Monday, January 31, 2011

Scrap This Game

You all know that I am not a fan of all-star games in any sport. Yesterday's fiasco proved that hockey should dispense with its all-star game. Twenty-one goals in sixty minutes. That's a goal every three minutes. Hockey? Why not have a shootout for sixty minutes. They would probably score less goals.

Hockey has enough special events to attract new fans and retain old fans. The Winter Classic seems to be a hit, plus the Olympics when they come around. They are special and draw huge crowds both at the events and on TV. What kind of ratings did last night's game draw on Versus?

The gimmick of having players pick their teams is just that. A gimmick. If hockey intends to upgrade its products in the eyes of the viewers then it should do what it does best. Play hockey and play it the old fashion way. And while we are at it. Get rid of the shootout. Go to a ten minute OT and if the game ends in a tie, so be it. As a start, get rid of the NHL All-Star game. It does nothing to enhance the sport.

But what do I know? I'm just an old fashioned hockey guy.

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ICINGS:

Dan Bernstein / CBS Chicago:
All-Star Sunday? Hardly --
Hockey, football and basketball are true team sports where defense and toughness win titles and define identities. Seeing great players engaged in a lesser version of the game is pointless and unfulfilling. Only baseball is able to retain any actual quality, and even MLB needed artifice to give fans a vested interest in the action or the outcome...
Behind the Net:
How Ridiculous is the NHL All-Star Game? --
It's just not that exciting to watch something that doesn't resemble NHL hockey...
Rando Mango:
Yes, the NHL All-Star Game and NFL's Pro Bowl Still Suck --
You've got a 21 goal NHL game, in a league and era where you're lucky to see 21 goals over five regular season, and yet the All-Star game was actually more boring as far as I could tell. What's more exciting than a goal and literally nobody gets out of their seats and almost as many applaud? ...
Life in the Philloverse:
All-Star Bore --
This is the worst time of year. Not because of all the snow. It's because it's All-Star season. Today both the NHL All-Star Game and Pro Bowl were held. In a few weeks the NBA will follow with its All-Star Game.

I won't beat around the bush. I think all-star games suck. Sports leagues continue to try to reinvent them, but to me they're beyond redemption...
Drury Lane:
All-Star Games = All Bore Games -- 
Worst then the games not mattering could be the fact that most of them aren't played like real games (baseball would be an exception, for the most part to all of this paragraph for that matter). The NHL and NFL games lose most, if not all, of their physicality which is a big aspect of thier games and no one plays any real defense in any all star game...
The Fitz Blitz: 
NHL All-Star Draft Gets Four Thumbs Down --
But as a fan and viewer, the draft just seemed lame, and a lot like a bad reality show. To paraphrase Rick James according to comedian Dave Chappelle, “I wish I had more hands, so I could give that draft, four thumbs down.”
Betting Hockey: 
NHL All-Star Game 2011: In the End, All-Star Draft Was a Bore

Friday, January 28, 2011

All-Star Games

I have never been a fan of All-Star games. Except possibly for the baseball game the other All-Star games are not played at the same levels or intensity. There are no hits in hockey. No blitzes in football. No team play in basketball.

A couple of early formats were interesting but only so because of their makeup. In 1934 The Chicago Tribune put together an interesting All-Star football game for charitable purposes, this one began in 1934 and ran until 1976. In the Tribune game the NFL champ from the previous year would play a college All-Star team. They played 42 games and the pros won the series 31-9-2. These games were all preseason games.

The NHL All-Star Game started officially in the 1947-48 season. That was also a preseason game and under that format the Stanley Cup champs played the stars from the other five teams. That format lasted until the 1967-68 season when they went to East vs. West. Prior to the 1947-48 season the NHL had special events All-Star games such as the Ace Bailey Benefit Game (1934),  the Howie Morenz Memorial Game (1937), and the Babe Siebert Memorial Game (1939).

So now the NHL has a new format. They pick two captains and the captains choose up sides. So you have the possibility of two teammates going opposite each other. Now you know why there is no checking, no hits. Imagine, choosing up sides. I remember as a kid when they used to choose up sides. I was usually picked last and wound up playing right field. Oh well.

So I will pass on this year's NHL All-Star game like I have passed on every All-Star game since Joe DiMaggio hung up his spikes. Maybe I can catch one of my grandson's game before his season ends. They don't choose up sides.

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ICINGS:

There was almost gun play and real shots because of Eddie Shore's cheap shot. The end result was the NHL's first all-star game.

Wikipedia:
Ace Baily's Injury --
The incident between Ace Bailey and Eddie Shore occurred in the Boston Garden during the second period of a regular league game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins on December 12, 1933. Having taken two penalties in quick succession, the Maple Leafs were playing short handed, and sent Bailey, Red Horner and King Clancy out to defend against Boston's power play. During that sequence, Horner upended Shore with a hard check as the later player rushed up the ice. Angry, dazed, and thinking he was going after Horner, Shore rushed at Bailey intent on revenge. He hit Bailey hard from the side, sending the stricken player flying through the air. Bailey struck the ice head first and lapsed into convulsions. Furious, Horner asked Shore what he was doing, and when met with only a smile in response, knocked Shore out cold with one punch.

Both players were carried off the ice, where Shore first regained consciousness. He was able to reach Bailey, who briefly regained consciousness himself, and attempted to apologize. Bailey was able to respond with "it's all part of the game" before again passing out. As Maple Leafs owner Conn Smythe attempted to reach his team's dressing room to find out the status of Bailey, he was accosted by angry Bruins fans, one of whom accused Bailey of faking his injury. An angry Smythe punched the fan in the mouth, and was later charged with assault.

Bailey was rushed to hospital in Boston with a fractured skull where neurosurgeons worked through the night to save his life. His injuries were so severe that doctors gave him only hours to live. Distraught over his son's injuries, Bailey's father boarded a train bound for Boston carrying a revolver, telling everyone he met of his intent to kill Shore. When Smythe found out about this, he contacted his assistant general manager, Frank Selke, for help. Selke got in touch with a friend of his who worked in the Boston Police, who met Bailey's father at a hotel and talked the man out of his plan before returning him to Toronto.

Authorities in Boston made it known that they intended to charge Shore with manslaughter if the player died. Bailey held on, though his life hung in the balance for several days...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sean Avery: Protecting Your Largest Organ

Sean Avery is a caring and compassionate man. He's now looking out for your largest organ.

Tom Weir / USA Today:
Sean Avery gets nude for skin care --

All right, college graduates, here's a question: What's the largest human organ? No, it's not Rex Ryan's mouth. It's your skin, and the New York Rangers winger Sean Avery wants you to take care of it...
Sean Avery: Protecting Your Largest Organ
The t-shirts are available only at Marc Jacobs stores.
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related:
Huffpo:
Sean Avery Naked: Rangers Star Poses Nude For Skin Cancer

Facebook.com:
Protect the skin you're in

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Back Breaking Loss

As Lou Costello said to Bud Abbott when they were shooting craps. "Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose." Sometimes you get the breaks and sometimes the breaks go against you. Against Washington the Rangers' Gaborik scored the tying goal when the puck went off of his body. Last night the Panthers scored the winning goal when the puck went off of Anisimov's back. It was truly a back breaking goal.

The Rangers came back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game in the third period on goals by Prust, off of his skate, and the ever improving Boyle, his 18th. Zuccy had three assists and the only way this kid is going back to Connecticut is to be kidnapped.

So the Rangers go into the All-Star break sitting in sixth place. They are ten points behind first place Philadelphia and seven points ahead of ninth place Carolina. For those of you who care they are 26 points ahead of the surging New Jersey Devils.

The tired Rangers will now get a much needed rest as the sunny beaches of Florida beckon. The good news is that most of the walking wounded will be back. The bad news is that most of the walking wounded will be back. Let's be honest. These young kids, Zuccy, Sauer, McDonagh, Stepan and the Connecticut cut-ups have been putting on quite a show. Who will be scratched? How many will have their ice time reduced?

Gaborik said, "We'll get some guys back and get back to work." I've got news for you Gabby, these guys on the ice have been working all along and regular, I might add. There was no mailing it in. What's that old line? Be careful what you wish for.
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ICINGS:

A very good story about Zuccy.

Dave Lozo / NHL.com:
Zuccarello making up for size with skill in N.Y. --
There's no denying Zuccarello has the potential to be a good, and perhaps a great, player in this League whose size will eventually be an afterthought. He has speed, hands, smarts and a belief he belongs.

Heck, there may even come a day when he'll take his game to such great heights that he won't be subjected to columns that end with lines about him taking his game to such great heights.

But until that day comes, consider this another example of how size doesn't matter as much anymore in the NHL.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Shootout At The DC Corral

Regularly scheduled event: The Great Rangers ShootoutNow Playing

Will wonders never cease? The Rangers beat the Capitals again. This time at DC. This time in a shootout. It was a 3-2 shootout win in four rounds that led to a 2-1 Ranger win. Although the Rangers have scord two goals or fewer in their 13 games the record for that period is 7-5-1. The scoreless wonders are holding on to sixth place in the East.

The goal scorers in the shootout were Wolski, Zuccarello and Anisimov. Zuccy is now 4-4 in shootouts. I guess he is the Matt Dillon of shootouts. Marian Gaboik got the game tying goal as Boyle's shot went off of Gabby's body into the net. A true goal scorers goal.

The third period saw an interesting line. Boyle centering Gaborik and Avery. Talk about protecting your big guy. That should give Gabby all the protection he needs to skate freely. The Rangers keep talking about a big center who could take the body and score. Who better than Boyle? And with Avery riding shotgun on the wing life should be a ball for Gaborik. Let's see how long it stays together.
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ICINGS:

Somewhere the Ghost of Tom Renney is smiling.

Hockey Rodent:
20 Minute Game --
Tonight's backchecking was as good as Tom Renney ever scripted. Every time a Cap hauled the pill through the neutral zone a Gotham defender remained between the advancing forward and Biron. But to deny time and space, a second Blueshirt double-teamed - converging from behind to box the puck-carrier from both directions forcing the mark to stop and hot-potato the ball...
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Somewhere the Ghost of Steve Valiquette is crying.

Puck Central:
Video: Steve Valiquette KHL Blooper
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Zuccy, the Shootout Magician.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Zuccy And The Prince

There are so many story lines to this game. Two more Rangers falling to injuries. Prust was hit by a puck and Girardi was in a stupid fight with Andrew Ladd. The Rangers coming back with nothing more than grit and determination. Brian Boyle continuing his amazing season by scoring the tying goal with less than six minutes to play. Henrik Lundqvist stopping three shootout attempts and Mats Zuccarello scoring the only goal in the shootout. He is now 3-3.

So I chose the Scandinavian duo as the top story. The Norwegian spit fire never stops moving, never stops skating, never stops creating havoc. Lundqvist was vintage Lundqvist. He 'only' had to make 20 saves in the game but he was perfect in the shootout, 3-3, and now is 4-1 this year in shootouts.

The Rangers now have six rookies in the lineup and when you count two second year players that adds up to one young team. They are doing fine when you consider they don't have any big goal scorers. Our main man has disappeared. So it's a lot of grit and determination which I guess coach disagreeable has to get some credit. However, this pattern can last only so long and someone has to step up and put some pucks into the net. Anyone?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Caned Again

Rangers are Caned Again

It's all well and good to run over the hapless Maple Leafs but to come back the next night and fall to the Carolina Canes again is unacceptable. In three games the Canes have five points the Rangers two. With the Canes in ninth place, five points behind the Rangers and two games in hand the next and final game could be a critical game.

Gaborik was non-existent, a non factor. He didn't get any shots until the third period. Avery, who skated well, missed a gimmee in the first period that would have tied the score. Brandon Prust, playing on guts and fumes scored the only Ranger goal. In the process both Ryan McDonagh and first gamer Chad Kolarik got assists, their first NHL points.

Cam Ward did it to us again. He was outstanding with 39 saves and while Lundqvist stopped 35 shots it was no contest as Ward won the goalie faceoff. The Rangers who at one time were 9-0 in the second game of back to back games have now fallen to 10-3 in the second game. Also this was their fourth loss in six games.

The defensive effort if you could call it that left something to be desired. Could the excessive shifts and ice time be starting to take a toll on Staal and Girardi? I think there is that recognition by the coaching staff with increased ice time for Sauer and McDonagh.

But defense aside the big killer down the stretch is the inability to have a sustained attack and to score goals. Injuries can't be blamed for this as the problem has been there all year. There is too much reliance on one guy, Gaborik, and when he doesn't score, or worse doesn't show up offensively then the Rangers are in deep trouble. So instead of dreaming about a top four finish in the East the Rangers have to worry about finishing ahead of the on charging Canes for the final playoff spot. Meanwhile, the defense rests!
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ICINGS:

Lose the game, win two good fights.

HockeyFights.com:
Brandon Prust vs Jay Harrison -- Who won?
Brandon Prust -- 80.0%
Draw -- 10.8%
Jay Harrison -- 9.2%
(from 65 votes with an average rating of 6.6)
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HockeyFights.com:
Kris Newbury vs Ryan Carter -- Who won?
Kris Newbury -- 84.8%
Draw -- 8.7%
Ryan Carter -- 6.5%
(from 46 votes with an average rating of 6.2)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gabby Gimme More

Boomer Esiason from East Islip, NY decided to hold on to his hat after Marian Gaborik scored his hat trick at the Garden last night. Boomer wants more consistancy out of Gaborik. Scoring four goals and then disappearing for 10 days is not acceptable, especially with all the injuries to the Rangers (Dubinsky, Fedotenko, Frolov, Christensen, Callahan, etc.). Boomer wants Gaborik to step up every night.

Boomer and Carton blog / WFAN radio / MSG TV:
(Boomer & Carton discuss the Rangers game during the first 15 minutes of their podcast)

Boomer & Carton Poll Question:

What do you think about Boomer Esiason not throwing his hat on the ice last night when Gaborik got the ‘Hat-Trick’?

Results:

  • He is well within his rights to wait for a more meaningful ‘Hat-Trick’… 15.6%
  • C’mon Boomer…Where is your Rangers spirit… 46.1%
  • Nobody cares about hockey, Boomer… 38.3%
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Scotty Hockey echoes Boomer's feelings about Gaborik.

Scotty Hockey:
27-18-3: Yawn --
*For all who are still delirious over Marian Gaborik's five point night, please keep in mind that he had hat tricks against Edmonton and the Islanders - the guy shows up when there is a dog to kick but when a real opponent comes around this season he has been the dog. I would rather see him score once in any of the close losses where were were desperate for a goal than see him put up four (and assist on another) against a bunch of bums like the Buds. That being said, his first goal featured some sexy stickhandling, wow. But, again, 10 of his 15 goals have come in three of his 34 games...
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The Hockey Suit adds a cummerbund to the conversation.

Hockey Suit:
Slump Buster Or Same Old Story? --
Look, I hope Gaborik is breaking out. I've been defending him all season when everyone else was squirming to trade him for like Brayden Schenn or whoever, but until Gabby puts up some goals in tight situations, I am going to reserve enthusiasm for the time being...
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I have to agree with Boomer, Scotty, and The Suit.

Marian Gaborik Scores 4 Goals vs. Toronto - Jan 19th, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Part Time Players

Life is pretty good for a Ranger. Sure they play an 82 game schedule, but the way they have been playing lately it comes to about 38-41 games a year. Last night against the top team in the East they managed to play about 20 minutes of hockey. They ruined what could have been a super night what with the Jets beating the Pats, but the Blueshirts could not rise to the occasion.

The Rangers are now in a 4-4-1 funk scoring all of 13 goals in that period. Of course the blame stream media is all over Marian Gaborik for not scoring any goals. Gabby is goalless in the last eight games, and has three goals in the nineteen games and only eleven for the season. How about Brandon Dubinsky with one goal in nine games, who twice missed open shots last night?

In all fairness to Gabby, he didn't see much ice time. He got all of 2:25 of ice time in the second period. The coach seems to think you can come out of a slump by sitting. Is the next stop for Gabby Hartford? The coach would make a great kindergarten teacher. You know the one that sits you in the corner when you used to pull the hair of the girl in front of you. Better he should cut the ice time of the over worked guys especially the two overused horses on defense.

So now the Rangers have lost three out of three to the beasts of the East, Philadelphia. The game got feisty in the second period with Prust, Kris Newbury and Avery engaging in some brawling. Now you all know that I am a big Sean Avery fan, but Sean, I am not a fan of punching a guy when he is on the ice. I am sure the frustration of limited ice time is starting to wear on Sean, but keep the fights fair.

The way the team is going it looks like the coach is wearing on the whole team. The Rangers who were only four points behind the top team in the East a few days ago are now only five points ahead of ninth place Carolina and Carolina has three games in hand. Keep putting the kids in the corner coach.

As for my friend, The Dark Ranger, this looks like a long unhappy season as his favorite team keeps losing to the team he loves to hate. Hang in there pal, better days are ahead, I hope.

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ICINGS:

HockeyFights.com:
Avery being Avery -- After a relatively quiet month by his standards, Sean Avery is back at it again.

During a second period gathering that nearly became a line brawl in Sunday's Flyers-Rangers meeting, Avery took advantage of a favorable matchup against Matt Carle and pounded him to the ice, getting in a couple of shots while Carle was already down.

Matt Walker and Kris Newbury grappled and exchanged punches along the boards during the fracas, but neither received fighting majors. The same went for Darroll Powe and Brandon Prust, who never got going...

HockeyFights.com:
Matt Carle vs Sean Avery -- Who won?
Sean Avery -- 61.5%
Matt Carle -- 21.5%
Draw -- 17.0%

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Same Old Story

Number two son makes a trip to Montreal once a year to see the Rangers play the Canadiens. Why? Next to death and taxes, the next sure thing is that the Rangers will lose in Montreal. The Ranger record in Montreal is 62-193-40. The 40 is for ties that used to count in the old days. Old days, new days, old Forum, new Bell Centre they come out to the same result. Rangers lose.

Lundqvist was great again with 38 saves and reached the point of frustration by pounding Max Pacioretty who ran into him. Actually Dubinsky gave Max a little shove but that didn't deter Henrik from going after Max. So now not only is Lundqvist a great goalie, a great leader, he is now the chief enforcer. All three goals by Montreal were scored in a span of 2:44 of the first period after the Rangers had taken a 1-0 lead on Brian Boyle's 15th of the year. Two Montreal goals were on power plays.

The Rangers after sleep walking through the first two periods made some sort of rally in the third as Zuccy brought us within one with about 13 minutes to play. The Rangers put 21 shots on goal in the third period after putting all of 12 in the first two periods. Did the fact that Sean Avery got meaningful ice time in the third period have anything to do with it; after spending most of the first two periods on the bench? Avery is definitely marked for extinction by coach disagreeable.

The best shot of the night was the Flyers practicing in Central Park. The NHL wants to come up with something exciting? Have the Rangers play the Flyers in Central Park. Forget Yankee Stadium, forget the crowd to see the game. The TV audience would break all records. New Years Day in Central Park with all the New York Christmas lights up. That would be outstanding. We don't need Syd the Kid, or Alex the Great. Just NY and Central Park and the lights and the city. We could have Mayor Bloomberg throw out the first puck.

Let's do it. The Winter Classic in Central Park on New Years Day 2012.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Lundqvist Stones The Canucks

Some call him The King. I call him The Prince. Soon we all will be calling him the greatest goalie in Ranger history, sorry Chuck, Gumper and Eddie. Henrik Lundqvist put on another show at the Garden last night. It was a classic. In fact it was classic Lundqvist. He made 31 saves and picked up the 6th shutout of the year and the 30th of his career.

It wasn't easy. The Canucks have the best point total in the NHL. They have the most wins of any team in the NHL. They have the third highest goals scored in the NHL. They came in on a 14-0-3 run in regulation. These were the creme de le creme of the NHL. Plus they have the Sedin twins, Henrik and Daniel.

All Lundqvist needed was a goal and he got that from the new wizard of 33rd Street, Wojtek Wolski who banged in a power play goal off of a shot by Marian Gaborik. Gaborik later missed putting the game away on a breakaway as he shot the puck into the pads of the young backup goalie, Cory Schneider, who was no slouch and came up with 34 saves as his record fell to 8-1-2.

But Lundqvist was the story. The Rangers still can't score. They were 1-3 on the power play to "improve" to 4-38 in their last twelve games. So this could have been another one of those 2-1 losses. Boyle and his line played a ton. Drury played too much. Avery got a little over six minutes and he and Weiss saw no ice time in the third period. At least I don't remember Sam calling their names in the third period. Maybe he is still mad at Avery for scoring the winning goal in St. Louis.

This team will go only so far as Henrik Lundqvist will carry them and right now the King, Prince, the Greatest is going well and is on the proverbial roll. We will chant Let's Go Rangers, but what we really say is long live The King, The Prince, The Greatest.......Aah, you know what I mean.

ICINGS: Wonderful news. Fran Pizzani is back home and recovering. Our prayers continue to go out to him and his family and thanks to all of you for your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No Room For Error

The way coach disagreeable has set up his team leaves little room for error. So it was not surprising that when Henrik Lundqvist muffed Benoit Pouliot's sharp angle shot to give the Canadiens a 2-1 lead with about 14 minutes left, the game was basically over. However, let's not fault Henrik. Who do we fault? Let us count the ways.

Let us fault the lack of consistency. Let us fault the lack of a steady forecheck. Let us fault the lack of a power play, it went 0-2 last night, is 1-22 in the last six games and is 3-35 in the past 11 games. Let us fault the perimeter game which is the M.O. for most of our forwards. Let us fault our reluctance to crash the net which seems to be the other teams main path to the goal.

Lundqvist made 36 saves and took the blame for the loss. Nonsense. The coach should take the blame for the loss. Sean Avery got less then ten minutes of ice time. The new wizard of 33rd Street, Wojtek Wolski, got almost 20. The blame street media is making all kinds of noise about how Wolski's game tying shot hit the post. Big deal. I've seen all kinds of players hit posts and crossbars in critical situations, starting with my all time heart ache, Bones Raleigh, in game seven of the 1950 Cup finals against Detroit. Bones was the real deal. Many duds and phonies have hit posts and were good time Charlies. Here today and gone tomorrow.

Sean Avery was a force in the Rangers mini three game winning streak. Sean forechecks. Sean crashes the net. Sean does not a perimeter game play. Sean stands up for his team mates. Sean sits on the bench in critical times. Sean has been averaging less than ten minutes a game.

Wojtek Wolski has been traded twice in eleven months. Wolski had all of sixteen points (6-10) in 36 games for Phoenix and was scratched five times. The word is that Wolski is an underachiever. Wojtek Wolski got almost 20 minutes of ice time. He fits the mold. Valeri Kaminsky anyone?

Just a note on the Rozsival trade. Whatever Wolski's shortcomings it is a plus by subtracting to get rid of Rozsival. Eventually no matter what job you are in you get one right. The Stealth got this one right.

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ICINGS:

Don 'Bones' Raleigh
Greatest Hockey Legends:
Bones Raleigh --
Here's the skinny on Don Raleigh: He was skinny.

Hence the nickname that he became best known by, "Bones" Raleigh...

Raleigh joined the Rangers for the 1943-44 season, a call up due to a roster depleted by World War II. At 17 he became the youngest full time player in team history...

In the 1950 playoffs Rayner and Raleigh led the Rangers within a whisker of the Stanley Cup championship! Playing against the Detroit Red Wings, it was Raleigh who scored back-to-back overtime game winning goals in games 4 and 5 to keep the Rangers alive. Raleigh had his chances to score another OT goal in game 7, but ultimately the Red Wings emerged from that game as the Stanley Cup champions...

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Saturday Night Jive

It was a dilemna. What to do. Watch my beloved Rangers and miss the Jets last game of the season or watch the Jets and maybe miss another Ranger loss at St. Louis. Ah! Technology. I decided to use my DVR and tape both games. I started out watching the Rangers first period and then went to the football for the entire first half. Then it was back to the Rangers second period. Then back to the football for the thrilling finale and eventually back to the Rangers for their thrilling win, their first in St. Louis in eleven years. Didn't miss a faceoff or a snap and saw two thrilling games and fully satisfied and happy.

The Rangers were sparked by that oher goalie named Marty, Biron, who was outstanding with 24 stops and bringing his record to 7-3-0. Biron is truly a backup goalie not a fill in. The Rangers fell behind in the second period on a redirection by Brad Winchester. They tied it on a beautiful goal in front by Derek Stepan. The play was started by rookie defenseman Ryan McDonagh who fed Dubinsky who gave it to Zuccarello who led Stepan for the goal.

The winning goal came about as Dubinsky and Avery won a battle on the boards with Dubinsky going to the net with the puck being followed close behind by Avery. Dubinsky passed to Gaborik whose shot hit off the crossbar and fell on the goalline. A crashing Avery then tucked the puck in for the winning goal thereby eliminating any reason for a goal review.

The big moment, moments, in the game came when Avery took a double minor, four minutes, for high sticking. The Rangers killed this off and held on for the win. I didn't hear Avery's name mentioned after that and don't know if he was benched. However, Sam Rosen, may have been mad at him as Sam thought Gaborik scored the winning goal and remarked that Gaborik "needed the goal." The team needs goals Sam, not the players.

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ICINGS:

If this story is true, then we should see Michal Rozsival's minutes greatly reduced once he returns from his injury.

Rick Carpiniello / lohud.com:
Kinder Tortorella fights for youth movement --
... Tortorella — a Stanley Cup-winning coach and the winningest American-born coach in NHL history — was continuing to be true to his promise that this team will live and die with its youth, with the hiccups and stumbles along the way, and not succumb to the temptation to trade future for present just to make the playoffs.

When was the last time a New York coach in any sport said that and meant it? Or put job security, perhaps, on the line for the greater good of the franchise? ..

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Zuccy Strikes Again

Had Mats Zuccarello grown up on New York's lower East Side, Little Italy, he surely would have been called Zuccy. All the guys were called with names that ended in y's. It was Mikey, Johnny, Tony and Beansy. He might also be called Champy the way he comes through in the clutch.

Last night he waited til the shootout to perform his magic. He was the only one of the six shootout players to score a goal which enabled the Rangers to get out of town with two points. So they start the second half of the season the way they ended the first half of the season, with a win. They have 51 points and are only five points behind Eastern Conference leader, Pittsburgh. How about those apples!

With Lundqvist making 28 saves the Rangers played a strong defensive game with Ryan McDonagh replacing the injured Rozsival. Did anyone notice? Their first goal was a short handed one by Fedotenko which was the Rangers league leading ninth of the season. Anisimov's power play goal tied the game to send it to OT and eventually the shootout where Zuccy did his magic.

So the sun continues to shine brightly in Oslo, Norway as its favorite son, Mats Zuccarello continues to shine in New York, USA.

ICINGS
:

More Hobbits and Tolkien Middle-earth will be coming soon to a screen near you.

celebrity-gossip.net:
Elijah Wood Signs On for "The Hobbit" --

Sure to excite his avid fanbase, Elijah Wood has been confirmed to be starring in the "Lord of the Rings" followup "The Hobbit".

With the actor's rep confirming the news, the move comes after director Peter Jackson changed up the prequel film to be able to include Frodo despite the story taking place before the character's birth...

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Mats All Folks!

The sun may come up tonight at midnight in Oslo, Norway as its son, Mats Zuccarello, the Norwegian with the Neapolitan name scored his first Ranger goal, a game winner. The 2-1 win over Carolina in OT was a playoff type game. If Everready batteries decides to remake its commercials using people, Zuccarello would be perfect. He is perpetual motion, non-stop action and the only time he stops is when he runs into someone, sometimes. Mats goes all of 5'7", and that must be with the skates on, but it doesn't matter for to recoin a cliche, he plays big, mighty big. To quote Mats, "I have had a long time to practice being small."

However, Mats wasn't alone as he had help from that other Scandanavian, Henrik Lundqvist, who upped his record to 17-12-3 with 31 saves. Lundqvist had to be almost perfect in beating Cam Ward, who was also very good, making 33 saves. Ward's record fell to 17-11-5. Brandon Dubinsky also played a dominant game picking up two assists. Dubinskyand Zuccarello both picked up assists on Matt Gilroy's opening goal which gave the Rangers the lead until the other Staal, Eric, tied it with a little over six minutes left.

Another outstanding performannce was turned in by the prodigal son, Sean Avery, who was a force all night. He started on the fourth line and in the third period skated with Gaborik and Anisimov. In the second period he blocked a shot with his left hand and then skated off to the locker room and you could almost see a smile on the coaches face. Another broken hand? However, Sean was on the bench at the start of the third to a frowning coach. No broken hand, but the puck that he stopped was removed from the game as it was damaged.

Don't forget to pray for Jake Feldman and Fran Pizzani.

ICINGS:

Mats Zuccarello is the Norwegian Hobbit
More love for the Norwegian Hobbit.

Jay Greenburg / NY Post:
Say hello to Rangers' Zuccarello --
The puck went behind the goal to Zuccarello, who came out the other end to a waiting, butterflying, Ward. And like Matteau! Matteau! Matteau! Zuccarello! Zuccarello!, Zuccarello! scored, roofing his first NHL goal, in his sixth game, giving the Rangers a 2-1 overtime victory.

It was just a great feeling to watch it go in,” Zuccarello said. “It was an unbelievable rush.”

Not just for him, either, but for teammates pouring off the bench who easily made a 5-foot-7 guy disappear in the joy...

“He is going to be really special for us from his talent alone,” said Dubinsky, referring to Zuccarello’s ability to see the play like 95 percent of bigger and faster players cannot.

“I have been like this for 23 years,” Zuccarello said. “I have had a long time to practice being small. I have to use being small to my advantage.”

Will Zuccarello continue to hold his own amidst the long shadows and long reaches of a big man’s game? The jury is out, but last night the puck inarguably was in, the littlest guy on the ice pulling out a big, big win for the Rangers.
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Scotty Hockey:
23-15-3: Storhet! --
*Zooooooooook. What a great way to score your first NHL goal, huh? Overtime, game-winner at the Garden. Wow. Love this kid and what he brings but, it should be said, he is still new to the league and may need more time back down on the farm before the season is through. How funny was it to see him be embraced by Brian Boyle after the goal? Over a foot difference there but it showed the sheer joy the kid had and joy his teammates had for him. It seemed to be more than just a celebration of a overtime tally, but the delight of older brothers for a younger sibling's success. Storhet = Greatness in Norwegian...
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Blue Seat Blogs:
How Long Will Zuccarello Be On Broadway?
... Zuccarello’s performances will also have a huge impact on current roster players, particularly Frolov, Prospal and to a lesser extent Christensen. While EC is more threatened by the development of the young centers even he could be a victim of simple maths – too many forwards – while Prospal (despite being a leader on the team and a respected veteran) and Frolov will need unbelievable second halves to the season to convince management to bring them back and even that may not be enough. So the play of Zuccarello, while right now to be enjoyed, is more likely to be beneficial long term rather than for this season and that isn’t a bad thing. Don’t be sad if he doesn’t stay this year, look forward to the time when the Hobbit becomes a mainstay on Broadway.
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Rick Carpiniello / Rangers Report Blog:
2010-11 NEW YORK RANGERS MID-SEASON RECAP --
The Rangers will begin the second half of their 2010-11 regular season tomorrow, January 7, when they face-off against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center. New York currently ranks third in the Atlantic Division standings, and seventh in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 23-15-3 for 49 points through 41 games. Compared to last season, the Rangers have registered four more wins and six more points (19-17-5, 43 points in 2009-10), having tallied 13 more goals (121 this season, 108 last season) while allowing 11 fewer goals against (104 this season, 115 last season). New York has also shown a four-goal improvement while shorthanded compared to 2009-10 (eight this season, four last season)...

Sunday, January 02, 2011

A Lost Weekend

The Rangers played today? Now did they do? Lost. That stinks.

How did they do yesterday? Lost. That stinks too. Anyway, how about them Jets.

The NHL has tried to stake out dibs on New Year's Day for the Winter Classic, that's great. But packing in other regular season games on this big sports holiday weekend is not the brightest scheduling strategy.

Losing and injuries have become the story of the New Year. The Rangers are dropping games and players like losing tickets at Aqueduct. And goals are like virgins at the Playboy Mansion. Why score when you can block a slap shot with your face? The Chris Drury blocking bug has infected the entire team. Jim Cerny notes:

The Rangers entered play on Sunday ranked third in the NHL with 620 blocked shots, despite the obvious risk-reward scenarios.

“When you sacrifice your body like that to make a block sometimes it’ll hit the wrong spot and you get some injuries, but that’s the way we play and we’re not going to change the way we play,” said defenseman Marc Staal...
I would like to see the statistical value of blocked shots compared to the minutes, assists and goals, lost by those injured players. Drury missed a total of 31 games because of his brilliant blocking efforts. So that cost the Rangers, what, a total of two goals and three assists? Maybe that's not the best example of the skewed risk-reward ratio of shot blocking. But Cally took one for the team too. That's a real loss. Now it's Fedotenko getting a badly bruised hand on a shot block today in the 3-0 loss at Carolina. You have to know this blocking bug is virulent if it's infecting Ukrainians.

All the Rangers need to start suiting up like Lundqvist if they want his job.

The bottomline is that the 2 games this weekend are very forgetable. And the Jets looked good against the bottom feeding Bills. Happy New Year.
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ICINGS:

Winter Classic Highlights


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It's good to see Chris Drury cultivating his next career. We're counting the days too.

Drury gives a tour of his new restaurant, the Colony Grill in Fairfield, Conn.: Rangers TV

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