NYR/NJD 2/25 Review: Another Glorious Win In the Kingdom of Raanta, Rangers Play Their Third OT Game in a Row, The Beer Situation at the Goal Bar in the Arena, The Rock’s Security Team Makes My List After a Wrongful Fan Ejection & Non-Stop Incessant Badgering, Can The Rangers “Steal” First Place & More NY Ranger Thoughts & Opinions

The Rangers should’ve celebrated at center ice, it was their building tonight anyway! Photo Credit: NYR Super Fan, Bob Groder.

What’s up everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. How is everyone feeling after the Rangers 4-3 OT thriller over their Hudson rivals, the NJ Devils?  This blog will most likely be shorter than usual for several reasons:

  • I was at the game, so I didn’t get the whole MSG broadcast experience.
  • I’ve been drinking beer for nearly 12 hours. That usually doesn’t slow me down too bad, but the warm beer at the Rock has “the runs” in my future.
  • The Rangers play in less than 24 hours and this blog may be dated by the time you read it anyway!

As stated, I attended tonight’s game. Of note, Clendening was in once again for the injured Klein. Pirri also played for Buchnevich for the second straight game. With a back-to-back, Raanta took tonight’s game and Hank will man the nets tomorrow.

Since this blog is different than anything else you will read about the Rangers, I’ll keep that going for me! For fans who don’t know, and I know I was looking before the game to find out, “The Rock”, affectionately referred to as “The Pebble”, by Ranger fans, does accept Stubhub mobile tickets. As someone who has a printer but has no clue how to set it up, this comes in handy. The whole ticket industry is moving away from paper tickets, so it’s nice to see a building accept Stubhub mobile tickets. Hopefully MSG will eventually get with the program and save me the $5 it costs me to print out tickets across the street at the “Hotel Pennsylvania.”

I don’t try to get too political on these blogs, but it always fascinates me how people can deny the existence of global warming. This weekend in NY has produced fabulous weather. It’s 60 degrees in February. Every scientist says global warming is a thing. How can we deny it?

Why do I bring this up? Because of beer of course! What else?

The original “Rock” bar, the Dinosaur, now has plenty of competition a block away.

In the NHL, there aren’t many places where you can tailgate anymore. For fans of the tri-state area, we can all remember the days of tailgating at the Nassau Coliseum before Ranger/Islander games and taking a leak at the Marriot in between pops. The closest NHL arena where you can tailgate these days is in Philadelphia, but who wants to drink beer with those animals? I rather go to a WNBA game, featuring a “Leslie Jones” appreciation night! Not to say that all Flyer fans are bad, but the majority of them think their nose is a snack dispenser.

I’ve been to a dozen or so Ranger/Devil games at the Rock over the years. During the normal warm months, such as September, October, late March or April, the Devils used to have beer trucks right in front of the arena. Despite the sale of alcohol, I never seen any bullshit. You would get the “LET’S GO RANGERS/RANGERS SUCK” chants or the “LET’S GO DEVILS/DEVILS SUCK” chants. It’s all harmless fun and no one is losing a testicle during all this.

I don’t know if it’s because there are a bunch of new bars near the arena or what, but the Devils no longer sell beer outside anymore. Maybe it’s a deal the team has with the local bars, because really, no one is going to these bars if there is no event at the Prudential Center. I honestly don’t know, and if someone does, feel free to email me.

As Ranger fans, we are used to meeting up at various bars around NYC. It’s part of our culture. However, I must say, I miss the outdoor drinking in front of the Rock and bullshitting with everyone. Hopefully that comes back, as it was a fun time. Then again, I doubt the Devils are worried about my beer drinking for the 1 or 2 games I attend at their venue a season!

If I could have Bob’s life in 25 years, I’ll be a happy man.

Tonight was a fun night for me on and off the ice. Before the game, I met a few of you readers around the arena. A shout out to you all. I even met two fans who wanted to break my balls about my hatred for Hank’s contract. It’s funny, they were eyeing me down, until they eventually asked if I was the guy who runs this site. I never have a problem talking to anyone or having a fun debate. Same applies on social media. The only people I really block are the idiots, who live in their mother’s basements and make death threats. While I don’t take any death threat seriously, it’s hard to take your opinion seriously if you are wishing death because of someone’s opinion on a millionaire who doesn’t give two shits about you!

Meeting Ranger super fan, Bob Groder, was a good time. If you don’t know him, he’s a semi-retired guy who spends his free time by attending as many Ranger away games as he can. He’s a diehard and logical fan of the blue sweater. If you are ever traveling to see the Rangers, hook up with Bob, because he can tell you the best spots to stay at, where to eat and what kind of tickets to get. What I mean by that, is that some tickets in some arenas aren’t marked as “obstructed view”. While we all know that 85% of Barclays are obstructed view tickets, other arenas in the league aren’t as forthcoming. Bob, who worked in the ticket business and goes to a bunch of arenas, can give you the information you need. You can visit him by visiting his facebook group at: Blunt NY Ranger Fans

I know many people ask me “Why do you have a Raanta jersey?” but this may take the cake!

I went into the building a little earlier than usual because I wanted to make sure I would have no issues with my Stubhub mobile tickets. I wound up scoring “Goal Bar” tickets for this game, which are normally $232 face value. Everyone who sat next to me paid around $150-$160, myself included.

Let me tell you, I think the Rock is a great arena. I’ve always said that. That said, if you ever have the option of paying face value for “Goal Bar” tickets – don’t. The money is not worth the experience. While the seats are roomy and spacious, you don’t get any free food or drink, like you do in the MSG Lounges for less money. Furthermore, the beer they sold at the bar was luke-warm. The colder beer was downstairs.

True story: one of the bartenders sold beer to my friend. She asked him, “is this cold enough?” If you have to ask that, you know the answer already. It’s like ripping a fart on an elevator and wondering if anyone heard it. The answer is obvious. What really grinds me gears is that you have to pay $232 for the right to buy $11 warm beer? To quote the infamous JEFFREY, who I attended the game with, “Lose my number.”

The Goal Bar also tries to sell itself by saying there are private bathrooms. That is huge in MSG, where there is 1 bathroom per every 4000 fans. However, the Rock is pretty good with the bathroom sitch, as there are plenty of bathrooms all over the arena. The Rock also has a better beer selection than MSG. Trust me, I tried them all tonight. The Molson Canadian & Labatt Blue were room temperature, while the Miller Lite at the Goal Bar was the only thing that resembled a beverage under 32 degrees.

All the beer and bathroom talk aside (If you can’t tell, I enjoy a beer or 6 and have to piss it out about 4 times in the course of my three hour stay at the arena), the Rock is very spacious and clean. I have not been to every arena in the NHL, but I’ve been to more than half of them. The Rock remains my favorite and it’s a really good fan experience. Just don’t get ripped off by paying for Goal Bar tickets, you can spend less, sit better and have the same experience.

What really sets The Rock head and shoulders above MSG, is that no matter where you sit, you are afforded a great experience. MSG uses a caste system. If you sit up high, you’re treated like shit. There are limited bathrooms, concessions and you have a rotunda where everyone is bumping into each other like a herd of Walking Dead zombies. At the Rock, no matter where you are, every rotunda is open, it’s easy to get around & there are bathrooms and concessions at every section.

Just think, you have to spend $100+ on a Tuesday night to get a shitty experience at MSG. For $100 at the Rock, you can live like a King. Speaking of Kings, how about that King Raanta tonight?! (How about that segueway!)

Raanta got the start and remained undefeated in 2017.

This was just a perfect night for me, because I had some good times with people off the ice. On the ice, the Rangers won another defibrillator type of game. After leading the majority of the game 2-0, the Devils got a late second period NHL ’94 goal, an early soft goal in the third period, a power play goal to go up 3-2, before the Rangers stormed back, tied it and then won in OT. For the Rangers, this was their third OT game in a row. For a team that hasn’t played many OT games this season, the Rangers are sure getting in the work now.

There are many different stories and takeaway’s from tonight’s game. However, before getting into that, here’s the official box score from ESPN.com, because as you know, NHL.com is impossible to navigate:

1st Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail NYR NJ
6:40
Chris Kreider (23)
Assists: Dan Girardi, Mats Zuccarello
1 0
17:32
Oscar Lindberg (4)
Assists: Jesper Fast, Nick Holden
2 0
Time Team Penalty Detail
No penalties this period

2nd Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail NYR NJ
18:28
Adam Henrique (16)
Assists: Beau Bennett, P.A. Parenteau
2 1
Time Team Penalty Detail
12:03
Devante Smith-Pelly: 2 Minutes for Tripping

3rd Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail NYR NJ
0:27
Kyle Palmieri (17)
Assists: Travis Zajac, Taylor Hall
2 2
1:14
Kyle Palmieri (18) (Power Play)
Assists: Andy Greene, Travis Zajac
2 3
15:35
Adam Clendening (2)
Assists: Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad
3 3
Time Team Penalty Detail
1:10
Chris Kreider: 2 Minutes for Delaying Game – Puck over Glass
1:55
Jimmy Vesey: 2 Minutes for Tripping

OT Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail NYR NJ
1:16
Mika Zibanejad (8)
Assist: Brady Skjei
4 3
Time Team Penalty Detail
No penalties this period

Goaltending Summary

New York Rangers Goaltending

Player SA GA Saves SV% TOI PIM
A. Raanta 38 3 35 .921 61:16 0

New Jersey Devils Goaltending

Player SA GA Saves SV% TOI PIM
C. Schneider 40 4 36 .900 61:16 0

This was a fast paced game between these two rivals. The start of the first period was all Devils, which featured Raanta making a bunch of tough saves. Give it up for Raanta, he’s not getting the time he was getting ever since Lundqvist & the defense started playing better. Ironically enough, Lundqvist only got so many games because of Raanta’s injury. That’s when Lundqvist started getting out of his annual funk. Who knows what would’ve happened if Raanta didn’t get hurt? If you remember, Raanta went down right after Lundqvist got torched by Dallas. Raanta was playing well against Montreal, got hurt and then Lundqvist got smacked by Montreal. After that Montreal shellacking, Lundqvist and the defense tightened up. If Raanta doesn’t get hurt and beats Montreal, we might still be talking about a goalie controversy.

And really, the “goalie controversy” is stuff for the newspapers. We all know that I was/am the biggest Talbot fan and I still think that Lundqvist is overpaid and overrated. That said, we all also know that Lundqvist is starting for this team in the playoffs, barring any injury.

The biggest problem for Lundqvist over these last few seasons, ever since signing that insane team un-friendly contract, is that the disparity among goalies has lessened. We are seeing great performances around the league from many goaltenders. Pittsburgh proved you can win a Cup with a goalie making $625,000. It’s all in your roster construction. I mean, is Corey Crawford a Top 5 goalie in this league? Probably not, but you can win a Cup with the guy. Granted, having generational talents like a Crosby, Kane or Toews helps, but both teams have added key players for their Cup runs. I just don’t think dedicating 13% of this horrible salary cap to a starting goalie is the move of a smart GM.

Raanta had a strong 38 minutes, but gave a horrible goal in the third period.

The Devils fired away on Raanta to start the game. I believe at one point, the Devils were out-shooting the Rangers 9-2. However, the Rangers made the most of their chances. The Rangers got the first goal of the game, nearly 7 minutes in, when Dan Girardi bombed one. Chris Kreider would deflect it past Corey Schneider. 1-0 good guys.

The Devils kept knocking on Raanta’s door, but Raanta slammed it. This gave the Rangers an opportunity to set up a tic tac goal, as the fourth line, who are starting to heat up a bit, produced a tally. Once again, it was Fast to Lindberg. 2-0 Rangers after twenty minutes.

I know I keep getting away from the game analysis to talk about other shit, but that’s what makes this blog different than the other ones. You want the x’s and o’s, there are better people at that than me. I would suggest watching the post-game show, as Steve Valiquette is always on point.

Something really bothered me during this first period. The Devils, like any franchise, were shooting off free t-shirts to the crowd. One Ranger fan caught a shirt, hammed it up in his section and then threw the shirt on the ice! The Rock security ejected him from the building for that move! Here are some pics:

The ref removing the shirt from the ice took a total of 2 seconds. How long does it take to remove hats after a hat trick?

You can’t take a Lundqvist fan anywhere these days!

Devil fans had no problem pointing out the offender to security.

I mean really, we are kicking a guy out for throwing a shirt on the ice? It’s ok to throw hats though, so it can’t be a “fan safety” issue. After all, it was the Devils who shot a T-shirt at him. He didn’t want the product. What should’ve been a funny and light-hearted moment turned into a horrible night for this fan. He was ejected from the building. I don’t know if he got a lifetime ban too, but if he did, hopefully it’s shorter than the lifetime ban James Dolan gave Charles Oakley.

I’ve been to plenty of games where you have drunk fans cursing in front of little kids and/or spilling beer on people. As someone who appreciates beer and being able to hold my beer, that stuff pisses me off. If you’re a father with a kid, you don’t want some drunk asshole screaming “NASH IS A CUNT!” or anything like that. However, those fans are ok. Someone throwing back a t-shirt, akin to someone throwing back a home-run ball hit by a visiting team, is grounds for dismissal? Get the fuck out.

The other thing that annoyed me about the Rock tonight was the incessant badgering of the Rock’s security and ushers. Many of these ushers are 50+ year old women. It’s like giving a kid a police badge. The yellow t-shirt or black vest goes right to their head. I saw many people being told to move or they would be kicked out. These people were standing at tables, with no one behind them. However, since they didn’t buy table seats, the ushers wanted them out of there. Of course, those seats were empty, so what was the difference?

Whatever happened to the days of a father slipping an usher $20 to take his kids to better seats that everyone knows aren’t being used? Seriously though, what’s the point of all these “Goal Bar” tables, if you can’t stand by them? I mean these ushers were hounding people all game, even with minutes left in the third period. The best line the ushers always give is “We are getting complaints.” Who the fuck is looking at an empty table, which don’t affect anyone’s view of the game, during the middle of the third period mind you, and making complaints?

My seats were in the first row of the Goal Bar. Behind my seats are these aforementioned tables. I saw a fellow Frank Boucher fan and had a conversation with this person during the game. Because of where we were, and mind you, no one was behind us, you have a crystal clear view of the game. The usher would not stop breaking balls about moving. Eventually you have to give in to these people, because it’s not worth the aggravation or the fight. It’s a losing battle. Especially when you got a tall boy in your hand!

Another time during this game, I had to take a leak. I took a quick piss during a TV timeout. When I got back to my seats, and again, I can see the game perfectly from these tables behind my seats, I was standing (with no one behind me, I want to stress that) and waiting for the next whistle. Anyone who attends a hockey game knows you don’t go to  your seats until there is a stoppage in play. However, this silly woman usher kept telling me I have to go to my seats. I’m not bothering anyone. What’s more of a bother? Standing at these tables, waiting for a whistle, or me going to my seats during play? For real – these ushers, who are predominately older black women, need an education about the game. It’s just common courtesy not to go to your seats during play. The old white guys at MSG know that and most of them won’t even let you go to your seats until there is a whistle. It’s been 10 years Jersey, educate these people!

In other words, to quote Chris Jericho (Don’t pretend you don’t know who he is): “THE SECURITY AND USHERS AT THE ROCK……. YOU JUST MADE THE LIST!”

The Rock may have annoying ushers, but they do have Labatt Blue!

Back to the game and wow, after thinking I would go short tonight, I’m already 3000 words deep. These motherfucking tangents!

With a 2-0 lead, the Rangers opened up the second period on fire. This time Schneider was tested and to his credit, he came up big, making two huge saves. The Rangers, who were out-shot 15-10 in the first period, out-shot the Devils 17-10 in the second period. However, the Rangers couldn’t score in the period and it was Schneider walking away with a near 20 save second period.

There were Devil fans behind me saying if the Rangers made this 3-0, they were taking the train from Newark back home. I was hoping for that, because they would not stop with the “RANGERS SUCK” chant. Someone said it on twitter, I forget who, but is “SUCK” the only word they teach in the Jersey school system? Surely, with all these musical tunes these Devil fans belt out, they can come up with something better than “SUCK” to close each melody.

With Raanta looking to take a shutout to the third period, Adam Henrique scored a wrap around goal with 90 seconds left in the second period. This was a total Sega Genesis NHL ’94 wrap around cheese goal. It was pretty, I’ll give him that. This was a tough one for Raanta to stop and it kept the Devils alive. With the Rangers dominating the period, it was tough watching the Devils get the lone score of the period. 2-1 Rangers heading into the final frame.

In the third period, the Devils won the opening face off and Kyle Palmeri flicked one at Raanta. I don’t know if he had a hole in his glove or what, but this was an uncharacteristic soft goal allowed by Raanta. 2-2 game, with 19:30 left to play. This was a heart breaking goal, because the Rangers were so dominant for the previous twenty minutes.

It got worse. A minute later, Chris Kreider sent a puck over the glass. The Devils went on a PP and once again, won the faceoff. Kyle Palmeri, once again, got the puck and beat Raanta with a puck that went in and out of the net. The goal happened right in front of me and without question, it was a good goal. For whatever reason, AV challenged and lost. A wasted timeout here. 3-2 Devils with 18 minutes left in the game.

At this point, the Rangers blew a 2-0 lead. My phone was buzzing with twitter alerts because Raanta gave up 3 straight goals, with only one really being his fault. However, I still wore my Raanta jersey proudly and thought the highest scoring third period team in the NHL would pull it out!

With 35 saves, with perhaps the biggest save coming in OT, Raanta “Finnished” the Devils.

The Rangers and Devils kept battling in the third period. Both teams would finish with 12 shots a piece. Neither goalie got much of a break in this game, with 71 combined saves being recorded. As the “FOXWOOD FINAL FIVE” segment of the game was in motion, Adam Clendening tied the game up, with assists from 2/3 of the KZZ line. This goal happened on the other side of the ice from me, so it was tough to see what happened live. It just looked like the Devils D broke down.

Speaking of which, I didn’t get to hear Joe Micheletti butcher this game tonight. However, I was dying laughing on twitter when I heard that Joe said, “The Devils just want one point and will be happy.” Huh? The Devils need as many points as they can get! Even funnier, the Devils would dominate the rest of the game, until the final horn, which brought us to OT, the third straight OT in as many games for the Rangers.

I don’t know if TV picked this up, but I did:

After the Devils went up 3-2, AV challenged the goal, as I mentioned above. During the timeout, Derek Stepan spent time trying to calm Raanta down. He gave Raanta a few “love-taps” to the pads and spoke to him. There were 18 minutes left in the game at that point. After that Devils PPG, Raanta was flawless for the rest of the game. I don’t know if you can credit Stepan for that, but I thought that was some good leadership on his end. For anyone watching, did TV bring this up?

In the OT, Raanta made a huge save, giving the Rangers a chance to turn one point into two points. Brady Skjei found Zibanejad and it was Mika time at the Rock. Mika, all alone and in front of Schneider, beat AV’s ex goalie, and scored, giving the Rangers the 4-3 OT win.

This was just another game where the Rangers showed you can’t count them out, no matter what the situation. They don’t give up. That’s what you want to see as a fan and if that trend continues, they will be a tough out in the playoffs. That said, look at the now updated standings in the Metro:

Metropolitan Division
GP
W
L
OTL
P
GF
GA
Diff
L10
STRK
Capitals
61
41
13
7
89
203
133
70
7-2-1
L1
Penguins
60
38
14
8
84
211
168
43
6-1-3
W2
Rangers
61
40
19
2
82
204
159
45
8-1-1
W2
Blue Jackets
59
38
16
5
81
194
143
51
5-4-1
W1

The Rangers play the CBJ tomorrow, or perhaps tonight by the time you read this. The winner of that will have sole possession of third place, at least for a day. The Rangers could even have control of second place by the end of the week. I know I said it a million times, but as of right now, I really think the Rangers could waltz into the ECF this year, as long as they can avoid Pittsburgh in the first round. I’ve given you the lecture before about tanking. It’s too early to think like that and you don’t obsess over the standings now.  At this rate, you just hope the Rangers finish in first. It’s not out of the question. We all have been eyeing that first Wild Card spot and I get it, but if the Rangers can keep this up, they have a good of enough shot as any to win the President’s Trophy. Who would’ve thought that at the start of the season?

However, when it comes to the playoffs, I’m just rooting for any scenario where the Rangers don’t see the defending Cup champs in the first round.

I know Ranger fans will like to puff out their chest and post Sidney Crosby is a bitch memes, but the truth of the matter is that Crosby is in his prime right now. He’s healthy. He’s dominating at an elite level. He’s winning Cups. He carried Team Canada in the WCH. He will most likely win the Hart this year. He’s just on a different level right now, and if I have to see him against the Rangers,  I rather it be later, than in the first round.

However, for tonight, the Rangers once again handled business in the Rock. Also handling business tonight was the Blue Jackets, who “Sanduskied” the Islanders, putting up a touchdown and the extra point, winning 7-0. The Rangers and their newest rival, the CBJ, skate at MSG on Sunday evening. I would give the Rangers the slight advantage, just because they are home. Whenever these two teams go at it, we’ve seen some good games, even if they all didn’t go the Rangers way. Should be a good one at the Garden.

Oh and because this more about the game experience for me and not about the game itself, I saved you my “Grabner on the PP” diatribe. For the record, the Rangers were 0-1 on the PP tonight.

See ya tomorrow night!

As always…

LET’S GO RANGERS

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

@NYCTHEMIC on twitter

Comments

  1. Thanks Sean, love the view from you! Before I moved to Fl in 84 my Dads co.had seats at the Meadowlands arena 4 rows behind the penalty boxes. I envy you seeing so many Ranger games, am glad you like to share,LGR!

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