What’s up everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Today, during a rare Saturday matinee in Colorado, the Rangers found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-1 score. Surprisingly, the Rangers were swept, 2-0, in the season series with the Avalanche. If you recall, the Avalanche were the worst team in the NHL last season, finishing with only 48 points. In their last nine games alone, the Avalanche have picked up all 18 points. More impressively, the Avalanche have not trailed in any of those games.
I’m not going to rehash the rebuild now/buy/sell debate again. I did that in the last few blogs. However, with that said, when you look around the league and compare the standings from last season to the standings of this season, it’s jaw-dropping. There’s so much change and turnover. That’s because of the league-wide parity.
Go ahead and truly look at it. Vegas, an expansion team, is the best team in the Western Conference. The two teams in last season’s Eastern Conference finals, the Pens & Sens, are currently out of the upcoming annual tournament in the Spring. You look at Montreal and see the tumble they’ve had. You see the Devils and you see the rise they’re enjoying. So when people make these “RANGERS MUST SELL NOW” comments, to me, it’s truly laughable. With the way this season has been, anything is possible.
As of this writing, the Rangers are still the first wild card in the Eastern Conference. That could change with a Penguins win tonight. Even if the Penguins do win, the Rangers are still a playoff team, at least by the time the calendar turns to 1/21. In today’s 3-1 loss, while you’re never happy about a loss, to do the “doom & gloom” shit, that’s just silly.
Before talking about the walking wounded, here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:
NYR/BUF 1/18 Review: Rangers Get Nashty In Victory Over Their HEATED WINTER CLASSIC RIVALS, Miller Sticks The Knife Back Into Buffalo Again, PP Issues, WE WANT GRABNER, MSG Networks Staff, #EXTENDAV, Injuries, Big Road Trip Ahead & More Thoughts About the First Wild Card Rangers
NYR/PHI 1/16 Review: A Pig Flying Victory for the Rangers at the M$G Sty! Nash Scores! A PPG! First Shorty of the Season! Holland with a Dutch Oven Assist, Ranking NYR Rivalries & Much More, in NYR’s Biggest Statement Season Saving Win (For Now) of 2018
NYR/PITT 1/14 Review: Panic Takes Over Rangerstown, Rebuild & “Fire AV” Talk, Lundqvist Has Another Diva Meltdown, NYR Free-Falling With No End In Sight; Still Can’t Find a Papajohn’s Goal, Respect for #87 & Much More Sadness & News From Another Depressing Loss
NYR/NYI 1/13 Review: The Islanders “Pulp Fiction” the Rangers; Brutally Embarrass NYR at the Shithole Known as M$G, Lundqvist Steps Up & Speaks Out To the Deaf & Lame Blueshirts, McDonagh & Nash “Talk the Talk” But Can’t “Walk The Walk”, Family Day Fire Hazard Fiasco & More From A Game Where Fans Deserve a Refund
The New York Rangers Mid-Season Report Card: Grading Every Ranger and Coach on the Roster, Who Makes the Grade, Looking Ahead, Second Half Preview & More
In case you haven’t heard by now, Kevin Shattenkirk is the newest guest star on ER: M$G. Here’s a report from ESPN.com:
Shattenkirk said the injury has been lingering since the beginning of October. He anticipates the surgery won’t sideline him for the rest of the Rangers’ 36 remaining games and looks forward to playing more to his standards. Shattenkirk has posted five goals and 18 assists this season and is on pace for the lowest points per game average of his career (0.50).
“What I was putting out on the ice … I wasn’t giving the guys on my team the best I had, and that almost makes you feel even worse,” Shattenkirk said Friday. “I think this is the first step to get back to where I am and come back and have a meaningful impact on this team down the stretch.”
Shattenkirk, 28, is in his first season in New York after signing a four-year, $26.6 million contract during the offseason. Saturday’s matchup against the Colorado Avalanche will be his first missed game of the season.
First off – get well soon Shattenkirk.
Obviously, Shattenkirk playing through injury has been a topic of much debate. Keep in mind, the Rangers & AV said that this was an injury other players have played through & through medical shots, have been able to make a full recovery. In 22’s case, that didn’t happen here, which because, of course, that’s the Ranger way.
To me, Shattenkirk is a NY native. He knows the fanbase. He knows the passion. I think Shattenkirk opted to play through the pain, so fans couldn’t call him a Carl Pavano type. After the deal he signed, if he started the season by missing the first half of the season, there would be a lot of grumbling. He wanted to play through it and tough it out. It just didn’t work out.
What I found hilarious, is that the same fans that have been burying Shattenkirk all season long, are now the same fans that are saying “THE RANGERS MUST SELL EVERYONE BESIDES LUNDQVIST BECAUSE SHATTENKIRK IS HURT!” So which is it, Shattenkirk sucks or Shattenkirk is so good that the Rangers must sell?
I’m telling you, these fans, that live in their mother’s basement & make silly charts all day, should come upstairs once in a while and get some fresh air. Especially that Joe Fortunato crab person fan. I don’t know what’s funnier – these blogs that tell you that the Rangers MUST sell everyone (besides Lundqvist of course) and rebuild around a goalie who will be 37 next season or these Shatty hot takes. You’re killing me smalls!
Before the injury, blog reader, @CarmiOnTheVerge sent me some interesting Shattenkirk facts, which were originally written up by @CanadianShield. Here they are:
- Kevin Shattenkirk is 6th in the entire NHL for turnovers, while also playing the 2nd least amount of time amongst the top 10 turnover kings. He also has the most penalty minutes amongst those players. He also leads the NYR in penalty minutes, turnovers & minus rating.
- Here’s another factoid. If you take away Shattenkirk’s powerplay points, he has the exact same amount of points as Dan Girardi(doesn’t play on the powerplay). Girardi at ES is a +17 while Shattenkirk sits at -13. A 30 point +/- differential.
So you may be asking yourself, “Why is Sean, a Shattenkirk fan, posting negative information about 22?” Well, for starters, I always keep it real here. Secondly, it shows you that Shattenkirk hasn’t been that much of a positive factor this season. That’s why when I see all these moronic comments about how the “RANGERS ARE DONE”, I gotta scratch my head. (I usually scratch my head before my ass, for obvious reasons. Note to self: I may have an anal skin allergy to Tide Pods. Sure beats eating them though!)
At the end of the day, I think the Rangers will be fine with Shattenkirk. Best case scenario, the Rangers get a look at someone else and Shattenkirk returns and becomes the offensive powerhouse the Rangers pay him to be.
With Shattenkirk out for the immediate future, he joins Chris Kreider as a long term scratch. Also on the scratch list are Kevin Hayes & Marc Staal, who are currently 50/50, when it comes to playing during this upcoming California road trip. To make matters worse for the Rangers, their best goal scorer and arguably best skater on the team, Michael Grabner, missed today’s game with the flu. I would imagine that if Grabner missed today’s game with the flu, a flight to California and hoping he will be able to play tomorrow, isn’t that promising.
The Rangers have found a tough time in the schedule to battle the injury and illness bug. Then again, when is a good time to have injuries and sickness? With five guys laid up, the Rangers called up Tony DeAngelo (or as @NYRKELSMADS coined the Trump voter, DeMAGAngelo.) They also called up Daniel Catenacci, an 11 game NHL veteran, with all 11 games taking place during a terrible 2015-2016 season for the Buffalo Sabres. Interestingly enough, Boo Nieves remains in Hartford, as the Rangers looked to give someone else a chance.
Vinni Lettieri and Peter Holland, the most recent Wolfpack call-ups, remain on the big club roster.
With all the changes, here’s what AV (#EXTENDAV, come on people let’s get it trending) rolled out:
Going into this game, I shared the same mentality as my alleged arch-rival, Henrik Lundqvist. After the loss, Lundqvist said something to the effect of, “You go in with the mentality to win. I thought we played well and did our best.” We all know my feelings about Lundqvist and his contract, but I think he was spot on here. Yes, the team is missing five starters, but at the same time, you don’t go out there and mope around either.
There were long stretches of time in this game where the Rangers couldn’t do anything. Sometimes, the other team is just better than you, and with the way Colorado has been playing (The Rangers were their 9th straight victim) you can’t be mad about tonight’s loss. Colorado was the better team. They are healthy. They are clicking.
For the Rangers, they rolled out mish-mashed lines and aside from McDonagh & Holden, the defensive pairs weren’t familiar with each other. I’m not going to say the team didn’t have any chemistry, but obviously, the team on the ice isn’t the line-up you were hoping for either. In fact, while I thought this was a good game to watch, for a fan with no rooting interest in the two teams, it sucks for Ranger fans living in Denver or for the fans who made this their road-trip game. It would’ve been cheaper to drive to Hartford.
I’ve talked about this endlessly on this blog – you can’t overreact to one game, win or lose. Just like you can’t say the Rangers are winning the Cup after the win over Philly, you can’t say the Rangers are done after a loss like today. It’s a long season, and as long as you can right your ship after losses, you’ll be okay. That’s exactly what the Rangers have done this year.
I mean, just this week alone, we saw the Rangers get raped by the Islanders and the Penguins. In turn, the Rangers rebounded with wins over Philly and Buffalo & everything was ok again. Who knows, maybe the Rangers, like they did in 2014-2015, sweep the California road trip? Hey, you never know. Stranger things have happened, like James Dolan employing Mr. Sexual Lawsuit himself, Isiah Thomas, to run the WNBA Liberty team.
Let’s go to the ESPN box score:
1st Period Summary
||Erik Johnson (7)
Assists: Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon
||Steven Kampfer: 2 Minutes for Hooking|
2nd Period Summary
||Nathan MacKinnon (23)
Assists: Erik Johnson, Mark Barberio
||Pavel Buchnevich (13) (Power Play)
Assists: Mats Zuccarello, Ryan McDonagh
||Gabriel Bourque: 2 Minutes for Tripping|
3rd Period Summary
||Mikko Rantanen (17)
|No penalties this period|
As I have admitted before, and as many of you have said to me on twitter, Joe Micheletti riles me up about Lundqvist more than any internet troll ever could. Micheletti was fucking awful today. I would rather have Jerry Laricchuita of CSEA (“WE WORK FOR YOU”) call the games, than the man who has sexually abused more sex dolls than Harvey Weinstein has sexually abused aspiring Hollywood starlets, in a one Joseph Robert Micheletti.
The problem with Joe remains the same. He over exaggerates every Lundqvist save, to an epic proportion, that’s never been heard of before. A save by Lundqvist, which is routine around the league, is made out to be a SCF G7 save. The other goalie on the ice? To Joe, it’s not worth talking about that guy. Ondrej Pavelec? When he starts, Micheletti is dead inside.
In today’s game, Micheletti was raving about what a great guy Lundqvist was. I guess slashing women, flipping nets, squirting water bottles, throwing pucks at referees, screaming at team mates, getting your coach fired, holding your team up for money and crying, are all character traits of a great guy. It’s Micheletti’s world, and unfortunately, we have to live through it, game-by-game.
I’m seriously at the point where I wonder if Joe Micheletti is trying to force a wedge in his daughter’s marriage, with the hopes of trying to get his daughter to marry Lundqvist. The non-stop love affair never ends. Here’s a sample of every Ranger game for the last five years:
- “Pardon me Sam, I just came my pants after that GREAT SAVE BY LUNDQVIST”
- “Sorry Joe, that wasn’t a save, that was the ice crew cleaning the ice.”
- “Pardon me Sam, I was just re-living my spank bank.”
- “Sorry Joe, I wish I was there.”
- “Pardon me Sam, but you’re not invited. This is an “A” and “B”, man-on-man love scene, so “C” yourself out of it.”
- “Sorry Joe, how about this slice of dog shit Papa John’s pizza?”
- “Pardon me Sam, but that shit goes straight to my thighs.”
- “Sorry Joe. RANGERSTOWN, COME TO M$G AND SIT BY YOURSELF FOR $65 AS EVERY SEASON TICKET HOLDER SNEERS IN YOUR DIRECTION!’
- “Pardon me Sam, but can you pass me a tissue, I had another accident in the front of my pants.”
- “Pardon me Sam, did you hear me?”
- “Sorry Joe, I was distracted. Amanda Borges just bent over!”
- “Pardon me Sam, but I would rather look at Lundqvist’s five hole.”
Ok, that’s out of my system now.
This wasn’t a game you would want to go back and re-watch, far from it. It’s hard for me to slam the Rangers for their effort, as I really just think Colorado is the better team. The Rangers didn’t sustain much offensive pressure in this one, as they had really only three good possessions in today’s game. Most of the game saw Lundqvist coming up with save after save, followed by the Rangers scrambling to clear the puck. After a clear, they would immediately change, and then rinse, wash, repeat.
How about this hot take – the Rangers can win without Henrik Lundqvist, but they can’t win without Michael Grabner! Joke aside, Grabner was really missed, as he’s usually good for 1 or 2 breakaways a game. He’s also good at getting the puck out of the zone and the Rangers really missed both parts of Grabner’s game here. On the bright side, with Grabner out, I don’t have to bore you with another one of my “Grabner must play on the PP” rants.
After a feeling out process from both wild card teams, Erik Johnson got the Av’s on the board first, at the 9 minute mark, when he caught Lundqvist out of net and easily deflected a puck by him. While on Lundqvist, while I thought he had a strong game, he seemed extremely shaky and anxious today. I think that’s partly because of the team in front of him. There were times in this game where he came out of net to play the puck, when he didn’t need to. In one of these plays, McDonagh actually collided with him. He also froze a puck for no reason, as a defender was right there and was looking to move the puck up ice. Instead, it was a faceoff in the Rangers D zone. Lundqvist just looked jumpy overall. I’m not saying that’s why the Rangers lost, I’m just making an observation.
Here’s the goal, that made it 1-0 bad guys:
The Avalanche are rolling in 2018 👀 pic.twitter.com/legOflIONP
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 20, 2018
Oh, and for those counting, Lundqvist lost his stick twice tonight. A slow night for him.
Later in the period, Colorado would get a penalty after a hooking call on Kampfer. The Rangers would kill the penalty and would actually get a two on one odd man rush. It was so rare that the Rangers didn’t know what to do with it, and squandered the opportunity.
Of note, Tony DeMAGAngelo got a lot of ice time tonight. I didn’t think he or his partner, Brendan Smith, were that great. Both were turnover machines, with Smith being the bigger culprit. Every time I see Smith play, I’m reminded of a conversation I had at the Joe last season, with a Redwings fan, when he said to me, “Thanks for taking Smith off our hands.” 4 years/$17.4M folks. This could be Gorton’s worst move yet.
The biggest play of the period was perhaps when Brady Skjei skated into Lundqvist. It looked like Skjei hit a rut in the ice and couldn’t control himself. He collided into Lundqvist. Lundqvist, in turn, was slow to get up, but was able to play the game. Judging by the post game and from the rest of the game here today, Lundqvist was/will be fine.
After one period, 1-0 bad guys. For a team full of Hartford, this wasn’t that bad.
The second period didn’t give Ranger fans much hope. At least at the start of it. Three minutes and change in, Nate MacKinnon, who’s been on fire since Duchene got the boot, pushed the lead to 2-0 bad guys. I thought this was a bad goal for Lundqvist to give up, especially after he made a highlight-flash-the-cow save right before this:
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) January 20, 2018
However, two minutes after the goal, Gabriel Bourque would get boxed for tripping, giving the Rangers a PP. The Rangers would score on the PP. With the PP going 1-1 and the PK going 1-1, this may be the first time this season that both special team units were perfect in the same game. I’d have to look it up, but let’s just go with that for now!
A minute into the PP, the COMMIE (again, I say this lovingly) put the Rangers on the board. SADly, this would be the lone NYR goal of the game. Check it out:
Buchnevich scores on the power play, assisted by Zuccarello and McDonagh pic.twitter.com/TRrnCmnJME
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) January 20, 2018
2-1 bad guys.
Of note, the MSG feed of this game was off, colorization wise. AV was so tan that he looked like a seasoned Jew from Boca Raton. With John Giannone corner ice, and not between the benches, I’m just assuming the Pepsi Arena, or whatever the fuck it’s called, is just not visitor team friendly.
It was also at this point in the game where Sam Rosen was talking about the “amazing percs for the Junior Rangers.” No wonder why there’s a heroin epidemic in this country right now!
Vinni Lettieri continued to play his game tonight, shooting at will. In a rare move, during a good look at the net, he passed. I hope these Rangers aren’t contagious on his game. Peter Holland, another recent call-up, made a good play in this period, as while disadvantaged, one on three, he shot the puck at Bernier. Bernier froze the puck and instead of the Av’s going up ice, the Rangers had an offensive zone face off.
At the end of two periods, 2-1 Big Feet.
The third period ended the way it started – with the Rangers coming up with a bunch of shots, but not being able to get it into the net. For the other 17 or so minutes between this Rangers bookend of offense, Colorado just dominated and wore the Rangers down. The Rangers just kept fighting off Colorado. Lundqvist made some superior saves. However, at the end of the day, the Rangers, in their limited action on offense, couldn’t get the job done. The closest they came is when Vesey ran a puck off the crossbar, and it actually rolled off it a bit, akin to a basketball rolling around a rim, and turning into a defensive rebound.
The same problems that plague the Rangers in losses were evident here. Here’s a quick laundry list:
- Rick Nash. After scoring two goals a piece, in his last two games, against non playoff teams, Nash was a non-factor against a playoff team. Sounds right.
- The extra pass to nowhere. Even Lettieri did it once in this game. The worst is when Buchnevich had a wide open look and tried to force it in between two Colorado defenders. Turnover.
- The lack of Zuccarello for large chunks of time. He’s there, but what is he doing? I love the guy like most of you (Hi Al Demauro) but he was another non-factor today. Yes, I know he assisted on the 89 goal, but for the rest of the game, especially 5 on 5, he wasn’t able to muster up anything.
- No offensive production from the defense. If you’re not able to contribute on offense, at least lock down on defense. That’s not what happened, as the Rangers gave up another 30+ shots. Lundqvist would add 34 saves to his career when this was over.
- Wrong guys on the ice at key times. Listen, I’m an AV fan, but with the game Brendan Smith was having, where it seemed like every time the puck touched his stick it was a turnover, he can’t be out there with under two to go and when you’re chasing a goal. Call a timeout if needed.
- Overuse of the drop pass. It seemed the Rangers were watching non-existent (I wish it existed) clips of the Original Rangers, specifically the Bread Line. (If you don’t know, the man I champion for the rafters, Frank Boucher, invented the drop pass.) The Rangers must’ve tried the drop pass 8+ times today and on every occasion, it was a turnover.
The third period was scoreless for 19:59. Both teams would get chippy and physical a bit. A telling moment to me, was when Catenacci, skated the other way, to avoid a hit. In turn, Colorado kept possession of the puck. I’ll get into this more below.
The heat of the game was at the end, when the Rangers, after a failed offensive surge, pulled Lundqvist. However, Ryan McDonagh iced the puck and that turnover sealed the game. Mikko Rantanen (Yes, I had to Google how to spell his name correctly) added a harmless empty netter. Then again, it wasn’t harmless for my buddy Ricky Otazu:
— Ricky otazu (@unclevols2) January 20, 2018
Some of you may be familiar with Ricky O. I’ve been friends with him for nearly twenty years, as we both worked in wrestling together and shared many beers together. I wish he still lived here, as we are both long removed from wrestling (I sold my company 6 years ago and I think he’s been out for two years) and have more free time to attend games. I promise you Ricky, me and Ray will get our fat-asses to Nashville one of these days!
For Ricky, with the empty net goal for Rantanen, Ricky’s bet of the Av’s -1.5 hit. Hey, if your team is gonna lose, why not get paid?
Since this game was early, and I got a little time before Bellator & UFC start, (LET’S GO CORMIER, SONNEN & MIOCIC) here’s what Hank said after the loss. Credit goes to SNY.TV:
Henrik Lundqvist met with the media on MSG and said:
- On the Avs, “I felt like they have really good speed in their game. They are feeling it right now, no question about that, and their top guys are playing really well and make a difference for them. They are a quick team, their transition game is really good. They create a lot off the rush but I really liked how we battled. We worked really hard against a really good team that has a ton of confidence right now. In this league, when you work hard and have a lot of confidence and things are working for you then it’s a tough team to beat, doesn’t matter what team it is. Right now they have it. We came up a little short, had some good looks in the end but a lot of good things that we can bring for tomorrow’s game against a physical team tomorrow.”
- On battle level, “it’s great to see the guys coming in are making the most of this opportunity. You can’t find any excuses to not go after the win. Doesn’t matter if you are missing two guys or ten games. The mentality is that you go out and try to get the “W,” just going to try and do it tomorrow. Work ethic and battle level was really good tonight and we can bring that with us tomorrow.”
- On Skjei falling into him in the first, “I just got stuck, the post right in my calf. It was pretty painful for a minute and then it went away and it was fine. There are situations out there that happen, there was one in the third where guys are on top of you and you just hope for the best, that nothing twists or you get in an awkward position. It’s fine, it was a little painful for a second there but a ll good now.”
I’m gonna be honest, I could’ve skipped doing a blog today. That, or I could’ve just said, “Rangers were hurt, they didn’t do much and you move on.” However, with the schedule taking us to California, I don’t know when I’ll do a blog next. As you all know by my repetitiveness, I work 7 days a week, 12 hours a day. I’m not complaining. My field is of work is feast or famine. You either work a lot or you have chunks of time off. Without my job, I wouldn’t have time to buy extra silly NYR bullshit, do my road trips or afford one game at M$G. This blog is just a fan talking shit and venting after games. Nothing less, nothing more. The only cool perk about this blog is meeting fellow Ranger fans and getting the occasional free beer. (Of note, I will always buy the second round!)
The Rangers go to California for the next three games and then it’s the All Star break. My plan is to powernap after work, set the alarm for 10PM, catch the NYR pregame show and live tweet the games with the fans who decide to stay up. The live tweeting during games is enjoyable and even if I don’t agree with you, I do like getting all opinions from the NYR universe. (Holy shit, Vince McMahon’s terminology is rubbing off on me.)
It’s going to be impossible to do game blogs after the Cali games, since I’m up at 4:30AM every day. If something major happens, I’ll put something up the next afternoon. If not, I’ll do a mini three game Cali wrap-up, hoping to use the “HOW THE WEST WAS WON” headline and talk all NYR thoughts, news and opinions at the break and preview what’s ahead.
As I sign off tonight, the Rangers are the first wild card, and may slip to the second wild card. As I take this mini-break, the Rangers are a playoff team. It’s all I can ask for.
I’m hoping that after the All Star Game, the Rangers stop fucking around with Peter Holland and Dan Catenacci. I’m hoping Chytil and Andersson get called up. However, with Chytil and Andersson, if they play more than 9 games (Chytil already has played 2) they will become rookies and that creates all sort of cap and contract issues. Plus, AV relies on veterans, so we might not see these call-ups anyway.
If DeMAGAngelo has another game like today, I’d look into deporting him back to Hartford and giving Pionk a shot. I’m assuming DeMAGAngelo got the call-up, since NYR needs to validate that trade to Arizona somehow and because he had better numbers. Due to my crazy hours, I haven’t watched the Hartford Wolfpack as much as I normally do, but I’ve heard that DeMAGAngelo has had the better season, between the two.
Ranger fans, don’t give up on this team yet. Don’t buy the “RANGERS MUST SELL” shit. The field is wide open this year and with the way your boy Henrik Lundqvist is playing, why would you wave the white flag?
See you soon, with a blog during the All star break to come. The next game review will be on 2/1, after the Leafs game. I still want to write a hopefully comedic blog, through the eyes of Henrik Lundqvist, as he reviews me at work. Should be a barn burner!
Until then, as always, thanks for reading and….
“LET’S GO RANGERS!”
@NYCTHEMIC on the tweeter machine
PS: Don’t listen to @Fixxser. NYR is making the playoffs! #EXTENDAV
PPS: With the Rangers playing late every night, if you’re looking to kill time until the 10:30PM starts, give Travis Jackson’s podcast a listen. You can find it at https://www.grandstandsportsnetwork.com/home/the-hvpucks-podcast-2/