What’s up everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. I didn’t get a chance to recap the Pittsburgh Penguins game due to my busy work schedule. Just a couple of thoughts on that game:
- Lundqvist looks to have gotten out of whatever funk plagued him for six weeks. Those soft goals that he’s so prone for needs to go bye-bye. The blowing the lead stuff has to stop. Giving up goals, within 90 seconds, after the Rangers score, has to be a distant memory. The last few games we haven’t seen much of any of this. That needs to continue. As much as I despise his contract, Lundqvist will need to be at the top of his game for the Rangers to make a Cup run. It is when Lundqvist cracks is when the Rangers fall apart in these playoff series. The Tampa series is all on Lundqvist for giving up 2 touchdowns in back-to-back games. Yes, the Rangers didn’t score, but that means Bishop did his job too. Lundqvist needs to be elite, especially for the money he demanded. The Kings series from 2014 was a series full of Lundqvist giving up two goal leads and blowing games. Yes, the Kings were aggressive, but you are paid the best in the world to play goalie. If you can’t do it, why pay your salary? Bottom line, Hank needs to be on top of the world for the Rangers to have any shot of making a serious run at the Cup.
- Even without Ryan McDonagh, the Rangers did a superb job in keeping Cindy Crosby off the board. My friend who was betting this game asked me what I thought. I told him the Rangers do the opposite job on Crosby that they do with Ovechkin. Rangers are pretty good, in recent years, at shutting down the little bitch. Ovechkin? Not so much. I thought with Crosby entering the game on a hot streak and with McDonagh out, he was due to have a great game against the Rangers. Credit the Rangers defense and Phil Kessel (who wiffed on two easy goals) for keeping Crosby off the score sheet.
- The three goals against the Penguins came from Kevin Hayes, Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast. Not really the “murderer’s row” of the New York Rangers. Even Tanner Glass got an assist on the Hayes goal. With no one having a clue what’s up with Rick Nash, Chris Kreider having the worst season of his career, Stepan’s head in the clouds, Brassard & Zuccarello showing up once in a while; the Rangers need their role players to step up a bit more.
- It still pains me to see Carl Hagelin in a Penguins jersey. The Rangers PP remains dreadful. The PK is atrocious. I said from day one that Hagelin for Etem trade was a mistake. Hagelin should still be a Ranger. I mean the guy didn’t even get a call from Sather to even discuss a contract. So much for being loyal to a team and pouring all you got out there. Senile Sather could’ve at least gave the guy a call.
- I wonder if there will be another shake-up in Pittsburgh if the Penguins miss the playoffs or are a first round exit again? I know it’s tough to compare eras in the NHL, and it really is for millions of reasons (Salary cap, less teams, better technology today, bigger equipment, rule changes, better scouting, etc), but Crosby only has one Cup. For someone hailed as the “Next Great One”, “The Next Gretzky”, “The Best Hockey Player Today”, Crosby isn’t even in the same arena as Gretzky, nevermind being in the same locker room. Should be interesting to see how Connor McDavid is doing ten years from now.
- While the Rangers played sloppy at points and Marc Staal did everything he could to make sure Hank didn’t get his shutout, the Rangers fought. They played good hockey for 60 minutes. I know other fans go nuts about the turnovers, but what do you expect? No team has a game without making a turnover. The other team is a skilled squad too. So yea, I will say the Rangers played well-to-borderline-great hockey on Wednesday night.
- I really fucking hate the NHL on NBC SN games. Roenick is ok, I guess, but Milbury and McGuire have no business on television. Pierre McGuire looks like one of those guys busted by Chris Hansen on “Catch a Predator”. After the way Pierre interviewed John Scott’s wife after the All-Star Game, Pierre will forever be an asshole. Speaking of assholes….
Every time I see Mike Milbury on TV, I just ask or scream, “WHY IS THIS GUY ON TV?” Does he know the game of hockey? Of course he does. Most non-superstars usually make good coaches or GM’s, because they shadowed/watched their coaches a lot from the bench during their careers. That goes for any sport. That said, Milbury was probably one of the worst coaches and GM’s in the history of hockey.
I’m sure readers of this blog know all about Mike Milbury, from attacking fans in the crowd to killing the Islander franchise. The man even has a petition out against him, asking for his job. You can sign that petition by visiting: https://www.change.org/p/nbc-nhl-nbcsn-a-petition-to-remove-nbc-sports-network-desk-analyst-mike-milbury
For fans who don’t know about Milbury, here’s a real brief, and I mean brief, synopsis of his track record:
- The incident that everyone remembers Mike Milbury, as a player, is obviously the 12/23/79 game. Milbury jumped into the stands, two days before Christmas mind you, and attacked a Rangers fan, with the fans own shoe. You can watch different takes and comedic spins on the incident on Youtube. You can watch the video here: Milbury Attacks Fan with Shoe
- You could literally write a book about why Mike Milbury is the worst GM/coach of all time during his Islanders tenure. There are so many stories and this is only a little blog. It’s a book idea though. Sure, the Spano shit didn’t make his job any easier, but trading away Luongo, Chara, Bertuzzi, Palffy, Jokinen, McCabe, Berard, Redden; among others, didn’t help either. Being in last place or second to last place every year wasn’t a glowing achievement for Milbury either.
- This is also the same guy that drafted Rick Dipietro with the number 1 overall pick and paid him like he was Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur and Domenik Hasek combined!
- How about the time Mike Milbury assaulted a 12 year old kid? You can read that article from ESPN by clicking here.
- On NBC Milbury has put his foot in his mouth so many times. He’s also been extremely arrogant and overall a real killjoy. The way he handled the John Scott situation was disgusting and perhaps done with envy.
Bottom line, NHL on NBC should want anchors that are respected and be guys fans want to see. I guess NHL on NBC goes for the “Howard Stern” effect with Milbury, meaning that more people will tune in out of hatred and to see what he says/does next. If that’s the strategy, I guess I understand it. Ratings are up for NHL on NBC so I guess don’t fix what’s not broken. At the same time, NBC should expect fans to spew hatred back at them whenever that asshole Milbury is on the air.
Honestly, there are great men around the league who could easily replace Milbury. Two of them are in NY already. Stan Fischler would be great, but maybe it’s an age thing and the fact that Fischler is done traveling. John Giannone would be great too. Maybe Giannone would be too dry, but when he gets a chance to show his personality on TV, he’s pretty good. Perhaps they want an ex-player? I get that you want someone who will say dumb shit at times to get people talking, but you want someone that wasn’t a complete failure like Milbury. Want controversial, make a run at Sean Avery! All I’m saying is that there are thousands of ex-hockey players in retirement right now, thousands of paid journalists, thousands of bloggers and millions of fans – and I would rather see any of them over Mike Milbury.
The Rangers dropped a 5-4 OT decision to the LA Kings at home on Friday night. With Lundqvist playing a ton of games recently, Coach Alain Vigneault opted to rest Lundqvist. I saw some fans were upset that Lundqvist was being benched, because Lundqvist has been playing so well of late. Why cool him down? Bottom line is that while this loss sucks, you want Lundqvist fresh for the playoffs. Lundqvist will need his rest, for a hopeful long playoff run, so you want him 100% come playoff time.
Before getting into Raanta a bit, here are his stats, thus far, this season, courtesy of ESPN.com:
|2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON GAME LOG|
||L 4-5 (OT)||61:35||5||27||22||.815||0||0|
||L 4-5 (OT)||63:10||5||34||29||.853||0||0|
|Regular Season Stats||584:27||25||254||229||.902||1||0|
Raanta knows he coughed this one up, especially with the Rangers holding the lead with 5 minutes to go and giving up the tying goal with 30 seconds left. He’s accepting responsibility and I understand his plight. It’s not easy, but at the same time, he has to be better than this. Too bad MacKenzie Skapski is toiling around with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the ECHL right now. I wouldn’t mind seeing him back for a start if this is the way Raanta will play in relief of Lundqvist.
Let me be clear – I’m not calling for Raanta’s head yet or anything, but he’s gonna have to start playing better. Chalk this one off the board and move on. However, if the trend continues, the Rangers might want to seek help, especially since Lundqvist should be getting more breaks towards the end of the season and a playoff spot hopefully locked up.
As far as the game itself, I thought the Rangers continued to play well and kept improving. It’s a shame they couldn’t make it a five game win streak, but with Raanta being rusty, it’s easier to accept. The Rangers penalty kill continues to be atrocious. However, if you can believe this, Kevin Hayes scored a power play goal to give the Rangers a lead in the third period! Even more impressive, the Rangers were 100% on the PP! I almost had a fucking heart attack and it wasn’t from those 24 oz heroin tasting Budweiser beers at the Garden! (No, I have never done heroin before. When I went to Alberta, fans in Calgary told me they call Budweiser “Heroin Beers”!)
1st Period Summary
||Anze Kopitar (14)
Assists: Drew Doughty, Milan Lucic
Due to waiting til the last second on Stubhub to print tickets, I was waiting to enter my section from the main corridor. I like how hockey makes people wait to get to their seats during play. It drives me nuts when I see the uneducated, unwashed masses bumbling through when the game is going on, especially when the puck is right in front of you. I watched the goal later on, just a shitty situation and Raanta needs to be better. Marc Staal screened his own goalie, which I’m sure makes a large portion of the fanbase ecstatic.
||Marian Gaborik (12) (Power Play)
Assist: Alec Martinez
I was hoping this would be like the Minnesota game, where the Rangers fell 2-0 and climbed back. It’s funny, looking back at it now, I thought this was the Rangers game to lose. I forgot they game back from a 2-0 deficit. Maybe I’m feeling more confident in the team that I expect them to make these deficits up and come back and win. They were there tonight.
||Viktor Stalberg (8)
Assists: Kevin Hayes, Oscar Lindberg
Everytime this line scores, twitter blows up and journalists are already trying to come up with a sexy name for this line. “Two Swedes & an American” really just doesn’t cut it. Stalberg has shown that when he’s on, he can swing a game. The problem is that he’s not on all the time.
||Marc Staal: 2 Minutes for Delaying Game – Puck over Glass|
2nd Period Summary
||Derek Stepan (10)
People like to talk about how bad the Rangers defense can be. The Kings defense was just as bad or worse than the Rangers D has ever been, as Stepan had no problem getting by everyone and scoring. Stepan, with that big contract, needs to score more. The Rangers took a risk signing him for big money, considering his injury issues. He’s had a bad string of luck, injury wise, but for the money, the guy should have more than 10 goals at this point in the season.
||Mats Zuccarello (19)
Assists: Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan
Does anything blow up twitter faster than a ZUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUC goal? GOOD THINGS HAPPEN WHEN YOU SHOOT THE PUCK!Zucc backhanded one here and it bounced off LeCavalier. Rangers take the lead. Just as I thought. I’m happy and better rested when I have confidence in this team!
||Anze Kopitar (15)
Assists: Milan Lucic, Dustin Brown
The Rangers couldn’t get out of the second period with the head, as Kopitar beat Raanta again. Staal got beat and exposed by Kopitar this time too. Imagine that. The guy being paid an extreme amount of money to be a defensemen’s defenseman gets shown up twice by Kopitar.
||Dominic Moore: 2 Minutes for Hooking|
3rd Period Summary
||Kevin Hayes (9) (Power Play)
Assists: Mats Zuccarello, Keith Yandle
With Martinez tossing the puck over the glass (not Tanner), the Rangers got their usual PP which I thought would be a waste of 2 minutes. Zucc skated all over the place and found the stick of Hayes for what should’ve been the game winner. For the record, this was the 3rd PP goal in the last 51 attempts.
||Anze Kopitar (16)
Assists: Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter
In a 6 vs 5 situation, Kopitar crushed everyone in the Garden with his hat trick. I think Lundqvist saves that. I think I could’ve saved that. I think you could’ve saved it. Heartbreaker.
||Alec Martinez: 2 Minutes for Delaying Game – Puck over Glass|
||Tanner Pearson (7)
Assists: Alec Martinez, Tyler Toffoli
As I was wondering who the shootout favors, Tanner Pearson took a harmless 35 foot shot at Raanta. For a second, the Garden was silent, then people started packing up their shit and hit the exits. UGLY goal. This one will stay with Raanta for a while.
|No penalties this period|
“Fuck up Simmonds on Sunday.”
Glass: “I got this.”