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).
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.