Saturday, December 11, 2010

Devils pregame - Q&A with Josh (@jjburnett82) from Intent to Blow

The Wings are taking on the Devils, one of the league's worst teams so far, today at the Rock. As you might remember, the same game last year was won by the Devils in a shootout after the Wings had played catch-up. Let's hope for a better performance this year, this is one game our boys have to win. And hopefully our guys can deliver a performance that is a little more dominant than last night's.

To give us some info on the Devils, their troubles and what we can expect, I had the great honour of getting some answers from Josh Burnett, co-founder of, and writer on one of my favourite hockey sites, Intent to Blow, a site you can check out here. Here is what Josh had to say:

1. The theories about the Devils struggles are many. What is in your opinion the main reason for their poor play this year?
Josh: There's so many reasons they're so bad right now, I think. It's impossible to state just one main reason - there's Kovalchuk's continued inability to gel with the team/system in place, a ridiculous list of injuries, a new head coach, a team captain that seems disinterested and constantly cranky, a huge influx of rookies (as a result of those previously mentioned injuries). If I had to pinpoint two main reasons, it'd be trying to shoehorn Kovalchuk into our usual system and the injuries, though.

2. Any chance of them turning this around? Where do you think they will end up?
Josh: I don't know if I'm stupid or optimistic, but I really do think they turn this around. People tend to forget, this team has gone through bad stretches since the playoff streak has started (every season since '96-'97). It's never as bad as it seems in the bad times nor as good as it seems in the good times. I think winning the division is a bit of a stretch, or even catching home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, but a 6, 7, or 8 seed is not entirely out of the question, yet.

3. What needs to be done in New Jersey to get back on track?
Josh: Something needs to change. I hate to pin it on coaching, but I feel like if the Devils fall to both Ottawa and Detroit this weekend, you HAVE to make a coaching change and get someone in from out of the system (a Ken Hitchcock type, perhaps). The Devils poor play is not the coach's fault in this case, but as the Penguins and Flyers have shown us in recent years, sometimes a coaching change is the kick in the pants teams need to turn things around.

4. What do you fear about the Red Wings for this game?
Josh: Every damn thing. The Wings are doing what they always do, quietly destroying the opposition without a whole hell of a lot of fanfare. By the way, can we have Brian Rafalski back yet? We really liked him here...

5. Why should Wings fans be worried about this game?
Josh: That Chris Osgood will fall asleep in net from a combination of under-use and boredom (Our arena these days is very conductive getting a good nap in), and Brian Rolston will actually hit the net with one of his shots while Ozzy's out.

In all seriousness though, Wings fans should be worried that this team is playing desperate, if they really want John MacLean to remain head coach. The game against Detroit could be Johnny Mac's last stand.

Also, we get that Brodeur kid back the night before. He's pretty good too, you can fear him.

No, Josh, you can't have Rafa back, he's ours now. Thanks to Josh for doing this!

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