Welcome everyone to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. I got a lot of emails & tweets from readers here looking for a Game 3 recap, but real life beckons. I was able to attend game 3, but wasn’t able to get anything posted here due to my real job. 12 hour work days are brutal, and the 2 hour round-trip from home to work just sucks up my time.
Game 4 was a similar script to Game 3, except Lundqvist was a little bit better as goalie in Game 3. The Rangers had trouble mustering up shots, the powerplay is out of wattage and the referees might as well change their white & black stripes for yellow & black stripes.
It’s funny, going into this series, the one advantage the Rangers had was at the goalie position. Instead, the two rookie back-ups from Pittsburgh, Jeff Zatkoff and Matt Murray, have dominated Henrik Lundqvist & the NY Rangers. Both goalies make $8M less than “KING” Henrik Lundqvist, yet have out-performed him for the majority of the series.
This all goes back to what I’ve been saying for two years. You don’t pay a goalie 13% of your salary cap. You don’t pay an aging player, no matter what the position, the most amount of money on your team until he’s 40 years old. The Rangers are a sinking ship of bad contracts, with Rick Nash, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi and Henrik Lundqvist as the Mount Rushmore of bad contracts.
Since Lundqvist received the highest paid goalie contract in all of the NHL, two years ago, in the salary cap era, he’s done the following:
- Blown multiple two goal leads in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2014.
- Forced to play multiple game 7’s, because he can’t shut down teams in earlier games in the series.
- Gave up back-to-back touchdowns in the ECF to Tampa last year. Even more crushing, he gave up 6 goals when the Rangers gave him 5. Remember when he bragged and said, “Give me two goals and I got this?”
- Has been benched 8 times this season, the most amount of times in his career. He wasn’t even benched/pulled from games that much in the last 4 years combined.
- Watch lesser paid goalies celebrate with the Cup, time and time again.
Let me reprint something I wrote at the end of last season on this blog. Let it sink in again, because several of you still argue with me on this:
NHL TOP GOALTENDING SALARIES for the 2011-2012 Season per year
(To me, Hank was at his absolute prime in this season)
1. Henrik Lundqvist – $6.9M
2. Cam Ward (Carolina) $6.3M
3. Ryan Miller (Buffalo) $6.275M
4. Niklas Backstrom (Minnesota) $6M
5. Miikka Kiprusoff (Calgary) $5.83M
2012 Stanley Cup Winner, LA Kings with goalie Jonathan Quick, who was paid $1.8M, the 30th highest paid goalie in the league.
NHL TOP GOALTENDING SALARIES for the 2012-2013 Season per year
1. Pekka Rinne (Nashville) $7M
2. Henrik Lundqvist $6.9M
3. Carey Price (Montreal) $6.5M
4. Cam Ward (Carolina) $6.3M
5. Ryan Miller (Buffalo) $6.275M
2013 Stanley Cup Winner, Chicago Blackhawks with goalie Corey Crawford, who was paid $2.6M, the 28th highest paid goalie in the league.
NHL TOP GOALTENDING SALARIES for the 2013-2014 Season per year
1. Tuukka Rask (Boston) $7M
2. Pekka Rinne (Nashville) $7M
3. Henrik Lundqvist $6.9M
4. Carey Price (Montreal) $6.5M
5. Cam Ward (Carolina) $6.3M
2014 Stanley Cup Winner, LA Kings with goalie Jonathan Quick, who was paid $5.8M, the 8th highest paid goalie in the league.
NHL TOP GOALTENDING SALARIES for 2014-2015 Season per year
1. Henrik Lundqvist $8.5M
2. Tuukka Rask (Boston) $7M
3. Pekka Rinne (Nashville) $7M
4. Carey Price (Montreal) $6.5M
5. Cam Ward (Carolina) $6.3M
Eastern Conference Champion Tampa Bay Lightning goalie, Ben Bishop comes in at $2.3M, the 29th highest paid goalie in the league.
Western Conference Champion Chicago Blackhawk goalie, Corey Crawford comes in at $6M, tied for 6th place highest paid goalie in the league.
IN OTHER WORDS – HENRIK LUNDQVIST IS OVERPAID. YOU DO NOT NEED TO GIVE 13% OF PAYROLL TO A GOALIE IN TODAY’S NHL!
I am not talking about Lundqvist’s skills right now, although they are diminishing each game as he gets older and regresses. The bottom line, in this cap era NHL, you just can’t pay a goalie this amount of money. Yes, we all know I’m the Talbot guy. I’m not a Raanta guy, as many would lead you to believe, just because he’s the back-up.
Think about Talbot’s run last year. He had a great season once he got used to Edmonton. Edmonton had a horrendous defense and were missing their best player a majority of the season. If Lundqvist and Talbot traded places, I still think the Oilers would finish how they finished and the Rangers would be slightly better.
Now, just think – if Talbot was on the Rangers this year & NYR moved Hank during the off-season, the Rangers would’ve had $8M extra to play with. Imagine having Justin Williams? TJ Oshie? Instead, the Rangers biggest move of the season was making a deal for “Point-Per-Playoff-Game” Eric Staal, who the Rangers failed to realize, hasn’t played a playoff game in nearly a decade. The Rangers love to go for players over-the-hill and past their prime.
It’s not just the goalie either.
Look at the young talent the Rangers have got rid of during this run of deep playoff exits:
- Cam Talbot. If you had two products, would you buy product A for $8 million dollars more, even if it had more mileage on it, didn’t perform all the time and gave you similar production as product B?
- Carl Hagelin. A victim of the Rangers cap, but he could’ve stayed through arbitration. Excellent move by Senile Sather. Hagelin has burnt the Rangers in every game he’s been in as a Penguin. But hey, we had the Cocaine Monster Jarrett Stoll & Emerson “FUCKIN” Etem here!
- Anton Stralman. Why keep a young solid defensemen, when you can sign 40 year old Dan Boyle?
- Anthony Duclair. Why keep a young stud, who wound up being one of the most productive rookies in the league and a team leader in scoring production for Arizona? Yes, I’m down for keeping Yandle here, but you didn’t have to give up Duclair in the deal for him.
- #1 Draft Picks- I was for the MSL/Cally swap, but you could’ve done that straight up. Two number 1 picks didn’t need to be included in that. Nor did you need to include a number 1 pick in the Yandle deal. Slats gives out number 1 picks like a drunk fraternity guy giving out “I love you mans.”
I don’t know what emotion I’m feeling right now. Anger. Frustration. Fury. Acceptance. Unbridled sass. Who knows? There’s no word to describe it. I just have a big case of the “I-Told-You-So” in me. You don’t sign a goalie for that much money. You don’t make the trades you did. You don’t give up draft picks. This is all stuff I’ve been saying when these acts happened. Just check the archives on the right hand of the site.
Another I TOLD YOU SO, was when I said the Rangers should’ve lost Game 82. Again, many of you argued with me, saying stuff like, “IT’S ALL ABOUT PRIDE. YOU DON’T TANK. IT WAS A GOOD WIN FOR MORALE. IT’S BAD KARMA TO LOSE.”
Down 3-1 to Pittsburgh, how’s that morale now? I said it a bunch of times, the Rangers should’ve lost and took the easier route through the Atlantic division. Even if, by some miracle, the Rangers pull this out of their ass, you still gotta play Washington, who will give this team a bigger ass-raping than Marcellus Wallace received in “Pulp Fiction.” That’s with the gag and all.
I know, I know, the Rangers came back, down 3-1 on Pittsburgh two years ago. Those were two different teams. Maybe if Lundqvist’s mother dies, like how the death of the mother of Martin St. Louis, propelled the team to an emotional comeback in 2014, then maybe they got a shot. I just don’t see it though. This team has been consistently inconsistent all season, and to envision them winning three straight games is more improbable than Donald Trump & Oprah Winfrey having a baby together.
Let’s get to the box score, then talk about everything else. As always, the box score comes from ESPN.com, because NHL.com these days is uglier than the Rangers PP:
(Oh, and per the norm, my comments are in italics:)
1st Period Summary
||Eric Fehr (1)
Assists: Ben Lovejoy, Evgeni Malkin“The King of All Rebounds” gave up a nice fat juicy rebound in the slot and Fehr buried it. This was 100% on the highest paid goalie in the NHL.
||Patric Hornqvist (4) (Power Play)
Assists: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni MalkinThis was a deflection goal on a shot that could’ve been saved if Lundqvist was in position. Just like many times this year, he was not.
||Conor Sheary (1)
UnassistedThe big bad Conor Sheary had a breakaway. Lundqvist was faked out of his skates and looked like a deer in headlights.
||Rick Nash: 2 Minutes for Interference of Trevor Daley|
||Patric Hornqvist: 2 Minutes for Interference of Marc Staal|
||Trevor Daley: 2 Minutes for Roughing Eric Staal|
||Eric Staal: 2 Minutes for Unsportsmanlike Conduct of Trevor Daley|
||Trevor Daley: 2 Minutes for Hooking Viktor Stalberg|
2nd Period Summary
||Evgeni Malkin (1) (Power Play)
Assists: Sidney Crosby, Patric HornqvistThis goal sent King Contract to his throne on the bench. Could’ve been stopped, but at this point, the game was over.
||Dominic Moore: 2 Minutes for Holding Evgeni Malkin|
||Tanner Glass: 4 Minute Double Minor for High sticking Matt Cullen|
||Ben Lovejoy: 2 Minutes for Holding the Stick Rick Nash|
3rd Period Summary
||Evgeni Malkin (2) (Power Play)
Assists: Brian Dumoulin, Nick BoninoRaanta didn’t really have a chance, the Rangers gave up long ago by this point.
||J.T. Miller: 2 Minutes for Slashing Evgeni Malkin|
||Nick Bonino: 2 Minutes for Slashing Oscar Lindberg|
||Oscar Lindberg: 2 Minutes for Hooking Ben Lovejoy|
So why did the Rangers fail to win this game? In short – EVERYONE SUCKED. This was really the worst playoff loss the Rangers have had in the last 4 years, when this core started making deep runs. To expand on why the Rangers lost, here’s why the Rangers got massacred tonight, in no particular order:
- Goaltending. Lundqvist was brutal. 4 goals allowed on 18 shots, while Murray posted a 31 save shutout. These goals were on Lundqvist. Murray made a bunch of great saves, although mostly in the third period when the game was already decided. Raanta came in early for mop-up duty in the second period, but it was 4-0 at the time. Lundqvist didn’t have it, and the Rangers can’t afford Lundqvist not only to be average, nevermind flat-out sucking.
- Special teams. Penguins 3-6 on the PP, Rangers 0-4.
- Rangers could not finish. The Rangers missed a bunch of opportunities right in front of the net all night.
- Referees. I hate to be one of those, but the refs have been brutal all series. It’s like Pierre McGuire & Mike Milbury are reffing these games. The whole Letang/Stalberg thing makes me sick and angry.
- No motivation. The Rangers came out more lifeless than Prince tonight. There’s no sense of desperation or drive to win.
- Defense. The Penguins D was great again, blocking shots like they were coached by Tortorella. The Rangers D was not so great, especially on the PK.
- Turnovers. The Rangers had 17 turnovers to Pittsburgh’s 9. The Penguins made the Rangers pay. The Rangers came out flat after every turnover, whether it be Moore missing an open net or Eric Staal looking confused.
- Speed. The Rangers were beat to the majority of loose pucks tonight.
- Desire. The Rangers did not look like they wanted it at all.
The Rangers look defeated, lifeless, and ready to play golf. Again, I still don’t know why they chose to beat Detroit in Game 82. It’s something that really changed their playoff course.
The Penguins, quite frankly, are the better team. They could’ve been avoided. The Rangers, delusional as some of their fans who think they would win the Cup, thought they would march right through them. It’s depressing and pathetic that the Rangers can not beat rookie back-up goaltenders.
Some may say I’m too hard on Lundquits, but he’s the highest paid player on the team. These games have happened far too often this season. He’s being paid to steal games, not be the cause of the loss. Again, you need offense to win Stanley Cups. The Rangers don’t have it. Even if the Rangers were down one goal all game, like they were in Game 3, you don’t have one player that can take over a game and tie it up.
I see a lot of Ranger fans saying “FIRE AV!” I don’t agree with that. AV can’t stop shots. AV can’t score goals. If the Rangers aren’t motivated to win games, it’s not on him. It’s the players themselves.
If you’re looking for any positives in tonight’s game, all I can say is at least Brady Skjei is ready to be an everyday starter in this league. He should have Boyle’s spot next season.
I love when people say “You’re not a real fan” when I’m realistic. There is one thing to be a fan, another to be delusional. As I said at the beginning of the season (Check the archives on the right hand of the site), why would anyone think the Rangers would win the Cup when they did nothing to better their roster while every other team in the division bolstered their troops?
There is no way this crop of Rangers will beat the Penguins in 3 straight games. I might as well sell my Game 6 tickets now. In fact, Dolan should refund me for those tickets and that piece of shit should refund anyone who paid for tickets to tonight’s game.
I’ve said it before, ownership is a huge issue for the Rangers, as they have an owner who still believes the 1980’s Oilers is still relevant in today’s NHL. All Dolan cares about is money. I wish a Steinbrenner or Trump owned this team. They wouldn’t put up with this shit and would hold any player accountable, no matter how huge the salary.
It’s kaput-time for the Rangers, whether it’s in 5 or 6 games. From there, I’m hoping Ovi or Jagr pull it off. Any team besides the Islanders!
No point in talking about what needs to be done in the off-season. You guys already know, and I’ll save that blog once this dreadful season is over.
To quote NY Post’s Larry Brooks – “Zed is Dead.” But hey, at least they won Game 82! That was huge!
The Rangers embarrassed themselves, their coaches and most importantly, their paying fans tonight. What a fucking disgrace.
All I can do is hope for the impossible, and hope for 3 straight wins. I’ll be watching game 5, and as always, be chanting…
“LET’S GO RANGERS!”
See ya Saturday night/Sunday morning for a Game 5 recap/obituary.
@NYCTHEMIC on the tweet tweet