The four of us made the trip from NY to Edmonton on Thursday morning. To say that Edmonton is a hockey town would be an understatement. When we bought these tickets months ago, we didn’t know it would be Sather night, nor know that a potential Lundqvist vs Talbot match-up would be looming. What we did think was that the Rangers would easily skate by one of the worst teams in the NHL. When it was all said and done, Sather night was a letdown, there was no Hank vs Cam & the Rangers let another two points slip by. Another bummer was no McDavid, currently out with an injury, courtesy of Michael Del Zaster.
The Rangers, who have been extremely sloppy as of late, are letting easy points elude them. Sure, it’s all about making the playoffs. However, you would like a first round match-up at home. After giving away two points to the Islanders & the Avalanche, the Rangers rebounded with a win over Ottawa. However, the Rangers did everything they could to lose to Vancouver on Wednesday night, the first night of their Western Canada swing. The Rangers followed that performance by shitting the bed in Edmonton. Let’s not forget, this is the same team last year that swept this Western Canada trip. Now, as we head to Calgary tonight, the Rangers are in danger of being pointless on this trip.As an American, you have to love Canadians. Everyone is so friendly. Sometimes it gets annoying, because everyone is so nice and looking to talk. On the flight, in the airport, on line to buy cigarettes, everyone is just so fucking friendly that it drives you nuts! However, it makes the ball busting fun. The four of us are here in Edmonton and everyone we’ve encountered has been great. Put it this way, I would rather wear all my Rangers gear here in Edmonton, than say Filthadelphia! The Edmonton pre-game scene was great. I love Canadian bars. Every bar is packed with people drinking pints. None of these foo-foo umbrella drinks. It’s straight beer. The beer is cold and fresh. You can’t go wrong with a Yellowhead, Molson or Blue out here. Every TV has hockey on all the time, no matter what time it is. Everyone is knowledgeable about all 30 NHL teams. People were buying us shots for being Americans that love hockey. It was just an electric atmosphere.
Before the game started, and before the Rangers could get the nasty taste of losing in Vancouver out of their mouths, Glen Sather had his ceremony. I talked about this in the last blog. Sather means shit to me. However, I get it. He truly was a legend here in Edmonton. Every fan we encountered loved him. He is their Joe Torre, Bill Parcells, Derek Jeter, Brian Leetch, etc, all wrapped into one guy. He’s just the fucking man here, and being a native of Alberta, just makes him that much more loved here.
Facts are facts. He was the architect of one of the best dynasties in sports, as the coach, GM & President of the Oilers. Again, refer to my last blog (Located in the archives, on the right hand of the site) for why I think he’s been a bust in NY. If Rangers owner James Dolan cared about the Rangers like he did with the Knicks or his scam cable outfit, Sather & his cigar would’ve been sent packing a long time ago.
The Glen Sather ceremony was a near 45 minute affair. He definitely deserved it. Among the highlights was Gary Bettman showing up and everyone booing him, which Bettman than revealed that Sather won the bet. Bettman will go down as the worst commissioner in sports history.
Sather also said he was waiting for Mark Messier to tear up. Messier didn’t speak during this ceremony. It was cool to see everyone stand up and give Messier a round of applause. There weren’t many Ranger fans in the building, but there were some. There were both Ranger & Oiler Messier & Gretzky jerseys floating around the building. It’s funny how different fans remember these players. For Oiler fans, 11 & 99 are gods. For Ranger fans, we will be eternally thankful to Messier for 1994.
The Oilers PA announcer made a comment about the Rangers following in the Oilers footsteps and talking about all the connections. It’s kind of sad that an original 6 team looks like the baby brother to a former WHA team, but you can’t really argue against it.
Sather made a few jokes and kept the ceremony light-hearted. It’s amazing how Sather is a legend and a celebrity here, while in NY, maybe 2 out of 100 people would know who he is. No Pockington sucks chants either, which I thought would be due.
After Sather was honored, we had a few minutes before puck drop.Prior to the game, it was announced that Anders Nilsson and not Cam Talbot would be starting. My Talbot bias aside, I thought that was a dumb move. Usually ex-players get amped and play better against their ex-teams. I guess because the Oilers were a on a four-game win streak, they decided to run with the hot hand. Talbot may start against the Rangers on Tuesday night in MSG. I think all Ranger fans would’ve rather seen Talbot out there. I guess it was all moot anyway, as both Nilsson and Lundqvist looked like shit all game.
This was an ugly game for the Rangers. A 7-5 loss to one of the worst teams in the league is frankly unacceptable. Just look at the scoring summary from the game, courtesy of NHL.com:
The Rangers battled back from two goal deficits twice and neither time could regain the lead. Lundqvist had one of his worst games of the season. I’ll save you my long Lundqvist rant, because you can read that by clicking here. Bottom line, games like these, and we’ve seen this happen in the playoffs too, are why you can’t pay a goalie 13% of payroll. You also can’t be called “King” without a crown, but that’s for another day.
The defense was atrocious in Edmonton. However, I thought Dylan McIlrath had a strong game. I was happy to see “The Undertaker” get his first NHL point when he assisted on Zucc’s goal. Lundqvist didn’t have much help from his D, but also allowed a few soft goals and was not able to stop the puck.
The Rangers offense battled. When you score 5 goals, you should win a game. If you can’t, then why are we paying a goalie 13% of payroll? Hank didn’t have to stand on his head here, but he had to be better than this showing.
The Rangers dominated the beginning of the game, and even got a PP 8 seconds into the game, courtesy of Nilsson tossing a puck over the glass. The Rangers kept the puck in the zone and prevented the Oilers from clearing it three times. However, they can’t bury the puck. People, whether it be fans or writers can talk about how the Rangers look good and are doing the right things, but if you can’t put the puck in the net, it means shit. This really was a disgusting loss to a bottom feeding team that will probably wind up with another number 1 pick come June. One thing I noticed from the game was that the building was so dark. The building sucks, as the Oilers will be moving to downtown Edmonton next year with a new venue. This building is very reminiscent of the Nassau Coliseum. It is located in the middle of nowhere and has the same architecture/layout of the Islanders former dump. I noticed sometimes this building looks dark on TV, and I can see why. The lights haven’t been changed since they last won a Cup here in Edmonton! It was really hazy and foggy all night. Sometimes it was tough to follow the puck because of how dark it was.
I don’t want to go on and on about the loss. Neither starting goalie looked great. You just know the Rangers should’ve won this. Bottom line, playoffs, playoffs playoffs.
I am currently in the hotel business center and people are waiting for the computer. I gotta drive to Calgary with the boys. I’ll hopefully be back tomorrow talking about the Rangers win against the Flames!
On an aside, want to thank everyone for your positive vibes for my girlfriend’s cat, the Fatman. The poor little guy had to get his arm amputated to prevent cancer & a bone infection from spreading. He is now 100% better and can’t stop purring. The vet says he has 4-5 years left (He’s 13 now). Saving an animal’s life is a great feeling and I can’t be thankful enough for everyone who took time to write/drop me a line wishing him well. It’s something only pet owners could understand. Special thanks to https://twitter.com/NYRangers_7 aka CatsZucc for all the well wishes. Here’s some pics:
Good luck to McGregor tonight!
LET’S GO RANGERS!
WE WANT THE CUP!
@NYCTHEMIC on twitter