TDR is a working professional in entertainment and is obsessed with the game of hockey. More four years ago, this site emerged as a means (or an outlet) to tell some truth'isms about the game post-lockout, rather than the crud fed to us through knuckleheads like Jimmy Dolan and his lemmings universe. Today, there are a hundred Rangers sites and is thankful and grateful to all those that have come after him, but honorable thanks go to his fellow Dark-writers, Graying Mantis and J_Undisputed. And "Let's Go Rangers!"
Bio of Graying Mantis
Graying Mantis is in fact a graying legal practitioner by day (and sometimes, alas, by night). In the cobwebs of his memory, he recalls starting to follow the Blueshirts in 1970 and remembers watching pivotal playoff games against the Blackhawks on a snow-covered Hartford t.v. channel in their 1972 march to the Finals. Giacomin, Gilbert, Ratelle, and Hadfield seen skating on a small B&W TV screens always will be among his first Ranger memories. He is grateful beyond words for the opportunity to work with his colleagues here in their never ending battle to inform and entertain. Most of all, he appreciates the chance to engage with fellow hockey fans.
Bio of J_Undisputed
"J_Undisputed is an Information Tech Professional; a student, and on and off in his dreams, Mike Richter. He caught his first glimpse of Rangers Hockey when an overtime preempted his favorite pro wrestling broadcast on WWOR-9 one late saturday night when he was 5 and he's been hooked ever since. He's been watching the Rangers for 30 years despite family attempts to make him an Islander Fan (Rest easy...they're out of the will). What started as a minor annoyance has become a life long passion (and at times, a frustration...But he wouldn't trade it for anything). Lets Go Rangers!"
Bio of General Ganz
General Ganz is a cynical yet well-informed student of the human spirit. He's a professional of sorts, with a post-graduate education, some experience working in real companies, and some limited athletic ability. The total small package. He got picked on a fair bit as a kid, and he experienced his first human-non-relation kiss in his teens. He also grew up on the other side of the tracks, thereby helping to cultivate a healthy contempt for dreamers and optimists whose rosy upbringing gave them something to smile about, even when "life produced lemons." Like it or not, his only mission is to point out the potholes you're lucky enough to miss on your drive to work. To find the blemish on your daughter's carefully-stitched (and not-yet-paid-for) wedding dress. To take that little smidgen of hope that your favorite hockey teams fill you with, and pour orange paint on it. Oh, and he is a Blueshirts fan, and takes most of his fashion direction from Ron Duguay (whose name he dropped as a way to close the deal on that first kiss).
It was a spirited game and a see-saw battle in the holiday matinee game between our Blueshirts and the Gordon's fishsticks. Proving to be a contest that pivoted on power play opportunities and penalty calls, you have to give credit to both teams for trying to make their own luck every time a whistle blew, whether or not anyone had a clue as to what was called. Read the official recap here for the details.
There were a lot of things to like and not like about yesterdays game. I was particularly impressed with:
- The added scoring from our defensemen - It's in this light, that Tort's ideal for the defense really shine. They are shooting more on the power play and chipping in goals wherever possible.
- Boogaard throwing the body around. It almost led to a goal yesterday and it's a presence that we have been missing the past few years except when the occasional player stepped up for a game or two.
- Brian Boyle on face-offs. He seemed to pick up a little bit on using his size from that Messier center workshop and has worked to improve his game this summer.
- Stepan continuing his hard work - there's a lot that can be said about this kid and his vision on the ice. His work around the net also shows another facet to his game that is the sign of a 'one day' elite player. He doesn't seem to be physically intimidated very easy and will push back if he needs to. The little scruff with Martinek yesterday did show that he could use some preparation for when the stuff really hits the fan. I was happy to see the first guy to jump in there and start throwing gloved punches on his behalf - and that was Gabby.
Now that being said, is it too early to see some alarming trends...?
- Second chances around the net. WTF?! We're practically gift wrapping them at this point. We can expect a lot of '5-goal against' games for Henrik if this continues. It was one of the reasons I was skeptical about cutting Exelby from camp that quickly. He was one of the few guys willing to make his presence felt around the net when guys crowded Henrik. Of course it will be Henrik that has to pick up the slack if the D-Men don't and try to make spectacular saves without being taken off his feet. A feat that is a lot to ask of a butterfly goalie. When you have a good goalie, your opponents will inevitably resort to screening and picking up garbage around the net and it will pay to have someone who can hammer people in the crease. Which brings us to the next point.
- Stay at home defensemen. Is there even such a thing anymore in the Bettman league? Its nice that our defensemen are chipping in on offense, but wasn't the whole point of jamming up camp with all these extra d-men tryouts, to find a defenseman that could defend? Staal has an edge to his game and doesn't seem to have any qualms about hammering someone as well as finding his offensive game because well, he can. Our other d-men are getting pucks to the net but play far too soft in their own end and have fallen into that trap of becoming the 4th forward rather than a defenseman. Quick to streak up ice and get caught deep in the opponents end; its going to present a lot of odd-man rushes this season and wear Henrik thin. Girardi, in particular, was supposed to be a stay at home defenseman and still strikes me as a little soft; a few season ago he was stepping into guys and playing them hard. Unfortunately, that all seemed to go out the window once he got punched in the mouth and driven into the ice by Cam Barker a few seasons ago.
- The musical center game continues. Equipment problems aside, Torts has been plugging Stepan when possible and stirring up the other lines with Dubi and Christensen. It's still early and I am fine with exploring the options and trying to generate offense with click rather than a gel in desperate situations. Even still, times running out for Coach-a-rella as Drury and Prospal are getting antsy to play.. and something will have to be done eventually. Christensen may inevitable find himself the odd man out as he waits in the press box for Drury to break another bone or age to to further catch up to Prospal. Lets play these kids now with some consistency and find out what they can do before we stick them in 'Pressbox Limbo' and have to start the reintegration and assessment process every time we want to bring one back because of an injury. All in all, I expect at least one announced change in the line up before the home opener on Friday. How do you announce a team with a captain and an alternate on the DL?
- Derek Boogaard - Can he please punch someone in the head already? I'm tired of seeing Boyle and Prust tangle with guys while he's out there searching for a dance partner and people avoid him? Its not his fault, mind you but.... Damn, punch someone already... even off the ice, I'd settle for watching him wail away on John Giannone... Actually, I'd kind of pay to see that.
Till next time, Ranger Fans..
P.S. This isn't over Fishsticks! We're just getting started!!! Bah!
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