Thursday, March 29, 2012

We take the shortest route to the puck and arrive in ill humor.

Being on the West Coast gave me a chance to see Brian Boyle play angry. And, what a difference it made. Why angry? A chunk of one of Boyle’s front teeth was missing, from of a high stick by Winnipeg captain, Andrew Ladd. Immediately, Boyle knelt clutching his mouth on the ice, then skated off. Moments later Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi saw the tooth, picked it up and brought it to Boyle.

Later, with the score tied 2-2, Boyle found himself behind the Jets goal, on the wall with two defenders and with the puck. A free Ranger winger was on the other side of the goalie ready to receive Boyle's pass. He was sure he was going to pass. So was I. So was the goalie and everyone else. But Boyle was in ill humor and took the shortest path with the puck to the crease right through the defense.

With the goalie not set to hug the post, he elevated the puck over the goalies skate and scored the game winner. Bobby Clark would have been proud, Boyle's smile after he scored looked a little like Clark's.

Freddie Shero said: "We take the shortest route to the puck and arrive in ill humor." Now we have Boyle: "We take the shortest route to the net and arrive in ill humor". This is the attitude that makes champions. Brian notched the game-winning goal at 3:07 of the third period, registered three shots on goal and won a game-high, 15-26 faceoffs (58%) in 18:05 of ice time.  He has now tallied three goals in the last four games.

The Rangers came back to tie the game from a 2-0 deficit because Callahan played with attitude. They won because Boyle and the team fed off of it and played that way too. If Boyle can keep it going this is a much more difficult team to beat.

Final note, the magic number is seven. Any combination of Ranger points or Pittsburgh missed points that total seven gives the Rangers first seed. Five games to go and only seven points away. While playing Buffalo or Ottawa is not easy, at least avoiding the Flyers will give Boyle a greater shot at keeping his teeth.

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  • mike said...

    Great post! Sometimes we forget what real hockey is all about and then we have a game like last night.

    The Rangers toughed this one out.

    Saw a great sign the other day. Give blood. Play hockey.

  • jb said...

    When I was watching the game I couldn't figure out why the Rangers got 4 minutes for the high stick on Boyle, because I couldn't see any blood, when they showed him skating back to the bench.

    Thanks for explaining that.

    That's the hockey in the NHL, a body part is worth 4 minutes. Seems a tad cheap. I would personally require a little more before I parted with my teeth.

  • jb said...

    Here's an earlier comment that somehow got lost in the system:

    by billrabatin

    That Was A Fredie "The Fog" Shero quote while telling his Broadway Bullies how to play the game back in the day... Thanks for the history lesson