|Rangers vs Capitals is set!|
Welcome everyone to another blog here, on DOINOW.com. Unlike usual, this won’t be a long one! Let’s get right into it!
As you may have heard by now, the Washington Capitals have eliminated the NY Islanders, in seven games, to advance to the second round, where they will meet the current President Trophy winners & defending Eastern Conference Champions, the New York Rangers. For the fifth time in seven years, we will have Rangers vs Capitals in the playoffs.
I know many Ranger fans were split on who they wanted to see in the second round. Some wanted the Islanders. They wanted to see the Rangers end the Islanders season and win the last game in the Nassau Coliseum. Other fans, not as hardcore, just wanted to see Rangers vs Islanders, because it would be great for the sport in NY.
For me, I was in the Capitals camp. I wanted Rangers vs Capitals, even if we’ve seen it so much before. I’ve said it in previous blogs, but I truly think the Islanders are a better team than the Capitals and match-up better against the Rangers. For the Rangers, I think they match up better against the Capitals, than they do with the Islanders.
Lundqvist was 0-3 vs the Islanders this year, with Talbot going 2-0 against the Isles. Lundqvist was 2-0 against the Caps, while Talbot went 1-1. Lundqvist & the Rangers have also defeated the Capitals the last two times they’ve played them in the playoffs. I just feel the Islanders can match the Rangers speed, have an enforcer they can’t match in Martin and their only weakness would be Halak.
For the Capitals, they aren’t as deep as the Rangers or Islanders, can’t keep up with the Rangers speed and as we’ve seen, Holtby can be just as shaky as Halak. Goaltending is key in the playoffs and I don’t think you would find anyone that would rather Halak or Holtby in net rather than Lundqvist, especially after the performance he had in round one against the Penguins.
|Remember how Islander fans harassed you in November?|
Personally, and I admit it, I fucking hate the Islanders. They have been a second rate organization for years. Once you get past the drive for five years, which was over 30 years ago, the organization and club has been nothing but a failure. They had the Spano incident. They had Milbury trade every future HOFer he could and traded guys that would win Cups elsewhere. They’ve had Wang dream too big and become another victim of Nassau County red-tape politics. They haven’t won a playoff series since 1993. However, the second they go on a little winning streak, Islander fans come out of the woodwork and have the biggest mouths in the league. I, for one, am happy to see them dead and buried. Enjoy your trip to Brooklyn.
I still think the Islanders will be back in Uniondale, after their three year agreement with the Barclay Center. I will miss the old barn (check out my barn blog, in the archives) and how easy it was to get there, as someone living in Long Island. I think the Islanders will lose a lot of their regulars with the move. While us Ranger fans consider taking the LIRR or NJT to the games as part of our ritual, along with stopping at a bar before the game, for Islander fans, going home after work, taking a shower, and tailgating in the parking lot was their ritual. Ticket prices are already 130% more in certain sections in Barclay, over similar seats in the Coliseum. The Isles are changing what made them so fun, affordable and enjoyable for their fans with this move. However, it’s not like they didn’t want to stay.
While Talbot was undefeated against the Islanders this year, when the Islanders were in first place and had vanquished Lundqvist three times, you didn’t hear the end of it. The chests were puffed out from Uniondale. I knew the Rangers would be in the playoffs but at the same time, I thought the Islanders would be a tough out, and they were. Who knows what would’ve happened if NYR played NYI in round two? I’m just happy I don’t have to find out, as I think the Capitals present the path of least resistance. Beating the Islanders isn’t the main goal, it could’ve been a minor goal, but at the end of the day, winning the Cup is all that matters. Expending extra energy, in what would be a physical and draining series, is not what’s best for the Rangers.
|Questionable for game 1 of round 2|
Looking ahead to Round 2, the Rangers have good news and bad news. The good news is that Kevin Klein will be ready for the series, after missing nearly two months with an arm injury, ironically enough, suffered after eating an Alex Ovechkin slapshot. The bad news is that Mats Zuccarello may not be able to play, as what’s being officially reported as “an upper body injury”, which is thought to be a concussion.
With what we know about concussions, and just see Rick Nash’s career last year, you can’t rush someone back from a concussion. It’s serious shit. This isn’t the old days. With the knowledge of CTE and everything else, no one will rush anyone back. For starters, it could be life-threatening. Chronic concussions can lead to severe depression and in some cases, suicide. Without a clear bill of health, the Rangers will not put Zucc on the ice, because it would also open them and the league to a major lawsuit. We see what’s going on with the NFL and WWE in that department. Bottom line, Zucc isn’t coming back unless he’s 100%.
No question, the Rangers will miss Mats Zuccarello. He is their fireplug. He is their little shit-stirrer. He brings offense and heart to this team. I will say, the Rangers will miss him more if they had to play the Islanders than the Capitals. All you can hope for right now is that this injury isn’t as severe as it’s being reported, and with the NHL not forcing their teams to give 100% accurately detailed injury reports, maybe he will be ok. Get well Zucc!
|Eisenhower Park, here we come!|
I plan on doing another point-counterpoint blog with a big Capitals fan/Caps blogger tomorrow. Hopefully he’s available, as he’s currently out celebrating. It would’ve been fun to do the Isles/Rangers shit-talking back and forth, but I’m relieved. I watched the entire Caps/Isles series and one thing is for sure, the Caps have tons of holes. I think they escaped with the game 7 win, where if the Islanders won, they would’ve came off surging, after being down 3-2.
I’ve been doing a tad better than average with my playoff predictions so far. Here’s what I had:
Rangers in 4 (Won in 5)
Caps in 7 (Nailed it)
Canadiens in 7 (Won in 6)
Bolts in 6 (They have a game 7 with Detroit coming up)
Ducks in 4 (Nailed it)
Canucks in 6 (Blew that badly, Flames won in 6)
Blackhawks in 5 (Hawks won in 6)
Blues in 5 (Ouch, shit the bed on that, Wild won in 6)
Looking ahead, I see this for Round 2:
Rangers over Caps in 6
Canadiens over Bolts/Wings in 6
Ducks over Flames in 7
Hawks over Wild in 5
Still going with the Rangers vs Hawks Stanley Cup prediction.
I will hopefully have the point-counterpoint blog up tomorrow sometime, previewing Caps/Rangers in detail. Thursday will be game one, so the Rangers will get a few more nights to rest up and be ready. Look for Sheppard to work with the fourth line, as AV juggles his wingers on the second and third.
One last thing, WeBleedBlue, a Ranger fan T-shirt company, which I support and have a bunch of their shirts, is releasing an OVISUCKS shirt, in the Capitals logo font. Is anyone really interested in that? Ovi is a great hockey player. He’s a man’s man of a hockey player. I get the Crosby hate, but to release a shirt promoting that Ovi sucks just seems childish to me, especially when he could be MVP this year. I respect Ovi. I don’t root for him, but I respect him and I enjoy the way he plays the game. Am I the only one who thinks like that?
Oh, and keep it up twitter, the Islander shit talking has been tremendous!
Can’t wait for Thursday!
LET’S GO RANGERS
WE WANT THE CUP
@NYCTHEMIC on twitter