Ritter's Rant: Devils Are Blessed, Pogge Playing Well, Jokes, and More

Mark RitterSenior Writer INovember 22, 2009

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 12:  Martin Brodeur #30 of the New Jersey Devils makes a save against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the third period at Mellon Arena on November 12, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Devils won 4-1.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Despite the San Jose Sharks leading the League with 16 wins, there is another team that has caught my eye and may very well be the best team in the NHL, that team would be the New Jersey Devils. 

A franchise that, outside of Martin Brodeur and Zach Parise, remains faceless, the Devils continually get it done in all aspects of the game, which in many NHL circles, is quite a surprise.

Through 21 games, the Devils have a record of 14-6-1, are ranked 20th in offense averaging 2.62 goals per game, and rank first amongst all NHL teams averaging 2.24 goals against per game. Somehow, some way, the Devils always get it done. Maybe it’s divine intervention?

Former Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Justin Pogge was shipped off to the Anaheim Ducks this offseason, sparking many Leaf fans to cry “Here we go again, another blue-chip prospect gets traded away by Leafs management, surely he’ll come back to haunt us”...So, what’s up with Pogge?

As a member of the ECHL Bakersfield Condors, Pogge has put together a record of 5-2-0 record, with a 2.50 GAA, and a .905 SV percentage—not bad, right?

Well, to be honest, I am not so sure what Pogge’s statistics mean as I am not up on my ECHL reading. One thing I do know is that there are five goalies in the ECHL that have a better GAA and 12 goalies that have a better SV percentage than Pogge.

None of these goalies are household names and if I ran over any one of them with my car, outside of family and loved ones, they wouldn’t be missed. Pogge, “is what we thought he was,” and that’s all I have to say about that.

Up until Saturday night’s 2-1 overtime victory against the mighty Washington Capitals, things were looking pretty bleak in Leafland. Here is one fans take on how embarrassing things are getting—Check out this forwarded joke:

David was in his fifth grade class when the teacher asked the 
children what their Fathers did for a living.

All the typical answers came up—fireman, policeman, salesman, etc. David was being uncharacteristically quiet and so the teacher asked
 him about his father.

"My Father's an exotic dancer in a gay bar and
 takes off all his clothes in front of other men. Sometimes, if the offers really good, he'll go out to the alley with
 some guy and make love with him for money."

The teacher, obviously shaken by this statement, hurriedly set the 
other children to work on some coloring, and took little David aside to
 ask him, "Is that really true about your Father?'


"No," said David, "He plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but I was 
too embarrassed to say that in front of the other kids."

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And, keeping with the Leafs, here’s some food for thought: If you are Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, do you trade Niklas Hagman or hang on to him??? For the record, Hagman has eight goals and 12 points through 20 games and has a plus/minus rating of minus six.

Martin Havlat, Minnesota Wild free agent signee: 19 games played, two goals, eight points, and a plus/minus rating of -14. In a word, unacceptable...

Currently down with the Maple Leafs AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies, Christian Hanson had a hat-trick Friday night, leads the Marlies in scoring and, by all accounts, pays the price every night.

Just a thought here...with so many players on the Leafs roster struggling offensively, what the heck is Hanson doing playing with the Marlies?

Didn’t Leafs GM Brian Burke say something to the effect of “regardless of contract status, if a player does not meet expectations, we will not hesitate to send players down and give a more deserving player a chance.” Sure Mr. Burke, sure...Call Hanson up already!!!!!

Any day now, New Jersey Devils goaltending legend Martin Brodeur will break the all-time NHL shutout record. Does this solidify his place as the NHL’s best goaltender ever? Discuss amongst yourselves...

They say five minutes into the game most NHL coaches know which players “have it” and which ones do not in that game. What do you think goes through Leafs head coach Ron Wilson’s head when night after night there are just three or four players on his “have it” list?

There are a couple of great players, who despite some major struggles in 2008-09, seem to be back on track and are making their way back to being all-star caliber players, most notably, Daniel Briere of the Philadelphia Flyers and Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins.

Both Briere and Bergeron have struggled with various injuries, leading some to suggest they would never be the same. Through 16 games, Briere has eight goals and 12 points. Through 22 games played, Bergeron has registered seven goals. Admittedly, both players have a ways to go, but you gotta believe that, for the most part, they’re back!

Ray Emery, Vezina Trophy candidate...never mind....

Until next time,


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