Great thing about these Rangers games at the Garden recently: Sure, you see them lose, but you’re guaranteed at least one Brendan Shanahan post-game diatribe.
Before the All-Star game, it was Shanahan calling out the Rangers’ power play—- and by extension, it seemed, Jaromir Jagr. Tonight it was Shanahan rushing to Jagr’s defense.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s some sort of prejudice against him or what the deal is,Ã¢â‚¬? said Shanahan. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Guys hit late. Guys hit hight. Guys hook his hands. He doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t complain, he just goes out and plays and plays. But the referees seem to have a different set of rules for the way teams can play against him.
“Not since (Slava) Fetisov came over from Russia have I seen a star player get ignored by the referees and I know the reason they were ignoring him back then. But I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know why theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re ignoring the hooks and the holds and the chops on Jaromir Jagr. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been a great player in this league for a long time.Ã¢â‚¬?
How much of this was a pre-meditated deflection away from a tough loss (in the Mark Messier mold)? My guess is plenty. That’s not to say Shanahan doesn’t have a point. Given that he rarely loses his footing even when he is hooked, Jagr sometimes is too big and too strong for his own good. But I’m not sure this was the reason the Rangers lost tonight.
More on that side of things later…