Tuesday, October 27, 2009
8-3-1: First Line Fixes Streak
It is amazing that the Rangers break a painful losing streak with a five goal effort and yet it still feels like a loss. Seeing as the NHL is as secretive as the CIA in their injury status, we simply don't know how Marian Gaborik is. Did we win the game, and lose the season? Who knows? This is the first but likely not the last night were we will be left wondering, and that is quite unfortunate - especially as his line contributed four goals and five assists in the 5-2 win over Phoenix.
Very few folks in the Garden knew that he got hurt in the first place - leading to a smattering of boos when he didn't come out after being named first star of the night. I had a few good friends text me as soon as it was mentioned on the broadcast so we brainstormed and couldn't see anything big that happened to Gabby. There was a play along the boards in the Coyotes zone in the second period where he was checked but he played well after that. Watching Ranger Rewind, I noticed he fell over Hank awkwardly five minutes into the third and could have tweaked a knee ...
But, since we won't know his status until at least Tuesday if not Wednesday at puck drop, let's not panic just yet and look at this evening's victory:
*So we won't talk about his injury but let's rave about his skill: Gabby is good. Like, real good. Like, how were the Coyotes so stupid as to let him skate into the slot alone to score on a perfect one-timer from Brandon Dubinsky? That he was free for his second goal was no surprise as it was on the power play but still, you would think they would endeavour to cover a guy with a release as good as his.
*Dubi, by the way, certainly responded to his Montreal benching with really good work at both ends of the ice. Chris Higgins wasn't as impressive but he wasn't bad. He got himself a great scoring chance early on but missed the net and blew a shorthanded chance in the second. One of these days, one of these days. It would make for a nice story line for it to come on the Island on Wednesday ...
*What the hell was that boarding call on Vinny Prospal in the first period? Is checking now illegal? And the Avery rules were in effect, with him getting a phantom slashing call and no call when he was unceremoniously dumped to the ice by a Phoenix defenseman.
*Speaking of incredulous questions, how do you give Donald Brashear an assist on the Arty Anisimov goal? There is a Phoenix shot blocked, the puck comes out to Brian Boyle and Boyle and Ansimov pass the puck back and forth all the way up the ice. So what exactly was Brash's contribution? Not taking a penalty on the play?
*It was shocking to see Ilya Bryzgalov play so bad. Can't give him a hard time on the first Gabby goal but the other three were stoppable. Hey, all the better for us, right?
*I made a comment after his second goal, saying how nice it was to have a win. Hey, up four goals, the win is in the bag, right??? (Unless it is against Montreal, in Montreal.) Of course, the Rangers then sat back and let Dave Tippett's team put two in to make a game of it. Ah, the Scotty Hockey hex. And you guys wonder why I prefer to be pessimistic ...
*It was Hockey Fights Cancer Night and I bought a book and a hat. I hope other folks who went bought stuff too. Great cause. I turned on MSG to hear Joe Micheletti say, in talking about the kids from Sloan Kettering, that "I wish I had some of what they have." Really. I kid you not. Now, he was talking about their courage and not their cancer, but it came out wrong. This guy is a clown, surely there is someone capable of providing good colour commentary out there. I'd offer, but I think it would come out at bit like this.
*There was a nice video tribute to Bill Chadwick during a tv timeout but sadly few people in the Garden really knew who he was. Nonetheless, the crowd did itself proud and put together a decent ovation in the Big Whistle's memory.
*Petr Prucha didn't get an ovation. There was a smattering of Pru's when he took the puck on his first shift but he - and Lauri Korpikoski - were complete nonfactors.
*It's been mentioned here before but Ales Kotalik's shot is just awe-inspiring. That damn thing is a cannon and when it is off the mark, it just booms off of the endboards.
*Those virtual ads on the boards on the MSG telecast really don't interfere with the play and less and less fans are speaking out about them. That is great but how long until they attempt virtual ads down on the ice as well?
*After Matt Gilroy's gaffe gave the Canadiens a win on Saturday, he settled down and looked solid against the Coyotes. Granted, the Desert Dogs don't have anywhere near the offensive skill that the Habs do but this was a good one for the confidence. MDZ was also good and is certainly making the most of his power play time (which is nice considering it feeds the goal machine that is Prospal/Gaborik).
*People keep nominating Staalsie for the other "A" but, after listening to Prospal talk after the second period, I think Vinny deserves some consideration. He was serious, he was smart, he understands the head coach well and he is integral to the team's future success.
*Talking about the captaincy, what is up with Chris Drury? He seemed better in the faceoff circle but took a bad hit of some kind. It looked like he got hit high by a puck but he went off the ice with an arm hanging so who knows? He didn't miss a shift so hopefully he is really ok as the Rangers face the Islanders next and that is the only team he seems able to score against.
*I'm pretty sure I saw Jari Kurri down in the purple seats. I still think he was vastly overrated - even in his prime - and the deal to get the past-his-prime version with with Marty McSorley and Shane Churla for Ray Ferraro, Ian Laperriere, Mattias Norstrom, Nathan Lafayette and a pick was one of the franchise's worse.
*Loved the whistle war late in the third period as the idiots kept trying to do the Potvin Sucks whistle and other guys just piped up to interrupt. Once a game, cool. Five times - in a row - in the third period against Phoenix? Not cool.
*Why does Hank insist on coming out of the crease? His fumble with the puck led to the shorthanded goal against. Nothing ever good comes out of Hank's wanderings. Otherwise he was Hank - one of the best in the business.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Enver Lisin - one goal and one assist.
2-Vinny Prospal - one goal and two assists.
1-Marian Gaborik - two goals and one assist.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Michael Del Zotto - MDZ collected two assists for his offensive acumen and is showing such great poise. Perhaps down the line, once they get more experience, he and Hobey will to be a great pairing.
2-Prospal - If he can play this kind hockey now, just wait until the team heads to Tampa when he can slap them directly in the face for buying him out.
1-Gaborik - Get well soon Gabby. Please? Pretty please?