Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com.
After their worst loss of the season on Friday, the 4-0 debacle to the Flyers, the Rangers returned 24 hours later, hosting the Stanley Cup Champions, in the Washington Capitals, for a Saturday afternoon matinee at Madison $quare Garden. While the Rangers played leaps and bounds better in this game with the Capitals than they did during their horrendous effort in Philadelphia, the Rangers still lost, dropping a winnable game here today, by a final score of 5-3.
While the coaches and the players chalked up the loss to Philadelphia as “just one of those games”, in today’s loss to the Capitals, the Rangers gave this one away. This was a game the Rangers had for the taking, as the Rangers dominated the first 30 minutes of the game, only to see the Capitals roar back in the second half of the game.
For the Rangers, the KING OF KINGS, Alexandar Georgiev, got the nod in net today. As I said after the win over the Islanders, I would’ve rode Georgiev against the Flyers, just because the Flyers were struggling and were in last place. I would’ve then started Lundqvist in this game with the Capitals, just because the Capitals are a better team than the Flyers.
Instead, as usual, Henrik Lundqvist took the start against another last place team, while Georgiev faced a stronger team. Again, is this strategy what’s best for Lundqvist & his chase of the All-Time Wins record, or is this what’s best for the Rangers?
What happened to the Rangers this weekend was truly unfortunate. While Lundqvist had one of his best games of the season on Friday, the Rangers did not. Lundqvist got an undeserving “L” next to his name. In today’s game, the Rangers continued to play a strong offensive game during another Georgiev start, but after looking good for the first 30 minutes, Georgiev wilted & was as big of a culprit as any in today’s loss.
Who knows, maybe if the goalies flipped starts, which is what I would’ve done, the winning may have continued. However, we can not deal with a hypothetical situation. The reality is, after a 9-1-1 streak, the Rangers are now on a two game losing streak and are now in jeopardy of having their second three game losing streak of the season. I’m on record – I don’t think this David Quinn team has another three game losing streak in them. Monday will be the judge of that, at least for now.
As mentioned, the Rangers had a terrible game yesterday. In case you missed my recap of that game, here is that blog, plus my most recent game reviews:
NYR/PHI 11/23 Review: Lundqvist Has One Of His Best Games of the Season; The Rest of the Rangers Do Not, A Complete Post-Thanksgiving Afternoon Snorefest, “One Of Those Games”, The Lias Andersson Question, Gritty & More on the NYRQuil
NYR/NYI 11/21 Review: Rangers Go 9-1-1 & Make the Dominated Isles Call 911, The King of Kings Delivers A Shutout, Best Team Win of the Season, Terrible M$G Commentary, Quinn Pushes The Right Buttons, Connor McLeod, Lundqvist MIA & More
NYR/DAL 11/19 Review: Heat-Il Gets His First Ever GWG; Rangers Knock Off Dallas In A Defensive Battle, Vesey’s Highlight Reel Goal, Lettieri Axed, Skjei Remains On “The List”, Lundqvist’s Playing Time, “The Mighty Quinn”, The Isles & More
NYR/FLA 11/17 Review: Rangers Get Back on Track & Spay the Panthers, The Case For Chris Kreider, Skjei Joins the “Scratch List of Quinn”, Filip “Do You Know He’s Only 19 Sam?” Chytil Heating Up, Lettieri’s Struggles, Lundqvist vs Luongo, Plante, Nylander, Standings & More from M$G
Special BCBS Blog For 11/16: Strome Comes Home, See Ya Spoonman, Chiarelli’s Terrible Tenure in Edmonton & Looking at and Assessing Jeff Gorton’s Moves Since Being Named NYR GM
NYR/NYI 11/15 Review: Islanders Flex Their Muscle on Lundqvist Again, The Insufferable Joe Micheletti & MSG Networks, The Cult of Lundqvist’s “Ten Commandments”, Terrible Officiating, The LIRR & Much More From the Dump in Brooklyn
With less than 24 hours after the loss to Philadelphia and this game with Washington, you would think there wouldn’t be much news. However, there are a few things that came up, with Dave Maloney’s comments being the most interesting to me.
I don’t know how many of you guys listen to the “Bleeding Blue Shirts” podcast with Dave Maloney and John Giannone. From the reaction I see online and from the fans I talk to, it looks like not many fans listen to it. It’s a shame if that’s the case.
While I wouldn’t consider what Giannone & Maloney do as a true “podcast”, their show is a nice free extra for Ranger fans on game day. They pretty much do a 18-22 minute audio stream, recapping the previous game and talking about what lies ahead. It’s quick listening and it’s something I enjoy while waiting for the game to start.
If you haven’t heard the show yet, here’s the latest episode from today, which was plugged on Gianonne’s twitter account:
Hey #NYR fans: begin your Saturday vs Capitals with episode 24 of BLEEDING BLUESHIRTS podcast. @DaveMaloneyMSG & I discuss Philly flameout, preview Cup champs, chat about new NYR Tim Gettinger & more! LIVE TV coverage 1:30 et @MSGNetworks. https://t.co/HtmpmZRS8V
— John Giannone (@jaygeemsg) November 24, 2018
During the course of their podcast, Dave Maloney has been extremely critical of players, which is refreshing, but obviously goes against the MSG Networks edict. However, this podcast isn’t an MSG Networks production, despite featuring two MSG personalities.
In all honesty, I would say 99% of the time, it sounds like Giannone records a phone call between Dave & himself & then uploads it for us to listen to. This isn’t some smooth made-for-tv product. After all, half the time the background noise sometimes drowns out the two.
One player that got criticized recently was Brendan Smith. Maloney then followed up his Smith criticism on the next episode, by saying how Smith kind of ignored him the next day at the hotel. So that tells you that either the players listen to the podcast or someone is telling them what Maloney is saying. On a quick aside here, for these players to get upset at Maloney, I think that’s something that’s straight out of the “millennial generation”, which Maloney frequently complains about. (And it’s a valid complaint.)
I do want to be clear here – Dave Maloney has every right to think what he wants and to say what he wants. He’s played the game. He’s gone through the highs and he’s gone through the lows. He’s had to deal with pressure as a player, especially when he was named the youngest captain in New York Rangers history, a feat that stands to this day. Maloney lives hockey. While other players from other generations would rather talk about their day, Maloney is up-to-date and watches everything from today’s era. To cut to the chase here, Dave Maloney is credible & has more than earned his equity to critique.
During the last few podcasts, Maloney has been beating up on Brady Skjei a bit. Is it warranted? Maloney sure thinks so. I know many fans, including one of my good buddies, in a one Ricky Otazu, are fed up with Skjei. As I’ve said on past blogs, I think a lot of the Skjei criticism comes from the big contract he signed over the summer. We know how Ranger fans react to defensemen with big contracts. (That logic does not apply with goalies though. After all, burying high paid defensemen & ignoring high paid goalies is part of the Cult of Lundqvist Ten Commandments.)
In today’s podcast that aired before the Rangers/Capitals game, Maloney said that Brady Skjei was soft. Maloney then said that Skjei has a problem with the six inches between his ears. Ouch.
Ironically enough, on the MSG Networks broadcast of the game, Maloney was kinder and not as biting. That tells me that either MSG Networks doesn’t care about Maloney’s comments or they don’t listen to Maloney’s podcast. If I had to guess, it’s the latter.
If you’re a regular here, you know that I would’ve never given Skjei that contract that Gorton gave him over the summer. I’ve already gone over the reasons why in prior blogs. That said, Brady Skjei seems to have become the new whipping boy of not only Dave Maloney, but of many Ranger fans. Like I’ve said before, Ranger fans will never be happy. The Rangers could go 82-0, then go 16-0 in the Stanley Cup playoffs and wrap up June by curing cancer, and Ranger fans will still find a player to be upset about.
However, in the case of Brady Skjei, in a league where salary cap hits have replaced the plus/minus stat on hockey cards, the microscope will be on him. He’s not playing at a level where similar salaried players are at. He’s not even playing at a level where the cheaper defensemen on his team are at.
While Skjei is very young, very quickly, his role and expectations have increased, just because of that contract. Now that many fans have the Rangers in the playoffs, everything he does will be magnified more. If the team was sitting in the cellar, there would be less or at least less meaningful chatter about Skjei’s play.
As you’ll see when we get into this game review, we got another Two-Face game from Brady Skjei. One second, everyone is saying “SKJEI SKJUCKS!”, “TRADE SKJEI” and “HORRIBLE CONTRACT”, and in the next moment, everyone is fist-pumping his blast of a goal. However, with the goal scored, does that take Skjei off the hook for one day? I don’t think so, and I can see Maloney tearing into Skjei once again, come Monday.
As talked about at the end of last night’s blog, the Rangers called up Timothy Gettinger. At 20 years old and with a hulking size of 6’6″ and 220 pounds, Gettinger was playing well for Hartford. It’s nice to see him get a chance. Oh, and for those who keep track of such things, Gettinger wore number 25. Ryan Sproul, we hardly knew ya!
Originally, despite the McLeod, McQuaid & Buchnevich injuries, I didn’t think the Rangers would take anyone out of Hartford until they made the trip up to Canada on Thursday. However, with Zuccarello just coming back after a groin injury, the decision was made to sit him in this game, rather than playing him in back-to-back games. Makes sense.
With Zuccarello being a “precautionary” scratch, which tells you that he’s still not 100%, the Rangers recalled Brendan Smith out of the press box. Returning to the “Scratch List” of David Quinn was Tony DeAngelo, who didn’t exactly have the best game in his home market on Friday.
In defense of DeMAGAngelo, (Credit as always goes to @NYRKELSMADS) it’s not like he was the only defenseman to have a bad game on Friday, as you could’ve scratched Shattenkirk, Claesson, or Skjei too, and I don’t think anyone would’ve batted an eye.
With the changes, here’s what Quinn rolled out on Saturday afternoon:
FIRST LINE: Namestnikov/Zibanejad/Fast
SECOND LINE: Kreider/Hayes/Chytil
THIRD LINE: Vesey/Howden/Strome
FOURTH LINE: Gettinger/Anderson/Fogarty
Defensively, here were your pairs:
FIRST PAIR: Staal/Pionk
SECOND PAIR: Skjei/Smith
THIRD PAIR: Shattenkirk/Claesson
ESPN.com box score time:
Even if the Capitals started Braden Holtby and had their full line-up playing in this game, I still would’ve expected the Rangers to have won this game, which is indicative of my confidence in this team. Even after this loss, I still think the Rangers can rip off another winning streak, especially with a home and home series with Ottawa up next.
I will say, it’s funny that people are already referring to the 9-1-1 streak as a “fluke” and that these last two games are who the Rangers truly are. I don’t buy that. You just don’t win every game. It’s just unfortunate that the Rangers lost this one, as this is one they had.
With Alexandar Georgiev in net, a young kid who grew up in Russia, I was wondering where his nerves would be at with Russia’s hero, Alexander Ovechkin, in this game. To the Rangers credit, the Rangers did a great job of shutting Ovi down. While Ovi did score a goal in this game, it wasn’t one of his trademark goals and it wasn’t on the much heralded Washington power-play. I give a lot of credit to Marc Staal here, as he did a great job of containing Ovechkin in this game.
The story of this game was just as two-faced as the picture of Brady Skjei at the top of this blog. The Rangers played great for 30 minutes and that includes Georgiev. Then, in the final 30 minutes, the Rangers became mistake prone, lost their fastball and Georgiev fell apart. While I wouldn’t call this Georgiev’s worst game, because how could anything be worse than that game with Carolina, it’s a shame that he followed up his shut-out with another strong 30 minutes, only to see it go up in smoke so fast.
You can credit the Capitals quick turnaround in this game due to their veteran experience. What hurts is that the Rangers had them for the taking and they let the Capitals back into this. The Rangers would get sloppy and would continue to make mistake after mistake as the game went on.
I hate to dump on Kevin Shattenkirk, but so many times in these close games, when the game is on the line, he just shits his pants. It’s the non-stop turnovers. It’s the dumping the puck instead of skating it into the zone when the clock is running down. For a guy who has a hell of a shot, he backs away from taking it at the worst times. The final five minutes of this game saw Shattenkirk do everything that you’re not supposed to do.
It wasn’t all Shattenkirk at the end of the game either. With the Rangers down 4-3 and trying to even up the game with under two minutes left, they let the Capitals hold the puck and make a change, rather than challenging the Capitals to move the puck. The Rangers, with under a minute left, would then hold the puck themselves. This was like watching Todd Bowles manage a clock in the NFL.
Making a bad game worse was Joe Micheletti. I hate to pile up on the guy all the time, because away from these games, he really is a nice guy, fan-friendly, charitable, loves the game and is well respected. However, he just FUCKING SUCKS at his job. He is unbearable. To this day, I don’t know how Henrik Lundqvist walks straight, since Micheletti’s head is wedged up his five hole 24/7.
Just like the Islander game from Wednesday, Micheletti was a mute when Georgiev was making great saves in the first half of this game. The second the Capitals scored, Micheletti was spewing fluids out of every orifice and was smacking his lips like a good member of the Cult of Lundqvist, when blaming Georgiev for the goals.
To Sam Rosen’s credit, he treats both goalies equally, but this wasn’t a great broadcast for Sam either, as he was tongue-tied all game. I think Rosen’s mind is starting to go, but he’s so likeable, that we as Ranger fans, especially the fans who can remember his days with JD, will always give him a pass.
The Rangers wasted no time giving the talented Capitals power-play a chance, as at the 25 second mark of the first period, Jesper Fast got called for tripping. This was a horrible penalty to take, as the Rangers were attacking.
On the Caps PP, Ovi got to his office twice, but the Caps could never get the puck to him. Namestnikov was great here, and really, he was great the whole first period. I don’t know what he was officially credited with, and to be honest the black and white stat doesn’t matter here anyway. As far as the eye test goes, Namestnikov was wonderful at creating turnovers, forcing turnovers and clearing the puck throughout the first period. There were four different times in the first period alone, where Namestnikov broke up a Capitals attack.
Neal Pionk, who we all remember for his spinorama coast-to-coast goal on Carey Price, showed off his skating brilliance in this game. Unfortunately, none of this work led to a goal for him, but he moved the puck well. He still continues to get caught defensively, but he will get better as time moves along.
As the game went along, Georgiev would make some great saves and the Rangers would put the Caps on the PP once again, this time after Vesey was called for high-sticking. On the ensuing Caps PP, the Rangers limited the Caps offense. When Vesey came out of the box, Vesey would soon score. This goal was pure art, as the Rangers perfectly played their 3 vs 2 advantage and executed with ease. Here’s Jiimmmmmmmy:
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) November 24, 2018
It doesn’t get much better than that. 1-0, good guys, at the 9:12 mark of the first.
While Vesey got the goal here, I thought number 13 should start wearing “CONTRACT YEAR” on the back of his jersey. Kevin Hayes has been that good and it’s a shame the Rangers lost, as his efforts will now be downplayed and somewhat forgotten because of the result of the game.
As the period progressed, Georgiev would be called upon to make a ton of saves, during a Washington attack that seemed to last for 90 seconds. I was really feeling pumped up about the KING OF KINGS, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Towards the end of the period, the Rangers would get their first of two power-plays in the game. With former Rangers PP coach Scott Arniel on the Washington bench, as Arniel now runs the PK for the Caps, I was hoping the Rangers would ram it up his ass. While the Rangers power-play was much better than the day before, the Rangers couldn’t produce a PPG.
As the horn went off to end the first period, the Rangers looked tremendous, as they took their 1-0 lead into the locker room.
Sam and Joe continued to be at their worst after the intermission. Sam Rosen was going off about how great the Italian food is in Little Italy. I agree with him, but this is the same guy, who just last week, was raving about some shit-hole Italian clip joint next to the Barclay’s Center.
Micheletti, who was openly rooting for the Capitals tonight, since Lundqvist wasn’t playing, started talking about all the fathers of the Capitals that were in attendance. He even told us that three fathers were missing. WHO GIVES A FLYING FUCK?
The only good thing away from the ice, was when they showed Papa Gettinger, who was living his best life, man-spreading and pounding a Budweiser tall-boy. That’s my kind of guy!
The Rangers would get a power-play very quickly into the period, when Lars Eller was called for hooking. After that, for the next 39 minutes, not one penalty was called. In one case, this would hurt the Rangers.
I hate to bitch and moan about the refs, but these referees have done the Rangers no favors at all during these last few weeks.
The Rangers would get nothing doing on their PP.
Brady Skjei, who has been a mess defensively, would find himself alone in front of the net, after a play that was started off with some great passing from Lias Andersson. Skjei then tripped and basically did the hockey equivalent of the Mark Sanchez “butt fumble.” This was not a good look for someone who is getting a ton of heat right now.
Georgiev, who remained hot until the half-way point of this period, would make a few more saves and would even take Tom Wilson down in the process. After the Islander game, this first period and with the way this game was going, Georgiev, THE KING OF KINGS, had his subjects beating their chests like King Kong. I got the fist marks on my chest to prove it! Unfortunately, by the time the game was over, it felt like my stomach got punched by Brock Lesnar.
The Rangers offense was sputtering, as 9 minutes into the period, they were being out-shot 5-0 and Skjei blew a chance to put the Rangers up 2-0. However, at 9:39, Skjei temporarily took himself off the hook with this rocket:
— Hockey Daily (@HockeyDaily365) November 24, 2018
2-0, good guys.
While I think most Ranger fans want to see Skjei play better defensively, is there any Ranger that needed to score a goal more than Skjei? Even Sam Rosen couldn’t contain his excitement, as he was talking gibberish at a mile a minute.
At this point in the game, Georgiev was lights out and Micheletti was mute. It’s funny, whenever Georgiev does well, once in a while, Micheletti will make up some bullshit story about how Lundqvist is tutoring him. If that’s the case, Georgiev pulled a Lundqvist in this game as the following occured:
— Gave up a goal seconds after the Rangers scored.
— Blew a two goal lead.
— Gave up a goal in the final minute of a period.
— Got beat badly.
— Lost the game.
I guess for Georgiev to pass his Lundqvist apprenticeship, all he needs to do now is slam his stick after the loss and blame his teammates in his post game interview.
After the Skjei goal, Nick Dowd scored seconds later. Listen to that blowjob Micheletti, who was previously mute, but started whacking his bag when talking about this goal:
I wanted to check the weather lmao but I still was able to get it because apparently my new box remembers what ever channels you have in your history. pic.twitter.com/WbUof0PsoG
— Fixxser (@Fixxser) November 24, 2018
“HE WAS POUNDING HIS THROBBING STICK SAM! SPEAKING OF THROBBING STICKS AND POUNDING, WHERE IS LUNDQVIST?”
As the game went along, Neal Pionk started taking a beating, as he was getting crushed. I am not overly familiar with Gettinger’s game, but with his size, I was hoping he would start laying motherfuckers out. The Rangers were getting beat up and looked scared as the second period went along. They went European a bit and if they would’ve worn those stupid Delta NYR fanny bags, I wouldn’t have been shocked.
Coming out of a commercial break, Marc Staal was shown talking to his kids at rinkside. Micheletti made some jokes at Staal’s expense, jokes that didn’t land the same way Micheletti’s middle appendage lands into his Swedish blow-up doll. Staal was great against Ovi tonight, but why would Micheletti mention that?
Here’s Staal with the fam:
"Hi Dad!!!!" pic.twitter.com/vPBN9n6M1M
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) November 24, 2018
At 16:27, and with the Rangers no longer dictating the pace, Jakub Vruna scored. 2-2 and the two goal lead vanished. On Vruna’s goal, Brett Howden was badly beat and exposed, so bad in fact, that if this a was a different era, he would be bag skating right now. Howden getting blown away aside, Georgiev still needs to make the save here.
With time dwindling down in the period, Ovechkin would get a goal with 30 seconds remaining. Take a look at this shit:
— Hockey Daily (@HockeyDaily365) November 24, 2018
Like Mr. Belding used to say, “HEY HEY HEY, WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?”
Seriously. Ovechkin blatantly boards Namestnikov. NO CALL. Ovi then gets a tip in goal.
Again, I hate to hammer the refs, but what the fuck is this? This is a blatant boarding 101 call. It’s ignored, just like how calls would be ignored throughout the third period. How is something a penalty one period, but not a penalty in the next? This goal changed the game and it was because of the incompentence and ineptness of these officials. I get Ovi is a superstar and I have nothing against him, but THIS IS BOARDING!
In a game that was once 2-0, it was now 3-2, heading into the third.
The Rangers needed to get it going to start the third and at the 5:30 mark, Ryan Strome sent it home. Here’s Strome’s first NYR goal:
— Hockey Daily (@HockeyDaily365) November 24, 2018
What a pass from Howden and what a finish from Strome. 3-3 and I truly felt the Rangers would be back in this & take it.
As the game progressed, the refs let anything go. Zibanejad was held. Vesey was hooked. Hayes was interfered with. No call, no call, no call. This is where you sort of miss McLeod, as you needed someone to pound one of these fuckers. I was hoping it would be Gettinger, but it seems for his size, he isn’t one for the art of pugilism.
With the Capitals playing at a frantic pace, and the Rangers trying to catch up, the Caps would make the Rangers pay at 13:36:
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) November 24, 2018
The pace was nuts and this was so bang-bang, but this is something Georgiev wants back. 4-3 bad guys.
With the clock winding down, the Rangers didn’t show any signs of desperation. It’s like the spirit of Arniel floated to the other bench. Tom Wilson would eventually score the empty netter, sealing the game at 5-3. A tale of two halves indeed.
The Rangers are now on a two game slide and will look to get back on track on Monday, when they host the Senators. After that, it’s off to Canada, as the Rangers take on the Senators on Thursday and the Habs on Saturday.
Personally, I’ve fought the good fight and have overcome the walking pneumonia. I still got a little of that post nasal drip action, but that won’t stop me from my making my flight north of the border, as I will be going to both Ranger games in Canada. And I will be bringing my oversized suitcase, so I can bring back a ton of Gretzky 99 whisky and Labatt Bleue Dry!
I want to mention this one more time before going home here. The Rangers are 9-3-1 in their last 13 games. If the Rangers went 3-1, 3-1, 3-1, essentially winning three out of every four games, would you still feel like shit after this loss right now?
As far as who starts in net, I would start Lundqvist in both Ottawa games, as he’s the better goalie. People think that I think that Georgiev is better because I go over-the-top, sometimes for laughs, sometimes to rile people up. The fact of the matter is Georgiev isn’t Talbot or Raanta, I still would’ve traded Lundqvist seasons ago and that Lundqvist, at least in this season, gives the Rangers the best chance to win.
That said, the Rangers do play better offensively for Georgiev, as his goal support is top 3 in the league right now.
With the two consecutive losses and with the way the schedule is, I would have Hank start on Monday and Thursday in the Ottawa games. Lundqvist sucks in Montreal, and with a Montreal road game on Saturday, followed by a back-to-back home game with Winnipeg on Sunday (Hadfield night), I would start Georgiev in Montreal on Saturday and give Lundqvist the tougher team in the Jets on Sunday.
Of note, as I was putting this blog to bed, the Rangers sent Gettinger back to Hartford, which tells you that Zuccarello will be ready on Monday. Time will tell if the Rangers bring up anyone for the Canada trip and I wouldn’t expect any announcement in that department until Wednesday.
See ya Monday night.
As always, thanks for reading and…
“LET’S GO RANGERS!”
@NYCTHEMIC on twitter