Sunday, May 4, 2008

R2, G5: Sad Way To Go

This is the way the season ends
This is the way the season ends
This is the way the season ends
Not with a bang but with whistles.
--T.S. Scotty Hockey
Sitting in his ivory tower, Gary Bettman has got to be pretty damn happy with himself right about now. His golden boy can continue his quest towards the Stanley Cup and the perversion of hockey into something unwatchable is complete. You could barely hear the fans for all of the whistles from the referees in the second period. For a NHL playoff game to be so utterly controlled by special teams was a complete disgrace. This wasn't a true judge of who was the better team, it was which team could handle the officiating better. And the stripes came up short in the end, missing the offsides before Hossa scored to win the game - it was close, don't get me wrong, but Pascal Dupuis was clearly over the blue line before the puck cleared the paint.

When it comes down to it, the Rangers got nervous about taking bad penalties and allowed the Pens to press the action after the first five minutes of the third period. They sat back and the Pens came in waves, making it just a matter of time before they scored the game-winner. All told the Rangers were outshot 40-22 and you just can't let that happen.

*For all of the awful penalties, the only one I will mention is the noncall in the second period. Chris Drury gets a stick to the face from Ryan Malone that draws a ton of blood and the four officials completely missed it. The Rangers didn't get a four minute power play and minutes later the Pens take the lead. Amazingly the refs caught it when Drury's stick rode up Malone's and clipped him in the face late in the game with the Pens pressing the Rangers deep into their zone. If you don't want to call it a conspiracy, fine, but at the least it is gross incompetence.

*There is nothing more you can ask from Hank. He made 37 saves and didn't allow a bad goal. There are plenty of fingers to point after this one but none should go in his direction. Marc-Andre Fleury was adequate, if hardly tested.

*Evgeni Malkin's goal to make it 2-0 was astounding. The singular effort to get the puck in, push Paul Mara back, spin and chop the puck over Hank's shoulder was awe-inspiring. What a beautiful goal; it should rank up there with the Henrik Zetterberg goal from last week that everyone raved about.

*On the first Pittsburgh power play goal, Brendan Shanahan stood outside of the blueline waiting for the puck to get to him. Marian Hossa dove to keep it in the zone and went on to score. I love Shanny and respect all he has done for the Rangers and hockey in general, but it seemed he retired before this series started.

*His lack of contribution hurt the power play as well, which was atrocious - as per usual. It was boring, it was predictable and it rarely created worthwhile chances. And since the game was dominated by the officiating, it lost the game for the Rangers.

*If this was Jaromir Jagr's last game as a Ranger, he goes out on a sore note. He didn't create many good chances, didn't take a single shot that made it on net and took two penalties.

*Quick sidenote: This morning the headline of the game preview on the Rangers homepage said "Rangers Eye Crucial Game 5" - a flat, boring pathetic excuse for a header. I put up a post on the Rangers bulletin board belittling it, saying that I hope that the team shows more interest than the website staff. I got to work few hours later and found the post gone and the headline changed to "Rangers Playing For Their Survival Today" - still not great but better.

*Marty Straka played nearly 21 minutes of regulation. I'll be honest, I didn't see him out there once. His utter lack of confidence in himself cost the Rangers on his shorthanded break with Staal and I won't feel bad when he heads out of town this summer.

*NBC: Technically they were nearly flawless with solid camera-work and good audio. Production-wise, NBC is clearly with Bettman in cheering for the Pens. Doc, a Devils fan (and employee, even if his checks come from MSG+), doing play-by-play is annoying and obnoxious. Eddie O doing colour is insane as he is clearly biased as a former coach of the Pens and friend of several of their players. Mad Mike has been hating the Rangers for more than 30 years as a Bruin and Islander. And isn't that Bob guy the same idiot doing trackside work at the Kentucky Derby yesterday? Were there no one who actually knows anything about hockey available? According to his Wiki, he covered hockey 10 years ago in Boston - a good pick for informed analysis. /sarcasm

*Lauri Korpikoski got into the game the right way, with a good scoring chance on a low shot during his first shift. Renney then held him to just one shift in the penalty-filled second period and the Korpedo scored on his first shift of the third. His exuberance powered the Rangers comeback and Renney was smart to reward him with more ice time. I have to say that seeing him wear #22 was strange as that will always be Mike Gartner to me (or even Mike Knuble). Hopefully he will pick a different digit when he takes the third line center position next fall.

*PHW Three Stars:
3-Henrik Lundqvist - 37 saves.
2-Evgeni Malkin - one goal.
1-Marian Hossa - two goals.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Hossa - right places at the right times to score two goals. He also blocked two shots according to the NHL stat sheet.
2-Hank - too bad he couldn't score too.
1-Malkin - aside from putting together one of the best highlight plays of the postseason, he was a physical and offensive force. He had 10 shots and won six of eight faceoffs, allowing the Pens to control play.


The Big K said...

Rangers fans as a whole call Crosby a whiner,
but what do we hear after EVERY Rangers loss?
We hear whining. It is disgusting.

Anonymous said...

riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Edzo loves the Pens because they canned his ass. Which he only mentions with EVERY broadcast involving them.

And sure. Bettman and the league really benefit from having their "golden boy" - wait, boy? - not "girl?" - advance as opposed to having the Rangers there, given how popular the NHL is in the US since the kid has been there v. how popular the NHL was when the Rangers could actually win a Stanley Cup. Because knocking the largest media market out of contention is definitely the first thing Bettman wants.

Whatever distracts you from blowing three-goal leads, getting shutout, not being able to score on five on threes, tying things up and losing anyway, more than $80 million dollars of free agency not being enough (surprise, surprise....), if you know the Rangers suck then clap your hands, I suppose...if you can feel indignant instead of depressed after all of that, well, that's just special.

But hey, you've got five whole months to sit on your thumb and formulate less-specious conspiracy theories and more intelligent-sounding insults! (yeah, good luck) Have fun with that, jackass!

Anonymous said...

1. My guess is that the officials didn't call the Drury high-stick because they deemed the high-stick to be Roszival's fault (Roszival does body the stick into Drury). I do remember seeing at least one other blood-drawing non-call that was explained as such. However, I've seen many more high-sticks where player A forces player B's stick into the face of player A's teammate where the call was made nonetheless. Inconsistency is the name of today's officiating. Time to fire the referees and replace them with, like, three sets of octoplets.

2. Penguin fans are claiming pro-NY bias in today's broadcast, saying Milbury was influencing the outcome of the game by referring to the Penguins bench as tight, nervous, etc, while standing on top of them. Pro-NY/pro-Pitt bias can't be concurrently true. More likely, NY and Pitt fans are just used to regular season local broadcasts. Pitt and NY homerism in the respective local broadcasts is exceeded only by San Jose's local announcers (arguably Philadelphia as well).

Peter said...

Strange, big K, that other than the officiating that is obviously horrible, this article didn't actually bash the pens, and mostly praised Malkin. But, of course, the unsportsmanlike pricks such as yourself will come out and call us whiners, now that you are safe and secure behind your series win. It's SO easy to come out from under a rock and rub salt in a wound AFTER the battle is over. Here's a bit of advice: laugh now, and enjoy the win, because Danny Briere and the flyers play a much more disciplined game than the rangers, and Fleury's swiss cheese style is gonna taste great on a cheese steak. And, if by some chance, the pens do win the Pennsylvania series, Detroit will pretty much shoot pucks straight down Sydney's all too oft open mouth. No sir, if you didn't know it already, this is Detroit's year to win the cup, and the only thing that is disgusting is that they should have won it against another original six team (the rangers) instead of "Sydney Crosby and company."

Peter said...

Anonymous...wipe your mouth have a big old kool-aid ring.

I have not hear Eddie mention anything about him getting fired by the way...and I would hope that any professional broadcaster WOULDN'T point that out during a broadcast, but whatever. You're just another fan riding the high of winning a series and pretending that the ends justify everything about how you got there.

Anonymous 2...unfortunately, in this league, you are responsible for your own stick NO MATTER how the infraction occurs. It's in black and white in the rule book. I agree though, there is a serious problem with the refs, that has been apparent in ALL the games this season, not just Pitt/NY, and I hope it's something that is addressed in the off-season.

Anonymous said...


And I quote Edzo from the intermission yesterday with Milbury:
"I'm not coaching the Pens; they already fired me once."

Philly plays disciplined. Do you even WATCH hockey? Because that's hilarious.

Nah, I'm calling for Dallas to pull a third upset so we can have an "Original Expansion" reprise of the '91 Finals. Just for pricks like you who actually think "original 6" confers some holy status worth more than crap, instead of a propensity to multi-decade Cup droughts.

Peter said...

Again, Anonymous puts words in my mouth. I never raised "original 6" to any holy status. I simply believe that the "Origial Six" moniker does/should provide an aspect of tradition and history to the series, something for fans to rally around, since east and west teams barely have any contact or rivalry from the season, due to the fact that they hardly play against each other.

You see, there ARE aspects of the game that fans can rally around WITHOUT having to raise one player to God-like status. But, as a penguins fan, you may not understand that concept anymore. No, you'll be sucking Gary Bettman's dick in hell.

And, by the way, disciplined isn't just a term used to describe a team that doesn't take bad penalties. Philly came out of the shoot this year as a dirty, nasty team, taking those egregious penalties that may have you thinking of them as anything but disciplined, but make no mistake about it, THAT team did NOT make the playoff run. The team pitt will see in the next week is very different, and, perhaps their discipline shows mostly in their ability to be patient around the net and score. Briere and Lupul will be all over Fleury, and that is almost as hilarious as your lack of understanding of the sport of hockey, you pair of clown shoes.

poploser said...

eddie olcyzk was actually the only one on the entire NBC broadcast to recognize that the Hossa OT goal might have been offsides. His commentary was not biased in any way, in my view.

Steve (Newark) said...

Just for fun Scotty. Doesn't Eddie owe the Rangers for being able to call himself a Stanley Cup Winner?

Milbury was used too little to have any effect.

C'mon Scotty, you've been watching the Rangers on National TV for long enough to know that Doc is nowhere near biased. Even during Devils broadcasts, Doc is up there with Rosen, Bob Miller, etc. with being able to - while keeping the telecast tailored to the fans watching the game - not be a homer.

Plus, the Rangers pay him, as you pointed out. If you wanted to go for something, you might say his fandom of the Pittsburgh Pirates might extend to other sports teams in the town...