Friday, November 30, 2007

Quarter Mark Awards

Ok, so the Isles game was the 25th game of the season for the Rangers. I say its the quarter mark because you gotta figure that the regular season is 82 games, it takes 16 to win the Cup and as much as we would like it to be, its almost impossible to sweep in this day and age so figure in two playoff losses (likely the games that I will travel to go to) and you have 100 games this season. So we are 1/4th in and I decided to do some awards-type things.

Hart: Henrik Lundqvist. You can rave about the stellar play of Vinny Lecavalier or Daniel Alfredsson all you want, but the Most Valuable Player is Hank. Vinny has St. Louis and Brad Richards, Alfredsson has "Drive A Porche" Heatley and Spezza (as well as the best team in the league). Hank has ... Jason Strudwick. C'mon. He has clearly been the most valuable player to his team game-in and game-out.

Norris: Nick Lidstrom. Yeah, yeah, he keeps winning it, but there is a reason for his. He is good. Just look at his numbers. 'Nuff said. I'm not even giving runners up because no one is close.

Vezina: Well, if Hank is the MVP, he very well has been the best goaltender. But honourable mention goes to Pascal Leclaire in Columbus and Chris Osgood in Detroit. Leclaire has to prove that his astounding start was not a fluke and Osgood has to fully take Hasek's starting gig before either one can take the trophy. But both are close at doing both.

Calder: Can I cheat and just say the Chicago Blackhawks? Its either Toews or Kane because both have been astounding, although it would be nice if some credit went to defensemen like Marc Staal and Steve Wagner in St. Louis. But flash counts, and Toews does have the goal of the season so far.

Jack Adams: Goddammit, Ted Nolan. The Islanders suck. Really. Individually they are the least talented team in the NHL right now, and that includes Washington. However, together, they are one of the toughest to play and that is a credit to Nolan. Alain Vigneault has led the Canucks to a resurgence, John Paddock stepped into the head coach job in Ottawa and kept them atop the East and Dave Tippett has made the Stars winners (at least lately). But none are as singlehandedly responsible for their teams' success as Nolan is. Man do I hate the Islanders.

ESPN did their list a few days ago, so if you want to see their picks (which are wrong), go here. If you are really bored, search "Trophies" here and see that only my picks for Calder and Norris remain the same from preseason, although, admittedly, I didn't put Hank on any lists for fear of jinxing him - especially since at the time they were saying he would play 70, 74 games.

Now, as you guys know, I pick three stars for each Rangers game and they often (key word) are the unheralded, real reasons that teams win - the defensive defenseman, the grinder, tough guy, etc. So without further ado, the Scotty Hockey First Quarter All Stars:

LW-Dan Carcillo, Phoenix - man Pittsburgh has to be pissed they dealt him away for Big Georges Laraque. Granted Larague provides a heavyweight bodyguard for Cindy, Carcillo is proving himself to be a middleweight version of Bob Probert, circa 87-88 - the year he made the All Star team, nearly averaged a point per game and still managed 400 PIM. Carcillo has 11 points in 22 games, 107 PIM and is +1 despite playing on the Coyotes.

C-Rod Brind'Amour, Carolina - I know he gets some recognition, and even a Selke, but I don't think there is a single player who comes near to him as the complete package - he wins faceoffs, scores goals, sets up goals, will defend his teammates, will forecheck, backcheck and probably drive the bus. If only the Canes were still in Hartford ... maybe then he would be seen as the superstar he is.

RW-Tomas Holmstrom, Detroit - Mention Detroit Red Wings and he is maybe the fifth or sixth player listed (Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Lidstrom, Hasek, Rafalski) but he is by far the biggest reason they win so much. For Ranger fans - a fair analogy is that he is their Adam Graves. He works the boards, corners and, most importantly, the crease to batter the opposing defenders and make room for his teammates. And, don't look now, but his hard work has earned him 26 points in 25 games. It would be a crime if he isn't named to the Western All Star Team this year.

D-Anton Volchenkov, Ottawa - If the NHL was smart and had a Rod Langway or Scott Stevens Award for best defensive defenseman, then Volchenkov would have it. By far the best shot-blocking blue liner, he also can be counted on for a big hit on the boards or just to shut down a high-flying winger.

D-Willie Mitchell, Vancouver - Now its hard for me to put him in as I haven't been able to watch a lot of Canucks games, but it seems to me like he has been a rock for them despite the lesser play of Luongo this year and the absence of Salo and Ohlund for various periods of time. He plays 20-25 minutes and matches up against the best the West has to offer.

G-Tim Thomas, Boston - I've liked him ever since I heard he was an American playing in Finland, he couldn't get a gig here so he left friends and family to continue playing the game he loved. And now Boston is loving him because, despite them giving the No. 1 job to Manny Fernandez, when Manny went down with injury, Tim stepped back in and put up phenomenal numbers 9-6-2, .940 save % and 2.05 gaa. Most underrated goaltender in the league.

And how about the Scotty Hockey Top Moment Of The First Quarter:
*Of course this is going to be a Rangers moment, and it goes to Martin Straka. Astoundingly it is not in a five minute recap of the game on Youtube (although Hank's save on Marc Savard is, which may be the best save of the season), but I did point it out in my game wrap. Straka blocked a shot from the point by one of the hardest shooters in the league on a penalty kill. The block badly broke his finger and forced him out of the lineup for a month, but at the time he stayed in the play and you know what? He went and put himself between Chara and the net again and blocked another shot! Hard work, dedication and fearlessness - the three biggest qualities appreciated here at Scotty Hockey.

He's Ba-ack 2

If you don't read Kukla's Korner, you are really missing out - the guy finds some really great stuff every day on all things hockey.

One of today's great finds, is a piece from the CanWest News Service (like the AP but only in western Canada) that the National Post put up on someone near and dear to Rangers fans - Theo Fleury. Apparently, he is going to be starring in a reality tv show ... on the Home and Garden Network. Seriously; read all about it.

I sadly can't find the feature that TSN did on him a year or so ago when he first got into the cement business, but it showed a calmer, more relaxed Theo than the coke-and-booze-bingeing psychotic who started fights at strip clubs before heading overseas and trying to kill a ref and some fans.

While I think that the show may prove to be a fun success, I still think its a shame Theo couldn't handle life in the NHL without booze. The post-lockout rules definitely are more favourable for a player of his size and lord knows, the league right now could use his flair and zest for the game ...

He's Ba-ack

I don't usually copy other people's post, but today Sam over at Rangers Report - the best Ranger beat reporter/blogger - was the bearer of bad news:
Just when Marc Staal and Michal Rozsival had found their groove as the Rangers’ top defensive pairing, that pesky third wheel Marek Malik had to intervene.
Actually, blame this one on Paul Mara, who ended up spraining his shoulder on the hit from Trent Hunter last night and is almost certainly out tomorrow against the Senators. That leaves Tom Renney with a most unenviable choice: break up the promising duo of Staal and Rozsival, or slide Malik in alongside Jason Strudwick for the most combustible pairing this side of Karel Rachunek and Sandis Ozolinsh.
Renney looks like he’ll be going with the former, meaning Malik and Rozsival, a mainstay of the previous two seasons, will be back together; while Staal will take Mara’s spot with Strudwick. For Malik, it will be his first appearance since injuring his rib Nov. 1 against Washington.
“I was going out of my mind not playing,” Malik said of his absence from the lineup.
I’m not sure fans had the same reaction.

And he would be right. You can't tell me that if Jagr loves Sasquatch so much someone else out there doesn't find some worth in his play and we can't get at least a bag of pucks for him ... now you never know, before this injury, he was playing his best hockey of the last year so maybe he will again be serviceable. But I doubt it. Also, seeing as he is breaking up Rozy and Staal, his return may do more harm than good. Especially in the short term - as has Straka's return (no matter what the scoresheet says).

14-9-2: Rangers Stars Finally Show Up

Well, thank goodness for that. If the Rangers stars remained M.I.A. and we lost to the Islanders again, you probably could have started looking for new blogs to read as I turned into a raving, incoherent lunatic. At least now, with a 4-2 win, you still have me mostly coherent!

Mostly ...

*OMFriggin'G, Jagr, Drury and Gomez all scored ... in the same game! Who'da thunk it? And Dubi's goal, which was beautiful, had a lot to do with Jagr drawing the defense before making a nice pass to Marty Straka.

*Aside from that play, Straka had a miserable game that resulted in me pleading for him to go back on the IR. He was awful on the point on the power play, he blew several feeds and defensive assignments.

*While that doesn't surprise me, Jagr's goal did. It was astounding. He got the puck, went into open space and snapped a wrist shot past DP for the first goal of the game. It was a sweet play that I haven't seen from him since Super Mario was his babysitter.

*Hank really didn't play all that well. Yes, he survived a few pile-ons by the Isles late, but both goals against were softer than Snuggles the Bear. I like Richard Park, but there is no reason for him to get a five-hole goal through Hank's pads. Maybe someone with actual skill can pull that off, but not Richard Park. And I like him, seriously, because he is the Isles Ortmeyer with a few more goals, but none should ever come against the Rangers.

*There is no reason, other than Ted Nolan, for the Rangers to cling to a one-goal lead to a team that played like they played a game the night before (which the Isles did), I always wanted Nolan to be the Rangers coach; instead we are led by KC and the Sunshine Band who would rather dance the night away than lay down the law and discipline lazy/incompetent players who aren't pulling their own weight.

*Speaking of such - HOSSAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. I said it before, and apparently I will have to keep saying it, but please, someone put him out of my misery. I understand that with Sean Avery out there is some kind of desire to keep a full roster, but I also understand that Greg Moore and Nigel Dawes are kicking ass in the AHL - there Eric, I mentioned both the injury and the availability of better options than Hossa, although at this point I think that any other NHL/AHL/ECHL/MAHL/SPHL player would do a better job or at least show more passion on the ice.

*I mentioned the Avery injury; some people, myself included, thought that Avery's absence would result in a nice long losing streak for the Blueshirts. If the big paycheck players keep showing up to the rink, then the team might avoid it. Unfortunately, my faith is such that I won't take any bets, even with the win.

*It was nice to see someone stand up to Chris Simon, but Colton Orr's tussle with the Barbarian was over in seconds with no real damage done.

*Orr, Hollweg and Bettsy didn't really have all that great a game. There, I said it. Renney used them sparingly - both times immediately after the Rangers took two goal leads - and they still got pinned in their own zone and gave up a goal. As I mentioned the other day, The Kind Commander seems to think that they can be a solid offensive, grinding line that goes to the net. Games like this prove that they have a long way to go before they get to that point.

*One added note - apparently sissy mary Radek Martinek is claiming Ryan Hollweg threatened to rip all of the stitches out of his face. If that is true, then good - this league needs rivalries and this kind of thing just adds fuel to the fire. Ryan was defending his fellow teammate, and Martinek is a soft European who apparently has delicate sensibilities and had his feelings hurt by the big, bad American. Boo hoo. Let's Go Rangers!

*For the first time this season, I have to say that I was disappointed by Girardi and Toots. They didn't play anywhere near the level that they had and it hurt the team. Kinda sad. Just don't let it happen again!

*Before getting to the three stars, some other random stuff - Cally came back and had one great shift but looked rusty; Prucha gets abused more than alter boys and yet continues to go to the tough spots and work; and I can't wait for the Rangers to find a cheaper, defensively-sound replacement for Paul Mara and his $3 mil salary.

*PHW Three Stars:

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Marc Staal/Jason Strudwick - They weren't playing together this game but both were really solid in their own zone and made smart plays to relieve Isles pressure.
2-Ted Nolan - The Isles could have come out flat or tired, hung over from their game against Ottawa, They didn't, they made a game out of it. They were a little tired at the end, but they hung in there.
1-Jagr - Oh my, I can't believe I just typed that, but since he acts like a moody child, I guess we have to laud every little accomplishment or risk losing him for good so yay! Gold Star for you Jags! Woo hoo!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Old Time Hockey Player

I could go into a rant as to how much Versus sucks but we all know that. If last night's Flames game - or hockey in general - was on ESPN2, then the entire world would know just how awesome Dion Phaneuf is. In a year that Scott Stevens is inducted into the Hall of Fame, this generation's version is maturing and cementing his place in the pantheon of top NHL defensemen.

Just take a look at the YouTube below, he makes an incredible hit, and then does the right thing and throws down his gloves to take on retribution. He loses the fight but for not cowering and running to the bench (as so many Flyers often do), he deserves an attaboy.

As always, I gotta say thanks to Hockey Fights for uploading or finding all of the fisticuffs in the league.

They also have the other fight that happened last night - Brad Isbister vs. Brian Sutherby. I honestly do not know why the Rangers let Isbister go. He is big, he bangs, has no qualms with battling in the crease and he worked well with Jagr. I know Marcel Hossa is younger, but his reticence to go to the net really makes him useless. Well, that and his lack of skill but whatever. For some reason, with Isbister, KC and the Sunshine Band didn't feel any kind of obligation to keep him in the lineup while they seem to do everything they can to keep him dressed. I wonder if Hossa has pictures of Renney's wife or something ...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jagr Is The Anchor Holding The Rangers Down

There, I said it.

And what really bothers me is that the Rangers coaching staff know that as well.

I went to a Season Subscriber Fan Forum tonight where Tom Renney, Perry Pearn and Mike Pelino took to a stage and took questions from some fans as well as John Giannone and Dave Maloney. After the introductions and pleasentries, there were actually some interesting tidbits.

*First off, I think henceforth I am going to call Renney the Kind Commander as he made a half dozen references to the game being a battle, or the war. It also will make for some humour when speaking of the coaches after blunders I can call them KC and the Sunshine Band. They make everything look sunny and happy but honestly, they make some shitty music.

*They all seemed very impressed at the depth of knowledge of the fans. Of course, they shouldn't have been as Rangers fans are the most passionate and intelligent in the league. Leafs fans can think that they are, but seriously, if they knew so much, they wouldn't have allowed their team to suck so bad for so long. At least during the Rangers insanely-long drought, the team made it to the Finals three times. The Leafs haven't come as close since '67 and their idiotic fans have still made them the highest-grossing team in the league. Now that is gross!

*So some of the smart fans asked some smart questions and several of which resulted in essentially the same answer -- and thus it brought out the title of this entry. KC pointed out that the forwards skate by the crease, sometimes stop there for a second or two, but never set up camp and they need to. The skill players aren't willing to pay the price needed to get the dirty goals and no one will head to the paint. Pearn outright said that the skill players were "not playing to the level that they should." Hmm, I would say that they are calling out Jagr without saying his name.

*One guy was a typical New York fan, asking if they practice the 5-on-3 because it sure doesn't look like it. Everyone laughed hysterically and the coaches said yeah, they should do that and are going to start tomorrow. It was really a funny moment but it does bring up an interesting aside that the team should have a few open practices. Ever since they moved from Rye into the Tarrytown facility, the fans can't watch the team train. Its a shame. If there are any free dates at the Garden with the ice down, the team would do well to hold a open practice there.

*Another fan had a helluva lot more tact than I would have had and spent 10 minutes talking about a certain player in Hartford, wearing No. 10, who scored three goals on Brodeur, and was still sent down while others are still here. So basically, why the hell is Hossa on the Rangers while Dawsie is back on the buses? The short answers were because Dawes needs to be consistent. When it was pointed out by another guy that the fans aren't big on Hossa, Renney nodded but Pearn just said that the lesser of the two Slovak brothers just needs confidence. In other words, Dawes has a two way contract and Hossa doesn't.

*Pearn used to be an assistant on the Sens and compared Girardi to Wade Redden, which does really bode well for us. I really do think I will invest in a No. 5 jersey when I get the scratch together.

*Everyone seems to think that the HBO line has some offensive potential and the coaches are encouraging them to go to the net more. I really hope that pays off.

*My season ticket account exec said that I would be blogging all about this. I guess I have a reputation already, lol. Let's Go Rangers!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ooo, ooo Dream Weaverrrrr

Larry Brooks wrote a column in the Post where he talks about how Alex Ovechkin will be a restricted free agent. Ovie will command a max contract, which I am guessing will be somewhere in the ballpark of $11 mil a year. Crazy, right?

Then, in another Post piece, Brooks also pointed out that it would be crazy for the Rangers to start next season in Prague because Jagr may not be a Ranger by then. There is a club option that only kicks in if "Jagr records 40 goals or 84 points and the Rangers win a playoff round." Or "if Jagr were to win the Hart Trophy, or the Art Ross Trophy, or the Conn Smythe Trophy, 2008-09 would become guaranteed."

Now, the way that Jagr has been playing, those statistics don't seem bloody likely. Nor do those awards. One would guess, the way that Hank is playing, if the Rangers get the Cup, he would be assured of the Conn Smythe - not Jagr.

Because of the deal with Washington way back when, the Rangers only take a cap hit of $5 million of Jagr's $8 mil-plus contract. Shanny, who we here at Scotty Hockey think should be the Captain of the Rangers and will be quite sad when he is gone, may be gone as soon as the end of this year with a one-way ticket to the Hall of Fame. According to NHL Numbers, Shanny also makes five mil a year.

So 5 + 5 = 10, just a million off of the number Ovie will get. That mil should be easily attainable with Straka's $3 mil coming off the books. Give two to Avery, the other one to Ovie and we have one of the three best players in the world.

Sounds well worth it to me.

Yes, Hank, Girardi and Toots will be due raises, but several mil can be culled from the removal of Mara and Malik from the books and I am sure Sather can massage the cap to spread around Ovie's hit. The offer sheet would cost four first round picks, but again, it sounds well worth it - especially with all of the young talent in the organization.

It makes for a very interesting proposition and, as Victor Hugo wrote, "there is nothing like a dream to create the future."

13-9-2: Thanks For Nothing

Someone actually had the nerve to ask me outside of the Garden, after that horrid 3-2 loss, "why do you always gotta rip on Hossa in your blog?"


Yeah -- he was serious too. Some people just baffle me. After just watching Hossa blow his coverage on both Eriksson's and Morrow's goals and miss several empty nets, someone actually asked me why I ripped on him. I tried really hard not to laugh in/hit him in his face. What an atrocious display.

Some other notes/rants:

*If you need any more evidence why Jagr shouldn't be captain and Shanny should, watch the replay of this game. Jagr gets a wide open look at the goal, he tries to pass it. Rangers get a power play, Jagr takes a lazy penalty. Rangers are flat, Shanny beats up Steve Ott, and yet has the class to not punch him in the face after taking him to the ice. Shanny shoots on the power play and scores. For those that didn't see the game and just the box score, Jagr's goal came from an attempted pass to Straka on the far post that incidentally hit a Dallas defender and went in.

*Any chemistry that Jagr may have had with Dubi is gone now that Straka is back. Every play seems to go to his friend and Dubi is left working alone. And as it was last game, Straka's timing still hasn't returned from the IR.

*Here is the Shanny fight I mentioned before and its comical that Ott clung to Shanny so tightly to stay within his punching range. He was afraid of getting his ass kicked by a guy, what, 15 years older? Good to see him respect his elder.

*Mike Smith played a really solid game, making 39 saves. Not many were of the spectacular sort, but he did his job. Vally plays the same kind of style as Smith and hopefully learned something from the bench - not that he needed to as he has played great, but Smith has stepped in for Turco and been outstanding. Just gotta hope Vally could do the same if called upon.

*Yes he gave up three goals on 18 shots, but Hank still played pretty well and actually kept the team in the game.

*Jussi Jokinen is the best offensive player in the NHL in the shootout, Hank is the best defensively. Jokinen won this battle.

*On a team that is struggling for offense, remind me again why the Rangers sat Greg Moore and dressed Colton Orr, even when Stars goon Kris Barch was scratched?

*The entire Rangers defense should feel shame, especially Toots and Mara. They were scrambling, missing assignments and out of position.

*It was the first time the Stars played in the Garden since November of 2003. How ridiculous is that?? Hopefully they will fix the scheduling for next season.

*We got an appearance by Dancing Grandma, but no Dancing Larry ... just not the same.

*PHW Three Stars
2-Mike Ribeiro

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Sean Avery - banged, agitated, drew penalties and made a nice pass to set up Shanny's goal.
2-Shanny and Drury - the only Rangers who appeared to play with some urgency as the game neared its close with the Rangers down. And Shanny, I love it when he fights (Dubi nearly threw down the gloves at one point - I hate it when he does that).
1-Smith - he was so calm and composed that he made most of his 39 saves look easy.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Its The Little Things, You Know?

So tonight I've been watching the Montreal Canadiens take on the Buffalo Sabres and something struck me. The Canadiens truly have beautiful jerseys.

I've mentioned my love for the Original Six sweaters before but they are truly iconic and its a damn shame that only the home fans get to see them. If Gary was smart (and he is despite mounting evidence to the contrary), he would mandate that the Original Six teams - that's the Rangers, Hawks, Wings, Habs, Leafs and B's for those counting - wear their coloured kits on the road whenever possible.

As someone who goes to a lot of games, I gotta admit that I am pretty sick of seeing white teams play every game. Ok, not every game, there have been some exceptions. I know Phoenix wore their reds on the road in L.A. and Dallas, but there should be some kind of rule - especially when it comes to steady sellers like the classics. The whites are nice, don't get me wrong, but there is nothing that compares to seeing simple beauty of the spoked wheel on a red field or the Blueshirts blue. Of course, its kinda sad that the Bruins are no longer yellow but black sells, that's why so many professional teams have tried it. Some have ditched it - San Jose - but others have done well to keep it, like Philly and Boston ... but whatever, this isn't just a black/yellow issue. Its a green one.

The Sabres were the top sellers last season but those primarily came from their rabid home fans. There are Rangers fans everywhere. There are Red Wings fans everywhere. So why not give those wonderful blues and reds some more exposure? It will please the hardcore fans and can only result in the sale of more jerseys. Isn't that what the league wants?

Granted, they should wait until the RBK 'system' fully fails but that shouldn't be long now. Right??!??!?

Friday, November 23, 2007

13-8-2: Rangers Blow Great Effort By Vally

A lil live blogging this evening of the Rangers game, why the hell not? Since there is a ton here from all of my ranting, I will emphasize the highlights.

*Jagr ... smiling??? Trippy. Who knew having Straka would brighten his outlook so much; now if would only improve his scoreline. It may take a while for Straka to get his timing back but who knows?

*Vally in net. I feel confident in him, you should too.

*Even though it was because of injury, maybe the game off will have the same effect on Rozy that it did for Malik. For those that don't pay as much attention, after being benched, Malik all of a sudden was solid defensively. And no matter how many goals he scores, Rozy's job is to play D.

*Sam and Joe are pointing out Olli Jokinen as the Panther to look out for but I think it will be the combination of Stephen Weiss and Nathan Horton that will prove to be trouble. We'll see ...

First Period:
*Why is Hossa in the lineup over Greg Moore? Hopefully he will be gone when Cally comes back. I really, really hope ...

*All of Dubi's speed will seriously go wasted now that Straka is opposite from Jagr as both love to slow the game down.

*I hope that post shot by Mezei wakes up the Rangers and tells them they need to actually play tight defense, because Shanny gave him a ton of room.

*Quick glove by Vally on the pk. I told you to have faith in him.

*I think Blair Betts may have as many saves as Vally right now. If only he could score ... ever.

*I had no idea Bobby Orr was Marc Staal's agent. That is awesome. Orr won eight consecutive Norris Trophies. What a fantastic mentor for our prize prospect. Thus far this season I would say that Staal has definitely earned himself a spot on the All Rookie team ...

*Shocking, no call when Pru was abused on a break down the wing. That guy takes more abuse than anyone, including Jagr.

*The Panthers uniforms really look ridiculous, what with the vertical stripes down the sides of the sweater and the horizontal ones on the socks.

*Please, someone put Hossa out of my misery.

*Florida is playing a really tight box+1 defense (almost like a trap) keeping the Rangers out of the scoring lanes. Best way to beat that is to dump and forecheck hard. Somehow I don't think Jagr's line will be doing that. Guess we will just have to wait for special teams.

*I just realized that this live blogging thing needs some point of reference so I will try to put game times in with each of these rants.

*4:30: King who? Its certainly nice to be able to give Hank a rest without being worried.

*4:20: I hate how MSG misses play for replays, especially when they are covered by idiotic comments by Joe.

*3:25: This Strudwick/Mara pairing isn't working all that well right now. The Panthers keep pouncing on them and getting scoring opportunities.

*2:38: Greg Campbell of all people just walked around Rozy. Guess the time off didn't help his defensive acumen.

*2:38: Now there are audio issues? MSG has technical problems almost every time they go to Florida. Remember when we nearly missed Dom Moore's goal with three seconds left to force overtime two years back because MSG lost signal? That was annoying.

*7.7 seconds: Holy Sh-t!!!!!!!!! Chris Drury scored with 7.7 seconds left. Again. But for the Rangers this time. Oh my god!!!!!! 1-0 Rangers

Second Period:
*14:38: So I had to work through the intermission and the first five minutes of the period but I saw that Vally was stellar. Ho hum. Told you so.

*11:00: Wow is this puck possession power play nonsense not working. Shocking that once the Jagr unit goes off the Rangers get into the Panthers zone and get a chance. No, not really all that shocking.

*9:20: What a fantastic sequence by Staal - great shot from the wing then he skated all the way back to cover his man to negate a Florida 2-on-1.

*9:07: Joe and Sam are raving at how great Booth is to get the game-tying goal but it was more Girardi's blown coverage than Booth's incredible skills. 1-1

*4:10: Jokinen was right, there should have been a penalty.

*3:50: Straka is still shaking off some rust but he is definitely showing signs that he will be huge for us.

*3:10: Cullimore is draped around Jagr and yet there is no holding or interference call. As bad as Jagr has been, the refs are certainly not helping.

*2:29: Have I mentioned lately that Hossa sucks? Cause he does. Two open chances and he blows both.

*2:20: Either these refs are dropping the pucks inordinately fast or MSG is doing a terrible job as they've missed multiple faceoffs in this game.

*1:05: I just heard a Potvin Sucks whistle and chant. That is awesome. In Florida, where Potvin does colour commentary. Fantastic. Let's Go Rangers!

Third Period:
*18:54: Wow. That goal by Weiss was pretty damn impressive. He wasn't even looking at the net. Hmm, who said it earlier that the Rangers had to look out for him? Oh, that would be me. 2-1 Florida

*15:30: There really is no reason for Colton Orr to be playing in this game. I don't think Florida has any big brawlers playing so what's the point? You can't tell me that his spot wouldn't be better served going to G.Moore or Dawsie.

*14:25: My dinner tonight consisted of some pretzels, popcorn and a Mrs. Field's cookie. If I was 10 years old this would be heaven but now I just feel sick.

*13:40: Why are the Panthers dictating the tempo of play? Don't they realize who they are playing? Wait a second, oh yeah, that's the best way to beat the Rangers as they let it happen more often than not.

*9:30: It would be a damn shame if Marty Straka is hurt again, if only because it prolongs Hossa's time with the team.

*7:17: I hate listening to Joe. His astute commentary included 'he (Staal) has a broken blade, yeah, he probably has a broken blade.' Then they show that Staal is getting his skate reedged, so it wasn't broken. Moron. Don't say something if you have no idea. Its my job to speculate, not yours. You are supposed to analyze.

*5:52: What a pass by Toots to find Girardi coming out of the penalty box. Ah, the benefits of no red line. Too bad Dan got hauled down. And no matter what Joe said, it wasn't a penalty shot deserving infraction.

*There is no difference between Bryan Allen's slash on Sean Avery's skate than there was on Mattias Ohlund's on Mikka Koivu except Allen's slash hit lower. That play had better be reviewed by the league and a suspension issued.

*4:35: 5-on-3 and the other team gets a breakaway. For shame. Get Jagr off of the ice. I mean it, this is ridiculous. Not every play has to go through him.

*3:50: The Little Leaguer pulled his Captain Clutch act out again to tie the game, thank goodness for Sather signing him. Notsomuch for Gomez, but for him. 2-2

*2:15: Sean!!!! Goddammit, dude, how do you miss an empty net!?!?? Yes, some nice work by Jagr to set it up but he shouldn't be picking his spots. He should play this way all game long. "Captain Superstar."

*0:00: Vally was great, the Rangers should give him a raise or get him a hooker for his performance bailing them out tonight.

*4:37: There was another Potvin Sucks! How great!

*2:40: Haha, Richard Zednik. Former Islander scum. Gotta appreciate him negating the game-winning goal.

*1:50: Jagr, Shanahan, Drury and Gomez out on the ice. Two, probably three future Hall of Famers. And they can't score. Jesus.

*0:45: Two shorthanded breakaways for Stumpel this game. Unreal. Thank goodness he blew both.

*0:00: I don't know if I can take more games like this. If it was in the Garden, I would probably have an ulcer.

*They just showed a tight shot of Vally and it looked like there was a goal judge behind him. I thought they got rid of that? Maybe it was just an old guy in a suit.

*Peltonen has a ton of skill and tried to be all fancy but Vally wasn't having it.

*Shanny shot wide, MSG matted a graphic over it as he skated. Idiots.

*Vally huge save on Horton. Giving a lil glove! Oh baby! (I miss JD)

*Wow, Hossa missed. I'm surprised. (No, not really).

*Stumpel blew his shot, thats three breakaways he blew in the game.

*Jagr is actually taking the shot when there is no pressure, what surprise. And he did a halfhearted fake and was stopped. Really kids, at one time, he was an incredible player.

*Glove take 2. Olesz was going 500 miles an hour and was stopped by Vally's glove. Awesome!

*Pruuuu, tried to go fast and blew his move.

*Olli scores on a weak wrister five hole. Sad. I wonder if Vally's left skate got stuck since he didn't go down in a full butterfly like he should have.

*Captain Clutch, can he do it again??? Nope. Why the hell did every Rangers shooter try to go low glove-side on Vokoun? Especially when he stopped it every damn time.

*PHW Three Stars
3-David Booth - for one goal? meh.
2-Drury - two clutch goals.
1-Olli - the shootout winner, big deal.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Weiss - what a incredible goal.
2-Drury - so clutch, so cool. Team USA's future captain in 2010.
1-Vally - much like with Hank game after game, he bailed out some piss-poor play by the Rangers with a stellar performance. I don't care that we lost, we got a point because he was so good.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

So I figured I would do something nice while watching the Sens Pens game tonight and list some of the things that I am thankful for:

*First off, that when I google hockey and turkey, I come up with pictures of the Turkish National Team playing Iceland. It just goes to show that there are people who love the game as much as we do all over the world.

*More importantly, if that's possible, my friends and family ... *awwwwwww* ... whatever, I can be mushy sometimes.

*The New York Rangers, of course. Need I explain?

*Madison Square Garden and the other New York Rangers fans. I couldn't be happier forking over four grand a year to spend time with strangers in a building an hour away from home.

*That Cindy Crosby is as good as she is. It makes it so much more fun hating her. And that Tom Poti and Marek Malik are as terrible as they are. It makes it that much easier hating them.

*The lockout. While it did nothing to fix the financial problems of the league, it did make it a lot more exciting (this Pens Sens game is 5-5!) and it also exposed me to even more international and minor league hockey (RIP Danbury Trashers).

*Hockey Fights Cancer, Athletes Against Autism and the countless other charities that hockey teams and players are involved with. Using their power and popularity for good!

*50/50 raffles and other in-game fundraisers. I never win them, but the feeling of anticipation of hearing the numbers is so great every time. At the least, I'm glad my money goes to a good cause.

*The Original Six jerseys. Say what you want about the Yankees pinstripes or the Celtics green, hockey's Original Six sweaters are the best uniforms in sports and each one is iconic.

*My loyal readers and commenters, without you guys, I would just be wasting my time.

*Hartford, the Whale, beating Hartford once, maybe twice in a lifetime and making Wayne Gretzky's head bleed for super fan No. 99. The old EA NHL games were great and made for some hilarious cinematic moments.

*Speaking of which, Slap Shot. Greatest hockey movie, greatest comedy ever!

*Roller hockey. So shlubs like me that can't ice skate can still play the greatest game on earth.

*That every arena sells hot soft pretzels. Its a great snack and a pregame ritual.

*Players that throw pucks over the glass to kids, making souvenirs and memories that last a lifetime.

*Idiot superfans like the moron on Long Island with the gold confetti wig. The passion is admirable, if incredibly misplaced.

*Joey Kocur's bloody knuckles and other the other war wounds sustained by the tough guys of the NHL. They do it all for the team.

*The Hockey News. Sixty years of being the best sport-specific publication on the newsstand and my favourite thing to read.

*Owners like Ted Leonis and Charles Wang, who are willing to try new things to advance the game and increase its appeal.

*Vintage NHL gear. I'm wearing my Nordiques Joe Sakic player-tee right now. How cool is that?

*Olympic hockey. Every four years the best take on the best playing for pride. Simply incredible.

*And I think I will wrap this up with the Stanley Cup. I've been around it four times and the sheer amount of awe it inspires every time is amazing. Truly the greatest trophy in all of sport.

Victoire pour le Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge

So, as I mentioned in the previous post, I spent the night before Thanksgiving giving thanks I am not an Islander fan at the Nassau Mausoleum. I was graciously provided with a photo pass for the Isles game against the Canadiens - which they lost 4-1. I shot the lens off the camera and posted some of the better pics here on my Flickr page. So feel free to check them out, leave a comment and let me know what you think! For other bloggers, feel free to use 'em if you need, just give credit ...


13-8-1: Rangers Beat Bolts

So after an evening at the Mausoleum, shooting the Islanders loss to les Habitants, I am watching the game on Rangers in 60. Its cool to watch, but it certainly takes a bunch of the flow out of the game. Nonetheless, it gives me a chance to rant and enjoy my two favourite things in one night - the Rangers winning and the Islanders losing.

*Marc Staal is going to win a Norris Trophy someday. Everyone said that about Dion Phaneuf, who hits like a Mac truck but rarely played under pressure. Now I am saying that about Staal, who is taking on the top lines almost every night despite being a rookie. That extra year in junior appears to have been well worth the while.

*Holy crap, the Rangers shoot the puck, and then they score? What is going on??? Prucha works like hell and Bettsy makes a sweet play back to Toots and he actually puts it on net. And you know what? The Rangers scored! Its amazing how that works. Having the defensemen jump into the play is huge. Of course, it only works when Jagr isn't on the ice as he loves to stall, circle and lose the puck, rather than keep the speed and energy of the play.

*Jan Hlavac is actually playing like he did when he first broke into the league with us. Kinda sucks because he is doing it for the Bolts rather than us. He would probably compliment Jagr well, and lord knows we have to ensure his comfort level. Moody, petulant brat. But since we are stuck with him for at least next year, if Marty Straka doesn't come back, the Rangers should look into Hlavac or Vinny Prospal - both are Czechs, but at UFAs after this season.

*At some point, a long time ago, Jagr was the best player in the league. That title now goes to Vinny Lecavalier. He just seems to do everything and do it at top speed. He is the new Joe Sakic, without the class. Cindy may take top spot sooner or later but she doesn't have the size or power that Vinny brings.

*As I am dumping on Jagr, let me reiterate my desire to see the C stripped from his jersey and given to Shanny. Yes, Shanny may be gone after this season, but he does anything and everything for this team. Him stopping the puck from going over the line by diving under Hank and grabbing it with his glove was awesome.

*I've read that both Marty Straka and Ryan Callahan have been cleared for contact and very near a return to the ice. Bye, bye Hossa, thanks for nothing!

*So Rozy finally took the night off for a bruised knee. Not the same as being pulled for his defensive incompetence, but maybe it will help nonetheless.

*So Baranka looked alright. I fully admit to thinking he was worthless as he has done nothing every time I've saw him play.

*Sam and Joe sounded shocked when Colton Orr's goal went in. Granted it was deflected, granted he scored last year, its still nice for him -- but seriously, it really did not deserve the yelling exuberance of the MSG anchors.

*Sucks to lose the shutout with 16 second left. But what can you do? That's what happens when the coach puts Jaromir Jagr out on the ice in the last minute rather than some checkers to shut down the opponent's first line. Its like the playoffs against Buffalo all over again.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Johan Holmqvist - 27 saves
2-Toots - goal
1-Hank - 32 saves

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-The iron on the net behind Hank - I heard that ping two, three times early, that would have been huge had they gone in.
2-Hank - he really has been wonderful and our MVP.
1-Toots/Staal - throughout the game they seemed to rotate shutting down the superstars on the Bolts and did a fantastic job.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

All We Need Is Just A Little Patience

Ok, so during the beginning of the season they kept the Rangers intact despite how poorly they were playing and the injuries that were suffered.

Yesterday we lost to the Islanders 2-1 after a helluva winning streak so Sather and Renney, in their infinite wisdom, decided to make changes. First Renney juggled lines worse than a moron at clown college and now Sather gave Nigel Dawes a bus ticket to Hartford and recalled Greg Moore and Ivan Baranka.


Citing an inconsistency away from the puck, Dawes gets exiled again. The guy has as many goals as Jagr and was more energetic every shift, but he gets to ride the buses back in the AHL. That makes sense. While I love the thought that Greg Moore gets a shot, it shouldn't come at the expense of a guy who is busting his ass and getting some results. But Dawes is gone and the inept, incompetent Marcel Hossa is still on the team. Nice.

As for Ivan Baranka, he was horrid in preseason the last two years so I can't imagine him being worthwhile now. Hopefully Jason Strudwick, who was a little worse for the wear after the battle with the Isles, will be able to go against Tampa Bay tomorrow.

Man, do I hope so.

EDIT: I may have a solution! Let's deal Hossa to St. Louis for Jay McKee! The Blues have a lot of guys and keep scratching him even though he has more blocked shots per minute played than anyone in the league. JD could use more young 'talent' and McKee would provide depth on defense and surely would look better as a sixth defenseman than Malik or Strudwick ...

12-8-1: Rangers Streak Ends Poorly

Well that was a disgrace of a game. I don't know if getting blown out would have been any better, but at least then maybe I can say the Rangers were outplayed. Tonight they weren't outplayed, they were outworked and outcoached. Pretty pathetic. The Edits are all from what I saw as I watched Rangers Rewind when I got home. Onto some observations:

*As I said, outcoached - Ted Nolan had the Islanders ready to play the Rangers; Tom Renney did not have the Rangers ready to play the Islanders. From the drop of the puck the Islanders did everything possible to disrupt the Rangers offense and it worked. The Isles were blocking passing lanes, trapping and hitting all night long and the Rangers just did not have an answer to it. They did not play the type of hockey that put them in first place. And to change up the lines constantly didn't help the chemistry either. Sorry Tom, this one ranks as a big fat F for you.

*Searching For Bobby Fisher, I mean Jaromir Jagr. Anyone see him? I wasn't sure he was playing the first two periods and he looked meek for most of the third as well. Ah, remember when he was a Rangers killer and one of the best players in the league back when he was on the Pens? That was a long time ago. He used to care then. Oh yeah, and he wasn't the captain, Ah, memories ...

*Another former Pen is really pissing me off. Like I said the other night, Rozy can score all of the goals he likes, but he still has to PLAY SOME F-ING DEFENSE. And it is horrifying that he has three more goals than Jagr. The Czech "superstar" should be ashamed of himself.

*I gotta say, I admire Jason Strudwick's restraint; he shrugged of Chris Simon's multiple attempts to start a fight and lord knows Simon needs a beating. But it wasn't in the best interest of the Rangers and Strudwick held back and stayed in the play. Smart move.

*It was funny watching Bill Guerin and Shanny go at it in several scrums. Old geezer vs. old geezer. Captain vs. guy who should be captain.

*Hank kept the Rangers in the game but the first goal was the softest he has let in all year. EDIT: On a rare occasion Joe got it right and pointed out that it was Hossa's blown coverage that left Fedotenko open. Embarassing. And Vasicek's goal wasn't that good either. Weak. On several occasions, he nearly gave me a heart attack trying to come out of the crease and play the puck. Its like a drug Hank, just say no.

*For all of Sam and Joe's talk about the HBO line turning into a shutdown line, they looked like crap tonight. Orr was virtually nonexistent, Betts seemed to be run ragged and Hollweg kept putting himself out of position trying to lay down some hits. Sadly he was one of the only Rangers to hit all night - they were positively passive in their own zone, which was quite infuriating to watch considering how much Brendan Witt and the Isles were laying the body.

*Avery gets shoved into DP and the goaltender throws some big punches back. Comrie gets shoved into Hank and throws an elbow but nothing, no retribution to the little bastard. Hank just stood there as Avery went after Fedotenko, both of whom were late to the party. Kinda sad.

*I've said it before, I will say it again, Andy Sutton headhunts. He is a tall guy and knows it, using his reach and height to hit guys high. He deserves to be fined and suspended.

*Saw several tussles in the crowd but nothing spectacular. There was a bit of fun chaos after the second Isles goal over in section 323 when a couple of punk Islander kids started taunting. Saw probably close to a hundred bucks worth of food and beer get tossed on those obnoxious brats before several other fans manhandled them away from the area. The MSG crack security staff was nowhere to be found.

*Unfortunately the linesmen were right there when Marc Staal went after Campoli at the buzzer ending the first. That could have been a good fight,

*The Rangers definitely need to get Vally some more games, but I have to say that I am glad he didn't play tonight - he looked like a sieve in warmups.

*Just like at the Devils game last week, I bought my ticket, a puck and a pin. Somehow at MSG it cost $20 less for the ticket (and I was closer to center ice), it was three bucks cheaper for the puck and four cheaper for the pin. And the Devils are trying to attract fans to their new building? Morons.

*Hillary Duff, aka Mike Comrie's sex toy, tried to get into the locker room after the game but accidentally went to the Rangers door before being redirected by security. She turned bright red and tried to hide her face as eager Rangers fans started yelling 'look, that's Hillary Duff!' Idiots; who cares about a no-talent pop tart with bad taste in men?

*And speaking of people with bad taste, here are the PHW Three Stars
1-DP - I don't know how or why he was first. He didn't play particularly great or make any huge saves. He was barely tested most of the night and finished with 18 saves. Makes no sense at all. EDIT: It was DP's 100th career win. It was b-s circumstance that got him a star, not any indication of skill. Pathetic.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Richard Park - the guy is incredibly underrated and played a really solid defensive game.
2-Witt, Campoli, Gervais and the rest of the Isles D, who made it so tough for the Rangers to do their thing.
1-Ted Nolan - he is a helluva coach, can't take that away from him.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

How Did I Miss This?

This is incredible. Someone listened to me.

This summer I was throwing around ideas on how to improve hockey broadcasts and said this:
Now for the audio - turn up the mics. The sounds of the game are unique and spectacular. From the scrapes of skates on ice and puck on post to the cursing of the players and the jeers of the crowd, the sounds of the game are unique and spectacular and help give viewers a feeling like they are there and we all know that seeing hockey in person is the quickest way to sell someone on the game. And something I have been advocating is the use of the SAP feature or something of its ilk to allow viewers to just listen to the game and not have to hear the commentary. Most sports should have this ...

And the NHL, well FSN, actually did it. KuklasKorner, who pointed it out, has the embedded video and I gotta say it is a must watch/listen! The Ottawa Sun did a good write-up too. All of it proves that hockey, in its purest form, is one helluva entertaining sport. Magnificent!

What A Great Find

A guy with the handle SathersCigars on the Rangers board came across these ... so awesome:

And this, which is one of the best animations/lead-ins I have ever seen, not only because of the nostalgia, but it is just perfectly cut:

Let's Go Rangers!!!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

12-7-1: Rangers D Beats Cindy and Co.

Another away game while I am at work but I will do what I can to keep up, so a whole lotta train of thought stuff:

*Marc-Andre Fleury looked like garbage early and the Rangers couldn't capitalize. Makes me too nervous. At least he is still wearing those urine-coloured pads.

*I love that the Pittsburgh crowd still boos Jagr every chance they get. Guess he is like their Tom Poti except he won them two Cups and was actually good.

*Rozy gave the first goal away to his former team, which was infuriating to see. When you are the lone defenseman back on a 2-on-1 your lone job is to cover the pass. And he didn't even bother; lost track of the wide man and Cindy found him with a perfect pass. Have I mentioned lately that the Rangers need to bench Rozy? They do. Badly. Hell, even let Malik take his place. Yes, I went there.

*Hmm, when Cindy, the most talented player in the league, is on the ice do you think you should cover him? Apparently Renney and the Rangers don't. Really nice to see Rozy screw up his very next shift on the ice and give up another goal. Goddamn it.

*Hahaha, I love how when I rip on people, they go on to score. I bitch about Rozy, and he puts the Rangers on the board with a nice slapshot. Its happened a number of times before to me while at games in the Garden with Poti, Malik, Colton Orr and Hossa. I think its why the people in the section around me don't mind me giving the boys a hard time, but who knows. Its nice that they scored, but it doesn't mean they were doing their jobs; Rozy evened the game with two goals but he still can't play defense ...

*This technical difficulties thing is really hard to believe. I've watched thousands of games in thousands of sports with no problems and yet MSG has had technical issues that throw them off the air several times over the last year. I know that they rent a lot of equipment while on the road rather than ship their own gear but c'mon, you gotta fax that stuff out before the game.

*At work I am also watching the Hawks Red Wings game and both play some exciting hockey. Its a damn shame the Rangers don't play two of the other Original Six teams this season. Speaking of which, take a look at the Bruins Habs recap - the boxscore makes it look like a helluva game.

*Why won't Dubi learn? He really, really, really should never fight. It was great to see him take on Ruutu, arguably the dirtiest scumbag in the league, but seriously - that is why Colt is on the roster. Dubi got hammered ... again. Poor kid. I still gotta respect his gall though.

*Another player who deserves a while lotta attaboys is Pru. He had yet another solid game doing what he does - battle every second of every shift. He drew penalties with his hard work, caused chaos in the slot and battled. Yeoman work by him.

*Sykora's goal came from the HBO line running around like it was a Chinese fire drill. They had been solid earlier but they were outworked by the Pens and a bouncing puck got them entirely off their game and allowed the game-tying goal.

*Holy sh-t! Just as I looked up to and asked why the hell slow-ass Jason Strudwick was on the ice in 4-on-4 overtime and he scores the game-winning goal off a beautiful pass from Mara. Unbelievable, astounding, amazing, freakin' wow.

*PHW Three Stars:

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Cindy - She is a crybaby, but her talent and drive is undeniable.
2-Hank - Yeah he only made 20 saves and gave up three goals but two weren't his fault and he made some other big ones, stopping Recchi and Malkin.
1-Paul Mara and Jason Strudwick - purely for the game winning play. That was awesome and ... just unreal. Like Gretzky to Kurri ... just sick.

Congrats to Ilya

Ilya Bryzgalov was claimed on waivers by the Phoenix Coyotes earlier today and then started in the afternoon matinee against the L.A. Kings. Guess he was more-than-ready to change zip codes as all he did was go put up a 27 save, 1-0 shutout.

Bryzgalov always did a good job when called upon in Anaheim and as Brian Burke said, he helped them win some playoff series. Burke made a promise that if he couldn't trade him, he would put him on waivers and to the GM's credit, he did. Edmonton, Washington and Buffalo all passed on him so Gretz and the Yotes got themselves a helluva goaltender. I am a fan as Bryzgalov helped win me a fantasy league or two by putting up great numbers as a third goalie on my teams.

I am also a bigger fan as it opens up a slot in Portland of the AHL that should go to Mike McKenna. Jonas Hiller, who had been starting for the Pirates, will back up Jiggy in Anaheim. McKenna is a nice kid who I have been talking to for several years and should become a helluva NHL goaltender someday. Keep an eye out!

Why The Hell Not?

If you may recall, last year some fans got together and set up a grassroots Vote For Rory campaign to get Rory Fitzpatrick, a stay-at-home defenseman on Vancouver, into the All Star Game. They nearly succeeded, which was fun, but of course the league did their best to play it down because they actually take the meaningless, corporate midseason exhibition seriously. That's why they put it in Atlanta this year. Right? Whatever.

Well, as you can see, this season there is a Vote for Boogey to get Minnesota Wild tough guy Derek Boogaard into the game. I think its a fantastic idea, voted for him myself and even may buy a t-shirt! After all, as someone in the East, I don't get to see enough Western hockey to make a fair judgement on the skill players (Hey Bettman and the Board of Governors, you better fix the scheduling for next season!!). So why not vote for a guy who I get to see regularly on

To the best of my memory, the last tough guy who made it to the All Star Game was Bob Probert but he didn't fight. The NHL media guide doesn't have year-by-year box scores but points out that the top three in PIM in the game's history are Gordie Howe (Mr. Hockey leads with 25 minutes), Gus Mortson (who?) and Harry Howell (former Rangers great). Mortson, apparently played in the 40s and 50s for the Leafs and the Hawks. Howell played in the 50s and 60s and Howe played, well, forever. But the common theme is that all played when the Original Six teams legitimately hated each other, so of course there were some battles. Now everyone is afraid to get hurt while playing against golfing buddies and rich corporate sponsors.

So let's bring back a lil edge to the game and get the Boogey Man in! Vote early, and vote often. Also, a little aggravating sidenote - if you look at the write-in list for the East, you can vote for most anyone, aside from Sean Avery. Amazing how he pisses off the league and they 'accidentally' leave him off the ballot. The NHL administration is really a vindictive, bitter bunch who are entirely out of touch with the fans. Its quite pathetic. So screw them and Vote For Boogey!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Big Bad Bruin

You have to check out Milan Lucic's knockout punch in this one ... I bet you it sent Bell back to the bar ...

I told you that kid Lucic was good!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

11-7-1: What A Game! Rangers Out-Fly Philly

I was at work trying to watch this and produce a show so I missed much. I will try to fill out more if I catch Rangers Rewind later or tomorrow. But what I noticed:

*I keep saying it, but really, the kids on this team are doing an incredible job. Pru had a great game, Nigel Dawes was solid, Staal was spectacular ... I love it. Just wait until Cally comes back too! Makes you wonder what kind of team we could have had if they started this rebuilding stuff years ago. I guarantee you Manny Malhotra would have become a better player if he was given the same chances that this group has gotten.

*I mentioned Pru and have to talk more. The guy is a human punching bag every game and has continued to work, to skate hard, battle to the boards and shoot, shoot, shoot. He has pretty much gone under the radar but his effort can not be denied or go unrecognized.

*I also would be remiss if I didn't point out that Gomez had a really good game. Still not one that reflects his contract, but impressive nonetheless. That holds true for the Little Leaguer too. They seem to be settling into their roles and getting that chemistry that was all-so-nonexistant at the start of the year. I told you guys not to panic.

*Sean managed not to do anything stupid, and that is to his credit as - let's face it - the Flyers are infuriating. I want to punch Ben Eager in the face ... but I want to know why, with 10 seconds left in the OT, Sean took the puck all the way back into the Rangers zone rather than giving it one last shot. I know we trust and love Hank, but why not?

*Danny Briere has been a fantastic signing for the Flyers but all I can think of is that line from a kids song, 'which one is not like the other??' The Flyers lineup is full of big bodies who hit every chance they get while he is as soft as a little girl. Don't get me wrong, he does a ton of great things, but he is definitely not a Bully of Broad Street. His buddy, Marty Biron, is the reason why they are so good right now. Everyone knew he was a treasure in Buffalo as the backup and now that he is a legit starter, he has been a star.

*I mentioned earlier this year that Steve Downie will be a bane in the Rangers existance for years to come and now I think that Scottie Upshall will join him. Upshall came to Philly in the Forsberg deal and should prove to be a helluva Flyer.

*Ya gotta wonder about Jagr. I know plenty of you still worship at his feet, but c'mon, try watching the game without that bias for a second. Offensively he keeps trying the same move - cut in from the boards and throw the puck at the net using the defenseman as a screen. Much of his early-career brilliance seems to have been worn away by all of the physical double teams that he faces shift after shift.

*Hossa made a good move in the shootout, and then missed an empty net. If he can't score in regulation and he can't score in the shootout, why is he in the lineup??? Hopefully as a placeholder but we shall see.

*The Colton Orr v. Riley Cote bout was nice, but pointless. A pair of middleweights going at it to justify their paychecks.

*Oh Hank! Best goaltender in the league in the shootout. And tonight he even showed a poke check, which I don't remember seeing him do - he usually just outwaits the shooter. I am seriously impressed. EDIT (courtesy of Blueshirt Bulletin): "I got a little inside tip from Drury," Lundqvist explained. "I went up to him before we started and asked him about Briere. He said he likes to go up really close, almost like Nylander. I took a chance there and pokedchecked him. I think it surprised him a little bit, so he couldn't get it up there, and I got him with my pad. This was the first time actually I pokechecked and did something different -- otherwise, I do the same thing over and over... I just try to be ready for anything no matter what they do." See! I pay attention! lol!

*PHW Three Stars:
3-Denis Tolpeko - yeah, I went 'who?' too. He is a rookie commie that the Flyers added who had a goal and an assist. Of course, his goal had nothing to do with any skill, but that is typical of the Flyers.
1-Shanny - He is starting to play as well as he did last year, but his shot is still a little off ...

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Hank - yeah, he let in three goals but he came through in the shutout yet again so he gets a spot. Not to mention that sweet save on Briere to start the game, it definitely sent a message.
2-Gomez - I'm as surprised as you are.
1-The Kids - its a cop out, I know, but they all did such a great job that its hard to pick. Shanny doesn't deserve a star, he deserves a C!

10-7-1: Rangers Bedevil New Jersey

I gotta say that it is great to be typing this right now. We put up a solid 4-2 win, I went out and celebrated - the win, and that I am still alive to enjoy it - so Let's Go Rangers!! And here are my celebratory ramblings:

*First off, I went, so I can talk about Newark, or at least the sliver that I saw, from personal experience. New Jersey is trying their best to make the area between the train and the arena as safe as possible. I counted seven cops on the way in, and another two cruisers and four cops walking around on the way out.

*So my impressions of the arena proper: the seats are WAAAAAAAYYYYY too narrow and there is little no no leg room, but at least the standing room areas are nice at least (to make up for the impossibility of actually sitting in your actual seats).

*All of the other stuff is nice - the cigar rolling, the yuppy bars, the overpriced food, blah, blah. Not my taste but if it makes people happy ...

*It didn't seem to make a whole lotta people happy as we counted 18, yes 18 luxury boxes utterly empty. What a goddamn shame. And what a joke of a franchise. New Jersey will have to do a lot to get people in the building and to keep them there. Especially if the allure of something so new, against such a big rival doesn't seem to be the draw, there must (or needs to be) something to draw...

*The arena has a ton of N.J. high school jerseys around but no information on NHL players who rose out of the swamp to join into the NHL.

*The urinals really do have the Devils logo on the top. That is just disturbing. It isn't something to 'aim for' but something you have to stare at while you do you business. How annoying.

*Did I mention the lack of leg room? That really did suck.

*The Devil fans actually seemed pretty cool/funny, throwing out Rangers Suck confetti while passing along Scott Gomez pesos and literally tearing one of the former Devil's jerseys apart.

*Jagr got first star of the game and yet was absolutely terrible. Its amazing what reputation gets you. The guy took several lazy penalties, and was his usual lackadaisical self but still managed to put up some points so he got respect. Amazing.

*Dubi had a great game at both ends of the ice. As I have said before and will say again, the kids are alright.

*Speaking of, Marc Staal overcame several dubious penalty calls to score his first NHL goal. Congratulations to him, great game.

*The Devils are definitely not the Devils of old. They don't seem to be playing any system that I can see and only get points when the kids - Zajac and Parise specifically - decide to barrel in and go for the net.

*MAAAAAAARRRRRTTTTTTYYYYYYYY. Can BLOWWWWW MEEEEEE. Overrated from the start, He didn't get #500 and he still can't carry Patrick Roy's jockstrap.

*Staying in the crease, Hank did a helluva job, as usual. The Rangers used Vally, ot at least seemed to use him, a bit more than usual in warm ups so I thought he may get the start to capitalize on his win in Toronto but I am happy to say that Hank returned and did a fantastic job.

*The Devils really don't have any go-to guys left on their lineup, outside of Jamie Langenbrunner, who made his successful return. The guy, one of the true, pure Rangers killers in history, scored a pair and had a great game. Bastard.

*All of the expected Sean fireworks with Clarkson (who?) and Brodeur didn't take place. And I can honestly say that I don't mind, it was a great battle between two solid teams. I hesitate to call them rivals as the Devils really seem to operate on their own, without any real rival. The Rangers have the Isles, the Flyers have the Pens, and the Devils will have whomever takes them. Kinda pathetic really.

*PHW Three Stars:

Scotty Hockey Three Stars