Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Rantings, Ravings and Musings

The Rangers go for their sixth straight win against the Pittsburgh Penguins tomorrow night in a game that will kick off the Hockey Christmas season at the Garden. The Penguins right now are the third worst team in the Eastern Conference. They have a familiar look to them. They look like the old Rangers of pre-lockout days. Plenty of star power little team cohesion. Play a great game tonight and then play two or three bummers in a row. Who will show up Thursday? Probably the good ones as Mario always rises to the occasion at the Garden and it seems so will Sidney Crosby. The Ranger record for winning streaks is ten. It was done twice. The last time was from 1/19/73-2/11/73 when a 2-2 tie against Montreal ended it. Of course, we don't have those nasty ties any more in the new NHL.

Martin Rucinsky and Steve Rucchin could both return Thursday night. Right now it will not pose a lineup problem since Jed Ortmeyer will be out because of a family death and Jason Strudwick will be moved back to defense where he will replaced the injured (groin) Tom Poti. It will be interesting to see who sits when Ortmeyer returns. The call here is it should be Marcel Hossa. The third and fourth lines should not be touched. They are too valuable to this team. Ville Nieminen should take Ortmeyer's spot with Moore and Hollweg. When Ortmeyer returns and goes back to his regular line Nieminen should go on with Rucchin and Rucinsky.

Did a little surfing with the Islanders-Flyers and Devils-Bruins last night and caught both ending and needless to say the referees had a big part in both games. Of course they were wrong again on their calls, but who's counting. The Islander game were the more damaging. With the Islanders pressing at the end for a tying goal Brent Sopel was tripped by the Flyers Branko Radivojevic (should get two minutes for having a name like that) and there was no call and then it looked like Sopel had scored the tying goal with 0.2 left but the referee Stephen Auger blew his whistle and waved off the goal because he claimed he lost sight of the puck. They then went to the video review which said, no goal. Question: If Auger lost sight of the puck and blew the whistle why did he go to the video review. His whistle stop ended the play and made the review irrelevant.

The Devil call by the ref was more subtle but equally damaging. With 31.4 seconds remaining in a tie game and the faceoff deep in the Bruins zone, Travis Green, one of the premier faceoff guys in the game was tossed out of the faceoff circle and in stepped Super Joe Thornton, who can't win faceoffs. The rest is history. Madden winning the faceoff to Alexander Mogilny who buried the puck ala vintage Bobby Hull to seal doom for the Bruins. I for one can never figure out the machinations that go into an official tossing out a faceoff player. Remember folks. It's well into twenty games and it was late into the third period. Let boys be boys. New NHL, same old bad, inconsistent refs.

If you have about 7 minutes to watch a great sports highlight video with some historical hockey video mixed in go here-
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