Saturday, March 31, 2012
50-21-7: Ole, Ole Ole Ole, Ole ...
Many of those that fill Madison Square Garden nowadays would be shocked to hear it, but for decades the roles were reversed: the Canadiens were the first place team while the Rangers were the doormats. The Habs abused the Blueshirts year after year after year. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
The current edition of the bleu, blanc et rouge got their assistant coach fired. Then they got their head coach fired. Then they got their general manager fired. To say that the team that came to play Friday night was a poor shadow of the dynasties that once filled the Forum would be a gross, gross, gross understatement.
They were a bunch of lame ducks going through the motions and the Rangers barely had to break a sweat to beat them 4-1. Having read about the embarrassments over the ages at the hands of the Habs it was quite enjoyable to see the tables turned.
Have to rip through the Late Hits quick:
*Those two Statue Of Liberty glove saves by Hank were outstanding. Not as dramatic as the French Canadian arm swing but far more in-your-face. 'Yeah, the puck is in my glove, what are you going to do about it?' Hank made a half dozen or so good saves but easily could have sat back and filed his taxes the rest of the evening - guess it helps that the Habs traded away Kostitsyn and Cammalleri and were missing the injured Gionta and Gomez.
*Gabby has seven points in his last four games, all against atrocious teams. We'll get to see if the Slovak Sniper is really on-target when he faces the fierce Boston defense on Sunday.
*Hearing Lady of Spain on the organ in the second period almost outweighed the atrocious music selection the rest of the evening. Slap Shot references rule.
*Steven McDonald is awesome. Love that the Garden honours him with a standing ovation every year, love that he returns the favour with a quick, poignant pep talk.
*Impossible to fault the selection of Ryan Callahan for the officer's award because he clearly puts in the extra effort ... but he is the captain - he's kinda supposed to. After suffering through Jagr and Drury, we may have lowered our expectations. Even so, Cally certainly has surpassed them and, as written after the last match, he is already among the top men in the NHL to wear the C.
*Speaking of fierce defense, how great was it to see McDonagh doing well against his former franchise? Thanks again Gainey, wherever you are.
*Even though he was wearing a Bruins sweater, I have to steal a Happy Gilmour line - 'the Price is wrong, bitch!' Perhaps Carey should cut out the smoking because he was burned several times tonight. Hey ohhhhhhhh.
*Love the heritage sweaters, wonder if they will wear them again on Sunday.
*John Mitchell on the power play? Was Torts just screwing around or trying to rub Cunneyworth's nose in the fact that his team is terrible?
*Del Zaster was still Del Zastrous, three point evening aside. He is going to get points when he focuses on offense, and that is fine. But his continuing incompetence in his own end is infuriating. First he simply fell down to give Montreal a free breakaway early in the third period. Then, moments after lobbing that long shot past Price to make it 4-0, DZ was soundly and easily beaten wide by Plekanec, ineffectively wacking the Czech with his stick as he skated by. Plekanec then passed to Bourque and Hank's deserved shutout was done. If DZ does his job, the King ties Elliott and Quick with nine shutouts and improves his case for Vezina.
*Still think that Richard$ tipped DZ's first goal but if the $60 million man wants to give credit to the kid, so be it. The official scorer is more than willing to help him out with all of the charity second assists this season.
*Just turned on the MSG replay - John Giannone is far, far better than Bill Pidto at the MSG 150. Still think that the 150 is a faulty gimmick, but at least with Giannone is anchoring it isn't so awkward and forced.
*Oh Artyyyyy, where art thou Arty?
*Hey MSG, we payed to go to a hockey game. Because we like hockey. We don't need updates about the Knicks every single break. We don't care. Especially about a .500 borderline playoff team in a terrible conference that already got the coach fired and was playing without its cash cow point guard. Thank goodness those score updates stopped after the first period because I nearly burst a blood vessel.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Marian Gaborik - one goal and one assist.
2-Michael Del Zotto - two goals and one assist.
1-Henrik Lundqvist - 19 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Hank - So close to the no-no ...
2-Cally - Received his Extra Effort award and continued to give the extra effort, battling along the boards and in front of the net. Having a captain like him makes me even more proud to be a Ranger fan.
1-Richard$ - Brad effortlessly sliced apart the Montreal defense all night and skated away with (officially) a goal and two assists.