Time for a reality check

105

Let’s agree on a few things about last night:

Yes, the officiating was uneven at best, and yes, it’s clear there are certain players on the Rangers who almost never get the benefit of the doubt (at the risk of defending a player who’s not even talking to the media right now, it’s remarkable how Sean Avery gets mauled on literally every shift and keeps coming back for more. See Sean, I feel your pain).

6ac310fd-d998-4ead-a204-b3a661085adc.jpg

Let’s even agree that the Rangers had to overachieve to win Game 4 as a result of the above. But please, can we put to rest the conspiracy theories that the league has it out for the Rangers?

Do you really think Gary Bettman or whoever is sitting in an office and praying that the Devils, with their lackluster attendance and insignificant TV ratings, are going to prevail over a team that sells out every night, that draws well nationally, and is located in the heart of the world’s biggest media market?

I suppose the way this league has been run the last few years, nothing should surprise me. But even then, I’m skeptical.

A couple of other notes:

<li>Speaking of Avery, is it possible his media boycott these days is “a direct order from our Commander-in-Chief?”:http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2008/04/16/is-the-presidents-daughter-dating-a-ranger/ Probably not. But I suppose we can now count Barbara Bush among those who bleeds Ranger blue.

<li>The Journal News again doubled up on Sams last night. Here’s my “story on Marc Staal’s night of redemption”:http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080417/SPORTS01/804170438/-1/SPORTS&referrer=NEWSFRONTCAROUSEL. And here’s columnist Sam Borden on the “unique match-up in this series between Martin Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist”:http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080417/SPORTS/804170439&referrer=NEWSFRONTCAROUSEL.

<li>The Rangers are on the ice at noon. I’ll be back then with updates.

About Author

105 Comments

  1. Sam: Regarding the “conspiracy theory”…Thanks. I’ve been saying that for months now.

  2. I don’t believe that there is a conspiracy, but the NHL needs to do more for the refs to improve their positioning on the ice. There is no way that the Parise slash, that led to the Devils 3rd goal, should have been missed.

    Also, Avery is relentless. He was a big factor last night, always in Brodeurs face and taking a beating. You have to give it to him, he took hits, gave hits, got in the middle of things and was a few inches from scoring the game winner. On top of that he has only taken 2 penalties the entire series.

    That says a lot.

  3. Good call, Sam. I just think that it’s tough to sit there and watch some of the egregious calls and non-calls against the Rangers. Though I suppose from a Devils fan’s perspective, they probably feel jobbed too, especially after Game 2.

    That said, it doesn’t look good for the league when Sutter and Lamoriello go whining to the league after every game and then in the following game, the Devils seem to get some more of the benefit of the doubt. You sarcastically said it in your live game blog last night: “The Rangers carrying the play for the first 10 minutes results in…a Devils power play.” You could probably call a penalty on every shift during the playoffs, so normally the team who is working harder and carrying the play gets the call. Not the case with the Rangers in this series.

    One thing my dad pointed out to me at the game last night. Lamoriello sits in the press section with Sam and the rest of the beat writers, above the corner tunnel where the visitors skate out. He sits there and watched the game on a monitor, almost as if he’s got his phone in hand waiting to put his next complaint in.

    Still, all the whining to the league has earned the Debbies nothing but a 3-1 deficit. You know what that means? The Rangers are simply the better team, and the Devils are basically admitting that by blaming the officiating for their bad breaks. Grow up. You’re losing. After Friday (hopefully), good riddance to this team. We’ll see you in October.

  4. Rob, I agree as much as I love beating the devils, I will be glad when they are gone. The fact that no one on any NHL website says anything about broduers double backflip reverse dives still drives me insane though. Also, did anyone notice on Versus that every commercial break was followed by a devils player profile?

  5. I still love that all the Rangers do is complement the Devils, and all the Devils do is turn around and cry about the officiating.

  6. “Anyone else see the FIRST blown call of the night? It was about 30seconds in, on a face-off. Brylin wrapped both arms around Avery was like was sayin “how ya doin ‘ol pal”.

    I understand that the rules “change” a bit in the playoffs, and rightfully so. But there’s no excuse for the inconsistency.”

    They really need to decide “ok tonight we are going to call the game tight” or “lets let the boys play”. Matching roughing calls I get because you don’t want stuff getting out of hand, but calling a hook or something that is weak, then calling a makeup call (I know it helped us but that Madden hold was soft) is a joke.

    Plus it shouldn’t change between the 1st and 3rd period. Each second of those 60 minutes is key to the outcome of the game. Its not like oh ok well its the 1st so lets call some penalties, then come the 3rd period we’ll let them play since it counts more. No, thats not how it works. Just make the calls consistent and people won’t complain as much.

    Of course you can’t satisfy everyone, but if its obvious at the start that they are gonna let things go, the non-calls will be expected. It might seem like the Devils got away with murder, but the Rangers go away with some stuff too so its not like it was all stuff the Devils were doing, but I will agree the Devils did get away with a little bit more, which I wouldn’t have a problem with if the game was called that was from the start.

  7. I don’t believe in “conspiracy theory” at all but… how about Devs bribing refs? Do you really think it’s impossible? There is even more room to cheat than in soccer! Look at what happened in Europe in past years, German Bundesliga lost a lucrative contract because of refs cheating, same in Italy, a lot of refs were involved in that, same thing is going on in Poland right now. Would you believe that? How about infamous NBA referee taking thousands of dollars to set up games. Don’t you think it’s possible? I know, I don’t want to put charges on anyone, just guessing… what the heck is wrong? What happened yesterday was definetely not right at all. I wonder if NHL pulls any consequences off of that. I have never ever heard about refs being punished for bad officiating in the NHL, why? I mean, I’m p-ssed cause it seems like Devils are actually favored by the league!!! Is it good for the NHL? How does that affect interest in hockey in the USA?

  8. Mark, great call. The Rangers are showing their class as an organization in this series. What’s interesting is that all the Devils’ whining is probably giving them some great locker room fodder, but they would never let that come out in the media. But I’m willing to bet that the Rangers probably feel like they have the mental edge because all they hear is Lamoriello and Sutter complaining about the officiating.

  9. Sam

    If you think Lamoriello’s bigtime power-broker juice at the NHL’s headquarters has had no impact on the way this series has been officiated, you are kidding yourself.

    That doesn’t mean the fix is in, or that there is a sinister plot to prevent the NYRs from advancing; I am not a conspiracy theorist. But it does mean that there’s an undue influence in play that in a properly managed league would never even come close to gaining traction.

  10. Yes the officiating was terrible and has been for a while and we all know it…
    Sweet our First Lady is a Ranger fan…
    Avery just makes me laugh…he takes (and dishes out) alot of abuse, but always comes back for more.
    Brodeur is such and actor…when he gets brushed by a player he always throws his body back and embellishes the hit…its so pathetic. I’m loosing respect for this guy every day. When Jagr brushed him he threw his body back and made it look like he was hit with a 2×4…thankfully he got called for diving…
    Staal…this guy is clearly now our number 1 defenseman. He just seems so calm and smart with the puck and away from it…he is rarely out of position, takes the body, has a great poke check and obviously a pretty damn good slapshot…I’m pumped for him…
    I just can’t tell you how pumped I am right now to be a Ranger fan. For years we watched as other teams build there teams with youth, while we snatched up all the dead wood we could find…Regardless of where we end up in this years playoffs, we are witnessing the growth and a change in mindset in our Rangers that is going to leave us with a fun to watch exciting team for a long time to come
    Go Rangers!
    End this thing on Friday!

  11. It more seems like the league really wanted to ensure there were games 5 and 6 for a big tv audience.

  12. And whoever thinks Renney is not that good of a coach, your fooling yourself, Renney has done a fine job so far this series…
    I’ll check in later…I’m going fishing

  13. “Staal…this guy is clearly now our number 1 defenseman. He just seems so calm and smart with the puck and away from it…he is rarely out of position, takes the body, has a great poke check and obviously a pretty damn good slapshot…I’m pumped for him…”

    He’s still got a long way to go. He’s played some good games and others not so much in this playoff series. Last night he played extremely well and if he can do that consistently, then I’ll agree with that statement.

  14. “I still love that all the Rangers do is complement the Devils, and all the Devils do is turn around and cry about the officiating.”

    Good call Mark. Class.

    JohnnyD – I agree. I don’t care if the let everything go. But then you have to do just that. Let EVERYTHING go. When you start walking that thin thin line in the playoffs, it’s not going to turn out well. I’m all for letting that kind of stuff that I mentioned go. But just keep it consistent. I know it IS too much to ask, and that’s why I’m usually quiet about the officials.

  15. Not to beat a dead horse, but its funny because I was just watching Game 7 from 94 against the Devils a couple of days ago and they called TWO PENALTIES. This is in a game where people were hacked, tripped, interfered with, anything else you could think of. They had to EARN their calls. Now I know the league has changed and are trying to crack down on hooks and holds but I bring this game up because the reffing was really consistent from the drop of the puck to Matteau beating Brodeur to win it. So while it might be harder to ref now because of the “soft penalties” they call today, it still should not be that hard to be consistent. My rule of thumb for the playoffs is that either ref shouldn’t blow the whistle unless he is 100% certain he sees a penalty. If hes 99.9999999% sure, then he still shouldn’t blow the whistle. That being said the refs do have a very tough job to call the games, but its pretty obvious they could be doing better.

  16. I still think that, even though the league clearly should want the Rangers to win and go far, those damn canadiens cant stand for NY to take their thunder from their game ehhh. If we have to play Montreal next round, then we still have not seen the worst officiating yet, because the Les Habs will get every call under Le sun.

  17. Dr. Ogrodnick bows to Leetch on

    Sam,
    I’m not saying its a conspiracy at work, but Bettman is absolutely rooting for the Devils. The Rangers are profitable, and will be profitable if they don’t make it out of the 1st round. Franchises like the Devils are dependant upon every extra home playoff game to achieve profitability. Bettman is much more concerned with keeping each franchise profitable than he is with growning the fanbase by having the popular teams advance.

    The whole thing is an embarassment to the NHL. They come across as a rinky dink league with little more credibility than pro wrestling. The Rangers persevered, which I am obviously grateful for, but for the first time since I became a fan almost 30 years ago, I debated if it was worth it. I also made the decision that after the Rangers are eliminated I had no interest in watching the rest of the playoffs, as the product is so badly tainted by terrible, nonsensical reffing and administration.

  18. staal may have a ways to go, but he is clearly our best defenseman.

    i had a direct line of sight at brodeur 6 rows back when he flopped twice. the second one on the powerplay i dont think anyone touched him at all, maybe a replay would show something but there is no disputing (unless u are a devils coach, player or fan) that at the slighest touch he will drop like he was clotheslined by eric lindros

  19. Dr. Ogrodnick bows to Leetch on

    Salty,
    if Boston finds a way to come back on Montreal then we play the winner of thr Caps/Flyers series. If Montreal wins, we play the pens if the Flyers win and the Habs if the Caps win.

  20. I think I’d rather face MTL. But if it’s pitt, it’s pitt.

    The key to either of those series is going to be playing against Price or Fleury the SAME way we’re playing against Farty. Farty’s an aged vet. He’s seen just about everything. Neither of those kids have much playoff experience. Pitt has a ton more firepower than MTL also.

    So I think I’d rather face MTL. They scare me less. I’m not saying they’re not a great team, they won the freakin conference afterall.

    On the other hand, Pitt is going to be sitting around an awful long time. Rest for crosby’s ankle, but rust for the rest of the team?

    Neither will be easy.

  21. Dr. Ogrodnick bows to Leetch on

    Pitt is definitely beatable. They haven’t been tested, and they haven’t played a competitive team in weeks. The media will overhype them for the next week because of Crosbytch and because they swept a team that was done in Feb.

  22. Playoff Rankings
    1)Montreal
    2) Pitt
    3) Washington
    4) NJ
    5) NYR
    6) Philly
    7) Ottawa
    8) Boston

    —————————————————————

    if Mon, Pitt, NYR, Wash win…

    NYR vs Montreal
    Pitt vs Wash

    —————————————————————-
    if Boston, Pitt, NYR, Wash win…

    NYR vs Wash
    Boston vs Pitt

    ——————————————————————

    if Mon, Pitt NYR, Philly win….

    NYR vs Pitt
    Mon vs Philly

    ——————————————————————-
    if Bost , Pitt, NYR, Philly win…

    NYR vs Philly
    Boston vs Pitt

  23. Just a subtle coaching move on Renney’s part, but a great one nonetheless. On the last faceoff of the game, when it was just outside the Ranger zone, he had Drury taking it because presumably you’d want to win the faceoff back. However, when they went to re-do the faceoff at center ice, he had Gomez the lefty taking it to go forward and got the empty netter.

  24. Sam, no conspiracy. But the officiating is downright awful. The debs whine and cry about princess marty even though they are allowed to maul avery, pin dubi against the devils bench (and then dubi gets called for a penalty too!), slash henrik’s stick and a bunch of other non-calls on obvious penalties. If the refs are going to suck, they better at least consistently suck, instead of only sucking when it helps to stop Sutter’s whining for all of 15 seconds.

  25. If you think the Debs have been getting all of the calls, just wait and see all of the phantom hooking and interference calls that Sissy Crosby is going to draw!

  26. Peter, great catch, great analysis. Renney has proved his mettle in this series. He’s saying all the right things and has the team on an even keel through all the chaos.

    I’m a huge Renney supporter. I believe we can and will win a Cup with him at the helm.

  27. Dr. Ogrodnick bows to Leetch on

    I find it humorous that Sutter is complaining about the contact on Marty when the only real example of goaltender interference last night was the Devils 3rd goal.

  28. drury has been beaten by madden on about every faceoff, whereas dubinsky doesnt seem to have much trouble with madden.

    only knock i have on renney right now is using the fourth line when the game is tied. betts turned the puck over again late in the third and the devs almost scored. if we are up go ahead and use them or if its zero zero in the early third, but a tie game with ten minutes to go i dont want them anywhere near our defensive zone

  29. I find it humorous that Sutter is complaining about the contact on Marty when the only real example of goaltender interference last night was the Devils 3rd goal.

    ……

    Another great point. Parise deserves his teeth knocked in for that.

  30. Conspiracy? No… Incompetence? yes. If the NY – NJ series was the only one going with these issues I might buy the conspiracy thing but the entire playoffs have thus far been marred by exceptionally poor and inconsistent officiating. Heck, the Preds scored a goal that was never even reviewed. How’s that for pathetic?

  31. Peter- Actually Drury was the one who insisted that Gomer take the draw at center ice, not Renney…..Gomer mentioned this to John Gianome (sp?) in the post game interview.

  32. Pete- I will have to disagree with your comment about using the 4th line towards the last minutes of games protecting leads….Do we forget how much we bitched last year when Renney had Jags and Nylander on the ice against Buffalo in Game 5…Ofcourse you want the 4th line out there in crucial times of a game…The HBO line had been counted on many many times this year to provide checking of the opponents best players and have done extremelly well since December. With Orr out of the lineup, its now the HBS line with Sjooey in Orr’s place.

  33. “Conspiracy? No… Incompetence? yes. If the NY – NJ series was the only one going with these issues I might buy the conspiracy thing but the entire playoffs have thus far been marred by exceptionally poor and inconsistent officiating. Heck, the Preds scored a goal that was never even reviewed. How’s that for pathetic?”

    Thank you. Calling for a conspiracy is a joke if you’ve seen what the other series have turned out to be. How about the Devils in Game 2? How about the Red Wings or the Sharks? Its happened to every team in this years playoffs at some point, some worse than others. Not worth complaining about too much now since its not going to change. Definately should be brought up in the offseason though.

  34. re: the last face-off…

    I watched the interview after the game, but must have missed that line. I was pretty tired. But I was thinking that anyway.

    That certainly doesn’t negate the fact that Renney has his team primed for a run. And that he has been the better coach in the series.

  35. Sam Weinman,

    You have been around the team and the NHL for a few years now. What is your recommendation for making the officiating better and more consistent ?

  36. Sam,

    The reasonable mind says that a conspiracy against New York hurts the league, but sometimes… money takes a backseat to hatred, and all NY teams are hated.

    Evidence:

    Larry Bird Exception,
    Avery Rule,
    Yankee Tax,
    Although previously existed, only called one time, Brady Tuck Rule

    All rules are either for the benefit of a boston team or the harm of a NY team. I wish others would catch on!!

  37. Sam,
    I have to disagree, at least partially. While there may not be an active conspiracy against the Rangers, there seems to definitely be a covert bias. It stems from the more overt bias the league has against the Rangers on the business end, which Dr Ogrodnick aluded to, and as evidenced by the website fight earlier this season. The Rangers are more profitable working under their own business model, but Gary Bettman is all about parity, so the league forces the Rangers to work under their business model.
    On top of that, it is obvious Lou Lamoriello has the ‘juice’ with the league, as someone else said earlier. Tom Renney never wants to say much against the officials for fear that the league would punish him, but Lou goes ballistic and he doesn’t get in trouble at all. In fact, they seem to bow to him.
    We took a picture last night of the very glum look on Lou’s face (and Sutter, as well) as the Devils’ bus was pulling out of MSG after the game. It was a sight to see!
    Also, it’s hard not to see a very definite bias by the league and the officials against Sean Avery. Just the fact that the league circumvented the normal rule process to come up with the ‘Avery Clarification’ is proof of that bias, and of Lou’s pull in the league.
    Avery is hated more for his yapping than anything else, but he is known to have embellished a few times. Brodeur has taken embellishing to a new art form. He only yaps at officials when complaining.

  38. liquid,

    i am just not that confident with betts playing even strength right now with the game on the line. his turnover last nite almost let the devils tie it again last nite and his turnover in game 3 was horrible.

    i love him on the pk, but i just dont think he remains as composed as our other centers. sjostrom i dont mind but hollweig really isnt serving a purpose, im not sure prucha would be any better in that role tho. i think shanny on the fourth would be a good move if we advance and let him play pp and pk, his legs just arent there for even strength

  39. I don’t understand how Sutter and Lou can be complaining about goalie interference not being called. They should read the freaking rulebook:

    “However, incidental contact will be permitted when the
    goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such unnecessary contact.”

    Marty stands as much as 10 feet out of the crease sometimes. If someone happens to run into him unintentionally, it’s not a penalty, regardless of how much Marty wants to flop around like a fool.

  40. Pete….Drury won 78% of his faceoffs in game 2. The guy scored a goal and an assist last night. He cannot do everything every night. Did you see his skating away from the puck and his positioning? Please tell me you notice these kinds of contributions from Drury.

    Then you chide the 4th line? Come on dude. They hit everything in sight. They give other players a break. They keep the other team looking over the shoulder. Shoe drew a penalty in game 3 and got called for a BS penalty in game 4 but drew Marty into a penalty too.

    You are being too harsh.

    The refs tried to give NJ the game, but we perservered. This team has some grit and has some abilty to rally from adversity.

    A very happy day today indeed….

  41. I have to imagine from a league marketing perspective they would love to see Pitt/NY and Crosby on center stage.

    No chance Boston comes back to win 3 straight, they’re done. So its definitely Montreal and Pittsburgh, reseeded 1 and 2. I think Philly can beat Washington, probably a coin flip at this point.

  42. Everything is a little nicer when we win. Even this nice weather is a little nicer. My students don’t annoy me today.

    My beard is looking nice and nasty. I might have to go to Red Robin tonight and get a tin roof brownie blizzard on the way home. Damn, sounds so good to me right now. Maybe I will leave work early.

  43. nyrblue2- Looking at the frame by frame replay with Jags and Martina….its as obvious as the balls on a tall dog that Jags tried to avoid contact with Martina…He basically had no where to go and ran into the Debs player and grazed martina’s helmet.

  44. To paraphrase Steve Sommers, the Shmooze, Marty should try-out for the Canadian diving team in this year’s Olympics. At least this way when he cries, no one will be able to tell because he’s in the pool.

    Peronally, I’ve always hated the double call, a la goalie interference and diving. It’s one or the other; it can’t be both.

    Grow a potato sack and call it one way or the other. You either robbed the bank, or you didn’t. There’s no inbetween.

    Let’s put the nail in the coffin tomorrow.

    In other news, I managed to make my way below the rink last night after some networking; almost got to go into the locker room, but I got shut out. Anywho, it was icing on the cake to see red-faced Lou Lamirello pacing around in circles by his lonesome in the hallway. I had a good laugh at his expense.

    I then proceeded to get into an argument with Eddie O. outside the garage while he was waiting to get picked up and I was headed to the subway about our chances against Montreal or Pitt.

    I was under the influece so the details of that conversation can not be described very well.

  45. I’m assuming Eddie doesn’t like our chances?

    What do these pundits know anyway…who cares!

  46. Good stuff Brandon. Why argue with that loser Eddie O. He’s wears his brains in his 2inch pecker that he’s dreaming of sticking in Denise Crosby.

  47. I can’t see the league trying to knock the Rangers down for business reasons. The league shares revnues, so the more the Rangers make, the more gets in the hands of the poor teams.

    I can see, however, the league appeasing to Lou after his tirade after Game 2 (justified or not). The squeaky wheel gets the grease and man did he squeak.

    No more excuses for the Devils now though. Either win or shut up.

  48. I thought Avery played a good game last night. He was definitely noticeable on the ice and making things happen even though he wasn’t on the score sheet. I just love the rookie contributions and also seeing the payoff from the two big signings this past summer. Good stuff.

  49. Not first lady Barbara Bush, it’s GWB’s daughter, Barbara Bush. There’s a NY POst tidbit (I know, the NY POST) speculating she may be dating a Ranger. Can you imagine if it’s Avery?! The secret service and Avery…lol.

  50. Anyone catch MSG NY and see Stan, Joe, and Chico going at about running the goaltender? Talk about opposing viewpoints…I thought I was watching Fox News for a minute.

    I sure hope the refs have a conversation with both teams to make sure the goalies are protected. The way Sutter sounded, I wouldn’t put it past one of the Devils to run Henrik hard in tomorrow’s game.

    Brodeur goes on and on about wanting to protect goalies more, but his diving antics causes his own coach to instruct his players to take a run at one. Classy!

  51. Can you imagine Avery do the “I’m not touching you routine” to Dick Cheney at the White House?

  52. newman i dont mean to be too harsh, just what i have seen

    drury has not been a dud, just something i have noticed about faceoffs the two games ive been there. his goal last nite was obviously huge, but i think wed agree that game 3 he looked average at best.

    the fourth line has not been terrible, i personally am just not that confident with betts controlling the puck late in the game, his two big turnovers are evidence of that and fortunately only one led to a goal. if i were an opposing team id be licking my chops playing my top wingers against betts and hollweig this time of year. id much rather double shift drury or gomez’ line in the final 5 minutes, which renney did in the last two plus minutes, thats all im saying

  53. NHL Network announcing that if their is a NYR /NJD games 6 …the game scheduled for Sunday has been changed from 1pm to 6pm EST.

  54. Any one here who has the time to call into the XM Radio live NHL show,,,phone # is 1-877-NHL-ON-XM (1877-645-6696)…Would love to hear one of the die-hards here talk about the reffing in this series….Then give a shout out to the Sam Weinmans herd that post here…

  55. My wife saw Chico on the pre game and told me that he scared her. He definitely is a very funny and odd looking guy.

    I was thinking about Sutter. The guy ALWAYS looks absolutely miserable. Imagine being one of his kids? I am POSITIVE he beat his kids black and blue. He is definitely tough love all the way.

  56. - There may not be a conspiracy but at the same time the league isn’t doing crap about making sure the fan crazed NYR get a fare shake either.

    – Get used to the reffing I guess… no matter what happens (the series go longer or we advance) it’ll be with us for the rest of the play-offs. In fact it’ll be worse if we advance and face the Pens.

    – DBCooper, VS may have been using up the stuff (graphics, etc.)they had created (people work hard on those) given the fact that they may not get a chance to use it on Sunday.

    – Anyone notice how Staal called for that pass? I love his confidence and his veteran presence!!!

  57. To be fair to Betts, he was out for 2 or 3 weeks and only got 1 game in before the playoffs started. Its tough to come back right before the playoffs and then be expected to raise your game to the highest level. Also he is a guy that really cares. He was so angry at himself over the game 3 turnover that led to a goal that he got to the rink at 9 AM just so he could work on stuff and to try to get his legs back to where they were before he was out.

  58. There was horrendous calls on both sides. The worst was likely was the double minor on Zajac when it was Jagr’s stick that clipped Rozsival. I swear I can’t recall the Devils turning over the puck as much as they did yesterday. The last time theior dmen were this bad with the puck was before Stevens became a Devil. Colin White sure has regressed since Daneyko and Stevens retired huh? Brodeur has not exactly stood on his head in the playoffs the last few years. In ’04 the Flyers pummeled him. In ’06 a dead Rangers team didn’t put up much of a fight but Brodeur did struggle vs the Canes. Last year he was terrific in the Lightning series(the Devs only won that seres because Holqvist was worse) and Brodeur got outplayed by Emery in the Sens series. This series he has made some great saves but he has been no more than medicore.

  59. I can’t say enough about the kids and the way they’ve stepped up. Staal is already the Rangers best dman by a mile. He is becoming one of the best lockdown dmen around. Imo he’ll be a better version of Adam Foote 30 points a years and great in his own end for a long time. Dubinsky is a revelation. I’m not sure what is more impressive his play or his maturity. He is just a bull that hits everyone and meshed very well with Jags. Imo Dubi will be the Rangers captain down the road. Cally is another kid you have to love he is just a buzzsaw the never stops driving to the net and hitting. Dawes has been relatively quiet in this series but imo he has the potetial to be a 30 goal guy. I think Renney deserves alot of credit for nurturing and developing these kids.

  60. “Do you really think Gary Bettman or whoever is sitting in an office and praying that the Devils, with their lackluster attendance and insignificant TV ratings, are going to prevail over a team that sells out every night, that draws well nationally, and is located in the heart of the world’s biggest media market?”

    I do. I think that Gary Bettman correctly recognized that the only way people will watch and follow the game of hockey on television is if they’ve seen enough games in person. I think he then embraced the idea of expansion into diverse markets, many of them too small to really compete. I think promises were made to investors and owners putting up large sums of money, and I think it is those people and those clubs who become the most involved and complain the longest and the loudest. And that’s why there is now a salary cap, and almost too much parity. And I think the Rangers going deep into the playoffs doesn’t translate into anything tangible at all for all of those owners and fans that makes the league want them to succeed.

    So do I think there is some conspiracy against the Rangers? No. but I do think the NHL couldn’t care less about the Rangers, since they’re a hugely successful franchise regardless of how well they do, and frankly I think they like it better when smaller market teams that need more help do better and gain the exposure. I think if I were wrong, there might actually be some focus on the fact that the Rangers have 2 600-goal scorers – high-profile ones at that – and one of the best young goaltenders in the league playing alongside two of the greatest American superstars of our time instead of having to constantly listen to Mike Milbury and Don Cherry and these other complete morons push their own personal agendas down America’s throat while bending over backwards to blow sunshine up Sidney Crosby’s tuckus.

  61. The vets deserve plenty of credit. Straka had one of his best games of the year and you can never question his effort. You can question his refusal to shoot no question. Jagr has just been a man possesed the last month or so. He has worked hard most of the year but now the results are coming. I badly want him to be brought back next year. I really think he has another 30 goal 90 point season in him. Drury and Gomez after subpar games on Sunday were all over the place last night. Gomez has very quickly become a Devil killer. Drury was terrific all around last night. The Devs are not dead yet though. Elias is playing at a very high level and the Rangers have not looked all that great on the pk. It might cost em in the next series instead of this one though.

  62. peter did you just praise that dolt Buttman? You can’t be serious can you? Every move that dolt has been the wrong move. He killed the games momentum after 94 and has ridiculously overexpanded the game and has done an awful job in the marketing phase as well.He should have been fired long ago, but the owners just don’t care enough to do just that.

  63. I think on the off chance we get up by 3 goals tomorrow, they should throw valley in because the devs are just going to injure hank on purpose. I know, a 3 goal lead is laughable in this series but still.

  64. I’ve been reading all of this today and haven’t felt like engaging in a debate if there is a “conspiricy” against the NYR. Are you guys for real? Bias, yes. Hatred, yes. Jealousy, yes. Conspiricy, no. Not a chance.

    Graves9 – he deserves some credit for sure.

    We all love to bash slats, and sometimes its well deserved. But he’s been at the helm for some time now. Renney, Shoney, Maloney, Gernander and all the scouts deserve credit. Slats hired these guys. While they may have done the leg work, it was Slats that brought in the right ‘eyes’ and minds to rebuild a franchise and he’s done just that. I personally can’t stand the guy. I run into him all the time at msg, and he’s always a d!ck.

    But credit is due, and he’s in charge. I’m not giving Dolan any credit though. THAT guy is a F’n DOOSHBAG and someone should smack the sh!t out of him.

  65. Excellent post, Peter.

    BTW, I see no downside whatever if Renney were to lose his reticence about the officiating. He didn’t even reference the Parise slash directly in his press conference, just winked and rolled his eyes. The Rangers need to get out in front of this now — so that if they do advance, the refs and the league will know the team will not meekly accept the uneven enforcement of the rules.

  66. DB – that’s a good point. And something I was thinking of earlier today after reading Pandolfo’s comment.

    We should hope that this game remains extremely close. We don’t want a big score either way. As long as they think they have a chance, they’ll know that they need to stay out of the box to have that chance. Whether sutter can control them, we’ll see.

  67. Adam and his Apple on

    guys i dont know if you saw any of the post game interviews with the coaches but after listening to both renney and sutter speak i mean cmon, renney is a classy intelligent and eloquent guy who im thrilled is going to be our coach for a long time, sutter is really really slow and kinda seems a bit dumb, there was a moment in sutters interview where he literally took about 5 mississippis to think of something to say, the guys a goon, here here for renney and the renney-gades!!!

    by the way this is bar far and away the most excited i have ever been to be a rangers fan, our future looks brighter than all of the teams not named pittsburgh, they really do scare the dickens outta me if we have to play them, but no fear!!!!

  68. I think the best thing the Rangers can do is take the high road on the officiating. Slats is the person that will need to address it. Players and coaches should concentrate on their jobs in the postseason. We see how well it’s working out for NJ belittling the officials every chance they get. Personally I don’t want the Rangers to suffer the same fate. And moreso, I am proud to be a Ranger fan knowing that my organization is one of class and dignity.

  69. This series really could have been over already minus one lucky bounce last Sunday, and I am not even talking about the one in overtime. Oh well.

  70. No surprise that Maaaaaar-teeee is such a natural diver, since he’s light in the skates, like most divers . . . Greg Louganis says that Maaaar-teee is his favorite NHL player ever since Stephane Richer retired

  71. 6pm? Who the hell starts a game at 6pm? Where is my good ole 7pm start? I guess I’ll take 6 over an afternoon game though.

  72. agreed with beer me. To go with what I said before if renney loses his cool, a guy like hollweg or others might too and take stupid obvious penalties down the stretch. The last thing you want is that, especially in the playoffs. There is plenty more harm than good that comes from flipping out about the refs when its a tie game late in the third in a huge playoff game. If you as a coach stay calm, your players will and that’s why the rangers are winning this series. The devils are looking at the refs and complaining while the rangers are just focusing on playing their game. Thats how you win in the playoffs.

  73. Guys, don’t worry about the start time. We are not going to need a game 6. We are wrapping this thing up tomorrow night. I do agree with what someone said about Crosby getting a ton of calls though. If we play them it definitely has the potential to turn in to a real shit show.

  74. johnnyD – There are strong opinions on the other side of this that I just don’t understand. As a player, I always criticized the refs. As a coach, a bit less b/c its much easier to see what’s going on or where the ref was on the ice. As a fan, and in particular a fan of the team that we watch night after night, I think that the level-headed approach is the right one, and a winning one.

  75. graves9 –

    No, I agree with everything you said about Bettman. I was not praising him at all. I pointed out that the premise – that hockey is best viewed in person and difficult to follow on television unless you’ve seen it a ton in person -is a correct one. The results, I think, speak for themselves. Just wanted to make that clear.

  76. I am looking for you all to help the Nasty 1. Check the beard contest site and choose the best look for the Nasty 1. Shaved head, Mid length, or long like it is now. I have posted two older pictures at the end.

  77. After the Rangers put the nail in the Devils coffin tomorrow night I cannot wait to see the traditional handshake lineup. Hopefully the cameraman keys in on Avery and Martina…Then lets see that pic on the back page of atleast one of the NY newspapers

  78. Im relaly not OVERLY worried about facing either Pitt or Montreal. We have beat both teams during the regular season agianst both of there Golatenders (Minus Price, I think) and with the way the hwole team is crashing the crease, Price wont stand a chance. Fleury as well. Thats his biggest weakness is getting bombarded with players and letting the errant pucks slide in.

    But of course, this all means nothing if we dont close it out tomorrow. I have a sneaking suspision that the next round will need 7 games to complete (unless by some luck we sweep)

    Doodie and Salty: Im trying AGAIN to upload my playoff beard pics today. I dont have any other way than my cell camera to uplaod them and its been giving me problems.

  79. Also , not sure if it was mentioned, but notice on the last face-off, Shanny motions to Gomez to go forward with the puck prior to the puck drop. Smart all around.

  80. Hey, STAALWART, It’s the first daughter who is a Ranger fan.

    I have a feeling our first lady would think the “Rangers” were baseball players or some of those nice officers from her home state!

Leave A Reply