Watched some of Rangers Encore when I got home at 1:30 a.m. I know, get a life.
But it confirmed a few things for me.
Some thoughts on Leaves-Rangers.
1) Toronto might actually be much improved this year. Is 4-0 a fluke? Maybe. Do I think the Leaves are a top-six team? Doubt it. But definitely much better.
2) It was indeed the Armstrong hit on Gaborik — the one on which he got the boarding penalty — that separated his left shoulder. The reason there was doubt was that Gaborik remained on the ice for the power play. But when you watch it again, Gaborik is hit, then starts flexing that left shoulder.
3) That’s why Sean Avery — the only guy who consistently sticks up for teammates — tried to engage Armstrong in a fight and took that penalty later on. Good for him there. Bad for him when he twice hacked Komisarek. I don’t know if the NHL will suspend him for that, or maybe just fine him. I do know where he stands in the eyes of NHL HQ, though. So anything’s possible.
4) It’s hard to believe that Erik Christensen, who couldn’t make it through a morning skate, was better by the end of the game. In fact he told Andrew Gross he was no better. I’d say he’s 50/50 at best for Monday. Ladies and Gentlemen, Todd White.
5) Drury’s broken finger, I now firmly believe, came when he and Rozsival collided and Drury went awkwardly into the boards, and that was the start of that long, terrible pinned-in defensive-zone shift. Drury couldn’t get off the ice forever.
6) Yeah, Matt Gilroy had some yips in his first game in a long, long time. But not enough where he should now be Redden’s D partner. Aside from some of the goof-ups, I thought he looked OK, and definitely much more intent on competing defensively. I’d keep him in there for a while. But what do I know?
7) Upon further review … the penalty on Eminger was an OK call. At first I thought he just hit the guy, but his forearm/elbow definitely clipped the helmet. Roughing wasn’t a bad call. The penalty on Staal in OT was the right call.
8) Brandon Prust continues to improve as a player, has definitely reaped the benefits of his boxing workouts in the summer, and is the kind of honest, rugged hockey player you want on a team. But he can’t fight 60-70 times a season, can he?
9) Based on what I’ve seen through six preseason games and three regular-season games, I don’t think these Rangers will fade away minus Gaborik and Drury.
Here’s my column on the game from The Journal News and LoHud.com. I mocked MSG’s small-town production. Most of the non-hockey stuff was embarrassing, wasn’t it? And I forgot to mention that the crowd was into it, but it wasn’t anything special.
One more thing. I met tr-808 and Mrs. tr after the game. Nice people. Good Boneheads.