Thanks NBC for taking the great start to what promises to be a wild series, and throwing a bucket of ice water on it. Thanks for giving us an NBA-like hiatus between Games 1 and 2. And then giving us the dreaded afternoon game.
Oh, well. Better than Versus.
So Game 1 is in the books, and it was not only great to watch, but it was remarkable to watch it with you guys.
1) Alex Ovechkin. I know, we made a lot of noise about him pre-series, and everybody did. The guy, despite losing Game 1, despite his modest contribution on the scoresheet, was a monster. I think the Rangers will have to be a lot better against him the rest of this series, or he will cause nightmares. They have to cut down on his space, and the space between him and the defender, or he will eventually score a whole bunch of goals or wear out the Rangers’ MVP in goal. He had 13 shots on goal, plus 15 other shot attempts. That’s not imaginable—28 shots. (Is it just me, or does Ovechkin remind you of the guy from the original “The Longest Yard?” … the guy who says, “I broke his &$@#& neck!”).
2) I think it was a mistake for the Rangers to not have a callup around. I understand that with Brandon Dubinsky moving up to Chris Drury’s spot as second-line center, whatever player took Drury’s roster spot was going to be limited to a few shifts (Aaron Voros). Why not have an extra body, maybe an offensive guy, available in case one of the top two-line players got nicked up during the game?
3) The Rangers badly missed Drury on faceoffs (the Rangers lost 46 of 66!). But if Drury had been in the lineup, he would have been on the ice in all those situations in which Dubinsky was so good.
4) Ryan Callahan. Player of the Game. I don’t care what any of the three-stars selections said, or even how good Hank was. Callahan was unbelievable. Two posts, seven official hits (I think there were more) and two blocked shots in the last 30 seconds that may have preserved the win with Ovechkin lurking.
5) The Rangers scored two PPGs, which is incredible in itself. I don’t know if it’s a great sign that their PP figured out something, or that Jose Three-or-more is that bad. On the flip side, only two even-strength goals against Three-or-more isn’t good. I did notice that on some of the PPs, the pointmen switched sides so they were on their off-side, which allows for one-timers. Jim Schoenfeld had them practicing that Monday. I don’t know why they don’t do that all the time.
6) The referees can’t make that weak, ticky-tack call in the first minute or any minute during a playoff series. This is the Stanley Cup playoffs, for crying out loud. Let them get away with some of the rough stuff. If it costs a scoring chance, call it. Otherwise, get out of the way.
I’m at the New Yankee Stadium and will be here all day. Don’t know if I’ll chime in later or not. I’ll try to get a Drury update, but I can predict what it will be: Day to day with an undisclosed injury.
Meanwhile, Laurel, one of our loyal bloggers—and a colleague—suggested that the pet-lovers among us check out this blog site.
Jane here with two things. First, we are going to see if we can make a podcast of the video chats available for people to download and listen to on their own and 2) you can follow the Rangers Report on Facebook through NetworkedBlogs.
Jane again. Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants is reporting that Chris Drury skated this morning and should be ready to play Game 2. He speculated it was a lower body injury, although this has become a game of cat and mouse.