Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Shootout

HossaIt is the biggest aberration in sports. It is akin to a foul shooting contest in basketball rather than OT. It would be a field goal contest in football rather than OT. A home run hitting contest in baseball rather than extra innings. It is like putting ketchup on your mother's favorite spaghetti sauce. It is like putting peanut butter on a Del Fresco's steak. It is the Gary Bettman, new NHL solution for depriving the fans of hockey. The announcers get giddy, the fans stand and roar and carried to its ultimate absurdity one day we will see a Stanley Cup decided by it. It is the shootout.

They say the fans love it and that is what brings them to the games. What fans? last night in a game between two hated rivals battling for the division lead the crowd was 1,281 short of capacity and half the fans were Ranger fans. The fact is that the Devils have not sold out their rink once in twenty home games this year. If they can't sell out with the Rangers when can they sell out. Across the river on the Island 10,461 fans showed up which is 5,773 short of capacity. What is keeping them away. European soccer style hockey is what is keeping them away. Here you have two teams, one the Devils with players like Elias, Gomez, Gionta, Parise and Brylin and they are averaging 2.64 goals per game. The Rangers, with two of the most prolific scorers in the history of the NHL, are not much better at 2.98 goals per game. Maybe we should have a shootout after every period.

The game. The most important thing to me last night was that the Rangers continued their feisty play. They outhit the Devils 23-11 with the hit man Hollweg leading the way with six hits and would you believe he got 13:01 of ice time. You think Renney finally gets it. Betts added five hits and Slammer Shanahan chipped in with three hits. The Rangers are good in these shootouts and are now 5-1 in them while the Devils fell to 4-4. Lundqvist is now 5-0 in the shootouts though his shutout streak was stopped at 22 saves. He is now 27-30 saves in the shootouts. More important he is 3-0 against the Devils this year. The Rangers are 3-1 against the Devils this year and that can be attributed mostly to The Prince who is back on his game and has become The King of the shootouts.

The winning goal? Marcel Hossa had his second game winner in a shootout. Marvelous. He has one goal in 38 regular season games. The defense rests. Next game is against the red hot Flyers who always give the Rangers fits at the Garden. The feistiness must continue and it would be great if Jagr and Shanny come out of their scoring slumps.

ICINGS:

January 3, 2006
Daily News
Rangers, shootout burn Devs
NY Post
Shoot To Thrill
Newsday
Shootout victory a net result

January 2, 2007
Daily News
Jed Ready To Return For Rangers
NY Post
This League Lifeless
Newsday
Ortmeyer's Return Imminent
Journal News
Rangers Get Energy Boost From Ortmeyer's Return



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