Potvin … well, you know

102

There is no such thing as a must-win in December of a hockey season. There just isn’t.

But there are crucial junctures to seasons, and they can pop up at any time, and for the Rangers this might be one of them. A home-and-home against the Islanders, tonight at MSG, tomorrow in Uniondale. No, it isn’t imperative that the Rangers sweep. But it is imperative that they don’t get swept, because in their fragile state it could be a death blow (Seinfeld reference).

That would be a disaster, an embarrassment of grand proportions. We already know that the Islanders beat the Rangers 3-1 out there in the only meeting so far, back when the Islanders couldn’t beat a drum. They sure aren’t that bad any more, even if they have slipped (1-4 in their last five, including an ugly 7-1 loss to Florida the other night). And the Rangers sure aren’t that team with the big expectations that they were earlier in the season, either. They have fallen and they can’t get up, with one win in the last eight games, a couple of those decided by a skills competition.

The Isles are also similar to the Rangers in the scoring department (84 goals in 33 games, compared to the Rangers’ 88 in 32). I’ve asked this question before, but would you trade the Rangers’ forwards for the Islanders’ young forwards right now?

But here’s something else I’ve mentioned before, and I still believe. The Rangers, bad as they’ve been, soft and thin as they are, are the benefactors of a weak East, and just a couple of wins away from being in the playoff picture. They are 11th in the East, but two points out of eighth. And which team is going to run away and hide? Montreal? Florida? Toronto? Tampa? The Islanders? They’re all in the same boat. Only the Flyers should get markedly better among those in the bottom nine right now.

I still think the Rangers will have a shot at a playoff spot in the final week of the season. I think they will have some ups to go with these downs. This is as good a time as any to start one.

I’m heading to the Garden this afternoon. I’ll check in later.

Here is a game preview from the Associated Press.

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102 Comments

  1. Where is the press box that you sit in Carp? I know there’s a whole bunch of seats and long desks in front of the 400’s, but I thought that’s usually reserved for scouts. I’ll be there in section 325.

  2. it is time for the new generation of Ranger fan to come up with some new chants. Potvin sucks has gotten old, and i have not heard anything new from the younger generation of in many years. get with it.

  3. *December 16th, 2009 at 10:17 am*

    *bull dog line*,
    Isn’t that what tradition is all about? If this and future generations want to carry that tradition, let them. In fact, the older it gets, the funnier it will be.

    What I really despise is that “Let’s Go Rangers” chant. I find it corny for the simple fact that every team in the league has the SAME one. I’d much prefer we went with “New York Rangers” as our rallying call.

  4. You probably have one of the best seats in the rink then (which you should since you report on the team). I’m in 343, in the corner on the same side as you. I’ll be there with my buddy (who is an Islander fan, but he’s the only one I could get to go with me since everyone else was busy).

  5. Jbytes – My brother and I talked about this, but how intimidating would it be to play at the Garden is the fanbase was like a European crowd? Constant chanting and making a ton of noise, singing various team chants and stuff like that. It would be and amazing atmosphere.

  6. Jonny, it’s a great seat in terms of being close, but from a reporter’s standpoint, something more central, even if it is higher, would be better.
    That was a fun spot to sit in the old days when there were no nets, and when the glass was lower. Reijo Ruotsalainen and Barry Beck used to fire pucks up there in the box and they’d be laughing as they lined up for the next faceoff. I got grazed on top of the skull one time.
    I’m sure after renovation that those will be luxury seats, sold for top dollar, and the new pressbox will be way upstairs.

  7. Jonny,
    American crowds are too busy eating outrageously priced hot dogs and drinking lousy beer to be chanting all game long.

    CTBlueshirt,
    Canadiens fans stole that “olé olé” song from European football fans. It’s so not original.

  8. Rick,

    I have a few media guys that sit behind me-right above section 309…i saw beningo there a few times-do you ever sit up there?

    Anyway I will be off to both tonight’s game and tomorrow’s game-we NEED 4 points….i guess if ochocinco goes tomorrow ill be happy if somehow we can win in the skills competition out at the mausoleum!

    DUBI STEPS UP TONIGHT with 2 goals!

  9. I’ll be there in 316. I ran into ya Carp at Game 3 of Caps/Rangers last April. Kinda caught the Carp off-guard coming out of some secret press door in the hall on the way to section 72. Always a nice fella though.

  10. Just want you all to know that Captain Clutch is ready and raring to go to continue my goal scoring prowess against the juggernaut that is the New York Islanders.

    In addition to my faceoff skills on loan from God…My shot blocking ability that few could ever hope to have…and my leadership which has shone through to so many victories and triumphs…I promise you this, my fellow Clutch Riders…

    WE WILL WIN TONIGHT!!

    And if we don’t…hell, I’m not gonna let it ruin my Wednesday. And it’s almost pay day!! New mouthpieces for me!! In Christmas Colors!!!

  11. Jonny, I think I was referring to the more raucous crowds up in Montreal. They don’t have the songs for every player like they in Euro football stadiums but they do make more constant noise and heckle the opposing goalie (and their own from time to time).

  12. THE REAL MikeyNJ on

    Per Gross:

    Same Lines and D-Pairs as the Atlanta game for tongiht.

    SO Johnson wil more than likely start tomorrow.
    I’m actually excited to see how he does, AND how the team plays in front of a rookie Goaltender.

    Still don’t like Torts decision on the following:

    NOT putting Staal and Del Z together
    Brashear dressing again? Why, to Fight Witt?
    Christensen sitting again?
    Lisin on the 4th line?

    And when are we going to just send Voros down permanently and free up his salary in cap space?

  13. And so I’m offering this simple phrase,
    To kids from one to ninety-two,
    Although it’s been said
    Many times, Many ways
    Merry Christmas to you.

  14. Good morning, Carp!

    wicky, I’m gonna apologize in advance. I still live in Buffalo, and can’t make it to the game tonight. I’ll try to pass some of my good luck vibes over to Carp though.

  15. Jay Riemenschneider on

    The Rangers will need to pack a Sack Lunch for this one… gonna be a tough game against the Isles.

  16. Carp, exactly! That’s the point…..

    apparently eggnog is the breakfast of champions today….

    this is for CCCP and the rest:
    Put on your yalmulka, here comes hanukkah
    Its so much fun-akkah to celebrate hanukkah

  17. SidelineObserver on

    I hate to say it, but the Islanders are a younger, hungrier team right now and they are probably going to beat the tar out of us all over the ice tonight.

    Oh and the news that the cap is going up by roughly a million and a half next year should make everyone cringe.All that means is more money for Sather to waste on overpaying some underperforming dud.With the ironclad NMC.

    Why does he give these guys NMC’s? I used to think Sather was a savvy operator who took no prisoners.After watching him hand Redden $6.5 a year for 6 years I can only assume he’s suffering from the early onset of dementia.

    This team isn’t going to make progress until “Spend it all Sather” is removed as GM.

  18. Leetchhalloffame on

    The Rangers will not have a shot at a playoff spot in the final week of the season. Even if they do – who cares? The way this team was constructed by Slats they ain’t goin’ nowhere anyway. FIRE SATHER!

  19. Carp,

    I hope you are wrong about having ups and downs in a season. I hope THIS season is a wash and results in us having a very high draft pick. Hopefully that will allows to get a franchise center, rid our selves of some salary in the off season (Roszival, Redden) and gets us back to where we should be.

  20. I still do not know what Potvin did to enrage all of the Rangers and their fan base. Could someone please direct me to an article or video showing what he did?

  21. By ridding our selves of salary, I mean sending Roszival and Redden to Hartford. Let them choke on their money there.

  22. What the HECK, unless you’re kidding and I’m missing screen humor, you just backed up Carp’s and my point….and I’m not making fun, I swear. Heads, who’ll be first to enlighten Mr. Heck?

  23. vitaly, that’s a big part of the problem. they will go to the wall to make the playoffs, even at the trade deadline … just to squeeze in and get eliminated quickly. and the cycle continues.

  24. Banj
    Good to see someone in the Christmas mood. I hope the Rangers give us the nice gift of lots of wins thru Christmas and the new Year. Merry Christmas to All!

  25. Carp….

    Just like you said, I think it will come down to the final few weeks of the season and our roller coaster misery will continue endlessly. And this is EXACTLY why we cannot afford to have these stupid 3pt games with teams like Atlanta. If we are going to separate ourselves from teams that we SHOULD be ahead of (“SHOULD” is debateable, but I am trying to be positive), then we cannot let these games go to OT.

    This is why games like tonight and tomorrow night, if this team really meant business, would be a win and a win both in regulation. And, those 4 points would nearly vault us right into the 8th slot. More importantly, it would be a real kick in the teeth to the Isles who are fighting for a playoff spot too.

    I hope this team comes out flying tonight. They need to hit and forecheck. We’ll see.

    Oh yes….Potvin…well…he….sucks!

  26. “It’s beginning to look alot like Christmas!”

    …..

    Actually, it still looks a lot like Hanukkah! :P

    It looks like both to me. That’s a luxury of celebrating both- mrs ilb is Christian.

    Carp-“I got grazed on top of the skull one time.” That probably explains why you are still fathering this blog.

  27. Sideline

    Not to mention they have witt on the blueline. Guys like him mean a whole lot to teams and things they bring do not always show up on the score sheet!

    Speaking of great crowds, Quebec really needs a team back!

  28. Front of NHL’s page on ESPN has Hrdaek/Melrose talking about overpaid players and they mention Redden/Drury quite a bit

  29. All I want for Hanukkah is Dubinsky to score 5 million goals, he’s still got 3 more nights, plenty of time…

    Tomorrow’s my first attempt at vegan latkes. I’m nervous. At least if I mess up I’ll still have lots of sour cream to eat.

  30. Sally
    don’t worry, I’m sure Princess will eat them if no human can. How is MSW coming along? I can’t believe you’re not into clinical part…

  31. NYR

    Yep, I would love to get that guy back, maybe we can trade jacrapus to ESPN for him!!!

    I hate the stupid skills competition, period. One 20 minute overtime during the regulation, then it is a tie!

    For what its worth, I hate free agency and I hate the fact slatipuss will not bury rozy in hartford (sorry hartford fans). Not like dolan doesn’t have the money!!

  32. CCCP- you mean a real Russian sour cream? When you can barely pour it out of the container? About 750 cal per tablespoon? Who needs latkes!

  33. We didn’t send anyone down, so maybe Redden aggravated his injury, Heikkenen won’t play or Rozi gets benched?

  34. sally
    stop cooking and get to the game!!!

    If anyone hasn’t seen inglorious basterds yet, I highly recommend it!!

  35. CCCP

    Have you been practicing OTP ? Remember, once you play at least 20 games, you get to edit your attributes. So you get 75 points for offense, 75 points for defense, and 75 points for the other thing, which is speed, acceleration, agility, etc.

    You should try to get those 20 out of the way so you can get those points.

    Then the three of us can destroy !!

  36. CT – They do the Ole chant, but thats kind of an overrated chant now. Plus they don’t do it the whole game. Fans in European football, and even European hockey are nuts. They pack the stands, stand up the whole time, and have tons of chants for not only players, but opposing teams and stuff like that. It’s just real intimidating and something that never caught on here in American sports. The most we do is just cheer “YEAHHHH” and “BOOOOO” when something good or bad happens. Pretty boring for a crowd if you ask me.

    Carp – I forgot about the net to be honest. I’m used to it by now and from where I’m at, it doesn’t block too much of the play. By you it’s definitely much more noticable since you are up closer. Should be interesting to see where they move you guys once the renovation is complete. I should probably come by and say hi before then, because by that time they might have you guys just watch the came on the special “MSG Network reporter cam” that you guys will get exclusive access to…even though the cameras are crappy.

  37. Do any of you guys play Eastside Hockey Manager? If you want a pretty realistic sim of what its like to be a team GM, that gives you what you are looking for. It’s not like NHL 10 or NHL 2k10 since you don’t actually play games, but you can make a ton of moves and there are plenty of updates on a couple forums I go to that make the game even more realistic. Only thing is you manually have to edit the salary cap, but either way its fun.

  38. There were some not-so-nice Potvin chants too. I still hear the odd “Beat your wife, Potvin, beat your wife.” and “Buy a Porsche, Potvin, Buy a Porsche.” when I’m up in the 400s. Mean stuff.

    Carp, you said last night you wrote 2 books. What was the other?

  39. This is the problem I have with this coach staff, they wont leave anything put for even two games. Either put Gilroy down or keep him up, same with Sangs. Let these guys play. We aren’t playing any better without them, that is just the sad truth.

    I could do without Brasher, he barely plays, and when he does he gets in a fight and bear hugs a dude and sits for another 5. Can we please get a guy that can skate and be a GOOD physical presence that will actually play some respectable minutes.

    Please.

  40. Jonny, maybe it’s the positioning of the microphones for the TV at Montreal but their crowd always seems much louder than most of the other arenas the Rangers play.

    A couple of reasons I think the joga bonito crowds are rowdier:

    – No stoppages aside from halftime. While hockey and basketball are for the most part flow games they do have long enough pauses in the action that can tame a crowd.

    – The density of teams in Europe is much higher than in the US. Where there are close by and intracity rivals here, they are typically fierce (i.e. Rangers/Isles/Devils, Boston/NY, Philly/NY).

    – Teams have less cultural and/or political symbolism here than in Europe. The closest example in North American sports is Montreal vs. Toronto, but compared to Real Madrid and Barcelona it barely compares.

  41. Ah I’m pumped for tomorrow night…I know things aren’t going well, and as carppy as Nassau is, nothing better than kicking back a few in the parking lot with Ranger fans and walking in there like an army ready to take over that place.

  42. has anyone seen the schedule? the rangers next “tough” game is jan 4th against boston. (next team w/ winning record)
    they need to win 9 games in a row!
    no excuses!

    i got high hopes…

  43. CT – That is exactly right. I couldn’t of said it better.

    Our games just aren’t fluid enough. Take out the commercial breaks during the period and it would help. All they would have to do is just limit commercials to the intermission segments. And what? Make the intermission like 5 minutes longer? Idk…that would be at least 10 more commercials. lol

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