NYR/NSH Recap: Team Win, First Place, Talbot, Broken Glass, Yandle, Hank, Rough Road Ahead & More

IN CAM WE TRUST

Again, I must start off one of these blogs by biting off Sam Rosen a bit, “OH FUCKING BABY!”

LET THIS SINK IN! FIRST PLACE!

Welcome everyone to another blog, here on the NEW & IMPROVED DOINOW.com. As always, the archives on the right hand part of the website. You can also view my tweets on the right hand side, suggest comments, search the site for topics or check out the most tagged topics. I plan on adding material to the RANGERS REACHOUT section soon, where I will plug anyone that does anything Ranger’s related, except for that stupid Hank “Rocky Dennis” Mask show! How about doing a show with your teammates like Zucc/Hags/Brassard? And you want 10% of team payroll!

As always, don’t drive and drive, tip your bartenders, try the chicken noodle soup at the Bold, don’t fart & cough at the same time (messy results), don’t be a hypocrite and always, and I mean always, use “IN CAM WE TRUST” as your personal mantra!

I’ve plugged the archives once already, but I’ll plug it one more time here. Check out my previous entries on the Rangers at the Deadline and my Ranger/Flyers blog, here on DOINOW.com.

The Rangers headed into Monday night, at home, against the best team in the NHL, the Nashville Predators. This would be the final game at home before embarking on a difficult 5 game road-trip.

When Henrik Lundqvist first went down with his life-threatening injury, it wasn’t the end of the world. For starters, Cam Talbot has been amazing and had played superbly before Hank went down. Secondly, the Rangers didn’t exactly have a murderer’s row of teams to play in February. Looking ahead, and thirdly, this was like a month vacation for Hank, with the hopes that he would return fresh and at 100%. Goalies usually tend to show wear in March, and Hank was getting a break, while his team was on massive winning streak. Everything was coming up Rangers.

However, now, as of March 2nd, the official NY Ranger reporters, you know the guys who get paid for real about this shit and can’t root for the Rangers, are already talking about Skapski’s next start, possibly March 14th, at the Buffalo Sabres, where Skapski got his first win of the season. The Rangers have a game the next day, and it would be a way to rest Talbot.

What this tells you is that Hank looks to be out at least two more weeks, bumping up his total to at least 6 weeks. Ironically, without the highest paid goalie in the NHL (Despite never winning a cup) and without a guy taking up 10% of team payroll (Despite losing three straight Stanley Cup games in OT which he had a lead in the third period), the Rangers are the hottest they’ve ever been under Cam Talbot. Is it all Cam Talbot? Absolutely not. The Rangers have fully gelled as a team and with the addition of Keith Yandle, the sky is the limit.  Put it this way, under Hank, Hank had the Rangers 12 points out of first. With Talbot in net, making $8 million less this season, the Rangers are in first place & the hottest team in the NHL.

Sure, we all know I’m a Talbot guy (check out the archives) and I’m laying it on extra thick here (I feel like I have to say this, because people can’t tell when I exaggerate on purpose to get a rise out of people who go nuts) but the facts are the facts. Cam Talbot has been a fucking beast and has this team in first place. The biggest acquisition the Rangers can make after the NHL deadline is a in his prime Henrik Lundqvist. I can’t lie, I’m nervous. Who knows how Hank will be? He wasn’t exactly having a career year when he went down (Blown out 9 times, not even considered for the ASG even after 2 goalie injuries) but you hope that Hank can figure it out when he eventually comes back.

The Rangers are built to win right now. Giving away Duclair is prime evidence of that. However, as much as I love Cam Talbot and think he should play, as he only gets better with more games under his belt, the fact of the matter is that this is Hank’s team. However, Hank doesn’t have many prime years left. The Rangers should’ve won last year, but that was then, this is now, the Rangers NEED to win the Cup this year, based on the moves Sather has made and due to Hank’s greediness with his contract.

Please, I know I said it a million times, but we’ve got a ton of new readers who won’t hit the archives. I’ll say it one more time. Hank is a hypocrite. He says he wants to win at all costs, but then threatened to test the free agency market until he was the highest paid goalie ever in the NHL salary cap era. If he wants to win at all costs, then he takes less money to help the team with the cap. That’s all. Either you want to win or you want to get paid. I don’t blame you if you want to get paid. Just don’t say you want to win at all costs then. Hands down, the day Hank wins a cup, he will go down as the greatest goalie in Rangers history. Let’s hope that day happens sometime in June 2015.

Thank you for the pic Stanzi and HBD (Figure out that acronym!)

With the Rangers facing their toughest part of the schedule since their California road trip, the Rangers welcomed the Nashville Predators at home on Monday. I gotta say, it’s easy to like Keith Yandle. I know what the Coyote fans are saying about him, how he is a turnover machine, loose with the puck, etc, but it will be easy to like an American (fuck it, I’m biased, USA USA USA) and a guy who wants to be here. Check out the Rangers official website for the Yandle pre and post game interviews. The man is a hard nosed gamer and I’m glad to have him.

Yandle made his Rangers debut tonight. As expected Summers & Klingberg, two men the Rangers acquired on Sunday, were shipped to the Wolfpack. James Sheppard was in the house, but did not play since he was tired from the massive amount of travel over the last few days. Jesper Fast also returned after his knee injury.

The new lines look like this:

Nash/Brassard/Zucc

MSL/Stepan/Kreider

Hags/Hayes/Miller

Fast/Moore/Worthless sack of shit Tanner Glass

The D now looks like this:

Mac/Girardi

Staal/Dan “I can’t hit a fucking net in front of me for my motherfucking old ass life” Boyle

Yandle/Kevin “The best defenseman thus far all year” Klein

Before talking about the game, and I been saying it a lot on these blogs, and I’m not the only one, but Tanner Glass sucks. He is as useful as WNBA season tickets.  Send him to the Wolfpack. Break him. Make him quit so he’s off the books. He is subtraction by addition. He hurts this team on the ice. While he got an assist, his third point of the season despite playing 50+ games, he is a liability. He ruined a flawless game, creating a goal for Matt Cullen. Hopefully, when Sheppard plays on Wednesday vs Detroit, Glass is on the bench. I’m sorry to be such a dick, but the Rangers are playing for the Cup and Glass is a detriment to that goal.

The heroes of Monday night

Don’t let the final score of 4-1 fool you. This was a blowout by no means. This seemed to be a familiar game for the Rangers. They had a strong first period, collapsed a bit in the second, and fought their asses off in the third. Where it didn’t work in Philly, it worked here tonight. This was a major statement game, not only for Cam Talbot, but for the team as a whole. As a collective unit, the Rangers put up a big W and grabbed a huge 2 points, moving into first place, by beating the best team in the league. As a Rangers fan, you have to be as ecstatic as Keith Yandle is to be a Ranger, because this game showed you that the Rangers can convincingly beat the best and have a shot at the Cup.

The Rangers had a dominating first period,  out-shooting the President Cup contenders 12-5 in the first period. No shot was bigger in the period than Marc Staal, who ripped a wrist shot, on what looked like a busted play, for the first goal against Vezina contender, Pekka Rinne. While on Rinne, he had a fantastic game and  really, the Rangers would’ve put up more goals against a weaker goalie, such as perhaps, new Islander, Michael Neuvirth! Rinne stopped Nash on a breakaway, which Nash seems to have a 99% success rate this season. Nash has been slumping for goals as of late, but more on him later.

The Rangers, with numbers, skated up the ice. Zuccarello looked for a pass from Brassard, but it bounced off his stick a bit, landed right into Marc Staal’s wheelhouse and Staal buried it, 6 minutes into the first. It was a huge 1-0 lead, that the Rangers needed against a team of the Predator’s caliber.

Heading into the second period, Zuccarello, fresh off his 4 year deal, tossed a beautiful pass to Chris Kreider, who had an easy tip-in, making the score 2-0. Zuccarello played a great game, it was really night and day from the Philly game. You have to think he will continue to play hot, now knowing his future is secure on Broadway.

A guy who took his third paycut because he wants to be a Ranger

Things got dicey after the halfway mark into the second period. It seems to happen a lot for the Rangers and I guess you have to expect Nashville, because of how good they are, to put pressure on the Rangers. After a brutal Tanner Glass turnover (how many times have we seen that this season), Matt Cullen took a pass from Beck and easily beat Talbot for the goal. It’s a save that Talbot probably makes most of the time, but it happened so quick. Bottom line, if Glass makes the clear, like he should’ve, this play doesn’t even happen.

However, what has been the case for Talbot, after letting up a goal, Talbot settled down and stopped everything. Whether it was breakaway’s, odd man rushes, powerplays or four minutes of a one man advantage to close the game, Talbot was rock solid and held his own weight, improving to 13-6-3, 4 shutouts) on the season. Gotta wonder if Tanner Glass wasn’t so miserable, if Talbot would’ve got his 5th shutout of the year.

In the third period, with a 2-1 lead, that same Tanner Glass, ironically, tossed a pass to Girardi, who shot at the net, Rinne made the save and Dom Moore found the rebound, making the score 3-1. I guess I can just write Moore now, since John Moore is now a Coyote.

Both teams were held scoreless during their powerplays, which is an area the Rangers need to work on. However, on the PK, the Rangers were flawless, shutting down the Pred’s three times. The NBC announcers on Saturday brought this up, so I’ve been looking for it more, but the Rangers really prevent that drop pass, as the opposing team enters the zone (looking for speed and momentum) on a powerplay. They did the same thing here. They clogged the middle. It was hard for the Preds to get anything going on their powerplay tonight as the Rangers D clamped down. A complete team effort.

Photo credit: Brian Lonergan

With the Rangers holding a 3-1 lead, Nashville pulled Rinne with under four minutes to go. The Preds got many looks towards the end of the third period, but Talbot, like Jon Taffer, SHUT IT THE FUCK DOWN! The Rangers had several chances to put the game away with an empty netter, especially Rick Nash, but couldn’t find the net. Eventually, Nash did find the empty net, essentially ending the game with 44 ticks left on the clock.

With the goal, Nash now has 38 on the season, three shy of Ovi’s league leading 41. Nash has a legit shot at being a Hart & Richard winner this season. The only person in his way really is Ovi. You can make cases for other guys, but if the Rangers finish first, considering the amount of games Hank has missed, and Nash holds the goal scoring title, there is no reason to think that Nash can’t win both trophies this season.

Nash has been cold as of late, so this was a great way to get him back on the stat sheet. I said this on an earlier blog. What I think hurts Nash’s opportunities at goals, especially compared to Ovi is that on the PP, Ovi is on the wing, ready to rifle/snipe shots. Nash plays the middle, looking for deflections. Nash is right up there on the top of the Rangers roster, for best moves with the puck. Perhaps letting him play wing on the PP and letting him deke and shoot at the net would be more beneficial to the team, than Nash trying to deflect errant shots. I’m not an NHL coach. I assume and know Coach AV knows more than me. I would just like to know why Nash is where he is. I’m assuming it’s his size, but it can’t hurt to try something new, especially with how flat the Rangers PP has been, as of late, when it comes to producing scores.

I do want to mention, despite not producing any goals last night, that third line of Hags/Hayes/Miller were great again tonight. They constantly were on the forecheck, had numerous shots and made sure the Predators had no easy look at Talbot the whole night. This line has been fun to watch.

Not going for the easy handle Yandle pun here

I thought Yandle, for his first game, green as shit to the Rangers system, played well. There was one play that made you say “eeehhhhh” and that was after the Glass turnover. Yandle was beat too and couldn’t prevent a pass. Again, it’s on Glass, but Yandle had a chance to break up a goal. Yandle looks to pass a lot on the PP, something he admitted to in his press conference. Give Yandle a few games to learn the system, learn his teammates and I think he will be fine. He’s a professional.

With the win, the Rangers are now in first place, with two games in hand on the hacks on Long Island. This race to the finish for the Metropolitan division will be nuts. The Islanders are playing their best hockey since the 80’s. The Penguins are always there and heating up. The Caps, with their Ovi/Holtby one-two punch have been on fire. It’s really amazing that one of these teams have the chance of finishing up as an 8th seed, as much as they have a chance of finishing as a 1 seed. The Rangers have the advantage now, considering they are the point leader and with games in hand. But anything can change in a week, especially with the tough schedule ahead.

The Rangers return on Wednesday vs another playoff team, the Detroit Redwings. They then have a few days off, before playing Chicago on late Sunday night. I hate these late Sunday night games with a Monday morning looming. Then, the Rangers head down for a huge showdown with the Islanders, at that dump in Uniondale on Tuesday, then immediately travel to Washington on Wednesday. The Rangers then have another back-to-back, Saturday & Sunday, against the Sabres & Panthers respectively. No one, besides the Sabres, are an easy two points. I would expect, with the break between Detroit & Chicago, that Talbot will start against the Islanders & Caps, two teams chasing the Rangers for first place. If Hank isn’t ready, I would agree with the official NYR reporters, that Skapski should start in Buffalo.

It’s a great and hair-graying time to be Rangers fan right now. I’m happy to enjoy the ride!

Thank you for reading and spreading the word about this blog! I appreciate all the support and the new twitter followers!

LET’S GO RANGERS

FIRST PLACE MOTHERFUCKER

IN CAM WE TRUST

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

@NYCTHEMIC on the twitter machine

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