I had the day off today and I spent it in Newark. And that isn't the precursor to a tale of woe or ill repute. It is one of pure puck positivity - day/night doubleheader of hockey. And the Rangers came from behind to force overtime in each and made it all the way to the shootout in both. They won one and lost one ... notsobad if I do say so. There are no pics t go with it, Yahoo's photos are acting wacky and the battery on my camera died early in the day.
I wrote about the rookie game earlier so let's get onto the nightcap:
*Just what was John Tortorella trying to do when he decided to start Sean Avery against the Devils instead of the Bruins. Does he want Avery to get injured and be knocked out of the lineup, before the season even starts? Is there any bigger single achievement for a Devil (Star, Islander, etc.) then to take Avery out? The guy skates around with a target on his back, so why would the coach intentionally put him in the line of fire in a meaningless game?
*And the new-look, new-mentality Ranger power play? Same as it ever was: 0-for-7.
*I honestly, seriously said that I was going to come into this season and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Honest, I did. And then Wade Redden started trying to hit Devils with his purse while Michal Rozsival was helping them score. If Tort's rhetoric is to be believed (and it isn't) then both would have taken solid steps towards being off the roster. Redden was better than Rozy, but that is no great shakes.
*And a penalty kill of Rozy, Redden and Brian Boyle was my nightmare come true - only it was just a preseason game rather than the Cup Final. Thank goodness for small favours.
*Speaking of unholy triumvirates, I got home and turned on MSG+ to hear Doc, Chico and Joe Micheletti all together in the broadcast booth. What, Fran Dresher wasn't available?
*Mike Maccarone and his mighty mustache seemed to barely see any ice time. What a shame. But, seeing as he was in the Ranger lineup rather than the Pack, perhaps he has indeed played himself into an AHL contract. One can only hope.
*The other humongous human being in the lineup was defenseman Brent Henley, a late add to training camp. Henley skated well for his size, got into a decent tilt and got screwed on a slashing call (another case of a composite stick snapping after being touched). He may be a project player but it is nice to dream of a Chara-esque rise to stardom.
*Aaron Voros also fought in the game. Well, Voros yet again did his best to stop punches with his face. While I still want to see how he would fare with Gaborik (should Gabby ever get healthy enough to play), the performance of several of the kids during rookie game and that of Jordan Owens in this one proved that Voros is certainly expendable.
*MDZ and Matt Gilroy both played, and Gilroy was clearly more comfortable. MDZ certainly has shown skills in these two games but, as Jess from Prospect Park has said all along, another season in junior is clearly warranted. Gilroy had no problems going into traffic, and certainly none jumping into the play. His goal, dare I say it (dare, dare), was very much like that those scored by that Leetch guy who we used to have. Highly impressive.
*Grachev was better than he was against the Bruins but I think the same goes for him as for MDZ - a year dominating in junior will be better than a year riding the bench in the pros or riding busses in the A.
*All credit to Chad Nueve-Seis. Johnson came in and gave up a goal on the first shot he faced but rebounded to play well all the way to the final shooter of the skill competition. He continues to impress. Hank played earlier and was Hank - calm, cool and solid. With Matt Zaba, Miika Wiikman and Scott Stajcer all looking like solid prospects, the goaltending future of the organization looks good. Quite the change from the Guy Hebert/Kirk McLean/Mike Dunham years.
*Remind me again why we signed Ales Kotalik? If I recall it was because of a stellar shot and the skills to star in the shootout. He can't seem to hit the net and his shootout attempt was pathetic. Vinny Prospal looked a little bit better but the rust was clearly there.
*It was kind of surreal to see Brendan Shanahan wearing the captain's C for the Devils. Seeing as Jamie Ranger-killer is hurt, Shanny took the letter and wore it well. I saw it with a tinge of sadness as I always thought/hoped that he would have it on a Blueshirt. Ah well, cest la vie.
And for those that are missing the Three Stars, don't worry, they will be back with the regular season.