Boy howdy, the Devils are playing some lackluster hockey just two weeks before the tournament for Lord Stanley's Cup begins. Head coach Brent Sutter is not normally a drama queen but he sure was last night at the end of the second period walking across the ice towards the Devils dressing room berating any and all officials left on the ice. It cost him a 2 minute bench penalty, and to be fair it didn't factor in the outcome, but also failed in it's attempt to fire up the Devils.
What is REALLY the most troubling is all world netminder Martin Brodeur has looked, well, crappy these last few games. Not seeing pucks well, giving up terrible rebounds and in general just not looking comfortable in net. Since the Devils are a team built from the goal out, this is a huge problem this close to the playoffs. The forwards are not coming back and backchecking as hard as they were a month ago and some seriously bad decisions are being made with the puck in their own end when pressed by opposing forwards. Johnny did warn of this before the trading deadline as you'll recall. He begged Devils GM Lou Lamoriello to add a solid puck moving defenseman and a sandpaper type forward who would add some passion and grit. Lamoriello's answer at the trade deadline was 35-year-old defenseman Niclas Havelid who fit nether category.
Johnny is of the mind the responsibility for this lies with the players who don't seem to be all that into playing NHL hockey right now. Past that, notorious cheapskate Lou Lamoriello had his chance to add to the team and chose to just add a journeyman role player.
The Devils had better snap out of this right quick or they'll be made quick work of by a team that has had to fight hard and play hard just to make it into the playoffs. A team who for all intents and purposes has been playing playoff hockey since February. A team interested in playing hard every night, something the Devils are falling short of.