Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blood on the Ice: Rangers 4, Devils 2

Ryan Carter after his fight with Stu Bickel

There is nothing like a good old fashion hockey brawl to start a game and put everyone in a good mood for some hard hitting hockey. And a Rangers game at the Garden against the New Jersey Devils can't start these days without a fight, or two, or three kicking off the festivities. Because sometime this season Devils' coach, Peter DeBoer, decided that throwing punches, the more the better, is the best way to get his team motivated to play the New York Rangers.

First, a review of the bad blood and haymaker history. Back on December 20th at the Garden, Mike Rupp and Cam Janssen squared off three seconds after the puck dropped. Rupp won that fight by a wide margin. Lundqvist and the Rangers ended up winning the game, 4-1.

On February 7th at the Garden, the Devils decided to kick the intensity up a notch. This time two fights started at the two second mark of the first period. Again, Mike Rupp got the decision over Cam Janssen.  And Eric Boulton squared off with Brandon Prust. Boulton won that fight. New Jersey ended up winning the game and shutout the Rangers, 1-0. They also handed Henrik Lundqvist one of his few losses versus them.

So, you can see where this Devils' logic is going. If two fights starting a game results in a win, and one fight equals a loss, then the more fights the better.

The February 27th game at the Garden got off to a slow start. The fights didn't get going until the 2nd period. Eric Boulton had the edge over Prust at 16:52 of the 2nd. David Clarkson thumped Dubinsky in their third meeting at 19:27 of the second. The Rangers and Lundqvist win 2-1.

The action picked up on March 6th at the Prudential Center. Ryan Carter and Dubinsky dropped their gloves at 3:03 of the first period. Carter then hammered Dubinsky. That was followed by the Rangers' John Scott getting the better of Cam Janssen at the 12:32 mark of the first period. It was Scott's third fight, and third win, against Janssen. The Devils won the game 4-1, again defeating Lundqvist. It was also the start of a three game losing streak for the Blueshirts.

The tone has been set to that of a fight ring bell this season. Last night's game had both teams come out swinging. Swinging to knock each others block off. In a move clearly orchestrated by DeBoer to start a rumble, the Devils deployed their goon squad to start the game. Tortorella felt compelled to match fire with fire, by starting the Rangers' tough guys.

So just 3 seconds into the game, three fights erupted: Ryan Carter vs Stu Bickel, Eric Boulton vs Michael Rupp, and Cam Janssen vs Brandon Prust. When it was all over in less than two minutes, they were scraping Carter's blood off the ice as he retired to the dressing room for some wound dressing.

Two of the three fights were grudge rematches. Eric Boulton must think that he's due to win one eventually over Mike Rupp. But, no such luck. This was Boulton's fifth fight with Rupp since February 2008, and his fifth loss. Cam Janssen and Brandon Prust have now battled six times going back to their OHL days in 2004. Their first scrap back in February 2004, set a high standard. Prust introduced himself by cleanly tagging Janssen and winning their first fight. Since then Janssen has had the upper hand, and this most recent tilt currently looks like it will be voted a draw.

So, other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play, you might ask? The play, the actual hockey was as hard hitting and fierce as I've seen all year. Not pretty, but you couldn't take your eyes off it for fear of missing some wanton mayhem. The Rangers were credited with 41 hits, the Devils with 23.

The big news is that the Rangers finally scored on the power play. The smallest guy on the team, Zuccarello has to go to the net and put away a rebound for them to score. The experiment of putting Brian Boyle in front of the net on the power play looks like it is over. Boyle had only 37 seconds of power play time. The Massachusetts Spruce has proven that his limbs don't work so well when asked to wack at anything moving faster than a bark beetle. So better to put the small guy near the net. Right?

Seeing Brandon Prust get smacked into the boards late in the 3rd period by Adam Henrique was not good. Hope he is all right.

Good things: seeing other guys like Dubinsky and Stepan score. Dubinsky played one of his best games of the year. He got 17:57 minutes of ice time, which might be a high for him. The King is back as master of his domain, despite letting a couple sneak in over his right shoulder. If Lundqvist does his standard excellent royal job and limits the other team to 2 or less, if the defense doesn't goof too bad, then the Rangers have dibs on winning the game, right?

Hearing chants of Maaarty, Maaarty, and sending Brodeur home a loser, sweet stuff.

The Rangers have clinched a playoff spot. Now maybe everyone, except Mike Rupp, should start clinching in fights to keep themselves in one piece for the playoffs.

ICINGS:



HockeyFights.com:
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Scoring Summary:
G Per Time Str Team Goal Scorer Assist Assist
1 1 01:11 EV NYR Dubinsky(8) Stepan(31) Callahan(23)
2 2 00:33 EV NYR Girardi(5) Hagelin(22)
3 2 05:03 EV N.J Elias(25) Sykora(21)
4 2 07:33 PP NYR Zuccarello(2) Callahan(24) Richards(33)
5 2 11:08 EV N.J Sykora(17) Zidlicky(19) Kovalchuk(43)
6 3 18:50 EV NYR Stephan(16) Dubinsky(20) Hagelin(23)

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6 comments:

  • Andy said...
     

    For a second I thought I was watching the trailer for the new movie "goon". Then I thought maybe I had the wrong channel and this was a road warriors game...Na, just torts yelling obscenities across the bench at another grown man because he decided to start his grinders.

    If torts don't like it, leave the top line out there and let Deboer either suffer that consequence or Deboer makes the quick line change. But ohhhhhhhhhhhh no no no, this is tortorella hockey! How dare another coach challenge his authority...

    It was a good team effort and a solid win. That's something i'm stoked for cause we haven't seen it in awhile. Just leave the staged bull shit out. 3 fights at once? It's just not going to end up good for anyone in my opinion. But like you said JB, let Rupp do it all he wants. That would mean he's actually doing his job!

  • Jen9400 said...
     

    Even though I think DeBoer was an idiot to start his fourth line last night I still can't be on the side of our neanderthal psychotic head coach. I have Ranger fans defending his deplorable behavior as if he was some innocent bystander who had no choice but to play along with big bad DeBoer and to be quite honest it makes me sick. This is not the first game we have been involved with opening face off fights so the defense of this person (i can't even bring myself to type the word man) inspired me to do a little research and what I found cannot be blamed on the Devils idiot coach but should be blamed on our idiot coach. 7 times this season alone we have been involved in opening face off fights 3 of which were against the Devils the others coming against Philly, Pitt, SJ and Buffalo. In addition to that we have been involved in 13 additional fights coming at 3 minutes in or less including teams like Calgary, Ana, Jets, Ott, Pitt, Tor, Phx, Bos and of course NYI and NJ. That means 20 times we have dropped the gloves 3 mins in or sooner. That does not include fights I saw at the 5, 6 and 10 minute marks of the first period. I had someone on twitter tell me that Torts wanted to start his top line but he couldn't. Awww poor Torts. The numbers above prove that he doesn't actually start his top line very as often as he should. I also had someone tell me that we can't be pushed around. I agree and I am not suggesting that we should be. I just don't want to see my team at the center of what would be looked at as setting hockey back 40 years. We are not the 1970's Flyers. I like toughness but it has to make sense. It can't be just for the hell of it. If we need to change the momentum of a game or we need defend ourselves to a team like Philly NJ or the Islanders then by all means fight. But with the new information out there on concussions and fighting I have no interest in watching some coach idiot send my players out there game after game to be used as human punching bags. This man is the biggest hypocrite on the planet. He reams the team for so called stupidity like misunderstood goal celebrations but he can coach the team with the most fighting majors in the league because thats what exactly? Smart? Manly? He preaches discipline and staying within yourself then he throws the biggest kindergarten childlike tantrums whenever he feels like it. Nick over at the Ranger Tribune sat right behind the bench last night and reported that not only was he screaming at the Devils coaching staff but he took Brad Richards stick out of his hands and repeatedly slammed it against the glass in order to get their attention as the fights were going on. The "do as I say not as I do" dictator is just out of control. After the game he denied he screamed at DeBoer. Lie. Then he told reporters he didn't know that the Rangers clinched the playoffs last night. Lie. Last week he said he didn't know Pittsburgh was on our heels and claimed he doesn't look at the standings. Lie, lie. He lies so much its unbelievable and a lot of people say who cares we're in first place, who cares how he does it. I do. The players do. Everyone loves to use the term the players are all buying in. Of course they buy in. Do they have a choice? These guys play for each other and win in spite of him. The players understand that their careers are short and they will only have so many chances to win. Right now they are winning so they will put up with the dictator. Its human nature to ban together but when those results are no longer coming in they will overthrow him and the first people who will turn on him are the same ones who tell me on a daily basis that they only care about the results.

  • jb said...
     

    Andy,

    The start of the Rangers game would have been the perfect opening for the Kevin Smith hockey movie, Hit Somebody (based on the Warren Zevon song).

    It definitely looked like Torts got into some kind of 'mine is bigger' contest with Deboer. And we know when it comes to showing off how big his ego is Torts will not back down.

    Yes, let Rupp fight and fight. Hey, did you notice that there's Rangers reject in Minnesota who just scored 4 goals in the last 4 games. I'm not saying we should have kept Eric Christensen, but guys like him and Avery could at least score. Tort the pacifist went with Rupp over those guys. Having Rupp and Prust and Bickel is like having a belt, suspenders, and a draw string when it comes to keeping your manly tough guy pants on.

  • jb said...
     

    Jen9400,

    Great comment. You do great job of puncturing the righteous and holier than thou attitude that coach disagreeable trots out.

    Yes, the Rangers lead the league by a wide margin with 62 fighting majors, 57 for 2nd place Boston, and 38 for 8th place NJ. So,they can't claim to be innocent bystanders.

    As I said to Andy, when you stock the team with Rupp, Prust, and Bickel you are not loading up with guys who can win shootouts. It's like Torts has his arsenal of tough guys, and he wants to pretend that he's a pacifist. No. He's built a team that is ready to rumble if the need arises. Nothing wrong with that at all.

    But, his hypocrisy and lies where he pretends that he's really a victim is insulting to any intelligent fan.

  • Down by the Seaside said...
     

    Old-time hockey ... but this time we actually won the fights, and the game!

  • Andy said...
     

    Great comments Jen and JB. Really, really good stuff. Here's to hoping tonights tilt is good hockey!

    And so you know Jen, I feel the exact same way you do and encounter these arguments from ranger fans a lot. You're not alone, we take the abuse all together!

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