Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Following a sleepy and uninspiring loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, there was some drama in Rangerstown. Most of the drama, once again, swirled around the scratch list of head coach David Quinn. However, just like the last time the Rangers created headlines about Quinn’s line-up, the Rangers followed up the moves with an overtime victory.
On Wednesday night, and coming into the game with a bottom-of-the-barrel 1-4 record, the Rangers were able to defeat the Colorado Avalanche, in a shoot-out, in a final of 3-2. As the score suggests, this was a back-and-forth affair, with several Rangers having their best game of the season, out of these first six games.
While Marc Staal, Kevin Hayes, Neal Pionk and Mats Zuccarello had their best games of the season (at least in my opinion), no one shone brighter than Kevin Shattenkirk. Shattenkirk, who’s already made the “Scratch List of Quinn”, finished with two regulation assists and scored the winning goal in the shootout. After being the target of much ridicule, second guessing and being compared to Wade Redden, this was a game that Shattenkirk truly needed.
For Kevin Shattenkirk, like any high priced player and one of the targets when just last week, David Quinn was talking about the bank accounts of his players, Shattenkirk needed a game like this just to get some breathing room. One game in October doesn’t make a season, so all you can hope for is that Shattenkirk can continue this level of play and be the player that the Rangers are paying him to be. For one night however, Shattenkirk showed Ranger fans what he could do when operating at his best. That said, I can go the rest of my life without hearing the phrase “quarterback of the power-play” ever again.
With the Rangers sitting at the bottom in the league standings, David Quinn once again decided to make some moves to his roster. Before getting into tonight’s win and the roster moves, as stated previously on these blogs, these are conflicting times for Ranger fans. Yes, you don’t want to root for the team to lose, but at the same time, if the Rangers are a 25-35 win team, with no playoff hopes at all, wouldn’t you rather see the team finish with 25 wins than 35 wins? There are no moral victories going into an NHL draft.
This Rangers franchise hasn’t had an elite center since the days of Mark Messier. Come draft time, if you can grab a potentially elite center in Jack Hughes, who you would then hope to see wear the Rangers jersey for the next 10 seasons, as a fan of the franchise, isn’t that what’s best?
On the flip side, you don’t want to see the team finish 0-82, or as it currently stands, at 2-80. This team has to win some games or else you turn into the Cleveland Browns. Then again, with the way the Rangers celebrated their two wins, they give off that Cleveland Brown vibe. For Quinn and the younger players, I get they haven’t been there before, but when guys like Lundqvist, Staal, Zuccarello, Kreider and the other veterans are doing back-flips over a shootout win, it looks ridiculous to me.
If the Rangers are going to celebrate every victory like it’s a Superbowl win, instead of the Broadway Hat, maybe the Rangers can award the white mittens used by NHL officials to touch the Stanley Cup:
I am not trying to rain down on anyone’s parade, I just find that the successful teams have a certain decorum and air about them when they win. In the two games the Rangers have won, they are celebrating like it’s the ending of a Disney movie. They are hugging and kissing each other like the way a wife would kiss her returning-from-war husband.
When you act like winners, winning comes more natural. When it’s a sign of relief that you won, it just looks bad to me. I know from talking to several other fans, I’m not the only one who thinks this. As a Yankee fan, these coital celebrations are too much. Maybe I’m being grumpy, who knows?
I guess the Rangers are lucky that their two wins are over teams they’ll only see once more. Granted, while it’s better for the Rangers to tank, when you’re throwing a confetti parade and Sam Rosen is losing his voice all because of a shootout win, I’m sure stuff like that wouldn’t be forgotten by a divisional opponent. True winners, who have celebrated with a Stanley Cup like Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby, have to be laughing about Lundqvist going bat shit over a shootout win. If these Rangers somehow pull off a win against the Capitals or Penguins this year, and celebrate like this, I can only imagine what the next game would look like.
Again, it’s nice that the Rangers won, especially after their most hard-fought and best all around game of the season, but there is something to “act like you’ve been there before.” And to be fair, I’m also the same type of fan that hates these NFL players that dance around after a touchdown or a sack, especially when their team is losing 30-14 or if their team has a 2-4 record.
Before running into the news and the game review portion of the blog, here are my last few blogs in case you missed them:
NYR/EDM 10/13 Review: The Oilers Eke By & Win The Talbot Cup; But NYR Remains Ahead in the “Lose For Hughes” Race, Henrik “deGrom” Lundqvist Chasing History, Alt-World Glen Sather & MITHC Cam Talbot, McDavid Steals The Show, Time For Quinn To Hold the Passers Accountable & More From My Time at M$G
NYR/SJS 10/11 Review: The Rangers & David Quinn Pick Up First “W”, Brett “Lias Who?” Howden, “Vintage” Lundqvist, The Shattenkirk Conspiracy Theory, Chris Roach/Ron Duguay Interview, Commercials, M$G Networks, Hockey Podcasts & Much More
NYR vs CAR 10/7 Review, Live From Raleigh: Hockey in the South, Chris “Travis Bickle” Kreider Becoming a Man Possessed, Vesey Stepping Up, King George’s Nightmare & A Deep Look At It, Lundqvist vs Chytil, Tony DeMAGAngelo Shines, Thoughts on David Quinn, Losing is the New Winning & More
NYR/NSH 10/4 Review: Rangers Impress In Loss, Amirante Steals The Show, Meeting Lundqvist, Ticket Sales, Rosa Parks of MSG, News On The Weekend Games & More
BCBS For 10/3: “Block That Shot: The Bob Chrystal Story” Book Review, Phil Watson, Valiquette Interview, Analytics, Duguay Update, Rangers Town Hall Thoughts, NYR FB Groups & More
BCBS For 10/1: Looking at The Entire New York Rangers Roster For 2018-2019, Vinni Lettieri Wows All, A Huge Look at Lias “Jessiman” Andersson, Big Update on the Ron Duguay Situation & a Duguay Interview, Insane M$G Ticket Prices & Desperation, NYR Mascot Ideas, Reader Feedback & More
Pavel Buchnevich, who only got 90 seconds of ice time in the third period in the loss to Edmonton, became the latest victim of Quinn’s doctrine of hard work. On Monday, Buchnevich was skating with the extras. On Tuesday it was made official – Buchnevich would be scratched for this game and he might not be back for a while.
For both Buchenvich & the chart loving crowd who call him “INTOXICATING”, they both got a sober dose of reality. Now it’s up to Buchnevich to “man-up”, and hopefully learn from this.
Brett Crygalis, aka the guy who isn’t Larry Brooks and also writes for the NY Post, had the lead on this story. By now, I’m sure you have seen it all, but if you haven’t, here is a link to the article: https://nypost.com/2018/10/15/young-wing-not-having-any-more-luck-with-new-rangers-regime/
Before the game on Tuesday, David Quinn met with the media. This Buchnevich benching was the lead story of the MSG Networks pregame show, and you can watch Quinn’s press conference below:
— MSG Networks (@MSGNetworks) October 16, 2018
To some, the benching of Buchnevich is as big as Patrick Roy leaving Montreal or Wayne Gretzky leaving Edmonton. When you live in your parent’s basement and spend your free time making charts, venn diagrams, hieroglyphics, sun dials and heat maps, you tend to leave your head in your nerd work, and forget that the games are actually played on, you know, the ice.
Furthermore, what fans forget, and what I always try to bring up on these blogs, is that the coach is around these guys 24/7. He has a better feel for his players than any of us. It’s why when AV benched Buchnevich and these same people were producing more water than Hurricane Sandy with their eyeballs, I just had to laugh. Especially since this is, and say it with me for the 78678689678967896896th time, a “R-E-B-U-I-L-D!”
And I gotta say, I didn’t think it would be the chart boys who would turn on Quinn first. I truly thought Quinn would be Lundqvist’s hand puppet before Buchnevich was ever benched. To Lundqvist’s credit and with Quinn’s style, there has been no goalie controversy, as in previous seasons… yet.
When it comes to the Buchnevich scratching, I have this HOT TAKE – “Who Cares?” Really. Again, this is a REBUILD. If Quinn wants to tinker with his toys, so be it. I know the other line of thinking is that you’re risking confidence issues, guys get nervous knowing they can be pulled from the line-up at any moment, you can’t build true line chemistry and you risk aging these guys with such stress, but deep down think about it – is anyone on this team irreplaceable?
As talked about previously on these blogs, in Year One of the Mighty Quinn, he gets a free pass. If he wants to have these Tortorella Lite (Less filling, more taste) press conferences, where he tells the media what he expects and who is letting him down, so be it. Fans love that shit. I know I do, and I wasn’t an advocate of firing AV, nor was I happy with Quinn getting the job over the other candidates out there.
You know my go to lines on this already. It’s a “house-money” and a “stress-free” season. Enjoy it. Have fun. Even tonight, I had fun riling up the Hankbots and Buchnevich boys up on twitter, just because it’s so easy. I can’t see how people can get so crazy about this season. Yes, we will all watch and we do care, but to overreact to every decision and every game, is silly, considering the circumstances.
That said, when it comes to the commie (someone will be offended by that, despite me wishing publicly that I have been wanting CZAR IGOR SHESTYORKIN here for the last two seasons) I think it’s a between-the-ears issue with Buchnevich.
I know many social media jerkoffs didn’t like AV, because after all, they are jerkoffs and ignore that AV was one of the best coaches in the history of the franchise. AV was a veteran player coach. Quinn is a developmental/teaching type of coach. You have two coaches, from two completely different walks of life, who couldn’t be any more different in every way, yet both came to the conclusion that the team was better off without Buchnevich for a few games. At what point do the die-hard Buchnevich fans start to realize it’s not the coaches, and that their metric charts mean doo-doo?
I don’t know how many of you listen to the new podcast by John Giannone & Dave Maloney, but I find it to be a great listen. However, their podcast, entitled “BLEEDING BLUESHIRTS”, has me wondering – what’s with all these Ranger affiliated projects/shirt companies/podcasts/twitter accounts/anal beads, whatever, and the word “BLEED”? I guess Ranger fans are lucky they aren’t hemophiliacs with all this bleeding. Then again, the Rangers have been bleeding for 90+ seasons, so I guess the word is appropriate!
Anyhoo, you can listen to their new podcast here:
Happy game day #NYR fans! @DaveMaloneyMSG and I discuss Chytil’s move to wing, Buchnevich to bench (?), other lineup choices and MUCH more ahead of Rangers-Avs. It’s EPISODE 6 of our BLEEDING BLUESHIRTS podcast, available NOW. Enjoy! https://t.co/yLoFSkASIZ
— John Giannone (@jaygeemsg) October 16, 2018
What I found interesting in the new episode, is Dave Maloney’s frankness when talking about Buchnevich. Obviously, Maloney isn’t only an ex-Ranger captain, he’s with the team 24/7 too. Maloney hinted that Buchnevich was soft and as a Russian, didn’t lift weights like North American players. If you remember, Buchnevich’s off-season workouts was a topic of discussion during the dog days of summer. (And when it comes to lifting weights, I’m the wrong person to talk about this subject, as the only weight lifting I do is 12 ounce curls. And when I take a piss. Har Har Har! You know the penis joke is fake news because I’m Irish! Self-deprecating humor! Double Har Har Har!)
Maloney also mentioned how Buchnevich didn’t want to play his position, took shifts off and perhaps was a headache for Quinn. To be fair, this is me simply paraphrasing Maloney, so listen for yourself to get the exact verbiage. I’m being more blunt here.
The duo also brought up the two other scratches in today’s game, in Adam McQuaid and Tony DeAngelo. They thought McQuaid needed to bring more. To me, again, it doesn’t matter because I see McQuaid as a rental anyway, that will be gone by the deadline. With Tony DeMAGAngelo, it seems like a case of getting Claesson and Pionk back into the line-up, as Quinn, after the loss on Saturday, said he wanted to give Chytil & Pionk more minutes.
Oh, and while on Filip Chytil, I thought Maloney made a good point/echoed what many of us have been saying – Brett Howden has thrown a positive monkey wrench into the plans of the Rangers. While I like to joke around and say that Howden “Wally Pipp’d” Lias Andersson, the fact of the matter is that Howden has maximized his minutes and in his short sample size, has exceeded all expectations. It’s because of Howden’s strong play, that Andersson will stay in Hartford and that Chytil is being tried out on the wing.
And as I mentioned a bunch of times on these blogs, while Marc Staal has played well, it makes no sense to keep guys like Staal & Brendan Smith if you’re rebuilding. You need to have these young guys playing all the time.
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) October 16, 2018
As you see from the four pictures I tweeted out above, tonight’s game was “First Responder’s Night”, where the Rangers honored the FDNY & NYPD. The Rangers are currently auctioning off these pregame used jerseys, with the funds going to charity.
Not for nothing, but I wish the Rangers would just release replicas of these, with the USA and NYPD and/or FDNY patches on them. I guess you could buy a Rangers practice jersey (which the jersey was, with the addition of the patches) and make your own, but I wouldn’t mind buying an official one, if the money went to a charity that helped out the families of first responder’s who died during their 9/11 rescue efforts.
When they want, the Rangers can really be a classy organization, and for all the bitching I do, it’s great to acknowledge when they do something right. Even better, they won the game for the first responder’s in the building. I’m glad they didn’t have a game like they did on Saturday afternoon.
As mentioned before, before this came with Colorado, I have attended 3/5 of Ranger games this season. I watched another game in a crowded bar. For the second time this season, I watched the MSG broadcast, and yes, call me a Duguay Guy, but Ranger fans are being short-changed this season.
Again, I like Vally, but it’s too much of the fake news and chart bullshit. Look at the graphic above. What truly is an “EXPECTED GOAL?” Before you give me some long-winded explanation, I can tell you what it boils down to – an expected goal is a shot that could’ve been a goal, in the eye of the beholder.
Let’s face it, the stat is arbitrary and opinion oriented. We all have different expectations. If it was up to Joe Micheletti, Lundqvist’s expected goals allowed would be how many shots he faced that night.
You guys know I’m not a Lundqvist fan, blah blah blah, should’ve traded him years ago and he’s unnecessary for a rebuild, blah blah blah, but even I, someone who wanted Lundqvist out of here three years ago, has to admit he’s been one of the better goalies in the NHL this season. As is, he’s the MVP of the team in these first 6 games. (There’s a long way to go, and Quinn’s style helps Hank out more than AV’s style. That’s another reason why Quinn is Torts Lite.)
That said, why not give out Hank’s real stats and compare him to the rest of the league, where in fact, he is at the top or near top, of many statistics? Why make up these eye of the beholder stats? It’s a disservice.
It’s also a disservice by the MSG Networks to just have Vally & Trautwig alone in the pregame/intermission/postgame shows. If you want to move on from Duguay, fine, but at least get a replacement full-time. Vally is good at what he does, but it’s nice to get other opinions, especially the opinion of a skater and not a goalie. I think the goalie opinion is important to have, but it needs to be complemented, that’s all.
And right before we get to the game itself, I love how Brett Crygalis was all about Quinn. I have panned the media for being messenger pigeons before, but I can’t lie, I enjoyed Brett tweeting this out, right before the game:
Quinn on what he wants from Buchnevich, and his team in general. “We have to have more of a grit element to our game offensively, we have to get to the net, there has to be less BS to our game offensively. We have to have more of a shooters’ mentality.”
Keep that quote in mind because for 60 minutes, the Rangers truly limited the bullshit and had no problem shooting the puck. This is an exciting brand of hockey that anyone can champion.
Oh, and I also enjoyed this tweet:
— Jim Regan👌🏻 (@Jbones72) October 16, 2018
As usual, here’s the box score from ESPN.com:
If you are looking for a simple recap of tonight’s game, you’re obviously in the wrong place! However, if you wanted just the quick and dirty, the Rangers won this game because of goaltending and tenacity. They wouldn’t give up. They fired what seemed like an endless barrage of shots. While I thought Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov, aka KING VARLY, had the better game (and really, statistically speaking, he did) Lundqvist held up his own too.
I know this is coming from me, so before I get the “waaa waaa waaa, you don’t like Lundqvist” stuff, I didn’t think this was Lundqvist’s best game. It was arguably his worst game this season, in spite of the victory. I believe that because for the first time this season, Lundqvist looked wobbly, rattled, off-kilter and gave up a ton of rebounds in this game.
In his previous starts, Lundqvist was pretty much solid for the most part. The rebounds he gave up tonight were juicy, but unlike previous teams in front of Lundqvist, these Rangers swept the puck away from the net and didn’t give up those second, third and fourth shots that Ranger fans have been accustomed to in the past. Also, like Talbot the game previous, Lundqvist’s post got quite the workout tonight too. To his credit, when this game went to the shootout, with the way Varlamov was stopping the puck, I thought Colorado had both points in the bag. Lundqvist held up his own, especially when he faced Nathan MacKinnon.
We all know the deal on Marc Staal. He isn’t what he used to be and his contract stinks. However, you can’t deny that he’s been pretty solid this season and he wasn’t that bad last year either. He’s not worth the money, but like Rick Nash’s NYR regular season career, he has been serviceable and reliable.
In this game, Staal had four (Yes as in the number 4!) shots, three hits and two blocked shots. He helped set the tone early, and after an initial shaky shift by the Rangers, helped the Rangers get to an early 8-1 shot advantage in the first period.
The young guns, such as Filip Chytil, Brett Howden and Vinni Lettieri all played well to me. Lettieri even drew a penalty, which I thought should’ve been a penalty shot. However, I’ve noticed that recently, you don’t see penalty shots the way you used to.
Like Grabner last season, I still don’t get why Vinni Lettieri doesn’t get powerplay time. This is something I will gripe about all season until it happens.
On the PP that Lettieri drew, the Rangers connected for a PPG. Here is Shatty blasting one and Kreider getting the tip-in:
— NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) October 17, 2018
1-0, good guys. I have always found Kevin Shattenkirk to be real, genuine and happy to be here. I’m happy to see him have some success here. As mentioned in-depth in my Carolina blog, Chris Kreider looks like a man possessed out there. When Chris Kreider is consistent and in the zone, there’s just no stopping him. However, there’s also this news:
As I said in my season preview blog, I find Kreider to be in the same boat as McDonagh last year. By the time the trade deadline rolls around, Kreider will have a season and a half left on his contract, like McDonagh did last year. I can see him bringing back a healthy return, so if you’re into this as a true rebuild, that may be a trade to explore.
However, I do question Boston as a trading partner again. After the Rick Nash trade, what does Boston have left?
Prior to the Kreider goal, Shattenkirk fired a puck off the boards, which Kreider quickly got off the rebound and fired an “off the board one-timer”. (Sorry, that isn’t as good as Vally’s “egg on the half shell” or whatever he said during the intermission.) I wonder if that play was a set play or just something that happened. Varlamov stopped it anyway, but it was a shot that could catch a goalie off-guard.
Immediately after the goal, in true Rangers fashion, Jesper Fast took a penalty. I was expecting Colorado to tie it, but to their credit, the Rangers held them off the board.
The whole first period was basically the Rangers using hard work and flexing their will on the Avalanche. Even Zuccarello was shooting!
At the end of the first period, while the score was 1-0, more impressively, the SOG were Rangers 19 – Avalanche 7. If you recall, the Rangers had only 24 shots on Saturday. Buchnevich who?
Up and down the line-up, the Rangers, individually, all had a good game. Jimmy Vesey, one of the better forwards this season, had two really good looks, and another chance in this game. He muffed all three chances. When he can put it altogether, he’s a major factor on this team, and you hope to see his head look up to watch the replay of his goal, rather than throw his head up in disgust. (He did break a stick over his knee after missing an easy chance at the net in OT.)
In the second period, Kevin Hayes would be called for tripping at the 7:13 mark, setting up Gabriel Landeskog, who scored on the PP a minute later. 1-1 game, and it was only a tied game because of how well King Varly was playing.
Of note, Joe Micheletti was absolutely horrible in this game. Even worse than usual. He’s worse than nails on a chalkboard or someone with hot dog sized fingers giving you a prostate exam. He is so bad at his job and such a corporate yes-man that with all these Ranger things that are “bleeding” (same blog callback!) I’m surprised the ears of Ranger fans aren’t a steady shade of crimson red.
Before getting into Micheletti at his absolute worse, there was a fight in this game, where the soft Swedish Claesson got rocked by Calvert:
— MSG Networks (@MSGNetworks) October 17, 2018
With Claesson getting medical attention and Calvert in the box, Kevin Hayes ripped a one timer to give the Rangers the lead again:
— MSG Networks (@MSGNetworks) October 17, 2018
2-1 good guys, and what a blast that was from Hayes.
Then, four minutes later, Landeskog caught McLeod with a high stick, good for a double minor. On the four minute PP, the Rangers came up empty-handed.
With the second period expiring, Lundqvist made two strong saves, which led to Joe Micheletti having a full blown orgasm. Of course, the Micheletti Jinx would not be denied, as after the saves, Lundqvist gave this up, with seconds remaining:
— Bobby (@Bobby_S92) October 17, 2018
Micheletti, of course, had his usual string of excuses for this goal allowed. “He was screened!” (You see, no other goalie in the NHL deals with screens besides Lundqvist. Of note, Micheletti was mum when Varlamov was stopping a million screened shots.) Then Micheletti went into his hyperbole, “THAT SHOT WAS A TRIPLE LINDY AND CURSED BY THE DEVIL, THE ALMIGHTY EVIL LUCIFER HIMSELF!”
When Joe isn’t trying to make the Cupless goalie sound like he’s god’s gift to goaltending, he’s spending the whole broadcast going back-and-forth apologizing to Sam Rosen, as the two, despite 12 years in the booth together, can not stop talking over each other. PARDON ME SAM! EXCUSE ME JOE! I ACCIDENTALLY SHARTED SAM! Well he didn’t say the last line. After all, you don’t need the word “accident” in front of the word “shart”, because I don’t know how many people purposefully shart.
These were the types of goals allowed last season, so for right now, I’ll give Hank a pass, as he’s been solid otherwise. I truly think that it’s Joe and his non-stop exaggerations, which are full of verbal fellatio, that drives me nuts. I long for the day that Micheletti is sent somewhere else in the MSG Networks and Dave Maloney gets the job.
End of two, all tied at 2.
The Rangers, who would eventually go on to out-shoot the Avalanche 43-33, played a strong third period, with both goalies denying all opportunities. Both teams would kill off a penalty as well.
You could see Lundqvist unraveling a bit in this period, as he was screaming at Brendan Smith, cursing at the refs, and in the OT, threw a hissy fit at the referees for blowing the whistle when it was obvious that he was freezing the puck. We haven’t seen salty Hank this season, so what a throwback to last season!
Both teams went back and forth, but at the end of regulation, the score remained 2-2.
In the five minute OT, the Rangers would get a PP and Vesey came a hair away from winning the game for the Rangers. Of note, one of Quinn’s three man units were “TEAM BFF”, with Vesey/Hayes/Skjei. No Lettieri though, who has had some success in these three vs three’s.
As mentioned, Hank seemed to become unglued a bit, and with Varlamov playing so strong, I thought he would take the shootout. However, the Rangers, behind goals from Zuccarello and Shattenkirk, won the shoot-out 2-1, thus winning the game by a score of 3-2.
This, to me, was the Rangers best win of the season, but as mentioned at the top, I could’ve done without the Stanley Cup celebration.
This was a great win for the Rangers, as long as you’re not tunnel-visioned on Jack Hughes/the first overall pick in the draft. On the LOSE FOR HUGHES front, the Rangers hurt their positioning, as now the Arizona Coyotes are the worst team in the league.
The Rangers return tonight, as they play a Wednesday Night rivalry game against the Stanley Cup Champs, the Washington Capitals. Tomorrow is an NBC game, but unfortunately, Micheletti also works for NBC. Let’s hope we get Doc and Eddie O. instead.
As far as who is in net, with the Rangers having three days off between the Capitals game and their next game at home against Calgary, it’s believed Lundqvist will get the start. Again, are you trying to win or you trying to rebuild? That said, I’m interested in seeing what Lundqvist and the Rangers, at full strength, do against a team like the Caps. Should be a good litmus test type of game for the Blueshirts.
I’ll be back tomorrow night. Until then, great win tonight and as always…
“Let’s Go Rangers!”
@NYCTHEMIC on twitter
PS: I hope this was better for you Jim Madden!