I’m surprised there wasn’t more discussion about this yesterday. The World’s Oldest NHL Arena had to postpone an NBA game because of falling debris and an asbestos scare … and now we’re seeing reports that the Garden has contacted other arenas—Nassau, Prudential—about availability the rest of this week.
Fortunately for your New York Rangers, they are on the road the next two games—fortunately not only because there won’t be debris falling on your heads, and theirs, but fortunately because they’ve played better overall on the road than at home.
So tomorrow and Friday ought to be really interesting. I’m not sure how to look at this game in Philly Thursday. The Flys, since last we saw them, are coming off their A) shootout win over the Rangers that put them into the playoffs, B) their run to the Stanley Cup final and C) four straight wins this past week.
They still have a carcillo-load of players you guys cannot stand, though that Hartnell is starting to resemble a human being since cutting his hair. The Rangers still have that unfinished business with Carcillo, though Gaborik won’t play, and Carcillo, we can be pretty sure, wouldn’t go near Derek Boogaard, if Boogaard even plays. The Flys now have Jody Shelley, who was so instrumental in their late-season run that fell short, and even scored the goal in that shootout fiasco that ended on Olli Jokinen’s stick.
Not that you need any of this extra carcillo to stir it up for a Rangers-Flys tilt.
But I do think the Rangers are going into the Arena That Changes Names Every Five Minutes with confidence, togetherness and maybe a little chip. And I know the Flys dislike the Rangers, especially at home, where the faithful can be a little, um, off-center.
The next night it’s the Rock and the Devils, the reeling, free-falling Devils, whom some of you compared to the 1998-2004 Rangers. I don’t know if we can expect their malaise to last that long, or even through December. But right now the Devil Dogs are a mess, top to bottom, and they come home from that dreadful long trip, and you know how tough that can be when you don’t have your legs under you and you still have jetlag.
Still, I expect the best thing for the Devils is the Rangers, who beat them at the Garden earlier. I suspect we will see a team very ready for a Rangers team that will have played an emotional game the night before.
I know … a long-winded gaggle of reasons why I’m looking forward to a pair of back-to-back Patrick Division games, when no reason is really ever necessary.