Friday, October 23, 2015

Rangers Win Snoozer

Thank God Matt Harvey was at the game and introduced in the second period of last night's snoozer at the Garden. It was a boring, listless attempt of a hockey game and the standing O for Harvey perked up the building and maybe even the Rangers. They came out and scored three goals in the third period to earn the win 4-1, moving to 5-2-1, tops in the Metro.

Klas Dahlberg had given the Coyotes the lead as Lundqvist whiffed one and then Kreider crashed the net to tie it. The third period saw goals by Hayes, Yandle (pp), and Nash. Yes, Nash, who scored a goal without putting the puck in the net. He was hooked on a breakaway with the net empty. Only in the NHL folks, only in the NHL.

Lundqvist, after his gaffe, made 34 saves, many were highlights. Mike Smith, who usually gives the Rangers fits, had 24 saves. Max Domi, the son of Ranger favorite Ty Domi assisted on the 'Yotes first goal. Also, Anthony Duclair returned and was scoreless. He has 5 goals and 2 assists in 7 games. A great young player with a big future, for another team.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Rangers hit a new low, totally be-deviled

Sinatra had it right. Riding high in April, shot down in May. "That's Life" Ranger fans. Only its still October. First three games, 12 goal= three wins . Next three games, two goals=three losses. This last lost today was a stinker. The lowly Devils won their first game of the season in OT, 2-1 and to add insult to injury Lee Stempniak scored the winner. You remember Stempniak, he was last year's 8 minute man in the game, on the bench guy.

The Rangers jumped out to an early lead on Stepan's goal and the Rangers spent the rest of the game skating like they were auditioning for the ice follies at the Radio City ice rink, the coach, as usual looked befuddled after the game.  No answer. His only answer is to play Lundqvist every game and pray to the hockey gods that Rick Nash and Krash Kreider wake up from their early season siesta.

Of course playing Lundqvist every game is an easy call, if the season ends by Christmas, at this rate the backup, Raanta may get 8-10 games. Maybe he should be on the fourth line? Remember that the Rangers started slow last year before winning the President's Trophy. This coach is good at winning the Presidents Trophy, it's that other silver hardware that eludes him.

But it's early and there is lots of time left. However, the coach has to start looking at the bigger picture. And start coaching accordingly. Get the backup in, sit Boyle and play McIlrath. Put Hayes back at center on the third line. Stop tinkering and start to build chemistry on all the lines.

We have a new GM. He is no stealth. He won't go a full season with this performance. He won't tolerate another failed run. Wake up coach. Wake up Rangers.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Price is Right, Again

Well I said it, we should have started the back up goalie. Oh, Lundqvist played great, giving up 2 goals and making 29 saves, many sensational. But, he was up against the Canadiens at home and Carey Price in the nets. This is the 6th time in the last 10 games up there that the Rangers have been shut out. Price has shut out the Rangers seven times in 18 career starts. A toxic combination. House of Horrors indeed.

After a fast start the Rangers have lost two in a row. After scoring 12 goals in the first three games the Rangers have scored one goal in two losses. The coach keeps tinkering with the fourth line while his top nine forwards are shooting blanks. He keeps tinkering with the 8=10 minute guys while the 18-20 minute guys can't find the back of the net.

So it's the Devils on Sunday matinee and chances are we will see backup Anttt Raanta in goal but the main problem for the coach is whether its Stoll or Glass on the fourth line which will average about 8 minutes. Can't be too careful theses days.

ICINGS: The t/Birds tied their last game and are 2-2-1 in the early season.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Jets Stifle Raners

Well they say you can't win them all. and that is especially true in hockey, the NHL. You might pull it off in college football or college basketball and maybe once in a lifetime NFL, but never in the NHL.

Well the Rangers tried, at least a little. They fired forty one shots on goal. Zuccarello opened the scoring to put the Rangers up but that was it. The power play was 0-5. It seems we have had little power play success since this blog first started. The Rangers have yet to have a coach that makes the power play successful.

But that's not the reason the Rangers lost. They didn't lose, they were beaten. The Jets are a big, tough, physical team. The Rangers are not physical. they are tough. they are good. But they are not physical. Physical teams that are good, win Cups. The Chicago Black Hawks have won three Cups in six years, the closest to a dynasty. The Kings were good and physical.  Playing McIlrath once a week, for 10-12 minutes a game is not going to make the Rangers physical.

BTW, I understand Boyle will be back in the lineup when the Rangers visit The House of Horrors in Montreal Thursday. Will Lundqvist play his fifth straight game or will we see the backup. Considering how poorly we play in Montreal the backup might be a good idea. Well at least the Canadien owners are friendly people. That will buy you a Moley.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sweede sensations over Columbus, Rangers improve to 3-0

Opening night, 2015. The Pundit had the pleasure of sitting in the front row, thanks to number 2 son purchasing tickets via auction at the St Mary's Children's Hospital mixer. A great time was had interacting with what our left wing friends refer to as the 1%. They may be the 1% but they are quite a charitable and fun group of people, who treated us like Kings!  My lovely wife of 58 years joined in for the opening night festivities. So now the down and dirty.

The Rangers had a great weekend against a team picked by many to challenge for the eastern conference title. Two blitzes, one in each game did the Blue Jackets in. Trailing 2-1 with less than five minutes left in the game at Columbus, the Rangers led by swede rookie Lindbergh scored three goals in 77 seconds for a 4-2 win.

Opening night at the Garden, the Rangers, again were lead by Sweede, Oscar Lindbergh, who scored 2 goals in the Rangers 3 goal first period enroute to a 5-2 win over Columbus. Columbus which actually out played the Rangers for the final two periods, but the Rangers stood their ground because of the heroics of Lundqvist, "the king". How Sweede it is.

Lundqvist made 37 saves, at least three spectacular ones to hold Columbus at bay, leading the Rangers a 5-2 win, and a 3-0 start to the season. It matches the best start in recent years for the Rangers. The points in October are just as important as the ones in April and May. The Rangers had many opportunities to blow it open, including at least three breakaways plus a penalty shot.

While  unbeaten after three games, the Rangers have flaws, team toughness is lacking. We have a ton of finesse skaters, we need a few more bruisers who can also put the puck in the net. Maybe Kreider. Maybe Miller. We seem to lose out in some scrums, especially after the whistles. But that's for another day. Remember the coaches edict: never critique a win.

One sour note, that I have had to repeatedly call out, is the crowd behavior. Pre-game had the West Point choir singing the national anthem and the stupid crowd interrupting it with shouts and let's go Rangers. Young men and women serving their country, putting their lives on the line and many will sacrifice their lives deserve more respect as does our anthem. But it will never change, just as the stupid is the Potvin chants will continue long after Potvin leaves this earth. Oh well. Maybe I'm getting grumpier in my old age, but in a city where we were attacked on 9/11, and so many young men and women went off to battle, many to not return, can't we show some respect during the presentation of our colors?

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Lundqvist Shines in Opener

The Rangers were antsy and complaining. Poor guys had to wait almost forty minutes as the Chicago Black Hawks celebrated the winning of their third Cup in six years. Tough! The Black Hawks had all the right in the world to take all the time they wanted. If the Rangers didn't like it, too bad. Do something about it, like win the Cup. Win the Cup instead of folding like a cheap suit and being shut out in two games at the Garden in the Eastern finals.

The way the Rangers played against Chicago they should delay all the games forty minutes so they come out fired up. And fired up they did with a three goal outburst in the first period. Of course that led to the usual malaise in the second and third period, hanging on for dear life. But thank God for Henrik Lundqvist. Now how many times did I say that last year and how many more times will I say it this year?

Lundqvist was brilliant. He made 32 saves, 14 in the third period. It was his 10th opening night game. He may be aging, but like fine wine, he ages well. Its too early to get excited about a big one, but it does give an inkling of what kind of team the Rangers have. The young guys were good. Rookie Lindberg scored and JT Miller had two assists. Solid D-Man Klein put in a blast and the "old guy" Derek Stepan crashed the net for the winner. Good. Solid. Balanced.

So now it's on to tough Columbus and then home for the Garden opener. It will be a family festival of sorts. My wife and I will be going with number two son and grandson. Number one son will be going with his wife and family. So another opening night, the Rangers 90th, and the Pundits 78th. My, time flies when you are having fun. And fun it has been, despite the many frustrations and disappointments. But, you know what? It's only a hockey game. As I tell my grandson, skate hard and have fun. To the fans, root hard and have fun.

ICINGS: T/Birds off to a so-so start, splitting their first four games. T/Birds have to tighten their D if they hope to make the playoffs.

New York Rangers (@NYRangers) | Twitter

NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) | Twitter

NHL on TNT (@NHL_On_TNT) | Twitter

The Hockey Writers (@TheHockeyWriter) | Twitter

Blueshirt Banter (@BlueshirtBanter) | Twitter

NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) | Twitter

Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) | Twitter

NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) | Twitter

Stephen Valiquette (@VallysView) | Twitter