Most bloggers say "Sorry I haven't posted in a while." I say "I have this job that sometimes asks me to do lots of stuff but also pays me; I'll post more regularly when you start paying me." I still have lots to do at work, but I wanted to post a quick one here, not about the Rangers so much as the Devils. In the Sporting News's otherwise vanilla (yet somewhat gratifying) report on the Devils' 3-1 loss to the Kings Saturday night, we learn the following from the 100-million-dollar man himself, Ilya "$325,000/goal*" Kovalchuk:
The Kings are one of the teams that tried to sign me, and the [recruiting] trip was more for my wife, because she'd never been in L.A., and she wanted to go see it. So we went. But there's no point in talking about it anymore because I'm proud to be with the New Jersey Devils.
As the Internet says, "Wait, what?" Kovalchuk had all those contract discussions with the Kings...because his wife wanted to visit LA? Look, I'll admit: when I was fresh out of college, I got flown out to Seattle to interview Microsoft, and while I took the interview seriously (despite not being all that sure I actually wanted to work for them), I took a little advantage: I spent the night touring the city, and since they were reimbursing my dinner, I got myself a steak. I'm not gonna knock taking a little advantage of a potential employer like that.
But Kovalchuk was already a multi-million dollar athelete, you see. Let's not forget that he made $32 million over his last 5-year contract, before signing the now-famous 15-year deal. He made $7.5 million last season. Do you think that if his wife wanted to see L.A. in the off-season, he maybe could have taken less than the entire goddamn off-season to sign a contract, by talking only to the team he was serious about, and then used some of his massive-and-poised-to-become-moreso bank account to just fly them out for a goddamn vacation?
Fuck these guys. Wanna feel better about it? Here is a brief set of instructions designed to help you do so. I won't even give you a link; I want you to experience the joy of going through the motions here.
1. Go to www.nhl.com.
2. Click the "Standings" tab in the navigation bar.
3. Click the "League" tab just above the standings.
4. Scroll allllll the way down to the bottom, to team number 30.
See, wasn't that fun? The Devils (who are probably somewhat less quick these days to accuse the Rangers of overpaying for star power, undermining the actual quality of their team) are 3-8-1, for 7 points in 12 games. This league-worst record is also the worst start in franchise history, and makes the Devils one of only two teams (Sabres) winless at home so far this season.
Their goal differential is an impressively low -19, worst in the league by 6 goals. That means they are outscored by an average 1.58 goals per game. That is atrocious. If you don't understand how atrocious that is, for reference, last season's Edmonton Oilers finished with a league-worst goal differential of -70, or -0.854 goals per game. The season before that, the Islanders finished with -78, -0.95 goals per game. I know it's a relatively small sample size (14.6% of the season), but the Devils are on track to end the season with a goal differential of -129.83, the worst NHL goal differential since the 1999-2000 Atlanta Thrashers, who ended up being outscored by 143 goals in going 14-57-11 on the season (the Devils themselves are on track to finish this season with 47.8 points).
And no. I don't feel bad rubbing that in. This is fun as hell. Yes, I have defended them in the past, and I think the NHL went way too far in fining them and taking away picks. But goddamn does that ever not stop it from being fun as hell to watch them keep losing. Congratulations, guys: you won Kovalchukapalooza. Keep the dream alive.
Fuck the Devils.
*$325,000/goal rate is approximate, and based on math. Kovalchuk has lit the lamp 3 times so far this season, across 12 Devils games (he only played in 11, being benched for one because his $100 million contract couldn't inspire his ass to get to practice on time). So, that means he's good for a goal every 4 games, or 20.5 goals per season. This puts him on track to score 307.5 goals throughout his 15-year deal with the Devils, a rate of $305,203.25 per goal, assuming he stays healthy, never gets injured, and plays full seasons through his 43rd birthday.