Now that the riots in the streets of Montreal have been avoided, a few thoughts on your Rangers and the state of hockey:
Are the “Rangers suddenly boring”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071102/SPORTS01/711020401? Well, let’s put it this way: they won’t be confused with the ’87 Oilers anytime soon. As I already mentioned, the first period last night was probably the dullest of the season, so bad that at one point I started looking for the most obscure jersey I could find in the crowd (a homemade Colton Orr? Nick Kypreos? Was that really a Kelly Kisio sweater?).
But what became apparent once the Rangers came to life in the second period is that the game had been boring not so much because of the style they were playing, but because they were just playing poorly. I don’t mind defensive hockey, and I’d even so go far to say that it’s more exciting when a team consistently ALMOST scores, which is what has defined the Rangers through the first part of the year.
And if this is the style that carries them deep into the playoffs — they won’t get there by running and gunning — they’ll be plenty entertaining.
All that being said, a brief window into the life of a hockey writer on deadline: Almost all of us have to do what is called a running story, which is basically a story we write as the game is going on, and then file as soon as the final buzzer sounds. In the absence of quotes and a removed perspective — which we have for later editions — you’re often just describing what is happening on the ice, which can be more of a challenge when there are no goals being scored.
Hence you find yourself going off on unnecessary tangents just to fill up space: the significance of the previous game, emerging trends throughout the league, a particularly captivating 3-on-2. My friend Lynn Zinser of the New York Times often jokes that her running stories on scoreless ties turn into existential essays on the meaning of life. Somehow I get the feeling that as the Rangers continue to embrace this defensive style, we’ll all continue to plumb the depths of the human psyche.
It was a great night for the Rangers rookies: Marc Staal got his first point. Nigel Dawes was part of the line that scored the Rangers first goal. And Brandon Dubinsky was again impressive, coming within one outstretched Olaf Kolzig leg of a highlight-film worthy goal. The kid has been better and better every night, and I only hope he continues to get valuable ice time even when everyone comes back healthy.
More from practice later…