gives a shit; this team's inconsistent, putrid play is a reflection on its players, the coaches, the management and the ownership. Enough finger-pointing, the entire Flyers organization looks like underperforming fools. I'm so sick and tired of our fanbase fighting over whose fault this season is. There's enough blame to fill a horse trough in front of every individual handed a paycheck from the Orange & Black (except for maybe the arena workers and equipment managers).

And here we go again, about to enter another evening of anxious nail biting. Our hopes are that we don't see the same sieve skate out onto the ice. Our hopes are that we have a blue line capable of shutting down the exact same attack they've seen penetrate them over and over and over again. Our hopes are that the Flyers can keep their turnovers under a fucking baker's dozen. Our hopes are that Bryzgalov's not left out to dry, and he denies shots he should be stopping. Our hopes are that the Flyers can manage to keep Ilya Kovalchuk under control rather than making him look like a goddamn hockey warlock.

We can hope in one hand, and grab our crotch with the other, and see which is filled first. 

Gentlemen, you're up against a 39-year old #2 goaltender. On Wednesday, you allowed this geriatric backstop to spank your ass like some early 20th Century English nanny. Johan Hedberg is -- and always has been -- a reliable surrogate twinesitter. But tonight's not the night to make him look like Martin Brodeur. 

It's time to adjust, but do so with the right fusion of energy and discipline. You embarrassed yourselves on Wednesday, enough so to make me believe tonight's battle can only be won by 60-minutes of perfection in all areas of the rink. 

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Exhale. 

Open your eyes. 

Now fuckin' win.

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