Yes, give credit to the New Jersey Devils for coming out guns blazin’ in each of these first four Eastern Conference Finals games against the New York Rangers. You must give credit where credit is due, however, if the Rangers lose this series, a result I am now unfortunately leaning towards, even with it tied, they can only blame themselves. They never have or ever will make things easy on themselves or the fans that ardently watch them and spend exorbitant amounts of money to see them play live, because that is the curse that hovers over this team, ever since television announcer Sam Rosen bestowed on them, “This one will last a lifetime!” moments after winning the Stanley Cup in 1994. Even that team could not get it done easily, loaded with all-stars and future hall-of-famers. Comparisons have been drawn between this current team and that legendary one, and all I can do is laugh at that, because that team at least had the killer instinct. Make no mistake, I do not want this to seem like a full-throttle damning of a team that finished first in the Eastern Conference, and yes, always performs well with their backs against the wall, but that is exactly the problem. They cannot seem to focus unless they absolutely have to, such as when facing elimination or coming off an extremely poor performance.
This is something that used to be really bad, but has only gotten worse in recent seasons, and that is no one is in their seat at a New York Rangers game at the drop of the puck, which is normally at 7pm. It is not people hanging around the concourse, but people who have not even arrived in the building yet. I remember a season or two ago when the Rangers were in Dallas, Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti jokingly mentioned that the crowd there liked to come in late—have they ever looked at the MSG crowd at game-time?
Madison Square Garden is like no other arena in the league, because it is smack in the middle of a major city with so much going on. People are trying to get there from work or others are taking the train in, so sometimes it is hard for fans to get their on time. If you notice, at puck-drop, there are hardly any people in the lower level seats. You can make the argument that most are corporate anyway, and do not care about the game, but they are still fans nonetheless, who contribute to the noise and atmosphere in the building, to which momentum can hardly be gained from an early goal or big hit because there is not a full house to cheer. It is not until the second period, when the arena is full and crowd noise can finally play a factor. For that, if anything, a time change should be considered.
In a way, I think the Rangers are considering changing the start time. Joe Aiello was asked on his season ticket subscriber survey if he would “consider a 7:30 start time for the 2011/2012 season”. His personal view is that they should not change the time, but says it makes sense, because the lower bowl is always empty. To play advocate for the money hungry owners of the Garden, making the time 7:30 also gives fans an extra hour to buy more food, beer, and items in the team stores, which may end up being the driving force if they do decide to change it.
To me, I really do not care either way. I don’t go to 41 games a year, so it really would not affect me. But if I remember correctly, games used to always be a 7:30 start, so some of the older, die-hard fans should not mind as much. I would like any season ticket holders or Rangers fans who go to games on a regular basis to leave a comment with what you think should be done.
This game began looking like the early-90′s Roger Neilson-led Rangers against the mid-90′s Jacques Lemaire-led Devils—it was just that boring, but the New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues were able to put together some solid entertainment from the second period and on, as the Rangers skated to a 2-1 victory tonight in St. Louis. It was not necessarily a bad game, but neither team was too sharp early on, and it was not a masterpiece, but the Rangers were able to win their third game in a row, once again without the help of Gaborik.
- First period: Everything that hockey should be was nowhere to be found in the first twenty minutes. There were no glaring scoring chances, no big hits, no nice passes, just nothing but boring and slow hockey. The total shots on goal for the period were 6-2 in favor of the Rangers. They did find a way to blow two powerplay opportunities, though, while being able to kill off one of the Blues’.
- Second Period: The Blues would open the scoring a little more than two minutes in, when Brad Winchester redirected an Eric Brewer shot past Martin Biron, who had no chance on the play. The Rangers would even the score seven minutes later, on a beautiful passing play by Mats Zuccarello, who found Derek Stepan (12) streaking to the net, before he shot the puck between the legs of Jaroslav Halak. Stepan remains third in the league in rookie scoring. Six minutes after that, Sean Avery (2) would finally snap his 35-game goal scoring drought when he tapped home a rebound off a Marian Gaborik shot. Originally, it was thought that Gaborik had scored the goal, but after looking at the replay, the puck went off Halak’s shoulder, then off the crossbar before floating even with the goal-line, for Avery to knock in. I somewhat predicted Avery’s goal on Twitter, when early in the first period, I said, “I say Avery scores a goal tonight. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sooner or later.” Dubinsky would end up with an assist on both goals, giving him 20 on the season.
- Third Period: This would be much like the first period, only it was the Blues who controlled the play for most of the time. The Rangers had a hard time even entering their zone for the first half of the period, and had to kill a double-minor to Sean Avery near the midway point. They were able to hold St. Louis to only one shot on goal in the four minutes, and only eight for the period, despite spending most of the period in their own end. With the Blues pressing late, David Backes would take a bad cross-checking penalty with under a minute to go, and the ensuing faceoff in their end would kill any hopes of a rally, and the Rangers would finish with a 2-1 victory.
Martin Biron may have only faced 25 shots, but he was superb tonight. He made several key stops in the second period, and more in the third. He was very steady and had excellent rebound control. The move to play him tonight instead of the hot-hand in Lundqvist was questioned by some, but this is why Biron was brought in—to play in, and hopefully win the second of back-to-back games. (By the way, he is also a fantastic talker. What a post-game interview this guy gives!)
The Rangers powerplay was futile once again tonight. It’s almost comical that they get better scoring chances while shorthanded than with the man advantage. As nice as it is to score a shorthanded goal, or rush down the ice and get a good chance, their powerplay is in trouble. As I said earlier today when I called out Gaborik, he and the team as a whole need to shoot more—it is that simple.
Not related to the team’s play, would the Rangers consider replacing Joe Micheletti with Kevin Weekes, who filled in with the HNL crew tonight? Every time I see him, whether on MSG or a Canadian Network, he always sounds intelligent and his commentary is spot on. In other words, he is not a bumbling, nonsensical fool like Micheletti. He and Sam Rosen would work well together.
When the New York Rangers had Sam Rosen and John Davidson in the broadcast booth from 1986-2006, they arguably had the best announcing tandem in the entire league. Both fed off of each other and had unbelievable chemistry. Rosen was the hawk-eye announcer, while Davidson, an ex-Rangers’ goaltender lent his unbiased expertise while adding humor on a nightly basis. Win or lose, listening in to MSG Network for a Ranger game was enjoyable—it was pure entertainment.
After the 2005/06 season, John Davidson left for a job in the front office with the St. Louis Blues, and we were left wondering who would be able to fill his immense shoes. The job would go to Joe Micheletti, the former color commentator of the New York Islanders, but someone who had done nationally televised games and actually was somewhat popular with a big name in the business. Right off the bat it was realized that he would in no way even come close to matching Davidson, but we were not expecting him to. All we wanted was competence, and what we have gotten for five seasons, including this one, is a horrendous display of mediocrity and babbling. Monday night, between him and John Gianonne, who was replacing Rosen due to the snow, I was just seconds away from putting on the Islanders’ broadcast to hear Howie Rose and Butch Goring. It was just that bad.
I cannot remember a time when I was more disgusted with a broadcast team. Sure nationally televised games with Mike Emrick or Joe Beninatti involving the Penguins or Capitals are sights to behold regarding bias and ridiculousness, but this Rangers duo takes it to a whole other level.
Joe Micheletti: I am someone who cannot stand a homer. I like my announcers to be fair and balanced, while they can lean slightly towards the Rangers. This is why I can’t take listening to Chico Resch, who is so far up Martin Brodeur’s
ass nose, that he can feel his shoes on his chin. At first, Micheletti did not seem too bad. Davidson was always the first to call out a Rangers mistake, and I applauded him for that. Sometimes I wonder if there was some tension between the Dolan’s and Davidson, who felt he was being too critical of the team. Nevertheless, the problem I have with Micheletti is not that he’s critical of the team, but his constant gushing over opposing players. Games where they play the Penguins are almost nauseating. We know that Sidney Crosby is a good player, Joe, you don’t have to make mention of it every single time he touches the puck, or how Evgeni Malkin is good too. We get it!
Also, every team the Rangers play is coming off a great game, even if they are having a horrible season. It does not matter if they lost ten in a row, they had to play well doing it. It is almost as if Micheletti is trying to make a loss to a bad team not seem like a big deal, if he is constantly telling us how good they are. And how about the next game, against the Lightning; how many times will we have to listen to how amazing Stamkos is, and that he is a “good kid”? Nothing against any of these players, but fans are not stupid. We do not need to be reminded of their play every five minutes.
As for Rangers’ players, did you happen to know that Marian Gaborik has a powerful stride and quick release? It seemed to slip my mind, even though Joe M. has mentioned it about a million times this season. And how about him always asking questions? “Hey, Callahan’s having a great game, isn’t he Sam?” is just an example of one. Sometimes I think he is just talking to hear himself talk. No, Joe, Callahan is having an awful game, which is why you brought it up.
When he talks, it is borderline rambling. He says things that do not make any sense. Oh, and how can I forget, Tyler Myers is the second coming of Bobby Orr, or should I skip straight to Jesus Christ?
John Gianonne: At first, Giannone seemed like the nicest guy in the world. I requested an interview with him and he got back to me saying yes and that he actually read my site and liked it. This was all done through Facebook, and next thing I know, I am no longer friends with him and he will not talk to me anymore. Since I don’t hold a grudge, I moved on, but it was only then when I started to realize how awful of an announcer he is. When filling in for Rosen, Gianonne and Micheletti combined have the smoothness of Howard Cosell and Gilbert Gottfried calling a backgammon match. His voice is screechy, he consistently makes mistakes, and he appears to be allergic to the word “the”.
How many times do I hear him say, “Puts it toward net” or “Toward goal”? What about, “Puts it toward THE net”? Ever hear of that magical three-letter word? Did we skip schooling and go right to broadcasting? He must have known one of the Dolan’s to land a job like that, because it wasn’t talent that brought him there. Listening to him almost makes me want Mike Crispino back…on second thought, no one is that bad.
Now let’s move on to his brilliant interviewing skills, when he asks brain-busting questions like, “Are you happy about the win?” or “Are you upset about the loss?”. No John, Lundqvist is thrilled that he just lost a game, and Gaborik is crying buckets over a game where he just recorded a hat trick. One of these games I am just waiting for a player to stand up and pop him one right in the kisser.
Sam Rosen: The gripe I have with Rosen really is not in what he says, but how his senses are failing him. I am not going to make fun of his old age and severe loss of hearing and eyesight, but when a player rips a slapshot off the post and it makes a ping that everyone and their mother heard, and you say with an astounding stupor, “I think it hit the post!”, there is a problem. But then he does something that confuses me: a shot will barely glance off the iron and he will declare that it hit the post, when no one else heard it.
Dave Maloney: Move on over Foster Brooks, Dave Maloney is the next lovable lush. In all honesty, I am not going to accuse him of alcoholism on the air, but he sure seems like he has a few belts before he does the Rangers pre and post-game shows. He slurs words and mixes up players’ names like a champ, but he actually does provide decent insight and is very, very honest with the team’s play. I would take him over Micheletti in the TV booth any day. My only concern is that his breathe will one day melt the microphone.
I originally published this in December of 2009 for my old blog, Metro-Hockey. I sent it around to a few people and it was actually NHL analyst and 100 Ranger Greats co-author Russ Cohen who enjoyed it so much, he asked for my address so he could send me a “reward”. Turns out, about a week later, an Eric Lindros jersey card showed up in the mail. I could not help but laugh when I saw it, though it did contribute to my rather large memorabilia-card collection. It’s amazing that even though this is from last season, some of these still hold true. I hope you enjoy!
On the first day of Christmas, my season ticket rep gave to me, a coach that made me miss Tom Renney.
On the second day of Christmas, my season ticket rep gave to me, two Voros punching bags, and a coach that made me miss Tom Renney.
On the third day of Christmas, my season ticket rep gave to me, three softies let in by Lundqvist, two Voros punching bags, and a coach that made me miss Tom Renney.
On the fourth day of Christmas, my season ticket rep gave to me, four announcing Rosen’s, three softies let in by Lundqvist, two Voros punching bags, and a coach that made me miss Tom Renney.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my season ticket rep gave to me, FIVE SHOTS GONE WIDE! Four announcing Rosen’s, three softies let in by Lundqvist, two Voros punching bags, and a coach that made me miss Tom Renney.
On the sixth day of Christmas, my season ticket rep gave to me, six Rozsival’s falling, FIVE SHOTS GONE WIDE! Four announcing Rosen’s, three softies let in by Lundqvist, two Voros punching bags, and a coach that made me miss Tom Renney.
On the seventh day of Christmas, my season ticket rep gave to me, seven Gilroy’s pinching, six Rozsival’s falling, FIVE SHOTS GONE WIDE! Four announcing Rosen’s, three softies let in by Lundqvist, two Voros punching bags, and a coach that made me miss Tom Renney.
On the eighth day of Christmas, my season ticket rep gave to me, eight gallons of agita, seven Gilroy’s pinching, six Rozsival’s falling, FIVE SHOTS GONE WIDE! Four announcing Rosen’s, three softies let in by Lundqvist, two Voros punching bags, and a coach that made me miss Tom Renney.
On the ninth day of Christmas, my season ticket rep gave to me, nine Gaborik hat-tricks, eight gallons of agita, seven Gilroy’s pinching, six Rozsival’s falling, FIVE SHOTS GONE WIDE! Four announcing Rosen’s, three softies let in by Lundqvist, two Voros punching bags, and a coach that made me miss Tom Renney.
On the tenth day of Christmas, my season ticket rep gave to me, ten Michelletti exaggerations, nine Gaborik hat-tricks, eight gallons of agita, seven Gilroy’s pinching, six Rozsival’s falling, FIVE SHOTS GONE WIDE! Four announcing Rosen’s, three softies let in by Lundqvist, two Voros punching bags, and a coach that made me miss Tom Renney.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my season ticket rep gave to me, eleven Eklund Kovalchuk predictions, ten Michelletti exaggerations, nine Gaborik hat-tricks, eight gallons of agita, seven Gilroy’s pinching, six Rozsival’s falling, FIVE SHOTS GONE WIDE! Four announcing Rosen’s, three softies let in by Lundqvist, two Voros punching bags, and a coach that made me miss Tom Renney.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my season ticket rep gave to me, twelve Crosby’s crying, eleven Eklund Kovalchuk predictions, ten Michelletti exaggerations, nine Gaborik hat-tricks, eight gallons of agita, seven Gilroy’s pinching, six Rozsival’s falling, FIVE SHOTS GONE WIDE! Four announcing Rosen’s, three softies let in by Lundqvist, two Voros punching bags, and a coach that made me miss Tom Renney.
In case I can’t get on here tomorrow to wish everyone a formal Christmas greeting, I would like to extend to all of my readers and their families the very Merriest of Christmases!
Originally I wasn’t planning on writing a game recap, since I had to work until 8:30, but thankfully the Rangers decided to score all their goals in the third, and I was able to see the final twenty minutes. Coming off a convincing 7-0 win over the Washington Capitals, the Rangers looked like they were going to have a let-down loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, having only generated 12 shots in the first two period, and not starting the third with any conviction. But after a fight by Avery that seemed to spark the team, and a stupid, borderline slew-foot penalty by Matt Cooke, the Rangers not only tied the game at one a piece, but poured it on for a 4-1 victory.
The Penguins would open the score in the first period on a late goal by Evgeni Malkin. This would be all the scoring until the third period, before which the Rangers lacked flow and were doubled off in shots 24-12. But as Sam Rosen noted, the Rangers began to pick up their game in the second. After an uneasy start to the third, with not much flow for either team, Arron Asham would take a few extra chops at Henrik Lundqvist, and Sean Avery skated right over and dropped the gloves with him. This seemed to be the little spark the Rangers needed as they picked up their game and put more shots on an untested Brent Johnson.
With a little less than ten minutes remaining, and the Rangers still trailing by one, the puck would be sent down to the Rangers’ end of the rink. Derek Stepan and Matt Cooke would chase for it, when Cooke knocked the feet out from under Stepan, causing him to fall to the ice hard. It was not exactly a slew foot, but perhaps that was Cooke’s intention, since he is a dirty player. He would be penalized for tripping, and 20 seconds later, the Rangers would tie the game on a powerplay goal by Erik Christensen (6). Marian Gaborik would get the lone assist on the laser of a wrist shot which went off the crossbar and post before bouncing in. 15 seconds later, Alex Frolov (6) would break out of his funk with a rebound goal on assists from Brian Boyle and Dan Girardi.
Four minutes would then pass by and the Rangers would strike again. Artem Anisimov (9) came skating down the center of the ice, and with a snap of the wrist, it was 3-1 Rangers. Assists would go to Michal Rozsival and Michael Del Zotto. Less than two minutes later, the Rangers would put the icing on the cake with yet another fantastic wrist shot, this time by Brian Boyle (12), from Frolov and Staal. Three of the Rangers four goals would be by terrific shots, but it still makes me wonder if they would have scored them if Marc Andre Fleury was in net, but nevertheless, the Rangers and their fans should be very happy about this win.
The team stayed close, fought back and got themselves a big win. I’m also loving the toughness, as Avery did a good job in sticking up for Lundqvist by fighting Asham, and Boyle got into it with Malkin late in the third period. There is finally some cohesion from these Rangers and they are actually playing like a team now.
One sour note on a happy evening, though, would be the loss of Ryan Callahan who left in the first period with a broken hand. It is ironic because Chris Drury just returned to the lineup after missing virtually the entire season with a broken finger. The hockey gods giveth, the hockey gods taketh away.
Finally, it is also worthy to note the officiating in tonight’s game. Because biased calls against the Rangers were subjects in the last two game recaps between these teams, I must say that the referees behaved themselves tonight, including giving the Rangers a very blatant benefit-of-the-doubt call. Late in the third period, with the Rangers up 3-1, the Penguins seemed to have scored, but it was quickly waved off, citing that Pascal Dupuis had made contact with Henrik Lundqvist. Though he did touch him and possibly contribute to him not making the save, I have seen much worse go uncalled. The play was deemed “incidental contact” and not goaltender interference, which was why there was no penalty on the play. For all the times the Rangers have been screwed, I’ll definitely take it.
Ever wonder what it would be like to see your favorite players take some time out of their busy schedule to sit down and write a book? Well, below, we have uncovered some of the writing projects currently being undertaken by your 2010/11 New York Rangers. What we found may surprise you.
“Staying Onside”, by Sean Avery
“Strong Legs, Powerful Arms and a Muscular Chest: A Guide to Human Anatomy”, by Joe Micheletti
“How I Impressed H.G Wells and Walked Away a Multi-Millionaire”, by Alex Frolov
“Sticking Up for Teammates”, By Erik Christensen
“Accuracy 101″, by Ryan Callahan
“Stickhandling for Success”, by Derek Boogaard
“2010/11 Hartford Real Estate Guide”, by Mats Zuccarello
“Boris Karloff Impersonations”, by Mike Keenan
“Staying Calm and Relieving Anxiety”, by John Tortorella
“Sex Appeal in Winter: A Guide to Tanning Beds and their Radioactive Fallout”, by Vinny Prospal
“Look at Me Please! How to be Noticed on an Offensive Attack”, by Todd White
“Nerds Can be Sexy Too”, by Bill Pidto
“The Art of the Toupee: Getting Your Hair Swagger On”, by Sam Rosen
“The History of American Pie, Volume One: Stifler’s Mom”, by Derek Stepan
“Channeling Your Inner Guido”, by Michael Del Zotto
“Consistency in Back to Back Starts”, by Henrik Lundqvist
“Long Island Sun Tan: Burning Your Neck Without UV Damage”, by Martin Biron
“A Geographical Guide to New York City Bus Stops”, by Larry Brooks, Foreword by John Tortorella
“Wrist Shots, Slap Shots, and Jello Shots”, by Dave Maloney
“Life of the Party: How to Stun Your Guests with an Enthralling Personality”, by Chris Drury
As crazy and rambunctious as last night’s game between the New York Rangers and New York Islanders in the opening match of the home-and-home was, tonight was as equally subdued and controlled as a game could get, especially in comparison with such a performance the night before. Both teams would have plenty of chances, and there would be some good hitting, and of course, a fight, but the two teams only mustered up a grand total of 38 shots combined, and the Rangers were able to shutout the Islanders by a score of 2-0.
- First Period: This game would get off to a much quicker pace, though there were far less shots, compared to last night. The Islanders quickly went into what Sam Rosen referred to as a neutral zone trap, although I would hesitate to be that drastic. Nevertheless, it was effective in keeping the Rangers from generating offense, while it zapped their own offense as well. It would take the Islanders nearly fifteen minutes to register their first shot on goal, and the Rangers would exit after twenty minutes with a 6-3 advantage in shots, in what would be a scoreless first period. It is notable to mention a borderline blindside hit that Ryan Callahan made on Franz Nielson. He tried to hit him with his shoulder but ended up getting him on the side of the head with his elbow. Jesse Joensuu would quickly rush over and fight Callahan who held his own against a much bigger player. Callahan would be assessed an elbowing penalty, while Joensuu would get a minor for instigating, as well as a rarely called unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for instigating a fight while wearing a visor. The Rangers would not be able to capitalize on the powerplay then, or later in the period when some shaky officiating ensued. Jon Sim was called for goaltender interference when he was clearly knocked into Henrik Lundqvist by Steve Eminger. This call was on the heels of another questionable one, when Sean Avery recieved a minor for roughing, and then a ten minute misconduct when he questioned the call, though the replay showed he did not say much.
- Second Period: The intensity of play would increase and the pace would speed up in the second. The two teams would trade chances and then Sim was once again called for goaltender interference. The Rangers passed the puck back and forth for the majority of the powerplay, and just when it looked like they would fail again, Marc Staal (4) would come through with a slapshot from the point that found its way over the shoulder of Dwayne Roloson and through a maze of players standing in front. Derek Stepan continues his excellent all-around play and work as point-man on the powerplay, with an assist on the goal; Dubinsky would get the secondary. Three minutes later, Sim would again come close to Lundqvist, and was soon after crosschecked by Dubinsky into the boards. He did this right in front of the referee, and was assessed a penalty, but Sim would go to the box for the third time, for diving. Later in the period, the game would open up on an Islanders powerplay, when the two teams each had glorious opportunities on odd-man rushes. Dubinsky would ring one off the crossbar on a three-on-one, while the Islanders would be stopped by Lundqvist on a two-on-one. The Rangers would end up hitting iron twice in the period.
- Third Period: Really nothing noteworthy would happen in the third period until late, when Roloson was given a penalty for tripping Avery. The play would be more calm as the Islanders attempted to press. The Rangers would do a good job in keeping them to the outside, and with three seconds remaining, Brian Boyle (11) sealed the deal with an empty net goal, on assists from Dubinsky and Callahan. The final shot total would be a minuscule 21 for the Rangers and only 17 for the Islanders. This was a very important game for Lundqvist, who really did not have to work that hard to earn his fourth shutout of the season.
The Rangers really were able to have a good bounce back game after a sloppy win on Long Island last night. Tonight’s performance was not perfect by any stretch of the word, but it was more tame and controlled compared to last night. The defense for both teams came through with plenty of blocked shots.
Sean Avery continued to play well, and get under the skin of opponents. However, tonight, he was not able to stay out of the penalty box and ended up with 14 penalty minutes. Meanwhile Jon Sim continues to pretend he is even a shadow of an agitator, as the player who has been on eight teams in twelve seasons bumped into Lundqvist on several occasions.
All hope has now been lost on Alex Frolov, who was invisible yet again. He has not recorded a point in his last six games and only has one goal (his only point) since he “breakout” game against the Edmonton Oilers on November 14th, a stretch of ten games. Frolov has landed himself a spot on the fourth line, and the next stop will be as a healthy scratch. The Rangers can be thankful that he is only signed to a one year deal, and no development of youth is being impeded by his presence on the big club. His only noticeable moment tonight was a glaring giveaway in the third period.
I must also say that I was very impressed with Pat LaFontaine, who was this game’s in-studio analyst. He was very composed and intelligent and has a good on-camera personality. I really wish the Rangers would finally choose someone instead of having a different guest every week. Personally, I liked Butch Goring last season, but LaFontaine would be a pretty good replacement.
Finally, I must mention a conversation that took place between my mom and I, who overheard the game: “Are they playing in Las Vegas?” she asked. Surprised by the question, I responded, “No” and just looked at her. She then said, “They keep saying Lake Como.” I just had to sigh and reply, “No, there’s a player on the Islanders whose name is Blake Comeau.” Ah, the trials and tribulations of having a n0n-hockey fan in the family…
Do not let the score fool you, ladies and gentlemen—tonight was one of the worst games the New York Rangers have played this season. For the first two periods, before a half-hearted comeback attempt in the third, words could not describe how awful they looked. The fact is, people who did not watch tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning will pick up the paper tomorrow and see a 5-3 score, and think it was a close game. The Rangers were never in it tonight, and embarrassed themselves through the first forty minutes.
- First period: The Lightning are a team that thrives on the powerplay, so the Rangers were asking for trouble with an early march to the penalty box. Ryan Malone would score less than seven minutes in with the man advantage, after parking himself in front of Lundqvist, setting a screen, and jamming the loose puck home. There would be some controversy on the play as he knocked Lundqvist over before scoring without being called for goalie interference, but that would just be the tip of the iceberg for what he had to endure tonight. Malone would then score an identical goal, also on the powerplay, to put his team up by two goals after one. The Rangers’ offense would only manage to put up five shots on goal, hardly testing Smith or even having any form of offensive pressure
- Second period: The Rangers’ sloppy play would continue as the Lightning came in on a three-on-one, with the league’s leading goal score, Steven Stamkos, trailing behind. Rather than sticking to him and taking him out of the play, Marc Staal chose to calmly glide nearby, and Stamkos scored uncontested. With Lundqvist still being repeatedly bumped with no call, the most laughably horrible penalty call of the season would be made here. Malone would knock Lundqvist over and into the net, finally prompting a goalie interference call, but Lundqvist too was called for diving. There was no place Lundqvist could have gone after being hit, but falling down into the net. Brett Clark would score a powerplay goal on that penalty, expanding the lead to four goals, which would become five before the period ended. After the fifth goal, Martin Biron started to get ready on the bench, but Tortorella changed his mind, not wanting to send him to the wolves. But what was worse than all that was the fact that the Rangers only had two shots in the entire period, being out-shot 25-7 after two.
- Third period: The Rangers would finally decide to play some hockey as they came out a bit stronger than the previous two periods. Steve Eminger (1) would get the Rangers on the board less than four minutes in with a wrist shot through traffic from the blue-line. It would be his first goal as a Ranger. Derek Stepan would be credited with an assist on the play. The Rangers were now finally testing Mike Smith, a goaltender who is not having a great season himself. Brian Boyle (10) would then score shorthanded, from Staal and Brandon Prust, and then late in the period, on a five-on-three powerplay, Derek Stepan (5) would drive home a slapshot from the point, on the feed from Marian Gaborik. The Rangers got many chances in the final few minutes, but could not get more than three. Even so, they did not deserve to win tonight.
The New York Rangers continue to beat the bad and average teams to get everyone excited, before putting up clunkers like this one against the better teams in the league. Had the Rangers put up more than seven shots through two periods, maybe they would have won this game. After all, the Lightning are a team less than a week removed from a 8-7 win over the Flyers. We know they can score, but they have a tough time playing defense.
John Tortorella should also consider making Biron this team’s number one goaltender for the immediate future. This game was in no way Lundqvist’s fault, but the team seems to play better around Biron. Why? The answer is unknown to me, but they have to do whatever works. The reason why Biron did not come into the game tonight was speculated by Rosen and Micheletti as not wanting to bring him into a game where he would get shellacked, a.k.a, not wanting to damage his psyche. Perhaps he will get the start on Friday night against the Panthers.
If there is a bright side to a night like this, Boyle and Stepan continue their scoring streaks and are becoming forces to be relied upon. Staal continues to have an uneasy season on defense, as he is slow to get into the play on offense, and looking like a deer-in-headlights on defense. Steve Eminger has also been very reliable lately, and hopefully he will be able to sustain this recent surge for the entire season. The Rangers really need to figure out why they cannot string together several well-played games—not even worry about wins at this point, but just quality of play.
The New York Rangers are choosing the 2010/11 season as one to commemorate the past 85 years. Although I am opposed to this, citing this anniversary as one stuck in between 75 and 100, and an anniversary that does not have much to celebrate, I am for one piece of nostalgia being brought back.
When I was growing up, watching the Rangers religiously developed in the late 1990′s and early 2000′s. There was not one thing that could get me more pumped up for a game than the Rangers intro song, played just before the game was scheduled to start. This theme song, had a very jazzy sound, and fit perfectly with the video they showed behind it, one that honored the legends of the past, 1994, and the current stars of the team, all before a Rangers logo came on the screen and exploded to the sound of Sam Rosen welcoming fans to the broadcast.
Created in 1992, it was used until 1999 when it was dropped for a more modern sounding theme. The song was then brought back in 2001, where it was used until at least one season after the lockout.
The bringing back of this video could honor the past and the present all in one shot, and not be something obtrusive. To be honest, I do not know one person that has anything negative to say about the old intro, only the fact that it was pulled off the air a few seasons after the lockout. If I remember correctly, it was used every game in 2005/06, sparingly in 2006/07, and then gone by 2007/08. I think a lot of fans were discouraged by this, and to this day the only way we can hear this classic tune is by going on Youtube.
I’m not going to start a movement or petition to bring this back, because I don’t think the Rangers would listen to me if I did. But if someone else wants to start one, then by all means go for it– you will have my support. I truly believe this piece of Rangers history needs to be brought back and flaunted, because it was something we loved, and no other team had.