The “first game home after a road trip of three games or more” theory is built on a solid foundation. Every NHL team has gone through it, and nobody has conquered it. The legs aren’t there, and nobody can explain why. So it’s a legit reason for the Rangers’ start last night. But it’s not a legit excuse for the defensive breakdowns, mindless turnovers or the penalties.
1) As I write this there’s some drunken idiot on the train with me, and he’s dancing and walking around like a freak in the aisle, chewing on his fingers. He looks like he’s having some sort of drug withdrawl, too. Maybe he’ll drive the porcelain bus tonight. Nice.
2) I know that had nothing do to with hockey. Neither did this: Butch Goring was in the MSG corrider between periods last night and some Ranger fan, probably in his 40s, was screaming at Goring, “Get out of here. You don’t belong here. Get out!!!!” I thought it was funny.
3) The penalty on Avery is questionable at best. OK, it was a penalty. But do all four referees’ eyes have to be trained on him when there are 11 other guys on the ice with him? Another two for being Avery. And maybe that’s the way it’s going to be forever, Avery paying for all the stupid, undisciplined things he’s ever done.
4) If the Avery penalty is called, then the Bogosian hit on Callahan absolutely has to be called. Absolutely.
5) More troubling, I think, was that after Callahan was thrown dangerously into the boards, nobody reacted. If he’d been hurt—this is the alternate captain, remember—there had to be a swarm to the perp. But nobody reacted. Callahan got up, saw there was no call, and defended himself. Good for him, but again bad for the Rangers. They are not a tough group in terms of sticking up for one another. Not at all.
6) I said this in the comments last night: Having Brashear is not a deterrent. Boulton ran Gaborik, and it was up to Prospal to step up. Brashear’s presence did nothing to prevent the hit, and when he and Boulton were on the ice the next time together, nothing happened. Perhaps it was because The Donald had fought Boulton already and maybe reinjured himself? I know Brashear’s primarily left-handed, but during that scrap he never went righty, even though the opportunity seemed to present itself and he has, often in the past, switched hands when needed.
7) So what do you do when somebody runs Gaborik: You jump him, every guy on the ice. Or you go after Kovalchuk. Simple.
8) I had no problem with the slashing penalty on Del Zotto (he broke the guy’s stick) and I think the diving call was fairly legit.
9) Tortorella to reporter before the game: “Carpy, they spent the money to send you to a game?”
Our friend, the Mouth, has a special guest on his Blueshirt Banter blog radio show tonight (Friday) from 8-9:30 p.m.: Theoren Fleury, who’s hawking his book. Should be a good listen. Probably the biggest guest Mouth has ever had (in terms of significance, not size; after all, he’s had me, and I’m twice the man Theo is).