Thursday, December 17, 2009
15-16-3: What A Nice Change!
After the Ranger game Thursday Hank told MSG that he wasn't feeling all that great but "was just angry from last night." That's our goaltender, the Incredible Swedish Hulk. Don't make him angry, you wouldn't like him when he is angry. Well, we would like him but you won't.
The Islanders certainly don't, not after Hank stymied them and backstopped the Rangers to a 5-2 win.
The team stumbled out of the gate with bad penalty after bad penalty but Hank bailed them out. Sean Avery stoked the fires and the bounces started going the Rangers way and they took off from there.
*Hank had to be happy that dirtbag Nate Thompson isn't a real hockey player. Whatever possessed Hank to chase after the puck in the second period is beyond me - he has even joked himself that leaving the crease isn't his strength, so what would he be thinking to run after a puck on the boards?
*While that was a nice stroke of luck, having Andy Mac II's shot hit off Cally's glove was not. The rising slapper was actually deflected down by Cally so it might very well have gone in over Hanks glove anyways or missed high. Who knows?
*On the other hand, there was no doubt that Gabby's shot on the third power power play was going to go in. He is good. Really, really good. He had time, he had space and his rocket gave the Rangers the insurance goal they needed.
*Cally opened the night's scoring with a power play goal. He camped out in the slot and - surprise, surprise - good things happened. It's been said from the start that this team needs to pay the price to score and Cally did to score two goals.
*For all of the power plays that the Rangers scored on and all of the great kills made by Hank, the officiating sucked. These guys were clearly scared of a real rivalry game so they called anything and everything to keep tempers down. It is nice that we benefited to get the win, but it would have been nice to get some bad blood back in these affairs.
*I wish I could say it is surprising but the fact that Torts immediately put Donald Brashear out onto the ice after two Ranger goals was not. Because once you get a 2-0 or 3-0 lead on the road, the one thing you want to do is give the other team a chance to grab the momentum. And, of course, Brash took a bad penalty after the third Ranger goal. Is this coach clueless or what? When someone has a rabid dog and let him off the leash, it is the owner's fault that he bites someone, not the dog's. The dog is a dog, he doesn't know better. The owner should.
*Prior to last night's debacle, Chris Drury had 35 points in 35 games against the Islanders. As I've said, they are the only team he appears to play against. After the lackluster effort Wednesday, I didn't expect anything tonight. So him scoring a goal was a pleasant but not huge surprise. We'll see how he progresses from here ...
*Since when do the Islanders use the Bro Hymn for their goal song? Ripping off Anaheim and Philadelphia now in an attempt to gain some kind of toughness or something?
*I will stop with the mocking for a second and relay the observation that my dad had: the Islanders never stopped skating. Where the Rangers fall apart and give up, the Isles kept working and working. They just couldn't solve Hank for more than two goals and Rolo couldn't match the Swede's success.
*Bobby filled in for the benched Wade Redden and really didn't fare too well. That isn't to say that Redden deserves to be plugged back into the lineup, just that there are better options: Hobey, Potter, Sauer, a garbage can, a traffic cone.
*Oh my, how hilarious were the soundbites from Redden after the morning skate? He looked like the rich kid on a joy ride given a speeding ticket - 'but don't you know who my dad is?'
*So I caught that on the Ranger broadcast, which I watched pre- and post-game and during the intermissions (missing the initial interviews each time dammit). During play, I watched the Isles because Cablevision had MSG+ in HD, but not MSG2. Considering Cablevision's ownership of the Rangers, it is stupefying that they would not have an HD telecast.
*On the Ranger side, I love having Brian Leetch on set during the intermission - almost as much as Mike Keenan - but c'mon Leetchie, show some personality. What a stiff. Just like Arty Anisimov.
*Ok, maybe that was a little unfair considering Arty scored a pretty goal but let's face it, that was a complete defensive breakdown on the part of the Islanders - Freddie Meyer played defense the Redden way, waving his purse at Arty as he skated by. But a goal is a goal and Arty got a goal. Kudos, now do it again.
*Well, maybe I am a mush. After waffling throughout the day as whether or not to head to the Mausoleum, I decided I've pissed enough money and time away on the Rangers. I sat at home watching the game on tv (more on that later) and, of course, the Blueshirts won dammit. So maybe it is me. We'll find out with Philly on Saturday.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Marian Gaborik - one goal and two assists.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 35 saves.
1-Ryan Callahan - two goals and two assists.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-MDZ - Yeah, I know, Gabby is a golden god but MDZ showed up his former junior teammate Tavares with a Calder-worthy performance. The kid moved the puck, played well defensively and keyed the power play's success with steady play.
2-Cally - Let's face it, things finally went right for Callahan and he finally got the puck in. He put on quite a Adam Graves-esque performance and showed all of the fire and skill that has endeared him to the city so far.
1-Hank - The PHWs who voted must be a bunch of idiots blinded by the glimmer of goals to miss the sheer magnitude of the performance by Hank. He was under fire and held his ground with Islanders crashing the crease. It helped that the defense kept the shooters close enough so they couldn't get the puck around his glove and Nate Thompson is a tool, but Hank's performance on this evening was outstanding.