NYR/ANA 2/7 Review: Rangers Go Duck Hunting (Har, Har Har, How Many Times Did You Hear that One?), A Rant on #HockeyIsForEveryone, “The New F-Word” & The Aftermath of these Nights, Lundqvist’s 40+ Saves Translates to AV’s 600th Win, Dan “THE IRON MAN” Girardi, Michael Grabner Making Every Other GM Look Silly & More, As The Rangers Make It Three Straight W’s

With two huge shot blocks and no offensive tallies on the score sheet, Dan Girardi got the Broadway Hat. Photo Credit: NY Rangers

Note: As usual, I couldn’t help myself and went on another social/society rant on this blog. I wrote words that people use as slurs in this blog, to illustrate a point, so please be advised! One of these days this blog will be 100% hockey, but with the Rangers bringing attention to a society issue, I felt inclined to comment. After all, it’s my blog and I’ll blog if I want to!

What’s up everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. I didn’t recap the Sunday victory at MSG, a 4-3 squeaker against the Flames, because I was at the game and it was Superbowl Sunday. To be honest, as I write these words to you on a Tuesday night, I’m just recovering from Sunday. Having my first beer at 12PM and continuing to celebrate the Patriots win until 3AM, let’s just say it led to a slow “BOSCH” binge-watching Monday.

However, with the cobwebs gone and the fogginess evaporating from my body, I was excited for tonight’s Rangers game. The game turned out to be a 4-1 victory, over the not so Mighty anymore, Anaheim Ducks.

By the time you read this, you’ve already read and processed everything from the win on Sunday. All I have to add from my time at the Garden on Superbowl Sunday is that I found a new tap that sells Molson Canadian Beer. It’s located by section 320!

On the bridges – it is also ridiculous that if I go up the escalator by section 322, I’m not allowed in my seats in section 327 unless I walk the whole entire bridge. NYR is worried about fans bothering or interfering with the press. Really? Who gives a shit? I just want to get to my seat and enjoy a beer and the game. If NYR is so worried about this, they should have a security guard walk  you to your seats, instead of having to walk the whole bridge.

It’s bad enough you got terrible bathroom and beer lines in the whole building, but I should miss a minute or two of game play walking around the bridge, because I can’t go to my seats that are right there, because I might shout out, “HEY JOE MICHELETTI, SUCK MY 10 INCH SPAGHETTI?” We are all adults here – I’ll do that on twitter like a gentleman. Plus, having to walk two beers around the bridge always leads to spillages, especially when you gotta walk uphill by “The Lounges”. At $12 a beer, no spillage can be afforded.

I guess I have to go back to my “Make the Rangers Great Again” blog, which you can read here:

Make the New York Rangers Great Again: What I Would Do In My First 100 Days as Owner of the New York Rangers, Ideas on How To Make the Franchise Better and Fan Friendlier, James Dolan & Much More

 

A new amendment: hire a security guard to walk fans to their seats, so they don’t disrupt the press and don’t spill beer.

The Rangers promoted the #HockeyIsForEveryone campaign tonight.

The NHL is currently in the middle of their #HockeyIsForEveryone campaign. I would link you to their story, but every time I go to the NHL site, my computer crashes, my phone crashes or I can’t find what I’m looking for. Seriously, the NHL website is TERRIBLE.

Instead, you can read up about the campaign here:

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nhl-announces-plans-for-hockey-is-for-everyone-month-210435101.html

For the Rangers, Mats Zuccarello has been named the Rangers Ambassador for “You Can Play”. You Can Play is a charity that supports the LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ (seriously, this whole LGBT (now Q) lumped together thing has to go. Being gay doesn’t mean you had a sex change) movement and fighting homophobia in sports. The Rangers held their #HockeyIsForEveryone night tonight, while other teams in the league are doing it on different nights and the NHL setting aside two national games to promote the movement.

This all kind of ties in with what I’ve been saying a lot in these blogs – the political correctness of America. So for one night, the gay community is treated like royalty. Then what, should people ignore them after tonight? What happens when MSG turns off the rainbow colors that illuminated from the building tonight? Where does the rainbow stick tape go? Sure, it’s nice to bring attention to one section of the hockey fanbase (There are a ton of lesbians who love hockey, more so than gay men, from what I see and know) but what about everyone else?

Listen, I’m all for gay rights, gay marriage, the whole 9 yards. Some religions are anti-gay, which I think hurts acceptance for some people. However, to me, how does someone’s sex life affect you? Furthermore, gay people are great for the economy. More marriages (and divorces) is great for businesses!

As far as I can remember, outside of calling things “gay” when I was younger, I really never had an issue with people’s sex lives. On an aside here, in my teenage years (I’m nearly 35 now) I’ve called things gay. I don’t know how going to school is “gay”, but I know I ignorantly said that 20 years ago. I’m glad I’ve been educated enough to know that describing inanimate objects or events as “gay” is stupid. I understand the point of tonight is to educate others that calling things “gay” is silly, but I felt tonight sort of made the gay fanbase seem like a charity case. Gay people aren’t charity, they are just like me, but probably denied less in the bedroom!

That said, I still don’t think the word “faggot” is always a gay slur. It can be used as one, but if you’re joking around with your friends, saying “Ah, you’re such a fag”, it’s akin to calling your friend a “dick” or a “pussy”. I think “South Park” did an episode on this too and I agree with their take.

While I’ve heard people use the word “faggot” as a gay slur, I understand that the word isn’t always a slur. That said, I’ve actively tried to eliminate that word from my vocabulary. I understand how some people take it wrongly. I guess it’s just easier and more politically correct to call someone a dickhead than call them a fag! Trust me, I’m the last one to be PC, but there really is no reason to use that word anyway, when there are plenty of great viable adjective options to use, especially when discussing my friends! The words “douchebag”, “hemorrhoid”, “anal wart” or “cockbag” all convey the desired effect!

Why call someone a “fag” if it’s not necessary, especially when pecker pimple works just as well!  I don’t think I’ll be visiting London in the year 1800 anytime soon, so I doubt I will be using the word “faggot” to describe a cigarette either! While I’ve eliminated the word “faggot” from my every day vocabulary, I do understand when people use it as a non-slur. Basically what I’m saying here, is that I don’t think everyone that uses the word “faggot” is a bigot or homophobic.

Living in NY and having a college education, perhaps I’m fortunate to understand people have the right to choose what they want to do. We see different races, creeds, colors, sexual preferences and surgeries on our TV and on the subway, on a daily basis. I don’t think much can phase the average New Yorker. A man dressed up as a woman in 12 inch stilettos petting her black midget girlfriend? Who cares, but if they are gonna take up three seats on the train, we are gonna have an issue!

I do believe you are born gay, just like how people are born straight. Conversion therapy is a farce. While I think some choose to act “gay” or perhaps go overboard a bit (No one is born with a limp wrist, skinny jeans, leather boots and having a sing-song voice) if that’s what you want to do, so be it. More than 50% of my wardrobe is sports related, whether it be Ranger jerseys, Yankee sweatshirts or Giants hats. Who am I to question what other people wear? I frankly do not care, you do you and I do me!

What bothers me about these types of movements or rallies, is what happens after the day it ends? Do we just forget? I think most people, at least the ones I know, don’t give two shits what you do in the bedroom, as long as you don’t do it to them. Having a gay night, a black night, a latino night, etc, when does it end? I think it just villainizes the straight white male, as if every straight white male in 2017 is some 1820’s southern slave owner running around and calling everyone “boy”. I’m all for everyone embracing from where they are from and doing whatever, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of others at the same time. I won’t be holding my breath for the “Straight White Male Taxpayer” parade any time soon.

Maybe this part of the blog comes off what the media would make you believe to be as “Trumpesque”, but I’m not here looking for the Rangers to salute me for being a straight white male who loves hockey. I also don’t think the Rangers should make a special case out of gays, blacks, latinos, aborigines, midgets, or Caitlyn Jenner either. I think the Rangers should focus on providing a great service and time for all their fans, no matter what walk of life they are from. The only exceptions to this are little kids battling life-threatening diseases and our military. I have no problem with a “Salute the Troops” night or the Garden of Dreams night. Those are people that should be saluted.

Plus when you think about it – when has the NHL ever been “anti-gay?” Sean Avery was one of the first athletes to speak up and defend gay rights. This is also the same league that has aired the Sidney Crosby and Pierre McGuire homoerotica love story for a decade! This story has led to the spinoff of “Micheletti & Lundqvist”, where you get a 50% off Papa John’s pizza every time Joe shoots three or more loads! (I’m sure I offended Larry Brooks again here, but please try to understand my warped sense of humor!)

Gay is normal. Straight is normal. Many gays aren’t looking to be made a martyr or looking for special treatment. They just want the American dream too. To make them look like a charity case, as I know I thought, seems wrong. Gay New York Ranger fans are just like straight Ranger fans – they just want the fucking Cup!

That’s the great thing about sports as a uniter. Gay, white, black, asian, straight, latino, midget, eskimo, poor, rich, whatever; if the Rangers score a goal, you don’t give a fuck who is sitting next to you, if they are wearing Rangers blue, you’re giving them a high five.

Oh while on PC America here, I did do a double-take when Sam Rosen referred to Willie O’Ree as the first ever black hockey player. In America, we are so conditioned to hearing “African-American.” O’Ree, a native of New Brunswick, Canada, is not an “African-Canadian.” He’s just black. I liked that. After all, how many black people do you know, that are generally from Africa or ever been to Africa? Listen, I’m Irish, but I don’t consider myself an “Irish-American.” I’ve never been to Ireland my whole life. I’m a fucking American. Willie O’Ree is a Canadian, that happens to be black.

The previous rant was brought to you by Peter Griffin and the “WHAT GRINDS MY GEARS” news segment!

If you don’t know where this picture is from, that offends me!

So yea, 1600 words later, there was a hockey game tonight!

The Rangers played with a 100% healthy line-up for the first time in nearly a month. If you recall, Zibanejad, Nash and Buchnevich went down but all returned, only for Fast and Staal to get hurt. While Fast & Staal returned, Hayes got hurt. With Hayes back, the Rangers were at full-power. With a playoff team like the Ducks in MSG, this was a good test for the Rangers. At the end of the exam, the Rangers got an A+.

Let’s go to the box score, with my thoughts of the game to follow. As always, the box score is courtesy of ESPN.com because NHL.com is designed by cavemen:

1st Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail ANA NYR
4:01
Oscar Lindberg (2)
Assists: Pavel Buchnevich, Marc Staal
0 1
Time Team Penalty Detail
6:06
Logan Shaw: 2 Minutes for Hooking Michael Grabner

2nd Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail ANA NYR
1:06
Mats Zuccarello (11)
Assists: Brady Skjei, Chris Kreider
0 2
6:14
Jakob Silfverberg (16)
Assist: Andrew Cogliano
1 2
Time Team Penalty Detail
16:38
Brady Skjei: 4 Minute Double Minor for High sticking Antoine Vermette

3rd Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail ANA NYR
3:45
Michael Grabner (24)
Assists: J.T. Miller, Brady Skjei
1 3
19:41
Michael Grabner (25) (Empty Net)
Assists: Kevin Hayes, J.T. Miller
1 4
Time Team Penalty Detail
2:48
Joseph Cramarossa: 2 Minutes for Roughing Jimmy Vesey
2:48
Jimmy Vesey: 2 Minutes for Roughing Joseph Cramarossa
5:23
Chris Kreider: 2 Minutes for Holding Shea Theodore
9:53
Kevin Hayes: 2 Minutes for Delaying the game Andrew Cogliano

Goaltending Summary

Anaheim Ducks Goaltending

Player SA GA Saves SV% TOI PIM
J. Gibson 19 3 16 .842 58:29 0

New York Rangers Goaltending

Player SA GA Saves SV% TOI PIM
H. Lundqvist 44 1 43 .977 60:00 0

Henrik Lundqvist, not Hank Lundswiss, showed up tonight.

This is a tough game to recap, because there is a lot to talk about and for once, it’s mostly all positive.

Here’s what the Rangers did well tonight:

  • Solid goaltending from the overpaid goalie – Lundqvist did his job tonight. With 43 saves, Lundqvist had one of his better games, stat-wise, of the season. I know it’s tough to call 40+ saves soft, but he wasn’t that challenged tonight. He didn’t face as many high quality shots as he had in other games, which brings me to the…
  • Defense – the Rangers blueline was fantastic tonight. Lundqvist wasn’t in many hairy situations, maybe one or two, but for the most part, the Rangers defense protected their goalie and forced Anaheim to shoot from bad angles all night long.
  • Penalty Kill – the Rangers forced the Ducks to go 0-4 on the night, one penalty being a Brady Skjei double minor. At some points, you couldn’t even tell the Ducks were a man up.
  • Speed and offense – the Rangers seemed to have 8-9 breakways and odd-man rushes tonight. Grabner, as usual, led the way on that, scoring his 25th goal of the season. The 25th goal (he scored one earlier in the game) was an empty netter. Instead of sweating out a win, Grabner ended the game without a doubt.
  • Line chemistry – all four lines that AV rolled out executed and were involved in tonight’s game. While some of the game was patchy (First few minutes of first, back end of second period), for the most part, the Rangers just dominated. Don’t let the shots fool you. NYR got quality shots while the Ducks did not.
  • Shot blocking – this will be something to watch as the season progresses. As I’ve said in other blogs, we all remember the 2012 Rangers team that were so beat up by the time they saw the Devils in the ECF. Girardi got the Broadway Hat for eating rubber like a Tahitian hooker.
  • Coaching – AV got his 600th win as his whole entire team played well against a playoff team.

If you’re looking to nitpick and look for what the Rangers did negatively, you can look at their PP, which has been an issue since the team’s creation in 1926. As far as the one goal Hank gave up, it’s tough to be perfect for 60 minutes. The other team is paid a lot of money to play hockey too. I think a lot of fans lose sight of that when they constantly get on the Rangers defense. The Rangers pay the most in the league to their goalie to be the bail-out. That’s the way the team is designed. Has Girardi, Klein and Staal all been bad at points this year? Yes, but if you’re going to be a Lundqvist sympathizer, how come the same luxury isn’t afforded to the other longest tenured Rangers, in Girardi and Staal?

As I’ve been saying since the new year rolled in, the biggest question remains unanswered – who will be on this roster after the trade deadline? With guys like Puempel, Pirri and Clendening scratched tonight (First time the Rangers had three scratches like this in a while), you have to figure some of the excess forwards will be moved for a D-man. Shattenkirk remains the dream, but is it a reality?

The Rangers have told us the window isn’t closed yet on this team, so if that’s the case, you roll the dice on Shattenkirk. However, to give him a long contract next year, for a guy nearly 30 years old, I don’t think Ranger fans can be confident about that. I guess the best option is to root for the Blues to bomb and maybe the selling price won’t be as bad. As of right now, Lindberg & Pirri & a pick doesn’t sound bad for Shattenkirk, but there will be a ton of other teams in the mix.

Not only does Grabner lead the Rangers in goals (25) he has more even strength goals than Ovechkin!

The play of Michael Grabner has made Jeff Gorton look like a genius. At $1.6M a year, roughly 1/6 of what Rick Nash gets paid, Grabner has been a steal. The fact that it drives Islander fans nuts is just icing on the cake. Future Jeff Gorton will have some issues with Grabner. At $1.6M a year, he is a slam dunk for Vegas next season. Still, I don’t trade him this season for the same reason why I say you should try to grab Shattenkirk. NYR constantly tells us that “the window isn’t closed.” If that’s the case, you worry about Grabner after the season.

Rangers best bet – they make some sort of under the table deal with Vegas, like a second round pick for two 7th round picks, where it’s understood that as a result of the deal, Vegas will leave Grabner alone. This is what drives me nuts about the NHL. A guy like Jeff Gorton is savvy enough to believe Grabner will flourish in Rangers blue. The result? He’s penalized and has to fight to keep Grabner here. I understand Vegas needs to be competitive for the franchise to work, but it comes at the expense of smart GM’s.

Grabner, along with the intense play of JT Miller, were the stars of tonight’s game. The Rangers, when they are healthy and rocking & rolling, have been getting heroes from up and down the line-up. While Lundqvist & the defense played well, so did the Rangers offense.

Oscar Lindberg, who I wouldn’t mind trading if it brought back a defenseman in return, started the scoring. Buchnevich, who is slowly coming into his own after a season full of injuries & acclimating to the NHL, found Lindberg with a perfect pass. Boom 1-0 Rangers, early into the first period. Buch was by the boards and backhanded it right to Lindberg. Very sweet play from two guys who don’t play together that much.

While the Ducks dominated the shot department all game, it was the Rangers who dominated the high quality of shots department. Despite a 16-6 shot differential after one period, the Rangers held a 1-0 lead.

The Rangers would strike again, early in the second period. This time, Skjei found Zuccarello and Zuccarello, who reminds me a lot of Martin St. Louis these days, took the patented MSL slapshot from the left circle. 2-0 NYR. If you can find a replay of this goal, go ahead and watch it. This was MSL 101.

Speaking of Skjei, did anyone else who went to Sunday’s game see the Derek Stepan segment on the MSG scoreboard in between periods? This made me like Stepan more than I already did. He was hilarious, getting the Rangers SB picks. When he called Skjei, “SK-JEE”, for some reason, I thought that was the funniest thing I saw all day. Later would I realize that Arthur Blank of the Falcons, would be even funnier. Watching Blank celebrate a SB victory all third quarter then seeing him shit his pants in OT, was funnier to me.

Jakob Silfverberg made the game 2-1, when after a Squee-gee turnover, he found himself all alone in front of Hank and beat Hank short side and high. It was one of the rare Ranger defensive lapses in this game and one of the rare times Hank found himself one-on-one with a Duck. We’ve seen Hank make this save before, but if you’re gonna give up a goal, you can understand this one. 2-1 good guys, at the end of two, despite a 32-13 shot differential.

While John Gibson’s stats read 3 goals allowed on 19 shots (16 saves, for you people struggling with Math 101), he had a better game than the stats suggest. Of the 19 shots faced, I’d say half of them were high quality shots. He stoned Michael Grabner on a breakaway. Vesey missed an easy one. He broke up a two on one play. Ranger fans have seen Hank torched through the years because of bad defense and this was a game where if Gibson smashed his stick, you would understand why.

Heading into tonight’s game, the Rangers were the highest scoring team in the NHL in the third period. The Ducks defense was the best defensive team in the NHL in the third period. Like the immovable object vs the unstoppable force, something had to give and it was the Ducks defense.

Grabner got the insurance goal early into the third period, getting redemption after Gibson stoned him on a breakway earlier in the game. Grabner would then finish off the Ducks with the empty netter. 4-1 final. The Ducks were held off the board for period. The teams finished with Anaheim taking 44 shots, to the Rangers 20. If there was ever an argument to be made about high quality shots against just shooting blindly and hoping for success, this would be your Exhibit A. Steve Valiquette, of the MSG networks, has been preaching this stuff ever since he started here two seasons ago. This game was his testimony!

For the Rangers, they just won their third game in a row and are now 2/2 on this homestand, which will feature a struggling, yet playoff bound Nashville Predators on Thursday and the league worst Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. I thought this Ducks game was the hardest game of a soft schedule that followed the All-Star Break. For the Rangers, you could argue this was their best team win of the 2017 calendar year. This is what drives NYR fans nuts – you get a great effort and execution against a playoff team tonight, then will look like donkey shit against a team like Carolina. It could be worse – we could be diehard Knick fans!

Where is PC America to protest this flag?

As far as the Rangers in the standings, they are three points back of the third place Penguins and have a 10 point lead over the second wild card in Philly. These three wins in a row really helped the Rangers build a gap between themselves and the chasing Flyers. There is no question to me, there will be 5 teams from the Metro in the playoffs, just like last season.

Unlike last season, where I bitched, moaned and pleaded for the Rangers to finish as the WC (Go back and read my blogs in the archives, located on the right hand of the site, where I was going nuts about this last year.) I hope the Rangers learn from history. I know you gotta play the games and it’s too early to think about it now, but if the Rangers find themselves in the same scenario as last year, I hope the Rangers call up the entire SWAMP RABBITS from the ECHL on the final game of the season. There is no reason to jump to third place, when the path of least resistance for a team with a lot of mileage, presents itself with the Atlantic.

I know it’s too early to think this way, and we got 30 games left for some teams, but it is food for thought.

Couple of parting shots before closing this monster off:

  • Boston fired Claude Julien today. The Bruins are two points out of a playoff spot. To me, this was a bad firing that Vegas should capitalize on. Vegas can start their franchise with a Cup winning coach? Seems like a no brainer.
  • With Julien, Hitchcock (rumored to be finally retired) & Capuano out there, it’s amazing how many teams bailed on their coaches because of issues that weren’t necessarily the fault of the coach. Can you blame Hitchcock for bad goaltending? Can you blame Capuano for a terrible GM? Can you blame Julien for a mini-slump after a solid track record? Looks like coaches, not players, are taking the brunt of it this year.
  • Congrats to the Patriots. That was the best SB I’ve ever seen. It’s one you won’t forget, unlike last years snoozefest. I’m happy to say that I can say I’ve seen the best QB and coach ever in my lifetime. Plus, many NYR fans are Pat fans too, so maybe that gives them a boost too!
  • One of the ushers in the bridges, a 80 year old man or so, after seeing my jersey on Sunday, asked me who “BOUCHER” was. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT! RETIRE FRANK BOUCHER’S NUMBER ALREADY AND PAY SOME FUCKING RESPECT AND TEACH SOME HISTORY!
  • Congrats to AV on his 600th career win. This is a man many NYR fans want out of here. All the guy does is win. Sure, he’s never won the big one (Which to be fair, is my criticism of Hank but AV doesn’t have an insane cap hit!) but he’s already one of the best Ranger coaches in the franchise’s 90 year history.  I hope AV gets his day with the Cup.

Supposedly a huge storm is rolling in on Thursday. We’ve seen games canceled before because of bad snow storms. We’ll see what happens. Stock up on the beer now!

Providing the game is played Thursday, I’ll be back with a blog. I plan on attending Saturday’s game, so maybe a nice late blog on Saturday night, if there is no post-game debauchery!

As always, thanks for reading and LET’S GO RANGERS

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

@NYCTHEMIC on the twitter gimmick

Comments

  1. The nhl website is horrible! Even my official Ranger app on my phone is ruined now. I used to get live updates during games but not anymore.

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