Update, 3:50 p.m.: For whatever it’s worth, all four Rangers goals were scored by Americans. OK, I’m out for now. Tom Renney has a conference call with us at 5:30 p.m. I’ll be sure to check in after that.
Update, 3:48 p.m.: Classy move by the likes of Gomez and Drury to have Zherdev and Kalinin claim the Victoria Cup. Or is it because no one else wants to be seen with that trophy?
Update, 3:45 p.m.: Honestly, the Metallurg players look devastated. It’s too bad, but really, just by playing the Rangers as tough as they did, they showed something about their league. By the way, the Victoria Cup might be the ugliest trophy in the history of professional sports. I’d like to know which bar the designer was drinking in when he came up with it.
Update, 3:42 p.m.: Now comes the presentation of the Victoria Cup. Vladislav Tretiak appears on the ice. What do you think he tells the Metallurg players? “You guys don’t know from choking. Victoria Cup? We blew the Olympics!”
Update, 3:40 p.m.:Â Final score: Rangers 4, Metallurg 3. Callahan is all smiles. The Metallurg fans, meanwhile, look like they’re headed to Sibera. Wait, they are headed to Siberia…
Update, 3:39 p.m.: Ryan Callahan scores on a breakaway! The Rangers go ahead 4-3 with 20 seconds remaining. Callahan steals the puck from a Metallurg defenseman then dekes Mezin for the game-winner. And that’s the game.Â A phenomenal comeback. The Rangers look pretty excited for a preseason game.
Update, 3:37 p.m.: Time is winding down in regulation.
Update, 3:33 p.m.: The ice seems really choppy at this point. Al says the Rangers have 40 shots on goal.
Update, 3:31 p.m.: A big stop by Henrik Lundqvist from a shot at point blank range. The King hasn’t seen much this period, but he’s been much sharper as the game has gone on.
Update, 3:28 p.m.: Power play yields little. And now a scuffle breaks out in front, with Petr Prucha in the thick of it. Great play by Marc Staal to intentionally miss the net with a shot to produce a rebound off the end boards. The teams will play 4-on-4.
Update, 3:24 p.m.: Rangers go back on the power play.
Update, 3:21 p.m.: Tie game. Chris Drury stuffs in a rebound of a Scott Gomez shot, then does his best Bobby Orr imitation celebrating as he’s taken down right afterwards.
Man, you think the Metallurg players are sweating that $100,000 bonus right about now? “Call my wife. Tell her no buy BMW yet.”
Update, 3:18 p.m.: Zherdev and Dubinsky apply enough pressure to draw a penalty. Those two look like they’re figuring each other out. Tom Renney calls timeout, but it’s Perry Pearn who’s addressing the team.
Update, 3:12 p.m.: Goal. Dan Fritsche races down the right side of the ice and blasts a shot by Mezin. A great pass by Wade Redden to set the whole thing up. It’s 3-2 Metallurg, but the momentum has turned.
Update, 3:09 p.m.: Power play ends without the Rangers sniffing the net again. But another power play is coming.
Update, 3:05 p.m.: Back to Bern, a strange close-up of Drury fixing his visor in slow motion. Rangers start the third on the power play. Al talks about Callahan, Dubinsky and Dawes starting out, and yet the shot is directly of Zherdev.
Update, 3:04 p.m.: Fischler is going off on a tangent about a Bohemian beer garden. Giannone handles a potent situation deftly.
Update, 2:58 p.m.:Â We’re heading to the third period. By our calculations, Rangers need two goals to tie, three to win. But as I’ve said before, math has never been one of my strengths.
Update, 2:51 p.m.: Rangers get on the board thanks to Chris Drury converting on a Nikolai Zherdev pass. It’s 3-1 Metallurg at the end of the second period. But the Rangers still have a power play when the third period starts. Drury was pumped after the goal. Fischler speculates that he’s the next Rangers captain. That’s been my guess all along as well, but we’ll know for sure soon.
Update, 2:49 p.m.: Rangers have their best chance and are thwarted by Mezin. But the Rangers get an extended 5-on-3. Safe to say they need to score here.
Update, 2:47 p.m.: It’s never an encouraging sign when Al says, “The Rangers are trying to get a goal in this game” and the close-up is of Blair Betts.
Update, 2:45 p.m.: It might simply be a result of having his lines jumbled by the penalties, but Tom Renney now has Markus Naslund skating with Brandon Dubinsky.
Update, 2:40 p.m.: A phenomenal rush by Marc Staal produces a scoring chance, but nothing more. Now Wade Redden gets called for a hook, giving Metallurg a brief 5-on-3. Why do I get the sense that penalties will be part of the post-game conversation for the Rangers?
Update, 2:36 p.m.: Another power play for the Rangers….which is quickly nullified by a holding call on Markus Naslund. A questionable call, but avoidable in the offensive zone.
Update: 2:33 p.m.: Wow. Another power play goal by Metallurg. A shot from the point, a redirection in front. The good news is Lundqvist never had a chance. But it’s still 3-0 Metallurg.
Update, 2:30 p.m.: Rangers go nowhere on the power play. Then comes a giveaway and a penalty by Petr Prucha. Not a good sign for a kid who is still struggling.
Update, 2:27 p.m.: Another Rangers power play coming after a scoring chance by Brandon Dubinsky.
Update, 2:20 p.m.: It’s nice to see Michal Rozsival is back to his old self—which is to say, showing absolutely no urgency on the power play. Rangers apply decent pressure, but have nothing to show for it.
Update, 2:18 p.m.:Â Second period starts, and the Rangers draw an early power play. A goal here would be a significant moment-turner.
Update, 2:11 p.m.: Since many of you have asked, I’m told Tom Renney’s plan is to name a captain while in Prague, but before Saturday’s game. So that leaves tomorrow or more likely Friday as possibilities. We’ll have the coach and the new captain on a conference call when that happens, so stay tuned.
As for cuts, count on those being made in the same time frame. One will certainly be Miika Wiikman, but two more need to be made as well. It looks like it will be between Fritsche, Rissmiller, Sjostrom and Korpikoski up front, and Potter and Fahey at defense. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s just the two defensemen who get cut, and the team carries 15 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies.
Update, 2:07 p.m.: Referencing his own experiences against the Russians, Maloney talks about their overwhelming…..body odor. “They stunk but they were good when they came to play,” he says. I have nothing else to add.
Update, 2:04 p.m.: I love how both Dave Maloney and Stan Fischler avoid at all costs naming any of the Mettallurg players, instead referring to the “Mettallurg goaltender” or “the Russian players.” I’d give them even more heat, but I’ve been doing the same thing.
Update, 2:03 p.m.: Rangers turn up the heat at the end of the first, but end theÂ period in a 2-0 hole. Territorially, they’ve been the better team at even strength, but like I said, they need to stay out of the box.
Update, 2:01 p.m.: Slap shot from the point and through traffic, trickles past Lundqvist. Mettalurg goes up 2-0. Soft goal. It’s apparent the Rangers need to stay out of the box.
Update, 1:59 p.m.: Another Rangers penalty, this time on the bearded one, Paul Mara
Update, 1:58 p.m.: Al talks about a Metallurg player showing some “quick speed.” You know, as opposed to that other kind of speed…
Update, 1:54 p.m.: Korpikoski wheels around the net and throws a shot on goal. The kid has to be a lock to make this team.
Update, 1:52 p.m.: Al espouses on the stellar defensive hockey being played so far. Which is a nice way of saying the game has hit a lull.
Update, 1:49 p.m.: Yet another sign that this is an important game: Paul Mara is back with the lumberjack beard.
Update, 1:47 p.m.: Blatant interference on Naslund. He goes to the box for Mettalurg’s second power play.
Update, 1:43 p.m.: Nothing doing on the power play. George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone” can be heard in the background. Not sure what that signifies, but it has to mean something.
Update, 1:42 p.m.: The Rangers draw their first power play. They scored six yesterday against Bern, but it’s apparent Mettalurg is a significant step up.
Update, 1:41 p.m.: Rangers kill the penalty.
Update, 1:39 p.m.: Interference call on Dan Fritsche. Metallurg gets its first power play.
Update, 1:35 p.m.: Oh boy. Nikolai Zherdev coughs up the puck in the offensive zone. Mettalurg goes down the other way and beats Lundqvist with a wrist shot high on the glove side. 1-0 Mettallurg. We have ourselves a ballgame…
Update, 1:33 p.m.: Rangers start with the Gomez between Drury and Naslund, with Rozsival and Redden on the back end. The King is in the net…
Update, 1:31 p.m.: Micheletti hints that Metallurg players are starting at a $100,000 bonus per man if they win. But hey, no pressure…
Update, 1:30 p.m.: Giannone trips on “Magnitogorsk” right from the start, then says it won’t happen again. Careful there, Johnny. We’re watching. Cut to Al and Joe in Bern, where Rev. Al has ditched the questionable red sweater from the day before. Even more confirmation that this is a bigger game.
Earlier: We’re minutes away from the start of the Victoria Cup and here at Blog Headquarters, I just downed a turkey sandwich. Between that and Fran Healy on the “Halls of Fame”, I’m….suddenly…feeling…very….sleepy.
But don’t worry, I’ll press on.