As we go into the Christmas break, some thoughts:
2) I know I’ve said it before in games they failed to win, but I thought the Rangers played pretty darn well.
3) It speaks to the direction of this organization that in two consecutive games they’ve had to call up kids who didn’t look even a little out of place. I think they’ve got to feel pretty good if they need Dale Weise or Mats Zuccarello again later on … and I’m sure they will.
4) How sweet was that Derek Stepan goal? And the pass by Brandon Dubinsky?
5) Obviously I have some problems with the first and third Tampa Bay goals. The first needs no words. Michal Rozsival had a complete brain-lock. The second goal, Stamkos made a good play on Dan Girardi’s stick to turn the puck over. Then, how about that pass by St. Louis, and the bottle-popper shot by Stamkos? Wow. But the third goal, yes, Zuccarello needed to pick up a man in front. But why was Marc Staal in the corner on one knee trying to block a pass? And why was Dan Girardi at the side of the net, one one knee, trying to block the same pass when there were three Lightnings in front?
6) The shootout was pretty cool—how about the goals by Christensen and Zuccarello?—and yeah, everybody in the building was going nuts. But I still think it’s a lousy, lousy way to lose a HOCKEY game that’s been played so hard for 65 minutes. Lousy. Have I mentioned that before?
7) And I’m not exactly sure why Rozsival gets a call there in the skills competition, ahead of, say, Prust. And Staal.
8) During a favorite commercial, a question arose. Can anybody tell me the difference between a woodchuck, a groundhog and a gopher? Is there a difference?
9) Once again, I thought Matt Gilroy did just fine. You could definitely have a worse No. 7 defenseman (or no No. 7 defenseman, like last year).
11) Both Anisimov and Frolov are coming on lately. I’m serious about Frolov.
I hope youse who celebrate Christmas Eve have a wonderful evening with special people tonight. And that Santa has you on his “nice” list. That might be a stretch in some cases.
AP Photo, above.