Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hallelujah!

Hallelujah! Tortorella is gone.
The Stealth GM came out of his bunker, saw his shadow and decided it was time for a coaching change. Coach disagreeable is gone, along with his frowns, grimaces and 16 second press conferences. In a teleconference call with reporters, not face-to-face, the GM didn't say a thing about why he really fired this coach. Oh yeah. The usual high expectations and not meeting them.

Was Henrik Lundqvist's statement about having to talk to his agent before making a committal the cause? Well, er, no.

Was the benching of Richards the cause? Well, er, no.

Was criticizing management for not enough roll players the cause? Well, er, no.

Was the abrasive press conferences the cause? Well, er, maybe, could be, but no.

There was not one question directed at the GM that would have implicated him in this debacle. After all it's been fourteen years and every three or four years when we change the coach, having this GM still around is not going to cut it. This guy has got to go too. We need a complete revamping. The owner is safe. He owns the team. However, this guy, the Stealth GM, is as much of a problem as the bad coaches he keeps hiring. As I told the Stealth that bleak February night at the Garden over four years ago, after a terrible OT loss to the lowly Maple Leafs, "you should fire yourself, you don't belong here." The next day he fired Tom Renney.

My definite opinionated opinion is that this coach was fired for two main reasons above all.

First. Henrik Lundqvist's comment that the team went backward while the coach claimed it went sideways. Then in a response to a possible extension of his contract he preferred to state that he would have to talk to his agent. Wow! Lundqvist not jumping at the chance to resign with the vaunted Rangers. That's earth shaking. Pack up the team and the fans for all those empty seats on the horizon. Now that's a hit in the old pocketbook, a depression in the bank account and forget playoffs without Lundqvist. In fact, forget season.

The other reason, according to this Pundit was a poll taken by the NY Daily News (see below). In that poll seventy-one percent of the readers said that the coach must go. And Sixty-two percent said, "Sather should get the ax" too. Ah, what do these stupid fans know? How can that be? After all the press, even though disrespected, had not blasted the coach on a regular basis. Maybe they were afraid to, for fear of being chewed on in the press conferences. Ah, the press conferences. Don't you think the fans know that when a coach rips the press and ignores them regularly that he is really ripping and ignoring the fans. Get the fan base annoyed and you are in big trouble. Many a player and a coach have been booed out of the Garden. Some good and some bad. However, once you alienate the fan base you are done. And coach disagreeable did alienate the fan base on more than one occasion.

So here we are once again. The talk is that Lindy Ruff has the inside track. I hope not. Lindy's a good guy, but what has he won? Want a retread with a record? We had him in the booth: 'Iron Mike' Keenan. Unfortunately Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL snapped him up a couple of weeks ago. Mike is a real SOB, who really knows hockey. He would have given us a third and fourth line that do what third and fourth lines are supposed to do. He'd have raised hell, on the ice, in the locker room, in corporate, and he'd have given us a winner.

We can't get "Iron Mike." So then I would go with the legends: Messier, Graves and Leetch. Make Messier the coach with Graves and Leetch as assistants. They may not win a Cup, but we will have a lot of friends behind the bench. But, the Stealth will probably go with some experience, no rookie coaching experiments. But for now, I'll savor that disagreeable is gone. Where he goes, I could care less.

Sayonara baby!

ICINGS:

NY Daily News:
NY Rangers fans have say: John Tortorella must go --
Seventy-one percent of readers voted on The News’ interactive online 'Keep ’Em, Dump ’Em' page to jettison Tortorella after the Rangers failed to return to the Eastern Conference finals.
Daily News readers want John Tortorella to stop coaching, Glen Sather to stop general managing and James Dolan to stop owning, which means there will be plenty of disgruntled fans at the Garden at the start of the 2013-14 season.

Sixty-two percent said Sather should get the ax, and 83% told Dolan to take a hike...
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Glen Sather - a Con-Man Hiding In His Secret LairStealth GM hides in his secret lair - fires Torts, then avoids face-to-face meeting with media to answer questions.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fourteen Years!

Yes, fourteen years. That's how long its been since the Savior from the West came to New York to lead the Rangers to the Cup, after Cup after Cup. You remember the quote. Hopefully I get it right, it's from memory: 'If I had the money the Rangers have I would win the Cup every year.'* So here he is, the Stealth GM, fourteen years later. Not only no Cup but it seems we went backward this year. If the goalie on the Bruins doesn't trip over his own laces, the Bruins sweep us. So add the six years from 1994-2000 and we are now in a twenty year draught for the richest team in the NHL.

But the Stealth isn't the only culprit. He is abetted by the Absentee Owner and aided by the most disagreeable of all people, the Ranger coach. The coach declared after the game that he bears some responsibility for not making his best players play better. Play better? He makes them worse. He destroys them. Marian Gaborik, two time forty goal scorer, derided, humiliated. Criticized while hurt, shortened ice time and eventually traded to Columbus.

Brad Richards, all star player. The coach's buddy, good friend. With friends like this you don't need enemies. Relegated to the third and fourth line and then the ultimate indignity. Benched during the last two playoff games. Richards is gone next year and that is his good fortune. Probably sign with Pittsburgh and haunt us all year long.

Rick Nash, the ultimate power forward. One goal in thirteen playoff games. Torey Krug, the Boston rookie, scored four goals against us. You know how coach disagreeable could have made Nash and Richards and Gaborik better? Leave them alone. Who saw this game yesterday and didn't think that Rick Nash was more concerned about not being torched or not blocking a shot than he was scoring a goal. I believe he got two shots on goal.

So we have the Stealth GM going out and spending all that money to get powerhouse players like Gaborik and Richards and Nash to build a contender. Most coaches would have licked their chops in delight with a potential of 100 additional goals per season from this dynamic trio. Not disagreeable. He had to teach them how to play hockey. He had to teach them how to muck it up. He had to teach them how to play defense. He had to teach them how to block shots. But he loves 'hands of stone' Boyle. He adores 'give it away' Del Zotto. And we are going to have him as long as we have the Stealth.

And then there is the Absentee Owner. You realize the Garden had eleven playoff games, six by the Knicks and five by the Rangers this spring. It is estimated playoff games bring in around $2-3 million a game all belonging to the owners. The players get no share of the money. So the Absentee Owner pocketed anywhere from $22-33 million and that may be conservative.

So here we are. The Stealth GM and the disagreeable coach going in opposite directions and the Absentee Owner is smiling all the way to the bank. Did you go to any of the playoff games? I didn't. Did you see the prices for the tickets? Do you think that with this coach any free agent worth his salt will sign with the Rangers? Do you think we are heading forward or backward? As long as the Stealth GM remains so will the disagreeable coach. No thanks guys. I'll stick with my Grandson who now has made the JV. Go T/Birds.

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ICINGS:

* There are many variations of Glen Sather's arrogant quote that are bouncing around the web. The exact wording of that braggadocious quip is unclear. But, take your pick, they all meant the same thing.

Blueshirt Banter:
"If I had the Rangers payroll, I'd never lose a game" 
 Puck Daddy:
"If I had the Rangers' budget, I wouldn't lose a game."
 Blue Line Station:
“If I had the Rangers’ budget, I’d never lose a game”
 Hotstove NY:
"If we had the Rangers payroll, we'd win every year" 
Bleacher Report:
"If I had the [Rangers] payroll, my team would never lose a game."
Bleacher Report:
"If I had their payroll, my team would never lose."
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Remember this one?

Friday, May 24, 2013

It's In-Kreidable!

It was an amazing game last night with an equally amazing comeback led by the 'bus rider', the 'jitterbug' and 'the hands of stone' players. When it was all said and done the Rangers won a game, in OT no less, scored a power play goal, no less, our goalie made 37 saves, what else is new, and one of our star franchise players sat and watched the game from a luxury box.

In the order of importance, Chris Kreider, who has spent more time riding The Tortorella Express back and forth to Hartford, then being on the ice scored the game winner in OT by flying to the net and redirecting a beautiful feed from Rick Nash past a surprised Tuukka Rask. Thereby giving the Rangers a return trip to beantown and the thought that hope springs eternal.

The 'jitterbug, Carl Hagelin, turned the game around when Rask fell in the crease and allowed the puck to slip by him for the Rangers first goal to make it 2-1. Stepan then scored the tying, 2-2, goal by picking the great Zdeno Chara's pocket for a beautiful wraparound. Chara did not have a good night. He was playing Nash very loosely on the game winning goal. The 'hands of stone' man, Brian Boyle, got the tying goal, 3-3, off a beautiful set-up by Derek Stepan.

The coach spent an inordinate amount of time, for him, explaining his benching of Richards. Or did he explain it? Me thinks that thou protested too much. Anyhow, it's a win. The Rangers are alive and live to play another day. It's still one at a time and Saturday's game should be a beaut. Back to what I have been saying all year. We always have a shot with Lundqvist in the net.

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ICINGS:

Stan got a little worked up last night.

A few select tweets from Stan Fischler.
@Stan Fischler / Twitter:

  • #Rask unbelievably bad. Bad. #Rangers come right. Bs better start worrying.
  • Has #Rask gotten the heebie-jeebies, or what? Now the Rangers should come back with the power play.
  • #Rangers have to leave it all out there on the ice in the third period. We shall see. In 1942, Leafs rallied in the third and won. +3 more.
  • As I predicted, Rask blows one, Stepan scores. Bs in disarray. Rangers start the miracle.
  • What did I tell you -- a fourth-liner did the trick. #Rangers have #Bruins where they want them -- in Panics-vlle. #Rask won't be the same.
  • Tuukka Rask slipping on invisible banana peel on ice is latest in the endless collection of #Boston sports blunders. Blowing series next.
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(Bruins) Days of Y'Orr:
Bruins Lose to the Bruins. BRUINS LOSE. --
Not even concerned. Seriously. Fools like Stan Fischler are going to bring up all that 2010 crap. The Bruins learned from that. It won't happen again.

They beat themselves tonight. Really, they did. Rangers fans can try to tell us we're being sore losers or whatever but let's review: Rask just flat out fell on that first goal. Defense took themselves out of the play on the power play goal. Rangers can have hope all they want. Bruins will just stop them on Saturday...

How the hell is Johnny Torts considered a good coach? Down 3-0 in the series, you bench Brad Richards for a player (Roman Hamrlik) that even Rangers fans said isn't good enough to be in the AHL, nevermind the NHL...
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In 2010 the Bruins won the first two three games of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, but lost the series in seven games to the Flyers.

Wikipedia:
2010 Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Semi-Finals: --
The Bruins lost game seven on a Flyers power-play goal as a result of a too many men penalty. Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe said that "watching the Bruins blow a series on a too-many-men penalty is like watching the 1978 Red Sox lose a one-game playoff on a homer hit by a guy named Bucky." The collapse as a result of the penalty brought back memories of the 1979 Stanley Cup semi-finals when they lost to their bitter rivals (and eventual champions), the Montreal Canadiens.
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Andrew Gross / NorthJersey.com:
Richards a healthy scratch in Game 4 --
The end of Brad Richards’ tenure with the Rangers may have come even sooner than anticipated.

The struggling veteran, expected to be the team’s No. 1 center and power-play catalyst when signed as the premier free agent in 2011, was a healthy scratch Thursday night as the Rangers survived elimination with a 4-3 overtime win over the Bruins in Game 4 at Madison Square Garden.

It marked the first time coach John Tortorella has ever made Richards a healthy scratch...

Richards said Tortorella called him at his Manhattan apartment early Thursday morning with the news.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rangers Fail Lundqvist

If Henrik Lundqvist ever aspires to leave the club of "the greatest Ranger goalies to never win a Cup," he is going to have to improve his game. In the club are guys like Eddie Giacomin, Chuck Rayner and an assortment of lesser stars. Guys who made the Hall of Fame and are Cupless. Henrik has to learn how to score goals. You think I jest?

Taylor Pyatt scored a goal at 3:53 of the second period, a redirect of a Ryan McDonagh shot, that put the Rangers up 1-0. For the next 36:07 the Rangers got all of ten shots on goal. Ten shots! This game was one of the most one-sided 2-1 games I have ever seen. This may have been Lundqvist's best game in this playoff. The Rangers were credited with 24 shots on goal. The goal counter must have had ten shots in the bar before the game. Brian Boyle got 19:41 of ice time. No shots and he got toasted on faceoffs losing 17 of 21. Michael Del Zoto got 24:42 of ice time, was a minus 2, got 2:06 of PP time and was an uninterested spectator on Daniel Paille's winning goal. These are two of the coaches 'pets', guys who don't 'stink'.

The Rangers were completely dominated by Boston's fourth line of Paille, Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell. The line had one goal, four assists, six shots and seven hits. They assisted on Johnny Boychuk's goal. They swarmed around Lundqvist like angry hornets. The Rangers had no answer. We have no fourth line. Hell, we have no third line and our two top lines are made up of an assortment of 6-8 players who have no idea of what their roles are or should be. Hell, our coach doesn't know.

The power play was 0-2, 0-10 in this series and is 2-32 in this playoff year. It's not even worth talking about or discussing. None of the coaches have a clue.  This game and this series is bringing out all the 'warts' on this Ranger team. We have no depth. The coach played all year to get "the two points" and never developed a strong bench. He overloaded three defensemen, Girardi, McDonagh and Del Zotto with massive ice time. It cost the efficiency of two of the players and led to a large exposure of the third. You figure it out.

So now it's fourth and goal and the ball is on our one yard line. Is it hopeless? Of course not. Even Custer thought he had a chance. Like our Rangers he lacked the depth needed to turn the tide. Lundqvist may still steal one, but to ask the King to steal four might be the impossible dream.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Bruins Blister Rangers 5-2 in Game 2

Spanked in game one, blistered in game two, the New York Rangers once again need some MSG TLC to make the out of town boo-boos feel better.

The Boston Bruins put a 2-0 choke hold on the Eastern Conference semifinals with a decisive 5-2 win over the NY Rangers in game 2. The Bruins were able to exploit multiple defensive breakdowns by the Rangers and light up Lundqvist for five goals in 60 minutes. The King had not been lit up like that since a guy named Gomez pranced on Broadway. It was also the first time the royal guardian has let in three or more goals this postseason.

The walls they came a tumbling down as defensive stalwart, Dan Girardi, made a number of major mistakes that let Boston assassins pick off the King. Girardi was on the ice for all five Boston goals, but did not earn the perfect -5, because he got an assist on Nash's goal.

Girardi's first misfortune was letting Krug use him on a screened double five-hole shot, for Boston's initial tally. Dano's killer misdeed was allowing a sneaky backdoor tap-in by Marchand from Bergeron early in the third period for Boston's fourth. It was a sick replay of the game one OT winner by the same pair and it was a back breaker, which put the B's up 2. It also earned Girardi a four minute benching for conduct unbecoming a rock.

However, Dan was not finished, for an encore Lucic scored Boston's 5th goal, which was punctuated by a sprawling, flailing Girardi. The matinee massacre then mercifully concluded after a wee bit of fight'n between Dorsett and Campbell.

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ICINGS:
Oh, Danny boy the pipes, the pipes are calling (out for some protection)...

And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me
And all my grave will warm and sweeter be
And then you'll kneel and whisper that you love me
And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me.
*Did Dan Girardi just have a bad game, which happens, or are other forces at work? Did the splitting of the twin rocks Girardi and McDonagh wreck their karma? Here the fickle finger of fate points at Tortorella for his flagrant overplaying of Girardi and McDonagh during the season. That shortsighted strategy now looks like it has predictably wrecked Girardi. A four minute benching times 60 or 70 would have been better during the season.

*Del Zotto was only on the ice for Boston's last 4 goals, and was a net -3.

*Things are always upside down in a Tortorellian World when Boston's rookie defensemen are jumping out on the rush, scoring, and contributing, while our own defensive rocks have gone in the tank.

*New York's power play is "putrid, stinky, malodorous" say the NBC pundits, and they are being kind. The Rangers man-advantaged offense, it's no longer a power play, has become a national joke. But, John Tortorella has no shame. If he doesn't take ownership of the problem, who will? 0-for-4 Sunday, 2-for-35 in the playoffs, and getting worse.

*Can a reporter now please ask Torts why *his* power play stinks?

*Boston's hobbit, Brad Marchand (5'9", 183lbs, age 25), is playing bigger than his New York counterpart, Mats Zuccarello (5'7", 175lbs, age 25). If Zuccarello is ever going to get in a scrap here is the guy, hobbit on hobbit.

*The only other goal worth mentioning is Callahan's unassisted gem, off a steal and break away that made Rask look very vulnerable. If only the Rangers had been able to follow that one up, Rask might have cracked.

*Still trying to understand why Nash didn't go hard to the net late in the 2nd period, like he did earlier in that period for his first playoff goal. Instead he settled for a poor shot. At least he got in a good slash during a Boston goal.

*Despite all the sound and fury Boyle, Dorsett, and Pyatt are getting outplayed by Boston's 3-4 lines.

*Who is more useful Brad Richards or an ancient Jaromir Jagr? The museum piece still surprises.

*h/t Jeanine for pointing this good one out:
Kevin Weeks / NHL.com: Playing safe could end up costing Rangers
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Scoring Summary
G Per Time Str Team Goal Scorer Assist Assist
1 1 05:28 EV BOS Krug(2) Horton(5) Krejci(10)
2 1 08:01 EV NYR Callahan(2) unassisted
3 2 02:24 EV BOS Campbell(1) Krug(1) McQuaid(1)
4 2 03:20 EV NYR Nash(1) Zuccarello(5) Girardi(2)
5 2 12:08 EV BOS Boychuk(3) Marchand(5) Bergeron(3)
6 3 00:26 EV BOS Marchand(2) Bergeron(4) Bartkowski(1)
7 3 12:39 EV BOS Lucic(3) Krejci(1) Hamilton(2)
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Friday, May 17, 2013

OT Blues (Shirts)

For the third time in these playoffs the Rangers have played and lost an OT game, this one to the Bruins 3-2. Also, the Rangers lost the special teams battle, again, going 0-3 on the power play while the Bruins were 1-4. The one being Torey Krug's which tied the game at two in the third period. The Rangers are now 2-31 on the PP in this tournament as the regular season's woes continue into the playoffs. In fact, the PP woes have been consistent through coach disagreeables tenure.

After a slow first period the teams picked it up, but as the game got longer the Bruins got stronger. They outshot the Rangers 93-66. 48 shots were on goal and the Rangers managed 35 on goal. In the OT the Bruins got 16 shots on goal to a tiring Ranger team with only 5 shots. To say that the Bruins wore down the Rangers is an understatement. McDonagh and Stepan scored for the Rangers and Chara and Brad Marchand scored the other two for the Bruins with Marchand the winner in OT. Both Girardi and McDonagh logged over thirty minutes of ice time as did Zdeno Chara who seems to be a special beast.

After the first period the game turned into a war with the hit total almost reaching 100. The Bruins out hit the Rangers 51-44. It took a toll on the Rangers in OT. Lundqvist was his usual self again making 45 saves. Sure, make a comment if you will about him actually knocking in Chara's goal which gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead. But pucks were flying all around him and he got very little support. The Rangers have to force the action and not drop back into a defensive shell. If they continue to think they can form a defensive shield around Lundqvist, by blocking shots, they will lose this series in five games. They have to be more forceful and decisive on offense.

The 'so called big guys' have to wake up. It's great how the third and fourth lines are playing. Where is Nash? Where is Richards? Is Callahan tiring? Does the coach have a plan? Outside of berating and growling at reporters does he have any idea of how the power play is supposed to work? Thanks to Lundqvist we will probably make this another seven game series, but like game seven against the Caps, Lundqvist needs help. He can't do it alone. He can't score goals.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

R2: Bruins Series Notes

Game 1 against the Bruins tonight. Let's get ready to rumble.

Hat tip to Scotty Hockey for pointing out the Bruins Days of Y'Orr blog, they do a depressing breakdown of the enemy (NYR). But, they also poke some fun at you know who, which gives them some cred.

Tortorella - "I'll Choke You"
click for animated version

(Boston Bruins) Days of Y'Orr:
Know Your Enemy - The New York Rangers -- 
The New York Rangers offense was more or less anemic during the series against the Washington Capitals. Out of the 16 playoff teams, the Rangers currently rank 10th in goals for against, which ranks them 2nd to last in teams still in the playoffs. There are three eliminated teams that currently have scored more goals per game than the Rangers - Toronto, New York Islanders and Anaheim. The paltry 2.29 GF/G was good enough to beat on a Washington team that couldn't score a goal if you let the net empty...
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Scotty Hockey takes a good look back at the Bruins:
Peepin' Foes Playoff Edition: Boston Bruins -- 
Who To Watch For: Milan Lucic was a beast in Game 7 against the Leafs during crunch time, absolutely dominant. Patrice Bergeron rarely wows but is one of the most complete players in the NHL. Brad Marchand is a smaller version of Sean Avery, just with better hands, and Tyler Seguin has been slumping but when he is on, he is on. Their defense is thinned by injury (no Seidenberg, Ference or Redden) but they still have the man-mountain that is Zdeno Chara, who admitted to me in Prague before this season that he hated the Rangers.
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No argument with any of these.

Blue Seat Blogs:
5 keys for success for the Rangers against the Bruins --
  1. Mitigate Boston’s advantage on faceoffs
  2. Win the special teams battle
  3. Rick Nash vs. Zdeno Chara
  4. Stay disciplined
  5. Henrik Lundqvist has to be as good, or better, than he was against Washington 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Game 7: Lesser Lights Shine Bright, Rangers Crush Caps 5-0

The first war of Lord Stanley's Cup 2013 is over.  The NY Rangers led by their resolute rock, their king of the crease, their royal protector of the net, Henrik Lundqvist, routed the Capitals of DC, 5-0, in an epic game seven battle to win the series 4-3. The King stopped an intense Caps barrage of 13 shots in the first period, which then gave his loyal foot soldiers a chance to launch the counterattack and commence the sacking and pillaging of the net of squire Brandon of Holtby.

The Rangers' yeomen, grinders and gofers had their day of glory. Arron Asham started the assault with a beautiful screened slapshot off a Chris Keider back pass. Next, at 3:24 of the second period Taylor Pyatt notched his first goal of the playoffs, with assists from Derek Dorsett and Steve Eminger. That was also Dorsett and Eminger's first points of the playoffs. Del Zotto scored his first goal of the playoffs just over two minutes later, with a lucky deflected pass, to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead. The lowly foot soldiers had risen, the lesser lights were shining bright and the rout was on.

You could hear and sense the Washington team and their building deflate after Del Zotto's 3rd goal. Coming back and scoring three goals against the royal rock, Lundqvist, just to tie it up, in a game seven was not going to happen. The Captain, Ryan Callahan, led the mopping up operation with his nifty steal and the Rangers 4th goal just 13 seconds into the third. The villagers started fleeing the building after Cally's torching of the net. Lastly, this tale of victory concludes with the wee Hobbit of Oslo scoring his first playoff goal, 6:39 into the third, off a beautiful setup from Sir Derick of Brassard.

Musings and Mutterings:

Yes, Derick Brassard has been knighted. He is now Sir Brass in the Royal Court of King Henrik Lundqvist. Seven assists, two goals, in the last five playoff games, and +4, earns that honor. Ironically, it was surprising to see that Sir Brass was not credited with any shots during game 7. He will also be allowed to keep the number 16 without further comment.

Since he was not going to score against the King, Alexander Ovechkin became a beast. Henceforth he will be know as "The Ovechkin." The Ovechkin had a shift where he hit everything in sight. (See: The Russian Machine Never Breaks, hit GIFs, including the boarding of McDonagh). Ovechkin had only one shot on goal in 20 shifts (19:08 of ice time), but was not on the ice for any of the Rangers goals. The Ovechkin's final line in the seven-game series reads one goal in Game 1, an assist in Game 2 and then five straight games without a point.

It was a bloody victory. The Ovechkin's brutal boarding of Ryan McDonagh left a nasty mark, but the beast was finally slain.

The Ovechkin's boarding of Ryan McDonagh resulted in a cut

The Rangers play best when the Earl of Angry, the Lord of Pout, John Tortorella, says and coaches the least. He unshackled them in the first period and by all accounts simply told them to be aggressive and go after the Caps. What, no rope-a-dope in game seven? What a novel coaching concept: let's go out and win the game, instead of clustering around Lundqvist and playing for the tie and shootout.

The power play (0-3) is still wickedly cursed. Someone or something will need to be sacrificed in order to break the evil spell that lingers over it. Looks like it needs to be Richard$.

While a banishment to Hartford is now in the cards for Richard$, he can still salvage something from this year, if he can muster some points against Boston. Brad gave us some great moments last year. Please, Brad, if you have any gas left in the tank, now is the time to use it. #RedemptionAwaitsThee

Brian Boyle, -1, in six games; Brad Richards, -1, in 7 games; and Ryane Clowe, -1, in two games are the only Rangers forwards with a minus rating after the first round.

Please, Lord Pout sir, may we see some more of the line combination of Brassard, Zuccarello, and Nash before they get stale?

If Taylor Pyatt (16:16 of ice time) and Derek Dorsett (15:32) can keep it going and continue to earn this increase in playing time, then the Rangers may have a blueprint for victory against Boston.

So much for those other pundit wannabes saying that it had to be one of the big name players (like Nash, Richards, Backstrom or Ovechkin) stepping up in order to win the game. #CheersForTheLittlePeople

Ryan Callahan's steal and score off John Erskine was sweet justice.

Of the eight teams remaining alive in the playoffs, four are original six teams: Blackhawks and Red Wings in the west, Rangers and Bruins in the east. This was the first season since 1996 when all of the Original Six Teams were in the playoffs.

King and squire shake hands:

Brandon Holtby and Henrik Lundqvist shake hands after game 7
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Scoring Summary
G Per Time Str Team Goal Scorer Assist Assist
1 1 13:19 EV NYR Asham(2) Kreider(1)
2 2 03:24 EV NYR Pyatt(1) Dorsett(4) Eminger(1)
3 2 05:34 EV NYR Del Zotto(1) Brassard(6) Nash(2)
4 3 00:13 EV NYR Callahan(1) unassisted
5 3 06:39 EV NYR Zuccarello(1) Brassard(7) Eminger(2)
 
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Monday, May 13, 2013

Thanks Hank!

Sure Derick Brassard scored the winning goal, a lucky carom shot off of Cap D-man Steve Oleksy, and sure the Rangers played disagreeable hockey, blocking a ton of shots, but when it's all said and done, the Rangers live and die by one man and one man alone, Henrik Lundqvist, aka Hank. Thanks Hank!

You ever think that of all the positions on the ice, the goalie is the one position that the coach has no control over. Oh yeah, he can change goalies but he can't control or affect their play. Lundqvist was great, that word again, in stopping 27 shots for his second series shutout and seventh of his career. Two of his three losses in this series have been in OT. Now he is asked to do the impossible, the unthinkable. He is asked to become the first Ranger goalie to win a playoff game seven on the road. He is asked to do something that the great Eddie Giacomin failed to do on two occasions.

Can he do it? Of course he can. The question is can the mediocrity that surrounds him rise to the occasion. Let's face it. The Caps are there to be taken. I was disappointed that we blew game five. Game six should have been the clincher for us not the tying game. The Rangers were a woeful 0-5 on the power play. The refs saw no evil in the Ranger game and the Caps had nary a power play.

While Cap goalie Braden Holtby has been brilliant in DC, two goals against in three games, the Ranger perimeter style and ever changing lines make life easier for the goalie. Remember, the Rangers have lost two OT games in Washington. The Rangers without Lundqvist are a bottom feeder in the NHL East. So it is asking too much for this team to rise to the occasion and win one for the King? Can they do it? Hank has on many occasions. We are asking the team to show up once and do it.

Thanks Hank! Long live the King!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Game 5: Caps win 2-1 (OT)

The Capitals 2-1 overtime win in Washington puts the Rangers on the cusp of summer vacation. The Verizon Center is lobbying to become our new house of horrors, looking to wrest that honor from Montreal's Bell Centre. What do the phone companies have against the New York Rangers? The Rangers have a grand total of two goals in three first round losses (2 in OT) in DC.

The Rangers are bringing a rusty Swiss Army knife to a gun fight. When Brian Boyle is playing 21:44 the Rangers are doomed. They do not have a chance with BB as their go to. Who took a grand total of 1 shot on goal in his 21+ minutes and got lucky? Who hands the other team a PP goal with a stupid slashing penalty six minutes after scoring? Who, of course, was on the ice when Mike Ribeiro scored the game winner? Who must have nasty photos of Torts in a compromising situation to get run out on the ice for 28 shifts, 27 of which were worthless? Brian Boyle plays like Peter Boyle's Frankenstein. Useless.

Welcome to playoff hockey Mr. Nash. Playoff hockey is faster and tighter. So Rick Nash looks slower and weaker. Nash had a total of 2 shots on goal, both in OT, in 20:05 of ice time. Contrast that to Ovechkin who recorded 9 shots on goal. Ovechkin is always a threat even with Girardi and McDonagh draped all over him. Drape a Washington d-man on Nash and he disappears.

Even without Nash's troubles there is plenty of ineptness to go around. The aptly named Del Zaster and Richard$ need to be removed from the PP (0-4). It's a big positive to see Del Zaster's (15:29) minutes decreasing and Moore's (25:05) increasing. Same with Richard$ (18:23) and Brassard (23:55) going in opposite directions. Out with the old in with the new. Richard$ is quietly punching his bus ticket to Hartford.

A Caps blogger notes:

Ward and Mathieu Perreault, in fact—two bottom-six forwards—are now tied for the most points out of all Capitals forwards this postseason, with four each. Another third liner, Jason Chimera, is not far behind, and that’s after he struggled offensively for much of the season. What does the third line seem to have figured out?
Yes, the Caps have a blueprint for victory -- a third line with bite. The Rangers with injuries to Clowe (suspected concussion), Powe (concussion) and Staal (eye) don't have a blueprint, but they do have Brian Boyle. Lord help us.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

It's Even!

Dan Bylsma, Penguins coach, announced that Tomas Vokoun will replace Marc Angre Fleury in the nets tonight in Pittsburgh against the Islanders. Coach Adam Oates of the Caps may be contemplating the same thing following last night's game at the Garden. Cap goalie Braden Holtby gave a good imitation of Fleury as the Rangers got four by him in a 4-3 win at MSG that sends the series back to Washington with the Rangers the clear favorites here to win this series. Michal Neuvrith is the backup and chances are low that he will be in the net tomorrow night.

Meanwhile, Henrik Lundqvist, after giving up a deflected goal to Perreault with twelve-and-a-half left in the game, bringing the Caps to within one, shut the door the rest of the way. Lundqvist made 27 saves as the Caps launched 82 shots toward Henrik. Thirty-three were blocked and nineteen missed the net. In turn the Rangers launched sixty-two shots at Holtby with twenty being blocked. Ryan Callahan was his usual one man  wrecking crew with an assist, a plus one, six shots, five hits and seven blocked shots. It's rumored he sold programs during the intermission.

The goal scorers for the Rangers were Richards, Hagelin, Girardi and Stepan. Stepan continues to 'step up' and be a big game player for the Rangers. Definitely a star of the future. Rick Nash was all but invisible. I have got to believe that Rick is hurt. Reminds me of what Gaborik went through last year. Of course with the secrecy and intrigue that surrounds the Rangers we will never get the true story. Marc Stall, not feeling well, sat out.

ICINGS: Henrik Lundqvist is one of three finalists for the Vezina Trophy. The other two are Sergei Bobrovsky of Columbus and Antti Niemi of San Jose. Getting to be a great habit for Lundqvist. Long live the King!

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Rangers 'Staal' Caps

What a game! No, it wasn't flawless, Del Zotto and Boyle were playing, but it was exciting. Years from now MSG will have it on Classics and we will marvel at the many heroics and even some of the blunders. Braden Holtby returned to earth and let in a couple of softies that has to have coach Adam Oates worried about the upcoming games. The shots were almost even, 31-30 Caps, but it was the last goal scored by Stepan that provided the clincher in the 4-3 win.

Marc Staal made an emotional return and played a solid 17:17. The Rangers got goals from guys named Boyle, Brassard and Asham. Not your everyday snipers. John Moore continued to be a revelation especially on the PP as he continues to get more ice time and Del Zotto (17:02) gets less. For once the Rangers won the special teams fight. The Caps were 0-3 on the PP and the Rangers were 1-6. Actually the Rangers first goal by Boyle was scored one second after the PP expired.

For the Caps, the Big O was kept off the scoresheet, but Backstrom and Green continued their fine play and both scored goals. To me the Caps seemed to own the five on five play and their six penalties broke up their rhythm and was their down fall. The game ended with the Caps on a 1:54 power play and they spent too much time passing it around and not letting Green shoot from the point. Our advantage.

As I predicted the East is up for grabs. All four series sit at 2-1 and the odds are good that come Wednesday night all four series will be tied at two apiece

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Bummer!

As if the game wasn't bad enough there was coach disagreeable with his 5-star growl daring the lame stream media to ask him a question. Daring them! And then, house lap dog Al Trautwig explaining to us that the coaches spend, "hours, and hours and hours," working with this team. Wow! Hours? Doing what? Another dismal offensive performance. Another blanking on the PP, 0-4. Another playoff loss, 1-0, in OT to the Caps.

See, the regular season strategy of playing defense at all costs, blocking shots, clearing the puck to get to the shootout, don't work for playoff hockey. That's why that stupid shootout should be abolished. It's irrelevant. The playoffs are what counts and there are no shootouts in the playoffs. Instead of developing a defensive game plan to get us into a shootout the plan should have been offense. Score goals. Shoot the puck. Get in front of the net. One more time. Get in front of the net.

Lundqvist was brilliant. While Holtby played good again, with 24 saves. I wonder the result if the goalies switched sides. Remember, the Rangers were one of the lowest scoring teams in the NHL. They had the goal scorers, Nash, Callahan, Stepan, Richards and for most of the season Gaborik. Yet they were basically impotent. You think maybe the coach had something to do with it?

The blame stream media will make much of McDonagh's clearing the puck for a two minute minor that caused the loss. You think maybe Ryan was tired for being on the ice for an extra long shift? You think? We could rail all we want about all the little nuances and coulda, woulda, shoulda. But the bottom line is that in playoff hockey you need game goals to win games. And the one thing that is consistent with this team. They can't score.

Pray for Henrik Lundqvist. He is our only hope.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Caps Hold Serve

The 'experts' on MSG were quick to point out that Lundqvist gave up a soft goal by Jason Chimera and Joe even claimed that Lundqvistt gave up two soft goals. The lame stream media chimed in this morning on Lundqvists 'spotty goal'. I don't buy it. At least I don't buy the criticism of Lundqvist.

The 'spotty goal' gave the Caps a 3-1 lead. He makes the save, we lose 2-1. The Rangers can't score goals. Forget that 14 goal  outburst against Florida and Buffalo. That was an accident. The Rangers came out as spectators as the Caps piled up a 12-1 shot advantage. Sure the Rangers turned it around and finished with a 36-30 edge but Holtby made few acrobatic saves.

After Ovechkin tied in on a PP it was all Caps. Girardi and McDonagh were so obsessed with watching the Big O that they let Marcus Johansson slip behind them for a game clinching breakaway goal, which Joe blamed on Lundqvist. But the Rangers can't score. They were 0-4 on the PP including a 5-3 segment for 45 seconds with the score tied. The PP has been a disaster under two coaches, Clueless and disagreeable.

Carl Hageline played well for the Rangers After scoring the opening goal off of Cap D-man John Erskine he could have been the hero by beating Holtby on a breakaway but was stopped and later hit the post. So that there could have been a Hagelin hat trick and star of the game. But to no avail.

So the bottom line is that the Caps held serve on their home ice. This is still going to be a tough seven game series. Unless the Rangers get their act together on offense it's going to be a torturous series. Many ups and downs and in the end we have the great equalizer, and then some, in Henrik Lundqvist, regardless of what Joe and the lame stream media say.

ICINGS: I can't figure out for the life of me why John Moore didn't score a goal. Goalie Braden Holtby had part of his back in the net, behind the goal line, and Moore's shot went off of Holtby's back and seemed to stay there. If the back is behind the goal line and the puck is laying on his back, why no goal?  Replays showed no puck. No puck, no goal. Better puck next time.