NYR/Wild Recap: Metro Champs, Lundqvist, Charity, MSL Return, Miller Time, NHL PS, Playoff Thoughts, Byfuglien & More from a Division Winning Night!

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Welcome everyone to a METROPOLITAN CHAMPIONSHIP blog, here on DOINOW.com. I am so excited I don’t even know where to start. So check out the right hand of the site, Bold O’Donoghue plug, twitter plug, fart joke and Cam Talbot praise.

Ok, now that the usual preamble is out of the way, (If you don’t know the usual intro, then make sure to really check out the archives on the right hand of the site) let me congratulate every Ranger fan reading this! THE NEW YORK RANGERS ARE YOUR 2015 METROPOLITAN DIVISION CHAMPS! It’s really weird writing “New York Rangers, 2015 Metropolitan Division Champs”, as opposed to Patrick Division or Atlantic Division champs, but I’ll take it!

I started this blog in the preseason of this year, It is fun for me, and I’m sure for some of you, to go back and recap every game and what led us to this point. From Hank starting like shit this year, being 12 points out of first and getting blown out routinely to having a healthy lead in hand and a shot at the President’s Trophy as well. It’s a long regular season, but it is almost that time. The playoffs are right around the corner, and as of this writing, the Rangers are guaranteed home ice for at least the first two rounds, permitting they advance.

I am not one of the “sky is falling” fans, but I can’t sit here and pump my chest out and say the Rangers will win the Cup, like the Vegas odd-makers are. I am really nervous if the Rangers draw Boston in the first round.  Hank is 1-8 in his last 9 versus Boston and there is nothing to suggest he will beat them this year either. I’d much rather the Senators, Capitals or if the Panthers can weasel their way in last minute. Fuck, for all we know, it could be Rangers vs Islanders in the first round, as the Islanders have slipped mightily in the standings.

Let’s get into the game first, then my comments on that piece of fucking dogshit, Dustin Byfuglien.

 

Thomas Vanek, Charlie Coyle
Lundqvist wins again

You can’t start a Rangers game recap without bringing up the highest paid man on the team, Henrik Lundqvist. You’ve been through the Hank vs Talbot stuff with me on these pages. If you aren’t clear, I do believe you should ride Talbot, but accept this is Hank’s team and he will be the one to lead us there. I’m not rooting for Hank to fail, for my pro-Talbot purposes at all. The only thing I want is a Stanley Cup in NYC. However, if Hank doesn’t do it this year, it will open a ton of “What if Talbot started?” articles.

What makes me nervous about this team, despite them finding ways to win, is that the Rangers rarely play a full 60 minutes of whistle-to-whistle hockey. It seems their dry spells outweigh their strong play, but somehow they overcome their mistakes and find a way to win. It was the same thing tonight. Yes, they got a PP goal, but they should’ve got one or two more, especially on a 5 vs 3 advantage. The defense made horrible turnovers. They had those spurts where they couldn’t clear the puck if their life depended on it.

I was very happy with the play of Henrik Lundqvist in the first period. He was a wall. This is the best he looked since returning and arguably one of his strongest periods of the season. A lot of the stuff I say about Hank on these pages stem from his contract and the quotes he has made. Just remember, when you talk about “KING” (I can’t call him a King until he has a crown), he is the same guy who teased free agency, then said he wanted to win a cup at all costs in NY. He then demanded to be the highest paid goalie in hockey, in the salary cap era. That does the Rangers no favor, cap-wise.

Lundqvist is also the same goalie who said “Give me two goals and I got this.” Just like the Stanley Cup Finals, he blew another two lead. While the Rangers were able to find the game winning goal tonight, you can’t expect that to happen in the playoffs. You need to protect leads. You can say this is a team game, the defense was bad, the powerplay isn’t working or whatever, but the bottom line, if you want to be the highest paid goalie in the league, profit off your “King” merchandise and say all these grand quotes, you need to be unstoppable. No excuses. No Eli Manning interception face after every goal and blaming your teammates in press conferences when you lose. You want to be paid to be the man, then you gotta be the man when it counts.

What a night this game was

I remember the last time I saw the Rangers play the Wild, at home, on  10/27/14. What a night. I was with my friends Stephanie (Hi Feiner!) and Mike B. (Huge Hank supporter and a proud fan). It was 4-0 by the time the third period was in session. My girlfriend’s friend had a party, 4 blocks away from MSG. I decided to meet up with them and enjoy some of the party before it ended. Of course, the second I left MSG and got to the bar, where the party was, I saw the Rangers score 5 goals, the most in franchise history, to come back and beat the Wild. It was the Zucc & Duke game, something I thought we would see a lot more of at the time. Of course, Duke was traded, and I wish him well, but I really thought Duke could’ve been a huge star on Broadway.

Going into this game, I knew the Wild would bring it. They are a playoff team and are hungry. Like the Rangers, they have a hot back-up goalie who has been lights out. They have some great forwards in their Top 6. By no means was this an easy two point game. With a chance to win the Metro division and get closer to reclaiming first place in the league, this was a big game for the NYR, especially with the Wild on 5 game win streak. It’s amazing how many potential 7 and 8 playoff seeds the Rangers have played down the stretch, such as LA, Boston, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Washington and now Minnesota. Tons of intense hockey here.

The Rangers started the game off shaky and Hank was tested right off the bat. Hank came up huge early and would continue to make Talbotesque (It’s a joke, relax you hyperactive twats) saves. Hank would finish with 26 saves on 28 shots.

I thought Carl Hagelin would have a big game, because like Kevin Hayes, he’s been the most consistent Ranger this season. Hagelin intercepted a pass from ex-Islander Tommy Vanek and fired a deep shot. Dominic Moore was in the right place at the right time, and deflected the puck into the net.  The game was barely two minutes old and the Rangers were already up 1-0. For once, a turnover was converted. More importantly, the Rangers shot the puck.

Shooting the puck is something that fans go nuts about. Sometimes it is warranted. I understand trying to find the right shot, but far too often, this team passes up looks that could be potential deflections, rebounds, what have you, for these terrible passes that go nowhere. In this case, Hags took a chance, and Moore capitalized. You had to love it, if you’re a NYR fan.

 

NASHTY

Rick Nash would extend the lead to 2-0 after Justin Fontaine high-sticked Kevin Hayes. Nash scored quickly on the powerplay. Talk about an oxymoron! Nash scored? A powerplay goal? It seems both those things are rarities these days, but I shit you not, Nash scored a PP goal! Nash beat Wild goalie, Devan Dubnyk, with a far shot, in between the middle of the goal line and the icing faceoff dot. It was a terrible shooters angle, but somehow, it found a way past another wise strong Dubnyk. 2-0 Rangers, but tons of hockey left.

After a great first period, the same shit that has been plaguing the Rangers circled the team. The Rangers had multiple powerplays, including a 5 vs 3 opportunity that went nowhere. The defense was loose with the puck. The Rangers couldn’t get a clear. The result? The Rangers blew another two goal lead. Sure, a lot of it is on the team for not playing the second and third periods like the first, but I blame Hank too. You want to be paid like the best, the King moniker and all that yadda, yadda, yadda, but you need to come up big when the team needs you to justify your contract.

Not for nothing, not only could’ve Talbot won this game, but Skapski could’ve won this game too. I expect more from a guy making $8 million more than his peers and fans should too. I feel Hank is so self-serving and looking for appreciation for his silly Mask tv show & auctioning off his masks. Want to impress me? Donate a large portion of the contract that you surely didn’t earn this year to charity. Do it without advertising it.

On an aside, WWE legend John Cena has made the most “Make-A-Wish” charity appearances for children than any other celebrity or athlete, EVER. The guy has personally changed the lives of 400+ families, and that’s the stories Make-A-Wish talked about. I’m assuming it’s much more than that, as Cena doesn’t exploit what he does for charity. Outside of his time, he also donates his money to charity. You never hear about it, because Cena doesn’t have a TV show that brags about it every episode. Just comes off so shallow to me, when you need to tell everyone what you’re donating. I’ll be impressed if I heard Hank donated half of his disgusting salary to charity. I’ll never make a King Contract joke again if that’s the case.

Just like another overpaid athlete like A-Rod, Hank profits off his own clothing line. But he says he wants to win a Cup at all costs! Luckily he demanded and became the highest paid goalie in the league, despite never winning a Cup!

Speaking of charity, Hank provided more here tonight, blowing the 2 goal lead. I could feel my asshole clenching after the Wild’s second goal, deep in the third period, after Vanek capitalized off a wide shot and put it past Hank. That goal was on Hank. The first Wild goal, in the second, by Pominville, is something Hank has stopped when he was in his prime, but at the same time, this was one was on the Rangers for breaking down.

I watched this game at my favorite watering hole, the infamous Bold O’Donoghue’s. As I was watching this game with Brian McG & Scotty Jurke (See what I did there Scott?), I was also watching the Islander game with some Islander fans. I just watched the Isles blow a 3-1 lead in the third and wind up losing in OT. After talking shit about the Isles loss, I was already knocking on wood and waiting for my comeuppance. However, just like the beer, MILLER TIME, made my night enjoyable!

Best piece of memorabilia I own!

With Foxwoods Final Five time approaching, and boy what a tag-line, I’ll never stop saying FOXWOODS FINAL FIVE, the second that 5:00 hits in the third period, JT Miller scored the game winning goal, from a shot from the point. I’m gonna get into Byfuglien at the end of this blog, but what a big goal for JT Miller. More importantly, Miller has established himself as a bonafide NHL-er. No more Wolfpack trips for him.

Hank came up big in the closing seconds of the game, giving the Rangers a 3-2 victory and the Metro division. Of course, there are several games left, two remaining with the horrible & thankfully Jagr-less Devils, but for the Rangers, they have the best statistical chance of winning the President’s Trophy this year and have first place in the conference as well. Of course, this all means shit come the playoffs, but you couldn’t ask for anything more at the present time.

The jersey of choice for tonight!

MSL made his return, after two and a half weeks missed, due to injury. He was pointless for the night, but I thought skated well. MSL in the line-up is necessary, as it improves the team, especially on the fourth line. Top 6 forwards are tough to acquire, and MSL in the line-up provides depth for the NYR. He was a huge factor last year, and you can argue the X factor, in last year’s run, especially in that Pittsburgh series, and the NYR need him 100% for the playoffs.

On the injury front, it looks like Kevin Klein won’t be ready until the playoffs. The NYR definitely need him back, as Hunwick has made some horrible turnovers as of late. Not to say that Keith Yandle isn’t either, but Klein, like Staal, has been the most consistent “D” man all season.

Overall, this was a great win for the Rangers. The Rangers can lose the next four games, rest guys or whatever, and they will still at the very least, have home ice for the first two rounds, providing they win. However, like most fans, I would like to see them put the bow on the season, and get the President’s Trophy as well. No one wants to slump into the playoffs.

My closing thoughts on Hank are that he played a good game, but blowing two goal leads needs to stop. The Rangers need him to be the Hank of 2012 to win a Cup this year, especially if the defense and PP aren’t living up to expectations.

Dustin Byfuglien’s police mug shot

The NHL Player Safety squad had a phone conference with Dustin Byfuglien (Buff) on Thursday. Many fans were riled up because the max penalty that carries is a 5 game suspension, as opposed to a face-to-face meeting that could warrant a longer suspension. In the end, NHLPS gave Buff a four game suspension.

My personal thoughts is that while I’m happy Buff got the suspension for his disgusting, dirty and perhaps potential career-ending crosscheck on JT Miller from Tuesday night, I thought he should’ve got the full 5 games. Too often, the NHL makes these decisions based on star power and reputation. I thought the NHL threw Buff’s star power to the side when making this decision. However, if he did something similar on the ice, he probably gets the face-to-face meeting or at the very least, the full five games.

I thought he should’ve been suspended for the rest of the season. The Jets are in the playoff race and it might come down to the final game of the season. Buff will then be available for that game. So yea, he got the four games, but will be back when it matters the most. At this rate, I rather see the Kings get in than see Buff & the Jets get in. Let this horrible play ruin the Jets season.

I just don’t like how the rules are different for people based on reputation. Perhaps Chris Benoit should not have killed himself. If the NHL had any say, killing his wife and son was a first offense. Sure that’s a bad example to make a point here, but you get what I’m saying. The severity of a dirty play should all be judged the same, no matter if someone has a reputation or not. There was no way this was an accident or unintentional. This play was pure bullshit and something the NHL has said they want out of the league.

That said, I was shocked the NHL did give him four games, as I was expecting 1-2 when they said it would be a phone conference. But it should’ve been more.

Get the ’14-’15 Metro Champs Banner ready for MSG!

There are five more games left this season. The Rangers have the Devils Saturday, the Blue Jackets Monday, the Devils Tuesday (probably a Talbot start), Ottawa on Thursday and the Caps on 4/11, a week from Saturday. Of the remaining five games, only two games have any playoff implications for their opponents, the last two games. Hopefully by the time Tuesday’s gone (Get it?) NYR have the President’s trophy locked up, so they can rest up  & get Hank stress-free work for the playoffs.

Ranger fans, you have every right to be excited and giddy. I know I am, as it’s 3AM as I write these words and I’m still wired. Perhaps that is because I’m insane and let these games become too emotional and passionate for me! However,  we can’t lose focus on the real goal – the Stanley Cup. We are only two weeks away from starting that 16 winning games journey. It can’t come soon enough.

LGR

METRO CHAMPS

IN CAM WE TRUST

WIN A CUP HANK

See ya Saturday night. Also, don’t forget to check out my Conn Smythe Autobiography book review, posted below this game recap!

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

@NYCTHEMIC on that twitter machine!

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