Writer’s Twitter: @ChrisMottHockey
So for anyone who has read my recaps before, you probably have noticed that there is a common set up of recapping specific events in the game, followed by three takeaways from the game. After that, there’s the final score and stats, and then a video showing highlights. Today, that format is being altered because good lord, what did Devils’ fans watch last night.
This is very much going to be off the cuff and for the sake of keeping this appropriate on the internet, I will avoid the explicit language that myself, some of my other fellow writers, and I’m sure Devils fans who watched whatever happened last night, said while watching the game. I try to be objective and leave my opinion out for recap and pregame articles, but that is going to be hard with this and some gifs will be required to lighten the mood a little bit.
Now that the brief introduction for how this article is gonna go is out of the way, what happened last night. Three goals tipped past Keith Kinkaid in net by Devils players, on top of being outworked and dominated for much of the night. The Devils should not have been outplayed as much as they were, even with the team selling this deadline, no one would have predicted a blowout like this.
One of the many negatives from last night’s game is everybody’s trade value took a hit, and while that should not be something to focus on, it is when you are a team selling your assets at the deadline. There were flashes of positivity in the game, but they were few and far between. Bratt hit the crossbar on a shot, Zacha scored his 11th goal of the season, with Agostino getting his first point as a Devil. Mueller scored off a deflection, and Palmieri scored his 24th goal of the season on the power play. Normally that is not a bad game but when the team gets eight goals pumped past them and are down 7-1 at one point in the third, it’s not a good game.
The Devils were getting beat by the Blues the majority of the night and having horrible lapses in defensive coverage. Whether it was Kinkaid turning the puck over from behind the net, which led to a goal, or the penalty kill letting a Blues’ player literally skate between the two forwards in the middle of the ice to break out and create an easy 3-on-2 entry into the zone, the breakdowns were everywhere.
The bottom line is that the way the team played last night is unacceptable, even if they are in last place in the league. Whenever a team I played on had a game like this, the following practice there would not be a puck on the ice. Instead, there were suicides, dots, Minnesota Mile, skating and pushing a tire up and down the ice, skating laps carrying a tire on your shoulder, etc. until you are past the point of exhaustion. Your legs feel like jello, and you’re dying for a minute rest and a drink of water but you still have to keep going.
I played a lot of sports growing up and been through punishment conditioning, none of them compare to a bag skate. The bag skate sends a message loud and clear to the team, and while the Devils very easily could experience a practice such as this after last night’s play, I don’t believe this will happen because they may be saved by having a back-to-back.
Typically, coaches will not run their players into the ground like that with back-to-back games starting the next day because players need to be as fresh as possible with no day off between games. But who knows, with the Devils being where they are in the standings right now, unfortunately, that theory could be thrown out the window. I’ll include the highlights below if one can stomach watching what transpired again. The Devils will start their back-to-back on Thursday in Chicago and then play Minnesota on Friday.