Saturday, April 19, 2008
R1, G5: No Mo' Mmmaaaaarrrrrrrttttyyy
For those that immediately turn to me for near-instant feedback on the game, I apologize. I had a prior engagement so I missed the game and was forced to to tape it - that's like Tivo'ing it, just with quality loss. I turned my cell off, had a nice evening, then came home to watch the fireworks - which made it a great night. The Rangers rushed out to a wonderful lead, blew most of it with a typical bad second period and clung to their lead until the buzzer. Thankfully the Devils didn't have the firepower to equalize and force the Rangers to 'play for the shootout' (I am well aware that there isn't a shootout in the playoffs, but it is a phrase to describe their boring, defensive, avoid-mistakes-at-all-costs play late in a game).
*I said before the series that Mmmaaaaarrrrrrrttttyyy would dote on Sean Avery to the point of distraction. However, early on the series it was Scott Gomez who was the focal point. Well, say what you want on Avery's Game 3 antics, they certainly grabbed the spotlight and returned him to the limelight. That left Gomez free again to do what he does best, and in this game it got him the goal to make it 3-1.
*How many Devils do you think went into the locker room taking a page from Dino Ciccarelli, saying "I can't believe I shook that friggin' guys hand"?? Oh yeah, not all of them: Mmmaaaaarrrrrrrttttyyy continued to show he is more classless than he claims Avery is by not shaking his hand after the game. The one tradition that truly sets hockey apart from the other sports symbolizing sportsmanship and that bum pisses on it by being childish. What a piece of garbage.
*There was a loud, proud contingent of Ranger fans at the game. Why is it that when people talk about contracting the NHL, New Jersey is never mentioned? They had a brand new building to attract people this season and still can't sell the place out without a sizable contingent of enemy fans. Pathetic; at least the Islanders can still complain about playing in Fort Never-Win. I also caught the end of the game's reair on MSG+ and can just laugh at Chico. After Dubi scored the empty netter, he said, 'I am showing my allegiance here, but you shouldn't be hearing the building go crazy when you are scored against at home.' And later going so far as to say "this is making me sick." Poor guy, he is just now realizing he has wasted years covering a paper-thin franchise that has never done anything positive for the sport of hockey, other than drafting future Ranger stars like Scott Gomez, Brendan Shanahan and Pat Verbeek.
*Jaromir Jagr, wow. His power play goal to make it 2-1 was the Jagr of two seasons ago: he used the room given to him and took a pin-point shot that beat Mmmaaaaarrrrrrrttttyyy. But someone, anyone, please tell Jagr to buzz his facial hair. Even though the mustache is supposed to run straight down through his soul patch, it just looks like he has a Charlie Chaplin/Hitler thing going on.
*I know I said I wasn't going to complain about the broadcast, and with the tape I was able to avoid the Devil-favouring studio show, but Sam Rosen certainly hasn't been himself. He has always had to pick up the slack for Joe Micheletti's incompetence/idiocy, but he hasn't been on the ball the way he used to. He spends too much time scene-setting and less calling the play. And whomever was doing the main game-camera clearly had trouble following the puck, which is just awful.
*So Girardi knocks the puck away from Madden late in the third period, Madden loses his footing and is awarded a penalty shot. Ok, I get it (no, not really, but I'm still not complaining, really). But at least Madden continued to prove me correct in my point that he has no offensive skills to speak of by taking that abortion of a penalty shot that Hank easily handled.
*Hey, I have something good to say about Christian Backman! Unlike the other tall, soft, useless defenseman on the roster, the Devils haven't been able to take advantage of his many mistakes. Last year every gaffe by Malik ended up behind Hank ... See? I can be nice ...
*I could be mistaken, but I don't see the ref's name listed on the box score under the assists for Jersey's third goal. If they didn't make the incorrect call on Dubi - its not interference when the puck is right there - then there wouldn't have been a five-on-three and the puck would have never deflected off of Toot's arm into the net. Catch how I did that? I didn't outright complain about the officiating, like I said I wouldn't; I just pointed out an omission by the official scorekeeper. BTW - Dubi also got the Devil's second goal hung on him as it deflected off of him on net, but that was justified: he made the rookie mistake of losing track of what was going on elsewhere on the ice. Nice to see him tap in the empty netter for some redemption.
*I love how tough John Madden, Colin White and Paul Martin are behind their visors. Clarkson and Rupp may be despicable hockey players, but at least they play dirty face-to-face. Provoking behind plexiglas is spineless.
*I know some people will harass the fourth line for being trapped deep, allowing the first goal against. Backman went flying out of position, Mara chased his man, and Ryan Hollweg was forced to plug the slot, while allowing his man loose - the rodent Gionta, who capitalized.
*Did I ask where Nigel Dawes was earlier this series? My bad. Brilliant cross-ice pass by him to set up Captain America for his goal to make it 4-1.
*By my count, Freddie Sjostrom said "you know" 14 times during his first intermission standup interview. That has to be some kind of record ...
*Also in the realm of numbers, the Rangers blocked eight shots while the Devils stood in front of just one and the Devils racked up 29 hits to the Blueshirts' 15. Jersey was still given two more power plays though ... (still not complaining about the officiating - just pointing out a fact).
*PHW Three Stars
3-Patrik Elias- one goal.
2-Chris Drury - one goal.
1-Jaromir Jagr - one goal and two assists.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Ryan Callahan - the kid did everything short of score. He got more ice time than every forward aside from Gomez and skated his heart out. Awesome display.
2-Jaromir Jagr - he didn't take any bad penalties and finally used his size and strength to his advantage and it paid off in spades.
1-Sean Avery - he played his role of the pest perfectly and managed to distract an entire team. He also was the bigger man and showed Mmmaaaaarrrrrrrttttyyy's true colours as a classless egomaniac.