12:10 am, October 2nd, 2008
I am still a little exasperated from the game but figured I just had to get this down while it was still fresh, so here are my observations from the Rangers incredible come-from-behind 4-3 victory at the inaugural Victoria Cup:
*My earlier enthusiasm still has yet to wane. The Rangers lose five goal leads, not battle back from three goal deficits. I think it's happened what, once? twice since the lockout??? Wow.
*I met Rene Fasel, the IIHF president, after the game and thanked him for the experience. He asked me if I liked the playing style and explained how he liked the improvisational hockey played by Tom Renney's team, rather than the strategic puck carrying (winning) style of the Detroit Red Wings. I said "well, you definitely rang in the competition with a helluva game and the Rangers managed to improv one amazing recovery." He then said imagine this game in New York ... I didn't have a reply and just smiled. Can you imagine the Rangers playing a Russian league team, falling behind playing awful hockey and then finding life enough to win in the waning seconds? And in the Garden?? What a shocker!! When the Rangers faced Russian competition back in the 70s, they got their asses handed to them; this was quite the turnaround. (Let's Go Rangers!)
*As Joe Whelan, the Rangers producer for MSG, also said to me after the game, "wow, that Chris Drury, boy is he clutch!" What a battler. He got clocked early in the game, appealed for a call and when he didn't get one, hammered the guy who hit in him the first place. Then he disappeared for a while and popped up to score the game-tying goal. Not exactly the way to do it but I'll take it, lol!
*On the other side of the coin, Patrick Rissmiller, thanks for nothing. The German must have felt right at home here in Bern where they primarily speak his language, so let him stay here. Watching him stand there on the point doing nothing while they scored their third goal was quite frustrating. I nearly called him a Nazi and then remembered my surroundings (*whew*). He was useless and should not have a regular roster spot, especially with the renewal of Colton Orr's career and the presence of Aaron Voros.
*For all of their enthusiasm yesterday, the Bern fans showed very little in this one. I got a contingent to start chanting "Let's Go Rangers" and some kids took to the drums to bang along the beat. It was nice as the Metallurg fans were vocal and outnumbered the real Ranger fans by a large number.
*I say real Ranger fans because a good number of the Bern folks seemingly adopted the Rangers - they were buying a ton of shirts and jerseys Tuesday night and seemed to turn out in them today. Too bad they really aren't hockey fans at heart - they just enjoy the spectacle.
*Two shifts into the game the Callahan line forced play and banged bodies. It was exactly what the Rangers needed and unfortunately, it was the only time they did it until late in the third period - something that cost them dearly.
*The Rangers signed Markus Naslund to replace Jaromir Jagr and Naslund played like our fair departed captain today - he took two lazy, inopportune penalties that hurt the team. Thanks dude, welcome to the team.
*As for our other two big summer signings, Dmitri Kalinin was terrible and Wade Redden not much better. Kalinin pulled two Maliks, passing directly to Metallurg players. Where Malik was an idiot, at least Kalinin can say he thought he was still on his former team. As for Redden, well, he couldn't keep the puck in the offensive zone, he fumbled the puck in the defensive zone and he took a penalty. Six miiiiiillion dollars. And that's all I have to say about that.
*Metallurg took advantage of all of the Rangers puck troubles early on - exactly what SC Bern was unable to do. And they had no problem just shooting the puck on net, which was brilliant as Hank didn't show up until late in the second period. After the second goal against, Valley stood up on the bench and I thought he was about to come in ...
*It would have been nice to have had a replacement for the refs. The officiating was just terrible, for both teams. But I guess that it what we should expect nowadays?
*They announced an attendance of just over 13,000 and that had to have all been from the standing room folks as the seating had several mostly-empty sections around the arena.
*Before the game, the Swiss legends lost big to the Russian legends. It was pretty boring but I had to stand through it if I wanted to keep my good spot for the Ranger game. The only impressive thing was former Devil Vladimir Fetisov scoring. Dude is like 65 now and he scored a pretty goal. Good for his grandkids.
*I am totally distracted right now as they have a hot topless woman wearing a corset advertising some lottery on German-language television. There are some good points to being in Europe ... and now she is jumping up and down, sucking on a lollipop as the deadline to enter to win 600 euros approaches. I am not kidding, and this is basic cable. Jesus ...
*Ok, hockey, yeah. So. That Callahan kid, he was good. Nice goal to win it. Nice round, sexy goals. I mean, it was nice that he worked his way around the goaltender to tuck the puck in. Yeah, that's what I mean.
*I really wish you could see this. This is insane television. Let's go Rangers. I'm outta here.