I will just talk about the game for now, and deal with the season wrap-up and report cards and analysis as we go on this week. Breakup day is Tuesday and I hope to have live coverage of that.
1) I agree with lots of you that it was an absolute slap in the face to all Rangers fans for MSG to not have a post-game show. Though I wonder how critical anybody could have actually been after a loss like that. Still, what if they’d won? Wouldn’t you have deserved to be in that room and to hear all the opinions of all their analysts?
2) Interesting scenes after the game. First, in an elevator filled with Hall of Famers, including Messier, I saw Bobby Clarke, sounding sincere, telling Glen Sather what a brutal way to lose big game the shootout is. He’s right, whether he was sincere or not. And the Rangers to their credit handled it well, though I would have loved to have heard what Jim Dolan told his boys behind closed doors — his entire entourage was in the coaches room afterwards, with Sather and his assistants. And I’m thinking the whole time, no matter what you think of Dolan or the MSG management, that millions of dollars, a team’s fortunes and chance to compete for the Stanley Cup, and people’s jobs, should not be decided by something so stupid. Then I saw Ed Snider, the always-whining Flyers owner, smiling in the hallway, and I can only imagine the carcillo-fit he would have had if the Flyers were eliminated in a shootout.
3) Lundqvist, on this day, was really special, on the ice and in the lockeroom. That’s all I’ll say. It’s idiotic to blame him for this in any way.
4) It looked to me, and to all the analysts in Philly, and I imagine to a lot of you, that the Rangers played for the shootout during OT. And maybe that’s why they accepted the shootout loss so well. They thought they had an advantage in the skills competition. Well, the thing about the shootout is that it’s a crapshoot.
5) Chris Pronger, repeat offender, got away with a textbook blow to Jody Shelley’s head, without so much as a minor penalty. Yeah, the league is going to crack down. What a bunch of bull-carcillo. The league continues to embarrass itself on this.
6) Stop calling Shelley and Prust and Anisimov the fourth line. They got second-line minutes and provided all the offense, and were simply better than their more talented teammates. Have been for a while.
7) No Gaborik in the shootout? If John Tortorella thought Olli Jokinen gave them a better chance — and obviously he did — then he owed it to you guys to say that, and not just a dismissive “No” when asked to explain it. Imagine Joe Girardi being asked if he could explain why he took out CC Sabathia and saying, “No.” Or Tom Coughlin being asked to explain why he went for it on fourth down and saying, “No.” Tortorella needs to start realizing he’s in New York now. And that his fans are long-timers, not the bandwagon jumpers he had in Tampa.
8) I’m not coaching (thank goodness) and saying Gaborik should have been in, because I’m going to be honest here: When P.A. Parenteau went second I turned to Andrew Gross in the pressbox and said, “This is a mistake.” And he went on and on to tell me about Parenteau’s two shootout goals earlier (I knew about them) and how he’s the best in the AHL, and I said, “But he’s a minor-leaguer and this is a huge spot to put him in, and this could backfire big-time, and I wouldn’t want my whole season to depend on an AHL player who wasn’t good enough to make the team until the very end … etc.” And of course Parenteau scored. And Andrew laughed at me.
9) The Rangers sure missed Callahan and Avery, because their forecheck and wall play stunk. I also realized how valuable a guy like Ian Laperriere is. How did the Rangers let him get away?
10) I was in a foul mood after a terrible trip home, and had to ban some Boneheads at 1:25 a.m. But I cheered up by putting on the Golf Channel and seeing the highlights, and seeing Phil Mickelson and his wife and his kids and his caddy so emotionally celebrate that win in Augusta, and, boy is that a nice family story.
11) Goodbye, Olli Jokinen?
12) I walked around the concourse in Philly yesterday, and while I hate to generalize, their fans are uglier than Rangers fans.