Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lundqvist Beats Brodeur, Again

Martin Brodeur is a Hall Of Fame goalie, so where does that leave Henrik Lundqvist, who beat the great Brodeur for the 19th time in 26 showdowns? Lundqvist came up with 43 saves as the Rangers won their NHL high 13th road game. Their 3-1 win put them at 3-0 against the Devils this year.

The Devils outplayed the Rangers but couldn't outscore them. Rozsival's game winner went off of Devil defenseman Andy Greene past Brodeur and Jon Arnott had Lundqvist dead but shot over the net. But that is how things go when you are on a roll as the Rangers are now. The numbers are staggering. The Rangers are 16-0-0 when taking a lead into the third period. Their 22 wins are tied for the second most in the Eastern Conference and they are now 6th in the Eastern Conference.

They continue their holiday road trip with two games against the Florida franchises. It could be a very Happy New Year. Christensen may be out for a while with a sprained knee but this shouldn't be a problem. The more the so called stars get hurt the more the grinders pick it up.

So have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year and vote for Sean Avery and pray for Jake Feldman and Fran Pizzani.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rangers Roll Over Roloson

No 41 year old man should have to endure what Dwayne Roloson had to put up with last night. The Rangers put 52 shots on the Islander goalie and 7 made it to the back of the net in a 7-2 Ranger rout. The Islanders came in a little cocky with a 4-0-1 run and Roloson had given up only three goals in the last three games. However, the Islander defense was porous, to say the least.

Before the game, coach Jack Capuano had stated that he wanted to get his defense to become more offensive minded. Jack, just a word of advice. Get your defense to play defense. After taking a 2-1 lead in the opening period the Islander defense played Pee-Wee hockey and allowed six straight Ranger goals.

Matt Gilroy had two big goals and his trade value just went up a few notches. Dallas anyone? The Long Islander, who grew up in the shadows of the Coliseum, turned in his best performance of his Ranger career and will surely be mentioned in any trade rumors. Other than that it was business as ususal for the Rangers. Avery had six minutes of ice time after two periods and Rozsival had too much ice time.

Vote for Avery for the All-Star game!

Pray for Jake Feldman and Fran Pizzani!

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ICINGS:

One of many interesting storm stories.

Fire and Ice:
Elias and Zajac spend night stuck on Route 280 West --
Devils teammates Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac are neighbors, so they are close enough that they decided to drive together to Sunday night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Prudential Center.

They are even closer now after their ride home in the snow.

After leaving Prudential Center at approximately 10:45 p.m., Elias and Zajac got stuck with several other cars heading west on Route 280 between exits 10 and 11. They ended up spending the night sleeping in Elias’ car before being woken up int the morning by policemen, who helped them back up to the previous exit .They did not get home until 7:30 a.m...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Tampa Bay

The Rangers were in a holiday festive mood and Michal Rozsival and Dan Girardi played Santa Claus to the kids from Tampa Bay. What wonderful giveaways to St. Louis and Stamkos for the Lightnings first two goals. But this is the season for giving and why not. It is surprising that Rozsival still has to give. You would think he would be dry by now. But no sweat he has a large sack. However, unlike Santa who only gives around Christmas, Rozsival gives all year long. He is an equal opportunity give away artist.

The loss, though not unexpected marred the fine performance of two young stars, Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello. With a name like that Mats can't miss. Stepan scored the game tying goal that gave the Rangers a point. Mats scored the shootout tying goal but it was to no avail as Tampa Bay won the shootout in the eleventh round. Zuccarello was rewarded for his hard work by being returned to Hartford. Rozsival will be rewarded with another 20 plus minutes of ice time the next game.

Christmas may only come once a year but when Michal Rozsival is on the ice it's Christmas every day, for the other team.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

ICINGS
:

Kevin D. over at The NY Rangers blog does a great job keeping us updated on the Vote Avery into the All-Star Game campaign and all things Avery. Keep it up Kevin and Sean will come and crash your 80th birthday party. So here's a A-very Merry Christmas.

NY Rangers Blog:
NHL Promoting Avery Write-in Campaign --

Could it be that the NHL in some crazy way is excited about the possibility of the exposure an Avery All Star bid would bring to the game? Nah...
NY Rangers Blog:
We Need A Little Avery Right This Very Minute --
As part of Puck Daddy's NHL Holiday Card/Song Art Contest, comes these two Sean Avery inspired Christmas songs...
NY Rangers Blog:
All I Want for Christmas Is Avery in the All Star Game --
... we can really take advantage of the Christmas weekend as voting is sure to be way down. As long as we keep voting, Avery is sure to make a big comeback...
NY Rangers Blog:
Avery Continues Climb & Cuts Into Lead for All Star Game --  
NHL.com released the latest All Star Game balloting numbers and Sean Avery continued his climb up the rankings to #16 jumping Johan Franzen and Eric Staal with 129,580 votes...
NY Rangers Blog:
A Young Avery on 'The Season' --
With HBO's 24/7 all the rage, From the Rink gives us every episode of ESPN's The Season covering the Detroit Red Wings' 2002-2003 season. One episode included a large segment on a brash rookie named Sean Avery (2 minute mark)...
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update:
Could not agree more with the coaching craziness and "mistreatment" regarding Sean's playing time. Why in God's name would 3 D-men: Rozsival, Staal, and especially Matt Gilroy get shootout chances ahead of Sean Avery? Gilroy has not scored a goal this year. Torts has some serious issues regarding Sean Avery. Why sacrifice a chance at a shootout win by not using him ahead of Gilroy?  This is ridiculous.

The Rangers Tribune:
Avery Being Mistreated by Coaches --
It has gotten to the point where I have no choice but to address the issue. Sean Avery is being mistreated by the coaching staff and the fact that the pesky forward did not get an attempt in last night’s 11-round shootout against the Tampa Bay Lightning was the final straw...

And then last night, in an eleven round shootout, many fans were calling for Avery to be put out there. I would know since I was in attendance among the Garden crowd. But when players like Michal Rozsival were coming over the boards, we all collectively realized that whatever Tortorella has against Avery was getting in the way of him getting a chance, and that there would be no Sean Avery in the shootout...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sean Avery Crashes The Ranger Pundit's Birthday Bash

Sean Avery (right) crashes Mike Savino's 80th birthday party to wish him well.
Mike Savino and Sean Avery at the Ranger Pundit's
80th Birthday Party

Sean Avery (right) talks with Mike Savino at the Ranger Pundit's 80th birthday party
Mike and Sean talk hockey at the Ranger Pundit's 80th birthday party. Celebrated at the Il Mulino wine cellar
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The funniest things happen on an off day .....

The family threw a surprise 80th birthday party for me this Sunday at Il Mulino in Roslyn, LI, NY. Appropriately it was held in the wine cellar, courtesy of my daughter-in-law, who like me, loves the vino !!! They were all there, family and friends, all twenty-five of them, and the big surprise guest who was introduced by number two son. Of course the whole party was a big surprise.

There were long time friends from Washington state and a long time co-worker from Mountain View, California. Those were big surprises. There were number two sons boyhood pals who were like sons to me, they were called the Three Amigos, and that was quite a surprise.

All four children, all three grandchildren and my next door neighbors, another wonderful surprise. My friend, the great Duke fan, who presented me with a Duke cap which I shall have to wear, despite the fact that I am a North Carolina Tar Heel fan. And of course jb was there. And then the surprise guest. In the middle of number two son's intro in walked............ Sean Avery. Yes, "the" Sean Avery.

Surprise to end all surprises. Needless to say he was engulfed by my family and friends. This rough, tough, take no prisoners hockey player picked up a new legion of fans which hopefully will vote for him for the All-Star game. He was gracious and spent plenty of time to pose for pictures, sign autographs, answer all types of questions and talk hockey with the Pundit. For a guy with the rep of being a tough guy, the bad boy of hockey, he was nothing but friendly and open to all. How many professional athletes on their off day would take the time to go to "Islander country" to wish Happy Birthday to The Pundit? He stayed a little over an hour because he had to go to a charity event in Manhattan. I don't believe there was one person in the party that doesn't have a picture of him or her with Sean Avery. He did admit that my site gets more hits than his site. Of course he gets the hits where they count, on the ice.

The Ranger Pundit has been blessed over the years with a wonderful wife and a great family and equally wonderful friends. They say if you have one friend you are rich. Well in that case I am a wealthy man. As you all know I have been a Ranger fan for 73 years now and in that time there has been much suffering and gnashing of teeth. But there have been good times too. The beauty of the Rangers is not so much the team as it is the fans. It is the fans that have kept the tradition going, more than it has been because of the team winning. Two cups in my 73 years of watching, so not much a tradition of winning.

Over the years it has been poor management, poor coaching and poor public relations. But tell me, what team in the New York area has a more loyal base? The Yankees? It's easy to root for the Yankees, they are winners. But there is something about the Rangers that you fall in love with. It's the prodigal son. It's the bad boy gone good. It's Sean Avery who is our Huckleberry Finn. I have had the privilege over the years of meeting some of the Rangers and talking with them.

Adam Graves, Jeff Buekeboom, Rod Gilbert, Gump Worsley and now Sean Avery. All winners and all class individuals. Thanks for the memories guys. Thanks for the party family and friends. For you out there in Ranger Pundit land thanks and vote for Sean Avery in the All-Star game and say a pray for Jake Feldman and Fran Pizzani.

God bless you all!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Zorro Zaps Rangers

They usually come back to haunt you. It's amazing how these guys do it. There was Nikolai Zherdev, persona non grata at MSG, leading the Philadelphia Flyers over our heroes with two goals as the Flyers creamed the Rangers, again, 4-1. I'm always amazed how guys who were ripped into on a nightly basis go to another team and star. Zherdev now has 13 goals, but can he play defense? I've said for a long time that if Gretzky had come up through the Ranger system he never would have achieved the records he did. Poor defense.

This game showed how far behind the Rangers are to challenging for the top spot. The Flyers had control of the game from the start of Rozsival's giveaway to Richards. Fortunately Lundqvist saved that one. However we will continue to see that waste get 20 plus minutes a night. What did Avery get? Ten minutes?

Anyhow, The Dark Ranger keeps getting darker with each Flyer-Ranger game, but there is hope. We 'only' have four more games with them. You think we could use Zorro now with this team? Naw. Too soft on defense.

So, keep voting for Sean Avery for the all-star game.

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ICINGS:

Torts postgame remarks:

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Scotty Hockey
adds some more insight on the Rosey problem:
[the Rangers] have a good excuse for losing.

... The continued employment of Michal Rozsival and Michael Del Zotto. The pairing was nothing short of atrocious, directly accountable for the first three Philly goals. They both step up at inopportune times to add nothing to the play in the other end, they both abandon their positions and coverages and they both aren't physically strong enough to matter in the Ranger zone. That Torts keeps this pair of offensive defensemen (dual meaning completely intended) together is shocking considering how well both Eminger and Sauer have been through much of this season...
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How does a 3 goal loss against a team that dominated the play constitute a "narrow miss"? The Rangers PR guy, Jim Cerny, puts a crazy spin on the Philly game with this ill-conceived title:

Rangers.NHL.com:
Rangers narrowly miss a dream sweep

Apology To My Blueshirt Heaven

On my last post I used the title "In Prust We Trust". Unknown to me this title was previously used by My Blue Heaven on a previous post. I apologize for the use or misuse of the same title. Despite the fact that My Blue Heaven is linked on The Ranger Pundit it failed to get my attention. So many posts, so many titles. Unfortunately I do not get to read them all. In the future I will carefully scan all blogs so as not to repeat the error. The Pundit has posted over 800 blogs and this is the first one that we cross posted.

So one more time to my friends at My Blue Heaven. I apologize.

The Ranger Pundit

Friday, December 17, 2010

In Prust We Trust

When the Rangers signed Brandon Prust they were looking for a mucker. Fourth liner. Get into the corners and protect your team mates. What a surprise. What they got was a spark plug. With the disappearance of Marian Gaborik and the deterioration of Chris Drury the team must turn to grit and determination to win games. Who is grittier and more determined then Prust?

Last night he turned the game around with a short handed goal as Coyote goalie Jason LaBarbera totally misplayed a Ranger clearing pass. The goal, with six seconds left in the second period cut the Ranger deficit to one goal and led the way to the third period comeback. It was Prust's fifth goal of the year, his third shorthanded and the Rangers eighth shorthanded goal of the year, tops in the NHL.

The win, in the shootout, was the third straight for the Blueshirts, and they are now even at home, 8-8-1. The Rangers with 41 points are now fifth in the Eastern Conference and have more points than Montreal and Washington, who are leading their respective Divisions. The other goal scorers last night were Girardi and Stepan.

Its obvious that the Rangers aren't going to have any big goal scorers this year but it might be the year of the non scorer. For the Rangers it has to be the year of grit and determination. For this the Rangers are well armed. Avery, Callahan, Dubinsky, Prust and an ever improving Boyle are a formidable force. With this group and a rock solid Lundqvist in the nets the Rangers may indeed be the surprise many of you out there think they will be.

In Prust we trust!

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ICINGS: Game highlights.


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The NY Rangers Blog:
Thank You, Now Get Back to Voting --
I just wanted to give a quick thank you to everyone who participated in "Vote for Avery Day" yesterday.

From the overwhelming response I received, I can definitely tell you we made a huge dent in the 125,000 vote deficit.

One thing that actually angered me last night at the Rangers game. During a stoppage, the P.A. announcer asked Ranger fans to make sure they voted for the Rangers three All Star candidates Marian Gaborik, Marc Staal and Henrik Lundqvist. While I have no problem with them pumping up those players, how do they not acknowledge Sean Avery? He has the best chance of any Ranger to get voted into the game and nothing. Hey Rangers, Sean Avery is on your team!!!...
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Torts postgame.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

You Just Gotta Believe

Okay so Brent Johnson is not the best backup goalie in the world but you have to like the way the Rangers blitzed him and the Pens in the third period. The Rangers have now won two impressive victories over the two top teams in the Eastern Conference. Their third period outburst of four unanswered goals was their most productive period in ages.

The win was the second this year at the Pens new arena. And while the four goal period was unusual there was nothing unusual about the defensive play and Lundqvist's netminding. In two games against two explosive teams Lundqvist gave up one goal.

The bad news, and why must there always be bad news with the Rangers, was the loss of Ryan Callahan to a broken hand. Drury returns from a broken finger and Callahan goes out with a broken hand. Not a good trade. Callahan is one two in hits and blocked shots in the NHL. To say this guy will be missed is a vast understatement.

However, the dream and the belief that this team is a lot better than the sum of all its parts continues to live on. Grit and determination can overcome individual skill anytime and that is what is happening here. So it's the 'Yotes tonight and let's see if we can win a home game against a team not rated as highly as the Pens and the Caps.

You just gotta believe.

ICINGS:

Today is Vote Avery Day. Vote early and often.

The NY Rangers Blog:
Happy Vote for Avery Day!!!! --

With Avery 125,000 votes behind Steve Stamkos for the third and final spot, today's event is neccesary for getting him in. So please get your 100+ votes in then start spreading the word to family, friends and co-workers via Twitter, Facebook and e-mail.

As I said yesterday, we'll probably need 1,250 Rangers fans voting for Avery 100+ times to make a dent into the hole we're in.

"Vote for Avery Day" got off to a great start yesterday as Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy dedicated a five minute segment on today's event which you can listen to here (5:58 mark).

update note: If you want to cast your 100 Avery speed votes online, 1st type his name in as a write-in vote. His name and picture then appear on the forwards picture board. You can continue just voting for him and no one else to speed up your voting. Once you have written him in, he'll stay up on the board. Or you can send text msgs ("Avery" to 81812).

related:
NHL.com:
Letang, Avery, LaRose benefitting from text voting --

The New York Rangers' Sean Avery ranks 18th in voting among forwards thanks almost entirely to text voting. Of his 93,600 votes, almost half -- 45,812, second among all players -- have come from text voting. It's enabled Avery to rank ahead of Jeff Carter, Nicklas Backstrom, Patrick Sharp and Alexander Semin in the overall voting among forwards...
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Oilers rookie Linus Omark will turn the shootout into a figure skating contest. Next time down he will be doing a toe loop followed by a wrister.


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For reference, here is Dean Youngblood:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Their Finest Hour

Santa Claus came early for the Rangers and their fans last night. They were wonderful. Artem Anisimov played like Jean Ratelle, Marc Staal made like Brian Leetch with a beautiful short handed goal and Brandon Dubinsky made like Gordie Howe with a goal, an assist and a fight. And who did he fight? None other than the great Ovechkin. To top it off there was Henrik Lundqvist making like, er....Henrik Lundqvist with another shutout.

Did Christmas come early? No. It was the Rangers playing their most complete game in years, dismantling the Washington Caps, 7-0. The Rangers are now 7-8-1 at home and hopefully this wasn't a one shot deal. Hopefully they will build on this one. Despite some injuries the Caps are a formidable foe and this has to be a confidence builder.

Maybe this could start a home ice run of wins to match the road record. Who knows maybe the lines will stay together for a while. However, that means Avery stays glued to the 4th line. I believe he got into a brawl to get off the ice and the bench for a while. I may be wrong, but if he could, the coach would jettison Avery the first chance he gets. Maybe wrong, but I don't think so.

ICINGS:

The Rangers also racked up a fighting hat trick with 3 out of 3 wins.

HockeyFights.com:
Alexander Ovechkin vs Brandon Dubinsky -- Who won?

Brandon Dubinsky -- 70.8%
Alexander Ovechkin -- 14.9%
Draw -- 14.3%
(171 votes / 5.1 rating)
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HockeyFights.com:
Matt Hendricks vs Michael Sauer -- Who won?
Michael Sauer -- 45.2%
Draw -- 39.7%
Matt Hendricks -- 15.1%
(73 votes / 3.8 rating)
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HockeyFights.com:
Matt Hendricks vs Sean Avery -- Who won?
Sean Avery -- 83.7%
Matt Hendricks -- 10.2%
Draw -- 6.1%
(98 votes / 5.6 rating)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Road Magic Goes Poof

The Rangers road magic ended with a thud last night when their rock, Henrik Lundqvist, cracked and let in a soft goal by Rick Nash in a devastating loss, 3-1, to the Columbus Blue Jackets. This was a game that the Rangers should have won as Columbus was reeling with a 1-5-1 record but as we have seen before, the Rangers couldn't capitalize on the opportunity.

While it is easy to blame Lundqvist for letting in a soft goal, where was the offense? With Gaborik struggling to score there doesn't seem to be anyone to pick up the slack. The only goal scored last night was by Marc Staal. The Rangers put 32 snots on goal but were 1-5 on the power play. I guess when you are struggling 20% on the power play is pretty good. Of course it would probably help if the lines stayed together for a whole game.

So tonight it's the Caps at the Garden, where the Rangers are 6-8-1. Can't make the playoffs with a losing home record and can't make the playoffs relying on one guy to score, especially when he is in a scoring slump. The Rangers have the grit and the determination. What they need now is some scoring help before it's too late.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Another Stinking Home Loss

I have been saying for a long time that this Ranger team lacks consistency. Last night they proved me wrong. Last night they were consistent. Consistenly bad. They started slow and in the end they came to a stop as they watched Chris Kelly score the second of his three goals enroute to a 3-1 Ranger loss.

Usually there is some good in a loss. Not last night. Bad enough the top line was on when the winning goal was scored. Bad enough that the Rangers were on a power play when Kelly scored his first goal. Bad enough that the Kelly goal was the first goal for Ottawa in over 200 minutes. Bad enough that the Rangers didn't show up.

In the last three home games the Rangers have scored just four goals and one was an empty netter. After the game the coach thought that the power play looked good. The Rangers were 0-4 on the power play, got a total of three shots, all on the last PP, and the coach says they looked good. Looked good? Does that mean they were clean shaven? They keep on looking that good and we may never win another game.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Scratching Coin

Brooksie makes makes some poignant observations about the shoddy management of the Rangers' roster by our one and only Stealth GM. But no one cares about the man hiding behind the curtain when the team pokes its head above the .500 level. When mediocrity is the benchmark, shooting for better is a pipe dream.

Larry Brooks / NY Post:
Rangers' spare parts prevent them from getting Stars' Richards --

When the Rangers meet the Senators at the Garden tonight, winger Todd White and defenseman Matt Gilroy are likely to resume their positions as healthy scratches.

This means, as is customary when the remaining 17 skaters are healthy, the Blueshirts will have players taking up $4.125 million of cap space in civilian clothes.

This comes at a cost beyond dollars.

For the longer general manager Glen Sather keeps such expensive spares on the roster, the more difficult it will become to deal for the Stars’ Brad Richards once the financially distressed franchise yields to reality and seeks to move the impending free agent blue-chip center.

The more difficult, in fact, it will become to acquire any substantial player as long as the Blueshirts, $1.544 million under the cap, carry this type of excess at the approximate price of $22,500 per day for their scratches...
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ICINGS:
Is Sean Avery promoting the The Avery Look?


SeanAvery.com:

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Sweep

Maybe it was crossing the East River that did it. Maybe it was the sight of a capacity crowd. Whatever it was the kids from Long Island and Manhattan decide to atone for all their defensive lapses and play a tight game at the Garden. The end result was the same however with another Ranger win. This one, a 2-0 shutout with an empty netter by Brian Boyle with less than 3 seconds remaining in the game sewing it up.

The Rangers first goal was scored by Marc Staal on a power play. The Isles were 0-2 on the PP and their frustration on the PP has now reached 0-32 in ten games. Lundqvist recorded his 4th shutout of the season, the 28th of his career and the 5th against the Islanders. He never had an easier shutout and except for one crossbar hit he was really never tested.

You could say the Rangers are rolling right now. This was their 6th win in the last 8 games. They are 7-0-0 in the second game of back to back games. They are 9-2-1 in one goal games and are 13-0-0 when leading after 2 periods. In the last 17 games at the Garden against the Islanders the Rangers are 13-1-3. You could say it but I won't. Right now they are 5th in the Eastern Conference.

Reader Kid Dynamite credits this resurgence to the grinders, Avery, Callahan, Dubinsky and Prust. He may be right. Reader, Section 335, sees the glass half full for almost the same reason. So let's stay optimistic and maybe The Four Grinders will carry us through to the playoffs and beyond. Don't they say that a New Year will bring changes (ouch). We are almost to that New Year so hope springs eternal.

ICINGS:

Here's one way to show the NHL and Gary Bettman who's boss. Avery has shown he can be a first line player and he's one of our All-Stars.

Rangers Tribune:
Rangers Supporting Vote for Avery Campaign -- 

The New York Rangers have finally come around and started to support the "Vote for Avery" campaign, which began on Ranger blogs like this one about a month ago. In an effort to get Sean Avery into the 2011 NHL All-Star Game, we have been asking fans to continuously vote for him in the fan balloting. So far it has worked great because Avery is currently 23rd among forwards in the balloting, ahead of players like Joe Thornton and Ilya Kovalchuk. You guys have done a spectacular job of supporting our campaign.

Now that the Rangers have jumped on board, we really believe that we can make this happen. In order to get fans to vote for Sean, they created the banner below, which can be found on their official Facebook page:
I voted Sean Avery for the NHL 2011 All-Star Game poster
... Please continue to vote for Sean at NHL.com or by texting his name to 81812 ...

Friday, December 03, 2010

Pond Hockey At The Coliseum

The game they played at the Coliseum last night is the same kind of game I see when I go to The Rinx in Hauppage and watch the Pee Wees play. I would have to admit that my Grandson Nicholas and his cohorts play a better brand of defense then the two teams played last night. The three goalies were left out to dry. Everyone wanted the puck and everyone wanted to score. And score they did.

The Islanders scored five goals, for only the second time this year, and both times against the Rangers. The Rangers countered with six, led by Marian Gaborik's hat trick. It was Gabby's second hat trick of the season. His linemates, Christensen and Avery also prospered. Christensen with a goal and an assist and Avery with three assists. The line put up the best performance of any Ranger line this year. However, don't get too excited as there is no guarantee with this coach that the line will stay together that long.

Surely they will be together at the start of tonights encore game. After that all bets are off and their longevety will be determined by their play or the whims of the coach. While Gaborik seems to be regaining his scoring touch and Avery continues to play a solid all around game the inconsistency that surrounds the team continues to be the big factor in their performance. The biggest inconsistency however lies with the coaching staff and their constant shuffling and insistence that certain players get ice time despite poor performances. Ice time seems to rely more on reputation and salaries than it does on performance. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

See you at The Rinx tonight!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pen Fried

Don't let the score fool you, 3-1, this was as one sided as a game can get. The Pens who are excellent on the road, 9-3-1, and overall 16-8-2, had no trouble with the Rangers who are now 5-7-1 at the Garden Of Screams. Can't blame the refs either, even if they missed a Crosby slew foot. The Pens were 0-1 on the power play and the Rangers 0-3. Just say the Blueshirts were out manned, out played and out matched.

The Rangers were outshot 27-26, but I would be hard pressed to remember how many difficult saves Fleury made while Lundqvist kept the score respectable with some key stops. Gaborik tallied the only Ranger goal.

This was a game between a contender and a pretender. If the Rangers are going to actually make a serious run they need consistency. They also need a bona fide first line center man instead of the revolving door we now have. Put one guy there, Stepan, and let him work with the wingers without getting changed every third shift. Of course that goes with the rest of the team. Lines seem to get changed without rhyme or reason. The game plan seems to depend on the performance of the goalie. If he's on, we have a chance, otherwise its what we used to call in the old neighborhood, a cops grab.

If this home ice debacle continues we may have to call in the cops or the fire department to rescue this season. It's obvious the coaches don't know how to do it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Nice Weekend

Growing up in the city, as I did, everything was nice. Make a nice sandwich, have a nice drink, she's a nice girl (sometimes). So the Rangers road trip and weekend were nice. They rebounded nicely from the debacle at Tampa Bay. Actually the rebound started at Tampa Bay with a three goal third period. This led to weekend wins over Florida and Nashville.

The big part of the rebound is Henrik Lundqvist who has rebounded very nicely. In two games he stopped 69 of 70 shots and stopped all three shootout shots against the Predators. Erik Christensen scored the lone shootout goal, thereby becoming an unlikely hero.

The bounce back is impressive. The Rangers have played six straight games in six different cities and all things considered they did quite well, or nicely. They were 4-2 in those games, losing two blowouts. They are now 9-4-0 on the road and if they can bring some of that magic to their home ice we might have a surprising season.

Michal Rozsival returned to action (?) thereby limiting Matt Gilroy's ice time so not all the news was good. Rozsival got over 22 minutes of ice time and if any of you who saw the game and saw him do anything positive, please write me with the details. With Gaborik and Boogaard out the Rangers played seven defensemen. Gilroy got a little over 5 minutes. Why bother? I guess we should be thankful they didn't recall Redden.

Red hot Pittsburgh pays a visit to the Garden on Tuesday and we will get a chance to see if the rebound continues. Then its at the Islanders Thursday night and no matter how bad those guys are they always give us fits. Maybe we will have a nice week.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkeys

In honor of Thanksgiving the Rangers played the part of the turkey and they were carved up by an aggressive Tampa Bay Lightning team that pounced on them for five goals in two periods. They left Lundqvist out to dry and he was pummeled, physically and mentally, but came back with a strong third period to restore his self respect.

The refs didn't help either as they called a ridiculous diving call on Lundqvist after being run into by Ryan Malone, who set up camp at Lundqvist's doorstep and was never bothered. The coach was annoyed after the game especially with Gaborik, who again failed to show up. However, where was the defense? Where was the muscle? Where was the grit? Where was the effort? Where was the coaching?

Happy Thanksging Day folks. Enjoy your turkeys. Tampa Bay did last night.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Biron Rocks The Garden

Henrik Lundqvist is surely the number one goalie, as proclaimed by the Ranger coach, but right now Marty Biron is at least 1A. The stand-in was brilliant last night in a 31 save performance, 15 in the third period, as the Rangers out hustled the Calgary Flames, 2-1. Biron, now 5-2-0, has won two straight and the coach just might play this hot hand for a while, giving Lundqvist a long rest. It was the sixth time that Biron has allowed two goals or fewer this year.

The game was an old fashioned rock em, sock em, with Callahan leading the hit parade with 11 hits. Staal had the highlight hit on Matt Stajan and Mike Sauer played a bruising game and was a target of the Flames. Sauer has really blossomed and isn't it a shame that Rozsival will be back and that will probably reduce Sauer's ice time.

Despite the hard hitting there were only four penalties called. The Flames were 0-2, and the Ranger were 1-2, Dan Girardi's PP goal on a great faceoff win by Derek Stepan, was the winning goal. A great goal, a great win and as a bonus it was at home.

ICINGS:

It's perfectly logical that four young guys from Canada would have #38 on their bucket list.

Facebook / TheBuriedLife:

Bucket list/100 things to do before I die: #38 Kiss the Stanley Cup - The Buried Life

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blueshirts Go Wild In Minnesota

Strange people Minnesotans. They give out a bobblehead doll of Marian Gaborik, select him as one of the top ten players in franchise history, then spend the rest of the night booing him. No matter the Rangers were in cruise control and stomped the Wild 5-2, getting back their road magic.

Marty Biron was good, again, and upped his record to 4-2, and is now on target for about 20 games. The second period again proved big, only this time in the Rangers favor. A three goal outburst put the game away. There were five goal scorers and twelve diferent players got points. Just the way the coaches draw it up on the chalkboard.

Now its back to the dreaded Garden for a Monday night game against Calgary. Maybe instead of cheering the team when they hit the ice the fans should boo them and make them think they are on the road. Hey that's it. The Rangers should wear the road whites and change benches with Calgary. Lundqvist should be back after his game and a half benching. Look for a big game from the Prince.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Colorado Crusher

With number two daughter and number two son in attendance the Rangers failed to show up last night and were literally crushed by the Avalanche, 5-1. It was probably one of their worst performances of the year, and how many more times will I be saying that this year? How bad was it? Lundqvist got pulled halfway through the second and that in itself is a cause for major worry.

Trust me he had major assistance. Michael Del Zotto, a minus four, was horrible but what is new about that. In all fairness he had plenty of help. The Rangers were at least a step, or skate, behind every Colorado player. When it was way too late Avery fought Cody McLeod. Sean hustled all night, but why do I get the sense that coach disagreeable would love to see Avery playing somewhere else. Why?

The good news is that the Rangers get back into action tonight against the Minnesota Wild. The bad news is that the Wild are moving up and unless Lundqvist reverts to form another pasting is likely. Stay tuned.

ICINGS: Saddened by the news of the passing of Pat Burns, due to cancer. Burns was a warrior on and off the ice. He battled colon and liver cancer and the latest was when the cancer spread to the lungs. Burns led the Devils to a Stanley Cup in 2002 and also reached the finals with the Canadiens. He won the Jack Adams Award, coach of the year, three times and is surely a future Hall Of Famer. Condolences and prayers to his wife and family. God Bless you Pat Burns.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bruins Bop Blueshirts

To avoid that last minute, game, drive for a playoff spot and to avoid SI"s prediction of 12th place, the Rangers must be more consistent at home, and must win more games at home. Right now they are not doing the job at home. For whatever reasons, noisy home crowd, heritage jerseys, too much night life, too many charities, ad nauseum ......It's not working.

The Rangers seem unable to pick up the momentum from a previous win. After a stirring OT win in Pittsburgh and riding a three game streak the Rangers bombed at home, again, last night. There is always something. A cheap goal, powerless on a 5-3 power play, back to the perimeter game, too much passing, you name it.

Maybe the mini road trip, Colorado and Minnesota, will straighten them out. But these are road games. Gotta win at home.

ICINGS:

Tortorella postgame remarks...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What A Win

There are times during the season when there are forgetable losses and times when there are unforgetable wins. Last nights 3-2 OT win against Pittsburgh at the new Consol Energy Center was a classic. For 57:29 Henrik Lundqvist was pitching a shutout and preserving a 1-0 lead. Then in the space of 38 seconds the Pens scored two goals to take what seemed like victory from the jaws of defeat. Then Lundqvist snapped. Actually it was his stick that snapped after he smashed his stick and screamed at the officials. And rightly so.

The Rangers were getting their usual jobbing in Pittsburgh with the Pens getting six power plays and the Rangers none. The two minute penalty against Lundqvist drove the Rangers, especially Dubinsky, to new heights. Staal, shorthanded, with an assist from Dubinsky tied the game with a little over a minute and as half left in the game. In OT, Callahan scored the winner on a beautiful feed from Dubinsky who truley rose to the occasion.

Eric Christensen had scored the first goal of the game midway through the second period. Of course Erik had distinguished himself earlier by telling an Edmonton TV audience that Sean Avery had suckered punched Oiler Ladislav Smid in Sundays game. Let's hope that Erik never needs Sean to stand up for him in a game. Remember Erik, blood is thicker than water.

ICINGS:

The key highlights of a great win.

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HockeyFights.com:
Ryan Callahan vs Mike Comrie, 2010 1pd 12:55 -- Callahan wins the fight and chalks up a Gordie Howe hat trick.
Ryan Callahan -- 81.4%
Draw -- 12.9%
Mike Comrie -- 5.7%

Monday, November 15, 2010

Kids Day At The Garden

It was kids day at the Garden and it was hard to fathom who had more fun, the kids in the stands or the kids on the ice. For a while the kids from Edmonton were looking good and took a one goal lead as Ranger goalie Marty Biron fanned on Shawn Horcoff's rising shot. However, it seems that the Oilers never subscribed to coach clueless's sacred mantra, "Not playing defense is not an option." The Rangers led 5-2 going into the third period. Then all hell broke loose.

In the space of 2:08 the Rangers scored three goals to break the game open. The Pundit missed all that as he had to make a pit stop, but did hear the crowd and the song. However, the big fun started about a minute or two before the scoring as it became fight night at the Garden. It was probably the best boxing card the Garden has had since the days of Ali-Frazer. The main event was Avery-Smid with conflicting stories about who suckered whom. After it was over there seemed to be more players ejected than still in the game. Matt Gilroy wound up playing a forward position in the final minutes.

Marian Gaborik returning to form, had a hat trick plus an assist, Frolov had a pair of goals and a pair of assists and Eric Christensen had three assists. Marty Biron made 19 saves in picking up his third win. He also had the best seat in the house while Prust and Zack Stortini were duking it out. It was crazy. As the great Bill Chadwick would say, "It was boys being boys."

What it did for the kids in the stands, I don't know. The reaction seemed mixed where I sat as quite a few parents were concerned about the violence going on before their eyes. I've been to boxing matches where the crowds were more subdued than yesterdays crowd. "I went to the fights and a hockey game broke out."

ICINGS: There were stirring renditions of the Canadien and US National Anthems performed by Steve Murphy and his daughter Madelyn. They were outstanding receiving a huge ovation from the fans. Of course the jerks who love to interrupt the anthem with lets go Ranger chants contined their rude outbursts. It would be nice if the PA system would address this prior to the anthems.

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HockeyFights.com:
Ladislav Smid vs Sean Avery, 3pd 11:18 -- the catalyst...
Sean Avery -- 73.4%
Ladislav Smid -- 15.2%
Draw -- 11.4%
average rating 4.0, 158 votes
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HockeyFights.com:
Zack Stortini vs Brandon Prust, 3pd 11:18 --
Zack Stortini -- 47.1%
Draw -- 30.0%
Brandon Prust -- 22.9%
avg. rating of 5.2 / 70 votes
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HockeyFights.com:
Theo Peckham vs Brian Boyle, 3pd 11:18 --
Draw -- 60.0%
Brian Boyle -- 33.3%
Theo Peckham -- 6.7%
avg. rating 3.7 / 30 votes
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HockeyFights.com:
Steve MacIntyre vs Derek Boogaard, Nov 14, 2010 3pd 02:28
Derek Boogaard -- 95.6%
Draw -- 2.9%
Steve MacIntyre -- 1.5%
avg. rating of 6.9 / 136 votes
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HockeyFights.com:
Steve MacIntyre vs Derek Boogaard, Nov 14, 2010 3pd 08:46 --
Draw -- 44.9%
Steve MacIntyre -- 38.0%
Derek Boogaard -- 17.1%
avg. rating of 5.2 / 158 votes
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Finalmente

The Rangers won a home game! The Rangers won a home game! The Rangers won a home game! Okay, it's not The Giants win the pennant but its a start. It took overtime but the Rangers are now 3-5-1 at the Garden and hope to improve on that on Sunday against coach clueless and his Edmonton Oilers. At least the pressure is off me to produce a win when I go to my first game in almost two years. Physically I feel up to it and emotionally seeing coach clueless again may be too much to bear.

The win over the Sabres was no big deal as this year the Buffalo team is one of the bottom feeders in the NHL east. Edmonton, along with the Islanders and the Devils are the bottom feeders of the entire NHL with all of ten points each. However, to take liberties with Gertrude Stein, A win is a win is a win.

Artem Anisimov and Marty Biron were the stars for the Rangers. Anisimov with two goals and Biron with 29 saves. Lundqvist was out with flu like symptoms. Michal Rozsival was out with a shoulder injury which led to some curious comments from the coach. He said it was unfair for the fans to boo Rozsival because he was playing hurt and couldn't shoot because of the shoulder injury. So pray tell me all wise coach. If Rozsival had a shoulder injury and couldn't shoot the puck why did you continue to play him on the power play?

The Rangers won a home game!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Home Woes Continue

For two periods last night the Rangers seem to have it going. They took three one goal leads. They fought and stuck up for each other. Between periods something went wrong. They played their cycle game. Rozsival and Del Zotto returned to their giveaway selves and even the usually flawless Lundqvist faltered.

So what else is new? This team, as constructed, just cannot do it. I fail to believe that Marian Gaborik returning is going to solve our problems. A shakeup of the defense is a must. Rozsival should be put on waivers. Del Zotto should take some shifts in Hartford. Eminger should be cut. Gilroy should get more ice time and we should get a better look at McDonagh and Valentenko.

You may say that is too much inexperience on the blue line? I say, so what? Let's stop fooling ourselves. We are not going anywhere. SI's 12th place pick right now looks solid. Book it. Take it to the bank. Are we ever going to win a home game? I'm booked for Sunday's matinee against Edmonton. Should I stay home?

ICINGS:

Highest rated fight of the month, so far, Eric Boulton (Atl) vs Matt Carkner (Ott).

Monday, November 08, 2010

Hot Blues: Cold Blueshirts

Two trends continued last night at the Garden. One was uplifting, the other depressing. Unfortunately the uplifting belonged to the visitors, the St. Louis Blues, who won their seventh straight and are 9-1-2. The Rangers lost another game at home and are now 2-4-1 at MSG.

For the second time in two games the Rangers squandered a five minute power play, getting only two real opportunities to score. So the up and down early season continues as the Rangers prove they are a solid .500 hockey team, 7-6-1.

Marty Biron rebounded nicely from his debacle against Atlanta with a strong game, 20 saves, and seems to be the right backup for Lundqvist. Unfortunately the Rangers need to find some scoring punch as they await the return of Marian Gaborik. How bad is the scoring situation? Last night they scored, Frolov, but it was waived off on an incorrect call of highsticking. If it wasn't for bad luck, the Rangers would have no luck at all.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Dubi And The Prince

Some things never change. It seems destined that Henrik Lundqvist will constantly beat the Devils, without Brodeur and with Brodeur. Lundqvist made 33 saves in racking up his 2nd shutout this season, his 5th career wise against the Devils and his 26th career shutout. Brodeur's bruised elbow probably doesn't hurt as much as Brodeur's bruised ego.

Brandon Dubinsky continued his exciting early season run. His two goals gave him ten for the season and tied him with Tampa Bay's Stamkos and Chicago's Sharp for the lead in goals scored. The Devil's 100 million dollar man, Ilya Kovalchuk, continues to be a huge disappointment. If the Devils continue their shoddy play, especially at home, John MacLean may be seeking employment somewhere else.

Both teams played without key players. The Rangers added Callahan to Gaborik, Drury and Prospal. The Devils were without Brodeur and Parise. The game was a pond hockey game compared to the Rangers previous game against the Flyers.

Nonetheless, it was a win and Lundqvist continues his dominance over the Devils and Dubinsky continues to come of age.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Outcasts Cast Out Rangers

Blair Betts and Nikolai Zherdev are two different kind of players. One is a grind it out, all out 100% and then some. The other is a pure sniper, lackadaisical, a sometimes mail it in kind of player. Both played for the Rangers. Both were discarded by the Rangers. One unjustifiably so and the other justified. They both play for the Flyers and they both scored last night against their former team. Vengence is sweet.

Of course they weren't the only story last night. As usual, when they lose the Rangers are the story. How bad were they? Listen to Henrik Lundqvist. "It was a frustrating game because I don't think they had to work that hard to get their goals." Both teams got 21 shots on goal, so this was no offensive game. It was a physical dirty game.

There were a couple of "fights", if you want to call them that. Daniel Carcillo tried to decapitate Ruslan Fedeotenko and went unpunished. Prust fought him. Derek Boogaard and Jody Shelley got into a wrestling match. Overall the game stunk.

The Ranger coach was his usual impatient self. Derek Stepan playing time was limited. Sean Avery, who game in and game out is one of the top six forwards wasted his time on the third line. Imagine when Gaborik and Drury come back. That will make Avery a fourth liner. SI prediction of 12th place doesn't look that outlandish.

There is a flicker of hope. Lundqvist goes against Brodeur tonight at The Rock.

ICINGS:

Despite losing the game the Rangers won both fights.

HockeyFights.com:
Derek Boogaard vs Jody Shelley -- Who won?

Derek Boogaard -- 93.6%
Jody Shelley -- 4.3%
Draw -- 2.1%
94 votes / 4.7 rating

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HockeyFights.com:
Brandon Prust vs Daniel Carcillo -- Who won?
Brandon Prust -- 96.0%
Draw -- 3.0%
Daniel Carcillo -- 1.0%
99 votes / 6.6 rating

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

There's No Place Like Home, Auntie Em!

The Rangers finally got it right. They won a home game, only their second, and beat the defending Stanley Cup Champions Chicago Blackhawks, 3-2. Henrik Lundqvist, who allowed a cheapie to Patrick Kane, more than atoned on a great save on Tomas Kopecky with a little over a minute to go in the game. Lundqvist made 33 saves and the Ranger team blocked 33 shots.

Brandon Dubinsky scored a late goal in the first period, an early goal in the third period and Erik Christensen got the game winner at the 6:36 mark of the third period. Ryan Callahan played a forceful game. All in all it was the second great game in a row and truly a team performance.

The Blackhawks have always been one of my favorite visiting teams. My first Ranger game was against the Blackhawks. My first game away from the Garden was at Chicago Stadium in 1957 when rookie Bobby Hull faced off against the Montreal Canadiens. I believe it was a 6-5 Blackhawk win with Hull scoring a couple of goals. And who can forget Pete Stemkowski's OT game winner in the playoffs against the Blackhawks. All in all a great rivalry. Too bad the Rangers don't play them more often.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Prince Reigns Supreme

Henrik Lundqvist had 95 shots thrown at him, 36 were on net, and he stopped all 36, racking up a 2-0 shutout, as the Rangers posted another road win, upping their road record to 4-1-0. The Rangers would be wise to contact the Blackhawks to see if they could reschedule their Monday night home game to Chicago or maybe some neutral site. Maybe meet them halfway like Happy Valley, Pennsylvania, where Joe Paterno is celebrating his 399th win. Will this guy ever retire?

But I digress. Henrik Lundqvist's shutout was his 25th career shutout. With that shutout, Lundqvist passed one of my favorites, Chuck Rayner, and seems destined to challenge Eddie Giacomin's all time total of 49. He will make it, provided the Rangers give him some protection, and when all is said and done, Henrik Lundqvist will rank as one of the greatest goalies in the history of the New York Rangers, and also in the NHL.

The Rangers will go only as far as Lundqvist takes them and right now with this limited team it seems like a gargantuan task. However, if anyone can do it, the Swedish Prince can.

Long live the Swedish Prince, Henrik Lundqvist!

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ICINGS:
Things look good with Henrik Lundqvist in net

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Canes Ward Off Rangers

They say championship teams must do well on the road. So far the Rangers are doing that. Its at home that they are having problems and last night was another example of a poor home ice game. They fired 43 shots on Cam Ward who turned all but three aside. Lundqvist wasn't too feeble as he made 34 saves including 17 in the third period. Unfortunately, Eric Cole put in a power play goal with 3:59 left in the game and that was the killer.

The Rangers left town immediately for tonight's game against Toronto, their third meeting this year, where they hope to find their game, whatever that is. The Rangers are 3-1 on the road and are 1-3-1 at home. What's the reason for this? "Fools give you reasons, wise men never try." Maybe it's the social life of beautiful downtown Manhattan. Maybe its the charity work they all do. Maybe some of them are overpaid and under perform. Whatever it is, it better be fixed quick or it is going to be a very long season. Very long and disappointing.

ICINGS: Evgeny Grachev made his 2010 debut and what little I saw he looked fine. He only played 6:55 so its hard to judge. If he's lucky he may get all of five minutes tonight, if he even plays.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Reverting To Form

There are a lot of hockey games during the season. Some think too many. There are good games and bad games. Last night was a bad game. A very bad game for the Rangers. This early in the season is not a good feeling. After three straight good games and wins the Rangers reverted to form.

They gave up six goals for the second time this early season. Their defense was sieve like. Their goalie let them down and they suffered two injuries, one minor, Rozsival, knee, and one major, Anisimov, ankle. Having Gaborik out, the loss of Anisimov would be devastating. However, the play of the Rangers last night was devastating.

They came out of the gate with a quick goal, Callahan from Anisimov at the 38 second mark. I guess they were congratulating each other for they quickly fell behind. Though they tied it at two on Avery's wraparound, they allowed Atlanta to score three unanswered goals and that basically was the game.

Its too early to get panicky over early season losses. But when old habits show up this early there should be cause for concern. The Rangers were clearly outplayed by a young Atlanta team and that should be a big cause for concern. Let's see how bad Anisimov's injury is, for that will be a huge cause for concern. Old habits die hard.

ICINGS:

Tortorella postgame remarks:



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Will Wade Redden's presence in Hartford help the Wolfpack Connecticut Whale's young defensemen?

Bruce Berlet / SportsPageMagazine:
Redden Helps Steady Pack --
Rookie defenseman Jyri Niemi said he can’t believe his good fortune to be paired with the man whom he followed closely while growing up in Hameenkyro , Finland .

“It has been amazing, just great,” said the 20-year-old Niemi, who played alongside Redden the last three games after rookie Tomas Kundratek manned the position the first two games. “I never could have dreamt playing with Wade. I grew up watching him play in the NHL and the World Cup against the Finns. Now I’m sitting next to him in the same locker room and getting to play with him. He has always just stood out, and it’s just an honor to play with him.”

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lundqvist Beats Brodeur (Again)

There was a time when all Marty Brodeur had to do to beat the Rangers was show up. He would make his 10-12 saves, skate off to the press room and proclaim loudly for all to hear, how great it was to beat the Rangers. He hated the Rangers. Well a funny thing happened on the way to all those great wins. A kid from Sweden, Henrik Lundqvist, showed up and Marty's life changed. In fact it became miserable.

Last night The Prince (to me he will always be The Prince) stymied Marty and the Devils again. Lundqvist made 27 saves. In the third period he stopped 11 of 12 shots and bailed out his teammates who were predictively tired after two gruelling periods and last nights win over the Bruins. But this is what Lundqvist does. He doesn't ride waves or cash in on his teams achievements. He leads them. By example and by his determination. He not only is a great goalie, he is a great leader. We maybe seeing, before our eyes, the development of the greatest goalie in Ranger history. Sorry Eddie Giacomin. Sorry Chuck Rayner.

Last nights win gave Lundqvist a 17-4-5 record against future Hall of Famer, Martin Brodeur. Amazing. It also gave the revitalized Rangers a three game winning streak. Rozsival, (2) and Callahan, (1) and Dubinsky, (4) an empty netter were the goal scorers. But Lundqvist was the story and always will be the story when he goes up against Brodeur. Sorry Marty, but it is payback time.

Long live the Swedish Prince.

ICINGS:

Save of the game.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Here Come The Devils

The Rangers have proved, so far in this early season, that they can win on the road, 3-1-0. Now that have to win one at home, 0-1-1. What better motivation than facing Maaarrrty and the Devils. The key question is, will the million dollar man, Ilya Kovalchuk, be in the lineup tonight? My source has told me that coach John MacLean had the okay of GM Lou Lamoriello to bench the prolific goal scorer and there is no word on if he will play tonight.

If the Rangers follow up last night's outstanding performance with an encore tonight, they should be able to beat the Devils. It was a feisty, penalty filled game where both teams went 1-6 on the power play. Anisimov scored a PP goal to open the scoring in the first and Charo netted a 5-3 PP goal for the Bruins first goal. Lundqvist made 35 saves and Bruin goalie Rask made 27 saves.

Despite 17 minutes in penalties for going after Mark Stuart, who went after Fedotenko's head, Sean Avery played his usual rough, tough, supportive game. The coach and the team had no problem with his instigating a fight with Stuart. So far the Rangers have played very well without their star Gaborik, Drury and Prospel.

For me, this was the best game of the year. Through the years, the Bruins rivalry has always been one of the most highly contested games, usually in the Bruins favor. The replays of some old games especially the Bruins going into the stands was priceless. Hopefully this Ranger team will erase some of those memories. I still see the Kraut Line and goalie Frankie Brimsek skating and shutting us out. But those were bygone days and it is a different story now. With the arrival of our Prince, Henrik Lundqvist, things have changed in Beantown, Lundqvist is 14-4-2 up at Boston and even the ghost of Frankie Brimsek can't erase that.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Marty Biron Sparks Rangers

Ranger fans may have to distinguish between their Marty chants. Their derisive Maaarrrty for the anointed Brodeur and the gleeful Marty for their new backup goalie, Martin Biron. Last night he was outstanding in making 24 saves and inspiring his teammates to block 30 shots and play a stellar defense as they snapped their mini three game losing streak at three with a 2-1 win at Toronto.

The Rangers got goals from Ruslan Fedotenko, his first, and Artem Anisimov, his second. Michael Del Zotto, playing his best game of the year, blocked 7 shots and Dan Giradi blocked 6, as defense was the byword last night. While the entire team played a strong defensive game it was Biron who turned in the star of the game night.

Biron will be very important to the Rangers this year. Last year playing for the Islanders, he was outstanding, ending the season on a 7-3-1 run. If the coach doesn't panic and plays it smart Biron should get about 20 starts which will leave Lundqvist refreshed at years end and not tired and beaten down. Of course a big rough, tough defenseman would help protect Lundqvist. What's the name of that kid in Hartford?

ICINGS:

HockeyFights.com:
Derek Boogaard vs Colton Orr -- Who won?

Boogaard -- 59.3%
Orr -- 20.6%
Draw -- 20.1%
(189 votes)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Not So Special

Everyone knows that the loss of Gaborik is diastrous and one need only look at the power play to see how bad it really is. In last nights 3-1 loss to the Av's the power(less) play was 0-5 and now for the season is 2-17. In addition the penalty kill is slowly deteriorating as it gave up two PP goals and for the season is 14-20. So all aspects of their game have gone south in only four games and now stand at 1-2-1. Is it getting late early?

There are few moves that the coach can make, what with limited personnel, however, I would leave the second line, Anisimov, Dubinsky and Callahan alone and move them to the top line. Likewise I would reunite Stepan, Fedotenko and Avery and make them the number two line. After that, scratch and claw the other two lines and pray that Lundqvist elevates his game.

Of course the porous defense is another story but unless we go to the trade route we have to live with what we have and hope that the young guys grow into their jobs. It looks like a very long season and it could be longer if it develops that we are the weakest team in the New York area.

ICINGS:

Tortorella postgame remarks:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Gabby, Rangers Go Down In Opener

The Rangers may have felt good about a third period comeback that earned them a point but they sure must be unhappy about the loss of Marian Gaborik for a few weeks. The Ranger star suffered a separated shoulder on a hit from Colby Armstrong, who drew a minor penalty.

There was some good in this but there was more bad. The good was Brian Boyle's two third period goals which tied the game. Lundqvist made 33 saves including 16 in the first period when he held Toronto scoreless. Also the penalty kill was outstanding in regulation going 6-6. Sean Avery picked up two assists and played a fiesty game throughout.

The bad begins with too many penalties, including Staal's interference in OT which led to Kessel's game winner, the porous defense which allowed too many shots on Lundqvist and Chris Drury reinjuring his finger.

So now is the time for all good Rangers to come to the aid of their team. Maybe they can steal a page from the Yankees where everything starts from the bottom of their order. Let's hope so otherwise it is going to be a long winter.

ICINGS: The Rangers went back to tradition by introducing each player individually. Maybe coach disagreeable learned something over the summer.

Tortorella Postgame remarks:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wisniewski Suspended 2 Games for A-very Obscene Gesture

The Isles' James Wisniewski lost his poise and did not stay classy. Sean Avery on the other hand is probably now in his happy place. The NHL suspended Wisnewski for two games for his obscene gesture towards Avery during the first period of Monday's game. Call it a small justice.

The Islanders, of course, would like to forget the whole incident. In fact, they attempt to whitewash the entire affair. Their website in announcing Wisnewski's two game suspension does not use the term "obscene gesture." Instead the Islanders vaguely report the suspension is a result of Wisnewski's "actions" due to an "altercation" with the Rangers. The Islanders decide to go with some Washington-style politically correct double talk.

Islanders.NHL.com:
Wisnewski Suspended for Two Games -- Defenseman receives two game suspension for actions in Monday’s victory over the New York Rangers... for his actions involving an altercation...

TSN.com fully reports the story:
Isles' Wisnewski Suspended Two Games For Obscene Gesture -- New York Islanders defenceman James Wisniewski has been suspended two games for making an obscene gesture during Monday's game against the New York Rangers.

In the first period of action, Wisniewski and Avery had a verbal exchange and shoved each other in front of the Isles' net. Wisniewski then made the lewd gesture in the direction of the Rangers' agitator.

"A lot of actions on the ice are regrettable," Wisniewski said in a statement. "I've been given a suspension from the league, and I'm going to accept it and move on from here." ...

related:
prosportsblogging.com:
Top 10 James Wisniewski Excuses

Toronto Sun:
Flames burn Wisniewski for gesture

In another related story, Mike Milbury, injects himself into the Wisnewski incident with gusto as he uses it as an opportunity to rip into the 'innocent' Sean Avery.

CBC Sports:
Avery no saint in latest incident: Milbury -- Mike Milbury is tired of Sean Avery.

In fact, the Hockey Night in Canada commentator would love to see the New York Rangers' agitator hang up his skates — and soon.

Avery continues to draw that type of harsh response, even when he's on the receiving end of an obscene gesture...

"Here we are we're talking about Avery again, not because he made a great backhanded pass to set up the game-winning goal, but because he's part of another unsavoury incident. It's like watching a car wreck. You know it's not going to be pretty but you can't seem to turn away from it until you've had a look." ...

Milbury wasn't amused when he learned of Avery's plea of innocence.

"Woe is me. I mean, I have no time for it and I've got no time for him. It's too bad that Wisniewski lost his composure and let Avery get to him. If you send a message to everyone in the league, it would be just to ignore him and make him go away sometime, and the sooner the better because it's no fun anymore...
Interesting, that the Car Wreck Coach/GM/player, Milbury, calls Sean Avery a "Car Wreck". Hypocrisy in action. Someone should beat Milbury with a shoe for taking a lazy, cheap shot at Avery. Oh wait a second, that's Milbury's act. Attacking someone with a shoe in the stands is assault, a felony. So we have a ex-player who behaved like a felon, telling our "Grate One" agitator to get out of the game. After you Mike.

On Dec. 23, 1979 Milbury in a game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden followed his teammates into the stands for a brawl and ended up with a shoe in hand. He used the shoe to beat a Rangers fan.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Collapse At The Coliseum

I didn't catch much of the game but I saw the collapse. The Rangers took two stupid, referee assisted penalties which resulted in two Islander power play goals that led to a Ranger defeat at the hands of the Islanders, 5-4. What I saw was more of the same from last year. Helter skelter hockey, line changes and bad defense.

Most pundits are predicting the Rangers anywhere from sixth to twelfth. I don't see the playoffs for this team as it is constructed. However, I could be wrong. It won't be the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last. But struggling and losing to the Islanders is not a way to install confidence that this team has what it takes to fight their way to a playoff spot.

I know its early but the bad signs are there already.

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ICINGS:

Tortorella Postgame remarks:



Steve Zipay / Twitter:
Sean Avery on non-call on Wisniewski obscene gesture: "They (the NHL) won't do anything. Imagine if I did that? They'd send me to rehab."



Adam Gretz / NHL Fanhouse:
James Wisniewski Makes Obscene Gesture Toward Sean Avery -- Yup. So that happened. How the NHL deals with this is certainly going to be interesting. If a sex joke is worthy of six games, what will the result of this be?

UPDATE: Our Chris Botta is at Monday's game and passes along the following video of Bettman talking about the incident. In short: He didn't see it.



p.s. Happy Thanksgiving! Canada

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Star Is Born

The Rangers opened up their 85th year in style, showcasing a future star of the NHL, who in his debut had a hat trick, with a 6-3 win over the ever contending Stanley Cup also rans, the Buffalo Sabres. Derek Stepan, the twenty year old from Wisconsin, put on the best Ranger rookie performance since Donnie Murdock's five goal game. With a little luck he would have had five. He played on a line with Ruslan Fedotenko and the irrepressible Sean Avery, who had two assists.

After the game it was announced that Chris Drury will be back soon, either against the Islanders on Monday or the home opener against Toronto on Friday. What a surprise. Where will he play? Drury has played center and both wings in the past, so which of the top nine sits? Chances are we will learn that Stepan needs to get better defensively, so off he goes to Hartford to hone his skills. Or maybe Avery has a meltdown which will give coach disagreeable an excuse to bench him. For what? For a 32 point scorer last year who is making in excess of $7 mil.

But let's look at the positives. A rookie shined, Lundqvist made 33 saves and the Rangers opened the season with a convincing pasting of a perennial Stanley Cup contender. Shine up the Cup.

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Derek Stepan scores hat trick in NHL debut
Sean Avery and Derek Stepan
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ICINGS:

From Stan's twitter to God's ear.

Twitter / Stan Fischler:
Avery and Stepan will emerge as a surprisingly super duet.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Let The Games Begin

The prelims are over and the Rangers didn't do too badly. I'm not talking about the record, 4-2, but about the makeup and the future prospects for success. If what I saw in the prelims, lots of youth, continues, there is hope for the future even if we fail to make the playoffs. Now we wait for the final cuts to see if we have the guts to stick with the youth.

A source of mine has told me that there is a minor spat going on as to the direction of the team. The Stealth GM prefers keeping the older vets as oppossed to the coach going for the youth. The Stealth needs wins, a playoff and maybe some playoff wins. The coach is trying to build a team for the future. For the Stealth, the future is now, as it has been for the last ten years. His track record has been a disaster and he and he alone is to blame for the state of this team.

But you know how these fights go. If the coach wins he has to produce or he will soon seek new employment. For the Stealth, it doesn't matter, he has tenure. We got off to a good start in waiving Redden. Do we really want or need Rozsival, Drury, Prospal and White? I don't think so. You know what's the worst part of getting old? Getting old. Let youth be served.

Friday, October 01, 2010

NHL Watch Out: The 2010 -2011 Rangers Are Pretty Good

Something was different this winter. Very different. The Rangers did not trade youth for a player past their prime (Souray). The Rangers did not give a long-term, over-priced contract to a free agent (Gomez, Holik, Brashear, Drury, Redden). The Rangers admitted a mistake (Redden - nice guy, but you do not want your $6.5 million defenseman to compete for the Lady Byng). It makes you think that either Glen Sather does not have total control any more or he has wised up and is reading blogs.

The predictions of 14th and out of the playoffs appear to be way off the mark. We actually have a better hockey club than last year. If you compare our 2009 opening roster to the roster we will have, you can actually see this was done with a plan. Just compare 2009 to 2010.

NEW YORK RANGERS 2009 OPENING ROSTER (BOLD ARE GONE):

Goal (2): Henrik Lundqvist, Steve Valiquette, G
Defense (6): Michael Del Zotto, Matt Gilroy, Dan Girardi, Michal Rozsival, Marc Staal, Wade Redden, D

Forward (13): Artem Anisimov, Sean Avery, Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury, Brandon Dubinsky, Marian Gaborik, Vinny Prospal, Donald Brashear, Christopher Higgins, Ales Kotalik, Enver Lisin, Aaron Voros

PLAYERS STILL IN NEW YORK RANGERS TRAINING CAMP (BOLD ARE NEW):

Goal (2): Martin Biron, Henrik Lundqvist
Defense (9): Michael Del Zotto, Steve Eminger, Matt Gilroy, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Michal Rozsival, Mike Sauer, Marc Staal, Pavel Valentenko

Forward (16): Artem Anisimov, Sean Avery, Derek Boogaard, Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan, Erik Christensen, Chris Drury, Brandon Dubinsky, Ruslan Fedotenko, Alex Frolov, Marian Gaborik, Tim Kennedy, Vinny Prospal, Brandon Prust, Derek Stepan, Todd White

REMAINING TEAM CORE:

Goal (1): Henrik Lundqvist

Defense (5): Michael Del Zotto, Matt Gilroy, Dan Girardi, Michal Rozsival, Marc Staal

Forward (8): Artem Anisimov, Sean Avery, Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury, Brandon Dubinsky, Marian Gaborik, Vinny Prospal

ANALYSIS:

Only 14 players remain from the start of last year. With 9 new quality players to be added, this is not the same team.
  1. We improved in goal by adding a legitimate second goalie. (last year we only rested the Prince nine times - and won only three of those nine)
  2. We remain the same on defense - Redden was okay, just overpriced
  3. We improved on offense by getting rid of five of our worst offensive players (Brashear 36games 0g 1a -9; Higgens 55gm 6g 8a -9; Kotalik 45gm 8g 14a -18, Lisin 57gm 6g 8a -1, Voros 41gm 3g 4a -2) Total 234 games 23 goals 35 assists -39
  4. We improve by being both younger and more experienced. Callahan, Dubby, Stahl, Del Zotto, Gilroy all should be better with age.
PREDICTION:

We add three wins by improving in goal. Frolov, Stepan, a full year of Prust, and two more to be decided will add 20 goals and four more wins.

Last year: 38-33-11 87 - 9th

This year: 45-26-11 101 - 4th

This team is not able to match up against the best in the league. We need both a legitimate first line center and a second line true scoring threat to go against the best. But, we finally have a hockey team!

POST SCRIPT: The loss of Vinny for the season is likely, and significant. We lose his 20 goals, 38 assists and 20 minutes a game of ice time. We also lose a first line center. Assuming there is no big trade coming, we should replace 50-75% of his output, but that means adding only 10-12 goals, not 20, and one or two more wins, not four. So the revised pre-season projection:

This year 42-31-9 93 - 7th

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rangers Rolling

The Rangers pre-season continued perfect as the Blueshirts won another OT thriller over the Devils. Let's face it, The Devils are loaded. The Rangers are not. However the Rangers have the opportunity to give its fans an exciting year if they make the proper personnel decisions. To that end they started out with a great move, waiving Wade Redden. There are two other players they should think about moving, Michal Rozsival and Chris Drury. Moving them would give an opportunity to two young players.

Discounting the quality of play the game had a playoff atmosphere thanks to The Grate One, Sean Avery. He was his irritating, agitating self, throwing Ilya Kovalchuk, David Clarkson and Johan Hedberg, that old Ranger nemisis, off their games. Avery screened Hedberg on two power play goals, one by Gilroy and the other by Fedotenko. He also drew Clarkson into taking a penalty and his jawing with Kovalchuk from their respective benches was pure entertainmernt clearly outshining the Obama/McCain so called debates. It's hard to imagine Avery not being a top six forward.

Speaking of youth, Del Zotto scored the winner in OT. His goal reminded me of the goal Leetch scored against Vancouver in game seven of the 1994 finals. However, as great as Del Zotto is on offense, his defense is atrocious. I would consider moving Giradi along side Del Zotto and Rozsival, while he is still with us, with Staal. However, it's early. Let's see if Avery can put on another show against the Red Wings. Let's see if he plays.

ICINGS:

Nothing surprising here. We know there is a double standard when it comes to officiating and Avery.

Arthur Staple / Newsday / Twitter:

Here's Avery on misconduct for messing with Kovalchuk: "I'm specifically told it's because he's a superstar, and I can't go after a star."
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Kevin Weeks / former Goaltender / Hockey Night Canada / Twitter:
Rangers had stunning comeback vs. Devs @ The Rock last night ! Amazing crowd at he United Center for Wings @ Hawks too.
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The Hockey News / Puck Panel / Video:
Bobby Orr is best; who is the No. 2 all-time defensemen? -- In 1997, The Hockey News ranked the top 50 players of all time. Of course, the great Bobby Orr was the top blueliner.

This fall, THN will release a special edition magazine that lists the top 20 players at each position and Orr is still the No. 1 defenseman. But who is No. 2?
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Don Brennan / Ottawa Sun:
The mighty have fallen -- Redden just isn’t the same guy who was selected second overall in the 1995 entry draft and, over 11 seasons with the Senators, established himself as one of the best blue liners in the league.

Meanwhile, Rangers GM Glen Sather said the move had to be made for the good of the organization. So does the firing of Sather, if only for signing Redden to such an outlandish deal in the first place.
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UFC President Dana White is also on Twitter and he's pretty funny and straightforward, unlike a certain hockey commissioner. Regarding his UFC fight card last night, Dana had this back and forth with various UFC fans:
@don_from_vegas: @danawhite need a ride from the airport?
@danawhite: @don_from_vegas I'm good but thanks

@mirfanz
: @Mrs_Mir whatever. @thefrankmir is a bad man. more motivation yet for him to tear through that division and make @danawhite choke on it
@danawhite: @mirfanz sounds good to me

@etrizzle: @danawhite What happened last night. Such a great card on paper. Cro Cop's done. Have him fight Liddell, then they can both retire.
@danawhite: @etrizzle I agree, but there were some awesome fights last nite

@RickeyRossManzo: @danawhite your a thief you shoulda gave this card for free charging 44 dollars for this sh*t u crazy
@danawhite: @RickeyRossManzo f**k u rickey martin