THE MASSIVE PURE GLEE DOUBLE BLOG: The Rangers Move to the 2nd Round, The $$$ Stars Shine In Round 1, First Round Report Card, My Electrifying Experience at M$G During Game 6, RANGERSTOWN in NYC, Corsi Garbage, Ticket Scalping, Stubhub, Ottawa On Tap, Let The Brassard vs Z-Bad Debates Begin, Cam Talbot & Much More NHL/Ranger Thoughts & Opinions

For one moment, I was a diehard Lundqvist fan again! Photo Credit to Bob Groeder. I use his pic over mine because he had better seats!

NOTE: WELCOME TO THE FIRST EVER DOUBLE BLOG. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m just a fan with an opinion on many topics. I do not care about website hits or web traffic, because I do not profit off this site. I could break a 6000 word blog into four different blogs for quadruple the traffic, but I don’t care about that stuff. The only reason I mention this, is because this blog is super-long and I hope you read all of it.

I know when you see that little arrow to your right hand side and how much scrolling you have to do, that it can be a turn off. That said, I’m not going to bullshit or up-sell anything by making you click on 76787878 links. I think this is one of my better ones, so even if you have to come back and read section-by-section, I hope you stay tuned throughout. I promise to be funny too or at least promise to try! Plus, I’m so elated after last night’s games that I’m a fountain of energy nearly 24 hours later!


What’s up everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. As you can tell by the tremendously long headline, there is a lot to talk about today.

I’m a day late with this “Unofficial” Game 6 report, for several reasons:’

  • I attended the game & couldn’t pound out a normal report after the game aired.
  • I had to wait for a LIRR train to get home & you can send a message via the Pony Express faster than getting home on the LIRR.
  • The game started at 8PM, which threw my body clock off by an hour.
  • I wanted to see how the other two series would play out today. As a result, it worked out, as the first round is now over.

Oh – and I went out celebrating the win until 6AM! I think I drank myself sober twice, because I must’ve went through a bottle of Crown Royal, 4 M$G Molsons & about 20+ Miller Lites from 4PM-6AM. (While I’m happy to be with the same girlfriend for 5+ years, nights like last night is why I’m glad I don’t have kids. I can barely take care of myself!) I know I have a high tolerance, but I was expecting to feel a little foggy today. However, I feel fine. I must still be living in the euphoria of last night’s Game 6 win or maybe I’m still intoxicated and think I’m sober. MINDBLOWN!

I’m not going to do my normal rundown, the whole ESPN boxscore, the period-by-period breakdown and yadda yadda yadda. You know what happened. Powered by two goals from Mats “Why Don’t I Have an “A” on My Sweater?” Zuccarello, another stellar performance from the top 2 defensemen in McDonagh & Girardi, in addition to the all series dominating performance from Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers finished off the Canadiens 3-1, giving themselves a 4-2 series win over the Quebecois.

Before jumping around all over the place and talking about a ton of different topics, for the sake of continuity, here are my blogs on Games 1-5:

NYR/MTL First Round Game 1 Review: A Tanner Glass Game Winning Goal & a Lundqvist Shutout Power The Rangers To a 2-0 Win (Just Like How It Was Drawn Up!), NYR Wins A Playoff Game That Blows Your Balls Off & Much More From The Wildest & Most Exciting Game of the Season

 

NYR/MTL Round 1 Game 2 Review: Nick Holden & The Canadiens Beat Lundqvist & The Rangers in OT, Hoping This Loss Isn’t a Huge “WHAT IF?” In the Off-Season, Shaky Refereeing Continues, Lundqvist’s 50+ Saves and Hissy Fits, Dreadful PP & More From a Brutal Heartbreaker in French Quebec

 

NYR/MTL Round 1 Game 3 Review: THE PURE ANGER BLOG. The Rangers Disappoint Their Fans In Their Most Pathetic Effort of the Season; NYR Throws Away Another Good Lundqvist Start, Enough of the “Potvin Sucks” Chants, The M$G Sponsor LIST, Rangers Play Dead Like The Crowd in M$G, No Such Thing As “Home-Ice” In M$G & Much More From the Worst Loss of the Season

 

NYR/MTL Round 1 Game 4 Review: The Stars Shine in M$G as Rick “GWG” Nash & Lundqvist Come Up Big, AV’s Line Changes, Holden Has To Go, Zucc’s The Man, Where’s Kreider?, Rangers Win and Make It a Best of 3 Series & Much More From M$G

 

NYR/MTL Round 1 Game 5 Review: Rangers Win an OT Thriller; Can Eliminate the Habs at M$G on Saturday, Lundqvist & Nash Continue to Dominate, Mika Enshrines Himself in NYR Lure, Will Stepan & Kreider Ever Show Up, Vally & Duguay On Point, Holden Needs Wood Under His Ass & Much More From The Biggest Heart-Pumping Win of the Season

 

Mats Zuccarello and some guy who I didn’t see for most of this series, share an embrace. Photo Credit: MSG Networks.

Since the tone of this blog is to always share my personal stories and give you the stuff that nobody else gives you, let’s keep doing that. It’s been working so far. It’s amazing too – some of these basement boys on twitter with all their charts, pocket protectors, t-squares and scientific calculators, all talk about this silly Corsi shit. If you’re not familiar with what a “Corsi” or “Fenwick” stat is, it’s basically a bunch of virgins who sit around their mother’s basement and forget that the game is played on ice.

My “Revenge of the Nerds” type of humor aside, in reality, here’s the Wikipedia definition of the Corsi stat:

Corsi is an advanced statistic used in the National Hockey League to measure shot attempt differential while at even strength play. This includes shots on goal, missed shots on goal, and blocked shot attempts towards the opposition’s net minus the same shot attempts directed at your own team’s net.

The Corsi number was named by Vic Ferrari, a pseudonym for a blogger on an Edmonton Oilers fan website. He had heard former Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier talking about shot differential on the radio, and then proceeded to develop a formula to accurately display shot differential. Ferrari originally wanted to name it the Regier number, but he didn’t think it sounded right. He then considered calling it the Ruff number after former Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff but he didn’t think that was appropriate either. Ferrari ended up searching Buffalo Sabres staff, found a picture of Jim Corsi, and chose his name because he liked Corsi’s mustache.[1] In February 2015, the NHL website added Corsi numbers as a stat that anyone can research.

Individual and team Corsi numbers tell evaluators of the stat who dominates possession. Positive Corsi numbers tells you that the team spends more time in the offensive zone than the defensive zone, while negative Corsi numbers tells you the team spends more time in the defensive zone than offensive zone. Possession is a good stat to take into account because the team with the higher possession numbers at the end of the game generally wins. Corsi can be broken down into four categories: Corsi Ahead, Corsi Even, Corsi Close, and Corsi behind. In order, the categories refer to what a team or player’s Corsi number is when they are ahead in the game, when the game is tied, when the score of the game only differs by one goal no matter who is ahead, and when the score is behind, in that order. Each of these stats will tell a coach whom he should be putting out on the ice depending on the score of the game.

As you tell by my silly jock jokes about nerrrrrrrrrrrrrds, I really don’t put any weight into the whole advanced stat shit. Do you know why? Because at the end of the day, you can’t control what’s going to happen. You can’t predict this stuff. Sure, some stuff may look good, but you can take any stat & twist it to suit an argument. That’s basically what lawyers do!

However, do you want to know how ridiculous all these fancy boy stats are?

The Rangers were the worst Corsi team in the league. Montreal was the second best Corsi team in the league. How ya doin?

The Predators were one of the worst Corsi teams in the league all year. They just swept the Chicago Blackhawks. How ya doin?

Five of the Top 10 Corsi teams did not make the playoffs this season. How ya doin?

When it comes to using “back of a baseball card stats” to evaluate players, that’s fine by me. McDavid & Crosby are great hockey players and their stats back it up. However, to invent stats for the sake of inventing stats, that’s mundane to me.

Plus, if you don’t know me by now, either in real life, twitter or from these blogs, I enjoy watching the games. I couldn’t imagine sitting there making charts and pie-graphs. It’s like the people who go to baseball games & do the box score themselves. They pay people to do that, so why don’t you relax, have a beer and enjoy the game? That’s always been my MO, so when I hear “Corsi this and Corsi that”, it makes me wish these people were dragged out of their mother’s basements like a United passenger!

I should also mention, I love the MSG Networks crew. I really do. I think they do a great job, besides Joe Micheletti. I don’t know if Micheletti is just terrible on purpose, but it shocks me that people pay him to fly across two countries to call hockey games. Out of all the people in the world, this is your guy? I’m glad it’s not my money.

Steve Valiquette is a big stat guy and I think one day, that will land him a coaching job somewhere, if he so desires it. That said, was Tanner Glass bad in the first round? Did Corsi have him scoring a game winning goal? Of course not. I know Billy Beane changed baseball forever, but did it really take Beane, for people to realize that, with no runners on base, that a walk is the same thing as a single?

I do think some of the stats are nice and fancy, and again, you can twist any data to back your case, but I believe in what you see. I don’t need Corsi or anything else to tell me that Lundqvist had a great series against Montreal, despite every stat, going into this series, suggesting otherwise. I don’t need Corsi or anything else, to tell me that McDonagh & Girardi were the pillars of this series with Montreal. I don’t think Corsi tells you about the heart of Mats Zuccarello. Finally, I don’t need Corsi to tell me that M$G is too damn expensive!

Ok enough about that shit, moving on!

As I took the train to NYC, I had to peep what tickets were going for.

If you follow this blog or me on twitter in general, @NYCTHEMIC, you know that I follow the resale market. As a fan, I want to know those Stubhub/resale market CORSI stats! I want to know when is the best time to buy resale tickets. I have told you about my stories of sitting in the Delta Club or MSG Suite seats for a C-note, because I waited until 6:30, on a Tuesday night, against a Western Conference team, to buy the tickets.

As you may have heard, I was at last night’s game. I bought face value (Meaning, directly from the Rangers) seats in section 419. They were $189 each. It’s fucking ridiculous. Season ticket holders pay anywhere from $30-$70 for the same seats. However, this was face value. So when you see Stubhub having high prices, it’s because the Garden set high prices and the people scalping on Stubhub are trying to make their nut too.

Oh and on another one of my tangents – please don’t be that asshole that buys PRINT OUT TICKETS off a random “yo yo yo, you sellin’ tix?” black guy. I really don’t care if you consider this racist, because I know what I am, but this is just reality. Accept it. If you think it’s racist to avoid black men trying to sell you tickets on the street, then I will be a racist with money in my pocket!

Every arena/stadium in this tri-state area is surrounded by numerous black men designed to rip you off. I’ve seen this scam go on and on for 20+ years. As you’ll see below, I’ve been a victim of it. Now, in the age of PRINT AT HOME tickets, it’s even worse.

Usually there is a white guy sitting in a car near the arena/stadium. Since I mentioned the crooks outside the arena are black, I should mention that the white guy is usually Jewish or Italian. Does it make a difference, no, but I’m giving you all the facts here. You only get this type of real shit on this blog.

You will see these black guys running to the white guy in the car, exchanging money and tickets. If you like people watching, you can watch this all go down. My friend is a NYC cop & told me about it, but I’ve also watched this happen go down numerous times. With the printout tickets, I believe the white guy is giving the black guy different sets of printout tickets. The black guy is also giving his money to the white guy, in case the cops bust him. This way, if the scalper gets busted, he isn’t holding a lot of cash. The white guy in his car, at MSG, is usually parked on 31st street. However, I’ve also seen this go down in the Bronx at Yankee Stadium. It happens everywhere, except at Barclays, because who is buying scalped tickets for Islander games these days?

Tangent during a tangent time (This is like that movie “Inception”!) – When I was 15 or so, my friend and I got ripped off buying tickets off one of these black scalpers in the puffy jackets. I was once so naive. We were so happy to get a “deal” paying $50 or so bucks to sit in real good seats for a Rangers/Devils game. These were the days of Richter vs Brodeur, so this was a hot ticket. This is when this rivalry was at its peak, make no bones about it.

Keep in mind when reading this, I’m 15 and this was probably the third or fourth time that my friend and I went to the city by ourselves. We were Long Island Big Boys now!

Anyway, at the time, not being a realist and being wide-eyed & dumb, we happily ponied up our money and bought these tickets. Back then, as I’ve discussed in-detail on these blogs, we then went to the players entrance and did our autograph seeking. After getting our shit signed, we got a bite to eat. (At that time, probably a shitty $1 hot dog and one of those $2 shit-your-pants kebob.) As true “City-Slickers”, we proudly marched our accomplished big-boy asses into the gates of MSG, only to be told our tickets were fake. This news was like finding out our dog died.

This basically sums up what we were feeling when we were told our tickets were fake.

I’m going back 20 years now. I really wish I could remember this cops name. This cop also happened to be black too.  I don’t want to portray that the scumbag scalpers outside of M$G means a whole race is like that, so that’s why I mention the cop’s skin color here. The only reason why I mention the scalpers are black, is so you can identify them if you haven’t seen them before. While I didn’t know it at 15, it’s probably common knowledge as an adult, that if a black guy is trying to aggressively sell you tickets to a hockey game outside the venue, there is something suspect. As we move along, while the scalpers would fuck us, this cop shed the light.

Sometimes you see this now at M$G, but back then, cops were randomly at different entrances, especially for rivalry games. This cop heard us talking to the guy taking tickets, but wasn’t involved in the conversation. Of course, we didn’t know what to do next, so we told the cop what happened. We wanted this scalper arrested and to receive the death penalty. It was only logical!

This cop hears us out and he can tell we’re not full of shit and knows we got played. The cop said “come with me.” He took the two of us down the main corridor and gave us REAL SHIT 101. Here was REAL SHIT 101:

  • Never buy tickets off the street.
  • If something is too good to be true, that means it is.
  • You always know tickets are fake if when you take a lighter to them, they flame/get seared, rather than making a black mark.
  • Don’t ever tell your parents you got robbed or they won’t let you go to these games by yourself again!

This cop, after a lecture that stuck with me for a long time and in essence, I still remember fondly today, took the two of us to a staircase that is usually used for people making their mad dash exits to a train after a game. He told us to go up the stairs, go to the top of the building, find two empty seats and keep quiet. By then “REAL SHIT 101” was sinking in – don’t act like a fool when you’re getting in for free. If someone showed up in the seats we were sitting in, say you made a mistake and get up and sit somewhere else.

This cop could’ve sold this shirt to us!

While we did get into the game that day, and I can’t tell you who won or lost, who scored or any of that crap, I can tell you that cop gave us lessons that stuck with us. The late 90’s were also a different time than today. Today, a cop or anyone else would tell you “too bad, you got played.”

Back to my original tangent now!

I heard a story of two naive adult Canadien Canadian fans who got ripped off by scalpers. However they didn’t get a fake ticket that said “NY RANGER VS MONTREAL CANADIANS”, as one fan showed me at PENNSY yesterday. They bought a legit Stubhub/Ticketmaster printout ticket. Oh man. I’m sorry, I was once naive too, but then my balls dropped. You can’t be a grown adult and buying PRINT OUT tickets on the street. You just can’t.

In today’s world, whether you like it or not, Stubhub and Ticketmaster guarantee all their tickets. I talked about in one blog, how I once got fake tickets off of Stubhub and what did Stubhub do? They gave me seats on the glass because they were the only two seats available. I’m a Stubhub guy all the way. It’s 100% protection. I’m not trying to sound like a commercial, but even if you overpay, don’t you want your tickets to be 100% guaranteed?

So in my little Public Service Announcement – DO NOT BUY TICKETS OFF THE STREET. These scalpers print out the same ticket about 7786786896896 times and sell that same ticket to random dopes. Even hard tickets aren’t guaranteed to be real. Go with Stubhub and Ticketmaster always. You may pay more, but you’re getting a real ticket and buyer protection. It’s better than giving $100+ to a crook.

If you’re reading this, you’re a sports fanatic, because you’re seeking out something non-mainstream to read about sports. I’m a fanatic because I’m writing this for no money. I just hate seeing fans ripped off. Do not support these crooks on the street. If people stop buying from these thieves, they will go away altogether. As long as people continue to get ripped off, these people will litter the outside of M$G. Once it isn’t profitable or lucrative, they will go away. I was once ripped off and I know that feeling. People aren’t going to get a free pass like I once did anymore. These guys won’t be arrested and even if they are, they are back on the streets the next day. ONLY YOU can fight these scalping crooks.

I picked the right jersey to wear to M$G on Saturday!

3100 words and I haven’t even started talking hockey. Buckle up, this is a long blog as I told you at the top!

The reason I even got on the whole Stubhub tangent was because I paid $189 face value each, for two seats. I attended the game with the commenter known as “URBOSS” aka Eddie Makers. I’m not really strapped for cash right now, but when I saw that I could’ve made anywhere a $400-$600 profit by selling the tickets, the thought did pop in my mind for a second. After all, going to M$G costs me a $20 train ticket, plus about $200 in food/drinks during the pregame and the game itself. Instead of making at least $400, I spent $400 (With my cost of ticket) for an $800 swing towards the economy of NYC & M$G!

However, there was no way I could sell these tickets. Eddie thought I was nuts for not selling. The infamous JEFFREY told me to sell. Others said to sell and take the money. I just couldn’t. I wanted to be there. I’ve only seen one other clinching game live in my life, but to me, I really wanted to be here for this one.

I preached all season, as far back as January, once the playoff picture was somewhat getting clear – if the Rangers can beat the Canadiens in the first round, they will go to the Eastern Conference Finals. I still believe that.

I also thought, despite my NYR in 7 prediction, that the Rangers were more than your average underdog going into this. I thought the Habs were better on special teams, had the better coach and had a far superior goalie. When it was all said and done, the Habs did have the better PP, but not by much, while AV vs Julien was a toss-up and Lundqvist returned to his prime. The stuff I worried about the most, faded as the series progressed.

As I write these words, with the Rangers now drawing the Senators in the second round, I truly believe the Rangers take that series. I think NYR vs Pittsburgh is the inevitable clash. I know NYR has beaten Pitt before in recent years, but this Pitt team, coming off a Cup, is not the same Pittsburgh of even the 2015 playoffs. I’m nervous about Pittsburgh and their numbers against Lundqvist, but the way Lundqvist shit on all the Montreal trends against him, I do feel a little less nervous.

I just felt like this was a huge game, maybe one of the biggest in the AV era. Yes I know the President’s Trophy, 2015 run, and everything else, but aside from Game 6 of 2014, ironically, also against Montreal, I thought this was the biggest playoff game win of the AV era. I wouldn’t say the Lundqvist era though, because of that 2012 run.

I say that because the window seemed finally closed on these guys after last year. Lundqvist was crap for most of this season. While Gorton did make some magic happen this year with his moves, Washington and Pittsburgh looked like the teams to beat. I think the luck of the draw helped the Rangers big time, as maybe I’m not as happy as I am right now if NYR finished where Columbus did.

The fact the Rangers won this series and how they did it was huge. They bucked all the trends with Montreal, especially with Lundqvist. They won at home. They scored goals at home. Yes, they aren’t scoring their 5 goals a game like they did in the regular season, but this is the playoffs, where games tend to be tighter defensively and are more low scoring. Plus, it’s better opposition.

With this one Game 6 clinching win, I truly 100% believe that this was a win that made the Rangers a true Stanley Cup contender. They will beat Ottawa. In the ECF, it’s anyone’s game. Win that series, and perhaps Lundqvist can exorcise all the demons, his detractors (me being one of them) and everything else that has prevented him from that elusive prize. With this win, Lundqvist has a chance to go from Patrick Ewing to Eli Manning, in the NYC sports world.

Eddie Makers thought this would be hilarious. I do find the humor in this as well!

After arriving to the city and having 1 or 8 drinks, we ventured to RANGERSTOWN. RANGERSTOWN started during the 2014 playoffs and has been brought back in a different incarnation every season. I’ve blogged about my experiences there before. It’s not what it once was now though, because of space limitations.

If you remember, the area that the PENNSY now occupies, used to be RANGERSTOWN. It used to be two floors and had all sorts of different shit going on. It was great for kids and adults. Now, I think it’s more geared for kids, which is fine too, even if they can’t afford to go to games. If you’re an adult, unless you want a picture or an autograph from a Rangers alumni, I would say skip on RANGERSTOWN this year. However, if you got kids, this is a great place to visit.

Flashing the Number 4 for a guy who also should have his jersey retired in MSG.

I wouldn’t call myself an avid collector of autographs and stuff of that nature, but it’s cool to have stuff for my mini-collection.

For the kids, even in the limited space, RANGERSTOWN is a good pre-game activity. Kids can get their faces painted, take pictures in faux locker room, do skill games and other activities. There is also a stage with random people talking at any given time. It’s just a nice thing that the team does. It’s good to see the team do these kind of things, especially they are so lacking in other areas when it comes to promoting good vibes with the fanbase. I kinda talked about that in this blog:

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

 

Since the Rangers are now in the second round, RANGERSTOWN will continue for at least two more weeks. It’s a nice thing for the kids, so if you’re looking for something to do with the family, you can easily kill an hour or more in here.

My dad recently found this picture when cleaning around the house. I know my 10 year old ass would’ve loved Rangerstown as much as I enjoy a few beers during the games today!

I definitely needed one shot and one beer before this game.

I’m not going through the whole run down of the game, it’s too late for that and we all know what happened. In this section I wanted to talk about the crowd. I had the pleasure of sitting in the nosebleeds aka “The Blueseats.” I have no problem sitting here, except the Rangers need more screens, because if you’re in rows 3-5, you can’t see the scoreboard, which means you can’t see the time on the clock. Luckily, the guy behind me was a cool dude who was giving me time updates the whole game, which are extremely important during special teams and at the end of the game!

As I write these words, my ears are still ringing. The guy behind me also had a whistle which he blew relentlessly all game. I didn’t mind though. I’m telling you, I’ve been to hundreds of games and I’ve never heard that building so loud, at least since the renovation. To be fair, I wasn’t at M$G for Game 6 of the ECF in 2014 either. I did go to Game 4 of the SCF that year, but with the Rangers down 3-0, the building knew how it was going to play out. You would have to ask someone like a Stan Fischler if this crowd was comparable to other eras.

This crowd reminded me of “The Rock” (the wrestler, not the place in Newark) – it was the most electrifying Ranger crowd in some time. The place was shaking. The chants bellowed around the arena. I will say – when the crowd chanted “USA”, I was cracking up. I mean, off the top of my head, what are there, 5 American Rangers? I’m too lazy to get the exact count, but you know my point. Still, it was funny and I joined in.

If you noticed, I didn’t live tweet this game like I do when watching on TV. I sent out a few tweets during period breaks or commercial timeouts, but for me, I wanted to enjoy this game without all this cell phone shit that we are all slaves to today. I may have missed some facts/stats and replays watching this game live, but I had a fucking blast. This crowd was great. I really can’t describe it, but you could feel yourself vibrating like a lonely woman on a Saturday night after a bottle of wine. We often see these great Canadian crowds on TV and I think M$G equally brought it, high ticket prices and all.

I will tell you, when Zucc scored the eventual GWG, the place exploded. It was just tremendous. I hate to say “you had to be there”, but this is why I didn’t sell my ticket, for a moment like this. Priceless.

“The Miller Line”. Thanks for the joke Evan Davis.

I will say, the bathroom situation at these playoff games suck. It was a constant never-ending line of 200+ people. With people drinking more than normal, due to the playoffs and it being a Saturday night, all the dickheads were hanging out in the bathroom. This is just my daily bitch about how bad M$G was designed. If you design a building to have 20+ minute piss lines, then either put TV’s near the bathrooms or don’t get upset when people are pissing & smoking in the staircase.

No scoreboard or TV to let me know the clock. I would never sit here regularly under these conditions, but the energy of this crowd more than made up for it.

As far as the game itself, it was just a great experience. I thought the Rangers played well. The stars really shined tonight. Your money guys, outside of Marc Staal & Derek Stepan, to an extent, all came out to play. Your McDonald Award winner had another great night. If you’re looking for anything negative to say about anyone, I guess you shift your eyes towards the direction of Chris Kreider, who seemed to check out of this series. However, this is the happy blog, so all I want to say here is that I’m extremely happy with the way this team treated this Game 6 & how they took care of biz on home ice.

Every season, I do the annual Year-End Report card. If you missed this year’s, you can check it out below. Even better, my Montreal preview is in the same blog:

New York Rangers 2016-2017 Season Report Card: Grading Every Single New York Ranger & NYR Team Staff At The End of the Regular Season. Plus: NYR/MTL First Round Preview!

 

Let’s take a quick look at the Rangers in this series.

Not going to go too deep here, but here are my grades for the Rangers in this series. Players are judged on skill, how they played, their role and their contract. For example a fourth line cheap cap hit like Tanner Glass, who played well, is going to be rated a lot better than an expensive Marc Staal, who didn’t play well, in my opinion.

A+:  Henrik Lundqvist and Ryan McDonagh

A: Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello and Dan Girardi

A-: Jesper Fast, Brady Skjei and Tanner Glass

B+: Jimmy Vesey, Brendan Smith & Michael Grabner

B: Oscar Lindberg

B-: Kevin Klein and Mika Zibanejad

C+: Pavel Buchnevich and Kevin Hayes

C: Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider and JT Miller

D: Marc Staal

F: Nick Holden

INC: Antti Raanta, who will not see the ice if Henrik Lundqvist keeps playing like this. Who thought that going into this series? It wasn’t just me either, everyone was nervous.

Lundqvist deserved the Broadway Hat for the series, but for Game 6? It should’ve went to Zucc.

Just a couple of thoughts on Lundqvist before moving on. Some of the things that I can’t stand still littered the media throughout this series. “Lundqvist does this or Lundqvist does that.” Not one peep about McDonagh or Girardi. When Lundqvist gives up a goal? “NICK HOLDEN AND MARC STAAL!” You can’t have it both ways! Lundqvist played well the whole series, but please, give some credit to the stalwarts of this Rangers defense, in 5 and 27 too.

I also can’t stand these people who say “WITHOUT LUNDQVIST, THE RANGERS LOSE!” Based on what? You don’t know how Raanta does. I don’t get why people need to tear down other goalies to prop Lundqvist up. I also don’t get the SHOCK that Ranger fans have just because Lundqvist played great. He’s paid the most money in the world to be the best goalie in the world. This is why fans like me get on him. It shouldn’t be a fucking miracle if he steals the show. It should be expected for the money he gets. Even someone who flips burgers at McDonalds doesn’t get a celebration and people chanting his name for getting the order right. It’s Hank’s job to be the best and hopefully he can do it for 12 more games.

I’ll tell you what, Cam Talbot has been great all year and in these playoffs. In his first NHL playoff series, as a starter, Talbot won the series, posted two shutouts and won an OT game. Are you telling me he couldn’t have done the same with the Rangers for $7.5M less in 2015 and 2016 or for $4.5M less in 2017? Don’t twist my words around when you try to tag me in some of the silliness of twitter. I’m rooting for Hank to do well because that means the Rangers are doing well. That said, I still believe the team could be better off without him in this salary cap NHL.

That said, seeing him celebrate was great last night. It’s why I used that picture as the main pic for this blog. You could see his emotion. It’s nice to see him give a fuck and I hope he gets that Cup this year.

For the Canadiens, I wonder what excuse they will find for the 2014 loss now? The Rangers & Lundqvist beat Price, although a lot of Ranger fans wouldn’t say Price beat Lundqvist if the Rangers lost this series. It’s only a “team game” after a loss! Funny how that works!

I don’t know if any of you follow the losing teams media after a game, but Hab fans are going nuts on Price for losing and on the GM. Getting big failed. I wonder how Montreal would’ve fared if they slipped to the two or three seed, rather than winning the division. You really can make a case, with the Rangers & Senators moving on, that the two better teams were eliminated in the first round. I know Bluejacket fans are all pissed off right now, but hey, the Rangers got fucked last year in that spot, so I have no tears for you. You can only play with the system you’re dealt with.

With the first round officially over, here’s what my brackets look like. I lost a few rounds here, but my finals are alive!

Couple of thoughts about the playoffs before talking Ottawa:

  • Rangers vs Montreal. I predicted NYR in 7. I’m glad it was 6 and that I got to see it.
  • Pittsburgh vs Columbus. I predicted Pitt in 7. Pitt abused Columbus in 5. Bobrovsky was off all series. I’m surprised this was a one-sided showing.
  • Washington vs Toronto. Washington just wrapped this series up on Sunday night in 6. I thought it would be done in 5.  They struggled a lot with Toronto. Toronto lost three OT games, which suggests Washington may not be as good as people think they are, or that the disparity between first seed and second wild card is tight.
  • Ottawa vs Boston. I thought Boston would win in 6, but it was Ottawa in 6. More on this below.
  • Edmonton vs San Jose. I said Oilers in 6 and that’s what it was. I’m never wrong on Talbot!
  • Chicago vs Nashville. Nobody had the Predators in 4. A complete shocker.
  • St. Louis vs Minnesota. I thought the Wild would’ve won in 7, but it was the Blues in 6. Just remember, the Blues were sellers at the deadline.
  • Calgary vs Anaheim. I really thought the Flames would be a dark horse. Alas, no battle of Alberta this year.

Here are my predictions for Round 2:

Anaheim vs Edmonton: Oilers in 6. I said in the preseason that the Oilers would be a playoff team. With Chicago out of it & no clear-cut favorite in the West, I really think the Oilers could be playing in the SCF. They are 8 wins away, and it’s not unthinkable. They are hot at the right time. If Talbot keeps playing the way he has all season and if McDavid doesn’t slow down, I don’t see how this team doesn’t make it to the Cup.

St. Louis vs Nashville: Tough one here. I’ll go Predators in 6, just because I think Allen was great in the series against the Wild & I don’t see him continuing that. Nashville pounding Chicago really impressed me. I wonder if St. Louis wishes they still had Shattenkirk and Ott?

Washington Capitals vs Pittsburgh Penguins. I’m tempted to be bold and say Penguins in 4. In reality, it’s probably Pitt in 6. I know in my bracket I picked the Caps to beat the Pens in this series, but the Caps looked terrible in the first round, while Pitt owned it. I’m supposed to buy the Capitals can beat the former Cup champions now?  Hey, I’m rooting for the Caps, because I think NYR matches up better with Washington than Pittsburgh, but I wouldn’t bet a cent on the Caps.

I saved the best for last.

Just a year ago, the scene looked like this. Now these two are in different jerseys representing teams in different countries.

NY Rangers vs Ottawa Senators. Rangers in 5!

Now I know what some of you are saying. “You’re being cocky, you’re being emotional, you’re being a Micheletti, did you forget to flush, etc.” I won’t lie – I didn’t watch every minute of Boston/Ottawa, because they were head-to-head with Washington/Toronto and I enjoyed that series more. I watched about 75% of Boston/Ottawa, but to me here is what you have to consider:

When the playoff seeding all started taking shape, this is what the Rangers wanted. This is what the pro-Rangers media wanted. This is what the fans wanted. This Ottawa team is the easier match-up, than a Penguins or Capitals. This is your destiny match-up. I truly believe that you can print the ECF tickets up already. It’s going to be Rangers hosting Games 3, 4 and 6 at MSG.

If you watched that BOS/OTT series, OTT won two overtime games in a controversial fashion. In one, they weren’t called for a penalty, Boston got called for a penalty and they went on to win. They won today’s Game 6 after a penalty that you usually don’t see in OT.

When you look at the match-ups, where does Ottawa have the edge? The powerplay? If this is the Lundqvist we’re getting, while goalie Craig Anderson can steal games, he’s not Carey Price. I’m sympathetic for Anderson’s plight personally (His wife is fighting cancer), but it’s tough to go to that well a lot. I’m not trying to sound like a dick and I hope I’m not wording this wrong, because cancer sucks, we all know that. I’m just saying, there were times this season where Anderson came back from visiting his wife and was lights out. He posted a few shutouts and even beat the Rangers after visiting his wife this season. Again, I hope I’m not phrasing this wrong and you can understand my wavelength on this.

I really don’t think you can even look at the regular season for answers. After all, the Rangers finished 0-3 to Montreal. In the regular season, Ottawa was 2-1 vs the Rangers. However, Raanta started two of those games and that was in the beginning of the season. Lundqvist lost the second-to-last game of the season to Ottawa, but that was when AV had half the team scratched for rest for the playoffs. Plus, Ottawa was going all out, because they wanted home-ice in the first round. So I really don’t think you can take that small sample of games and say much.

If you’re looking to judge anything by recent games played, I really think the Rangers had a tougher team to beat to get to the second round than Ottawa had in Boston, especially when you factor in Boston’s injuries & coaching situation.

You’re going to hear a lot about Zibanejad vs Brassard because of the trade & because they play the same position. Even when Brassard was having good playoff games before Z-Bad’s Game 5 winner, you kept hearing people make those comparisons. Whoever loses this series will say the other team won that trade. However, unless Brass or Z-Bad are having 3 point nights every night, you really can’t judge the trade like that. Each brings something different to their team.

Just like Montreal, I think Ottawa will get “toe-tagged” by the Rangers.

The Rangers will have to bust out the passports for another two weeks. Being on the road doesn’t bother the Rangers, we know that. If the Garden keeps rocking, the Rangers may somehow find themselves having a home advantage!

When I look at Montreal, there were names you feared, like Weber, Pacioretty, Price, etc. Sure, Ottawa has Anderson, Turris, Ryan, Karlsson and Stone, but do you know who we have? We have Lundqvist, Nash, McDonagh, Zuccarello, Girardi and I believe line for line, the Rangers have the edge. Yes Karlsson is a bad-ass, but our “C” can fucking bring it too! I use the “f” word here because people underrate McDonagh. He’s having a great defensive year and that gets lost because he doesn’t have the pretty offensive numbers that Norris candidates have.

Going into Montreal, I was nervous about Hank. I probably always will be until he wins a Cup. That said, the two people that make me nervous the most are Holden and Staal. However, I think AV is the better and more experienced coach over Guy Boucher. We remember the Senator teams of old, but these recent Senator teams haven’t had many deep playoff runs to speak of and Boucher is in the trenches for the first time with this club. AV has had success with the Rangers for four years now and this Rangers team is playoff tested.

Just think, the Rangers beat a very good Montreal team with poor showings from Stepan, Kreider, Miller and Hayes. If everything stays the same and if just one of these guys can get hot, do you really see Ottawa stopping them? I know this sounds fan-boyish, but just seeing Lundqvist and Zuccarello celebrate after last night’s win, made me believe. Shit, I been saying all season if the Rangers get out of the first, they will cakewalk in the second. I’m still buying into that and I’m still winning bets with that thinking!

It may be bold to predict a 4-1 series win, but when have I ever worried what people think? Rangers in 5. See you in the ECF. “Book ’em Danno!”

Talbot and McDavid may be the best goalie-star forward tandem in the NHL today.

As we approach the end of this double-blog, I would be remiss if I didn’t celebrate & mention the Oilers victory last night too. After the Rangers won last night, I got to my local watering hole for the last 13 minutes of the Oilers/Sharks game. How about that Cam Talbot? 2 shutouts, a one goal game and an OT win. Sure, there was a lop-sided loss in there, but when the refs give the Sharks 667856756756785 PP’s and the Sharks get 4 PPG’s, that’s just the game.

You guys all know my history with Talbot and why I pull for the Oilers. For my Edmonton readers, Sather has been the gift that keeps on giving for you guys. I really could see a potential NYR vs EDM SCF. For those wondering what do I root for there, there are two answers! Four 1-0 victories for the Rangers. Or maybe Talbot has to miss the SCF for other causes & destroys ISIS, cures cancer, creates world peace and solves world hunger. Poor LB takes the four losses. Either way, while I’m rooting for the Orange Crush to win the West, when it comes to nut up time, this is RANGERSTOWN.

I’m very impressed with the Oilers. The west is open, especially with a veteran powerhouse like Chicago out of it. The Oilers just eliminated last year’s Western Conference Champions, in the Sharks. The Oilers not only beat the Sharks, they outplayed them for most of the series. It wasn’t like Washington/Toronto, where every game was a coin-flip. The Oil brought it.

It’s tough to say that the Ducks, Blues or Predators have an edge over the Oilers, with the way the Oilers are playing now. I expect a lot of tight one goal games, as you always get in the playoffs, for the rest of the way for the Oilers. Sometimes being young and full throttle is better than being experienced & conservative. We all know it’s only a matter of time before McDavid takes the throne, but he’s going to have his young Crosbyesque run too. It just may happen a lot earlier than everyone expected.

Who knew when I started this blog 3 years ago, after being sick of being contained to 140 twitter characters, that the storyline Talbot vs Lundqvist would have, my view on the issue and now the possibility of a NYR vs EDM SCF? Vince McMahon couldn’t have booked it better.

One Canadien team down, one Canadian team to go!

If you’re still reading, thanks for all your support. At nearly 8000 words, I know this was a long one, but sometimes I get into these zones where my fingers move faster than my thoughts. Wow, that makes me sound like a dirty porn star!

Anyway, as far as Round 2, I assume the Rangers will open up Wednesday. Unless something major happens between now and then, I think this double blog is enough to digest and enough out of me for a bit. I will be appearing on the Hudson Valley Hockey Podcast this week and you can get more information on that by following @travjax71. I’ll make sure to tweet my appearance whenever it drops and plug it in my Game 1 NYR/OTT review.

Until then, thanks for sticking through all of this, feel free to comment and see you in Round 2.

***EDIT***
Just as I published this blog, the Rangers announced the following:

#Blueshirts 2nd Round Schedule:‬
‪G1 4/27 @ OTT 7p‬
‪G2 4/29 @ OTT 3p‬
‪G3 5/2 MSG 7p‬
‪G4 5/4 MSG 7:30p‬
‪*G5 5/6 @ OTT ‬
‪*G6 5/9 MSG ‬
‪*G7 5/11 @ OTT‬

So Game 1 is Thursday and Game 2 is a Saturday matinee. See ya Thursday night. Enjoy the million Brassard vs Zibanejad takes!

As always,

LET’S GO RANGERS

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

@NYCTHEMIC on twitter

Comments

  1. Awesome blog, I loved it. You sound like my friends and me back in the day, circa 1968 to 1975. Hey, if you enjoyed the Garden crowd on Saturday, you would have died back in the playoffs in ’71 to ’74. You couldn’t hear yourself think. The beach balls in the stands, super balls bouncing across the ice, the airhorns…it was otherworldly! It was spring and the playoffs. By the time the anthem was heading towards the last stanza, you couldn’t hear it anymore. In ’72 it was so crazy, you couldn’t hear it at all!! I was there…a lifelong memory!!!

    1. My parents had season tickets for 20+ years, covering the years you’re mentioning. I know it’s night and day now, but that building was great on Saturday. I’m sure it could never rival the days of old, seems like everything is better than it is today, outside of communication! Thanks for reading, LGR

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