|NYR vs PITT, Game 2, in one picture|
MOTHERFUCKER. THIS IS MY THIRD ATTEMPT AT THIS BLOG. Thank you Firefox for crashing twice on me and losing all my work, twice. What a waste of time! I really had a good long blog typed out and it’s hard to recreate my original draft. Sorry if this comes off rushed. I don’t write in the newspaper cut-and-dry format anyway, but now I feel I’m recreating stories that I already wrote & trying to remember what I originally had down to begin with! Fucking Firefox!
What’s up everyone and welcome to another blog on DOINOW.com. I’ll spare you the usual intro. Check the archives for the usual intro, if you truly miss it.
This will be the first of two blogs today, as I’ll do the recap here, then post a photo-happy report on “Rangers Hockey House”. This will be the angry/disappointed blog and the next blog will be written with much better spirits.
Usually I try to get these game recaps up an hour or two after a game, where everything is fresh and I’m riled up with emotion, win or lose. After last night’s shit show, which I attended live, once I got home, I tortured myself. I re-watched the game on DVR. While nothing beats a hockey game live, sometimes you miss the replays and angles that you get from TV. In a game where the Rangers were so bad, I must have a S&M thing going, because I watched this pile of crap again, looking to see where it went wrong.
We all know this is a blue-collar blueshirt blog. However, I was able to get really good seats through a friend’s job. Who could say no to that? I will say this, for a Saturday playoff game, the suits were mostly left at home and the lower bowl was full of blue. I would have to really go back and count, but I think I’ve been to 33 (Always goes back to Talbot) games this year, give or take one or two. We are familiar with my rants on the sushi eating suit people. However, there wasn’t much, if any of that really. It was a sea of blueshirt blue. Perhaps all the offices gave their tickets away to diehard fans.
Of course, attending over a thousand hockey games in my life, I’ve seen the Rangers win big games and I’ve seen the Rangers lose big games. I think the biggest loss, or at least the one that stands out the most, is taking that LIRR train home after the Rangers went down 3-1 to Pittsburgh last year. This loss tonight wasn’t as bad as last year, but it was extremely frustrating.
As you know & as I am reiterating now, I usually get these blogs up right after a game. After re-watching the game on TV, and boy, do I hate the NBC crew, (They couldn’t carry Sam Rosen’s microphone) I perused around on Twitter. It’s funny the wide-range of emotion this game created.
On twitter, alone, I saw Ranger fans blaming Nash for this loss. Blaming the referees. Blaming Syd for getting calls. The horrible powerplay. Dan Girardi not playing up to par. I mean I saw everything and anything except the most obvious – Henrik Lundqvist, the highest paid goalie in the league, once again didn’t come up big in a playoff game.
You can go on and on about Hank’s Game 7 record. It means he lost 3 games and was .500 before that game 7 in a series. You can’t be the highest paid goalie in the league, look for all the credit in the world after a win, and then blame your teammates when you lose. Remember when Lundqvist said, “Give me 2 goals and I got this?” Well he got three goals tonight. When the team needed him, he was out-matched and out-played by a better goalie. Simple as that.
|Lundqvist, by himself, during warm-ups|
The Rangers, who dropped Game 2, with a final score of 4-3, making the series tied at 1-1, played an extremely frustrating game. I know people will talk about how 6/8 playoff series are all at 1-1, but look who’s up 2-0. The #1 seed in the West, in the Ducks and the Atlantic Division Champs, the Canadiens. I don’t think the sky is falling for the Rangers, like many other people, but is disappointing they couldn’t get the job done in Game 2.
You can sum up why the Rangers lost in one sentence. “Fleury & the Rangers powerplay woes.” Going into this series, when doing my playoff prediction blogs, I said that I felt like I was inventing ways that the Penguins actually had a shot of winning. In reality, the only way the Rangers lose this series is if they beat themselves.
I felt and wrote, the only way the Penguins win is if Fleury outplays Lundqvist (he has), if the Rangers powerplay fails (it has) and if McDonagh/Girardi can’t contain Crosby. After scoring only one goal in his last 19, Crosby scored two tonight. It was a rare offensive explosion against the Rangers, a team that has done a great job of usually shutting Crosby down.
During this Presidents’ Trophy winning run, I never felt the Rangers dominated anyone. They just find ways to win. The only thing consistent for the Rangers this year has been the goaltending since the middle of December. It’s been the best in the league. Talbot carried a large part of it and Hank, after having a dreadful opening six weeks, came on strong. Even rookie, 20 year old Mackenzie Skapski wound up undefeated!
While the Rangers have had a historic regular season, with all the wins and points, they were never a team you truly feared. They weren’t stacked like those Avalanche or Redwing teams of the 1990’s. You could argue that rookie Kevin Hayes is their second best skater. You could make the same argument for Zuccarello, Hagelin, MSL, Kreider, Brassard or Stepan. The Rangers have gotten production from all four lines and goals in a variety of ways and situations all season. They have just found ways to win when it matters most.
|Are we sure the stench of the Knicks has been removed from the building?|
Everything that has plagued the Rangers this season came to a head in this game. They couldn’t win a faceoff. The powerplay, ugh the powerplay, finished 1/7. It reminded me of that Boston series from two years ago, where the PP finished 2-8458348453848383834838348348. How many times have you seen this season, where the Rangers are on a PP, pass up an open shot and then make an extra pass that goes nowhere? Seriously. I get finding the perfect shot, but this is the NHL. It’s not going to be there all the time. How many times does the extra pass work? One out of a hundred times?
The Rangers need to get back to firing away on the PP. You have a better chance of scoring, when you know, you shoot the puck. Whether it’s a deflection, a rebound or you just catch the goalie off-guard, you will always have a better shot of scoring when you SHOOT THE PUCK!
The powerplay and goaltending were the two differences in this game. The Penguins finished 2-4, while the Rangers finished 1-7. Fleury, who was better than what his stat line suggests, finished with 23 saves on 26 shots, compared to Hank’s 18 saves on 22 shots.
What drives you nuts about the powerplay is that you feel the Rangers should defer and punt the puck. The Penguins have been a man down for 1/6th of this series, and it hasn’t made a difference. Every Rangers PP seems to start off with another lost faceoff, a clear, Rangers change, bumble around a bit, waste 30 seconds trying to get the puck into the zone, get the puck, pass up a shot and then make a pass that goes nowhere for another clear. Rinse, wash, repeat.
|Brassard added another playoff goal to his resume|
In a game where everything that could go wrong did, the Rangers actually held the lead and got the first tally of the game. Derek Stepan beat Fleury, late in the first period, for an All-American goal, after assists from Miller & McDonagh. I wouldn’t blame Fleury for the goal, as it was a perfect shot that got the top corner of the net. 1-0 Rangers, at the end of the first.
It was a truly sloppy period for both teams and the Rangers were lucky to have the lead. 8 minutes into the first, there were no shots. 12 minutes in, it was 3-3. When the period ended, the Penguins had out-shot the Rangers, 5-3. In a game where shots were scarce, goaltending needed to be at a premium. For the Rangers, it wouldn’t be.
Many people expected Marc-Andre Fleury to melt like the snow of a long winter, come playoff time in the spring. The man known as Flower has wilted many times in these playoffs, despite a Cup victory in 2009. Instead, for these two games, he’s out-played Henrik Lundqvist, you know, the King.
On an aside, I hate that “King” nickname. I get it, he won the Olympic gold for Sweden. However, I can give a fuck less about the Olympics and I can care even less about the Swedish national team. It’s all about the Rangers winning a Cup. Get me a Cup and I’ll call Hank a “King”. Until then, it’s just a marketing tool that has successfully overinflated his worth to Ranger fans.
Hank’s hypocrisy and the way it is sacrilege to call him out sickens me. This is the guy who went on and on about how he wants to win a Cup in NY at all costs, yadda, yadda, yadda but in his next move, threatens free agency and demands to be the highest paid goalie in the NHL. It’s not like Sather could let him leave either, they make a lot of money with all that King brand shit. For many people in NY, Lundqvist is the only player they know.
It is just amazing that when the Rangers win a game, he gets all the credit and rarely talks about his teammates contributions. However, when they lose, the reporters are scared to call him out on a terrible performance, and are satisfied with Lundqvist saying the team didn’t get it done. Nothing is ever his fault, but he gets all the credit.
Remember, this is the same guy that also said “Give me two goals and I got this.” Well he got three tonight. Don’t make these Mark Messier statements if you can’t back it up. I will always be harsh on Hank because he demanded to be the highest paid goalie in the league, so I expect him to play like that every night.
Even with the Rangers PP woes, and trust me, it’s as bad as it has ever been, when you have one guy making 10% of team payroll, calls himself a King, highest paid and everything else, when the team is coming up short, he needs to be a rock. How many leads will he blow in the playoffs this season? It was a lot last year and it’s already starting in Game 2.
I just don’t think Lundqvist is that same goalie of his first 8 years in the NHL. How could he be? You regress as you get older. You’re not as quick or as sharp. He’s weathered a lot. The Rangers can’t rely on Hank just to bail them out and carry them anymore. That was evident tonight. Hank got three goals and still lost. Sure everything went wrong, but Hank was horrible tonight.
|The most hated player in the NHL|
Sidney Crosby. We all know the deal. The NHL rigged a draft to keep the Penguins bankrupt franchise alive. He’s the NHL’s golden boy. He’s also a whiner. A diver. A bitch. He gets away with everything on the ice. He can slam sticks, throw bitch-fits, spear players, berate officials and nothing happens to him. However, if he dives or whines, it’s an automatic penalty. Where his counterpart Alex Ovechkin is considered a true hockey player and generally well-liked, no one outside of Pittsburgh likes Crosby.
Crosby is basically a malignant cunt. However, the Rangers have done a great job containing him. As I said, everything needed to go wrong for the Rangers to lose a game to the Penguins. While Pittsburgh got better goaltending, the Rangers PP was dreadful and Crosby finally broke out and had a two goal game, the Penguins still only won by one goal.
It is funny, I saw Ranger fans on twitter going on and on about the Hagelin phantom trip on Chorney and how the refs missed calls. In reality, would it make a difference? The Rangers weren’t scoring. The only thing that did alarm me, was that the Rangers strong penalty kill came up flat. Hagelin took a penalty, and I think he’s their best guy on the PK. Rangers gave up a goal while he was in the box.
After Sutter scored a PPG, on a scrambled play, where the puck fell right in front of him, Crosby banged two goals past “KING” Hank. Should Hank save those shots? Crosby is really good, sometimes a great player will beat a great goalie. While Crosby is a little bitch, no one can deny his talent. It’s been amazing the Rangers have held him down this long. The Rangers, for the last 12 or so games against the Pens have done a really good job of pulling a Jon Taffer, and shutting Crosby down. When the Rangers needed their goalie to do the same, he just didn’t do it. There’s nothing much to say after that.
As a result of the Rangers falling apart, the Penguins took a 3-1 lead after the second period. While everything was going right for the Pens, and yes, I know I’ve talked about this miserable powerplay, but it really is so important. The Rangers had 14 minutes of powerplay time. They need to really capitalize on it. Even-strength didn’t fare much better either. They weren’t working the puck like they have been.
I’ve seen some people say this game could be a wake-up call, but really, do the President Trophy winners need a wake-up call in game 2? At the same time, you will need everything that happened tonight happen again three more times, for the Penguins to win this series.
|THE INFAMOUS JEFFREY|
Let’s talk my good buddy JEFFREY. JEFFREY, if you’ve been reading my blogs, is a good friend of mine that I usually attend games with. JEFFREY has season tickets and usually gives me the second ticket & the aisle seat for my fat ass, when his other friend, who he has season tickets with, can’t make a game. It just turns out, these last two years, his other friend has a busy life and isn’t able to attend games as much as he would like. So due to that, JEFFREY and I attend many games together.
JEFFREY, and yes, you need to write it in Capslock for the full effect, is another diehard psycho fan like me. Where my derangedness and dedication for the team are these blogs, that I write for free as a hobby, (Look at it this way, I lost an hour of my life when Firefox crashed, yet I’m wasting my time re-writing it and doing this section on JEFFREY) JEFFREY’s passion comes out with his extreme rants.
If the Rangers are playing bad, JEFFREY will curse the team out, tell me how much the team sucks, how they will never win again, how it’s a waste of money, how the Rangers ruined his night, how the Rangers assassinated JFK, how the Rangers created cancer and everything else you can think of. It’s just what JEFFREY does!
I’ve probably been to 65 or so games with JEFFREY and have watched 100’s more with him. However, last night JEFFREY pulled a first. Brassard scored early into the third period, a rare powerplay goal, as in the one in 1-7, to bring the score to 3-2. However, with 10 minutes left in the third period, Kunitz scored a powerplay goal of his own. 4-2 Pens.
When Kunitz scored, JEFFREY stood up, mind you in the bougias seats, screamed “FUCK THIS, I’M FUCKING OUT OF HERE.” JEFFREY promptly left MSG and basically left me by myself too!
This is what kind of emotion these playoff games create. While I will go overboard with the “WE WANT TALBOT” chants or write these long game recap manifestos for anyone who wants to read them, JEFFREY will scream expletives and leave MSG during a playoff game.
For me, even down 4-2, I thought the Rangers would come back. After all, they’ve done it before. Even better, Fleury has fell apart before too. However, it just wasn’t meant to be in Game 2, as the Pens held on. Nash would add a meaningless goal with 6 seconds left in the game.
When the game ended, I had no clue where JEFFREY was. I would later find out, as I was buying my train beer, he was already home. He got that early-early-early beat-the-traffic-get-out-of-NYC-ASAP train. When I asked JEFFREY why did he leave, he really had no other answer outside of blind rage for the product on the ice.
Before you call out JEFFREY’s insane behavior, remember, he spends literally tens of thousands of dollars on this team a year, with season tickets, merchandise, train tickets, the high cost of food/beverage at MSG and gives up thousands upon thousands of hours of his life on this. He’s not a “fake fan” who goes insane when they lose. He’s just so diehard and a maniac, that when the Rangers put up one of their worst performances of the season, he had to let it out with four letter words and leave MSG.
If you’ve been following the blogs or know him in real life, there’s only one way to describe this situation – “JEFFREY!”
|At least this happened for me yesterday!|
So here we are, at the end of another blog. The series is now tied 1-1. Disappointing, yes. End of the world, no. It would be nice to finish the Pens off fast and be fresh for round 2. You have to step back a bit, unlike JEFFREY! The Rangers have played 120 minutes of crappy hockey. This is not the same team we’ve seen all season. Despite the Rangers being outplayed goalie wise, having a miserable PP and not being aggressive enough, the Rangers won one game and lost the other by one goal. The Penguins have been doing everything right. They are feeling happy just to steal a game.
I truly believe the Rangers get it done in five. Sure, my original sweep prediction won’t happen, but I still think this will be a short series. Hank will rebound. The PP will rebound. Hayes, who hasn’t scored yet, will get one. We will have that big playoff game from Kreider. It’s way too early to overreact. The Rangers weren’t as strong as they are this year and Pittsburgh is weaker than last year. We all know what happened when the Rangers fell 3-1 to them last season.
While I left this game frustrated, angry and with a lot of beer gas from the questionable taps at MSG, I believe in this team. As much as I would love to go on a “START TALBOT” rant, I would hope you would know by now that it would be written for a laugh. Hank has to turn it around. While the Rangers have limited Pittsburgh’s shots, the Rangers need to create more offense and opportunities. Lose the extra pass and look for loose pucks around the net.
Kevin Klein will be back too. Hunwick hasn’t added or hurt the Rangers in Klein’s absence, but Klein is a guy who can score when he gets hot. He will also help the Rangers shutdown Pittsburgh scorers. Rumor is that he will be back for game 3.
The Rangers have been a great road team all season. There is no reason to think any of that changes.
|A real fuckin’ goalie!|
I originally planned on doing a double-header of blogs today before my computer issues. I will be back later today, to do a blog on RANGERSTOWN. I didn’t want to cram it in here, as this blog is already long enough! The RANGERSTOWN blog will have all pictures and all that good stuff. If you’re thinking about going, do it. You won’t regret it.
I’ll also have some thoughts in that blog about John Amirante.
After the RANGERSTOWN blog, I’ll be back Monday night with a recap of Game 3. Hopefully my social media profile picture will turn into Theo Fleury’s number!
Don’t fret and sweat!
LET’S GO RANGERS
@NYCTHEMIC on twitter