Midnight adventure


True story about my evening last night, which may or may not tie into an earlier post about sleep deprivation:

I left the Garden “after writing my story”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071005/SPORTS01/710050410 around 11:30, got my car and drove north on West Side Highway back toward Blog Headquarters. Then I remembered I didn’t have any gas, because I was too lazy to get some before the game, and I thought maybe I could make it home without needing to stop.

But I couldn’t. Or maybe I could have. I don’t know. The point is that after getting stuck in traffic in the Bronx, I was officially paranoid about running out of gas in the middle of the highway, so I pulled off the exit around New Rochelle, and drove around looking for a gas station. So I drove. And drove. And drove some more — I actually passed a bar where there was a guy in a Sean Avery jersey milling outside — before eventually I was back in the Bronx, and I pulled into a McDonald’s asking where the nearest open gas station was. The lady mentioned three that I had just passed and were all closed.

Long story short: Around 12:30, an hour after first leaving the Garden, I found the lone open gas station where — no lie — the guy inside was asleep in his chair, and I had to knock on the glass to pay for my gas. So there you have it. The Rangers opened their season in rousing fashion. I opened mine submitting my own nomination for dunce of the year.

About Author


  1. I said this after last season, and I am going to say it again now. It is easy to hate Malik. Real easy. I am going to give this guy the a chance this year, and I am not going to book one of our own. Christ, the guy does make the bonehead play on occasion, but it is not every game. And boos are certainly not going to help when you are playing in your own building. Yeah yeah, he is a professional and he should be able to play through it, but maybe this sh*t wears on him and causes him to not think properly and make a bad play. Hate to say it folks, but there is not one person on this team that isn’t going to make a bad play this year. He had 3 assists last night, and yes, even after skating through the crease with two men on him and giving up the puck, still the guy had a decent game. Fact of the matter is this. We as fans of the NYR don’t need a whipping boy. Malik is not going to be the sole reason we win or don’t win a cup or make it or not make it in to the playoffs. I just don’t see the sense in booing one of our own, especially when it is painfully obvious that he is staying and not going anywhere.

  2. Hey Sam, I saw you sitting a few sections over (I was in the Legend’s Box), and I must say, I saw your haircut. :)

  3. Ouch, dude, and the traffic getting onto the Hutch was a complete disaster, that’s terrible.

  4. Nasty1…I agree on the Malik thoughts. The guy is not for the faint-hearted, but he did make a laser pass to Prucha. Hey if Jags is comfortable with Malik’s play, he should be given a little slack. But I still cannot stomach the plays he makes around Henry that seem far to nonchalant. And I am not getting over that bonehead giveaway vs Buffalo last year that cost us that game. But it’s a new season, so let’s see.

    And btw which clown on this blog was saying how bad Betts and Straka are? That guy’s (kid’s) blog inputs continue to deteriorate in value by the day.

    Nice win, albeit sloppy in a few spots including the whole 2nd period.

    Saturday night is a test!

  5. Very sloppy game. Hopefully just opening night, new face jitters, but I was honestly very uneasy about it for a while. Go in, play simple hockey, respect your opponent, and do what it takes to win. Just because we have talented players doesn’t mean we need to go back to overpassing the puck and going for the pretty play. Take shots on goal, get dirty in the corners, DON’T THROW IT UP THE MIDDLE, and let Hank worry about the shooter and do not block him. Did anyone catch Hank give Dubinsky kind of a dirty look on the first goal against. Growing pains, and I am sure all is forgiven, but if we want the youth up, we need to expect a few mistakes like that.

  6. “Seamus�

    I agree with you on most of your Malik points and being a punishing defenseman myself, it annoys me to no end when Malik plays soft, avoids contact, etc. That being said, you are wrong about that play off the boards last night. He recognized that the shooting lane was taken and the shot would be blocked so at the last second he changed his angle and shot it off the boards with the intention of the puck ending up somewhere in front of the net. I have seen this highlight several times now but all I needed was the live version. Look at his follow through, that was not meant to be a shot on goal.

  7. But in the same breath, I think this team has the kind of players that can just completely take over a game at any given time, and also is more than capable of coming back from behind and winning a game in the 3rd. That is good to see. But folks, as excited as we all are to have hockey back, and to have a team that is going to be very good, the “We Want the Cup” chants are way too early.

  8. The bottom lime on Malik is that he is not as bad as some of the fans make him out and he is not as good as some of the writers make him out (sorry Sam ).

  9. “We Want the Cup� chants are way too early.

    oh jeez…. seriously… if you thought Buffalo was bad last year, wait until MSG has a good team…

    Few of my observations that havent been touched yet:

    -Prucha, head down, got nailed. That was not a penalty, we got lucky there in 2 ways: he lived, and we went on the PP.

    -Speaking of Prucha, his goal was a *direct* result of the goalies new tightened jersey, did you see that?

    -They looked *awful* for a while last night. That’s okay, it’s expected before the new pieces gel. But, what is really scary is that they looked like a team that is going to be able to get wins on raw talent even if they’re not playing well….which can be a blessing but can also a problem down the road if they get too comfy. All of a sudden guys just started putting pucks in, but I still don’t think it was very well played at all.

    Hey first game, just thoughts.

  10. This team not only has talent, but also lots of character players. That, in my mind, will help them win more games, not on talent alone. IMO this team is the perfect blend of talent and grit/character.

  11. your boy Malik on

    Hey Sam, sorry I didn’t get to see the haircut. I’m loving the blog so far this year – and your sense of humor….last of all, extremely happy for “your boy Malik” – getting third star after being booed! I’m just happy to have hockey (and a win at that) after those Mets choked! Brian Leetch also looked very happy too!

  12. OK I just want to introduce myself, been reading this blog since last season, love this place! (except some multiple-personality loser(s))


    BOBBY SANGUINETTI in the OHL, at Brampton:

    4 Games—SIX Goals— FIVE Assists— 11 TTL. PTS.— and +9

    (Source: thehockeynews.com)

    This kid obviously can’t carry Strudwick or Mara’s jock.

  14. Sangs will be here soon enough, along with Sauer, if not this season (depending on injuries), then next year for sure.

  15. Ranger D relative plus-minus W-L, after one game;


    Explanation: Rozsival goes 18-0 because, with a +4 he is 1-0 vs. those who were +3 (Malik); 4-0 vs. those who were EVEN (Staal, Mara, Tyutin); and 5-0 vs. Girardi who was -1 on the night.

  16. Quote from last night:

    “The guys told me something about that. Instead of booing, they were cheering my name,” said Malik, who behind Drury and Jaromir Jagr (two assists), was named the game’s third star. “It was nice, kind of, for a change.”

    I think that’s pretty cool. I actually feel bad for the guy. But just think, if he wasn’t on the ice last night, we might’ve lost that game.

  17. Rangers forwards even-strength clutch-goal scoring points, for one game:


    The above is my own proprietary scoring system, so accept it or reject it aon merit, as you choose. Just know that a high point total here, indicates an ability to score important goals at even-strength, whereas a low point total in this category indicates a “garbage-goal” specialist. Drury gets 89 points for breaking a tie score at even-strength, on opening night.

    Straka, who also scored at even-strength, gets 34 points for his score which made the final 5-2, instead of 4-2, which was a much lesser-impact score.

    Who steps up when the game is on the line, this year? I aim go find out.

  18. I feel good for Malik. Last season the guy had to explain to his kids why the fans were booing him. Now, years ago I would not give half a sh*t, but being that I have a little girl and a month old son, for some reason it hits home with me. Give the guy a break. He does more good then he is given credit for. Not saying he is amazing or anything, but give him a damn break.

  19. If you want to boo him when he makes a bad play, fine, boo him. But when they announce his name in the starting line up, or when he has an assist or a goal, there is just no need for it.

  20. What a game! I’ve never liked Drury before I don’t know why I just didn’t. But last night I officially fell in love with what everyone else has loved for so long. What a gamer! But the highlight of my night was shaking Sam’s hand, to which my fiance said who the hell is that. I replied are you retarted thats the guy that writes the best blog ever. I also met NHL VP Bill Daly who I think I scared when I recognized him. He gave me a look like I had two heads, but come on we’re hockey fans. God I love having hockey back. The garden rocked last night. Malik = MVP.

  21. Wow, Cherepanov is slick. This video is in slo-mo, but there’s a different one you can click to in real-time, but it is a far away camera.


    Bonfire – How does that relative +/- make any sense? You’re just expanding the actual numbers. Each player will be in the same position the whole season. Also, why don’t you count defensemen in your goal-scoring system? I can’t see how Prucha and Callahan get the same amount because, by your own admission earlier, the game-tying goal is more important than the goal when the team is already ahead. The only thing this will do is satisfy your own little fetish, since it’s not reliable enough to help anybody else.

  22. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    Hey Sam,
    I’m still wondering, in your previous post, what exactly is a “Strudwich”?? Sounds like a promotional sandwich from Quizno’s or something.

  23. Robby Bonfire: What the hell are the stats you posted? Do they have a meaning? What are you basing it on? Thay make zero sense to me…

  24. Doodie Machetto on

    First of all: look at how one night has changed everyone’s perception about Malik. The guy gets three assists, and all of a sudden, everyone and their mother is like “C’mon, let’s give Malik a chance! I love Malik!” I watched the replays of the Straka goal, and yeah, he didn’t mean for it to go on net, but he didn’t mean for it to come right out in front like that either. He was trying to play it around the boards, it took a funny bounce out in front and Straka happened to be there. I mean, just consider the physics and geometry of where he wouldv’ve had to hit the boards so it would come out ACROSS the goalmouth from where he was standing. There is no way that he could’ve aimed for that from where he was standing and hit it. If you watch the corner where the puck comes from carefully, you’ll see that he in fact DID shoot it around the boards, but it hit a crack where the door was and came out in front. No aiming involved. Just luck.

    Face facts: if those three assists were for the other team, per usual Malik, you all would’ve been either booing him (assuming you would normally boo him), or you would be here talking about how much of a liability the guy is and how much he needs to go.

    Bottom line: Every dog has it’s day. I still think he is a liability, and one game ain’t changing that.

    Robby: Straka has a goal. Thats 1 NHL point to Dawes 0 AHL. Granted, Dawes hasn’t played a game yet, but Straka is of to a good start.

    Rooies: Staal and Dubinsky showed some growing pains, especially Staal. I’m not trying to get on the guy, I’m sure he’ll get better. But this serves as great proof of why you can’t start the season with 5 or 6 new guys. You can’t have 5 or 6 guys going through growing pains at the same time, or you might miss the playoffs from how bad of a start you would be off to.

    The best thing to take from last night is that it was a come from behind win. Granted, Florida isn’t exactly a monster of a team, but it still shows moxy to come from behind in the third period, especially in such emphatic fashion.

  25. Hi Sam! A new season begins. I look forward to reading your column on a daily basis, it’s my daily escape from my god-awful job at the moment!

    Keep up the good work!

  26. hopefully avery will not be kept on the 2nd powerplay unit, callahan should definitely be there. as a whole I thought the 2nd line looked out of sync the whole nite, only one game so have to give them time, but it would seem that prucha would be a better fit with gomez than avery as avery and shanny cant keep up with gomez

  27. Growing pains are fine when you are winning. Winning buys you time to let the kids learn. I rather make mistakes now then in March and April.

    Let’s Go Rangers!

  28. “I can’t see how Prucha and Callahan get the same amount (of points), because, by your own admission, earlier, the game-tying goal is more important than the goal when the team is already ahead.”

    Fair question/observation – so let’s take a look at this…

    Rangers even-strength goals opening night –

    ROZSIVAL.. from 0-0 score to 1-0 = 89 points. (I do tab D’s here, also)

    PRUCHA……from 1-2 score to 2-2 = 55 points.

    DRURY……. from 2-2 score to 3-2 = 89 points.

    CALLAHAN..from 3-2 score to 4-2 = 55 points.

    STRAKA……from 4-2 score to 5-2 = 34 points.

    The big question, generated by the above values is the equal number of
    points alloted both Prucha and Callahan. My (arbitrary) values begin with the foundational premise that the most-important goal in a game is a tie-breaker, and of course you can have more than one tie-breaker goal in a game, as Rozsival and Drury each registered a tie-breaker on opening night.

    As the score drifts up or down from the level of a team going from tied to leading by one goal, the values diminish. When the Rangers were trailing 1-2, had the opposition scored, instead of Prucha, the deficit would have been 1-3 = two goals, instead of a tie, a big difference. So instead of down two goals, thanks to Prucha the game became tied.

    In the case of Callahan, the Rangers went from 3-2 to a 4-2 lead. Had the opposition scored, instead of Callahan scoring, we are back in a tie. So Prucha gave us a tie, whereas Callahan prevented the oppostion from getting back into a tie, thus the equivalent value of 55 points to each.

    Again, all values fall away, on a consistent basis, from the highest value of going from a tie to a one goal lead. That Drury’s goal was more important than Straka’s is indisputable, in that given the 4-2 lead at the time of Straka’s goal, the opposition would have to score three straight goals and then hold on to beat us. There is approximately one chance in eight (7-1 odds against) of that happening. When the game was tied, before Drury’s goal, one goal there by the opposition could have been their game-winner.

    No system has to be perfect to have fundamental merit, if it is in the ballpark. Mine can be tinkered with, maybe even improved. Again, I just want to know who scores when the game is tied, and who scores when the game is already decided and the score goes from 5-1 to 5-2, and have a points system which recognizes and rewards and penalizes the difference according to the importance of each (even-strength) goal. Power play goals are another study, which someone else can do, I am primarily interested in how players perform when they do not have an advantage, which, to me, is the biggest test of skill.

  29. AS for everyone sticking up for Malik now; I definitely always felt bad for the guy. I am just saying that I never hated him in the past and I don’t hate the guy now. Simple as that. Yes he makes mistakes, sometimes awful ones, but he does some good things too.

  30. I definitely have been saying since last year that I see a place on the team for Malik and Hossa since last season, and I will stand by that. If you don’t agree that is fine, I am not saying anyone has to.

  31. I do like this team sticking up for each other. It took for the game in Washington last year when Shanny fought Brashear for that to start happening.

  32. Ted aka Anonymous on

    In response to some earlier posts about Malik’s shot on Straka’s goal, after just watching the replay there is no way that was not done on purpose. There was a huge crowd between Malik and the net and knowing your home ice boards Malik knew that shot would carry to the front. Cheers to Malik for a great game.

  33. Just got home in time to watch the final half of Rangers in 60. I can’t understand why they changed to “in 60” at 4:00 rather than the whole game they showed at that time last season, which will really annoy me if I want to see the game again. Anyway, that third period was really good, especially the power play just after the halfway point, even though they didn’t score and Avery missed the net horribly. Good to hear the cheers for Malik after his third assist, even though they sounded kinda sarcastic. After seeing the good replays on TV, it’s clear to me that he intentionally looked to the boards to bounce the puck, a little home ice advantage there. I also heard the announcers pointing out a deficient play, so I can’t see where some of you are coming from, calling them shills, at least they’re not all the time.

    I suppose we will have to listen to Crispino on Saturday?

Leave A Reply