|Bow down to someone who could’ve brought the crown to NY|
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I’ll never look into your eyes…again
Can you picture what will be
So limitless and free
Desperately in need…of some…stranger’s hand
In a…desperate land
Lost in a Roman…wilderness of pain
And all the children are insane
All the children are insane
Waiting for the summer rain, yeah
There’s danger on the edge of town
Ride the King’s highway, baby
Weird scenes inside the gold mine
Ride the highway west, baby
The west is the best
The west is the best
Get here, and we’ll do the rest
The blue bus is callin’ us
The blue bus is callin’ us
Driver, where you taken’ us
This is the end
This is the end
My only friend, the end
It hurts to set you free
But you’ll never follow me
The end of laughter and soft lies
The end of nights we tried to die
This is the end
|Another failed season for Henrik Lundqvist|
If you’ve been reading me all season, you know I’ll never BS you. Where “real” reporters need to be cordial and very rarely say anything against the grain, allow me to speak the truth. This season was a failure. No ifs, ands or buts about it. F-A-I-L-U-R-E!
Everyone will compare this team to the team of last year, but really, this was more of the team of the 2011-2012. For a team that finished third in scoring, they relied on their goalie too much. However, Henrik doesn’t get a pass either. He wasn’t the same goalie, this year, in that 2012 postseason. For every 10 great saves he made, he also gave up a soft goal. His whining was incessant after losses this year, perhaps due to built up frustration of being a crownless King. He also blew game 3 and was solely responsible for that loss. Very rarely can you blame a game 100% on Lundqvist, but that game 3 was it. It was one game, and that was all the difference in this series. More on Lundqvist & his play on an upcoming blog here, as I’ll expand on this there, and just do a little here.
This team, carried over a lot of 2013-2014 roster. Really, that’s where the similarities end. Last year’s team was a pure Cinderella team that over-achieved. You had wily veterans and warriors like Brad Richards. You had tough guys and grinders like Boyle, Dorsett and Carcillo. Who is tough on this team? Tanner Glass? The guy who starts fights when you’re already losing by 2 goals late in a game?
Last years team got a lot of things to go their way. Hank lost 3 games to the lowly Flyers, yet still won in 7. Hank went 1-3 vs Pittsburgh, but the death of MSL’s mother propelled this team and they came back against Pittsburgh to win in 7. Boston, who have been Ranger killers in the last few years, gets knocked off by Montreal. Kreider takes out Price and boom the Rangers are in the Cup. If Hank doesn’t blow two goal leads and lose 3 OT games to someone 5 years younger than him (And with 2 more Cups), maybe the Rangers win it all last year.
However, you’re not as upset and furious with last year’s loss as you are with this years. The Rangers were the third highest scoring team. They won the President’s Trophy. Even more astonishing, they showed you they could win without Lundqvist, as Talbot had record-breaking numbers. That’s what really eats at me. You know I wanted Talbot from day one. Was Lundqvist horrible in this years playoffs? Of course not. Was he lights out though? No. Rangers had the experience, made the trades for veterans and really were primed to be playing for the Cup. Instead they blew it.
Let me make it clear – I wanted Talbot from day one. Not anywhere in this series after Hank was already in. Talbot hasn’t played in nearly two months. Can’t throw him out there against the fastest team in hockey. However, if he started from day one of the playoffs, we could be talking Stanley Cup right now.
Listen, all I’m saying is if you get rid of the contract of a 34 year old cupless goalie, you have $8.5M to play around with. Maybe you can get more offense. Talbot can do the job. Even if you perceive him to be weaker than Hank, look at the West. Crawford and Anderson aren’t elite goalies. The team needs to be balanced and when 10% of your cap is going to a goalie who can’t win games, then what’s the point?
Look at Fleury & Holtby. They stood with Hank this year. Bishop outplayed Hank. Hank is only getting older and looks to be cementing himself with Marino, Ewing, Barkley, etc. I can understand his frustration. When it mattered the most, his team got shutout for 140 minutes at home. Bottom line, you can’t win if you don’t score. That said, Bishop outlasted Lundqvist again.
|After two great games on the road, Nash was nowhere at home|
When you close the book on this season, the bottom line is that the President’s Trophy that Talbot helped win for the Rangers, meant nothing in the ECF. The Rangers finished 1-3 at home in the series. I mean, what do you expect when you can’t win at home?
It is beyond frustrating and infuriating at the performances inside of MSG. The Rangers put up 17 goals in Tampa (5,5,7) while putting up 4 (2,2,0,0) goals at home. WHAT THE FUCK!
I’ll have the Rangers Postseason Report card up later this week, but really, YOU CAN’T FUCKING SCORE AT HOME? I don’t get how they just played differently on the road. You can tell me all these schematics, the line-ups, whatever, I will never comprehend 13 MORE GOALS IN ONE LESS GAME PLAYED, on the road.
Home ice advantage? N-Word please! Blame MSG for pricing real fans out. Blame the white collar bougias motherfuckers who still think Messier plays. Blame the team for coming out flat, creating a nervous energy for fans, who bite their nails instead of clapping their hands. Bottom line, the Rangers sucked a big fat dick at home. I don’t think you’ll see that sentence in NEWSDAY!
|I’m surprised these 3 didn’t give Sather a DX Crotch-Chop|
Just a few more words on the ex-Rangers turned Bolts:
– Dan Boyle was a fucking waste. You know how I feel about him. How do you pay a 40 year old Boyle the same money you refused to give to Stralman. According to Stralman, Sather never even considered signing him for this season. I don’t get it. Now Stralman gets a chance to “Change The Ending.”
– I talked about Callahan above. I would’ve loved the trade if it was a straight swap. The picks make no sense, considering the ages of the players and the fact that MSL was done with TBL. The only reason Cally left was because of money. Perhaps the goalie who said “I want to win a cup at all costs in NY” should’ve acted on that. The Rangers had no money for Cally when Hank held up the team for more money.
– Brian Boyle got a great contract for himself in TBL. I don’t blame Sather for not matching it. You can’t give a 3rd line center on his best day (Normally a fourth line center), that kind of money. While faceoffs were an issue for the Rangers all playoffs, it wasn’t in this series.
|It was reported after the series that McDonagh had a broken foot. What a warrior.|
Enough rambling and crying. Let’s get into the game itself.
5 minutes into the game and you knew what you had. It was going to be another Ranger shit-show, where they were trying to get a goal late and ride Hank to the end. For some reason, they just get away from what worked on the road. Did they pepper Bishop with shots and look for rebounds & deflections? Of course not. Did they crash the net? Of course not. Did they make wild passes and have trouble establishing anything 5 on 5? Of course!
Here are the goals:
GOAL ONE: Alex Killorn gets the eventual game winner, after TBL beat the Rangers defense. However, the shot was a weak one, that trickled through Hank’s five hole. Bad defense, even worse looking goal. It hurts even more, because before this, Hank was lights out and looked locked in. The goal came after two scoreless periods of hockey, two minutes into the third period. 1-0 TBL
GOAL TWO: The Triplets line beat Lundqvist again in this series. On a rush, Johnson fed Palat who beat Hank with a wrist shot. Tough shot, but that’s what drives me nuts about Hank. He makes these remarkable highlight reel saves, but then this goes in. The goal came with 8 minutes left in the game. The way this Rangers team was playing, you knew it was over. 2-0 TBL.
For the last few games, I was recapping 8, 9, 10 goals. Here we get two. In fact, IT WAS THE FIRST TIME IN NHL HISTORY A HOME TEAM WAS SHUT OUT IN GAMES 5 AND 7. The New York Rangers, always making history.
|Another familiar image, Hank shaking the hand of a victor late into an NHL postseason|
As far as the goalies in Game 7, Hank finished with 23 saves on 25 shots. Bishop finished with his second shutout of the series with 22 saves. Bishop takes the King. (I fucking hate that pun, but I’m so miserable, I might as well pile up on myself.)
Again, Hank was remarkable and did whatever he could. It just puts you in pure agony when you see the goals that do go in. I thought Bishop had one of the easiest shutouts in game 5, as he wasn’t tested much. The Rangers tested Bishop a bit and I thought Bishop made 5 or 6 game stopping saves. However, Bishop did not face the pressure he faced when the Rangers were in Tampa.
You’re sick of hearing it, but it’s worth mentioning. This is why you don’t pay a 34 year old goalie 10% of team payroll. There are goalies out there for much less and much younger, who can do the same thing. One of them is on your own team.
I wrote a blog earlier in the season and got a ton of twitter feedback (insults, go fuck yourself, that kind of stuff, etc) that said the Rangers will never win with Lundqvist. I was hoping to be proved wrong and have everyone throw it in my face. Fact is, I still believe the Rangers will never win with Lundqvist. I just can’t stop thinking about that game 3. Hank has a ton of miles on him and is regressing with age.
Let’s make it clear, you can’t blame Hank for this loss. You blame the Rangers for not scoring or doing what they did on the road. At the same time, keep in mind that Bishop didn’t get much scoring either, but was able to be just a hair better than Hank and that was the difference.
|These two men have a lot to talk about in the upcoming days|
There’s not much more to say about this game. The Rangers looked anemic on two powerplays. They wouldn’t shoot the puck. Bishop outlasted Hank. The Rangers were flat. The Rangers missed Zuccarello. McDonagh had a broken foot. Staal is dinged up. Bottom line, it’s over.
I’ll expand more in a future blog, but just some quick shots on the future/next season:
– Priorities to me is keeping Hagelin & Stepan. Stepan will get big money, but the salary cap is increasing. Gotta keep him here no matter what. Hagelin will be tricky. He should be getting Zucc money and probably can get it elsewhere. I do think he wants to stay here, but if your own “leader”, Lundqvist won’t take a hometown discount, why should Hags?
– That was MSL’s final game as a Ranger. He wants to be in the organization. He lives here and raises his kids here. Give MSL a job as a coach, even if it’s in Hartford to start. I never saw a player age so fast. I love MSL, I’ll never forget last year. But really, it’s hard to even justify giving him the veteran’s minimum right now.
– Thanks for the stay Sheppard. See ya.
– It will never happen because everyone is infatuated with him and he’s their face of the team, but really, some thought should go into Hank’s contract. They are just not winning with him.
– If Talbot is the one who has to go, I’ll be sad. I hope he stays, but like Valiquette told me, it’s the gentleman agreement to trade a goalie who can start elsewhere. It should be here. If Talbot is dealt, I hope it’s to Arizona so I can watch Talbot & Duclair get a cup before Hank. Just anywhere but the Islanders. And Devils. And Flyers. And Montreal. And Pittsburgh. You get the idea.
– I think you will see a lot of new faces here. Not free agents, but a lot of call-ups.
– I fully expect Duclair to have a monster year, while Yandle continues to put the puck in front of his own net non-stop.
– I would also see if you could re-sign Kreider before his current deal expires at the end of next season.
– You can try to trade Dan Boyle & Tanner Glass, but really, who will take them?
– Rick Nash will get a lot of media attention for not showing up when it matters. To say he’s overpaid too is an understatement. However, he is not the one who said he wants to win a cup at all costs, then gets the coach fired, teases free agency and signs the biggest contract in hockey at his position.
|Will I ever see this in NY in my adult life time?|
There are so many topics and stuff to get into. We’ll address all that stuff in individual blogs. I just can’t believe it’s over. This should’ve been the year. Don’t lie to yourself, this was a Cup or Bust year. Change The Ending? What two weeks earlier than last year? It is so hard to win in the NHL that when you squander these opportunities, you are just wondering what if?
The Rangers are quickly turning into the Philadelphia Eagles with all these Conference Championship losses & Cup loss. The common factor in all these losses – Henrik Lundqvist.
I said it all season, so I’ll say it one last time now –
“IN CAM WE TRUST, IN HANK WE BUST!”
And yes, I laid it on Lundqvist thick here. But he deserves it. If he wants all the credit after a win, especially a 7-3 win in Game 6, he deserves the exact amount of blame for a loss. That Game 3….
Tons of material coming here on DOINOW.com in the next few days. If you want to send in a guest blog, with your thoughts on the season, you can email me at BULLSMC@aol.com
Ugh, Let’s Go Rangers. I guess it’s time to see if I still look slim in my Yankee pinstripe jerseys.
@NYCTHEMIC on twitter