What’s up everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Tonight, the Rangers dropped a 2-1 (Shootout) decision to the Dallas Stars. As a result, the Rangers pick up a much needed point in the standings.This lone point also catapulted the Rangers back into the playoff tournament, at least for the time being. For the Ranger skaters, after the performance they put in front of Ondrej Pavelec tonight, they were lucky to even be in the position to get two points.
As I write these words, I am glad that everyone is safe, after another “religion of peace” attack, which occurred in Times Square today. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know my thoughts on religion already. These cowardly attacks from these sandjobs just reinforces my opinions. What makes me just as sick, is watching the media try to spin this on Trump. Sorry, even if you don’t like the President, you can’t blame him, or any other politician, for the actions of one religious extremist. You just can’t control crazy. Just like how I am in a bar, I don’t want to go on a political or religious rant here, so all I’ll say is that I’m glad everyone is okay and leave it at that.
Due to my crazy work schedule, I was unable to get a blog up, after the Rangers impressive 5-2 victory over the NJ Devils, from Saturday night. I was able to attend the game and as I told several of you that I saw there, it’s always fun to bump into readers of this blog. We may all have different ideas on what’s the best way for this team to win a Stanley Cup, but at the end of the day, we all want to see the same thing.
In case you missed them, here are my most recent blogs:
NYR/WSH 12/8 Review: “The Buck Stops Here” as Washington Takes Two Points from NYR, Shattenkirk vs Trotz Gets Main Event Billing Over Lundqvist vs Ovechkin, Holtby Still a Vezina Level Goalie, Micheletti Has a Voice That Only Marlee Matlin Could Love, Point Watching in December, No Z-Bad Update & More
NYR/PITT 12/5 Review: King Pavelec, King Pipe, A Missed Flu Shot & A Fluky Rangers Goal Takes Two Points From The Two Time Cup Champs, BOO-YA, Rangers Prep For the Winter Classic, MSG Networks Ignore Concussions, Steiner Sports Has No Time For Jokes, NYR Richest Franchise in the NHL; Tells Fans To Keep Ponying Up, CSEA & Much More From RANGERSTOWN, USA
NYR/FLA 11/28 Review: Rangers & Pavelec Save Lundqvist But Come Up Short, Horrendous Officiating & Brain-Fart Defense Plagues a Good Hockey Game, Power Play Remains Power-Less, Rangers Continue To Handle Bad Situations With Class, Eli vs Hank, & More From an Ugly & Weird Loss From M$G
NYR/VAN 11/26 Review: Rangers Find a Way To Beat the Mother-Canuckers; Increase Win Streak To 4 & Grab a Playoff Berth (For Now), Jimmy Vesey Proving Himself To AV, What To Do With Lundqvist, Rangers Alum Making a Difference & More From a Sloppy Victory at the World’s Most Expensive Arena
Just a quick few thoughts on the win from Saturday, as I am fighting against the clock. As usual, my 4:30am alarm clock for work, comes awfully quick!
- This may have been Zuccarello’s best game, as a Ranger, ever since getting that A sewed on his sweater. Both goals came at opportune times and he prevented another. He played strong on both sides of the ice.
- Jesper Fast looks 100% and is playing his best hockey of the season. It makes you wonder – is Vegas kicking themselves for going after Lindberg?
- Nick Holden makes you grimace, like when you unexpectedly fart, and there is that split second of time where you’re wondering if it’s going to be wet or not. When you realize it was just a close call, you let out a sigh of relief, which is the same sigh of relief, when the other team doesn’t score, after a bonehead play from Holden.
- Even in victory, the Rangers consistent inconsistencies were prevalent all game.
- After a kick-to-the-nuts loss to Washington the night prior, it was good to see the Rangers forget about that game, refocus and come out ready to play against a division leader & hated rival.
Before getting into tonight’s game with the Dallas Stars, just a few things from my time at the Garden on Saturday night:
- M$G now has people that man the beer lines. These people give you over 21 years old wristbands. It’s nice to see the Garden be so militant with their alcohol compliance, but they should focus on having more than two bathrooms on the 200’s level. These bathroom lines are longer than the LIRR train ride going home. Again, the Rangers & MSG, treat their fans like cattle who have access to an ATM, so I’m not surprised.
- Speaking of the bathroom lines, one of my crowning achievements in life came during this game. Some drunk Devils fan tried to cut the line. Whether it was being up straight for 20 hours, having to work that day, being pissed off with street traffic caused by the “Santards” during Santa Con or perhaps the 12+ Millers and four shots of Crown Royal I had consumed by this time, I grabbed the guy, put him behind me and told them to get to the back. The people wearing blue jerseys and to their credit, the people in the red jerseys, all clapped. I felt like Larry David, putting forth such a heroic effort, in the face of a social injustice!
- I visited the Steiner booth during the game and pulled this:
When it comes to sports, many of you are like me – Rangers/Giants/Yankees fans, with an indifference to the Knicks. Some of you may be Jets/Mets fans, and that’s fine too. However, out of the two football teams and the two baseball teams in NY, only the Yankees have any momentum and a real chance of winning it all next season. When it comes to our Rangers, one Cup in 77 years doesn’t instill much faith.
Today, as I was browsing the hockey news sites, I stumbled upon this article: http://nhl.nbcsports.com/2017/12/11/a-smart-team-should-pounce-if-senators-want-to-make-a-trade/
It seems with the recent struggles of Ottawa, a team that was thought to be a contender this year, it has opened up the floodgates on possible trades. Other hockey news sites followed the NBC story and throughout the day, there was chatter from the rumor mill, about the Rangers exploring re-acquiring Derrick Brassard.
While the Yankees trade will be the talk of the town for some time, a Brassard reunion would make most Ranger fans happy. Brassard was always a fan favorite here. However, I beg you this – does Derrick Brassard make the Rangers a Stanley Cup contender? When you really look at it, would a Brassard reunion be a good hockey move or would it be a good move to make fans happy?
I thought Brassard was a great Ranger. As a fan, it would be great to see him wearing Broadway Blue once again. As far as a hockey move, if you could trade Brassard for say Nick Holden, then duh, you do it. It’s no secret that the Rangers need help in the center department. However, to trade anything that affects your long term future, such as trading draft picks? I wouldn’t be for that.
The ultimate blow in this scenario, wouldn’t be the Rangers giving up too much to make a Brassard/Zuccarello reunion. No, that ultimate blow would be a Brassard/Hagelin reunion, in Pittsburgh.
Time will tell on what happens here.
I’ve been bitching and moaning about the lack of Mika Zibanejad updates, in the media, on this site. Yesterday, Zibanejad started skating with the team again and was made available to the media today. In the interest of time, instead of recapping it all myself, here’s Justin Tasch of the NY Daily News. You can read the article directly by visiting: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/hockey/rangers/mika-zibanejad-concussion-nears-return-rangers-lineup-article-1.3692296
In hindsight, it seems Mika Zibanejad would’ve handled things differently.
He admitted that after being hit by Darren Helm on Nov. 24 that though he felt good the next day, he might’ve convinced himself he felt better than he actually did before playing an afternoon game on Nov. 26, after which he said he wasn’t feeling well. Zibanejad was a late scratch on Nov. 28 with concussion symptoms and missed his sixth straight game Monday, but he has returned to skating with the team.
“I don’t know if Saturday (Nov. 25) maybe I wanted to feel better than I maybe was and kind of told myself that. Maybe shouldn’t have played Sunday, but it’s easy to be wise now afterwards and whatnot,” said Zibanejad, who will practice Tuesday but as of Monday morning wasn’t yet cleared for contact. “I’m just happy it’s progressing and just going forward. Just looking to be out there with the team as soon as I feel 100 percent.”
Alain Vigneault said he and his medical staff weren’t aware Zibanejad was dealing with any symptoms because he did not report them until Nov. 26. Vigneault was aware of the hit, which seemed like a fairly normal hockey play.
“If players don’t make the information available, there’s no way for us to know – because there’s hits like that every time they’re on the ice,” Vigneault said.
After that Sunday game against the Canucks Zibanejad said he wasn’t feeling great. He said the Monday off day “cooled things down a little bit.” He then skated that Tuesday morning and tried warming up.
“I just didn’t feel right again,” he said. “It was a decision made by all of us to pull aside and see what was going on.”
The 24-year-old center, who has 22 points this season, rode an exercise bike last Monday and skated three out of four days from Wednesday through Saturday. He will need at least one practice before returning to the lineup.
I’ve talked plenty about concussions on this blog. Just check the archives for more.
When it comes to concussions, in short, there’s just no time-table with them. Despite all the science we have and technological advancements we have made, we still don’t know how to prevent concussions, how to treat concussions and how to eliminate the long-term effects of concussions. All we really know is that concussions are bad, and everyone reacts differently. As far as treatment, time is the only way to go about the healing process and that’s not the way to eliminate the effects 100%.
As Zibanejad said himself, the worst part about this injury is that there is no true time-table. It’s not like the leg injury he had last year, where he knew it would be 6-8 weeks. With concussions, it’s a process, with no one having all the answers. For someone who is prone to concussions, at such a relatively young age, Zibanejad’s main goal should be his health and not the team. That’s just the reality of it all.
All we can do as fans is sit back and wish Zibanejad the best.
On Monday night, Ondrej Pavelec had the best game of his short NYR career. He logged 44 saves, giving him two straight games of 40+ saves. What that tells you, is that Pavelec has seen a ton of work in his last two starts. In other words, the team in front of him hasn’t been that hot.
This was a bad game for the New York Rangers. The only star on the ice tonight, besides the players in the green & white jerseys, was Ondrej Pavelec. He had a phenomenal game and made back-breaking saves all night. Unlike his win against the Penguins, this game was all Pavelec, as he didn’t get help from four shots off the posts in tonight’s game. When the game was over, it truly was a shame that the Rangers couldn’t muster up one more goal and give Pavelec a career highlight & the Broadway Hat.
This truly was an insulting game from the New York Rangers. On a day with a terrorist attack in the city and on a night where the Rangers were celebrating children through their Garden of Dreams charity, the Rangers did nothing to lift spirits. If anything, they depressed a paltry crowd and piled on the misery.
Speaking of the crowd, while it was Garden of Dreams night, I had to double-check to make sure it wasn’t a “Florida Panthers Home Game” night too. I’ve seen bigger crowds at a Sonic opening. SAD!
While I have always felt the Rangers do the best job in the league with their pregame show, I did find some of the stuff throughout the broadcast irritating. Al Trautwig, for some reason, said that these Rangers are the most exciting they’ve ever been in 35 years. What? Nevermind 1994, this team was more exciting 3 seasons ago!
Without Lundqvist to slobber about, Micheletti was mostly muted. He only started about Pavelec’s great play at the 42:00 minute mark of the game. Instead of talking Pavelec’s saves, he was talking about missed Dallas opportunities. Again, it’s the on-going love affair that Micheletti has for Lundqvist, which he doesn’t share with the other Ranger goalies. I guess Micheletti isn’t a Mormon. What is a great save for Lundqvist, is just a ho-hum night at the office for everyone else, in the eyes of a one Joe Micheletti.
Sam Rosen, who has admittedly regressed in the twilight of his career, made a comment that “Pavelec is having a Lundqvistesque game.” Really? I don’t know what Sam was watching, but I didn’t see Pavelec give up goals in the first minute of periods, give up goals in the last minute of a period, drop his stick, spray water bottles at people, slash the ice clean-up crew, make faces, slam his stick, scream at his teammates, whine to the referee, throw hissy fits or give up goals when he was screened.
I know it’s modus operandi of the MSG Networks to be all Lundqvist, all the time, but give me a break. I’m surprised they didn’t give Lundqvist the player of the game after this!
I just hope that the day Lundqvist moves on, that he takes Joe Micheletti with him. Please, I’ll take two birds with one stone on that one!
Let’s go to the official ESPN.com box score, before getting into my game recap:
1st Period Summary
|No scoring this period||0||0|
|No penalties this period|
2nd Period Summary
||Julius Honka (1)
Assists: Esa Lindell, Jamie Benn
||Ondrej Pavelec: 2 Minutes for Delaying Game – Illegal play by Goaltender (Served by Chris Kreider)|
||Jesper Fast: 2 Minutes for Tripping|
||Boo Nieves: 2 Minutes for Hooking|
3rd Period Summary
||Rick Nash (8)
Assists: Brady Skjei, Pavel Buchnevich
|No penalties this period|
|No scoring this period||1||1|
|No penalties this period|
||Shootout GOAL scored by Mats Zuccarello on Kari Lehtonen||0||1|
||Shootout GOAL scored by Alexander Radulov on Ondrej Pavelec||1||1|
||Shootout attempt by David Desharnais saved by Kari Lehtonen||1||1|
||Shootout attempt by Tyler Seguin saved by Ondrej Pavelec||1||1|
||Shootout attempt by Kevin Shattenkirk saved by Kari Lehtonen||1||1|
||Shootout GOAL scored by Jason Spezza on Ondrej Pavelec||2||1|
I know many other hockey players, even ex-Rangers themselves (Notably Ron Duguay, Ron Greschner, Mike Richter, Pete Stemkowski, Nick Fotiu, Steve Valiquette, Colton Orr, among others) do charity work and help out their communities. However, when it comes to this department, the league has no better ambassador or greater person, than Adam Graves.
The second period was more or less the same as the first for the Rangers. Pavelec dominated the pipes, while the Rangers skated like they had a pipe in their ass. The Rangers killed three penalties in this period, which was something positive, I suppose. One of those penalties was a 5 vs 3 penalty, as Pavelec got caught playing the puck outside the trapezoid, and then a minute later, Fast got called for tripping. Credit to Pavelec and the Rangers, they denied the weak Dallas PP a goal. In fact, if anything goes together like peanut butter and jelly, it would be Rick Nash and the Dallas PP.
In a chance to swing momentum, at the end of the first PK kill, Zuccarello had a breakaway, but came up short. The crowd was looking to explode with a “ZUUUUUUUC” chant, but it wasn’t meant to be. At the 6:30 mark of the second period, Julius Honka beat Pavelec for the first goal of the game, with a slap shot from Pavelec’s left side. I can’t kill Pavelec for this goal, after the effort he displayed tonight, but I will say, he stopped tougher shots all game. This was just one that happened to catch him on the jaw. 1-0 bad guys.
The Rangers, who would be out-shot 33-10 after two periods, saw another opportunity slip away, when Grabner was on a breakaway. He made one too many fancy moves, giving Lehtonen a chance to make a play, which he did. Seriously, I took more shots during this game than the Rangers. It’s amazing I can even type this manifesto right now, as I abused this bottle of Crown Royal like women at a Weinstein Playboy Mansion party.
With the Rangers failing to muster up anything, the crowd decided it was appropriate to belt out two “POTVIN SUCKS” chants. That chant needs to go the way of the dodo. It was also silly to chant this when the Rangers looked like crap all game, just as it was ridiculous to interrupt & chant “LET’S GO RANGERS”, when a 10 year old child, who just beat a life-threatening disease, is performing the National Anthem.
At the end of two, 1-0 bad guys.
After 40 minutes of dreadful hockey, AV shook up his lines, in an attempt to jump start the team. Here was what AV rolled out, with credit to NY Post reporter Brett Crygalis:
#NYR into the blender, starting with Staal-Holden. McDonagh-Smith. : Kreider-Desharnais-Zuccarello, Nash-Miller-Buchnevich, Grabner-Hayes-Fast. Same: Fourth line and Skjei-Shattenkirk.
— Brett Cyrgalis (@BrettCyrgalis) December 12, 2017
After having a silly slap fight in the first period, Marc Staal continued to look like a big puss, when it was Mats Zuccarello engaging and fighting with two Stars. Seriously, for a guy as big as Marc Staal, it’s SAD, that Mats Zuccarello is more willing to throw down. It’s part of the reason why Ranger fans love Zucc, but it doesn’t make Staal look good either.
The Rangers best period came in the third, but that’s not saying much. I don’t even think they logged two consecutive shots in this game. As the time continued to melt off the clock, the Rangers had trouble skating the puck across the blue line, as Dallas did a great job defensively, of shutting the Rangers down.
With less than four minutes to go, the Rangers got a miracle and another fluke goal, during a Pavelec start.
After blowing scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity, Brady Skjei fired a shot. The puck somehow touched Rick Nash and went by Kari Lehtonen. 1-1 game. The Stars got a goal review, and after a quick review, unlike the never-ending NFL reviews, the ref ruled that no interference occurred, thus giving the Rangers a goal. 1-1 game.
For Nash, who I think is the best third liner in the NHL, it’s a nice goal to add to his stat-line, but really, the guy could be up to 25+ goals this season, if he converted on just 25% of his great chances.
As the clock approached three minutes remaining, I was just hoping the Rangers would hold the puck and stay stationary. After all, in this tough Metro division, every point counts. Instead, the Rangers played fast and loose and Pavelec had to make a few more saves, which in turn, got the Rangers into OT and at least guaranteed them a point.
The 3 vs 3 OT was great for a fan that didn’t have a rooting interest in the game. However, for Ranger fans, this was like eating a case of White Castle – a shit inducing gas fest, that made you tear up. To not only Pavelec’s credit, but to the credit of Lehtonen, both goalies made tremendous saves in this OT and to force the shoot-out. I could only imagine what resident MSG Networks goalie, Steve Valiquette, had to say in his breakdown after the game. (On a work night, which seems to be every night, I do these blogs right away, then watch all the post game stuff on the train to work tomorrow.)
In the shootout, as mentioned above, AV made some questionable decisions. Zucc would score first. Radulov, after tripping, rebounded and beat Pavs. In the second round, Desharnais was denied after a backhand attempt gone awry, while Tyler Seguin, who Pavelec owned all night, was stopped. In the third round, Shattenkirk couldn’t do anything, while Jason Spezza beat Pavelec top shelf. 2-1 in the shootout, with the Stars as your winners.
If you’re a glass half full guy, (Not me, as I’m ordering my next beer once I’m half empty) at least the Rangers got a point. They truly didn’t deserve it after tonight’s game. One puck the other way, the Rangers would’ve pulled off a bigger robbery than the Yankees trade for Giancarlo Stanton.
Updated standings time. (Note: As I write this, Carolina is currently on the west coast with Anaheim.)
|Columbus Blue Jackets||19||10||1||39||16||86||73||11-5-0||8-5-1||7-3-0||W2|
|New York Islanders||17||10||3||37||15||108||100||9-1-2||8-9-1||6-3-1||W1|
|New Jersey Devils||16||9||4||36||14||89||91||6-5-2||10-4-2||5-4-1||L2|
|New York Rangers||16||11||3||35||15||99||89||12-5-3||4-6-0||7-2-1||L1|
As a result of the loser’s point tonight, the Rangers move into the second wild card seed. Again, long season, yadda, yadda, yadda, but this remains true – the Rangers own their own destiny, which is amazing, considering the terrible start to the season. Also, how about the Devils, who were at the top of the division, just four days ago, but now find themselves in fourth place? As we all know, these standings will change more times than the amount of sexual assault accusations against celebrities.
Up next for the Rangers, a struggling Ottawa Senator team. As mentioned at the top of this blog, the Senators are struggling and there is talk of them making some major trades. For the Rangers, they will be looking to extract some revenge, after a surprising and disappointing second round playoff series against the Senators, from last season. Wouldn’t it be something, if Derrick Brassard crossed locker rooms after a game-day trade? Brassard for Holden, book it!
I assume Henrik Lundqvist gets the start on Wednesday, with Pavelec then getting either the Kings or the Bruins, on the upcoming weekend back-to-back. If anything, after looking shaky to start his Rangers career, going into his next start, at least you now have some faith with Pavelec.
Even better for the Rangers, the Senators play tomorrow night, so they will be on the second game of a back-to-back, when they host the Rangers on Wednesday night.
Speaking of Wednesday night, that’s when I’ll be back next, with a review of that game. Until next time, as always, thanks for reading and….
“Let’s Go Rangers!”
@NYCTHEMIC on the tweeter machine