Sunday, January 10, 2010

22-17-6: The Domination Continues

Up in Boston Saturday afternoon, a bunch of already-drunk college kids turned around to ask me, an all seriousness, "why can't your team suck more so we can make fun of you?"

I laughed, but think about it: the Rangers don't suck right now. Really. They improved to 3-0-2 in 2010 and 8-1-3 in the last 12. The Rangers. It is hard to fathom without first liner Vinny Prospal and with Wade Redden, Michal Rozsival and Donald Brashear all playing but it is true. So let's enjoy the ride while we can.

Saturday's game was particularly enjoyable, and not only because I improved to 1-0-1 watching the Rangers in Boston. Michael Del Zotto scored a highlight reel goal, the Blueshirts bucked the trend of terrible second periods with a dominating frame and Brashear got beat up. Can't ask for much more.

Notes, based solely on my observations:

*MDZ's goal was Orr-esque. Simply incredible.

*Dubi's came because he crashed the crease. Christy's came because Dubi was causing chaos in front. Go to the net and things will happen. Go to the net. Go to the net. Go to the net. Go to the net. Go to the net. Can't repeat it enough.

*Even though Dubi and Christy are on the first line and MDZ is the best offensive-defenseman, they are all secondary scoring to the primary Marian Gaborik. And, thankfully, they have picked things up as Gabby had yet another quiet game.

*I went to Boston with my buddy Jeremy who posed the great question - if anyone knows the answer, please chime in - why are all of the seats in TD Garden yellow and black instead of green and white? The Celtics have been far more successful, as seen by the fabric shop of banners hanging from the rafters. Is it because the Bruins were there first?

*Several people sent text messages to me saying that Marco Sturm dived on the Ales Kotalik hook to set up the penalty shot but that doesn't change the facts: the Rangers had the power play, couldn't control the puck, MDZ fell, Kotalik was behind the play and then didn't skate hard enough to catch up to Sturm. The power play's utter inability to score will be it's demise and we can only cross our fingers and hope that Prospal's return will turn things around.

*Hank had little trouble stopping Sturm and the rest of the Bruins, who were sorely missing their top talent. No Bergeron, no Savard, no Ference and a clearly rusty Lucic left Boston punchless. Too bad for them as Hank made 29 saves in all and improved to 13-3-2 in his career against the B's.

*Zdeno Chara is a massive human being and looks much bigger than everyone else (except maybe Blake Wheeler) even from the second-to-last row in the TD Garden. The view from there, by the way, is much better than that of the real Garden - it is higher but closer to the action. Which is kinda funny/strange as it gives the more alcohol-fueled Boston fans the greater chance of hurting themselves tumbling down the steep stairs.

*Is it mandatory for non-New Yorkers to hate on Sean Avery? Man do the Boston fans dislike him, but at the same time, even the drunk kids in front of me appreciated Avery's abilities to land hot women.

*Kudos to TD Garden staff, when those kids started going overboard yelling obscenities, the usher came right up, picked out the right kids doing the screaming and warned them. Yell, scream, cheer, carry on ... but there is no need to swear, especially with children around during a day game.

*The beer in the building was way overpriced. The plastic cups were far smaller than those in the real Garden and the cost was almost the same (7.75 for a Molson vs. 8.50 for a Yuengling).

*Do we need any more proof that Donald Brashear is incapable of positively contributing to the Rangers? Watching him dance around with Thornton, and get two great punches to the face before falling, was incredible. I've vented about him from the first second he was signed and he has never done anything, anything at all to prove me wrong. The fourth line, at one point in the third period, kept the Bruins pinned deep in the Boston zone for 30 or so seconds. Lisin was all over the ice, Boyle was going right at the puck carriers and Brashear was mindlessly circling around bumping into people trying to follow the puck. What a useless excuse for a hockey player.

*Rumour has it that Jamie Langenbrunner will be captain of Team USA over Chris Drury - making Dru's appointment to the team that much more confusing - but it must be admitted that Dru had a second straight strong game. There are still far better Americans to play in Vancouver, but Dru is improving.

*Derek Morris. Wow, do we not miss that guy ... even with Redden and Rozy still around.

*Hobey Gilroy looked horrible. Maybe he was squeezing the stick too tight with friends and family filling his old stomping ground, maybe he celebrated BU's win in Frozen Fenway Friday night too much (some pics from that game coming this week BTW, it was AWESOME), maybe he is a NHL rookie and is prone to ups and downs ... whatever the excuse, Hobey had a bad game.

*Dan Girardi and Marc Staal both had pretty good ones but Staal hitting the post with the empty net and all the room in the world to shoot was just sad.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Erik Christensen - one goal and one assist.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 29 saves.
1-Brandon Dubinsky - one goal and two assists.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Shawn Thornton - Two punches. Thank you.
2-Christy - Christensen has made the most of his opportunity on the first line and should help add some balance to the attack once Prospal returns.
1-Dubi - Did I mention before that going to the net is a good thing? Because it is.


NYR34 said...

Hey Scotty,
As one of the guys who texted you about the Sturm dive...

I'm more enraged with the fact that the whole situation that even set that up is that Alice Kotalik is completely incapable of playing the point on the PP. It's almost a foregone conclusion that he will not get a goal (or at least a redirect from someone up front), and has pretty much without fail lost the puck on the line, setting up some sort of rush/breakaway for the other team.

His hook on Sturm was because he lost the puck and Sturm charged up ice.

Love to hear Torts' explanation on that one.

NYR34 said...

The above has happened roughly once per game.

Anonymous said...

Your assessment on Gilroy continues to be flat out wrong, but thanks for playing though!

Mike said...

I believe the reason the seats are yellow and black is because the Bruins have primary hold over the arena and actually rent it out to the Celtics. I recall I read that in my sports management book this past semester. (I could be wrong though, so feel free to correct me)

Scotty Hockey said...

Anon - Flat out wrong? To what do you base it? He was beat to pucks, he made bad passes, he turned the puck over when he tried to carry it ... he looked like the 19 year old to MDZ's superstar. Don't get me wrong, I like the guy, but from where I sat, I didn't see him do well at all.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe i'm going to say this but I thought Redden played a real good game, he took the body a few times and actually knocked someone down, hes been a lot better this year.....Rozsival u still suck!

Christopher said...

Great Game, hopefully they can keep it up

Kingrich45 said...

Dude I remember going to a Ranger / Boston game when i was 23 (three years ago) and they wouldn't sell me a beer at the fricken faux garden because I had an out of state ID and was under 25...WTF

If I recall that game Pock of all people scored to tie late in the third and Rangers won in a shootout...... serves Boston right

Anonymous said...

I'd hardly use the word dominating for their recent stretch of play. They've been beating up on teams that are worse than them. Like, a lot worse. And we're still 1-2 (I think) vs the Isles in the last 15 games or so.

When the Rangers start playing and beating the Devils, Penguins, Caps, etc., aka the good teams, then I'll take them seriously again. Right now, this is a complete rehashing of that great start: the mediocre Rangers beating teams that they absolutely should be beating.


Dennis said...

I like Gilroy, but I think he's over-rated, even for a rookie. He's got 6 years experience over Del Zotto and DZ is 10 times the player...he's got a 5 year shelf life before he's 30 but what are the chances he will change the way he plays. The only thing he has is speed, but DZ has all those other unknown qualities which makes him tougher mentally, a better scorer and bigger future. If their ages were reversed and Gilroy was 19 I'd cut him more slack but I just can't get on the Gilroy bandwagon. Del Zotto is the Ranger's future.

Drew said...

it'll be interesting to see what the rangers do when vaclav comes back...

do they leave christy and dubes with gaborik and put crazy vaclav with drury and cally?

lines could look like this and would be interesting:

avery/anisimov/lisin or kotalik
higgins/boyle/lisin or kotalik (and i'd prefer kotalik on the fourth line, if not in the press box so voros can skate. he may suck, but at least he tries)

rusty said...

I think Scotty was refering to the 3 wins over the Bruins with his domination lead. As far as the Rangers being a mediocre team beating teams they should beat, mediocre teams often lose to those teams. That is the encouraging thing about the last 12 games. The team is making some hay while the sun is shining (hows that for an oldfashoined metaphor?)

Anonymous said...

I've seen Scotty naked...wasn't impressed