What’s up everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Tonight, I’ll be looking at the Rangers pedestrian 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars. However, let’s recap the busy news day first. Between all the Ranger rumblings, this late start (puck drop was 8:45pm EST) and my crappy computer, it’s 11:30 as I start this. As you may know, I got a 4:30am alarm clock, so let’s roll.
Like a tornado meeting a volcano, Rangerstown looks like the Streets of Philadelphia right now. And that isn’t an AIDS joke, although this Rangers team has been lacking white blood cells all season. Might explain why they look so damn tired and beat up all the time.
Speaking of Philadelphia – fuck Philadelphia. No congratulations for their Superbowl win from me. Yes, I’m a hater, but PHUCK PHILLY! The whole city is full of trash fans and inbreds. The only good thing the city has going for it is that it was integral in the birth of this nation. Oh, and the Rocky movies. Everything else? Trash. Philly cheesesteaks? I’ve had better ones NY. The Flyers? Trash. The 76ers? Trash. Yuengling? Trash. Bars closing at 1AM? Trash. The Ben Franklin bridge? Trash. Nascar love? Trash. ECW? How long did that last?
And to my point, I always knew Philadelphia sport fans were full of shit. Leave it to them to prove it to me:
As you can tell, you’re here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com and I’m making friends as usual!
Before getting into tonight’s game with Dallas, there is a ton of Rangers news going on. However, first up, it’s the cheap plugs. In case you missed them, here my last few blogs:
NYR/NSH 2/3 Review: The True Turning Point Loss of the Season as Nashville Exposes Every NYR Weakness, The Cats Win the Tim Donaghy Cup, Hockey Remains Hot in Tennessee, Tanner Glass > Cody McLeod, Two More NYR Join the IR, Embarrassing Game For the League, The Lundqvist Debate Rages On, Predicting 30, & Much More
NYR/TOR 2/1 Review: New Winter Jersey’s But Same Old Rangers, The Leafs Take the Rake to Lundqvist For The Third Time This Season, Rangers Look Depressed (#BellLetsTalk), Root Canals, We Want Lettieri, Silly Charts, New & Improved Website & Much More From a Possible Playoff Ouster
New York Rangers At the All-Star Break: Larry Brooks Drops an Atomic Bomb on Rangerstown, The West Coast Trip, Looking at a Potential Rebuild & Why I’m Against It Happening NOW, NYR Screws Season Subscribers Again, Why Henrik Lundqvist To the NJ Devils is a Win-Win, Defending Duguay, Where AV Stands All-Time Among Ranger Coaches & Many More Thoughts & Opinions on Our Beloved Blueshirts
NYR/COL 1/20 Review: Government Shutdown Apparently Affects NYR’s Offense, The Ranger-Pack Can’t Dig Themselves Out, Nash Goes Cold in Denver, Shatty Joins The Cast of ER: M$G, Will Joe Micheletti Break Up His Daughter’s Marriage, Upcoming Cali Trip & More From a Loss You Can’t Be Mad About
NYR/BUF 1/18 Review: Rangers Get Nashty In Victory Over Their HEATED WINTER CLASSIC RIVALS, Miller Sticks The Knife Back Into Buffalo Again, PP Issues, WE WANT GRABNER, MSG Networks Staff, #EXTENDAV, Injuries, Big Road Trip Ahead & More Thoughts About the First Wild Card Rangers
Where to start, where to start? As I said in my last blog, I thought Marc Staal and Jimmy Vesey would both be added to the scratch list, due to concussions. As we’d find out on Sunday, both men are dealing with issues. Vesey is ruled out indefinitely, as he is, in fact, dealing with a concussion. For Marc Staal, he’s out with a cervical strain.
Filip Forsberg, not penalized for the dirty and late hit on Jimmy Vesey, was suspended for three games. Of course, there was no punishment for the referees that worked the NYR/Nashville game. As usual, there is just no accountability with these officials and that’s a major problem with the league.
I have always felt, ever since the Todd Bertuzzi/Steve Moore incident, that if you deliberately hurt someone, you should get an eye-for-an-eye suspension, meaning that you’re suspended until the player you hurt can come back. I’d also add a season-long max cap, meaning that if a player is unable to ever return, the offending player would have to sit out 82 straight games. In other words, I wouldn’t let Forsberg play until Vesey was ready to play. This type of punishment would make players second think about dirty hits. Want to teach an athlete a lesson? Hit them in the pocket book.
In the case of the Emelin hit on Staal, I said it in my last blog and I still feel this way – it was a clean play. It was not deliberate. Emelin didn’t get a suspension, nor did I think he should’ve. It was a play at the corner boards, and things get dicey there. I can’t punish a guy for playing the game tough and the right way. It was just one of those unfortunate plays, with the unlucky victim of circumstance being Marc Staal.
In the case of Marc Staal, as I said in my last blog, I think you gotta start thinking of the “R” word, as in “Retirement.” You’re 31 years old, have millions and millions in the bank, and you’re one hit away from being a vegetable. You have a wife and three kids. You’re set for life financially. Being a once great defensemen, I’m sure Staal could land a TV gig somewhere. After all, Joe Micheletti did, and he was the shits on the ice and he’s currently the shits in the booth.
I doubt Marc Staal will ever read these words, but you don’t want to live in a fog/daze your whole entire life. Quit while you’re ahead.
As sadistic as this may sound, this Emelin hit on Staal might actually work out for the Rangers. If the Rangers are rebuilding, and it seems that way, Marc Staal and his contract are both things that need to go. If Staal retires, his contract comes off the books and so does his roster spot. Yes, I know that’s cold, but I’m just thinking about the Rangers and their goal of winning a Stanley Cup.
Prior to Staal’s latest injury, I have been a big proponent of seeing him being dealt elsewhere. Just because he’s hurt, it doesn’t mean I feel any different about his future with this team. I am not a complete asshole, devoid of any empathy here, because I sympathize for what he’s going through. I know that no athlete wants to end their career on an injury. I totally get that.
That said, for a second, just forget about what Staal has done for this team in the past. Yes, he’s the second longest tenured Ranger on the team, but along with the longest tenured Ranger on the team, in Henrik Lundqvist, both need to go, for any type of a real rebuild to work. The Rangers gotta shed these bad contacts and create a new young core. This core failed and it’s time to move on.
While a Staal retirement would be the best thing to happen after this Emelin hit, I can’t say I’m rooting for it. I can’t sit here and say I’m rooting for a guy to be brutally injured so bad, that he is forced to retire. I’m just saying, Staal has a huge history with concussions and as a human being, especially one with three little kids, it’s just not worth it, especially since you’re financially stable. That’s all. I hope that came off right, although I’m sure I’ll be the target of some vitriol after this blog becomes public.
The Rangers, who have been on a perpetual free-fall, really, ever since Kreider was ruled out indefinitely with a blood clot, have finally made a step forward in the rebuild process. While the Rangers have yet to comment on a rebuild and Rick Nash publicly (AV also dodged the question today, saying that his focus was on Dallas), Rick Nash, the first target in the Rangers rebuild, did comment.
Let’s go to the timeline of the Jay Glazer of hockey, Bob McKenzie: (And yes, I know people will be upset about me comparing Glazer to McKenzie, but that’s what makes me laugh.)
NYR have requested Rick Nash’s No-Trade list and Nash gave it to the club yesterday. The list is 18 teams Nash cannot be traded to (unless he were to waive his NTC). Conversely, NYR now have the green light to trade Nash to the 12 teams not on the list.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 5, 2018
I would imagine the 12 teams Nash is willing to go to are teams he believes would give him the best shot to compete for the Cup and would either have the need for a scoring (rental) winger and/or be willing to pay the price.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 5, 2018
Of course, the alternate strategy for turning a modified NTC into a virtual full NTC is to allow trades only to teams you know wouldn’t want you — non playoff teams, those not needing scoring help — or teams NYR not likely to deal with etc. That gives player more control.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 5, 2018
After Bob McKenzie’s tweets, Rick Nash responded to the media. You can watch John Giannone’s interview with Nash here:
— MSG Networks (@MSGNetworks) February 6, 2018
Here are the key quotes from Nash’s interview:
“It’s disappointing, it sucks. I love being a Ranger, love being in New York. It’s just the things that happen when your team doesn’t win and they have to make business decisions. It’s really disappointing.”
“I have no idea how I’m going to explain to my son that he can’t cheer for the Rangers. That definitely went through my head. Every time he sees a goal, he starts singing the song. It’s tough, but it’s the reality. It’s the business side of it. When you go through certain things of where you could end up, you definitely think about your family and your kids and the best situation to win. I mean, it’s tough.”
“Sometimes these things don’t happen and we can move on and everything will be great — I can stay a Ranger, live in New York and it’s the best. I haven’t been to that thought process just yet.”
After Nash’s comments, Michael Grabner, who would also fetch a decent return, was also thought to be on the trading block. NHL reporters are now reporting, that Nash & Grabner, who are the two most likely to be dealt for a return of prospects & picks, would have their chance at Cup run elsewhere, then return to NYR during the off-season.
I know, I know, this is a lot to all take in! Let’s break it down.
With the Rangers losing tonight, the tumble to the bottom and perhaps landing a high draft pick, is starting to look more likelier than a playoff berth. It’s just one of those seasons, with injuries also playing a huge factor in the Rangers demise. It’s still funny, for as bad as they are, they are only a two game win streak from a playoff berth.
It’s worth watching the Giannone interview with Nash above. You really get a sense of Rick Nash, the human versus Rick Nash, the guy who hasn’t lived up to his contract. Rick Nash wants to stay here and made it adamant – he doesn’t want to be traded, but understands why if a trade happens. I wouldn’t rule out a Rick Nash trade, only for Nash to re-sign with the Rangers next season, for half the money he’s making now. It seems like he’s really fallen in love with the NYC lifestyle and would take less money to play here. That’s more than I can say for King Ego.
If I was Nash, and being under the thinking that I don’t want to be traded, when the Rangers gave me the ultimatum of giving them the 12 teams I would accept a trade to, I would’ve listed every Metropolitan team on my list. Why? Chances are, the Rangers won’t find an easy trading partner with any of the Metro teams. I’d also list Vegas and Tampa, the two teams at the top of the league. That’s 9 teams right there. The Leafs, Predators and Sharks would also be my other options. I know people are talking Winnipeg, but in a recent poll of NHL players, Winnipeg is ranked as the worst city in the league to play in. It’s a sea of depression and always freezing. Who wants that?
We all know the deal with Nash. He’s a good guy. He’s a family man. He’s been a great two-way player. The biggest knock on him is his lack of scoring when you look at his salary. If this wasn’t the cap era, Ranger fans would appreciate Rick Nash more. However, like me always knocking Lundswiss for his disgusting contract, many fans knock Nash. I get it. For the money, he had to score more.
When the Rick Nash NYR chapter is over (and like I said, there could be a sequel, as early as next season) I think he will be remembered as a decent Ranger, but at the end of the day, a disappointment. Concussions hurt his production for periods of time. However, when you look at the stats, the goals just weren’t there, which were envisioned when the Rangers traded for him.
It should be interesting to see if Nash is wearing Broadway Blue come this Wednesday.
I was absolutely shocked when the Rangers didn’t bring Lettieri back up to the team after the All Star break. With the recent injuries to Vesey and Buchnevich, the Rangers finally brought Lettieri back into the mix. The result in his first game back? A turnover, a winning battle and an assist. That’s more than I can say for guys like Zibanejad, Zuccarello, Hayes, etc. Why the Rangers kept Lettieri in Hartford for so long, then leave him there after the All Star break, is beyond me. I’d like to see a member of the media question AV about that one.
With Lettieri back in the line-up, the Rangers looked to end the madness. Instead, Lundqvist lost his 6th straight game and the Rangers only have three regulation wins in their last 19 games. Not the recipe for success. Dallas, having a bounce-back season, is currently the first wild card in the Western Conference. However, it seems no one in Dallas gives a shit, as evident based on ticket prices for tonight’s game:
I’m already 2500+ words in, 4 hours away from my alarm clock and my pillow is calling me. Let’s breeze through another disaster, but first, the ESPN.com box score. As always, look at the shots on goal & special team stats:
1st Period Summary
||David Desharnais (6)
Assists: Vinni Lettieri, J.T. Miller
||Brendan Smith: 2 Minutes for Interference of Antoine Roussel|
||Rick Nash: 2 Minutes for High-sticking Antoine Roussel|
||Nick Holden: 2 Minutes for Delaying the game|
2nd Period Summary
||Tyler Seguin (26)
Assists: Jason Spezza, Alexander Radulov
||Julius Honka: 2 Minutes for Slashing Brendan Smith|
||Alexander Radulov: 2 Minutes for Hooking Jesper Fast|
||Mattias Janmark: 2 Minutes for Hooking Brendan Smith|
3rd Period Summary
||Martin Hanzal (5) (Power Play)
Assists: Julius Honka, Esa Lindell
||Anthony DeAngelo: 2 Minutes for Hooking Martin Hanzal|
||Anthony DeAngelo: 2 Minutes for Tripping Tyler Seguin|
In the Rangers 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars tonight, it’s amazing the score wasn’t more of a disparity. However, like the last time these two teams played, Dallas struggled to score on the Rangers.
ONDREJ THE GIANT, who picked up a point, in a 44 save, 2-1 shoot-out loss, on 12/11, to these Dallas Stars, saw starting Rangers netminder, Henrik Lundqvist, lose in regulation, while picking up 39 saves, in this 2-1 regulation loss. I mention this, because all you see all over the NYR media is how “THIS GAME WAS CARRIED BY LUNDQVIST” and all that rhetoric. Not mentioned once, is how Pavelec, for $7.5M less, had a more impressive game, against this same Dallas Stars club. I’m not taking anything away from Lundqvist’s performance tonight, but it’s things like this that proves my point – you can’t win a Cup when your main focus is your starting goalie.
In fact, this game was reminiscent of previous Ben Bishop vs Henrik Lunqvist battles, from seasons ago, and once again the Bishop took the King. While both goalies were stellar and with Lundqvist handling the heavier work load, it was perhaps Ben Bishop’s superior puck handling skills, that was the difference. I’ll get into why below.
Two notes from the NYR pregame show on the M$G Networks. For the people on the #FIREAV train, you would love what Dave Maloney said, as he pretty much buried AV for the team’s uninspiring performances.
From the analyst-doing-his-homework department, Steve Valiquette raved about the season Alexander Radulov was having. While Radulov didn’t score tonight, he was flying all over the ice. Vally said Radulov wanted cookies. After tonight’s game, it looked like had the whole fucking bakery. The first line for Dallas, was truly night and day, when compared to their Ranger counterparts.
The game started off with Lundqvist making a pretty strong save. It would be an omen for the rest of the period, as Lundqvist would stop all 21 first period shots faced. A much better showing than his last few games, where he was giving up four goals a night and pulled in two of his last three starts.
I thought Kevin Hayes was absolutely the shits tonight. There’s no other way of saying it. The Rangers would kill two back-to-back penalties in the first period. On both of them, Hayes was left all alone and in front of Bishop. On the first PK, instead of shooting, he made a crappy pass for the turnover. On the second PK, instead of making a move to the net, he slowed down and turnt the puck over again. At the very least, dump the puck and don’t give the opposing team short ice.
If anything comes out of this, I hope Hayes is forced to attend the Vinni Lettieri “SHOOT THE FUCKING PUCK” hockey camp, in Little Italy, this Summer.
The game, which looked dark on TV, probably due to the reflection of all the empty seats, sounded extremely quiet as well. The last time Dallas was so quiet, it was November 22nd, 1963. However, on that day, Lee Harvey Oswald had more shots than the Rangers did. SAD!
Oh and Rangers tough guy, Cody McLeod? Well he’s your Jack Ruby, as he’s just a fraud. Get him out of here. Bring back Glass. If the team is gonna suck, pay a guy who wants to be here and will give it his all. There was even a play in this game, where Cody fake tough guy’d it and waited for a referee to be in-between he and Stephen Johns, of the Starts, before mouthing off. I know it’s only 3 games, but I’ve seen enough. Goodbye.
In the first period, the Rangers killed off two penalties, with Smith taking another dumbass penalty and Nash being caught for a high sticking that’s rarely ever called.
With under two minutes remaining in the first period, I felt vindicated a bit, as Vinni Lettieri would produce the “Lone Ranger” goal. Lettieri forced a turnover, battled, skated up ice and found David Desharnais, wide open, in front of Bishop and Double D got the G. 1-0 good guys.
The Rangers put the Stars on the PP to close the period, when Holden delayed the game. Still, despite a potent Dallas offense, the Rangers fended them off and were blocking shots left and right. 1-0, good guys, after twenty. Really impressive, considering the Rangers were being out-shot, 21-9.
With the Rangers killing off the end of the Holden penalty, at the beginning of the second period, the Rangers tried to muster up some offense. However, Bishop did his job and wouldn’t give up another goal for the rest of the game.
What drove me up a fucking wall, was that the Rangers would get three powerplays in this period. On every single PP, despite 78678678968968 injuries, Michael Grabner remains stapled to the bench. WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU HAVE TO LOSE? I’ve always defended AV here, but there’s no explanation that will do here. Again, if I’m Grabner’s agent, I’d be flipping out too, especially in a contract year. Save me the skill set shit, the Rangers don’t score on the PP as it is and why not take a chance with your best goal scorer?
Also worth keeping track of – Mika Zibanejad remains a shell of his former self. Just not the same player since returning. Makes me nervous when it comes to Jimmy the Kid and the Commie.
This game was not a good one for the MSG announcers. Sam Rosen, a Hall of Famer, continues to slip. Let’s face it, hockey is the hardest game to call, because it’s so fast and you’re trying to keep track of 10 skaters and 2 goalies. Line changes are more frequent than ever, so it’s a lot to keep track of. This isn’t baseball, with a minute in between pitches or football, with 40 seconds between plays. Hockey is non-stop and it’s a lot for anyone.
Sam Rosen, as he approaches senility, made a major gaffe in this game. Tyler Seguin would blast a shot past Lundqvist and Rosen started seeing things. He said the ref was waving off the goal, when in reality, the ref was making the hand motion that it was a good goal. On the MSG Networks feed, they didn’t show this replay, perhaps in an effort to protect Sam. The Dallas Stars feed, well that’s a different story.
Making matters worse, the guys in the booth had to see the replay. Instead of admitting a mistake, dumbass Micheletti doubled-down and tried to validate Sam’s mistake. Micheletti is as useless as tits on a bull or a work suit for an Eagles fan.
I’m a Rosen fan, but let’s face it, we’re only a season away or two from this:
Sam Rosen: “IT’S LETTIERI TO PETR NEDVED AND IT’S A POWERPLAY GOAL!”
Joe Micheletti: “Pardon me Sam, but that was Lettieri to Zibanejad, and that footage is from warm-ups before the game.
Sam Rosen: “Excuse me Joe, but WHAT A SAVE FROM LUNDQVIST!”
(MSG cameras show the new Rangers back-up goalie, Alex Georgiev, in net.)
Joe Micheletti: “BOY, WOULD I LIKE TO SUCK LUNDQVIST’S HOG!”
Sam Rosen: “You could put that Swedish meat on your Papajohn’s Pizza!”
Joe Micheletti: “Pardon me Sam, I gotta use the mens room.”
Sam Rosen: “This Joe Micheletti erection has been brought to you by Pallmall cigarettes!”
Joe Micheletti: “Pardon me Sam, but Pallmall hasn’t been an advertiser since the 1950’s and they never advertised on TV.”
Sam Rosen: “AND IT’S A POWER PLAY GOAL FOR BRIAN MULLEN! OH BABY! LET’S LOOK AT THAT REPLAY JD!
Joe Micheletti: <Muttering to himself> Aw fuck it. GREAT CALL SAM AND WHAT ANOTHER GREAT SAVE FROM HENRIK LUNDQVIST!
Fuck, I’m wasting too much time here.
How about this key stat from the game: Mats Zuccarello was named NYR player of the week. His accomplishments? One assist and two blocks. Yep, it’s been that type of season.
Oh and for reader Al Demauro, with each passing game, Zuccarello, despite everyone loving him & I get it, I’m one of those people too, he’s becoming more tradeable. The numbers aren’t there and if you want to blow it up, as much as I’d hate to see him go, it’s not like he’s lighting the place on fire either.
1-1 after two periods.
In the third period, Julius Honka, which is a great porn name, blasted a shot from deep, while on the powerplay. (That sentence also sounds pornographic.) Martin Hanzal tipped the puck by Lundqvist and just like that, it was 2-1, bad guys, with 16 minutes remaining.
As talked about above, this was the difference between a goalie who can play the puck, like Bishop and a goalie who can’t, like Lundqvist. The Stars were on the PP. The Rangers cleared the puck, but before they could change, Bishop met the puck and flung a two-line pass. This kept the Rangers on their heels, gave the Stars open ice on the PP and created chaos for the Rangers PK. The result? A Stars PPG, which turned out being the GWG.
However, it was still only 2-1, with plenty of time left, but there’s just no desperation from these Rangers. Give Paul Bearer’s brother, Ken Hitchcock, some credit here too. He adjusted to the game and with a third period lead, stifled the Rangers offensively.
I mean look at the SOG stat again. The Rangers only got 11 shots off, but not many of them were of high quality. Lettieri kept shooting his balls off, but guys like Hayes, Zibanejad, Nash and really, every other veteran, didn’t do much of anything. For as much as I like to bring up Lundqvist’s faults in losses, this was another game this season, where the Rangers wasted a vintage Lundqvist start. It’s just been very rare that Lunqvist and the team are clicking, as one, on any given night.
As we got to the former FOXWOODS FINAL FIVE (Hi Gideon, look no ethnic jokes in this one, unless you count Philadelphia fans as real human beings) the Rangers remained flat as a 2 liter bottle of Crystal Pepsi. When it came time to pull Lundqvist, be honest – did any of you guys think the Rangers would score? They don’t have an extra attacker/6 v 5 goal this season. Why start now? If you are TEAM TANK, you’re probably happy they didn’t score, but for reasons stated in my last blog, I was frustrated to see them fail again.
With 1:11 left, the Rangers called a timeout and tried to set up a play, under master strategist, Scott Arniel. Six seconds later, the Rangers were short-handed, after Tony Deangelo didn’t trust Ryan McDonagh to break up a Stars empty net opportunity.
To put the cherry on top, the Rangers pulled Lundqvist again, with Dallas on their PP. So you had 5 vs 5 and the Rangers net empty. Kevin Hayes got the puck and instead of trying to do anything offensive with it, despite there only being 30 seconds left in the game, just dumped the puck. What am even watching anymore?
2-1 Dallas, your final. This has been a horrible week for Giants/Rangers fans. Bright side? Yankees Opening Day is in 52 days. And really, this city could really use another deep Yankee run, because all the other teams in this area are SAD!
Why even bother with the standings tonight? Rangers are in last place and seem in no hurry to get out of the basement.
Up next for the Rangers, another fucking late start time, as it’s an NBC Rivalry Night game, as the Rangers host their fellow Original 6 brethren, the Boston Bruins. Be prepared to see countless clips of Milbury, hear talk about the Espo/Ratelle trade and all that same old recycled shit.
It’s funny, for a team stuck in the mire & in last place, there is more talk and news coming out of the team than when they are good.
The biggest question remains – will Lundqvist stay on for this? I know he said he will, but he says a lot of things, such as “Give me two goals and I got this” and “I want to win the Stanley Cup in NY at all costs.” If there is any good to come out of this Rangers misery, it would be a Lundqvist trade!
And really, I see Lundqvist as a numbers guy. While he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer, this season and a future rebuild season, will only continue to depress his once impressive numbers. Then again, he does love his country, and there are IIHF Worlds Tournaments to be played. At this rate, he’ll be able to play all the preliminary games.
Pardon me Sam and excuse me Joe, but it’s time to wrap this up. See ya Wednesday. As always, thanks for reading.
@NYCTHEMIC on the twitter