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Devils-Rangers in review

Posted By On February 4, 2011 @ 6:53 am In Hockey,New York Rangers,NHL | 239 Comments

As I’ve told youse guys, I’m going away from here for a week. Not my choice. I’ll schedule some blank canvas posts, and my sports editor, Sean Mayer (Rangers fan), will put up some of the pre-game and post-game notes the Rangers send along and any news that breaks, and we have two Boneheads — cwgatti and CTBlueshirt — who volunteered to review the games in Detroit and Atlanta. So the place will be up and running.

But I might add today that I’m glad to be getting away for a week, or at least I think it’s a good time for me to step back. So much nasty stuff in the comments the last few days has really gotten to me.

So I’m going to step back (sadly no meetings with Mr. Titleist and possibly a few more meetings with Mr. Snowblower) after I do the Canadiens-Rangers in review Sunday morning. I’m going to take a deep breath, try to remember all the fun we usually have and forget all the idiotic stuff that’s popped up the last few days. I mean, I don’t mind arguing over this player’s merit or lack thereof, or whether this would be a good trade, or whether this guy or that guy is playing poorly. I don’t even mind when some of you want to clean house and abandon the rebuilding project after a bad period. That’s all part of the gig.

The personal stuff, the senseless stuff — none of us need that. I sure don’t. [1]

Anyway, about last night:

1) I guess I was wrong the other night when I had a little back-and-forth with some of you about the blame the goalie deserved in the Pittsburgh game. Because apparently the coach and the goalie disagreed with me, and agreed with those who did blame Henrik Lundqvist. So, for the second time in my life, I’m wrong.

2) The first time was when I thought I was wrong once, and it turned out I wasn’t wrong.

3) Man, the Devils are sure back to their old, clogging, trapping, unwatchable hockey, aren’t they? Maybe they’d be in the playoff race if Jacques Lemaire hadn’t retired, or if it didn’t take him so long to Favre (un-retire).

4) You gotta say this for Henrik Lundqvist: He takes full responsibility. Good for him. Very classy. Very professional. Very captain-like.

5) That said, I really thought the first goal, by Kovalchuk, went off Sauer’s skate or leg or stick before it rocketed under the crossbar. If it did, then he took too much blame. If it didn’t, then he needs to stop it, even if it is a vintage Kovalchuk shot.

6) I thought Gaborik and Prospal looked good together, and Callahan and Dubinsky. Boyle and Prust weren’t up to their usual Monster selves. And I thought Avery was pretty lousy early, and got better very late.

7) Thought Zuccarello really struggled a few times at the PP point … but not sure they should scrap that experiment given the alternatives.

8) Thought, also, that Martin Brodeur was shakier than Lundqvist, but that his team helped him get through it … with plenty of help from the post and the crossbar at the end of the first and third periods.

9) There were more icings in that game than I’ve seen in weeks’ worth of games this season.

10) Man, if you don’t like McDonagh and Sauer, you’re not paying attention.

11) The Rangers ARE NOT trying to trade Del Zotto or Gilroy or Eminger. Does that mean they wouldn’t if a great deal came along? No. But it would have to be a great deal, especially for Del Zotto. I think he stays. And I think the coach likes him and likes going through the process and teaching the young man. And the coach will get big-time satisfaction when the kid becomes an excellent player, if not a star.

12) I always get a kick out of the mood swings around here. If they’d won that seven-round shootout vs. the Penguins, and/or if either of Dubinsky’s late first- or third-period shots doesn’t doink the post or crossbar, we’re going on again about this team’s identity and character and resilience, about how it plays to the buzzer and beyond. But Marc-Andre Fleury stones them in a skills competition, and Dubinsky’s snake-bitten twice, and it’s Armageddon. Again.


AP photo, above.


Before I’m out the door, I want to give away that second pair of tickets from our generous Bonehead donor. They are for the Buffalo game March 1. I’ll have details this afternoon. So please tune in later.

Hopefully I’ll be in a better mood by then.

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[1] Image: http://dqmt5fo24ucpe.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/lundqvist-vs.-devils.jpg