Friday, April 07, 2006

Jarkko Immonen - A Star Is Born



Jarkko Immonen scores 1st NHL goal to help Rangers winThey say good teams win games that they sometimes are not supposed to win. The Rangers did that last night beating the Islanders 3-1 at the Garden and are now 4-1 in their last five games and 8-2-1 in their last eleven home games.

But if truth be known the win was more of a reflection of how poor the Islander's are as a team than the Rangers are as a good team. Folks, the Rangers were awful last night and against any other team in the conference, including the Penguins, they would have lost. But as it has been so often this year they were saved by one of their young players, just called up from Hartford, Jarkko Immonen.

Yes, Kevin Weekes played another strong game in goal though he gave up a rather soft goal in the first. However, the culprit on that play was Tom Poti. Poti, who made like Brian Leetch, with a beautiful end to end rush in the third period that culminated in a Martin Straka goal, made like Tom Poti in the first period with a beautiful clear out onto the stick of Miroslav Satan for the first Islander goal. Weekes recovered from that and made 21 saves including highlight saves on Shawn Bates and Chris Campoli, so why quibble over the first goal. Weekes was awarded the second star of the game and seems to be hitting his stride at the right time.

Let's talk about Jarkko Immonen. This is one of the guys we got for Brian Leetch and while we may moan the loss of Leetch let us start celebrating the arrival of Immonen. Immonen, twenty-three years old, had 30 goals, 40 assists for 70 points in 74 games for Hartford. He started out centering for Prucha and Sykora, taking Steve Rucchin's spot, but in the second period, Renney had him on with Prucha and Jagr and what do you know, 21 seconds in he roofed one past DiPietro to tie the game and change the whole complexion of the game. That in itself would have been great but there is more. He logged 13:11 of ice time in 17 shifts, was a plus one, was six for ten on faceoffs and led the team with four hits.

When was the last time Steve Rucchin had four hits in a game? In a week? In a month? You can bet your life Rucchin will hurry back for the Bruins game, bad foot or not. I hope Renney doesn't send this kid back to Hartford. Send Hossa or Orr back to Hartford but leave Immonen here. The Ranger Pundit has lobbied long and loud for a long time to have this kid brought up. He is the real deal. Keep him here.

Henrik Lundqvist, The Prince, was awarded The Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, voted by the fans which signifies, "Above And Beyond The Call Of Duty," truly deserving. Steven McDonald is one truly amazing and courageous human being as is his wife and son and it is an honor to see him appear every year to give out this award. May God continue to bless Steven McDonald and his great family.

ICINGS: The Rangers were 0-4 on the power play and their futility has now stretched to 3-34 in the last five games. Not good. Put Jagr on the point with the HMO line out there on the power play. Can't do any worse than they are right now. Post Olympic record is now 8-6-1-3 with six to go. If Rangers win four of six including the Flyer game they are in. Easier said than done. Martin Straka with two goals was number one star of the game. He now has 21 goals and is playing his best hockey of the season.

Ranger fans might have forgotten the shot big shot Straka took from Denis Gauthier in Tuesday's Flyers game but the Philly fans haven't.

Flyersfancentral.com notes that the official score sheet didn't count the Gauthier bell ringer as a hit. But the video says otherwise.



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