Well, that wasn’t exactly a textbook game, was it? Entertaining? Yes. Certainly not perfect. Your boys should be happy they got a point, because they could have easily gotten none, but sorry they let another one get away, to a team they’re chasing.
1) I am so, so sick of all this talk about the NHL cracking down on head injuries, and of all these TV clowns discussing it. When the NHL gets serious about head injuries there will be severe suspensions for head shots. That simple. No minor penalty is going to do it. No major penalty is going to do it. And the Jordan Staal match penalty for intent to injure is an aberration. They’re never going to call that, especially since some people obviously think Brandon Prust embellished it. I don’t know that he did, but it’s possible he did. Or that he could have. So, if the league really wants to crack down, then Jordan Staal gets a whole bunch of games off without pay. But he won’t. And if the league really wants to crack down, then Brooks Orpik needs to get a penalty, at the very least, for the head shot against Avery, even though he’s Avery, and, well, you know. Suspensions. Severe suspensions. That will be the only deterrent that works. But the NHL has no interest in those, does it?
2) Ah, Versus. No replays. Missed stuff everywhere on the ice, as it happens and after it happens. And that amateur Joe Beninati and his cliches. Like a ninth-grader trying out for the high school JV radio team. Unwatchable. Oh, and then a game that is sold as such a big event, and the moment it ends, off we go. No interviews. No post-game wrap. Nothing. Yeah, that’s how you sell the game.
3) So I go over to the radio with the outstanding Kenny Albert and Dave Maloney and Maloney’s going on and on about how physical the Penguins are, and how aggressively they kill penalties, and he was absolutely dead-on, as usual. Couldn’t have been proven to be more right. And, by the way, that’s why I think these Penguins are going to the Cup final. Because in addition to the top-shelf skill they have (and were missing) they grind, they pound you, they are aggressive all over the ice, they block shots like the Rangers, they fight, they’re tough and deep, and they have a goalie as good as any goalie in the game.
4) And we sure saw some kind of goalkeeping during the skills competition after the hockey portion of the game ended, didn’t we? Fleury made a couple of beauts during the hockey portion of the game, too, or there wouldn’t have been a skills competition.
5) I think the NHL and its sponsors really do think there are only two players in the league.
6) What a piece of carcillo Cooke is.
7) I thought Marian Gaborik was playing pretty hard … again. Before he set up the goal. and after. It ain’t easy to play wearing Brooks Orpik.
8) Shocker. Garden ice was awful in the first game in a week. Shocker. Somebody got hurt on a rut in the Garden ice yesterday. Shocker. The Penguins called it a lower body injury. Freakin’ liars. It’s a knee, everybody. It’s a knee!!!
9) Brandon Prust shouldn’t be fighting that T-Rex Engelland, who has beaten all the big boys. Especially with all of Prust’s injuries, especially up 2-0 at home, especially since Cooke wanted no part of him earlier. And Prust should know Cooke won’t fight him. I’ve said before, I think Prust should learn a few things from Avery, or from a guy like Cooke or Carcillo, and be a bit more of an agitator, a little bit of a punk, and less of a heavyweight. I think he’d be more effective and last longer that way. And I’m not putting down Prust at all. You all know how I feel about him as a player and contributor.
10) I thought Artem Anisimov was really good throughout, including in the OT. And he was back with Dubinsky and Callahan for a while. And how about that bat-to-bat goal from Dubinsky to Anisimov?
11) The Rangers were better on faceoffs, but two of the Penguins goals were scored directly off of faceoffs—one of them following a Rangers icing and a Rangers timeout. And one was scored after Dubinsky failed to clear, Drury got caught out of position, and Staal failed to tie up a much smaller man in front, didn’t even challenge the deflection. So, plenty of stuff for the video room today.
12) Ryan McDonagh can flat out skate, and this was a good game for him to show it. He made some plays with the puck, too.
AP photo, above.
I’m looking for two Bonehead volunteers to do game reviews for the two road games next week (Detroit Monday, Atlanta Friday), when I’ll be enjoying a furlough (a forced unpaid vacation). I want it to be two regulars, people who are here all the time and know exactly what we do with those game-in-review things. So, if you’re interested, e-mail me at email@example.com. Sorry, I will only be able to pick two.