For those of a certain age, Alfred E. Neuman was the mascot, for lack of a better term, for the magazine Mad and his most famous quote was "What, me worry?"
After seeing his team drop another home game, this time a 4-2 decision to the Winnipeg Jets, New Jersey Devils coach Pete DeBoer did his best Alfred E. Neuman impression.
“There’s always cause for concern, but am I concerned? No,” DeBoer said in something approaching Neumanian logic.
Well, he may want to get concerned because there is little talk about the Devils being among the Eastern Conference's elite these days after 2-4-1 record in their last seven outings. Breaking it down even further, New Jersey has four losses in its last five games and Sunday's game saw the stress level climb a little higher when Martin Brodeur pulled out of playing because of a bad back.
Brodeur said it is nothing serious, but when you have two 40-year-old goalies, the injury bug is always poised to bite. But taking Brodeur at his word, his decision appears to have been made out of abundant caution rather than serious injury.
As for his teammates, there aren't any ready excuses.
“I think that every team is going to go through adversity," DeBoer said in his post-loss remarks. "We know how to handle that. We know we’re going to come out the other end of it. We just have to stick with it. You look around the league and these situations are happening to just about everybody but the Chicago Blackhawks (15-0-3) and I’m sure they’ll get theirs eventually.”
The harsh reality is now with other Eastern Conference teams getting their acts together, New Jersey remains fourth in the East, but they just a couple points out of seventh place.
It's tie to rally the troops, starting Thursday night in Winnipeg, when Brodeur is hopefully well enough to play again. After Winnipeg, the Devils visit Buffalo and Toronto.
“When you’re losing you’re not comfortable with your entire group,” DeBoer said. “I don’t think we’re as bad as our record over the last five or six games indicates and I think we weren’t as good as our record was through the first six or seven games indicated. That’s the best way I can word it.”
The team is off completely Monday, getting some time to think things over away from the rink before hitting the road.
“I don’t know if it’s a good time for a road trip," DeBoer said. "I’ll let you know when we get back.”
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