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Lightnings-Rangers in review

Posted By On February 28, 2011 @ 6:14 am In Hockey,New York Rangers,NHL | 26 Comments

First of all, be here all morning. Quit your job if you have to. We’re going to do the annual Boneheads Trade Deadline Extravaganza (and picnic) all day long. Starting when the sun comes up … or when I crawl out of bed, whichever comes first. [1]

Do I think this will be a day they’ll discuss for years to come? I don’t know. Nobody knows what Glen Sather has up his sleeve. I wrote a column last night about the potential pitfalls of Brad Richards (link to come later), the main one in my mind being his concussion. I don’t like trading anything of value for a guy with a brain injury. See LaFontaine, Pat. Or Lindros, Eric. Plus, who’s he going to set up? Another guy with a brain injury? Gaborik, Marian.

Thoughts on the Lightnings’ victory Sunday:

1) I don’t blame John Tortorella one bit for his rant about the officiating yesterday. The call on Dan Girardi is another example of the pansification of hockey. He bumps the guy, didn’t even barrel over him, just a normal hockey play. Boarding? I don’t think so. And the call on Brandon Dubinsky at the blue line, when the Tampa guy’s skate bumped his as he was straddling the line? Awful. Just awful. The other penalties were pretty stupid on the parts of the Rangers’ players, and Tortorella said as much about that, too. Good for him.

2) Having said that, there’s going to be a check made out to the National Hockey League and signed by John Tortorella for those remarks.

3) Having said all of that, I thought Girardi made some ridiculous plays, starting with the pass to nobody in the slot from behind the goal line that trapped him and created the 3-on-2 (I said, “1-0″ before the three Lightnings reached the red line) for the 1-0 goal. Can’t do that against that team … not with two forwards deep, too.

4) I still am giving Henrik Lundqvist the benefit of the doubt on the Marty St. Louis goal, because it’s a 3-on-2, first shot he faced, and he’s got to he cognizant of Steven Stamkos coming down the left side. Could he have stopped it? Yeah. I also don’t get what good it does anymore with Tortorella judging every goal allowed by Lundqvist as “has to stop it” or “should have stopped it” or “couldn’t stop it.” Can the guy be allowed to get some confidence? He’d played two good games in a row, and he had no chance on the second goal by Lecavalier 5-on-3.

5) Not sure I agree with the talk that the Rangers played this great game. The last 40+ minutes they played pretty well. But the first 19, even though they defended well, there were a handful of guys gliding — not kids, but young veterans and older veterans — going at scrimmage speed. Looked a lot like the start of most games last February.

6) Common growing theme: That the Rangers haven’t beaten the Flyers or the Lightnings this year. I think that means jack squat in April.

7) Bad as the refs were, I think it’s at least debatable whether the Brandon Prust short-hander should have counted, as well. The puck richocheted off the goalie and off Prust, but are you really allowed to push the goalie and the puck into the net?

8) I thought the Rangers’ game picked up greatly when things started getting rough. That’s been happening all year. And maybe it’s coincidence that they had relatively calm and sedate games against the Devils and Philly last week and lost both, and won games against Los Angeles and Washington in which there was some anger and growl.


AP photo, above.

Gotta go rest up now (it’s after 1 a.m. as I write this). Big, big deadline day. See youse.

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