The Rangers are now 4-1 in shootouts, including wins in each of the last two games. If there were no such tiebreaker, would they still be in first place?
What if they had to keep playing until someone scored an actual goal? Is it possible they’d still be on the ice, with a ragged and delirious Henrik Lundqvist stopping odd-man rushes at one end, and a tireless Blair Betts missing the net with wrist shots at the other?
The point is, the shootout, of which I am not a big fan, has helped gloss over some untidy efforts this season. But by the same measure, it also colored an otherwise encouraging showing against Edmonton last week in a negative light.
There is no real sense to it. Were the Rangers a better team last night because Craig Hartsburg, in a moment of temporary insanity, tapped Jarkko Ruutu? Does Nikolai Zherdev’s shootout goal mean he’s no longer in Tom Renney’s doghouse?
The answer is probably no on both. And yet the shootout, which conveniently disappears in the playoffs, takes on an oversized importance in the regular season. Sure, it’s fan friendly. But to steal a line from a friend, girls in bikinis would be fan friendly, too, but that doesn’t mean they should be deciding who’s in first place.
Don’t forget, live video chat on Thursday beginning at 1:15 p.m. There will be no girls in bikinis in that, either, but there will be me. I understand if you’re disappointed.
This is “the page you’ll need to go to”:http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/99999999/MOGULUS0103/399990019
Speaking of Zherdev, I wasn’t aware until this morning that the wing didn’t come out when he was named the game’s second star last night. One would assume it had to do with Renney’s benching of him in the third period, but it merits a follow-up.
The latest on the Brendan Shanahan front: it sounds like the wing is at odds with the Flyers over compensation. They’ve reportedly offered a year at $1 million. He’s looking for closer to $1.5 million. Read more about it toward “the bottom of this story.”:http://www.courierpostonline.com/article/20081117/SPORTS04/811170361/1002