Saturday, March 28, 2015

Shameful Rangers

I guess the Rangers thought the regular season was over after they were the first team in the NHL to clinch a playoff spot. They forgot to show up against the Bruins today in Boston. Once, the big bad Bruins, who were 0-3-3 coming into this game, but the Rangers gave them a mulligan. Of course the Rangers had help. The suites in Toronto joined in the farce.

First the Rangers, they should be ashamed of themselves for the way they left Lundqvist, high and dry in his return back. Of course the biggest culprit was the coach who allowed his team to take the ice ill prepared to play a hockey game. Play a hockey game? They played giveaway Saturday with the struggling Bruins getting an early Christmas present.

It started with the refs when Lucic kicked in a goal. Yes, kicked in a goal. For once the refs got it right and waived it off. Over? Wrong. The Toronto suits got interrupted from watching Victoria Secrets reruns and ruled the goal was good. Farce, farce, farce. He kicked it in. He kicked it in.

If that wasn't bad enough the Ranger D, with help from the Rangers O got two of the most beautiful assists on Bruin goals and suddenly it was game, set, match. Game over. Go back to the Victoria Secrets rerun guys, we wont be bothering you again.

This was a disaster. Your star goalie, one of the best in the NHL, comes off a seven week absence and you don't support him, you don't protect him. Shame on you, Alain Vigneault. Shame on you Ranger defense. Shame on you Toronto suits. Shame on you New York Rangers for failing to pick up a goalie who has picked you up constantly for the last nine years.

Won't be watching tomorrows game against Washington. It's Palm Sunday and it's family dinner which takes precedent over a hockey game. Let me know if the Rangers show up?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Rangers Win A 'Whopper'

The Rangers beat a desperate hockey team and today Ottawa is even more desperate. The win triggered off all kinds of goodness and goodies.

First of all it was two points. Two points that gave the Rangers a tie with Anaheim with 91 points but the Rangers have three games in hand, for the top spot in the NHL. The win was the 47th for the Rangers, also tied with Anaheim, with the Rangers having three games in hand.

Second, five Rangers had at least two points, with Krash Kreider, having three, two goals and an assist. He now has twenty goals. Boyle, Zuccarello and Glass were the other goal scorers, Glass getting his first, flying out of the sin bin to roof one over Sens goalie Andrew Hammond, "The Hamburglar."

Cam Talbot, in what could be his final game for a while, was brilliant again far out shining his over hyped opponent. Talbot made 23 saves. Hammond gave up five goals on twenty two shots and lost his first regular season game after going 14-0-1. The rout brought out all kinds of one liners . Number two son jumped in with "over cooked", "someone forgot the dressing" and "burger?' "Do you mean hot dog." Of course "ground beef" and "minced meat" showed up all over the place.

Talbot, now 16-3-3 in Lundqvist's absence goes to the back up roll, but I feel we will see much more of this revelation. There are back to back this weekend in Boston and at home against Washington. Expect both goalies to play. With nine games to play the Rangers seem poised to make a strong run. St. Louis could be back this weekend, adding depth to the forwards. When Klein comes back that should strengthen the D-Corp. So things are looking up or at the least all the other NHL teams are looking up to the Rangers.

ICINGS: The T/Birds season ended with a deafening thud after a 9-1 loss to top seeded Smithtown. Though it was disappointing the T/Birds had a remarkable year. They fought back from early season losses to finish over .500 and in fifth place, making the playoffs. They then beat fourth place St. John's to advance to the semis where they were beaten by Smithtown. As they used to say in Brooklyn, "wait til next year."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Kings Reign Over Rangers

The Rangers are flying high, 99 points in the metro, six over the second place Isles, with two games in hand, however, all is not peaches and cream. The Rangers were brought back to earth, with a thud last night, shellacked by a desperate LA Kings team, 4-2. The Kings are in a four team fight for the last playoff spot in the West.

When Zuccarello scored, 51 seconds in, it looked like another Ranger W. After the Kings tied it in the first it was all downhill for the Rangers. No big deal you say. Maybe. The Rangers have 10 games to play and have some wrinkles to iron out.

First of all Lundqvist is getting close to returning, hopefully, this week. Which Lundqvist will we get? Rusty or ready; shaky or steady? Will he need 10 games to get ready? 8? 5? Who knows? But it will be big.

Nash is in a slump. A big, bad slump. Two goals in the past fourteen games, one an empty netter. The Rangers need Nash to start lighting the bulb again. His overall play is not bad but we need goals, goals, goals!

The rest of the schedule is a minefield. Desperate teams playing desperate, dangerous hockey as they fight for their playoff lives. Four tough games in six days: Ottawa, Boston, Washington and Winnipeg, with only Washington at home. This weekend it's Boston and Washington back-to-back. It's not going to be easy and we need all hands on deck. Lundqvist. Nash. And hopefully St. Louis.

No one said it was going to be easy, but we are going to find out what this team is made of.

ICINGS: The T/Birds stunned number four seed St. John's 3-2 to move into the semi-finals against top seeded Smithtown tonight. The T/Birds stormed back from an 0-2 hole with a strong effort as this comeback season continues to be magical. Do you believe in miracles? Yes!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dear Hockey, Goodbye

It will bring a tear to your eye.


via Twitter / @byndblueshirts:
Pretty cool: Former Harvard captain Ryan Grimshaw says goodbye to the game: http://bit.ly/1CMKSfG
Dear Hockey,

This is said with a heavy heart, but it is time to say goodbye. No, I won't be out of your life; I just won't be around as much anymore. This little kid that dreamt of playing at your highest level is turning the page and moving on to the next chapter of his life, and for the first time in my twenty-five years on this earth, you will not be my number one focus. It's sad, scary, and exciting.

I was only two when I first met you, and it wasn't long until I was head-over-heels in love. I couldn't get enough of you. During the winter months, when practicing all afternoon wasn't enough, bright spotlights would illuminate my backyard ice rink at night. When summer came around, and most people thought we should take a break, there were endless 2-on-2 games in the driveway with my three brothers. When fall practices began in middle school, and they weren't supposed to start until 7:30AM, I was on that ice every single day before 6:00AM...

Monday, March 23, 2015

Rangers Crash To The Top!

They did it and they did it with style and crash. Used to be an old New York Giant baseball manager named Bill Rigney back in the forties and he always lamented about his teams lack of crash. Bill would have marveled at the Rangers crash last night. Playing for the number one spot in the entire NHL, eleven Rangers racked up points in crashing and squashing the Anaheim Ducks, 7-2, at MSG last night.

The Rangers have 99 points as do Anaheim and Montreal. The Rangers have three games in hand on Anaheim and two on Montreal. Much has been made over the years to demean the winning of the Presidential Trophy. The line goes that winning that Trophy usually means you lose the Cup. Nonsense. The 1993-94 Rangers won both. So go for it.

The game started out like a duel between the Rangers and Duck winger Corey Perry. After one it was Rangers three and Perry two. It was Perry's 30 and 31st goals of the year. Talbot deprived Perry of a hat trick in the third period with an amazing glove save that brought the garden crowd to its feet for a standing ovation. It was a tribute to not only a great save, but also an acknowledgement by the crowd for the great job Cam Talbot has done in Lundqvist's absence.

The Rangers big slump, 12 goals in the previous 8 games, ended in style, with a crash. Stepan had two goals and an assist. Yandle had three assist, including a PP assist. Kreider got his 18th goal. JT Miller continued to impress, got his 9th and an assist, and Fast, Brassard and Hagelin  joined the party. It was a wonderful night when Anaheim crashed courtesy of the Ranger crashers.

Talbot made 36 saves and is 18-2-3 in Lundqvist's absence. The Rangers, establishing themselves as a number one contender for the Cup are 35-8-3 since December 8th. How's those apples, Ranger fans. So now it's three toughies against teams fighting for their playoff lives. LA Kings, tomorrow night at MSG, two points out of a playoff spot in the West. Ottawa, Thursday, up there, one point behind 8th place Boston and then Boston, Saturday, in bean town.

ICINGS: Congratulations to Henrik Lundqvist and his lovely wife on the birth of their second child, daughter Juli. Two girls now for the lucky couple. Congrats and God Bless.

The T/Birds open the playoffs tonight going against third place St. John's. The T/Birds have fought their way into the sixth spot and it should be a good one. Go T/Birds!

Finally, we have to acknowledge The Most Canadian Photo Ever:

Cpl. Shaun Begg of RCMP playing ice hockey
When Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cpl. Shaun Begg got the opportunity to play hockey on a rink high up in the Purcell Mountains in British Columbia, he jumped at the chance.

And because Begg, 40, is proud of being a member of the RCMP, he got permission to take his iconic uniform with him. Begg told ABC News he’d hoped to get a photo for his screen saver or for the wall of his office at the RCMP’s detachment in Kaslo, a small, picturesque village in B.C.

What he got was a quintessentially Canadian image that went viral and is now being dubbed the “most Canadian photo ever.”

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Prince Cam Rescues Punchless Rangers

It's no secret that the Rangers strength has always been their goaltending. It was Henrik Lundqvist before he went down and now it's Cam Talbot who is 14-3-3 since replacing Henrik. And how about the red-headed kid, who is 2-0-0. Last night Cam did it again with a 28 save 3-2 shootout win, in which he stopped Lindholm, Riley Nash and Skinner in the shootout that was won by a Zuccarello goal.

The Rangers are hurting offensively. The power play is dying. They were 0-2 last night and are in a current 0-18 rut. JT Miller had tied the game at one, his 8th and Jesper Fast gave them the lead with his 4th. It almost unraveled in the 3rd when the Canes out shot the Rangers 17-6 and almost stole the game. Almost. Cam Talbot was brilliant in the third.

Rick Nash is hurting. He has two goals in the last thirteen games, one an empty netter. Derek Stepan has no points in twelve games. Zuccarello is scoreless in the last fourteen. Derek Brassard has one goal over the last twenty one. Chris Kreider is scoreless in the last eight. The Rangers, as a team, have scored 24 goals in the last 12 games.

And yet the Rangers are in a battle for the top spot in the NHL. The Rangers, with 97 points,  are five points ahead of the Islanders in the Metro and have three games in hand. They trail only Anaheim, who they meet tonight, with 99 points,  and Montreal, also with 99 points. They have six games in the next nine days. They are 16-3-3 since Lundqvist went down.

It's playoff hockey before the playoffs, The Rangers have twelve games left. They win seven and they clinch the Metro. Talbot has held the fort admirably. The defense has been solid and Hunwick has been good as Klein's replacement. While the scoring is down the intensity is not. The Rangers got 46 hits last night and the Dominic Moore, Glass, Sheppard line was quite active.

Big one tonight and it will be an important tell. Stay awake and stay tuned.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Whistled!!!

I have said it many times, no sport's outcome is affected by the referees, and umpires, like hockey is. Remember last years playoff? A goal was taken away from the Rangers that cost a game and sometime in August the NHL admitted the mistake. Big deal. Okay guys. Come back from golf and fishing and we will continue the game. Yeah, sure.

Last night was another one of those doozies. Original six battle for two teams that have faced each other for 89 years and another 1-0 outcome. Remember we won the first 1-0 in OT in Chi town. In a scramble in front of  Blackhawk goalie Scott Darling, Matt Hunwick seemingly put the puck in the net. However, the ref behind the net blew his whistle before the puck went in because he lost sight of the puck. The ref was behind the goal. In front of Darling it looked like a mad scramble to get on board a number 4 train to the Bronx. How can the ref see the puck from behind the net? What about the other ref? Where was he?

BTW, where was Toronto and the video replay? So the ref blew the whistle. I thought all goals were reviewable in Toronto. Also, the other three officials, one ref, two linesmen, lost the puck too. What were they doing? Checking out the babes in the front rows? Oh yes, the ref behind the goal lost sight of the puck. The other three main sports have all kinds of replays and reviews. Sorry, those are all major sports.

So how did we lose this matchup? The way we have lost since 1950. A Dan Boyle shot rang off the crossbar, the Hawks came down, Richards was left alone in front of Talbot and there it was. Game, set, match. This was the number two defensive team, Chicago, against the number three defensive team, Rangers and it was an okay game. It wasn't as exciting as the first game but it was good.

This was the Rangers first regulation loss in March. The team is still afloat with three big injured players: Lundqvist, Klein and St. Louis. Big test til all these guys come back. But lets fix the stupid whistle to stop play because one ref can't see the puck.

ICINGS: The T/Birds lost their last game of the season to first place Smithtown 2-1. Playoffs start next week and the T/Birds are playing their best hockey going into the playoffs.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Prince Cam Holds The Fort

I know the coach doesn't like to critique a win, but I think it's time. For the second night in a row the Rangers played an awful, disinterested game. But they won and only because Cam Talbot played his best game of the year making 38 saves. Actually Florida shot 98 pucks at the net, the Rangers blocked 36, a franchise record and the Panthers missed the net 23 times. It was amazing the Rangers even had the puck.

The Rangers did get 34 shots on goal and scored two, one by James Sheppard, his first as a Ranger and the other by Matt Hunwick, his first goal of the year.  It's also amazing how well the new guys are starting to fit in. The Ranger power play continues to struggle, going 0-2 and is 1-21. However, the penalty kill continues to sparkle going 3-3 and is 16-17 in the last five games.

The Rangers are tied with Anaheim for the most points, 95, however the Rangers have three games in hand. In the Metro it's the Rangers over the Islanders by five points and the Rangers have three games in hand. Wednesday the Rangers host the Black Hawks so they better have all hands on deck. I think it's time for the coach to start critiquing the wins. But as my grandson Nicholas keeps saying, "two points is two points."

ICINGS: Condolences and prayers to the Joe Micheletti family on the loss of Joe's sister. Martin St. Louis left the game with about three minutes to play with a knee injury. The injury doesn't appear to be serious and hopefully he will play Wednesday.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Rangers: First Nighters

Well, there was the red-headed kid again. Stopping pucks again. Twenty saves. Second win and first career shutout. Sure it was the Sabres, but you know what? It's the NHL baby and that's what counts. And there was Keith Yandel. He was missing his old partner, Kevin Klein. He has a new partner, Matt Hunwick, who played quite well, thank you. Yandel stepped up and scored his first goal as a Ranger, the game winner, his 5th of the season.  St. Louis scored an empty netter, his 20th, to close out the 2-0 shutout.

So this Ranger team, this momentum will not stop. 5-0-1 in the last six. 14-2-3  without Lundqvist and 32-7-3 since December 8, 2014. Ninety-three points, tied with Montreal and Anaheim for the best in the NHL. The Rangers have games in hand on both teams. The Rangers are three points ahead of the Islanders in the Metro and have four games in hand.

Big game tonight against Florida, which is six points behind Boston and Washington for the last playoff spot. Talbot should be back in the nets, but the way the Rangers are playing it hardly matters. The Rangers have given up five goals in six games. That's a tough team to beat. Tough road to travel. Doesn't matter who is in or out. The momentum continues.

ICINGS: The T/Birds lost a toughie to Northport, the second place team, 3-1. Two more games and then playoffs. Should be interesting.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Rangers! "King of the Hill, Top of the Heap"

New York. New York. Would you believe number one in the Metro and tied with Montreal for the East with a game in hand. Also tied with Central's Nashville and Pacific's Anaheim with games in hand. And we hold wins over all three teams, but we do have to figure out a way to beat Carey Price.

Last nights game was a war. The Caps did their best to try and intimidate the Rangers. They out hit us 34-30, but we out shot them 31-29 and more important we out scored them 3-1. The scorers were Hagelin (15), JT Miller (7) and St. Louis (19). Ovechkin got his league leading 45th, 21st power play goal. The goal went in off of Jesper Fast. It was the first goal scored for an opponent when Fast was on the ice killing a penalty.

Our new Prince, Cam Talbot, was outstanding again. Twenty-eight saves and one on Nik Backstrom was one for the ages. Cam and Nik nodded and gabbed, pleasantly, at each other. This was the fifth game in a row, 4-0-1 and the opponents have scored five goals in five games. So the Rangers are rolling.

But all is not well. Kevin Klein hurt his arm and is being tested today. That would be a huge loss. Also, the power play was 0-3 and Yandle has not affected it so far. I'm more concerned about the condition of Klein rather than the power play. But the new line of Hayes, Hagelin and JT Miller is clicking and maybe St. Louis will awaken from his slumber. It's at Buffalo on Saturday and the Florida at home Sunday. Maybe we will see the red-headed kid with the black hat this weekend.

ICINGS: The T/Birds are mirroring the Rangers with another win, 11-3, over Ward Melville, improving their playoff hopes.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hail Prince Cam!

Prince Cam Talbot waves to his people
We all know how royalty works. It's bequeathed. If your father or mother is King or Queen you will be Prince or Princess. The Rangers have their King. Henrik Lundqvist. Now by the process of trial, test, tribulation, agony and joy the Rangers have a Prince. Welcome to royalty, Prince Cam Talbot.

The kid has earned it. Remember when Lundqvist went down? Remember the moans and criticism? We need to get a veteran backup goalie. But we had a backup. Not a veteran but a tested backup. But he wouldn't be able to play and be solid every game. Lundqvist has missed 16 games. Talbot has started in 15 of those. The red-headed kid with the black hat started and won his only game.

Talbot is 11-2-3 in those 16 games.Talbot made 29 saves last night. He made 29 saves in the last game against Chicago, a 1-0 Ranger win in OT. In the last four games against top notch opponents, Nashville, Detroit, Chicago and the Islanders, the Rangers and Talbot went 3-0-1 and Talbot gave up four goals and had a shutout. In those four games his GAA is 0.99 and a save % of .965. On the year Cam is 15-6-4, GAA 0f 2.28 and a save % of .922. Lundqvist is 25-11-3 with a GAA of 2.25 and a save % 0f .922. So the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree.

But the test isn't over yet. Two more big road games. Tonight Its Alex the Great and the Caps in Washington and then Buffalo Saturday before returning home against a tough Florida Panther team only six points out of a playoff spot. Maybe we will see the red headed kid with the black hat, Mackenzie Skapski again.It would be nice to give him a home game..

Anyhow, it's Hail to The Prince, Cam Talbot and wasn't that a wise move for The Stealth to sign him up for next year and at a bargain price. Maybe he gets a bonus if we raise the Cup. For now. Let's enjoy the ride and the success of our newest royal, Prince Cam Talbot.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Cam Outduels Crawford

Forget the fact that Cam Talbot is now 10-2-3 backing up Lundqvist. Forget the fact that this was Talbot's fifth shutout of the year. Forget the fact that this was the Rangers first shutout win at Chicago since Eddie (Eddie, Eddie, Eddie) Giacomin shut out the Black Hawks on January 25, 1969. Remember this night as the night Cam Talbot stepped out of the shadows of all the ghosts past to make his mark with a brilliant 1-0 29 save night to keep the Rangers nipping at the heels of the Islanders, one point behind and three games in hand.

Talbot on the season is 14-6-4, with a 2.33 GAA and a save % of .921. He is ranked 24th of all goalies. He has more than filled in. He has been tops. He had to be excellent last night as Chicago goalie Corey Crawford was on top of his game with 35 saves, including three big ones in about thirty seconds of the third period stopping Kreider, Klein and St. Louis in a rapid fire sequence. It was left to Derick Brassard to win it in OT with his first goal in fifteen games.

So now the Rangers move on to the Coliseum for a showdown with the Islanders, Should the Islanders falter tonight against the Maple Leafs, the battle will be for first place. You think the old building will survive the screaming and noise of the split house? Should be a dandy Jim.

ICINGS: The T/Birds have fought their way back into the playoff hunt with two big wins on successive nights. They beat Sachem 5-2 and Ward Melville, 4-2 and are now tied with Sachem for fifth place and are two points behind fourth place St. John's. The T/Birds are 11-10-2.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

One Point

Red Wings 2, Rangers 1 (OT)

So, a hard earned point for game that was decided by the refs. Not the worst outcome.

A couple of tweets from Stan:


-----
Dave Maloney got worked up over the late call.

SNY Rangers:
The Rangers got “jobbed” last night against Detroit --
Following the Rangers loss to the Red Wings last night, Dave Maloney said on ESPN 98.7:

“The Rangers get jobbed, it’s a spectacular effort from a Rangers standpoint…..the Rangers get get jobbed Kenny, absolutely, absolutely jobbed here...
----
ICINGS:
Icing the Habs

#Habs - Ken Reardon and Leo Gravelle jailed after Chicago brawl

via Twitter / @NHLhistorygirl
Old-time hockey: #Habs Leo Gravelle and Kenny Reardon jailed for fighting fans in Chicago
from Wikipedia:
1949-50 season highlights:
On November 2, 1949, at Chicago Stadium, a rather serious brawl broke out in a game Chicago defeated Montreal 4–1. During the second period, some rinkside fans began to get on Montreal defenceman Ken Reardon, and when one fan grabbed his sweater, Reardon swung his stick and hit one of the rowdies. Leo Gravelle and Billy Reay joined in, and yet another fan climbed over the boards and challenged Reardon, but was forced back to his seat. When the game ended, police arrested Reardon, Reay and Gravelle. Later, the players were cleared when a judge ruled that the fans were the aggressors and overstepped the prerogatives as fans.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Rangers 'Yandle' Preds

It was an okay debut for Keith Yandle. He handled the puck well, especially in the offensive zone, and even though he was on the ice for Matt Cullen's goal he played well. Just don't pair him with Dan Boyle. Yandle with Klein. Boyle with Staal.

The Rangers let the Peds frolic for the first five minutes, but then took over the game on goals by Staal and a beauty by Kreider off a great feed by Zuccarello, who was the number one star of the game with two big assists.

Truth be told, Cam Talbot should have been the star with 25 saves. Though none were spectacular his positioning was perfect. Moore and Nash's empty netter closed out the scoring for the Rangers, who played a superb game. Back in first for the time being.

Kreider continued his resurgence and the whole team played well, relieved that they weren't traded and ready to make a run. The team looked solid. Yandle looked comfortable. Just don't pair him with Boyle.

-----
ICINGS:

The Rangers Stealth Ground Hog comes out of his borrow
The Stealth Ground Hog comes out of his hole
For Rangers fans the post-deadline press conference, held yesterday, March 2nd, is the new Ground Hog's day. It's the now annual event where our Stealth GM pokes his head up out of his borrow and looks at the media lights and entertains questions for a bit. He then dives back into his borrow.

Will we see a Stanley Cup in the spring?

Some reactions to the Stealth's "all in" trade deadline moves:

Pat Leonard / NY Daily News:
Sather admits he's 'absolutely' in win-now mode --
On if this team can win the Cup: “Well you want a prediction? Anybody got a crystal ball around? Predicting is a real complicated thing to try and get into. If we stay healthy, if we have enough depth, if everyone performs, if we get the good goaltending we think we’re gonna have, you can go all the way, but a lot of things have to happen.
-----
Jake Gittler / Hockey Writers:
Rangers Acquire Yandle: It’s Cup or Bust on Broadway --
If there was any question as to whether the Rangers were in full-blown “win now” mode, there isn’t any longer...
-----
Filip Bondy / NY Daily News:
Rangers trade shows team is all in for Stanley Cup run right now, reminiscent of ‘94 --
Henrik Lundqvist turned 33 years-old on Monday, reason enough for Glen Sather to pull the trigger on a deal that screams for a Stanley Cup this spring; that mortgages two more pieces of the future...

Monday, March 02, 2015

Bold Stealth Eyes Cup

There was no waffling, no hesitation by the Ranger GM.  He had seen the anemic power play and after the loss to the Flyers he had heard the coach lament about the power play, so he fixed it. At least he hoped he fixed it. After years of procrastination about fixing the power play the Rangers went out and got the premier D-man on the power play, Keith Yandle of the Arizona Coyotes.

Sure, we gave up hot prospect, Anthony  Duclatr and John Moore and a draft pick, but when you are shooting for the moon you have to give up a lot. He also acquired 24 year old Carl Klingberg, who will be sent to Hartford and center James Sheppard a 6'1" 215 pound 26 year old center who adds a little beef to the front line. He has 5 goals and 11 assists in 59 games this year. Stempniak was lost in the Klingberg trade. Sheppard could be a big surprise for the team. He was a first round pick in 2006 for the Wild.

Yandle, in 63 games, has 4 goals and 37 assists. In nine NHL years he has been an All-Star two times. The Coyotes will pay half of Yandle's salary the rest of this year and next year. He makes $5.25/year. Career wise Yandle has 65 goals and 246 assists in 558 games.  In playoff games he is more efficient going 3-16 in 27 games. He will become an unrestricted free agent after next season.

Also, Mats Zuccarello has been signed to a four year extension at about $4 mil/year. So the basic team is intact and all set to make a run for the Cup. All that needs to be done is the return of Lundqvist and then it's damn the torpedos, full speed ahead.

Bold move by The Stealth. Good move by The Stealth.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Sloppy Rangers Lose First Place

It's been coming as the Rangers continue to play sub par hockey. It finally happened last night when goalie Steve Mason, with 34 saves turned back the Rangers, 4-2 last night. Mason was particularly sharp in the third period making 16 saves and a spectacular sequence when in rapid fire he stopped five shots. To add insult to injury, ex-Ranger, Del Zotto scored the game winner.

John Moore, another Ranger along with Zuccarello, under the trading gun, had given the Rangers a 2-1 lead, with his first goal of the year. But the Flyers, Raffl, tied it and set it up for Del Zotto's 8th of the year. You remember him. The Rangers were 0-3 on the power play, which has resurfaced as a problem.

But, the big story to me is the overall play of the team. Yes, this was only their second loss since Lundqvist went down but the wins haven't been pretty. Haven't been solid. Oh I know. never critique a win. But I thought the team would play a more solid defense. A more disciplined game with Talbot in goal. He did make 30 saves. The final goal was an empty netter. But something is missing.

By five o'clock tomorrow night something else may be missing, Mats Zuccarello and possibly John Moore. Zuccs is asking for a contract, in the area of $5.5 mil for three years. The cap can't take it. It's no more hockey and performance anymore. It's the dough and the cap. Look, Zuccs hasn't been tearing it up. In 59 games he has 12 goals, 23 assists and no power play goals.

So we are still behind the Islanders with three games in hand and the top team in the NHL, the Nashville Predators, come in tomorrow night. One game at a time baby. One shift, one period and one game.