Welcome everyone to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Due to an early alarm clock for work tomorrow, this won’t be as long as usual. Quite frankly, I kind of checked out a bit during this game after Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti were raving about how great Papa John’s pizza is. I mean really? We live in NY. We have the best pizza in the world. To hear Sam & Joe talk about how Papa John’s was the best pizza they’ve ever had was sickening. The thought of eating Papa John’s gives me the meat sweats!
I mean really, how can anyone say Papa John’s is the best pizza when you got Rose’s pizza right downstairs in Penn Station! Plus, you can get the $5 32 oz beers at Rose’s too! Maybe for the next game, Sam & Joe can talk about how great White Castle is for beef. Who needs Peter Luger’s when you got the Castle of White!
Horrible pizza aside, the Rangers defeated the LA Kings 3-2 on Monday night in MSG. After a three game losing steak, the Rangers have reversed their fortunes and have ripped three wins off in a row. Talk about catching the schedule at a good time. They defeated three non-playoff teams in a row. Lundqvist drew a rookie goalie in Detroit and LA without Jonathan Quick. It was a good time for the Rangers to start emphasizing on their defense, which is what they’ve been doing.
For the second straight game in a row, the Rangers played great defense. That will be lost in the Henrik Lundqvist hoopla, because when the Rangers win a low scoring game, it’s because of him only. When they lose a high scoring game, it’s always the defense’s fault. At least that’s what you’re led to believe if you listen to Joe Micheletti for more than 2 minutes.
Seriously, Micheletti needs to pump his brakes with the Lundqvist love. He’s starting to sound like Pierre McGuire talking about Sidney Crosby. Hank makes a 100′ foot save and Micheletti acts like he’s made a Game 7 OT save. Based on the tweets/emails I got, I know I’m not the only one who’s noticed how bad it’s got. I don’t know if Micheletti is trying to over-compensate for Hank’s horrible season or what, but it’s overbearing. Just call the game on the ice.
Not once tonight did Joe mention the Rangers great defense. However, every save Hank made was the best save he’s ever seen. The two posts the Kings hit tonight? That was conveniently omitted by Joe. It’s like MSG Networks has handed down an ultimatum that the broadcast team can not mention when Hank plays bad and must feed you hyperbole on every save.
Don’t get me wrong – Hank had two great games in Sunday and today. Today was much better than Sunday, as I thought he wasn’t tested much against Detroit. Tonight he was. He played well, but the things that have plagued him all season were there. Late goals at the end of the period. Soft goals. It’s been his modus operandi all season – playing consistently inconsistent.
For most of the game Hank made a ton of good saves. This was the Hank we’ve known for most of his career. Coming up big in tough spots and keeping his team in the game, while his defense protected him as well. However, as we’ve seen all season, Hank just has these WTF moments where he gets beat on a soft goal or his five hole is wide open. These goals usually occur in the beginning or the end of a period, which are momentum killers. Luckily for the Rangers, the King’s second goal came with .8 seconds left in the game, so it was pretty much meaningless, unless you are invested in Hank’s GAA and SV%.
It’s funny, when I see this Donald Trump Rangers jersey, just imagine if he bought the Rangers? He talked about buying the Mets once. Love him or hate him, I think he would be a better owner than Dolan because he wouldn’t accept losing. No way does Sather last as long as he did with Trump. It’s a shame our owner doesn’t care about our team. I really wish we had that George Steinbrenner or Mark Cuban type of owner.
Anyway, sorry to short-change everyone, but I’m the one who has to wake up at 4:30 am, not you, so let’s get into tonight’s game.
First the box score, courtesy of ESPN.com:
1st Period Summary
||Brandon Pirri (8)
||Rick Nash: 2 Minutes for Cross checking|
||Brayden McNabb: 5 Minute Major for Fighting|
||Kevin Klein: 5 Minute Major for Fighting|
||Devin Setoguchi: 2 Minutes for Interference|
2nd Period Summary
||Matt Puempel (6)
Assists: Derek Stepan, Dan Girardi
||Jordan Nolan (3)
Assists: Andy Andreoff, Drew Doughty
||Jordan Nolan: 2 Minutes for Holding|
||Drew Doughty: 2 Minutes for Tripping|
||Mika Zibanejad: 2 Minutes for Embellishment|
3rd Period Summary
||Mats Zuccarello (9)
Assist: J.T. Miller
||Kyle Clifford (4)
Assists: Jake Muzzin, Jordan Nolan
||Ryan McDonagh: 2 Minutes for Holding|
||Jeff Carter: 2 Minutes for Hooking|
With all the stats in hockey, here’s the one that stands out the most to me. The Rangers blocked 25 shots tonight. Hank made 36 saves. Yesterday, the Rangers had 17 blocked shots while Hank had 21 saves.
Don’t let me be the one to ruin Joe Micheletti’s hard-on, but even with an impressive 36 saves, the fact is Hank didn’t have many tough saves to make tonight. He made about 4-5 really good saves, including a breakaway save, a point blank shot and a last second deflection save. The Kings took a bunch of deep and low quality shots. I think many teams are doing this just because of the horrible stretch of games Hank had. The scouting report is to shoot a lot, shoot from deep and go for the five hole. It almost worked for LA tonight too, as they caught two goal posts in the game.
The Rangers defense once again ate more rubber than a Thailand hooker. If you want to talk about vintage Lundqvist (And really, Hank is paid the most in the league to be in his prime and be the best in the league, so the word “vintage” isn’t complimentary.) then you also have to talk about the “vintage” Rangers defense. They played well again.
I talked about this yesterday in the Detroit blog, but it bears repeating. It’s tough watching these games on TV vs being there live. You won’t get a fair and unbiased account from Sam & Joe, because they are too busy telling everyone how MySpace is the future of social media, all while fighting the Japanese Flag Ass that the Papa John’s pizza gave them. I can’t tell how often the Rangers are staying back on defense.
For the second game in a row, shot blocking and strong defense were the keys and emphasis for the Rangers. We didn’t see a ton of breakaways as we’ve been used to. Are the odd man rushes just not there or the Rangers just worried about defense? Again, if you’re winning, it’s great, but I’m a realist. The Rangers beat two crappy teams with weak goalies, in one goal games and they barely beat Detroit. You take the points obviously, but will this style work against the playoff teams?
As we’ve seen every year in the playoffs, since the new salary cap has been implemented, that the teams that can score win games. This isn’t the NFL, where defense wins championships. If the Rangers can win these type of games against the Pens, the Caps, the Habs, the Jackets, etc, then great. A win is a win. The other argument about just playing defense and not taking offensive chances is that you beat your players up. We saw that in the Torts years. All this stuff I’m saying right now was ignored by Joe Micheletti, who is probably ranting & raving about a 80′ shot Hank saved to a homeless guy outside of Penn Station. And trust me, even the homeless guy wouldn’t eat Papa Johns!
Couple of things to mention before getting into the 60 minutes of action:
- Kevin Hayes is out 2-3 weeks with a “lower body injury” which I’m assuming is a knee. The Rangers have played well through all their injuries this season, but talk about bad timing. Hayes is having the best season of his young career.
- Raanta was on ice during practice today. Looks like he’s gearing up to return after the ASG.
- Marc Staal isn’t ready yet, but could be back any day now. With all the injuries he’s gone through over the years, I wonder if he will embrace going back to this Tortorella style of hockey.
- Matt Puempel returned after being cleared from concussion. He scored a goal tonight. Who knows, maybe it will be Lindberg eating Papa John’s with Sam & Joe come the playoffs.
- Glenn Healy, the last Ranger to wear the number 30 and win a Stanley Cup, has joined MSG Networks. MSG has a full boat now, with Sam, Joe, Trautwig, Vally, Duguay, Maloney and Carter. (However, Carter seems to be in & out, and it seems like he’s just doing the MSG Hockey Show now.)
- As far as Healy, who has experience with TV through TSN, I thought it was an ok debut. He compared Lundqvist to Tom Brady, which is just a fucking joke. Do I even have to explain why Lundqvist is not the Tom Brady of hockey? If you need an explanation, look at Brady’s 4 SB rings. (BTW, how about my NFL predictions, 2-2 on the winners and 2-2 on the overs!) Healy made a great joke about taxes killing you, as he recapped a Klein/McNabb scrap. We will see what he brings as time goes on. Worth mentioning – Vally lost a segment for Healy. Two back-ups fighting for screen time!
This kinda felt like a game out of that June 2014 series. I’ll never forget the Rangers losing Game 5 on my birthday that year. Thanks a lot Hank!
For 60 minutes, both teams played a very physical game of hockey. Even the Rangers came up to match the Kings bruising style, with Zucc, Kreider, Clendening and Klein all getting rough. I’m still with Duguay – I want Tanner Glass back, especially if defense is going to be the name of the game.
The Kings got a bunch of shots off early, but nothing particularly scary. Sure, Joe raved about a bunch of long shots and bad angle shots from the Kings that were saved by Hank, but this is also the same guy that would rather a slice from Papa John’s than a night out at Vincent’s.
Pirri, who has cooled off a bunch since the start of the season, capitalized on Hank’s save and the stingy Ranger defense, as he skated down the ice and beat Jeff Zatkoff. 1-0 Rangers. My memory fails me, but I want to say that was the second shot of the game for the Rangers and the Kings led the Rangers 7-2 on shots at that point. But hey, one high quality shot is better than a bunch of crappy low quality shots any time.
The Kings, while having a strong team, have just been miserable this year without Jonathan Quick. Kinda funny how Johnathan Quick goes down this year and the Kings are horrible. Last year, Carey Price went down and the Habs were horrible. Lundqvist went down the year before that and the Rangers won the President’s Trophy. Hmmm, you connect the dots for yourself! (ICWT!)
After going down 1-0, a defensive game picked up a bit. Let me say here, this was much better than yesterday’s 1-0 snoozer. This was a fun and exciting one goal game. Both teams played hard. The Kings showed some frustration and tried to bully the Rangers. Brayden McNabb tried picking a fight with the smallest guy on the ice in Mats Zuccarello. In return, Kevin Klein cleaned his clock for him. A nice little show of wills before the end of the first period. 1-0 Rangers at the first break.
Both teams continued their game plans into the second period. Lots of hits, lots of stick work and there weren’t many great shooting angles. The Kings stacked the box for their weak goalie. The Rangers had a man on every King for the most part. The Rangers stuck with their game plan and while not getting many shots off, (They only had 9 after 40 minutes) the Rangers were trying to let their patience win out. It paid off, as the returning Matt Puempel pumped one by Zatkoff. 2-0 Rangers in the second period.
With the Rangers up 2-0 against the Kings, I started having flashbacks of 2014. Ugh, I can’t stand Alec Martinez.
After a bunch of saves from Lundqvist and a post too (No word if the post gets a star of the game), Jordan Nolan buried a clean, uncontested shot by Lundqvist with less than 2 minutes remaining in the second period. The dreaded two goal lead. Again, Hank has these games where he stops some really tough stuff, then something like this goes in. Very rarely do you get 60 minutes out of him anymore.
The teams went to the locker room 2-1 after two periods played. The PTSD was creeping in.
The Rangers have now gone cold on their power play but luckily the Kings couldn’t muster much on their PP either. The Rangers aren’t even getting good looks, never mind shots. The Rangers PK has been a strong point this season and it bailed them out after a horrendous call by the referees.
Speaking of the referees, they were BRUTAL all night. Sam Rosen eating Papa John’s pizza without a diaper on bad. There were penalties in front of the refs not called. Blatant penalties at that. Then, Ryan McDonagh gets nailed with a holding call in the third period. TOTALLY PHANTOM CALL. That’s not a Ranger fan saying that, that’s somebody with two eyes saying that. The refs then “managed” the game, with a make-up call, a hooking on Jeff Carter.
If players can be fined and suspended all the time for breaking the rules, then the referees should be fined & suspended for not doing their job right either. What if the Kings got a BS goal on this BS penalty? This was blasphemy and it happens far too often. That idiot Bettman needs to keep his guys in check. If there is no punishment, what’s the incentive to get the job done right?
For both teams, the McDonagh and Carter penalties didn’t affect the outcome of the game. Still, it just pisses you off, especially with the stuff that wasn’t called all game long.
Mats Zuccarello would break his goal scoring drought in the third period. Due to a late soft goal allowed by Lundqvist, Zucc’s tally wound up being the game winning goal. In a reverse of yesterday, Zatkoff got out of the net to play the puck. Miller made a no look basketball type of pass to Zucc and Zucc slammed it into the wide open net. I’m kinda surprised he didn’t pass! I’m glad to see Zucc get the goal. He’s been an assist machine lately, but he does need to put some pucks on twine too.
To me, Zucc is one of the hardest working Rangers out there. Oh shit, I gotta go on another tangent now! Before the game, Micheletti says no Ranger works as hard as Henrik Lundqvist. If that’s the case, how come John Gianonne isn’t asking the team before the game, “How come you don’t work as hard as Henrik Lundqvist?” Seriously, someone shove a fucking box of that Papa John’s shit down Micheletti’s mouth. Give him an extra cheese with mushrooms, anchovies and pepperoni muzzle!
I hate to take a shit (which is what Papa John’s pizza makes me do after 2 minutes of consuming it) on Micheletti this whole blog, but he has been UNBEARABLE this season. I used to be fan of his, but between acting that Lundqvist has been playing the way he’s paid to and the Papa John’s shit, I actually look forward to the NBC broadcasts. I’d rather listen to Pierre McGuire explain his Sidney Crosby verbal blowjob technique than hear Sam & Joe talk about what a big save Hank made on a 100′ shot while telling me how Papa John’s pizza can cure cancer & create world peace.
I also find it funny that the owner of Papa John’s, John Schnatter, cut out health benefits for his employees. Go figure – his pizza will make you fucking sick, rip out your insides like a Walking Dead walker chewing on your ribs and burn your asshole for weeks, but he won’t give his employees money to see a doctor. Where’s Alanis Morissette and that “Ironic” song now?
I really don’t mean to get political on these blogs, but hell, it’s my blog and I’ll blog if I want to!
Anyway, back to the game!
The Rangers, owning a 3-1 lead, would take their lead to the waning seconds of the third period. With Zatkoff pulled (and way too late, as he left the net with 35 seconds left in the game), the Kings squeezed a goal through Hank’s legs. Maybe he was farting some Papa John’s out. Maybe the reason Hank has had such a big five hole this year is because he’s farting out Papa John’s? I solved the mystery of Lundqvist’s regression! Someone pull me the stats on when Papa John’s became the sponsor of the Rangers! You won’t see this covered by TSN!
Seriously – if Steve Valiquette, who always speaks so eloquently, intelligently and with confidence, went on the MSG Post Game Show and sternly explained the Papa John pizza farting theory, as the reason Hank has given up so many goals through his legs this season, I will buy a Valiquette jersey that same night!
Yea, so this blog has made a turn for the worse, kind of like what your stomach does after eating Papa John’s.
I gotta be up at 4:30am and I have probably spent 2000 words on Papa John’s. Only on this site.
In fact, now I got this “Jerky Boys” call in my head:
Anyway, Kyle Clifford poked a loose puck by Lundqvist with .8 seconds left on the clock. Rangers win 3-2. If you don’t know, as a result of the 3 Ranger goals, you can buy free diarrhea for 50% off tomorrow.
Worth mentioning, the Clifford goal came while Lundqvist was stick-less. I watch a lot of hockey around the league and this guy seems to lose his stick more than anyone. What does he do? Put it down so he can count his money?
This was a good win for the Rangers and I’m interested if this style of play will be the new norm.
Rangers have an NBC game on Wednesday, with the Flyers, so we will be spared Papa John’s, Sam parodying himself and Joe Micheletti heavily breathing & sweating while talking about Lundqvist.
After Wednesday, it’s All-Star weekend. If Hank keeps up this style of play, he will be the only Ranger not looking forward to the break.
4:30 am comes awfully quick, so good night and see ya Wednesday!
As always, LET’S GO RANGERS
@NYCTHEMIC on twitter