Monday, March 30, 2009

Waiting to Exhale

Ryan Callahan after he blasted a right wing shot past Marty Brodeur for his 21st goal at 15:06 in the 2ndI was holding my breath before tonight's game. I was very worried about the Devils.

Would our old Sean Avery lucky charm still work its magic and turn Satan's spawn back into Martha and the Debbies? Or would the adopted Sons of Lou show up as Marty, the winningest goalie in NHL history, and the traveling Zach Parise scoring show? Would our wheezing and gased Rangers team end their two game slide? And, would our Prince be princely, our Torts tortly, and our Wade stay on his blade?

I won't argue with that Versus viewer mail about this being the best 0-0 game after the first period, and the best 3-0 game after the second. Still, going into the third I wasn't ready to do a victory lap around the sofa yet. Shanny had that look. Would he find a way to smite us? Payback for some possible Slats slight? Maybe irony just wanted to toy with us.

Fortunately, the 3-0 score held up and the Blueshirters won a critical game that firmed up their playoff chances. The Devils mean time are looking very shaky and un-Devil like. They now have a five game losing streak.

Seeing Ryan Callahan get a shot off in the slot and score, at 15:06 in the 2nd, was like seeing the first Robin of spring. A sight that was missing all winter. Where did those shots from the slot migrate to? I hope they stay around awhile and have more offspring.

Lundqvist's 38 saves yielded his 20th shutout and earned the first star of the game. Gomez with an assist on Callahan's goal had the second star. Girardi scored is 4th goal and was the third star.

Finally, our spine, the Grate One, Sean Avery was splendidly spiney and grating. Although, he did a pretty good rag doll imitation as David Clarkson manhandled him. Hitting Avery with a two minute penalty for roughing the ice with his face must be some new version of the Avery Rule.

So with five games remaining and 90 points, one behind the sixth place Penguins, the Rangers are now being projected as playoff bound by the statistical geniuses. Let's hope the stats don't lie. And, that our heroes continue to thaw out the Renney freeze dried offense.


The Sean Avery article from the Sunday NY Times tells us that the Grate One has gone zen master. Pay attention grasshopper.

NY Times Fashion & Style:
The Demon on His Shoulder --

IN the first period of the New York Rangers game Tuesday, Sean Avery, a left wing, repeatedly punched an opponent in the skull. An hour later, Mr. Avery stood in a locker room at Madison Square Garden discussing men’s fashion.

“I admire well-dressed men no matter where they are — a guy in a police uniform that has it pulled together nicely or a doctor in his scrubs,” he said, a nasty scratch bleeding on his chin. “I like that identity of having a presence. I think that’s what it is. It states your presence.” ...

“He [Avery] has become a little more Zen in his thinking.” ...
Sean Avery, at the Perry Ellis show last September----
Andrew Gross at Rangers Rants diligently provides Avery's take on the Clarkson altercation and the game, The Avery tape:
On not fighting with David Clarkson in the third period: "It's a 3-0 game at that point. I don't think that there's anything to gain by doing anything at that point."

On whether it took discipline for him not to fight: "It certainly takes discipline, for sure."

On why he didn't want to fight Clarkson: "You fight for your team and for your teammates. At that point, I didn't need to fight for either of them, so there's really no point."

On being angry he received a roughing call anyway: "I don't really know what happened there. There's a lot going on in a big scrum. We came out with a power play so that's a good thing." ...
2nd Update:

Jeff Klein at the NY Times gives us a more in-depth look at Avery the puppet master.
A Fuller Portrait of Sean Avery vs. the Devils --
Sean Avery was not merely a Zen master in the Rangers’ 3-0 victory over the Devils on Monday night. He was a Machiavellian Zen master...
Well after bedtime, Petr Prucha showed why he's the man in Phoenix.

Petr Prucha after scoring a power-play goal 53 seconds into overtimePetr Prucha tallied a power-play goal 53 seconds into overtime on Monday to lead the Coyotes to a 6-5 win over the Dallas Stars at Arena. He was the game's first star.
Recap: Coyotes 6, Stars 5, OT --
Petr Prucha scored 53 seconds into the extra session on a power play to lift the Coyotes to a 6-5 victory over the Dallas Stars in front of 13,381 at Arena.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Prucha, who scored his second goal with the Coyotes. “It would be even better if we won it before the overtime … we are happy to have two points tonight.”

Prucha, who already had two assists in the game, was sent out by Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky for the four-on-three power play after Stars defenseman Andrew Hutchinson was called for tripping. With a down low set up by Shane Doan, the captain fed a pass to Prucha, who one-timed the puck past Stars goalie Tobias Stephan for his sixth goal this season. It was the first four-on-three goal the Coyotes have scored this season...

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  • blow-me-down said...

    There's an old saying about the word 'assume', you know it, "it makes an 'ass' of 'u' and 'me'"

    I'm pretty sure the Devils' Dumbo Clarkson has heard of it, but never knew what it meant (hence the 'Dumbo'). He assumed that Sean Avery was a puppet and would dance. Even though Sean was twisted around and slammed to the ice twice, he was the guy calling the tune. "aah sorry I could not oblige you Mr. Clarkson, but I'm busy winning a hockey game."

    I saw the event and just said to myself what I always knew. Sean is a whole lot smarter than his detractors.
    And when he was penalized for being the big Dumbo Clarkson's rag doll, I know we all just said "Well, why not, where's the surprise, we're expecting this crap anyway."

    This is not a game to complain overly about officiating, though the call against Avery was bogus. Saturday's game against the waddlers was a tragedy, but this was pretty reasonable, the zebrae let them play.

    Devils fans say their team is under-performing right now. Perhaps they are right.

    Two points for NYR is all that matters.

  • Section 335 said...

    Most of you went to bed after the Rangers game to miss the second act on Versus. The star of that show was Petr Prucha, who scored the game winner in overtime and had two helpers in regulation. In case you wonder, he plays on the first line with the best players and the power play while Nigel Dawes sits on the bench. Yes, he was the number one star of the game. Oh, his best games are against teams like Dallas and the Sharks - teams that seem to play us pretty well.

    My point is pretty simple. Renney and Sather are still idiots. We have one idiot left to get rid of, and it is such a shame we lost a talent like Prucha because they could not figure how to use him. 13 games in Phoenix and he has two goals and 7 assists. Two goals and four assists in the last five games. Guess Wayne Gretzky figured it out.

  • jb said...

    sec. 335,
    Thanks for the Prucha update. I had to add this titbit as an update to the post. We gave away a future All-Star. But, we get to keep our idiots.

    You're right. Avery is the puppet master. We all just live in his world. Clarkson was played. Can a story about the Rangers now not include some reference to Avery? Versus sure seemed to like the Avery angle. The two points are big, less worry.

  • Section 335 said...

    In the three years since the 2004-05 lockout, it has taken 92, 92 and 94 points to qualify for the East's eighth and final playoff spot.

    89 points and five games left. Win three of five and you get an invitation to the dance. Fail to win three, and you really would not do well in the dance anyway.

    I say, let's dance.

  • jb said...

    Last year the Rangers had 97 points. Now I think they get 95-96 this year. So if they are not as good as last year can they even get out of the first round this time?

  • Section 335 said...

    Okay, a trivia question.

    Which former Ranger is know as L'Artiste?

    Not that hard to figure, if you think hard enough.

  • jb said...

    Answer to the above question, who is L'Artiste, is here.

  • kels said...

    Two things. One Sean Avery is a very smart hockey player. He always was. His time away, perhaps, will only serve to make him smarter.

    Two, I did see the end of the OT game where Prucha got the GWG. While it may hurt some to see him in those colors (and yes it's very bittersweet for me), to see a guy that has deserved nothing but the chance to play, to get to play, I can't help but be thrilled. He had a fantastic game. Even in games where he has not gotten points, he's been doing it all for that team. Powerplay, penalty kill, and yes, even overtime.

    Sec 335: It's true. It's sad but so true. The Prucha we are seeing now is the confident Prucha Renney/Sather/etc tried to crush in the last few years, the Prucha we saw in 05-06. He can be that player again. All he needed was time and confidence.

    jb: I will smile from ear to ear - like Prucha himself - if he is an All-Star in a year or two. I'll hate that it couldn't be in New York, but, let's face it, New York hasn't been a kind place to a lot of its talented youth.

  • Section 335 said...

    Okay, you guessed who it was.

    So, how about a little game then.

    How long before Lou takes over as coach of the Devils?

    My guess is that Sutter has this week to turn the team around. But, a horrible performance in the Igloo and he is gone.

  • jb said...

    Sutter did not seem to be bubbling with confidence after last night's game. You would think that Sutter getting them this far without Marty for of most of the season would have built up some goodwill. But, in the department of what have you done for me lately, I guess Lou might make a change.

    It's reported by several sources that Sutter ripped the team after the loss.

    Sutter said: “I’m trying to stay positive and trying to stay positive, but at some point you lose five in a row and you’ve got to recognize that there’s some problems here and there’s some issues, ... Am I [ticked] off? You’re darn right I’m ticked off because I expect more from this group.”

    At least he's going down with a fight. Renney went down with a wimper.