Thursday, January 31, 2008
Official recap here.
With last night's performance, a display of restored confidence was evident shimmying the Blueshirts to eighth in the Eastern Conference - stepping out of the Atlantic Division last place slot and inserting the NY Islanders instead. This was the first Rangers win in seven road games and an exciting win at that. They showed signs of 'want' and 'team' - two words not used in this year's vocabulary.
Chris Drury undeniably stole the game from Philly on the Rangers third goal, a beautifully unobstructed slap shot and terrific assist on the second goal to Petr Prucha. Defensively he was there every step of the way. He played the post, freeing up space for Jaromir Jagr to play to his potential (now there you go, 'ole Captain), and selflessly set up his teammates for the win. I hate to admit that Marek Malik actually played a solid game of hockey, so I will reluctantly give him that - as earlier in the week our Czech veteran (a.k.a. Lurch or 'Skating Two-by-Four') was benched for disrespecting Rangers Coach Tom Renney (I must give Malik another one for that) which led to the removal of his locker room jersey, belongings and, most evident, an appearance on ice last week. Obviously, he was back in the lineup last night - now with increasing February trade value. Sean Avery was clearly in good hockey form -- motivating, not instigating, and contributed most by hustling to the puck. "Hurrah" to goaltender Stephen Valiquette who earned his first shutout playing in the NHL. He is a solid backup goaltender and Coach Renney should be playing 'Vally' more often, as it may give our 'Prince' Henrik Lundqvist more time to rest to channel the 'King'.
The second half of the season is upon us and The Dark Ranger feels that Chris Drury may be that sole player that reinvigorates the team, even though he has been disappointing thus far. Just as Sean Avery has given us an aggressive front line and newly found team spirit, Chris Drury will round out the team and find those clutch dirty goals and make the 'paper-Rangers' a true NHL threat. His performance tonight is what is needed for the Rangers to be competitive on the playoff push.
We have been here before. I know. We know. Perhaps I have the voice of an overly enthusiastic Blueshirts blogger who happens to hate the Philadelphia Flyers? Maybe last night was only a facade? Can we repeat last season? Probably not. Maybe so. There is one thing my dear readers of Dark that you can count on throughout the remainder of the season. We can hope and pray, perhaps for another day, but The Dark Ranger will never disappoint you again. I welcome me back.
Flyers suck. Rangers rule! Until next Saturday Briere lovers! But for now, we see another arch-enemy, The Newark Devils tonight. Stay tuned and keep your friggin fingers crossed.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
On the trading and rumor front, I thought I'd share some non-credible hockey reading from Ecklund the anonymous hockey blogger who this morning wrote
Sundin. I was told 90% now that Sundin is moved. The latest rumblings include Vancouver and Calgary leading the way, but don't count out the NY Rangers I am told. With rumours of Malik being shipped to Chicago very prevalent, and also rumours popping up that the Sharks have interest in "another highly paid Ranger" I get the sense that the Rangers are up to something big. I would be pretty shocked if Mats would decide to go to NY however as everything I have heard is still pointing him towards a Western Canadian team, and he has told people he will ONLY play for a team he feels can win it all.
For once I hope Ecklund is right and Blueshirt management is doing something before the deadline. I actually don't believe Jags is on his way out, but Malik is a sure thing which would free up an additional $2.5 million in cap room - which would allow someone to come in around the $4 million mark only. Knowing Slats, he would probably guarantee a multi-year contract plus bonuses, spurring a 'dumping salary spree' come the off-season.
Whatever happens, I do think the Rangers are in for a major re-organization this June/July.
Enjoy the break everyone - and look for our 'very own and grown' Dubi playing in the kid-All-Stars game this weekend.
(clap, clap, clap, clap....'LET'S GO GIANTS!!!!!)
Thursday, January 24, 2008
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: John Dellapina reports Malik hasn't been placed on waivers so he's not being demoted to the minors.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports that Jaromir Jagr's contract with the Rangers could expire at season's end if he fails to reach 84 points while the Rangers win at least one playoff round. Jagr again expressed his wish to remain with the Rangers beyond this season.
One of the greatest defenseman in the NHL will be honored this evening at The Garden as #2 will join the ranks of The New York Rangers Elite. For histories, events, stories and pix go here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and....here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Fantastic to see that those who play the game with integrity are recognized by their peers and their fans. Leetchie is one of the best. Thank you, Brian.
May our current Blueshirts honor this man by kicking The Thrashers ass post ceremony.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The Dark Ranger is reserving comment on last night's victory and will address both games in one shot Thursday evening. Here is the official recap. As it stands the Rangers are last in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern conference -- but a string of wins could make them a contender, as they are only seven points away from first place in the Atlantic and second in the Conference. As stated before, the Blueshirts need to win 2 of every 3 games generally to insure a playoff run.
One comment worth mentioning is a reserved 'kudos' to the coach (this is hard for me) for finding the Avery-Gomez-Jagr line, as it appeared to have sparked a little speed in our dear Captain Jags. The Beast is Back! (or for a game at least)
Monday, January 21, 2008
Word on Broadway these days suggests that the New York Rangers locker room is divided into two camps, the first being the Jaromir Jagr Lemmings (anyone European including Lundqvist) and the second being the Shanny-Grit Camp (Drury, Gomez, Avery, including Valiquette). Jagr trade rumors are frequent and what will that mean if it's real?
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Hopefully he is taking everything in and getting his picture taken with the Stanley Cup because the way things look, that will be the closest a Ranger will get to the chalice this season.
The Rangers brought their dads with them to Boston and played one of their sloppiest games in recent memory, losing 4-3 in a shootout (official recap here, Scotty Hockey live blog here). If it was me playing in Boston with my dad watching, I woulda gotten a smack on the back of my head for every one of the gaffes. Hopefully Marek Malik's father doesn't believe in sparing the whip because the human pylon was atrocious in taking bad penalties, making ill-advised pass attempts and missing his coverage assignments throughout the game. Should he play in the second game of the home-and-home then the Garden crowd will likely burn him in effigy.
However, Malik wasn't the only Ranger to take a bad penalty, Boston had eight power plays and capitalized on two of them. Chuck Kobasew tied the game at three with his second goal of the game after one of those ill-advised Ranger penalties - a interference call on Paul Mara. Mara had a rough game, trying to make big plays and big hits to impress his hometown crowd.
While our loyal captain, Jaromir Jagr, has been plagued by stupid penalties all season long, his minor was a bad call late in the game (although he was partially at fault if you ask me). Luckily Boston did not score on it. Jagr did score a goal in the game, his 14th of the year. It was a true beauty and hearkened back to the days when he was the best player in the league.
Despite the incredulous decision to have a father's day trip weeks after Henrik Lundqvist's dad nearly died, the King's psyche held tough and he made one of his best performances of the year. He did give up both goals in the shootout which would be cause for concern but the second one came on a shot from Zdeno Chara that a brick wall would have trouble stopping. He can't let it get to him as we will need every spectacular kick save, dive and catch he can import from Sweden if we are to see the Rangers make the playoffs. But first small steps, he will need to win tomorrow if the Rangers are to keep pace in the East.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
This was the case as The New York Rangers handed the tenth to the Buffalo Sabres last night, obviously hurting without their now-Blueshirt Chris Drury. Though disappointed in Drury's performance as a Ranger this season, I felt satisfied in that we were able to acquire him (big deal! - double meaning), that we finally beat the team responsible for knocking us out of playoffs last season and contributing to their double-digit loss streak - a horrible achievement for any hockey franchise.
The win leaves a slightly less bitter taste in Ranger fans' mouths, as we take the win with a 'grain of salt', as this team needs to demonstrate more than a win here or there. Three in a row would get some of us back.
I had tickets. I was supposed to be there. Work, work, work. Needless to say, I couldn't be there and I am not able to comment on the game, but was pleasantly surprised by the updating scores through text messages.
I highly suggest you link to the following terrific NYR sites for information on the game, including the next two games against the Boston Bruins back-to-back this Saturday and Sunday. I highly recommend visits to Scotty Hockey, The Ranger Pundit, Pucks on Broadway, Blueshirt Bulletin, or the bias official website NYR. Perhaps one of our guest bloggers will make an appearance on the blog!!?
I will not be posting this weekend as The Dark Ranger will be in Toronto researching and meeting with various hockey spies, seeing family, visiting the Hall of Fame and enjoying the company of certain hockey retirees.
More to come from the Darkest of Hockey Bloggers on the net.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Stellar goaltending by newcomer Penguin Ty Conklin and a hat-trick by the amazing 'faster than Scott Gomez' Pittsburgh Penguin rookie Evgeni Malkin handed us another loss on the road, ending our one-game winning streak. "Captain With Training Wheels" Jaromir Jagr scored the only goal in the third period preventing the shutout.
Tom Renney's not happy. Post game he looked spooked. What's next?
Echoing throughout this blog are '500 Ways To Say They Are Bad', and the Blueshirts are on a path of loss, as our coaching staff is back to his old ways: Marek Malik in the starting lineup and a perimeter offense again molded around our crusting and half-speed Captain. Always tough to watch.
The only redemption in the final twenty seconds was seeing Marc Staal stepping up for his team mates and with no reason other than on principle, he launched into retaliation. THIS is a reminder that the team needs to look out for each other and show their strength. We lack 'grit & hit' on the Rangers and if Tom Renney isn't willing to lift their confidence and spirit by coaching, the Rangers may be able to lift it through their fists.
Hit back Blueshirts. The season end point could be near and the 'fight back' might, at least, keep it interesting for the fans.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
It was a celebratory night as The New York Rangers ended their five-game winless streak, and knocked out the Montreal Habs with four-sucker punches, 4-1. New York is 2-4-1 in its last seven games, with both wins coming against our favorite opponent at the Garden -- four wins in the last four home meetings with the Habs. It was the Canadiens' first regulation loss since Dec. 23 (5-0-2), despite eight power plays.
The system works when you play disciplined hockey.
Similar to the Rangers previous game (and loss) to Philadelphia, it was a game full of penalties by our Blueshirts, including two 5-on-3's, the difference this time our special team built for killing penalties managed the job - all of them. The defense finally played defense for a change, with the exception of a ridiculous Marek Malik turnover that could have changed the tone of the game, had the Canadiens delivered on the shot. Lucky for us.
Despite his -12 for the season, newcomer Chris Drury delivered on the first goal and looked strong as he buried himself into Habs goalkeeper Christobal Huet's far post throughout the game. It is a pleasure to see a consistent player, like Drury, playing the post looking for dirty goals. Jaromir Jagr actually skated hard throughout, Martin Straka, Petr Prucha and Nigel Dawes delivered on excellent goals, and our mentally ailing goalkeeper Henrik Lunqvist looked sharp, focused and unstoppable.
May this all continue 'hopeful Rangers fans' as it feels good seeing the win; it is what we expect of our team when we are on the verge of making/breaking the playoffs.
Currently The Rangers are in last place in the Atlantic Division and ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings (21-19-5). We are four wins away from the top division seed and four losses away from the worst team in the Conference, so needless to say, the race will be a close one. In order to secure and guarantee a spot in the playoffs, the Blueshirts will have to win two of every three games for the remainder of the season - a streak we haven't seen since this time last year.
Can history be repeated? Better yet, can last night be repeated?
Thursday, January 10, 2008
It keeps getting worse, now five losses in a row. What could possibly be next? Please hit the panic button now!
The Dark Ranger's nemesis the Flyers spanked The New York Rangers tonight at The Garden, peeling off another layer of the Blueshirt's confidence. It appeared that after Ryan Hollweg (the offensive machine!) scored the first two goals of the game ending the first period, the tide was turning as the fourth HBO-line enforcer was the least likely player on the team to score against our rival Flyers - let alone two of his fifth career goals. This was followed by an onslaught of six Philadelphia goals - the hockey touchdown - shutting down any last drop of hope and ending another horrible loss to the New York Rangers. That leaves our boys with one point in five games. Good grief!
Due to unforgivable consecutive Blueshirt penalties at the end of the first and second (Dan Girardi cries, "Throw me your stick, Chrissy!") the Flyers opened the second and third periods with the power play advantage, flipping Henrik Lundqvist into mediocrity & the Rangers' momentum into a wave of 'orange & black.' Everything went downhill from there. As Mother Theresa would say, "we suck."
Objective recap here.
Over forty games past the half-way point, last in the Atlantic Division and All-Stars still unable to play with each other (let alone against other teams) this is a professional hockey team on the outside looking in. It is looking grim. Thinking back to the opening of the season, it is ironic that anything short of first in the division and 'top two' in the Conference would have been an utter disappointment. I am embarrassed to have admitted to friends that I believed a Stanley Cup was in our future. I just wish I never said anything, as it's ringing in my head over and over and over....
It especially hurts losing to the Philadelphia Flyers. Tonight we sadly bow our heads, suck up the loss to a 'town known for cheesesteaks' and understand a little better how they might have felt all of last season. (sigh)
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
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Monday, January 7, 2008
Proslulý asi člen určitý svět , tebe ar jeden z člen určitý celek prebenda hokej herec. Tebe vŘdŘt tato a majetek ale jděte bezstarostný do tebe , ačkoliv čelit až k jiní aby snažit se až k délat jeden jméno do ona do člen určitý odborný liga. Já , na druhé straně am spravedlivý jeden ohromný fanda of " člen určitý Nový York Hajný " a jeden část - čas hokej blogger krmení má slyšení s jasnozření až k člen určitý četa. Stranout dle člen určitý fyzický příroda of náš dva dotyčný držení , JÁ am skutečně bytost více čestný až k má fans než tebe ar až k tvůj. Ačkoliv notáblové hlavní předmět obchodu of náš četa tebe potřebovat až k být více čestný s tvůj četa kamarád a autokar aby překonat tezaury moderní porážka.
Možná ono is ačkoliv snadné jako facka tato. Struska branka a pomáhat do člen určitý NHL ale jděte s blaho chemie a tvrdý práce a naslouchání poslech až k jeden blaho autokar. JÁ am nejistý tebe souhlasit s Tom Renney do jeho metody a snad to jest having neurč. člen dojem dále tvůj honba. Jakýkoliv člen určitý bedna , tebe musit být zklamat do ty sám ačkoliv those asi tebe ar. Ačkoliv neurč. člen kůň nebo člověk nemající naději na vítězství v závodech hledět do , Dovedu ale doporučit aby tebe opravdu mít na mušce jádro člen určitý C " tebe protahovat se tvůj pletený kabátek a dát spropitné aby tvůj četa is opírat se dále tebe až k hlavní část programu. Tato is člen určitý nejčetnější důležitý majetek. Být člen určitý hlavní předmět obchodu. -li člen určitý fans do téže míry mne pocínovat vidět ne vůdcovství , někdy ono is horší jádro člen určitý úschovna.
Druh of do téže míry aby Nový York Město šváb. -li tebe vidět jeden , někdy tam musit být 10 dozadu člen určitý stěna? My potřebovat tebe Zoubkuje více než jakkoli.
Být příjemný , být příjemný , být příjemný.
Člen určitý Chmurný Hajný
(The Dark Ranger)
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Friday, January 4, 2008
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Though, the score would suggest that it was a close game - one would think - the Rangers were outplayed for most of the game and Henrik Lundqvist performed poorly when it really mattered. Spectacular saves in the first period led to the Blueshirts 1-0, but the final goal against the Rangers was below average for that guy in net that call "The King". Not sure where he has been lately.
Official recap here. Despite what is stated on the NYR site, it was not a close game. The West Coast Flames were quicker and controlled most of the game throughout. Jagr and Shanahan were invisible, with Scott Gomez a bona-fide 'fast skating loner'.
Tomorrow's bout against the Canucks in Vancouver will prove to be the toughest of the Canadian swing this week. Tune in.
Short & sweet -- The Dark Ranger has been in deep work mode, so sorry for the brief synopsis (and sorry for skipping the Montreal game) . For more thorough recommendations over the next month, I would highly recommend Scotty Hockey, The Ranger Pundit or The Blueshirt Bulletin. Great work from three of the best Ranger sites out there.
Let's go Rangers -- show 'em a little East Coast Attitude.