Thursday, December 27, 2007
18-15-4: What Did He Say To Them?
I know, I said I wouldn't get a post up tonight but that game was too good. I gotta get some of these thoughts out before trying to sleep. As you all can tell, I am a big fan of Slap Shot and to borrow a line from the locker room scene after the Hanrahan fight, "Hey Reg! What did you say to him?!?" In this case, Reg is Renney because I gotta know what Tom said to the Rangers after the second period.
The team on the ice for the first period was alright, keeping pace with the quicker Hurricanes. The team on the ice for the second period embodied much of the Rangers issues thus far this season, prompting me to look up in shock after the period to find that we were down just 2-1, rather than 5-1 because they played that poorly. Now the team that was on ice for the third period, that team can win the Stanley Cup. The intensity, passion, passing, shooting and goaltending were all elite. It was incredible. It was awe-inspiring. It was ... the Rangers?!?! I sure as hell hope so, because this team will need to play like that a lot more often if it is to rise above the tough Eastern Conference and get a shot at that treasured silver chalice.
Some really quick notes:
*Best wishes go out to Matt Cullen. For those that didn't see it, here is the YouTube. The hit looked like it was Eric Lindros-like in terms of concussion, especially with how hard Cull hit the ice. They say he is ok with just a broken nose and slight concussion but fingers crossed that it is not one of those concussions that will come back to haunt him the next time he is hurt.
*However, I do not understand the officiating. First off, in all my years watching hockey, I have never seen, nor heard of a five minute major for interference. The idiot colour guy for the Rangers said it was a new rule this year, but regardless - reviewing the play there should have been no penalty at all on Orr. He didn't elbow Cullen and Cullen had the puck = incidental contact. Sorry. To quote a fellow Ranger fan, "it should be zebra season!"
*Also on the same play, Mike Commodore - he of the bad perm - jumped Colton Orr to defend his teammate. I understand that. I appreciate that. I also think that it perfectly defines the instigator penalty. Orr wasn't out to pick a fight, he hit a guy and was jumped by Commodore. Yes he fought back, yes he is a goon, but he didn't mutually agree to the fight, Commodore slammed him into the boards and started wailing (at least from my seat). INSTIGATOR.
*Sean Avery ... buddy ... I love ya. I love what you do for the Rangers. I love watching you play. I do think you should be suspended for going after Andrew Ladd (of all people) while the linesmen clearly were not allowing you to fight. Continuing to punch was a idiotic, selfish, stupid move and you deserve to be punished. Sadly, with the Rangers the way they are, you getting punished hurts us all so thanks. Moron.
*I said that I will give Scott Gomez credit when he starts being consistent. A 10 game point streak and back-to-back all-around impressive efforts earned some of that credit. Not $7 mill worth, but a nice start. Just remember, there already is a Scotty Hockey in this town, pal ...
*The back-to-back huge saves that Hank made late in the third period would be the saves of some goaltender's career. They weren't even his best save of the year (Marc Savard in Boston). That's why we coroneted him the King.
*Everyone is so quick to boo Malik - myself included - but Mara and Rozy have been just as atrocious in the Rangers end (as Ak pointed out the other day. These guys will have to tighten up of else the rumours of the Rangers trading for Adam Foote will come true and we will overpay for the aging defensive defenseman.
*Going back to the point I made up at the top, Jagr was one of the players to turn things around and show his better side in the third period. I still question his heart and dedication, laugh at his lack of defensive effort and feel that he doesn't deserve the C, but when he actually puts it in gear, he truly is one of the greatest to play the game. Too bad that is so, so, so very rare.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Chris Drury - goal and an assist
2-Gomez - two assists
1-Jagr - two goals
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Dan Girardi - solid with the puck, tough on the boards and in the corners and netted a great goal - the eventual game-winner - as well as an assist. Have I mentioned that he is my favourite Ranger lately? (Along with Ryan Callahan, who is beginning to find his form again.)
2-Gomez - again, give credit where it is due. He finally is beginning to assert himself.
1-Rangers Penalty Killers - that goes for all of them, especially Bettsy and even Malik (ugh, that hurt to say). Even with allowing a ppg against, the effort throughout was astounding, amazing and won the game for the Rangers.