Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Avery Done — Are Rangers?

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Rangers should re-sign Sean AveryThe injury to Sean Avery leaves a couple of questions unanswered. When did he get hurt and how did it happen? More importantly what does this bode for the future of "The Detriment" with the Rangers? Avery has been a lightning rod since joining the Rangers in the middle of last season, 2006-07. He has agitated goalies, defensemen and GM's, one in particular. There is a strong possibility that Avery was hurt in the first game of this series, when he scored a goal.

By the nature of the injury it almost has to be inflicted by a stick and the way Avery plays there are always confrontations with other players and sticks especially from goalies and defensemen. While one could make the case that even with Avery in the lineup the Rangers haven't been able to beat the Pens there is no doubting the value a healthy Avery brings to the Rangers. This past year with Avery in the lineup the Rangers were 33-14-10, seventy-six points out of a possible 114 points or a .667 winning percentage. Without him the Rangers were 9-13-3, twenty-one points out of a possible 50 points for a .420 winning percentage. Upon joining the Rangers last year he led the Rangers to a 17-6-6 run which got them into the playoffs. That's 40 points out of a possible 58 or a .689 winning percentage. His one and a half year stint with the Rangers shows a record of 50-20-16. That's a total of 116 points out of a possible 172 points, or a .674 winning percentage. Basically, the Rangers win two out of every three games when Sean Avery is in the lineup. This guy is no detriment.

Lately, there have been some complaints about Avery's performance against the Penguins. Blogs and fans ask questions like: "Is Avery playing? Is he in the game?" Even the Maven, Stan Fischler, has repeatedly complained that Avery has to get in front of the net especially on the power play. Except for game three and on the five on three Avery has had no power play time in this playoff series. He is only averaging around twelve minutes a game, the least of the top six forwards. Whether by design or by ignorance, Avery does not get the ice time that is needed for him to be more effective. Is coach clueless strengthening the Stealth GM's case against signing Avery? I wouldn't doubt it. Coach clueless has been nothing more than a stooge for the Stealth GM.

Sean Avery is the spine of the Rangers. He will be sorely missed if he does not return to the Rangers next year. However, looking at some of the moves that the Stealth GM has made with players like Sjostrom and Backman I would not be surprised that Sean Avery will be playing somewhere else next year. If he is not here, the Rangers will not only miss one hell of a hockey player but they will also be missing a A-one character type player. They probably also will be missing the playoffs. Let's keep the guy. Let's resign the spine of the Rangers.

ICINGS:

Larry Brooks, the NY Post Rangers beat writer, made these points about the NY Rangers today in a 15 minute interview with Michael Kay of ESPN radio. [Not in order and paraphrased.]
Question: Why have the Rangers tanked in this series with Pittsburgh?

Larry Brooks: The Pens have been able to exploit the weaknesses that the Rangers have had all season. Namely, virtually no power play and a shaky defense. The Pens have shown they are a formidable and dangerous team, now among the league elite.

Question: What happened Tuesday night?

LB: The Rangers threw everything they had against the Pens and their young goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury. The Pens withstood the pressure cooker of a packed, loud MSG and took the Rangers' best shots and came on to win the game.

Q: Do the Rangers have a chance?

LB: No one outside the Rangers locker room thinks they have a chance.

Q: What's the problem on the power play?

LB: The Rangers do not have a quarterback or anyone at the point who can run the PP. NHL teams have gotten very good at defending the PP and positioning two men between the puck and the net. You need a special player to run the PP.

Q: Is Tom Renney the right guy?

LB: Yes, because he's very good with younger players. He is very patient with younger players. He's almost too patient with them. And the team will definitely be much younger next year after they shed some of the older players.

The problem for the Rangers is that it has been easy to go from a bad team to a good team over the last three years. The problem now is going from a good team to an elite team. The Pens look like they have made the jump to elite status.

Q: What do the Rangers need?

They most need a "sniper" forward from the right-side, a quarterback for the power play, and more size overall.

They need that sniper on the right-side to fit in with Gomez. There is no way that Gomez and Jagr can play together.

Q: Will Jaromir Jagr be back next year as a Ranger?

LB: Jagr is a riddle. If the Rangers can get this playoff version of Jagr back, yes they'll probably want him back. But only if they can work out the right deal.

If they only get a 75% Jagr back next year then a lot of variables have to be considered. They will not want to build their team around an aging superstar.

Some of the variables in re-signing Jagr are: Will he take a reduced contract for one year with incentives that bring him up to his current level? Does he want a two-year deal?

Jagr was making the case today at practice that he played very well for a 36-year old. Sure, he's not as good as he once was, but he's still a valuable player.

Q: Who will not be re-signed by the Rangers next season?

LB: The Rangers will probably not re-sign: Brendan Shanahan, Martin Straka, Marek Malik, Mara, and Michal Rozsival . It is also questionable if they'll re-sign Sean Avery.

Removing all those older players, plus having the younger players such as Staal, Dubinsky, and Callahan with lower salaries will give the Rangers lots of room to maneuver. The salary cap should also go up by $4-6 million.
Lynn Zinser at Slap Shot nicely covers Jagr's Last Stand:
He sat at his locker after practice on Wednesday, still wearing his skates and all his equipment and held forth on everything from his future, or what he will say about it, the Rangers’ chances of coming back and handling the job of being Jaromir Jagr.

I will quote him at length so you get a better idea of his thoughts:

[...]

“I’m talking about the series not my hockey career. I’m 36 and feel like 25. I don’t think age is important if you work hard. If you do a lot for the game, it doesn’t matter how old you are. The hard work always overcomes everything. Maybe not the injuries, but everything else.”

“I’m going to play tomorrow to try to win the series back, not thinking about myself. It’s going to take care of itself. I’m going to try to play to win the hockey game, to have a chance to play the next game. That is my goal.” ...

Sean Avery Rushed To Hospital

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Sean Avery Rushed to Hospital with a with a lacerated spleen---
John Dellapina & Larry McShane / NY Daily News:
Rangers star Sean Avery hospitalized -- Rangers bad boy Sean Avery was rushed to a Manhattan hospital with a lacerated spleen just hours after his team's playoff loss, sources and his mother said.

Avery, 28, arrived at St. Vincent's Medical Center about 3 a.m., a hospital source said. Five hours earlier, the Rangers lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Stanley Cup playoff game at Madison Square Garden.

He remained in the intensive care unit this afternoon, the hospital source said. After the Daily News' Web site broke the story shortly after 11 a.m., Avery's mother, Marlene, told The Toronto Sun that the injury occurred during a first-period collision with a Pittsburgh defenseman...
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Steve Zipay / Newsday:
Rangers' Avery injures spleen, done for the year - The Rangers have denied reports that forward Sean Avery was rushed to a Manhattan hospital after going into cardiac arrest, saying that the agitating forward lacerated his spleen but did not suffer any heart problems.

Rangers forward Sean Avery suffered a lacerated spleen during Tuesday night's game and will not play again this season, the team said in a press release this afternoon.

Avery was taken to St. Vincent's Medical Center in Manhattan last night along with a team physician Dr. Andrew Feldman, immediately after the Rangers' 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Avery, whose spleen was not removed and isn't expected to need surgery, likely will be hospitalized for a few days, team spokesman John Rosasco said.

Michael Fagan, spokesman for St. Vincent's, said Avery is in "stable" condition...
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Steve Simmons / Toronto Sun:
Rangers' Sean Avery in hospital -- New York Rangers forward Sean Avery is in intensive care at a New York hospital after suffering a lacerated spleen in Tuesday night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Avery, 28, from Pickering, was checked into St. Vincent's Hospital at 3 a.m., in a great deal of pain.

However, Avery's mother, Marlene told the Toronto Sun moments ago that her son, Sean's condition had improved and that the spleen had not ruptured, but he had suffered internal bleeding...
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MSG:
Sean Avery and the Miracle Formula -- Sean Avery was not the same SEAN AVERY after Game 1 of the Pitt series that he had been before. Who knows for sure when his lacerated spleen precisely became a major problem. Sequestered in St.Vincent's Hospital, Avery is finished for the season, but that segues into the key question leading into Game 4 of the series Thursday night at The Garden: ARE THE RANGERS FINISHED? ...
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Sean Avery Rushed to Hospital with lacerated spleen---
NY Post:
Sean Avery Suffers Lacerated Spleen -- Avery's agent, Pat Morris, told The Post today that during the Rangers' game last night at the Garden, Avery complained to trainers that his stomach was bothering him. After the game, he then told them his shoulder was bothering him as well. The training team summarized the symptoms to be a "serious spleen issue," and had Avery checked in...
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ESPN:
Rangers say Avery hospitalized following playoff loss -- The New York Rangers said forward Sean Avery suffered a lacerated spleen in Tuesday night's Stanley Cup playoff game and will be lost for the remainder of the playoffs.

The team also denied a published report in the New York Daily News -- which first reported Avery's hospitalization -- that the forward had been taken to a Manhattan hospital while unconscious and in cardiac arrest.

The Rangers said Avery was admitted to St. Vincent's Medical Center following a CT scan and is expected to make a full recovery. Avery walked into the medical facility with team doctor Andrew Feldman, and the two took a car to the hospital, not an emergency vehicle, the team said...
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more:
Report: Avery rushed to hospital - Globe and Mail, Canada
Rangers' Sean Avery out for season with lacerated spleen - CNN/SI
Rangers’ Avery Has Lacerated Spleen - NY Times
Sean Avery Photo Gallery - NY Post

Jes Golbez / Hockey Rants:
Thursday's Tepid Tantrums -- As most people know, the NY Daily News, a tabloid known for misinformation and sensationalism, screwed the pooch reporting Sean Avery as having Cardiac Arrest when he really just had a ruptured spleen...
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Sean Avery fist pumpGo Sean! Our prayers are with you.

Pens Blitz The Prince

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Henrik Lundqvist after giving up goal in 3rd period
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For those never say die Ranger fans there is history on their side. Only two teams in NHL history have come back from 3-0 deficits. In 1942 it was the Toronto Maple Leafs and 33 years later, in 1975, it was the Islanders. The good news for the Rangers? It's been 33 years since 1975 and that's the thread of life that the Rangers have. Some thread. Some life.

To perform that miracle the Rangers must upgrade their game and again it has to be the defense and the power play. In all honesty looking at this defense and the power play, the 33-year-old streak is safe. After the game coach clueless was remarking how the power play didn't play that bad and showed some progress. Huh? The power play was 0-5 and got a total of 8 shots on goal. They had two five-on-three opportunities, one for about 30 seconds and one for about 40 seconds. They are 1-14 on the power play in this series. The power play has been a killer all year and the clueless one has no clue how to correct it and now there is one game left in the season. The Penguins were 2-3 on the power play. So the bottom line: our special teams suck and the Pens special teams were great.

The Penguins got 17 shots on goal and scored 5 goals. The Rangers got 39 shots and got three goals. Three plays turned the game in the Pens favor. Rozsival's bad pass led to a Pens lead. Ryan Callahan's double minor led to Malkin's goal that gave the Pens a 3-1 lead and finally the disastrous penalty by Ryan Hollweg. The Rangers had just tied the game at three and had momentum going and for some reason Hollweg saw fit to board Sykora into the boards. No reason for it, maybe, if he had boarded Ruutu I could see it, but Sykora? He's a good guy.

Lundqvist was all class after the game. Between screens and deflections there was probably a couple of goals he should have stopped. But unlike other goalies that play in this area he took the blame for the goals and the loss. Jagr played an outstanding game and if this season is his final one he is giving New York and the NHL one heck of a show. I'm not going to miss Thursday night's game. I'll be there. Coach clueless promised changes for last night's game and the best he could come up with was putting Fredrik Sjostrom on the second line and Shanahan on the fourth line. I leaned over to son #1 and asked him, "What the hell is Sjostrom doing on the second line?" He replied, "What's he doing on the ice?"

Looking at the two teams there doesn't seem to be that big a difference between them. However, quickly, you notice the special teams and especially our inept power play that has been zero all year and has never been fixed because the clueless coaching staff doesn't know how to fix it. Then look at the defense. Their defense is pretty well rock solid and the Rangers have been a sieve and are soft. This has been a three year problem that has never been fixed. A glaring example of management's poor decision making were the recent deadline trades where the Penguins picked up Hal Gill, a bruiser, and the Rangers got Christian Backman, a wuss. That tells it all. But go back a couple of years ago when instead of going after Brendan Witt, the Stealth GM settled on Aaron Ward. It's the mentality that picks stick men over the body takers.

So it's Thursday night at the Garden for game four. Will it be Jaromir Jagr's swan song? I hope not. I would hope it would be coach clueless's swan song. But there is about as much chance of that happening as there is of Backman throwing his body at somebody. After all, this magnificent coach has gotten us into the playoffs for the last three years. Stupid me. I though it was guys like Jagr, Lundqvist and Avery and Gomez and Drury. But what the heck do I know.
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Jagr pushed into net on Martin Straka goalICINGS:
Larry Brooks / NY Post:
Pitt-iful

Greenburg / NY Post:
Jagr: Series Still Not Over

Steve Zipay / Newsday:
Rangers lose third straight, face elimination

Arthur Staple / Newsday:
Malkin is earning title Most Valuable Penguin

Mark Hermann / Newsday:
Rangers have a little too much experience

John Dellapina / NY Daily News:
Pens push Rangers to brink

Filip Bonde / NY Daily News:

Bondy: Clock ticking on Jaromir & Blueshirts


Christie Ackert / NY Daily News:

Malkin's showing lotta Hart

Blueshirt Bulletin:

Penalties and Power Plays Kill Rangers

The Dark Ranger:

Crushed! NYR 3, Penguins 5

Scotty Hockey:

There Is Always Tomorrow, Right??????


Evgeni Malkin scoresHockeyRodent:
Why?

Sam Weinman / Journal-News:

Rangers, down 3-0, vow to keep fighting

Sam Weinman / Rangers Report:
From the postgame

NJ Star-Ledger
Rangers keep faith in face of a sweep
Drury's status in doubt
Malkin flashing MVP skills

NY Times:
March of the Penguins Sends the Rangers to the Precipice

Penguin Scat

Pittsburg Post-Gazette:
Malkin's 2 goals trigger seventh consecutive playoff victory
Malkin breaks out for a Garden party
Penguins Q&A with Dave Molinari
Penguins Notebook: Roberts healthy but still sitting
In the minors: Team captain suspended for 'streaking'
Photo gallery: Game 3, Penguins win 5-3

Tribune-Review:
Game 3: Pens push Rangers to brink
'Baby' Penguin Smith caught streaking
Pens' Malkin named Hart finalist

The Pensblog:
This House...Is Clean. PENS WIN.

The Sidney Crosby Show:

Game 3: Pens v Rangers (W 5-3)

Confluence of Three Rivers:

Penguins 5, Rangers 3: What’s the excuse this time??


ESPN:

Tough Therrien proving to be right balance for young Pens

Seth Rorabaugh / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Empty Netter:
Ned Braden not impressed -As hard as it might be to believe, Sean Avery used to get beat up by his teammates in junior hockey...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What Did He Say?

We're confused. How did two of New York's eminent Rangers beat writers miss the Lundqvist guarantee of a win? It was very newsworthy and the Pens fans have certainly picked up on it.

Joe Starkey / Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Insider: Lundqvist's promise -- Burning question: How reliable are sports guarantees? ...

"We know we can put more pressure on them. We're going to do that in New York, and we're going to get the win." -- Lundqvist, as quoted in the New York Daily News [by John Dellapina], after Game 2...
Why did Steve Zipay at Newsday just use the first half of the quote: "we know we can put more pressure on them," but not the second part?

Larry Brooks at the NY Post also only used a variation of the first part of the quote, "We know we have to put more pressure on them," in his Rangers story entitled: "Ranger Danger." But did not have the so-called "guarantee." Instead Brooks quotes Lundqvist saying:
...but hopefully in New York we'll find the way. We have to be confident that when we get back home we can take two the way they did here."
Sam Weinman of the Journal News has the full quote on his Rangers Report blog, and in an Journal News article. Strange.
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Pre-Game 3 Chatter:

Backs against the wall. How will our heroes respond?

Scotty Hockey:
You Know Its Bad ... -- When even Forbes Magazine is calling you out for being childish: When the referees do not call the other team for being in the same area of the ice as Crosby, Mr. Penguin whines like a 12 year girl old shut out of a Hannah Montana concert.
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Michael Obernauer /NY Daily News:
Rangers Happy To Be Home At MSG -- The Rangers are confident that their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Penguins is about to turn around for the simple reason that the Broadway Blueshirts are coming home Tuesday. If they're wrong, they could be going home for summer in two days...

Kristie Ackert / NY Daily News:
Pens Set For Antics Of Sean Avery -- Petr Sykora and the Penguins have gotten just a glimpse of the Sean Avery who was the talk of the Rangers' first-round series. Tuesday, when they enter the Garden with a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal, they expect to see a lot more...
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Steve Zipay / Newsday:
Sniping between Rangers and Penguins before Game 3 -- Sniping and gamesmanship don't have a day off during an increasingly testy Eastern Conference semifinal series in which the verbal sparring began before the puck was dropped.

Penguins coach Michel Therrien laughed aloud when told yesterday that after Game 2, Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said the pressure was on Pittsburgh to win Games 3 and 4 at Madison Square Garden...
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Arthur Staple / Newsday:
Rangers Must Rely On Their Experience -- The Penguins are not exactly beating up the Rangers, not knocking the New Yorkers silly after two games.

But the Rangers are getting beat. Holding serve at home, as the phrase goes, might be no cause for alarm in the home-heavy NBA or in Major League Baseball, but in hockey, a team that expects to win a playoff series expects to win one of the first two on the road...
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Jay Greenburg / NY Post:
Passing Grade -- When in doubt, shoot, unless your triggerman is shooting holes in that theory. "When you look at Pittsburgh, they don't shoot the puck," said Jaromir Jagr, who has scored 23 career postseason power-play goals. "They make cross-ice passes, making four guys tired and then somebody is going to be open ...

Mark Everson / NY Post:
Perfect Penguins Showing 6 Appeal -- Uh-oh, 6-0. It has failed only once in 40 years. Tonight, the Rangers must end that Penguins playoff perfection or they'll be at a brink from which hardly anyone ever returns. Drastic Rangers measures seem dictated for Game 3 at the Garden tonight. Of the 20 teams since expansion that have opened a playoff season winning their first half-dozen, 18 have gone to the Stanley Cup Finals, winning 10 Cups....
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Sam Weinman / Journal News
Rangers Back Home, Hopeful -- The flight home from Pittsburgh was everything you'd expect. The Rangers had just dropped their second game to the Penguins in their Eastern Conference semifinal, and for at least Sunday evening, players allowed themselves to stew over a missed opportunity.

"It was a quiet flight to say the least," forward Fred Sjostrom said. "We know we can play better and we haven't reached our full potential in this series. Hank (Henrik Lundqvist) is playing out of his mind, and you don't want to waste that. I think everybody was a little angry. We know we can do so much better." ..
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Lynn Zinser / NY Times:
Old Teammates Understand Why Winning And Drury Seem Inseparable -- When they came home from Williamsport, Pa., as Little League World Series champions that beautiful August day in 1989, the 15 boys from Trumbull, Conn., were full of youth and spunk, with seemingly boundless futures ahead of them.

But the spotlight fell on their championship-winning pitcher, the one player who wanted it least. And it has followed Chris Drury his whole life....

Going 5-Hole:
Henrik Lundqvist: “We’re going to win.” -- So, if Henrik is feeling confident, then I’m feeling confident...

Chris Kotsopoulos [retired National Hockey League player] /
Kotsy's Korner! blog:
Pens Take Game 2, 2-0 -- Jordan Staal beat Henrik Lundqvist with a nice move on a power play that gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead. The goal was scored on another questionable penalty call on Chris Drury (I think it was a weak call, it appeared Hossa was grabbing Drury's stick rather than Drury hooking him)...
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Penguin Scat

Seth Rorabaugh, Empty Netter blog / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
The culprit? -- We've had some harsh words for the NHL's Reebok Edge-Super-Duper-Mega-Ultra-Awesome-Humungo-Women-Will-Want-You Uniform System. The initial versions of the uniforms were about as breathable as a rubber suit. Players constantly complained the sweat they generated during games would basically be diverted to their gloves and skates...
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The Pensblog:
Hold Your Tongue. The Big Apple. -- Last year, we got panned when we made fun of Marty Straka. But a year older, a year less wiser. Being that Straka has turned into a big baby, it is worth bringing up what our joke about what the weight machine is about...
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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Penguins Q&A with Dave Molinari -- Q: Jaromir Jagr may be a free agent at the end of the season. Do you have any reason to think that he might be interested in coming back to the Pens?

Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Perfect start no cause for pressure -- A year ago, the Penguins dipped their toes in the dangerous waters of the playoffs and drowned in a five-game, first-round schooling by Ottawa. This year, things certainly are different...

Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Series puts Jordan and Marc Staal on opposite sides -- One day soon, brothers Marc and Jordan Staal will have a lot to talk about -- although Marc Staal hopes it's not too soon, so that he and the New York Rangers have a chance to extend their second-round series against Jordan and the Penguins...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fleury, Pens Special

The Penguins were 1-5 on their power play, generating fifteen shots on goal on the PP and thirty-two shots over all. The Rangers were 0-6 on the power play getting only nine shots on goal and twenty-six over all. Therein lies the tale of today's 2-0 Pens win giving them a 2-0 edge in the series that now goes back to New York where the Rangers must win the next two games. Also, the Penguins blocked twenty-two Ranger shots and the Rangers only blocked nine Penguin shots. The hits were even at twenty-eight apiece and the only key area won by the Rangers were faceoffs where they held a 37-20 edge. Unfortunately the Rangers could not capitalize on that stat just as they failed to capitalize on the power play, a bugaboo all season long.

Coach clueless made one lineup change, but looking at it I came to the conclusion that he made no lineup changes. Petr Prucha was penciled in over Colton Orr and got all of 5:50 of ice time including no time at all on the power play. Sean Avery, agitator extraordinaire in front of a goalie, got no ice time on the power play. In fact, Avery got the least ice time, 12:43, of the top six forwards. Ryan Callahan and Nigel Dawes got eight seconds each on the power play. So four young, aggressive type players got zilch on the power play while the usual suspects who have been ineffective all year on the power play got at least 5:25, Shanahan, to a high of 6:46 for Jagr who got three shots on goal the entire game and had four blocked. Martin Straka, who you would think would come out roaring after yesterday's call, got 20:45 of ice time, 6:00 of power play time with all of one shot on goal, one blocked shot, one missed shot but many pirouettes. He also has no luck as his game tying goal with a little over four minutes to go was overruled as the whistle blew before the puck squirted over the goal line. Tough call, but the rules can be cruel. Two games in a row Straka is involved in a game changing call.

Coach clueless has basically destroyed Petr Prucha this year. The guy who holds the Ranger rookie record for power play goals in a season and scored thirty goals in his rookie season has been relegated to the taxi squad so to speak. His percentage of a goal per game for his career is 28%, exceeded on the Rangers only by Jagr and Drury, and Drury is only at 30%. Prucha belongs on the PP and deserves more that six minutes of ice time. The power play has killed the Rangers all year and is the only constant on this team. The constant is bad and it lost a big game today.

Give the Pens credit though. Even though an effective power play could have turned the game around, the Pens controlled the game from start to finish. Fleury won the game but I don't really think he outplayed Lundqvist. Lundqvist made 30 saves, many spectacular, and Fleury made 26 saves.The defense in front of Fleury was solid as the twenty-two block shots attest to. The Rangers need some changes for game three, but I doubt that clueless will make them. The fourth line of Betts, Hollweg and Orr should be reunited. Prucha needs to be on one of the top three lines. Clueless will not sit Straka, even though he should, so maybe he should replace Dawes who is struggling a bit. I don't like to see Dawes sitting, but Straka will never be benched and Fredrik Sjostrom should sit. I fail to see what he brings to the party.

On defense, it's time to put Christian Backman in the observatory. He got over twenty minutes of ice time with 5:46 of power play time and no shots on goal the entire game. Play Jason Strudwick who brings stability and toughness, both qualities lacking in Backman, and both needed for our defense corp. I also don't understand the philosophy on the power play that has two defensemen at the points. Well, I do understand it. Coach clueless is playing defense even when the Rangers are on the power play. He is more concerned with giving up a shorthanded goal than scoring a powerplay goal. Both changes will probably not be made for Sjostrom and Backman were acquired by the Stealth GM and there is no way clueless will buck the GM. If the Stealth acquires them they must be great. Remember how long we had to live with Poti?

The Rangers are now in a similar position that they were in last year against Buffalo, down 2-0 in games and coming home. However, they cannot let Pittsburgh seize control of the game like they did today. I still believe that the best defense is a strong offense and we need an effective power play but did not have that today. Lundqvist played one whale of a game today. Too bad the Rangers didn't match him. The Penguins are now undefeated in the playoffs. But it ain't over yet!

ICINGS:

BlueShirt Bulletin:
Rangers Unplugged in Pittsburgh -- the credit has to go to the Penguins, their underrated defense turning in an outstanding performance in limiting the Rangers' scoring chances at even strength as well as on the power play...

Scotty Hockey:
Rangers No-Show -- In playoff hockey, the team that leaves it all on the ice is the one who prevails. Simply said, the Rangers have yet to do it. They didn't even seem to break a sweat until late in the third period, when the urgency factor kicked in. And that is just not good enough. They limp home down 2-0 after losing Game 2 2-0. They tried to adapt their style of play to the way the Pens play and it didn't work...

HockeyRodent:
Aggggggghhh! -- These are grown men. The instructions are very simple. Keep your sticks down and if you lose position on the enemy, you are baiting the referees by reaching in with the twig...

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Bob "Battleship" Kelly was mentioned during the broadcast. A few of his fights:
His NHL Fight Scorecard

Dancin' Larry versus The Cotton Candy Guy

The New York Rangers and MSG have 'Dancin' Larry,' while the Pens at the Igloo have the 'Cotton Candy Guy.' Larry clearly has the edge. You can tell Pittsburgh is a fun loving town.

the one the only Dancin Larry on Youtube

Seth Rorabaugh, Empty Netter blog / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
He wasn't there -- We erroneously reported Friday that the Cotton Candy Guy was in attendance at Game 1...

MySpace: Hi! I'm Ken the Cotton Candy Man, also known as the Lemonade Man. I work at Mellon Arena,PNC Park, and Heinz Field as a food service vendor. I sell cotton candy at Penguins games, peanuts at Steelers games, and lemonade, Pepsi, water, and even hot chocolate at Pirates games! I love my job. I love to yell "Cotton Candy," "Lemonade," and "Peanuts" as loudly as I can...
More NY Rangers traditions.

Some Pre-Game 2 Chatter

updated:

Carping, whining, criticizing, trash-talking, analyzing, dissecting, ranting, and mocking -- it's all in a good off-day's work during this tense Rangers-Pens series.

The Pensblog has taken to calling Sean Avery, Madonna. That is funny. Will they laugh if Rangers Land starts refering to Sid Crosby as Louganis? Doubtful. Efforts to beatify Mr. Crosby have been underway in Pens-sly-mania for sometime. You can't make fun of a saint, or else you're a blasphemer.

The pope of the NHL, who is more like Paulie and his schemes in the "Pope of Greenwich Village," has his anointing oils ready for the beatification of St. Sidney if he reaches the promised land. Currently you could say, Sid just has a Cultus confirmation.

Anyway, here's what's cooking in the Rangers-Pens playoff oven:

Blueshirt Bulletin [or for the Pens fans BooHoo Bulletin/BS Bulletin]:
The Good, the Bad, and the Crosby -- So why do we keep harping on Sidney Crosby's high diving act? Because we're whiners, right? Wrong -- it's because we're trying to influence the way the game is perceived. As Larry Brooks so aptly sums it up in today's Post, "The national spotlight now will be on the diving issue and the NHL's perceived bias toward its headline act. Everyone now will be under scrutiny, including Crosby, the referees calling the game, and the announcers working it. If this series truly is going to be the Rangers against the world, it will be plainly and painfully obvious by dinner." ...

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Sam Weinman / USA Today:
Rangers downplay furor over Crosby -- here was no game played between the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins in their Eastern Conference semifinal Saturday. But in an otherwise deserted Mellon Arena, the two teams still found themselves jousting...
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Steve Zipay / Newsday:
Rangers need to tighten defense for Game 2 -- Before Friday night, the Rangers hadn't allowed five goals in regulation since the 6-5 overtime loss to Montreal on Feb. 19, a span of 20 regular-season and five playoff games.

So naturally, after they watched video of the Penguins' 5-4 comeback victory in Game 1 - with special attention on mistakes by a team defense that was fragmented and didn't play well without the puck - yesterday's message was: We've got to tighten up. . .
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John Dellapina / NY Daily News:
Penguins' coach Michel Therrien cries foul over Sidney Crosby dive -- Putting the referees on notice beforehand to watch out for Sidney Crosby's penalty-drawing theatrics didn't work out too well for Rangers coach Tom Renney in Game1.

And Sunday we'll see how Penguins coach Michel Therrien's impassioned - and unsolicited - defense of his young superstar's on-ice integrity plays with the men in stripes in Game2. . .
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John Dellapina / NY Daily News:
Ranger 'D' can't check out -- Replacing Colton Orr with Petr Prucha on the fourth line might seem tantamount to rearranging deck chairs after the Rangers' Titanic-like performance in Game 1. . .
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Larry Broooks / NY Post:
Diving Right In -- The Penguins always have been an interesting franchise, saved from leaving town first in 1984 by conspiring to lose enough games the final six weeks of the season in order to be in position to draft Mario Lemieux, and then saved again in 2006 with a fortuitous victory in the post-lockout universal lottery that allowed the team to draft Sidney Crosby...
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Larry Brooks / NY Post:
Prucha Likely To Resurface In Game 2 -- Tom Renney implied that Petr Prucha would make his first appearance of the playoffs here this afternoon in Game 2 against the Penguins, and though the coach did not say whom he would replace, it's likely Colton Orr will be the healthy scratch after getting 5:48 of ice in his first tournament game on Friday...
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Lynn Zinser / NY Times Slap Shot blog:
Slap Shot Talks With Mike Bossy -- SS: Do you like what the NHL has become in the last few seasons?

MB: I think it’s still a work in progress as far as what they want the game to be. I think the referees are still getting a handle on what to call and what not to call. I think what players want, and everyone has heard this thousands of times, is consistency. They want to know what they can do and what they can’t do out there. I think they’ve done a pretty good job of determining where they want the game to be as far as its physicality. I still think there is work to be done as far as the hooking and the holding. . .

Lynn Zinser / NY Times Slap Shot blog:
Pittsburgh Coach Snaps Back -- The Rangers were eager to move on Saturday from Friday night’s Game 1 debacle against Pittsburgh, but Penguins Coach Michel Therrien was not ready to let go of the conversation about the interference call on Rangers forward Martin Straka against Penguins center Sidney Crosby that the Rangers found so egregious. . .
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Penguin Scat

Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Rangers' roster moves pay off -- In Ottawa, the Penguins faced a team that got out of the gate fast this season, but limped down the stretch. That made for a mismatch in the Penguins' four-game, first-round sweep in the playoffs.

In the New York Rangers, the Penguins are facing something of an inverted image of the Senators. . .
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Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Penguins Notebook: Therrien says his star is no flopper -- There's nothing new about opponents trying to label Penguins center Sidney Crosby a diver, or at least embellishing the effect of infractions committed against him.

It's been a staple in some quarters since former Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock trotted out that smear for the first time during Crosby's rookie season. . .
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Rob Rossi / Tribune-Review:
'X-Generation' has given way to new breed of Penguin -- The blue-painted goaltender's crease on a sheet of ice suits Marc-Andre Fleury just fine, and he hardly minds sitting at a table with buddy Sidney Crosby to answer a few questions in front of reporters and camera operators following a Penguins' playoff win.

Seeing his portrait on the side of a bus almost five years ago was more than a bit discomforting, though....

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Defense Plus Refs Equals Defeat

Jaromir Jagr at the post game remarked that he expected something to happen. Boy, can he call them. Crosby, to his credit, saved his dive for the end. You remember the comedian Dom DeLuise's great line, "No applause please, save it for the end". On a play that was behind the main play, Whiner II, upon contact with Martin Straka went splashing to the ice, in obvious pain, to the roar of the White Shirted Penguin crowd. Two minute interference call, man advantage penalty, game winning goal on a shot by The Diver off another Penguin. In fact, three of the Penguin goals were deflected off an assortment of Ranger/Penguin players. So it was a typical sequence Penguin win. Dive, call, penalty, goal. Game, set, match. I tried to get a better view of the Dive but Versus had poor reruns that weren't conclusive. You don't think they did it on purpose?

However, the Rangers helped give the game to the Penguins. The defense was awful. Coach clueless's defense-at-all-costs was very costly. It started with the Rangers up 3-0 and Rozsival fanned on a simple clear out which gave the puck to Rutuu who headed deep into the Ranger zone. Rozsival, who must have felt an affinity to Rutuu, chased him in, planted himself in front of the net and allowed the first goal to go in off of his skate. Three more Penguin goals were scored including a two on one where Fedor Tyutin couldn't make up his mind who to cover and he covered no one and Sykora had an easy tap in. Tuts, in case this happens again, leave the shooter to the goalie, you cover the other guy.

After the Pens went ahead 4-3, Gomez tied it up, and with time running out Jagr hit the post. But the Rangers did score four goals and should have won the game but the defense collapsed and its hard to imagine a defense so soft and so mistake prone in such a big game. Hey, I've been screaming about this defense for three years and we have had three years to get some rugged guys but we wind up with the Backman's of the world.

The ultimate insult was Rutuu putting his stick in Rozsival's face and he did nothing but stare at him. Forget the stupid officials who skated to Rutuu and had to put down his stick with no penalty call. I guess the Sean Avery rule doesn't apply to skaters. Where were the Rangers? Where was Rozsival? More importantly, will they shake hands after the series? I remember way back when during a Ranger/Flyer game and the Flyers were harassing the GAG line and had put their bruisers on against them. Prior to the faceoff, coach Emile Francis, beckoned Rod Gilbert to get off the ice and Francis replaced him with a guy I believed was named Ron Harris. Well, they dropped the puck and Harris and the Flyer, Kelly, exchanged blows. Well let's put it this way. Harris punched and Kelly caught. End of intimidation. This would be shocking and unbecoming in the new, Bettman/Crosby NHL.

One more thing on the TV coverage. It is minor league. They seemed peeved when the Rangers scored and ecstatic when the Pens scored. The absence of a revealing replay of the Crosby dive was telling. What also annoyed me was coach clueless's post game news conference. He refused to talk about the play/dive/penalty. Why? Why not talk about the play. Why not scream long and loud about the play. So they would have fined him. Big deal. By not talking about it, it validates the call and they will see many more calls like that. Remember, it wasn't until the fourth game that they called diving on Brodeur. You wonder why the team is so passive. But this is what we have in what is called hockey today. It is sanitized. Its stick over body. Its Crosby diving at the slightest touch and its Jagr taking all kinds of hits and rarely ever going down. And the Rangers subscribe to this through their coach who believes that a pained expression and silence will carry the day. The old Brooklyn Dodger Manager, Leo Durocher, may have gotten it right when he said, "Nice guys finish last".

ICINGS:

Scott Burnside / ESPN:
Crosby, a diver? Question sparks war of words between Rangers, Pens -- To carp or not to carp: that is the question.

It wasn't quite Hamlet's soliloquy; but for an off day after Game 1 of this Eastern Conference semifinals, it was pretty good. Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien took the New York Rangers, and specifically coach Tom Renney, to task for accusing Sidney Crosby of diving.

For almost three minutes, Therrien went non-stop, talking about how disappointed he was in Renney and saying it was obvious the Rangers coach was trying to get into the collective kitchens of Crosby, the on-ice officials and the NHL in general...

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Arthur Staple / Newsday:
Crosby's diving works to perfection in Game 1 -- So, any of those hundreds of Penguins fans who were shocked - shocked, I tell you! - when I wrote on Wednesday that Sidney Crosby is a whiner and a diver care to chime in today?

No? That's OK. You're probably all sleeping in in your "white-out" gear after Friday night's win, and you're entitled. The Penguins showed some resolve in rallying from three goals down, got good contributions from a couple third- and fourth-liners and a very good night from the Evgeni Malkin- Petr Sykora-Ryan Malone trio...
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"I haven't changed one bit; I never dove and I don't dive now ... That's just part of the playoffs; part of gamesmanship. If I go down, it's because I've been forced down. I'll do whatever I can to stay on my feet. I think he (Renney) should be the one worried about diving." - Sidney Crosby quoted in NY Post
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Highlights: Penguins vs. Rangers: Game 1 2008 Playoffs - April 25, 2008 [10:30]

Game 1 Roundup: Pens Jump Out of the Pot

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Jaromir Jagr, left, flicks the puck past Pen's Sidney Crosby during the first period of Game 1The ice-chicken was in the pot getting nicely basted when the kettle tipped over and burned the cooks.

Blowing a three goal lead is no big deal to Ranger fans. Heck, this team has blown five goal leads and found away to come back. That's the positive attitude that our Blueshirt heroes will need if they want to stop the march of the Penguins.

The Straka interference call on Crosby with about three minutes remaining in the game was crucial. Rangers people think it was a bad call, the Pens fans, of course, see it as a good call. Here are few reactions to that key play.

MSG hockey analyst Stan Fischler said the Straka penalty call was "terrible."

MSG's Al Trautwig said the call was "questionable."

Seth Rorabaugh at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Empty Netter blog wrote: "It looked like interference by the book to us. Like we said, by the book that's interference. But we will say we've seen a lot worse not called whatsoever this postseason."

Seth also provided a link to the video [at the 1:51 mark].

Lynn Zinser of the NY Times labeled it a "tough call" in her article.

The Pensblog called it interference: "Late in the third, a loose puck was up for grabs. Martin Straka interferes with Crosby trying to get it. Interference is a penalty."
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More from Ranger Land and others

John Dellapina / NY Daily News:
Sidney Crosby diving for penalty -- On a night when it was hard for any Ranger to argue that they deserved better than a series-opening loss, the ones willing to discuss it had no trouble arguing that a bit of acting by Sidney Crosby drew the penalty that led to the deciding Pittsburgh power-play goal.

The normally mild-mannered Martin Straka, in fact, argued so strenuously upon emerging from the penalty box and after the final buzzer that he was assessed a game-misconduct penalty at game's end.

"I was just saying he was diving - that was the only thing," Straka said of his protestations to referees Don Koharski and Kelly Sutherland before and after being boxed for an interference infraction well behind a rush the Rangers already had thwarted. "That's what I thought. I was skating, too. I was moving my feet." . . .
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David Shoalts / Globe & Mail:
The comeback kids -- After the explosive Penguins fought back from a 3-0 Rangers lead, the game hinged on an interference-penalty call on Rangers centre Martin Straka. He was caught impeding Crosby, who was trying to catch up to a 2-on-1 rush.

Coming into the series, the Rangers complained long and loud that Crosby likes to dive to draw penalties. That made the call on Straka a bitter pill, especially when Crosby set up the winning goal. Crosby took a long slap shot that hit Malkin, who was in front of the net. The puck bounced past Lundqvist, the Rangers goaltender, on a night of deflected goals. . .
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Lynn Zinser / NY Times Slap Shot blog:
Rangers Lose a Barnburner on a Tough Call -- The Rangers have plenty of things to blame for their 5-4 loss to the Penguins in the first game of their playoff series Friday night, most self-inflicted, but they took issue with the call that set up the game-winning power-play goal.

Rangers forward Martin Straka was called for interfering with Penguins center Sidney Crosby on a rush started by Marian Hossa. Rangers center Scott Gomez had knocked the puck away from Hossa at the blue line, seemingly thwarting the threat. But on the other side of the play, away from the puck, Straka ran into Crosby.

“I just saw him,” Straka said. “He was diving and that was it.” . . .
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John Dellapina / NY Daily News:
Penguins make huge comeback, beat Rangers 5-4 -- The loot was in the trunk and the getaway car was revved. The Rangers were on their way to stealing another series opener. And who knows what kind of psychological blow that might have dealt to a young Pittsburgh Penguins team that has yet to overcome any playoff adversity? . . .
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Larry Brooks / NY Post:
Crosby Dives Into Series -- Sid's Not Kidding, Tells Rangers He Doesen't Dive

This was more than your customary vanilla pre-series press briefing from Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby. This morning, hours before the puck would be dropped here for the opener of the Rangers-Penguins Eastern Conference semifinal, No. 87 reacted angrily when asked to respond to innuendo from Tom Renney that Crosby embellishes possible penalties and takes dives.

Thursday, Renney, asked if he were concerned about a potential bias toward Crosby, who has been known to embellish in order to draw penalty calls, said he would speak to the series supervisor of officials about a number of topics.

"I haven't changed one bit; I never dove and I don't dive now," Crosby said today with a flash of anger. "That's just part of the playoffs; part of gamesmanship.

"If I go down, it's because I've been forced down. I'll do whatever I can to stay on my feet. I think he (Renney) should be the one worried about diving.". . .
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Steve Zipay / Newsday:
Rangers give up 3-0 lead, lose to Penguins -- Understatement of the month: If you want to advance in the Stanley Cup playoffs, you have to protect three-goal leads.

The Rangers couldn't Friday night, as the Penguins scored four consecutive goals - in two sudden strikes 14 seconds apart in the second period and 20 seconds apart in the third - to erase that margin. Although Scott Gomez's blast tied the score, Sidney Crosby's one-timer from the right boards on a power play hit Evgeni Malkin's leg and flew past Henrik Lundqvist with 1:41 left for the Game 1 winner. . .
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Steve Zipay / Newsday:
Penguins plan to ignore Rangers pest Avery -- Avery was on his best behavior and his wrister nicked Fleury's right shoulder and went in the net for his fourth goal of the playoffs and a 3-0 second-period lead.

"I don't have to reel Sean in," Rangers coach Tom Renney said before the game. "I expect him to compete as hard as ever." . . .
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Dubi Silverstein / BlueShirt Bulletin:
Rangers Can't Stick to Script -- Just about everything we thought might happen in this series happened in the opening game last night. We just never expected to see it all happen in one game. . .

They have bounced back from adversity like this all season long. So when Gomez said this game is over, it doesn't matter how it was lost , it's on to the next game, one can come away from this knowing that there is still enough left in the Rangers' arsenal to turn this outcome and this series around.
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Janine / Section 404:
Round 2 -- The good news is that the Pittsburgh defense isn't all that impressive either, and the Rangers have a clear win in goal. I think we've got a shot. See you all on Tuesday.
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Doug Fischer / Blue Shirts on Broadway:
Refs Help Pens Steal Game 1 -- Game 1 between the Rangers and the Penguins was entertaining for sure, unfortunately the Refs played a major role in the final result, a 5-4 Penguins win. If the game was split into 2 sections, you could tell that the first 28 minutes belonged to us but the rest favored the home team. . .
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HockeyRodent:
March Of The Penguins -- This will not be a long series, folks. If the OLN VS coverage is any indicator, the Rangers are a mere roadbump in the march of the Penguins towards the conference finals. The pair of brutal penalty calls drawn by Sidney Crosby are no accident. We have seen this formula time and time and time again. Crosby dives and up goes the arm. It has been this way the lst two seasons. . .
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Lynn Zinser / NY Times:
3-Goal Lead Vanishes in All the Excitement -- Game 1 of their second-round playoff series against Pittsburgh was an exhilarating, frenetic match — just what the Rangers did not want. . .
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CBC
Penguins win Game 1 thriller -- The Pittsburgh Penguins weathered an early storm and then stormed out to an amazing victory Friday night. . .
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Penquin Scat

Dave Molinari / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Star burst: Penguins rally from 3-0 hole, win, 5-4 -- Crosby's slap shot with 1:41 left caroms right off Malkin's skate, turns into winning goal to cap rally from 3-0 deficit . . .

Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Rangers Notebook: N.Y. coach unhappy with late penalty -- The fact that the winner came with his team shorthanded didn't thrill Renney, in no small part because Crosby drew an interference penalty from the Rangers' Marty Straka.

Renney, who indicated before the series started that he was wary of Crosby drawing penalties, perhaps when they aren't deserved, was asked twice about that one.

At first, he stayed silent.

"That's your answer," he said.

Later, he asked, "Did you see it? Draw your own conclusions." ...
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Seth Rorabaugh, Empty Netter blog / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
In no particular order... -- A bunch of material from last night that we're presenting to you in a completely random fashion . . .
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The Pensblog:
Gone In 60 Seconds. PENS WIN -- What was going through your head after Madonna [Avery] scored 3:37 into the second period? Were you looking up coupons for golf clubs? Were you making ill-advised comments on message boards?

We don't blame you. Things weren't pretty at all...
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Sidney Crosby: The Diver

Sidney Crosby: The Diver---
Yesterday we posted a link to a YouTube video entitled "Crosby Fake!" that allegedly showed Sidney Crosby taking a dive in a game with the Canadiens.

A Pensblogger said, "a reverse reply showed the Habs player put the butt end of his stick up in Crosby's face with a lot of force. But as we're gonna hear a lot, we're just providing excuses."

Here is another look at that Crosby play. The key part is at the end. Use the pause button if you want check it out frame-by-frame.

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ICINGS:

Blights in White Satin [courtesy The Pensblog]:

Friday, April 25, 2008

Game Day: Time to Start Cooking the Penguins

-- updated --

Featured Penguin recipes
The Penguin Recipe Page -- "The only good penguin is a digested penguin."

Beware the Penguin
Penguin Hunting tips -- In his natural habitat, the penguin has several predators and from these we must learn the essence of penguin warfare..
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Sam Weinman / Rangers Report:
More from the Igloo -- Game 1 of Rangers-Pens is still some six hours away, and already there have been attempts—either real or perceived—to stir things up by the large media contingent here...

This was apparent about a minute into Sidney Crosby’s press conference, when he was asked about comments by Jaromir Jagr that Crosby and Malkin were not at the level of Mario Lemieux.

First of all, this is incorrect, because what Jagr really said is the game is so different now, guys like Crosby simply aren’t able to dominate like Lemieux once did...

John Dellapina's Blueshirt blog / NY Daily News:
Pens: We won't lose focus in face of The Grate One -- Sean Avery has yet to get in the face of any Penguin, but is he already in their heads?

Sean Avery has yet to get in the face of any Penguin, but is he already in their heads?

Whether it is reporters steering the conversation in that direction or the Pens unable to control themselves, much of the pre-series chatter in the Pittsburgh locker room has been about The Grate One...

Peter Botte / NY Daily News:
Rangers Put Wait And Talk To Rest As Penguin Series Looms

Jen C. / Rangerland.net:
Pregame ... We Want Hockey -- We’re seeing anti-Crosby sentiment in the local newspapers. I think the issue is being overblown just a tad bit. Yes, I do have concerns. I even wrote about Crosby’s on-ice drama not so long ago...
YouTube Video [38 sec.]:
**** Sidney Crosby Fake Dive ****

Newsday:
Penguins Bring On The Firepower

NY Post:
Crosby Clampdown
The Matchups

Hockey Bird:
Building Excitement -- Bird and Rod have a bet on the series.
Oh yeah....Rod is the base player from the Eleventh Hour in Pittsburgh...
Iron City Golden Lager -- I used to love that beer...

Journal News:
Rangers' Playoff History With Penguins Is Ugly

Ranger Ramblings:
Rangers Look To Reverse Playoff History Against Penguins

Blueshirt Bulletin:
Where Have We Heard That One Before? -- UPDATE: Colton Orr returns to the line-up in place of Ryan Hollweg. Gary Roberts will not play because Sean Avery is apparently too much of a pain in the cup for him. Sidney Crosby doesn't dive -- film at 11:00...

The Dark Ranger:
Hours Before The Big Game

NY Times:
The Morning Skate: Know Your Enemy
Penguins Have More Than Game’s Top Star
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Please ignore that man that everyone is talking about.

David Shoalts / Globe & Mail:
Penguins' plan for Avery: ignore him -- When it comes to drawing attention to himself, New York Rangers pest Sean Avery is as skilled as his hockey talents are modest.

And that, say the Pittsburgh Penguins, is the point. If they ignore him like the New Jersey Devils could not, then Avery's antics will not have an effect on the second-round NHL playoff series between the Rangers and Penguins that begins tonight.

Georges Laraque, who had his own nasty encounter with Avery 2½ years ago when both players were with different teams, said the Penguins are too accustomed to Avery to let him bother them ...
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Mark Spector / National Post:
Penguins plan to ignore Avery ... or try to, anyway -- Sean Avery arrived in the Pittsburgh Penguins dressing room Thursday morning like smoke from a faraway fire. You think you have all the doors and windows closed, then you put on a clean shirt and it's there - that awful smell.

The maddening thing was that the Penguins had already locked everything down. They were going to do what we all do in life when there is something out there that we know is coming, but we don't really want to deal with it. They would simply ignore him...
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Mike Zeisberger / Toronto Sun:
Will superpest get swatted? -- To hear the Pittsburgh Penguins tell it, the game plan to counteract New York Rangers superpest Sean Avery is to ignore him.

Good luck...
Meto News - Canada: Avery’s antics worth watching
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Deadspin:
Previewing The Rangers-Penguins -- From Paul's First Letter To The Russians: So the Prophecy according to Bettman didn't come together exactly...

Sean Avery's a New York Ranger, and is the complete opposite of the salvation Crosby's offering to bring the hockey world. Here his is modeling his trademarked Punch Me in the Face Eyewear.

Prediction: Penguins in 7. Avery with 23 PIM.
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Penguin Scat

Eddy Spaghetti Penguins Blog:
CBC Exclusive: Sean Avery = Girl -- The following is a clip from CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada previewing the Pens v. Rangers series. The highlight is Jarkko Ruutu [calling Avery a girl] ...
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The Pensblog:
Blame It On The Renney -- ... it hits you that the pent-up frustration of Pens fans over Jagr's departure from Pittsburgh could not have a better climax.

The Pensblog: The Devil wears AverySlowly, your hatred for Sean Avery seeps out of your body as you stare at a wall.

You remember that Sidney Crosby is on the biggest stage of his career.
You remember Marc-Andre Fleury is red-hot.
You remember when Dick Tarnstrom was the Pens leading scorer not to long ago. ...

We found some actual nice Rangers fans.

[HockeyBird] emailed us to wish us good luck in the series.

Also another solid Ranger blog is [RangerPundit], we have been reading since back before we even started a blog.
We cannot say enough good things about him.
He has been blogging since 2004. ...
comment: All kidding aside. The Pensblog is one of our favorite blogs and we will be reading it every day during this great series. Love their Avery photoshops and a good feud (with Blueshirt Bulletin).
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Seth Rorabaugh, Empty Netter blog / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Do it for Zubie -- If nothing else, the Penguins need to avenge the memory of Sergei Zubov tonight ...

-Should Jagr be booed?

-Unlike everyone else, including us, the Penguins will plan on trying to ignore Sean Avery.

-We'll be blogging live tonight. Tune in around 6:30 p.m. or so. ...
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Post-Gazette:
Penguins Notebook: Protecting Fleury major priority against Rangers
The second round: Who has the edge?
Jagr returns to scene of prime for Round Two

Tribune-Review:
Pens hope to overwhelm Rangers' Lundqvist
Looking back on Jagr trade
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The Sidney Crosby Show:
So It Begins -- My caption? One word: UNREAL...

This one's for the ladies (well, I suppose the men could vote too...): The radio station B94 is taking a vote to find out who is Pittsburgh's hottest Penguin. Right now ...

While most people in my office are saying TGIF, I'm saying TGIHNP!!!! (Thank God It's a Hockey Night in Pittsburgh!) ...
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Tony Ferrante / The Confluence of the Three Rivers blog:
Penguins/Rangers: Enough talk, let’s drop the puck - Roberts Out for Game One
According to ESPN Radio 1250, Gary Roberts is OUT for tonight’s Game One. It appears that Roberts’ groin is still not healed enough to give it a go tonight...
[...]

Ignore Sean Avery. Easier said than done, understood...
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Jes GÅ‘lbez / Hockey Rants:
Foolish Second Round Predictions -- Penguins over NY Rangers in 6

Malkin and Crosby are both emotional players, so I worry about them being able to ignore Sean Avery's antics...
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Igloo Dreams:
Playoff Game #5 - vs New York Rangers -- blah, blah, blah, goaltending, blah, blah, blah, Avery ...
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The Last Word
Ranger Pundit prescient quote / April 14, 2007:
"How do you ignore Sean Avery? Do you ignore an itch? Do you ignore a gnat on your neck?"

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rangers vs. Pens: Playoff Preview

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New York Rangers vs. Pittsburg Penguins - Round 2
John Dellapina / Daily News:
Rangers Like Own Youth vs. Penguins
Breaking Down The Rangers-Penguins Eastern Conference Semifinal Series
Rangers-Penguins TV sked

Steve Zipay / Newsday:
Rangers vs. Penguins Preview: The Matchups

NY Post:
Jagr: Sidney Not In Mario's League
Bettman KOs Avery Shirt

Sam Weinman / Journal News:
Subplots Abound In Rangers-Penguins Series

Hockey Bird:
Rangers vs. Ice Chickens -- Isn't that nice.....a whole series of hearing about how great Sid the Kid is ...

Scotty Hockey:
So It's Set: Rangers vs. Penguins -- ... Keys To The Series.
*Someone has to give Cindy a binky so he can't cry to the refs...

Outside the Garden:
Penguin On The Menu

Lisa Kennelly / Star-Ledger:
Jagr facing chilly return to the Igloo

NY Times:
Penguins’ Fans Are Certain To Boo When Jagr Takes Flight
Rangers-Penguins, a Parent’s Nightmare -- Marc Stall (NY) vs. Jordan Staal (Pitt)
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Penguins are dirty birdsPenguin Scat

The Pens Blog:
No Sleep Till Manhattan -- With both teams possessing some nice firepower, it's gonna come down to the goalies...

This guy [Arthur Staple] isn't calling for a Ranger to injure a Penguin, so he's still all right.

He's just spewing his nonsense ...
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The Pens Blog: Bulletin Board Material --
:: Crosby's a diver. [ Newsday ]
Sean Leahy / Going Five Hole:
New York Media Already Removing Their Binky's -- ... Arthur Staple [at Newsday] prepares an excuse if the Penguins get by the Rangers.
Rangers may have to beat Crosby and refs, too -- [The Rangers] should be absolutely certain that Crosby will whine to the refs every time he's bodied off a puck or otherwise interrupted.

Sid the Kid is the best player in the game, but at just 20 years old, he's become a master at complaining and drawing penalties with dives or overreactions to slashes and sticks waving by his face..
.
Haven't we been down this road before? So, basically Sidney Crosby and the Penguins will never get a fair shake in the eyes of opposing fans and media because there's some conspiracy for him to win a Stanley Cup every single year of his career.

Can we get over that already? ...
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The Sidney Crosby Show:
Prepare For Battle -- And there are two more things that prove how much of a tool this guy [Arthur Staple of Newsday] is...
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Gene Collier / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Traffic alert: Penguins rev up -- The Rangers . . . represent balance, discipline, experience, hunger and just about every other conceivable menace without even mentioning Sean Avery. "

They play such good defense," said Penguins forward Petr Sykora, the first-round sniper. "When we get chances, we've got to create traffic in front of the net. You're not going to get a lot of outside goals or stuff that starts behind the net. We've got to create traffic."

You wouldn't figure a New York team to be unduly aggravated by traffic, but it appears right now to be the only way to beat Lundqvist, keeper of the New York net and fresh off a five-game dismissal of gold standard counterpart Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils. "

He's big and he doesn't get caught out of position," Sidney Crosby said of King Henry after yesterday's practice. "If you get a chance to get him out of position, you've got to make it count." ...
The Blue Line / NJ.com:
Subplots should mean more drama -- First of all, don't call him Henry. Second of all, can you believe on a team filled with stars, the defense, of all things, gets so much credit from former Ranger Petr Sykora? Very interesting...
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The Sidney Crosby Show:
Ammo Against Avery -- Now that we know we face the Rangers for round 2, let the loathing begin anew! And my God, there aren't even words to describe this hate-inducing gem that good Friend of The Show Cassie C. found about Ranger schmuck Sean Avery (from ABC News):
Macho man and provocateur Sean Avery -- by some accounts the most hated player in the National Hockey League [snoop: you can say that again] -- will be joining the estrogen-infused world of fashion as an unpaid intern at Vogue magazine...

[this guy is a joke]
Why We Call Sid The Saint
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Seth Rorabaugh, Empty Netter Blog / Pittsburg Post-Gazette:
[very good] Rounding Up -- Welcome to the conference semifinals. Or the second round. Or the round after the first round. Or whatever you want to call it.

It's been a while since Penguins fans have been this far...

Something worthwhile about the Penguins: Sidney Crosby (2.00) and Evgeni Malkin (1.75) have the two highest point-per-game averages in the playoffs. ...

Something useless about the Rangers: From 1989 to 1993, the Rangers drafted at least one player who would eventually become a Penguin. They are: Roman Oksiuta (10th round 1989), Sergei Zubov (Fifth round, 1990), Alex Kovalev (first round, 1991), Peter Ferraro (first round 1992), Eric Cairns (third round, 1992), Chris Ferraro (fourth round, 1992) and Maxim Galonov (third round, 1993).

Best Rangers YouTube We Could Find: Rangers defenseman Barry Beck jumping over the boards to fight Penguins defenseman Paul Baxter:

-Arthur Staple of Newsday is the early favorite to be the Don Brennan of this series. He claims Sidney Crosby is a diver and that Adam Graves's slash back in the 1992 playoffs on Mario Lemieux was an unintentional dirty play...
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FAUXRUMORS:
Second Round Predictions -- NY Rangers vs. Pittsburgh: In our pre-season-playoff predictions we picked the East's Final 4 as the Rangers, Pitt, Philly and Ottawa. We had the Rangers playing the Penguins for the Conference title. So its a round earlier? Anyway, this match up should prove to be the much more entertaining of the two East series. These teams played 8 times in the regular season so they're should be little need to get acquainted. The two contrast in style with the offensively gifted Penguins looking to/can run opposing teams out of the building, with the patient/disciplined Rangers waiting for opposing teams to make mistakes. Generally in the playoffs its the ladder that wins more games, as does the team with the better goalie (Rangers). However we will have to go against the grain here and believe that the penguins simple possess to much fire power for even Vezina candidate Lundqvist to handle. Key players for both teams: For Pittsburgh: Fleury. For the Rangers: J. Jagr. Prediction: Pittsburgh in 6.

vs.
James Mirtle:
More predictions with conviction It's Round 2 already -- ... My big worry in picking the Rangers in this one, as I did preplayoffs, is the fact Tom Renney's going to roll out a green defence (Dan Girardi and Marc Staal) against some of the league's true superstars. I think they'll surprise us — and it'll come down to the goalies. King Henrik wins. (Sorry Pensblog Charlie.)
New York in 6.
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Penguins Playoff Video Blog:
Sweep!! Pens win 3-1 move on to next round -- Here are my awards for round one of the playoffs

Penguins MVP:
The MVP has to be Marc-andre Fleury.
  • He gave up a total of 5 goals in four games
  • Fleury posted a goals against average of just 1.26
  • He finished with a save percentage of .955
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NY Rangers:
Video [3:37 min] -- Chris Elliott of the "Late Show with David Letterman" visits the Rangers, find out what happens in his attempt to skate with the Blueshirts.

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