Hank’s Historic Night, Making a Case For Greatest Ranger All-Time, Nash Sighting, Zuccarello On Fire, Line Changes, In Allaire We Trust, The MSG Network Crew & More From The Hottest Team in the NHL

If Hank can ever win a Cup, you could argue he’s the greatest player in Rangers history. Personally, I would still prefer Frank Boucher.

Miss me?

What’s up everyone and welcome to another blog here on DOINOW.com. It’s 10PM as I start this and I have a 4:15AM alarm clock to wake up to, so let’s get right into it.

As I’ve mentioned in several blogs this season, I’m currently working crazy ass hours, so I don’t have time to recap every game like last season. In another retread from previous blogs, I’m extremely happy with this team. I just wish the playoffs started tomorrow.

The Rangers are the hottest team in hockey. They’ve won the most games and have accumulated the most amount of points in a two year stretch. The only thing that eludes the club is the elusive Stanley Cup victory. While all you can ask for now, is for the team to perform, and they have, let’s face it. None of this means anything come April. This team MUST win a Cup to be successful. Sure it’s great to go deep in the playoffs, but for this era to be truly one of the best in the Rangers near 90 year history, a Cup has to be on the resume.

Since I last posted an entry, here’s what I missed:

11/3: Rangers 5, Washington 2

11/6: Rangers 2, Colorado 1

11/7: Rangers 4, Arizona 1

I was able to attend the Capitals game at MSG. I was nervous a bit going into it. Not that the game was must-win or anything, but it was a good test. Then again, the Rangers have become the measuring stick in the NHL. Everyone gives the Rangers their best. The Rangers don’t see too many back-up goalies or top stars taking a rest. The way the Rangers have played these last two years, they are circled on most team calendars. The Rangers usually have to deal with the best from their opposition, which truly makes what the Rangers have done, thus far this season, that more impressive.

I’ll post some pictures below, but here are my quick takes on the three games I didn’t recap.

NYR vs Caps – a big win against a team the Rangers are most likely to see in the playoffs again. Ovi is the greatest player in the NHL today, in my opinion. Caps are deep, but the Rangers know they can beat them. It was an off night for Holtby.

NYR vs Avalanche – With McDavid out, Lindberg is making a case for the Calder Trophy. It was another game for the Rangers, where they started slow, scored their goals and let the goaltending take care of the rest.

NYR vs Coyotes- Raanta was an absolute beast. The Rangers got goals from their young guns. I was impressed with the way the Rangers handled themselves on an almost West Coast swing, especially in back-to-back games. Great teams win games they are supposed to win, and the Rangers did just that.

The Dynamic Duo

I did a blog about this a few weeks ago, and of course, you can check the archives on the right hand of the site for it, but how great has the Rangers goaltending been this season? You have to credit Benoit Allaire. It is funny, I did a blog about Benoit Allaire and the Rangers goalies over the last few seasons. Larry Brooks of the NY Post wrote a column after Raanta’s first start and said he was great. I emailed him about Allaire with a link to my blog about Allaire. No joke, a week later Brooks writes this:

Did Larry Brooks plagiarize me? Probably not, but how ironic he writes this column after I emailed him the same thing three weeks ago!

No wonder Torts went off on Larry Brooks and called him a hack! And no, I’m not being serious here. Sure, I wrote it first and Brooks basically reworded my blog and my email to him, but anyone with common sense has to write this story. Benoit Allaire is the architect of the Rangers goaltending and the Rangers goaltending is the best in the league today.

Again, you can check the archives for the blog I wrote on Allaire and the goaltending, but to reiterate – it’s amazing how the Rangers are lights out in the position. Whether it was Talbot or Skapski and now Raanta, the back-up usually shines and the opposing team does not have an easy game. It also affords the Rangers to rest up Lundqvist for the playoffs without losing any fire the team has or any points in the standings.

Simply put, the Rangers are the best they’ve been at the position since the days of Richter and Beezer. And that’s not a shot at Healy, that’s just the way it is!

The three greatest goalies in NYR history

As a fan of sports, we all tend to get nostalgic. The heroes and athletes we grew up always hold a special place for us. For me, Mike Richter is the greatest goalie in New York Ranger history, and it will remain that way until Henrik Lundqvist wins a Stanley Cup. If Hank can ever win a Cup, you could argue he’s the greatest Ranger ever, with the likes of Frank Boucher, Rod Gilbert, Brian Leetch and Mark Messier.

Being born in 1982, Mike Richter will always be the guy for me. I grew up with Richter. I saw him deliver a Stanley Cup. He’s also an American, which gains points with me. Take that as you will, but I don’t hide it, I’m always happy to see the Americans do well. For the generation before me, Eddie Giacomin was their guy. He was the greatest goalie in Rangers history until Richter came around and was a huge part of the 1994 Cup win.

On Tuesday night, November 10th, Henrik Lundqvist had one of the most historic nights of his eventual Hall of Fame career. Not only does Lundqvist hold the most wins by a goaltender in NYR history, he now holds the most appearances and saves in NYR history too.

I’ll save you the contract talk. You’ve seen me gone on for too long on that. Tonight is Hank’s night and he deserved it. The only thing he needs in his career is the Cup and he will get another shot at it in April. Let’s face it – barring an epic collapse, these Rangers will be in the Stanley Cup playoff tournament again this year.

The Rangers have a lot to celebrate recently

The Rangers extended their winning streak and took a four point lead over the Washington Capitals, for first place in the Metropolitan division, as a result of their 3-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night. For Henrik Lundqvist, it was his first shutout of the season, stopping 33 shots.

On an aside, as you may know, I live tweet the majority of these games at @NYCTHEMIC on twitter. I kinda wanted to virtually slap NYR reporter Seth Rothman in the face during this game. He was calling this game boring and tedious all night. Basically, that says he has no appreciation of the defensive game or the grind. It’s amazing someone like Seth gets paid to write about the Rangers. No wonder the rag he writes for doesn’t send him out on away games!

Listen, some games are boring and a chore, just like that Sunday Devils game a few weeks back. However, on a night Henrik Lundqvist was making history, Rick Nash gets a goal and the team finds another way to win, I was on the edge of my seat. It’s a great time for the NY Rangers hockey team and it’s an exciting time to be a fan.

While thinking about the Rangers, I was also wondering if the team has to trip over the same homeless people I do when entering/leaving Penn Station every evening! These are the things I think about, during commercial break, when I already have answered the MSG trivia question!

Rick Nash scores!

While Henrik Lundqvist will get the majority of the talk after tonight, and deservingly so, there were a few other story lines going on, none bigger than the return of Rick Nash.

Nash, who missed the 9PM EST weekend games, due to a back injury suffered in the morning skate in Colorado, returned to his spot on the first line on Tuesday night. Nash had another monster game with the puck and put many shots on net. However, for once, he found the back of net! It was Nash’s first true goal of the season, after being previously credited for a goal, due to a penalty during an empty net situation. For Nash, it was his first real goal of the season, second overall for the season.

I know I’m not the only one who’s said this, but the common feeling is that once Nash scores, the goals will come in bunches. We’ll see if that happens, but on the bright side, Nash looked 100% healthy tonight. Hopefully he can put it all together. More importantly, hopefully he’s scoring these goals in the playoffs. I know, I know, I’m beating a dead horse here, but for a club like the Rangers, the regular season means shit. It’s another Cup or bust year.

When it comes to the skaters, Zucc is the Rangers MVP thus far. There is no argument there. Mats Zuccarello once again had another superb game on Tuesday night. Another point I’ve beaten to death is that it’s amazing how great Zucc has been, considering where he was with his injury. I guess it goes without saying now, but you can’t help but step back and appreciate what Zucc is doing out there.

The only criticism that you could give Zucc right now is that he needs to be more shoot-happy with the puck. Time and time again, he will pass the puck instead of taking the sure-fire goal. This is the same guy that opted to pass in front on an empty net! Zucc needs to be a little more puck-hoggish in goal scoring situations. I appreciate him being a team guy and an all-around player, but in tight games, the Rangers need sure things, not hoping that the extra pass leads to the back of the net. Zucc had another strong game here tonight, feeding Nash.

You got to wonder if playing with Marty St. Louis for a season and a half has made Zucc a pass happy guy!

The Americans have been playing well for the Rangers

The Rangers started Tuesday’s game slowly, but after the first commercial break the Rangers came off strong. Jesper Fast got the first goal, on a goal that was all net. 11 seconds later, Zucc fed Nash for the second goal of the game, making the score 2-0. By the end of the first period, the Rangers had a 2-0 lead on three shots. Did the Rangers play great in the first period? Perhaps not, but good teams find ways to win the games they should win.

What hurt the Rangers throughout the game were penalties. It seems that the NHL has gotten a bit “NFL-happy” with clean hits for penalties. I get protecting the players and all, but Girardi and Klein were called for penalties on clean hits. Sure, the hits looked brutal, but they weren’t dirty either.

Fortunately for the Rangers, Carolina couldn’t get anything going tonight and went 0/6 on the PP. The Rangers, who went 0/2 on the PP, looked good on the PP, with Carolina goalie Cam Ward making several big stops. Ward settled down after the two goals in 11 seconds, but with Lundqvist making history, the Rangers only needed Fast’s goal to win the game.

The Rangers, after looking flat for the first ten minutes of the game, would fire 20 more shots at Ward. Ward stopped them all, except for a Captain Mac goal, which occurred 13 seconds into the third period.

It seems the Rangers have been getting a lot of goals after the face-off this season. After being dreadful and miserable in the face-off department last season, the Rangers have improved on the draw and it has to led to many quick goals. The Rangers got two of them tonight and it is goals like these that can help swing playoff games.

Then again, it also helps when Hank is playing out of his skull and an averaging two highlight reel saves a night.

Zucc and Lindberg are leading the Rangers in scoring this season

QUICK THOUGHTS:

  • The Rangers scratched Dominic Moore in favor of Emerson Etem tonight. I saw some fans wondering what was going on. First off, trust AV. He’s been magic since he’s been here. Secondly, Moore is one of the oldest forwards on the team. It makes sense to rest him. I wouldn’t look into it at all.
  • Props to the Rangers for their Veteran’s Day appreciation. The Rangers, as most sports teams do in general, did a great job of honoring people who deserve our appreciation and respect. It’s times like this where we realize there are more important things going on in the world.
  • Dan Boyle returned to the ice today. He wasn’t as awful as he’s been this season, but he’s become expendable for this team. I just don’t see any team taking his contract in a trade.

    I might be the only person who owns this autograph!

  • I can’t lie. I still miss the Duke. Like many rookies, he will grow into his boy. He’s still a kid, like Connor, like Jack, like Oscar, etc. However, you can see his physicality improving. I hate that the Rangers traded him.
  • How funny would it be if Lindberg and Duclair were the Calder favorites?
  • Kevin Klein is the Rangers best defensemen right now. I know, I know, you love Mac, but Klein has been playing out of his mind right now.
  • Did anyone else see that fight over Lundqvist’s stick? First, I’m surprised he gave it away, since he’s always about the money! He could’ve sold that thing! Secondly, it’s only a matter of time before there is a bloody fight amongst fans for this unique item!
  • How great has Antti Raanta been? Raanta Claus has come to MSG but he’s not giving out any gifts to the opposing teams! In Allaire We Trust!
  • It’s a small sample size, but Dylan McIlarath has made Diaz expendable too. However, out of the three, who do you want in a playoff game – Boyle, McIlrath or Diaz? Hate to say it, but I want Boyle there.
  • The Rangers may be too team-oriented! They have too many guys who pass first, wondering if they should’ve shot the puck second. Props to Nash and Lindberg for always firing away. I would like to see Stepan, Brassard, Zucc and Hayes shoot more.

Susan Sarandon looking at me while I scream “IN ALLAIRE WE TRUST!”

With the Rangers beating the Hurricanes, they sport a 11-2-2 record with 24 points. The only team above them are the Montreal Candiens, who are 13-2-1 with 27 points. Could the Rangers win back-to-back President Trophy’s? Who knows? The only thing that matters is that the Rangers are healthy and ready for the playoffs.

Up next for the Blueshirts are the Blues, who have 23 points of their own, on Thursday night at home. The Rangers will then travel for a matinee Saturday game with the Senators, before returning home to host the Maple Leafs again. To quote Mike Francesa, “I will be in duh buildin” for the next two home games. Feel free to tweet me to see where I’m at, so you can get me a beer!

Running into Vally in the Delta Club!

This blog is never the X’s and O’s, just one fan’s trials and tribulations with this team. During Tuesday’s Capital’s game, my Stubhub trick worked. I bought tickets at 6PM from a bar stool at Hooters, and was able to sit five rows back for $100. With those tickets, I was granted Delta Club access.  I know not everyone has the money or the patience to wait til the last second to drop $100 to sit bougias at a Ranger game, but to my credit, I budget for this.

Anyway, it was a pleasure running into former goalie/current analyst Stephen Valiquette. I was with JEFFREY, who has been mentioned in these blogs before. JEFFREY was shocked that Vally actually knew who I was from twitter. I guess being the “Talbot Guy” really has stuck with me.

Like Vally, I’m a big fan of the defense and the goaltenders, which kinda pissed me off when reporter Seth Rothman called this game boring. One of the best games I’ve ever seen in my life was a 1-0 OT win, several seasons ago, when the Rangers beat the Islanders on a Dan Girardi goal.

I know goal scoring is sexy and is good for gaining casual fans and interest, but even as a kid, I always enjoyed watching the defense and goalies. I played defense in high school, which was about 15 years, 100 pounds and 100,000 beers ago, but even as an adult, I enjoy the defensive games over the the rare 7-6 game.

If you can get into the Delta Club, you often see the MSG crew there. They are all fan friendly and willing to talk, if they have a break, with fans. Ranger tickets are hot right now, due to the teams success and playing in NYC, one of the most expensive tickets in the league. It is great to see that the Rangers often put alumni and their analysts in situations where the fans can meet them. On any given night, you can usually bump into Vally, Duguay, Stemmer, Greschner, Giacomin, Graves and a few others. I don’t know if the ex-players know this, but it’s always cool, as a fan, to see these guys and say what’s up.

In the case of Vally, I enjoy his MSG work, so it was a pleasure to meet him. It’s also always great to run into Adam Graves and thank him for all the endless charity work that he does too.

Oh and for the record, Vally is a closeted Talbot fan!

Will the Rangers have their 13th win this weekend?

Overall, this was another team win for these New York Rangers. They have been the best and most consistent team in the NHL and in New York for the last few years. The one thing they don’t have is the Stanley Cup. If they can play like this in the playoffs, Henrik Lundqvist will truly become a King and have his first NHL crown.

Depending on my now 70 hour a week work schedule, I’ll try to be back Thursday. If not, see ya over the weekend!

LET’S GO RANGERS!

CONGRATS HANK!

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

@NYCTHEMIC on the twitter gimmick

Comments

  1. I am a CT Rangers fan and would like to talk about the state of goaltending in the NHL. Aside from Hank, I see highlights on NHL network that shows bad goals given up by goalie after goalie with bad techniques. Why do goalies go down on every shot? Why do they continue to use the reverse VH position while guarding the post? THIS DOESN’T WORK!!! Please comment.
    John, CT

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