NYR/WSH 2/28 Review: The “ShattenCup” & Thoughts on The Trade, Selling a NYR Cup Dream, Ovi & Lundqvist Still Vying for a Cup, NHL Screws Me Out of $400+, Rangers Lose To Washington For The 1st Time This Season, “The MeTRIO”, Rangers Injured; But AV Hurts The Team The Most & Much More From a Loss & a Trade That I Don’t Think Will Have Any Bearing on the Playoffs

If you didn’t hear, the Washington Capitals officially received Kevin Shattenkirk, late on Monday night.

What’s up everyone and welcome to another beautiful blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. There’s a lot to get into, so let’s get right to it.

The Rangers hosted and lost to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night, with a final of 4-1. I’m not angry about this loss, because in the big picture, it kinda works out for the Rangers. The number 1 wild card dream is looking more of a reality. Under the circumstances going into this game, I’m not aggravated with a loss to the Caps, especially since the team was 9-2-1 going into this tilt.

By now, you know there were two trades that affected both of these teams before this game was played.

Here are the official trades:

The Washington Capitals receive Kevin Shattenkirk. The St. Louis Blues receive a 2017 first round pick, Zach Sanford and a conditional second round pick. The Blues will also retain 39% of Shattenkirk’s salary cap hit.

The NY Rangers receive Brendan Smith. The Detroit Red Wings receive a 2018 second round pick (the pick NYR got from Ottawa in the Z-Bad trade) & a 2017 third round pick.

Obviously, the big prize is Kevin Shattenkirk.  Rangers GM, Jeff Gorton, said before the game that the price St. Louis wanted from NYR was too much. (Rumored to be Pavel Buchnevich or JT Miller in a package.) Ranger fans feel that Shattenkirk will be a Ranger next year anyway. However, is another 6-7 year contract for a defenseman something that you really want? I feel that if the Rangers pay the price for Shattenkirk during free agency, you will have another contract fans will be whining about in Year 3 or 4. How many defensemen get better as they hit 33, 34, 35 years of age?

It’s funny, before and after this trade, I read the twitter feeds of the Blues and Caps. I read fan blogs (who give you more passion and emotion than the local tabloid writers) from both teams. Universally, Blues fans were happy to lose Shattenkirk. Most felt that he’s overrated and is terrible defensively. In other words, he is a perfect Ranger!

Blues fans were happy to receive draft picks, even though they won’t be early picks, especially if Washington has the playoff run they are expecting.

For the Caps, this is their Keith Yandle deal. They are going all in. They have a bunch of quality players that will be free agents come July. As much as Ranger fans want to see Lundqvist get that Cup, the Capitals have that same feeling for Alex Ovechkin. The Caps are all-in, and why shouldn’t they be? They have a shot of winning the President Trophy in consecutive years. They’ve never been past the second round in the Era of Ovi. How much failure and heartbreak do they have to endure, before they say “fuck it” and push all the money to the center of the table?

Like Lundqvist, Ovi has a lot of hardware to his name, but has never touched the grandest prize in the sport.

I talked about this in the last Capitals vs Rangers game blog, but the careers of Ovechkin and Lundqvist are very similar. Many personal accolades but neither have yet to touch the Stanley Cup. You could make a case that they the two most deserving players in the league, for a Stanley Cup victory. While Ovechkin has had a solid core around him for some time (Winning two President Trophy’s in this time and perhaps a third this year), Lundqvist’s best teams have been around him when he wasn’t at his best. I still think the Lundqvist of 2012 wins the Cup in 2014 and Lundqvist of 2012 handles Tampa in 2015.

Lundqvist is having one of the worst seasons of his career this year and has struggled mightily against the MeTRIO (Pitt/WSH/CBJ) in recent games. I gave you the alarming stats Hank has against CBJ & Pitt in my last blog, where Hank is 1-6, 29 goals allowed and was pulled 4 times in those 7 starts. However, this year, against the first place team in the MeTRIO, Hank was 2-0 and has solid games against the Caps. For the first time this season, Lundqvist & the NY Rangers lost to the Capitals.

We’ve seen the Rangers time and time again make a big move at the deadline, in the hopes of winning a Cup. While I will always say that Lundqvist is a detriment to the team, cap-wise and trying to win a Cup for a team, you can’t deny the Rangers willingness to try to get him that Cup. Whether it be Marty St. Louis (2014), Keith Yandle (2015) or Eric Staal (2016), the Rangers have tried to retool and reload for a Cup run. However, whether it be blowing 2 goal leads left and right to LA (2014), giving up touchdowns to Tampa (2015) or just being the property of the Penguins (2016), Lundqvist & the Rangers couldn’t get it done.

While the Rangers have went nuts during the deadline in recent times, Washington never got the big fish. This year they did. This is a franchise that wants it just as bad as the Rangers. I really think that’s lost by fans of the Rangers. When fans say “the defense sucks”, “this sucks”, “this blows”, etc, fans of every franchise say that about their team. You will have the chart nerd fan in every fan base. You will have the optimist fan in every fan base. You will have the doom & gloom fan in every fan base. Shit, you will have the fan, like me, the silly blogger who hates the highest paid player on the team, in every fan base!

For Cap fans, they are kinda in awe that their team pulled off the big market move. Make no mistake – this was a move a big market team makes with (In this case “smaller”, not small) a lesser market. The Caps are a Cup contender. They are for real. Now, whether they make it out of the second round or not is another thing, but you can’t deny that management has given Barry Trotz the best chance possible.

Look at the trade itself. Washington gave up picks, picks that probably don’t crack the Caps roster any time soon. Not only did they not have to give up any of their key talent, they have St. Louis covering 39% of the salary to make the trade work under the ridiculously low salary cap. This is a similar deal that the Rangers made for Yandle two years ago.

I was surprised as much as Cap fans were, when I saw the Caps landed Shattenkirk. Photo Credit: CSN.

One thing about this trade ticked me off big time. I saw blogs and social media comments from Ranger fans who said that this means the Caps are winning the Cup. Some of these people who wrote this stuff, are the same people who cry and bitch when I say the Rangers won’t win a Cup with Lundqvist. While I don’t think the Rangers will win with Lundqvist, I still support the team and spend a lot of money on this franchise, with a glimmer of hope that it happens. (Stay tuned for my Detroit story at the end of this blog.)

Is everyone telling me that Kevin Shattenkirk is the missing piece for a Stanley Cup team? Do you think Pittsburgh gives two fucks? Why are Ranger fans scared then? The Rangers have handled the Caps this year, last year, the season before that, etc. Even despite tonight’s loss, I still truly believe the Rangers can beat the Caps in a best of 7 series. I’m not as confident playing CBJ or Pitt, as I outlined in my last blog (Which you can read on the homepage),  but if things stay the way they are now, you won’t have to worry about CBJ or Pitt until at least the ECF. You might not even see them there, if the Caps can eliminate one of these teams in the second round.

I know it’s odd for me, one of the most jaded fans of the franchise, to be selling hope and optimism, but with the way the playoffs are designed, the Rangers could easily find themselves in the ECF, even if they skate ass backwards. Does any team in the Atlantic truly scare you, as a Ranger fan? If you can roll through the Atlantic, play your best hockey in the ECF, then really, a Stanley Cup Finals isn’t that crazy to think of right now. Sure, 7 other teams in the conference are thinking the same way, but outside of Pittsburgh, I truly think the Rangers have a good of a shot as any.

I buy that Shattenkirk is a great player and will help Washington. I don’t buy that he swings a 7 game series with NYR & WSH. All we can hope for is that we find out come late May.

Meet the newest Rangers D-man, Brendan Smith. Photo credit: CSN

The Rangers added a D-man themselves today, in Brendan Smith. At best, he’s a third pair defenseman. If you’re looking at this glass half-full, you hope you get the same production out of him that the Rangers got out of Kevin Klein when he first got here. This seems more of  a roster depth move than anything else. However, the Rangers announced a ton of roster news today, so Smith will have his chance to prove himself sooner than later. In fact, it’s very likely he may get a shot on Thursday in Beantown.

The Rangers line-up for Tuesday’s game

The Rangers announced a bunch of roster news on Tuesday. Here’s the latest:

  • Dan Girardi is out 10-14 days, as he recovers from the nasty ankle injury he received after a blocking a shot several games ago. He got stitches for that one. I assume something flared up. That said, this could be a blessing in disguise. Let Girardi rest and let him be as healthy as possible for the playoffs. I know Ranger fans like to shit-talk him, but the guy is a warrior. If you give Lundqvist a pass for every bad goal, then you should afford the same luxury for a Girardi turnover. All he does is block shots and plays physical.
  • Pavel Buchnevich was sent down to the AHL. After not playing the last several games because of spasms, Buchenvich didn’t play Sunday night because of the flu. No word yet if he was sent down to the AHL as a way to add Smith to the roster. Pavel has been battling injuries all season, so maybe he needs some rehab work down in Hartford before rejoining the team. I wouldn’t look too deep into this as an indication of his play.
  • Zibanejad, listed above as playing, was a late scratch. He hurt his wrist in the Columbus game. Taking his spot was Matt Puempel.
  • With Girardi out of the line-up, Steven Kampfer was called up and made his debut with the team. I was interested to see how he would do, as he’s been in & out of the organization, yet never got to don the blue sweater. He was recently reclaimed by the team in the McIlrath trade.
  • Adam Clendening remained in the line-up for Kevin Klein.

Just moving ahead a little bit, during this game against Washington, Derek Stepan, Jesper Fast and Chris Kreider were all injured. Nothing looked too serious, but in this league where you don’t have to announce injuries (Every injury report lists guys as having an “upper” or “lower” body injury, but nothing specific), who knows the severity of the injuries?

I will say, if you’re gonna have injuries, tonight was the night to get hurt, since this gives Gorton some wiggle room to add depth, if need be. Who do you add? Tough to say. Jarome Iginla could probably be had for a cheap price and would fit in if anyone is truly hurt. Ditto for Shane Doan, who looks like he’s open to finally leaving Arizona and trying to “Ray Bourque” it. However, if everyone is healthy, it’s gonna be tough to tell Iginla that he’s a healthy scratch. The Rangers still could use a D-man. It would be a wet dream to see Anton Stralman return to the club. I really don’t know who’s in Gorton’s radar and I guess we’ll find out what happens at 3PM tomorrow, when the deadline expires.

2200 words and not even a peep about tonight’s game! Let’s get into it. First the box score from ESPN.com:

1st Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail WSH NYR
5:08
Brady Skjei (3)
Assists: Adam Clendening, J.T. Miller
0 1
Time Team Penalty Detail
8:09
John Carlson: 2 Minutes for Tripping
11:02
Evgeny Kuznetsov: 2 Minutes for Cross checking

2nd Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail WSH NYR
7:28
Marcus Johansson (20)
Assists: Dmitry Orlov, Evgeny Kuznetsov
1 1
16:26
Brett Connolly (13)
Assists: Matt Niskanen, Lars Eller
2 1
Time Team Penalty Detail
0:35
Marc Staal: 2 Minutes for Cross checking
7:07
Adam Clendening: 5 Minute Major for Fighting
7:07
Daniel Winnik: 5 Minute Major for Fighting

3rd Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail WSH NYR
1:15
Marcus Johansson (21)
Assists: Evgeny Kuznetsov, Matt Niskanen
3 1
17:57
Nicklas Backstrom (19) (Power Play)
Assists: Marcus Johansson, John Carlson
4 1
Time Team Penalty Detail
8:56
Nicklas Backstrom: 2 Minutes for Interference
13:43
Dmitry Orlov: 2 Minutes for Interference
17:13
Ryan McDonagh: 2 Minutes for Holding

Goaltending Summary

Washington Capitals Goaltending

Player SA GA Saves SV% TOI PIM
B. Holtby 30 1 29 .967 60:00 0

New York Rangers Goaltending

Player SA GA Saves SV% TOI PIM
H. Lundqvist 38 4 34 .895 59:23 0

Another Jekyll & Hyde game for the Rangers. Pic credit: BGO.com

Like many games this season, this was another Jekyll and Hyde game for the New York Rangers. Going into this game, I thought this game favored Washington, unlike the last time these two teams played. The Rangers were banged up a bit and Washington had an extra pep to their step, with Shattenkirk suited & ready to go. While Clendening has been with the team all season, you only had 2/3 of the Rangers starting defense out there. You were missing Zibanejad and as the game went along, other players got hurt.

For the first period, the Rangers dominated this game. They brought it to the Caps and Holtby. They scored the only goal in the period and hit 3 posts/crossbars. However, after a disallowed Grabner goal in the second period, the game was all downhill from there. The Rangers, and this is no excuse, could never find their mojo after that reversal. The Caps just brought it and the Rangers looked tired and beat up. The second period changed the flow of this game completely. The Rangers, the best scoring third period team in the NHL, couldn’t muster up a goal. The Caps just ran them down and it was tough to watch. Something to be concerned about? Again, the team wasn’t healthy, so to go nuts about this, I’m not buying it.

The Rangers were all over the Caps in the first period. Adam Clendening, JT Miller & Brady Skjei rushed up the ice 5 minutes into the period. In a play that I’m sure AV drew up (I’m joking!) they produced a bing bang boom goal. It was a work of art. If you had Skjei & Clendening as your point producers tonight, give yourself a pat on the pack.

While on Clendo – he’s been producing a bunch of points recently. Perhaps he should remain in the line-up full time, but come playoffs, who do you sit? Klein? I just don’t see the Rangers sitting Girardi, for the same reasons I don’t see Raanta playing for Lundqvist. Just too much money & history with those guys.

After the first period, despite 3 shots, all you could say was “SHATTEN-WHO?” Shattenkirk wouldn’t produce a point tonight, despite the Ranger woes in the next 40 minutes. Keep in mind, Shattenkirk just joined the team, so it’s gonna take a bit before he’s acclimated to everything there. Regardless, I still believe that the Rangers can beat this team in a 7 game series.

The second period was a disaster. It all went downhill after Grabner scored a goal. Caps coach Barry Trotz (who won his 700th game tonight, so congrats to him) challenged the goal for being offside. After a ruling that felt so long that I thought the trade deadline had passed, the officials reversed the goal. Listen, if it takes 20 minutes for you to reverse a goal, chances are that it was a good goal. I get reversing blatant things, but to sit there and try to find an offense is detrimental to the game. If these rules were in play in the 80’s, how many goals would Gretzky have?

Instead of a 2-1 Rangers lead, the game remained 1-1. Before the Grabner play, Marcus Johansson scored 7 minutes into the period. He grabbed a juicy rebound, left in front of the net and beat Hank. Even at 1-1, I still thought the Rangers were playing well, but that reversal really changed everything.

With Grabner’s goal being erased, the Caps would score nearly a minute later. Brett Connolly scored one on one of the sloppiest plays of the season. After a turnover and failing to regain control of the puck, Connolly beat Lundqvist on a shot that looked like it came out of a lacrosse stick. It was a weird play. The puck was all over the place, the Rangers couldn’t get to it and in the end Connolly kinda scooped the puck into the net. It was just one of those things. I wouldn’t call it a fluke goal, just a weird goal as a result of overall sloppiness from the Rangers.

2-1 after 40 minutes. Despite losing this game, the Rangers never give up and I was expecting a comeback. However, they just couldn’t keep up with the Caps tonight.

Johansson would score a minute into the third period off a deflection. The Rangers would skate around and looked hurried when firing off low quality shots. Alain Vigneault, taking a page out of Patrick Roy’s book, pulled Lundqvist with three minutes to go. However, Ryan McDonagh took a stupid penalty and Washington went on the PP. Nicklas Backstrom would easily score on Lundqvist with just over 2 minutes remaining in the game. 4-1, game, set and match.

For the record, in his last two games against the MeTRIO, Hank has given up 9 goals. The two other Vezina goalies, Bobrovsky & Holtby, have given up 3 goals combined to the Rangers. King!

Perhaps AV has trouble understanding my English. Here are my thoughts in French!

If there is one thing that set me off and had me screaming at my TV like a mad man, it was AV’s refusal to use Grabner on the PP. I know I have given these speeches and diatribes before on this blog, but really – WHAT THE FUCK AV? Do I have to spell it out in French for you?

UTILISEZ GRABNER SUR LE JEU DE PUISSANCE!

The Rangers would go 0-4 on the PP tonight. It was a fucking joke. I bet you the bathroom & beer lines at M$G were packed during the Rangers PP tonight, because fans know they aren’t missing anything, outside of a few Lundqvist saves.

During one Ranger PP, the Caps all rushed to the net. Lundqvist cleared the puck and had to put his net back on the moorings while the Rangers skated on their own dicks in the other end. (Actually that’s a poor choice in words and a bad visual!)

For real, the PP SUCKED ASS. I believe it’s now 0-25 and 12 straight games without a PPG. What the fuck does AV need to see? He is more delusional than a scientologist.

I have ALWAYS and still defend AV to this day. However, I don’t get it. I don’t know if Grabner wouldn’t buy AV’s daughter’s girl scout cookies, if he had an affair with AV’s wife or if he wouldn’t share his gum with him, but there is no reason to keep your best scorer on the bench during every fucking PP. Especially tonight, when Zibanejad was injured. Hayes & Miller, Grabner’s usual linemates, got PP time. What more do you need to see? Do you need Mike Babcock to tell you what to do here too? (Babcock told AV to use Nash on the PK.)

As fans, all we can do is be emotionally invested in a game. I can bitch about Hank’s contract all I want, but it’s not going to change. However, this is something that could be and should be changed. It amazes me how not one person on the MSG networks or in the press question AV about this. Let Grabner Make The Rangers PP Watchable Again!

John Giannone gets these seats for free!

On the MSG Network guys, I thought they had a good game. I had a good laugh watching John Gianonne, FROM THE PROJECTS IN BOONTON (Refer to the archives for the history on that joke) trying to eavesdrop a Mats Zuccarello conversation, after Zucc knocked Holtby over in the third period.  The man gets paid to sit between the benches, eavesdrop and gossip. It’s the dream job of a hockey yenta!

I thought Al Trautwig was a flip-flopper all game. He started the pre-game show by saying that losing tonight’s game wasn’t a bad thing, for the obvious Wild Card reasons. He then called this game a huge game a half hour later. How is it a huge game if losing is ok? I do like how Al is behind the Rangers losing. However,  it is no surprise that he can’t say that he’s scared of Lundqvist vs Pittsburgh.

Joe Micheletti, who I have given a lot of shit to this season, had one of his best games of the season. I thought I was in the twilight zone. After what was an extremely easy period for Lundqvist in the first, Micheletti said just that, “this was an easy period for Lundqvist.”  When Lundqvist gave up a bad goal, Micheletti didn’t make up an excuse for him. I doubt it’s my criticisms of Joe that warranted the change, but the change was noticed and appreciated.

Speaking of twilight zone moments, how about Lundqvist stoning Ovechkin all game and making two really good outlet passes? It still perplexes me that Hank can make these monumental big saves, but then get beat on some silly shit.

Now onto something that made me more mad than watching the Rangers PP…

A friend of mine from the wrestling world made this documentary several years ago. I never knew the NHL would throw it in my face!

Steve Valiquette, who probably has the makings of an NHL coach at some level one day, tweeted something out this afternoon that made my heart drop. No, it wasn’t that Talbot was traded to the Islanders. It was that the Red Wings / Rangers 3/12 game was being moved from 12:30PM to 7PM.

Every season, as you know from these blogs, I budget my money to go on road trips. This season, I cut out the number of home games I attend and used the money to go on trips to see different arenas, as I work on my bucket list of attending a Ranger game in every arena. There are some arenas I attend more than once, such as Montreal, because it’s a beautiful city. If you count the Rock & Barclays, I visit them multiple times too.

Originally this season, my crew was planning a California loop trip. Due to work and scheduling, we all couldn’t go. So we decided to hope that next year, we can do that trip and hope that Vegas is on the same loop. Instead, we are going to do weekend games in Detroit and Ottawa. We figured Detroit was a must, because they are getting a new arena next season and it will be our last time to see The Joe.

Last week, we booked the flights, the hotel (In Windsor, Canada, because everyone has told me that Detroit is a dump & your leisure time is better spent in Canada.) & everything else. Since the game was scheduled for 12:30PM on a Sunday, we figured we could catch a 8:30PM flight on Sunday night.

That was of course, until I received this email:

Important Information Regarding Your Detroit Red Wings Tickets: Detroit Red Wings game on 3/12/2017 has changed and the game will now start at 7:00 PM.


The event time for the Sunday, March 12 Detroit Red Wings game at the Joe Louis Arena has changed and the game will now start at 7:00 PM.

Your tickets are yours to use at the new time – new tickets are not needed!

Well isn’t that fucking great? Of course, I have a non-refundable flight out of Detroit at 8:30PM Sunday night, or in other words, about halfway into the second period. To change the flight costs $360, not to mention I will need a hotel for Sunday night now. I am better off booking a new one-way flight for $260. I could also gamble, and hope that we have bad weather on that day, and all flights are canceled. In either event, this TV change is screwing me out of money. What was a cheap trip now is adding up because the NHL wants to change the time and for what – Brendan Smith?

I’m shit out of luck. Expedia isn’t going to refund my flight. The NHL isn’t going to pay me my travel changes. I know it’s a home game in Detroit, but it’s stuff like this that turns off the hardcores & a slap in the face. At least the Yankees didn’t start their season before changing the start of the Derek Jeter Retirement Night game because of TV.

Even if you’re a Wing fan, maybe you got work Monday morning and bought tickets for that Sunday game, knowing you would be home early and ready for work the next day.

Part of me now just wants to cancel my hotel (I can at least do that) and eat $300 on my flight, rather than spending an extra $400+ to see the Joe. Changing the start of a game nearly two weeks before it is bullshit. I just know that from now on, I’ll only book flights the day after a game, since the NHL can now change times at will for TV & money reasons. It sucks that a traveling fan has to pay more money while the NHL tries to capitalize on a time slot to draw people.

And please NBC – save me the rivalry night bullshit. The Wings were in the West forever and outside of Gordie Howe turning the Rangers down & Giacomin playing there for a bit, no Ranger fan hates the Wings and vice-versa. I also love how NBC sells rivalry night with fighting clips from 1975, despite fighting being eliminated from today’s game. What a joke.

I know this is a personal issue and I’m more mad that I have to pay more money for this trip. It’s just the principle (and yes, the money too) that pisses me off. TV $ will always come before the fan. I should’ve seen it coming. I doubt the Red Wings, the Rangers, or the NHL will reimburse me for this trip!

Rangers lose, NHL screws me out of money…. here’s a happy  picture of my girlfriend’s cat celebrating Fat Tuesday. Little known secret, I’m the ghost writer of his blog that you’re reading!

The Rangers lose to another MeTRIO team tonight. As stated, I’m not really worried about tonight, because the Rangers had a lot against them.

Updated MeTRIO standings:

Metropolitan Division
GP
W
L
OTL
P
GF
GA
Diff
L10
STRK
Capitals
62
42
13
7
91
207
134
73
7-2-1
W1
Blue Jackets
61
39
16
6
84
199
146
53
6-3-1
L1
Penguins
61
38
15
8
84
213
171
42
5-2-3
L1
Rangers
63
40
21
2
82
207
168
39
6-3-1
L2
Islanders
61
29
22
10
68
180
182
-2
6-4-0
L1

With 14 points over the Islanders and 13 points over the second wild card today, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Rangers have a firm grasp of the first wild card. It’s tough to see them choking the first wild card spot away. What is more believable is the Rangers catching and surpassing Columbus, thus drawing a first round series with the Penguins. We know the deal here. We can’t root for tanking, but we can give a fist pump that the standings look like this.

If everything stays the same, the Rangers would get Montreal in the first round, then either the Senators, Bruins or Panthers in the second. Does this really scare anyone? Montreal is no walk over, but NYR can beat these guys. It’s better than the alternative.

The trade deadline will expire today at 3PM. If anything major happens, I’ll try to post something. If not, see you Thursday after Boston.

For the Ranger fans going crazy after tonight’s loss, relax, the odds were not in our favor tonight.

As always,

LET’S GO RANGERS

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

@NYCTHEMIC on the tweeter.

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