Monday, March 31, 2008

The Playoffs Are Ours To Lose, NYR 1, Pittsburgh 3

It's a four team race for three slots -- The New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins are all tie with 91 points, respectively holding the final 6th, 7th and 8th (last) slot for the playoffs. Washington is sitting with 89 points and four wins, racing up the rankings. With one week left of the regular season - the Rangers have a game in hand over most of them, one of them will be left out of this game of musical chairs.

Official recap

Yesterday, the Rangers poorly lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins -- I wanted to say the 'red hot' Penguins, but that wasn't the case. Yes...they are on top of the standings. Yes...with Crosby, Hossa and Malkin in the lineup they are on fire. Yes...they are a perfect blend of rookie and veteran power. But...the Blueshirts contained them most of the game and this is the problem.

The first goal scored by Ranger's Brandon Dubinsky was followed by our famous Coach Tom Renney defensive system, the system where we allow the opposing team to abuse our goaltender - Henrik Lundqvist - who, by the way, made some marvelous stops. Our defense should never allow so much penetration into our zone - Michal Rozsival remembered to start playing defense half-way-through the third period and the defense in general was tragic from start to finish. Our forwards played stronger defense, which is part of the larger problem I see with how Tom Renney is running this team. (What else is new?)

There seemed a point in time in February when all defensive laws were broken and the Rangers went on a scoring spree every game, uninhibited playmaking over three periods. We let in more goals, but we became the power scoring team we were supposed to be in the pre-season. We once again need the first two lines to go straight into the net and look for the dirty goals - the Drury goals. It's all looking a little too pretty out there again -- they must be listening to Jagr once again. Crap.

Our perimeter power play is 'Punked' - no helping it. We scored 1 for 3 yesterday, a huge improvement over all of January, February and March, but we allowed double digit penalties and now have to rely on killing penalties to be competitive. If one were to consider what it will take to exceed and excel in the playoffs, our power play unit is the greatest obstacle. We might as well put Christian Backman, Colton Orr and Ryan Hollweg in the power play unit -- sounds outrageous, but ironically and sadly, it couldn't get any worse (I DON'T MEAN IT EITHER!)

Four more games - another Pittsburgh game tonight -- this time at MSG -- two against our bitter rival and non-playoff nemesis NY Islanders and our final eighth meeting against the NJ Devils next Sunday. That closes the season, folks. A strange season at that.

I keep thinking we're a 'shoe-in' for the post-season. Then I think the teams behind us keep winning games and we don't. Tonight is a deciding factor in all of this, so until then....


Friday, March 28, 2008

It's That 'Ole Devil Magic, NYR 3, Devils 2 - in regulation!

Official recap here.

The New York Rangers have taken seven wins out of seven meetings this season against our rival across the Hudson. Not since the 1967-68 season have the Rangers beaten the same team in one season seven times in a row (then against the Toronto Maple Leafs).

Special thanks go to Scott Gomez's sore ribs who allowed him to keep his former comrades playing chase all game long. The Dark Ranger gives a huge 'shout out' to Chris Drury who miraculously anticipated the game-winning 'human-shuffleboard-goal' by Nigel Dawes - a goal that will remain a masterpiece. 'You Go, Christopher!" As Rangers Coach Tom Renney pointed out "As ugly as it was, it was pretty."

For anyone that missed this one.... A pass by Chris Drury, who assisted on every New York goal, hit the skate of Devils defenceman Sheldon Brookbank and caromed in on Brodeur. He steered the puck into the onrushing Dawes, on the ice after being knocked down by Travis Zajac. Both players barreled into the crease, with Dawes pushing the puck over the line with his shoulder with 3:06 left. A work of art.

New York Ranger Goalkeeper "King" Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves for his 35th win, earning back his royalty for a night. His nemesis, Devils goalkeeper Marty Brodeur, on the other hand, is a whiny little bitch who again post-game decided not to take any responsibility for the seven out of seven losses to the Rangers. Even last week's win against the Devils, Marty-the-Whiner lost in a shootout -- again to Nigel Dawes -- and suggested to the press that Nigel never meant to shoot in the direction he did, therefore, declaring it was luck that gave the goal to rookie Dawes. How dare him! Last night - the 'sliding win-goal' was the work of The Dark Ranger and my spells, and to Mr. Brodeur.....pure karma!

Eat it Jersey! A couple in Pittsburgh to go, a couple more on the Island and then one more to go at the end of our season -- Rangers vs. Devils -- so don't you worry Mr. Self-Proclaimed Marty Greatest Goalkeeper in the World......after eight losses to the Blueshirts, they don't let you back in Manhattan if you lose one more. You only get nine lives you big whining pussy.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Ying & The Yang, NYR 1, Flyers 2 OT (UPDATED)

So perhaps New York Rangers general manager Glen Sather was right in not giving Sean Avery everything he asked for in their contract extension talks? With Sean Avery a free agent come July 1, there is little question that Sean Avery brings an atmosphere to the game that benefits the fans and the Rangers -- his track record when he plays severely outweighs the negatives, but... Last night was one 'hellava' negative.

Official recap

Reaching overtime for the second consecutive and back-to-back meetings against the Philadelphia Flyers, this time it was our 'wonder-kid' Sean Avery delivering a horribly misguided pass to Flyer Jason Smith that led to Phillys' Mike Richard's game winning breakaway. The Flyers dominated the OT and the Rangers were a victim of their own system; there were few opportunities to score to take the game. It was Sean Avery who made himself available on a 3-on-2 in the Philly zone when he made the lethal pass to Smith. He knew it. You could see it in his face after Philly scored, further evidenced by his broken hockey stick after subsequently slamming it down into pieces.

It can be argued that this was only one major mistake in a long season, but it can also be argued that when you are playing playoff hockey at the end of the season that these are the meaningful moments, when everything counts. Sloppy play is not tolerated when you are a 'loss and a half' from not qualifying for the playoffs. We gained a valuable point, but we ate two in a row to the Flyers. Damn it!

Last night Sean Avery lost some negotiating leverage come the off-season. Last night we lost the game because of (UPDATED)....Sean Avery, Marek Malik, Henrik Lundqvist, Bucklehead Backman and the entire team for their laziness, shortsightedness and lack of passion!!!!!!!!!!


Saturday, March 22, 2008

It's Like Tin Foil On Your Cavity, Flyers 4, Rangers 3 SO

How else to describe a loss to Philadelphia? The matchups between the Flyers and The New York Rangers are always the good ones - the rivalry, the brutality, the real hockey of it all. Watching the game felt like a really bad date that ended with disappointment, or better yet, after a night of drinks, with the stomach churning, you're leaning over the toilet bowl staring at the water and nothing is coming out. , but needless to say we took a point in our standings maintaining the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference - still four points ahead of the Flyers eight spot.

Official recap

It was a hell of a third period. Three goals in the last eight minutes and an overtime that actually made me think we might win the game and pull out another 'steal' during our run to the playoffs. The first and second periods, the New York Rangers were lifeless as the Philadelphia Flyers put up a defensive zone and neutered our offense. Mind you, there were plenty of opportunities to score. We just didn't....until the third BONANZA!!!! With a scoreless overtime, we were left playing a team with one of the worst shootout records in the league....and our backup goalie. I wasn't confident with this and my instincts were correct. He failed miserably -- our King Henrik Lundqvist was sorely missed (
Scotty Hockey suggests in his recap that Renney should have, perhaps, put Lundqvist in for the shootout -- I think a great idea on paper, but not the right thing to do as Valiquette deserved every fair opportunity to play it through. Well, Scotty was right.)

Scott Gomez took an alarming "Brian Boytano" (sp?) slide into the boards leaving him out for the rest of the game and perhaps the next week or so (some undisclosed upper body injury). Stephen Valiquette played a fairly solid game in goal for the Rangers, a great coaching choice by Tom Renney - as he has only found success playing against Philly this season.

Rematch against Philly this Tuesday. Feeling good....despite the lack of sleep.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

The New Jersey Devil Caught, NYR 2, NJ 1. SO

Breaking news that the once rumored monster that roams The Pine Barrens, a.k.a The Jersey Devil, has been caught and tamed and now housed in a brand new facility in the middle of a dump of a city, a.k.a The Prudential Center/Newark.

The Rangers, of New York, crossed state lines to shutdown this Devil, shame it and suppress it's appetite by whipping it six times. Though the Beast remains a threat to all, and especially the mortal Rangers, it is the first time in 15 years these Devil catchers have been able to beat The Devil himself at every encounter in one season.

The people of New York can now grow the barley, seed the corn and drink the meed in peace knowing The Beast is in containment. Though still a threat, there are well documented diseases associated with this monster; one should dread a case of "
parisse" or "elias", or the lethal "hanus-Brodeur", also strangely named 'Marty.'. If you come into contact with any of these bumps on the skin or anyone sympathetic with the treatment of the wretched monster, laugh at them in public and call them names, such as 'Gomez' or 'Rafalski' to get under their skin.

Do not fret, they will know the sins of sinners - they will soon come to know that supporters of 25 dollar parking are abusive folk and not worthy of social recognition. While you are at it, strike them down with a club or kick at their shins. This will remind them they are the lowest of society and it's charms.

The Devil will remain beaten, so no worries, folks!


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Jagr's Invisible Triumph, NY Rangers 5, Penguins 2

Official recap here.

When you are not able to score traditional goals, why not take the non-traditional approach by lifting the net and scoring on your opponent from behind the net? Such was the case last night against the Pittsburgh Penguins and it didn't count. Damn those replay cameras.

Here is the story of Jaromir Jagr, our dear Rangers Captain, who is unlikely to hit the minimums required to re-sign him after this season and will most likely become a free agent this upcoming July if the Blueshirts do not make it past the first round of playoffs (or the playoffs themselves for that matter). The latter part of this season, we've seen a solid Jags (albeit slow) who is contributing to the team as a whole as opposed to his historical dominating the team in number of points; for example, last evening at the Garden, Jagr set up a brilliant pass to the Sean Avery goal - which was followed by a "Re-Sign Avery, Re-Sign Avery" chant throughout the Garden loyal. In some ways he has become the invisible player -- sometimes actually invisible and non-present and more recently the player willing to make the plays to win games. He is uninterested in the stats, the glory - but you can bet come July 1 he is damn interested in that $7 million dollar paycheck!

On the heels of Captain Jagr is our newest hero Chris Drury who continues to give everything he has to our Rangers -- the Drury investment is paying off as he creates scoring opportunities, makes defensive iron curtains when our own defense does not and is not afraid to place himself in harm's way with seconds left. He is undoubtedly our greatest asset in the long haul and last evening was again not recognized for his efforts in bringing home the win against Pittsburgh.

The NY Rangers remain in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, only three points from not making the playoffs, but last night was pivotal in maintaining our place as all teams competing are five to six points away from each other and all winning games. The Rangers have nine games left, all against division rivals -- which is good news as the Rangers have won more games in our division versus the rest of the NHL.

Last night the score should have been 5-0, as the two goals scored against goaltender Henrik Lundqvist were soft -- both scored on silly mistakes, one by a shift change where not one Blueshirt was available for defense (idiots!) and the other blamed on Tyutin near our own net (but I think it was Henrik's fault for keeping the puck in play with a Penguin on our back). Nice to see Crosby out again and the NHL spending time on other players and, better yet, terrific to see our guys shutdown Malkin (for one game at least).

With less than a month left in the season prior to the official playoffs, we are symbolically already in the playoffs as the race is on. Two losses in a row - as demonstrated this past weekend against Florida crap teams - will be the end of the road for NY, so we will need to see at least five or six wins in the next nine games to ensure our playoff ticket (and the charge to The Dark Ranger's credit card).

Tonight we hit the division leading and top conference NJ Devils of Newark at 7pm. For whatever reasons, we beat them a lot this season and may the trend continue. Onward Fair Rangers!!!


Sunday, March 16, 2008

At Least Ecklund Thinks The Rangers Will Make the Finals...

At least someone thinks we can win the Cup...

Dark here, folks, coming off little sleep with the birth of my newest Blueshirt fan. Having not watched the games against Tampa and Florida this weekend, I thought it was just sleep deprivation when I read that both games against the worst teams in the NHL resulted in tragic, lazy losses ending our long awaited 'turn around to the playoff' run. Schucks.

It also seemed odd to me that mini-Dark's dirty diapers looked strangely like the NY Islanders' new jersies, but so I digress. When reality set in, I didn't have it in me to watch the recorded games and comment on them. Rather, it was probably more productive to forget these weekend games and pretend like they never happened because it seems strangely parallel to much of the earlier criticisms we've all shared regarding the drive and wants of this Blueshirt squad. The Ranger bloggers have done a fairly consistent, positive assessment of Henrik Lundqvist, goaltender of the stars (okay..People Magazine), on getting his 'mojo' back as we approach this season's potential playoff period. I say "potential" because if the team continues to exhibit this level of play with only three points from not making the playoffs, we will earn the ninth or tenth spot in the conference to the horror of all that love and cherish the Rangers legacy.

Short and sweet, but a huge 'shout-out' to Jibblescribbits, Pucks on Broadway and The High Flier for covering last week and continuing the Dark-ness of hockey around the NHL. The posts were great and a pleasure to have writers contribute to the site. Keep writing, keep reading and all posts are welcome.

Cheers readers and Dark-ness is back -- and hopefully, that means wins.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Rangers, at Yankee Stadium, is a great idea.

Jibblescribbits here

Since The Dark Ranger is taking care of TtDR (The Tiny Dark Ranger, the small "t"is to highlight the tiny) on paternity leave, I thought I'd come in and throw some of my thoughts around. Since reports have surfaced that the NHL is in discussions to play an outdoor game at Yankee Stadium, I thought that would be as good a place as any to start.

To my surprise not everyone that (presumably) is in the NY area is on board with this idea, so I'll give my thoughts and respond to some of the doubts I've seen:

Sometimes I think you NYC folks must think anyone on the Pacific coast. west of the Mississippi, left of Pittsburgh must think the rest of us are a bunch of whiners. Why? well because we invoke the "East Coast Biased media" saying a lot, especially when we feel like our teams aren't getting the respect (i.e. coverage) they deserve. For the purpose of this discussion let's assume (accurately!) that there is an East Coast media bias, especially in sports media, and that it's especially concentrated in the D.C.-Philly-NYC-Boston corridor.

Now if you are trying to increase your media coverage, which the NHL is, why not have the showcase game, in the showcase American market, with it's showcase team (which happens to be steeped in tradition). Normally the NY showcase team is covered to the point it makes everyone else nauseous (See: Yankees) however since hockey isn't covered at all that overexposure contempt isn't really anywhere to be found for the Rangers. If you happen to have them playing in the most famous stadium in the country, the one the national sports media has crammed down our throats for the last 50 years, it gains even more exposure.

But the goal isn't just to get the NE involved in hockey, but everyone. Like it or not Yankee Stadium is the most famous stadium in the country right now. If the NHL can swing a game to be there, the last game ever there, it would get more attention than the NHL has had in the last 5 years... combined. The novelty alone is worth front page on the Times, Post, and every other NY-centric paper. That link, that familiarity, will get fans outside of the NE to feel at home too, watching a game in a stadium that everyone is familiar with.

As long as they pair the Rangers with a non-NY based team, with a star or traditional rival. (My picks, in order: Washington, Philly, Boston, Detroit, Whoever the Rangers play in the playoffs this season,Toronto) It will generate a ton of buzz, which is exactly what the purpose of the game is.

I don't think anyone is arguing the above points, I see mot people arguing against Yankee stadium specifically, so I'll go over my responses to the two main arguments that I have seen.

But the Yankee Stadium should be closed out by a baseball game. Bah! Sentimental Rubbish! I get the sentimentality of it, but "last event in a stadium" doesn't really matter. The most meaningful stadium to me, ever, is Mile High Stadium. My dad had season tickets during the 80's Super Bowl seasons and I remember going to nearly every home game for the better part of 4 seasons as a 6-9 year old kid. That stadium is like a football holy site, in my mind. But the funny part is, now that it's gone, I don't care what the last event there was. It may have been a Broncos game, it may have been a Rapids game, more than likely it was a concert for some washed up pop-rock band from the 60's. It doesn't matter though. That "last event", whatever it is, doesn't diminish my memories of watching the Broncos there. It doesn't diminish the "holyness" of it. Just as a Rangers game at Yankee Stadium won't diminish any of the baseball memories made there over the years.

And let's face it, even if the Winter Classic doesn't happen there, the Yankees are not going to close it out anyways. If Hollywood can get Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore on the field to "celebrate" the Red Sox first World Series win in 86 years, they damn sure are going to be able to get into Yankee Stadium after there are no more baseball games to be played there. Yankee Stadium's last hurrah is bound to be some crappy movie with B-B+ list actors. Why not have a great hockey game instead.

Yankee Stadium is a dump, And the sitelines won't be good for a hockey game. Poppycock! (You can see my theme for the day is stereotypical British dismissive exclamations) Having never been to NY, and obviously the stadium, I can't argue this, I've only seen this response. However it doesn't much matter. If you are attending this game in person you aren't going to watch a normal hockey game, you are going for a giant party that surrounds a hockey game. The game in Buffalo this season was exactly that. It's tailgating (which is probably hard in the Bronx, like I said I wouldn't know), drinking off your hangover from the night before. It's an event. You don't go to the Superbowl to watch the game you go for the atmosphere. What provides a better party atmosphere than Yankee Stadium on New Years Day?

Here's a longer blog post that agrees with me as well.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

As promised...

A formal congrats again to TDR on his new draft pick! Hopefully I got this day right to help fill in here. The Rangers took another two points to the standings last night in a shootout victory against the Buffalo Sabres, 3 - 2.

Like TDR, I won't bother with the recap so here is the official one.

What is perhaps most interesting is that the Rangers really haven't played a full 60 minute game, but are finding ways to get two points. Perseverance is essential! Henrik Lundqvist has had a lot to do with that, taking the brunt of this workload and shining when it counts most.

The first trio of Jagr - Dubinsky - Avery has been solid and , even though Dubinsky looks tired of late, have really established themselves as the team's top weapon. Who would have thought an agitator, aging veteran, and baby-faced kid would be leading this Ranger revival?

There has also been a lot of success by the penalty killers of late. Before this streak, the Rangers PK was very up and down, but now has settled into a nice groove and killed off some integral penalties.

But what about the defense?

It seems that Backman is what he is, a decent offensive presence culpable to a few giveaways in his own zone. At least the penalty train has slowed down. Malik, Staal, and the Tyutin-Girardi combo have played solid in their own zone, but I question what has come of Michal Rozsival?

At times he seems lost, not confident, and even overwhelmed. Why? He is not relied on as heavily given the success of the other pairings and he has Lundqvist back to form behind me. He needs to kick it into gear.

Finally, the power play (or power-less play). Bottom line: more traffic in front and much less puck possession. In fact, the only real issue the Rangers offense is having is with the offense carrying the puck too much, perhaps making an ill-advised pass, and losing the puck without an opportunity to show for it.

But hey, 10 - 0 - 3 in the last 13? I'll take it.

Jump on over to Pucks On Broadway for some other news and notes.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Someone Had to Win, Rangers 3-2

Welcome Rangers faithful, The High Flyer here sitting in for TDR, you may also know me as F-Da-Rangers, Bitter Dave, or even as little bro to Dark himself. I know hockey enthusiasts may wonder how two brothers who grew up in the same household could end up rooting for rival teams such as The Flyers and Rangers? Well, I’ll cut Dark some slack on the eve of the birth of his second boy, being a nice Uncle and all, and just say that he was born in NYC, I in South Jersey, and we remain loyal to our birthplaces to this day. I wonder what TDR would say about that…
And wow can loyalty sure be brutal for a Philadelphia fan, as it’s been 25 years since a championship in any of the major sports (’83 Sixers if you’re counting, and no one really cares about basketball - no, Rocky doesn't count). Always a contender, the Flyers have made the playoffs an impressive 34 of their 41 years, but mostly as a pretender, with only 2 Cups in the trophy room. So here we find ourselves in the same familiar place, on the eve of the playoffs, waiting to see if they will step up and shine like they’ve shown at times this year, or limp through their remaining 13 games, planning tee times on April 7 instead of post-season travel.

That’s the mindset of THF going into tonight’s Rangers/Sabres contest, that of “how can this game help the Flyers?” Considering the Rangers have officially gotten their act together, it only makes sense that we assume they’re in (reverse jinx) and hope for Buffalo to get the goose-egg. So go….Sabres. Yup, I can’t help it, as soon as the puck dropped and Pomanville scored 16 seconds in, I knew that emotion would overtake logic, sorry Blueshirts. So then Tyutin’s soft goal and a fairly interesting fight between Peters and Orr and I’m thinking “alright, this game has some real potential.” Well, clearly I was wrong. About ten minutes into the 1st when the ice in the neutral zone melted and the game become sloppy with limited scoring chances. Turnovers galore. The snooze-fest carried on until the last 5 minutes of the 3rd when Buffalo started to remember that they’re not in the playoffs yet. In fact I began anticipating the game finishing and catching my 15th viewing of Roadhouse (after the game on Versus).

So here are some observations in no particular order, as a bitter, jaded Flyers fan trying my best to be objective:

1) Lundqvist is rock solid. Preaching to the choir here. When there was that breakaway against him late in the 3rd, you know he’s going to save that 2 out of 3 times. Other goalies it’s 1 out of 3. TDR says Lundqvist will steal a couple of games in the playoffs due to his ability to dominate in the pipes, and I agree, but, your Rangers defense is gonna have to tighten come playoffs when there aren’t shootouts to ensure the W, and points don’t exist.
2) Chris Drury played tough on the penalty kill, cleared it twice on that 5 on 3, and hustled throughout every PK. He and Gomez played quiet, solid hockey tonight.
3) Sean Avery should have gotten two assists on Jagr’s goal. It was literally adding insult to injury when he maimed that defender into the boards leading up to the goal, and it made up for the dumb penalty he took causing that 5 on 3. Plus he used to bang Elisha Cuthbert (still?), so that’s extremely impressive. I go back to hating him tomorrow.
4) The officiating was poor, favoring the Sabres. Ample opportunities for makeup calls that never happened. When Andrew Peters sucker-punched Colton Orr from the bench at the end of regulation in front of everyone, only 10 minute misconducts were given to both players. I woulda been livid at Ref McCreary during the TV timeout for missing the instigator (from the bench!), and what’s his nuts Ranney didn’t appear affected.
5) Jagr looked sssslllloooowwww out there.

So that’s the scoop from The High Flyer. I do hope the Rangers continue to climb in the Eastern Conference, as it would be sweet to be the underdogs against a hated rival come playoff time. Just like I know Ranger fans secretly want the Flyers there too, I mean who really wants to play a 7 game series against Carolina or Montreal when it could be a bitter rival. I mean, c’mon, didn’t you miss us last year? Dark, keep up the great work, good luck tomorrow (and the next 18 years) to you and J. Go Flyers, take 4 against the Leafs on the home and home!!!

Yankee Stadium game likely for Rangers, and NYR 1, Bruins 0

The Dark Ranger is thrilled that this may be a possibility as long as the MSG season ticket holders are guaranteed first buy-in. As it would be a historic final game at Yankee Stadium - and strangely odd - you can count on the Dolan family (owner of MSG and The NY Rangers) to give something back to the fans and keep the ticket prices low. (not!)

Knowing there were disputes with Penguin Igloo ticket holders for this year's Winter Classic, we can only hope for smooth sailing for those - including myself - that shell out our kids' college 529 plans to attend the playoffs this season!

Sorry to have missed posting yesterday's game against the Boston Bruins, as Little Dark Ranger will be brought into the world tomorrow morning. Not much to say about the game, except we will take the two points and we will also take that level of goaltending. Henrik Lundqvist was stellar in goal -- deserving of his contract. The Lundqvist we once goalie who will steal two games in the playoffs and bolster the confidence of our zero defense. Rozy played well toward the end of the game, but still needs to be reminded that he can be replaced if necessary.

There were numerous scoring opportunities; if a 0-0 game in regulation could be judged on goal post-hits the Rangers would have won 15-1. Luck didn't go our way in scoring: Jags failed breakaway, Chris Drury's beautiful far corner miss, Sean Avery's hustle for nothing. But all in all, Henrik took the game from Boston and Nigel Dawes (the lone scoring goal in the shootout) took the game for the Rangers!

Everyone welcome a guest Flyers fan who will objectively attempt to cover the Buffalo-Rangers game this evening, 7PM EST. I have no idea what will happen!!!???

Let's go Rangers! Lookin' good these days.....but for how long?


Friday, March 7, 2008

An Islanders' View of The Rangers

You can hit him, you can poke him and you can hate him. Two words.....2 goals!

Shanny defending his signing bonus....

Henrik Lundqvist obviously taking on the entire Isles offense solo.

Captains Jags showing what's made him an All-Star all these years.

The Fredrik newbie showing his stuff and following through....

...with controlling the puck.

THE Islander's view. F**k you!


Rangers 4, Bad Guys 1

Hola New Yorkers. Jibblescribbits here to recap your game against the hated Islanders. Hopefully my cable holds up through the game this time. Official recap here

Just so you guys know here's my thoughts on the Rangers before going forward. I am a huge fan of Chris Drury, and Henrik Lundqvist. I like Staal, Rosival, and really don't mind Gomez, despite his Devils days. However, I don't like Shanahan, due to his Red Wings days, and I think Jagr is kind of a whiny baby. Of course like all hockey fans, I hate Avery. But don't worry Rangers fans, that won't bias my recap, and overall I like the Rangers. So without further adieu here we go.

18:30: 1-0 Blueshirts. Shannahan scores as I barely settle in on the delayed penalty. Not really sure why a penalty was called, but how do you give up a breakaway, a clean one, to a 90-year old man on a delayed penalty. It took a 1:30 before reminding me I’m not in the Western Conference anymore Toto. Still a very nice pass by Nigel Dawes to set him uo.

12:00ish Rangers seem to forget that it’s in the Islander’s advantage if the Ranger’s don’t get the puck past that little Blue line. Lundqvist bails them out big time. He looks sharp

10:45 Backup Isles goalie (Dubli-what’s his face) makes a great save. How the hell did that not go in. Isles announcers think it may have hit the post. (Yup Avery hit the post, on the far side. Wow, how the hell do you miss that?)

9:54 PK. The Isles PP looks like the Avs. I’m surprised they haven’t been whistled for icing yet. 2 vs 1 broken up nicely by the Isles defender (not sure who it was) Drury gets back in transition to break up the Isles PP rush. Very nice kill for the Blueshirts

6:36 2-0 Blueshirts. Avery doesn’t miss that one, nice deflection on a really nice pass by Marik Malik (Really? I had to couble check this one when I looked it up since I missed who did it in real time.) . Really crappy D by #3 Davidson .

6:35 “Avery Sucks” comes down from the rafters. Listen I hate Avery as much as the next non-Rangers fan, but after he just completely worked your team isn’t the best time to taunt him. That chant may have been a little better after he hit the post on the wide open net earlier.

3:33 Jagr hits the post. Other than a little flurry earlier, the Rangers are dominating their cross-town rivals.

2:29 PP Rangers.

2:06 The first close up of Tom Renney. If he grew a killer ‘Stache, he could be Quenneville’s brother. Apparently they coach alike as well.

1:44 Backup goalie makes a huge save on Drury on the PP. Drury would have missed the net anyways. 2 open nets, 0 goals for the Rangers. I want to remind everyone that the Avs powerplay is worse than a team’s that misses open nets. Not that I’m bitter.

1st Period Notes: I’m going to also watch Ducks-Avs tonight. The Ducks have the most physical (ok dirty) team in the league, and the Avs can make some hits. This has been completely different than a Western Conference game. It is nice to see open hockey with lots of goal scoring chances.

2nd period

16:30 Rangers turnover leads to a Mike Comrie-Duff pass for a nice shot that just misses the net by some Islander.

14:16 Satan with the wraparound, but Jesus saves…errrr Lundqvist saves.

13:33 Malik decides to try playing the “So you think you can ice dance” defense. It doesn’t work and the Isles draw a Penalty. PK Rangers

12:16 Rosival decides the Islanders PP sucks so bad they need some help and shoots the puck over the glass. 5 vs 3 against the Rangers.

12:12 Lundqvist with a nice save off the faceoff.

11:18 Malik tries to celebrate the end of the 5 vs 3 by taking another penalty. The refs don’t call it and the Rangers don’t get scored on.

10:56 there’s that icing on the Power play. The Isles DO have the Avs PP.

10:00 left in the period, the Rangers have 1 shot this period, and I still feel like they are controlling play.

9:28 2-1 Goal Isles and just like that a Bergenheim shot and deflects of 2 Rangers and then into the net. Unlucky goal against the Rangers, but it could be a momentum changer.

5:25 Avery takes a really stupid penalty, at possibly the worst time of the game. Of course the Isles PP has looked pitiful, so it may not be too bad.

4:45 Comrie-Duff Denied by Lundqvist on the doorstep. Hillary can’t be happy.

1:22 Drury has the 3rd shot of the period for the Rangers. Maybe Renney really does channel his inner “ Quenneville” and plays the “Hold on for dear life” strategy after getting a lead.

:51 PP Rangers. Game has slowed down quite a bit.

Notes: Jaromir Jagr may just be the slowest player in the NHL. How the hell this guy scores goals, a lot of them nonetheless, is beyond me. No wonder Gomez and him weren’t good linemates. Gomez might be able to skate up down and back up the ice before Jagr gets there. A terrible 2nd period but only one goal against.

3rd period

Sweet! technical difficulties to start the period. Like Towlie, I have no idea what’s going on.

18:01 I see the Rangers scored again, but again technical difficulties kept me from seeing it. That's two technical difficulties in 3 days. I really do know how to use a TV.

13:30 I am back and they are on the PP, that's certainly good news.

11:11 more technical difficulties. I think something’s wrong with my cable. But just enough to see the Rangers miss ANOTHER open net.

And the cable goes completely out, so I lost the rest of the game.

So I missed pretty much the entire 3rd period due to a pretty crappy cable connection, and technical difficulties (As much as I'd like to blame Comcast, this one was my fault actually), luckily has pretty good highlights, and I got to see Gomez's tip in off the Staal shot.The Rangers, despite being up by a good margin, only gave up 3 shots in the 3rd so they must have dominated the game from there on out. I also wish that ENer that Avery had would have gone wide. Not because I didn't want him to score, but I'm curious to see if a) they would make Avery take a penalty shot against no one, or b) they'd award him credit for the goal if it was just awarded?.

Overall the Rangers looked impressive tonight, even if they aren't physical enough. Lundqvist gave up one fluky goal and was strong in the short bursts he needed to be and the Rangers dominated they're cross-town rivals for an important victory. It would have been better last week before I was eliminated from the Fantasy Hockey playoffs (you to Shanahan). Rangers picked up an important win, and I had fun watching an Eastern Conference game.

The Islanders Radio network chose the three stars, and they chose:

I probably would have chosen:

(Gomez had a goal and drew the penalty that lead to Shanny's breakaway goal. He looked pretty strong on the ice tonight. Dawes had a sweet sweet assist and some nice defensive plays. He finished at +2 with 2 assists.)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Oops! (UPDATE)

Jibblescribbits here. TDR and I had a great idea to each watch a game of the other's favorite team, and do a little analysis. You know, get an outsider's perspective. TDR covered the Kings-Avs game this weekend for me (which was perfect timing since I was out of town)

Well I set up the TiVo to record the Blueshirts-Isles game tonight and since my TiVo has a cable box and IR feed every once in a while it will malfunction and tonight, don't you know, it malfunctioned. So I have 2 & 1/2 hours of the National Geographic channel on my TiVo for me, but alas no Rangers-Isles game to watch.

So I apologize, but I will cover Thursday's game instead, barring any other technical difficulties.

UPDATE: Last night's game recap is here and Scotty's take here.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Greetings from Pucks!

EDIT: A small misunderstanding. I'll be here next week to cover. Congrats on TDR on the UPCOMING baby. Hopefully he understands time frames better than me. Check out Pucks tonight after the game for commentary.

I will be at the game so expect a post when I get home. A big game tonight so let's hope the blueshirts win one for the newest member of the Blue Crew!

Monday, March 3, 2008

'Vally' High....Again, NYR 5, Flyers 4 SO

I wanted to title this entry 'Vally' High, Hank Low, but it would be misleading because The New York Rangers beat the Philadelphia Flyers in shootout 5-4, thanks to backup goaltender Stephen Valiquette. Hmmm, that would be five out of six wins against the Philadelphia Flyers this season. Nothing 'Dark' about that!

Official recap here.

So with the Rangers winning four consecutive games in a row, we may be turning the corner now, finding ourselves in a winning streak extending the surge to 7-0-2. Currently we are only five points from first place in the ultra-competitive Eastern Conference and sit in seventh place below Boston and now two-points above Philadelphia.

Looking back at the game, with the first period ending NYR 3, Flyers 3 - it was simply a 'free for all' -- a game without defense and, especially, a game without effective starting goaltenders. Henrik Lundqvist - in true Henk form - again demonstrated how scary a goaltender he can be as he submitted to three goals in only eight shots (by the way, he destroyed my weekly fantasy league standings in one God d*mn game) and was benched ending the first period. With our All-Stars and rookies actually scoring goals (and many of them), it is ironic that Lundqvist may be the stumbling block for the Rangers' future success this season. We know our defensive lines are inconsistent and learning (kids stopping big guys in the NHL), but of the three goals scored on Lundqvist two of them were 'soft' goals that should have been prevented. There are no more reasons why Lundqvist shouldn't be at the top of his game (i.e. father is recovering nicely, contract negotiations are complete, etc.) and we expect to see more from the 'King' we once knew. It is frustrating that there is no middle ground with Henrik - either you get the shutout or one-goal game, or you get the four or five goal letdown. I never thought that Lundqvist could be the reason why the Rangers do not perform in the times have changed.

The true hero of the game was our Blueshirt backup Stephen "Vally" Valiquette, who replaced Lundqvist in the second and performed magnificently, stopping 17 of 18 real shots on goal and ultimately stonewalling the Flyers in the shootout. This was his third victory over Philadelphia this season! "Hats off to you, you are more consistent than Henrik these days." Valiquette has proven himself to be a top-shelf goaltender and our dear 1/2-coach Tom Renney should be taking advantage of you more often. I don't recall Lundqvist stealing a game this season, and already you have stolen 'brotherly love' from that city three times this year alone.

Huge kudos go to Brendan Shanahan and Nigel Dawes in the shootout with two of the most beautiful shootout goals this season -- additional kudos to 'My Man' Chris Drury who managed again to round out the team and, lastly, a 'pat on the back' to Jaromir Jagr who managed the puck well and let his comrades make the goals and official plays. Our captain is coming around.

The Rangers seem to fall apart playing our biggest rival, The NY Islanders, this season -- so tomorrow night should be a heated match -- everyone should be on the lookout for a guest blogger Jibblescribbits, an Avs fan, who will be covering the game and sharing an 'outsider's perspective on two-heated and playoff-hungry rivals. Give him the love he deserves.

Until tomorrow night, I leave you with one wise saying. (Flyers suck) ;)

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