1) Just when I was thinking that Sean Avery was having a quiet day … largely because he was on a line with Derek Boogaard, who had two fights, and because that line doesn’t get a lot of minutes (though John Tortorella double-shifted Marian Gaborik in Boogaard’s spot a few times). His hit was terrific, hard, clean. If he did indeed, as the Oilers contend, say he didn’t want to fight, or that he’d fight next shift, then that goes against all the manly codes of hockey fighting. Though I must say that it looked to me like Ladislav Smid never took his eyes off Avery, and in fact continued to slash away at Avery’s stick in a challenging manner. I also don’t know how Smid got a fighting major and a misconduct out of all of that. And it was extra aggravating for the Oilers because, well, it was Avery. And Avery, when told of the Oilers’ reaction, said to Andrew Gross, “I guess they didn’t like how the fight went.” But …
2) While NHL Network reported Sunday night that the league has said there will be no suspensions from the melee, I don’t see how that’s possible. The Oilers—whether their reaction was warranted or not—had like eight players on the ice, all involved in the fighting. Once Avery had been escorted off, the Rangers had four. How could there be no suspensions? So, after a whistle you can go onto the ice and fight? Since when? And I’m not completely convinced—having not seen a good replay—that some of those on the Rangers bench should not be fined for their involvement.
3) That all said, I still like the way this team sticks together. I know that Ron Duguay and some people were whining early in the season that you can’t take a retaliation penalty. I say, bull-carcillo. I think that every time there is an incident and the Rangers stand up, it unites them as a team. I think they are a better team right now than they were before that fracas broke out. I think it is the best thing for a team, to go through those all-for-one moments. Dividends are immediate and long-term.
4) Alex Frolov and Erik Christensen. Welcome to the scoresheet. Now let’s see them do it in a 1-1 game.
5) Marian Gaborik. No comment needed.
6) You know how you guys called Christensen “Foot in Mouth” last year? Did you see him on NHL Network when he admitted that Avery suckered Smid?
7) Brian Boyle now has eight goals and no assists. In the old days we used to call that a Cy Young season when a guy had a lot of goals and few assists. You know, 8-0. But good for him. Nobody deserves a breakout season more than he does, plus he’s a good guy, and a great teammate.
8) Let’s not get too excited over the eight goals. Some of them were gift-wrapped and special delivered. But I did think the Rangers played a pretty solid, aggressive game right from the puck drop.
9) Now let’s seem them do it in Pitt. I’ll have the pre-game notes a little bit later.