There is a point when all conversations about an upcoming game become hopelessly redundant. The Rangers probably reached that point a few days ago.
“We’re done talking, and you guys seem done asking,” Brendan Shanahan said. “We’re ready to get playing.”
The week-long gap between the first and second rounds is the exact same gap as last year (in fact, the exact same dates apply. April 18 was the last game against Atlanta, and April 25 was the first game against Buffalo).
For some reason, this week seems longer. Shanahan was right: The Rangers are ready to play, and the writers — myself certainly included — are probably ready to write about an actual hockey game. I’m sure you as fans feel the same way.
<li>When I asked Shanahan about the rekindling of the bitter Red Wings-Avalanche rivalry, of which he played a major part while in Detroit, the veteran laughed.
“I thought it was pretty interesting, especially the fact that they went and got (Adam) Foote and (Peter) Forsberg back. I thought maybe Detroit would maybe try to swing a deal for me and Larry Murphy,” he said.
“I’ll watch a little bit, but it’s kind of in the past and I don’t really focus on that anymore. What everybody forgets about our rivalry with the Avalanche 10 years ago is that we were usually No. 1 and 2 in the league. Everybody talked about how much we hated each other and how dirty the games were and that was all true. But what made it most interesting was it was the two best teams in the league trying to do that to each other.”
<li>If you were hoping for either Washington or Philadelphia in the second round, think about how Stephen Valiquette feels. The benches in both Montreal and Pittsburgh aren’t big enough to accommodate the backup goalie. “I want to be part of the action,” he lamented.
<li>The Rangers fly out at 2:30. The plan is to have a team dinner tonight and then watch the Montreal-Philadelphia game afterward. And no, to answer your question, the team is not getting ahead of itself.
<li>There will be a taxi squad of players from Hartford called up, but Tom Renney said the details are still being worked out. There isn’t any rush, either: The Wolf Pack have their exit interviews today, and the spare players wouldn’t be making the trip to Pittsburgh, anyway.
<li>Still more talk today about stopping Crosby and Malkin and getting to Marc-Andre Fleury. I’ll summarize: Those guys are good. The Rangers will need to play well.
That’s an exclusive right there….