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.