Thursday, December 4, 2008

18-8-2: How's The Head Cindy??

Dude! Did you see Marc Staal's utter destruction of Cindy Crosby?? What. A. Hit. I wouldn't be surprised if the Cole Harbour Crybaby sits for a game or two, at least until the little birdies stop circling his head. Okay, maybe not. But it was AWESOME!!

Oh yeah, and the Rangers rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in a shootout.

Still, that check to Crosby's chest was wonderful to see. The sentiment was unanimous in my section that no matter what the final score was, seeing Cindy get nailed like that would have made the game an utter success. I gotta say though, that win was sweet too. I guess I should talk about it ...

*You knew that the Rangers were playing for a shootout - rather than a win in overtime - when they started the five minute frame with Freddie Sjostrom and Blair Betts across from Gina and Cindy. It isn't what the league had in mind when they made OT 4-on-4 but it was impressive to watch the two Blueshirts shut down the league's top two scorers.

*Staal was the best Ranger defenseman (again). He was physical, his positioning was sound, he looked confident with the puck on his stick and he took a heavy shot on net that Al Iafrate would have been proud of.

*During warmups Hal Gill chatted with Colton Orr (former Boston teammates) across the blueline and soonafter Eric Godard talked it up with Valley. They were certainly setting up the early fight that had the Garden buzzing. While I am often loathe to respect these pre-arranged bouts, it proved to be a helluva fight. Just a week after a pathetic slow dance with Mitch Fritz, Godard opened up and let Orr use his face as a punching bag in one heckuva heavyweight fight. Luckily, the belt stayed with the Blueshirt.

*All credit to Orr for not taking the bait in the first period as Cindy, Brooks Orpik and Matt Cooke all tried to provoke him into doing something stupid. Of course, Tom Renney blew the double minor that Orr drew by putting too many guys on the ice, but the tough guy did his job. He deserved a lot more ice time than the 4:56 that he got. I maintain my belief that he belongs on the power play. The special unit went 0-3 and really struggled, as always. What do you lose by adding his big body?

*Speaking of ice time, Scott Gomez saw an obscene (for a Ranger forward) amount at 24:09 - three minutes more than any other forward. I just don't understand why. Yes, he got assists on both goals (by missing on two shots) - but it wasn't like he was playing especially better than anyone else. In fact, the shifts that got the Rangers going and pressed the action in the early moments of the third period came from the third and fourth lines ...

*It was amazing seeing Z score in the shootout. He seemed to exert absolutely no effort as he backhanded the puck into the upper reaches of the net over the sprawled Sabourin, who really wasn't very good.

*It's time to bring back the Malik in Kalinin. He stunk and allowed Malkin to skate around, through and over him several times throughout the night. Ugh.

*My disgust for Rozy lessened a bit. He was bad the majority of the night, but he made a spectacular defensive play early in the game that actually received a standing O from some fans - myself included. The other waste of money on the blueline, Redden, collected two assists but really was a nonfactor. I truly believe that it is his fault that Dan Girardi's development has stopped.

*The officiating, which should be a nonfactor, was clearly in the Pens corner. Not only did the stripes make a few dubious calls, their positioning was such that they blocked two Ranger clearing passes and broke up a scoring chance. Conspiracy theorists (like myself) don't need more ammunition for the argument that Crosby and company get preferential treatment ...

*An argument broke out around me - who would you rather have on the Rangers, Gina or Cindy? I was shocked that there really much of a debate. Aside from the young, dumb puck bunnies, would anyone pick Cindy at all? Gina is just an incredible hockey player and, if not for Hank's stellar play, would have had a hat trick in this one.

*Somehow the NHL's official event summary has the Penguins making 40 hits but, as Steve in my section pointed out, they didn't seem to make any body contact in the third period or in overtime. The Rangers pressed play and the Pens retreated. Of course, they still got chance after chance, but they weren't the same team physically that they were in the first. The summary had the Rangers with 44 hits with only Hank and Drury not making at least one. I don't know about that ...

*Did anyone see what happened to Tyler Kennedy? He seemed to be all over the ice, pressing the action early and then I didn't notice him in the third period and ot. Pascal Dupuis seemed to step up his play late, but thankfully wasn't skilled enough to change the outcome.

*PHW Three Stars
3-Petr Prucha - one goal.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 29 saves.
1-Nik Zherdev - one goal in regulation, one goal in the shootout.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Kris Letang - No Gonchar? No Whitney? No problem. He is listed at six feet but is clearly shorter than that. However, tonight he played like he was Zdeno Chara. Letang made a few hits and was incredibly strong on the boards while still showcasing his stellar offensive skills with crisp passes and a goal in the shootout.
2-Petr Prucha - Gomez said it on the postgame show on MSG - if there was any player that everyone wanted to score, it was Prucha. And he did!!! Despite coming off of a 10 game healthy scratch streak, Prucha played like a man possessed and it paid off. Now can he keep it up? We will find out tomorrow ...
1-Marc Staal - Stay down Cindy. Just stay down.


Anonymous said...

just got to point out the scrap between godard/orr wasn't totally meaningless. orr was starting to go at crosby, and right after that godard stepped up. thankfully, orr didn't get the message and kept cindy off his game. whole thing culminated with a great "matt cullen" shoulder check to cindy as he was trying to get around one of the d! said...

After getting home from the game I put on MSG+ and was delighted that they were going to play the entire game rather than the Rangers in 60. Between OT and the Shootout they showed a montage of all the hits that Crosby was dealt throughout the game. He must have been flattened at least 5 times. Including once by PRUCHA late in the 3rd along the boards. I'll see if I can pull the clips off of my DVR possibly next week.

Did you see the expression on Petr Prucha's face as soon as the puck left his stick? It was as if the weight of the world had been suddenly lifted off of his shoulders as he smiled with what can only be described as pure, unadulterated joy.

BTW, that goal was a typical Prucah goal. This kid got so many of his goals in his rookie season situated in front of the net, knocking in the rebounds from those Jagr shots from the halfboards.

Pete said...

I'm dusting off the Prucha jersey for Sunday's game...PRUUUUUUUU!