There are no relevant games affecting the Rangers’ playoff push on Monday.
Pennsylvania. The Keystone state. Home of the Amish. Gentle, hard-working, and honest people. Also, home of two of the most disgusting sporting teams in existence – the Filthy flyers and the Dirty Penguins. The Pittsburgh Penguins have been in the NHL since the expansion yielding 1967-68 season. In the beginning, there was never much of a rivalry between our Rangers and the team at the junction of the Three Rivers. This is due in part to the fact that they have met only four times in the playoffs. Sadly, the Rangers have lost every series to the collective tune of 16 games to 4. The most vivid of these was the mind boggling 91-92 series. The Rangers were president trophy winners that season and the image that is forever etched in my mind was the shot from near the red line that snuck past Mike Richter as the Rangers lost in 6.
Fast forward to present day and there is a very strong rivalry between these two teams and a hatred developing among players and their respective fans, particularly Rangers fans, that is bordering on a need for psychiatric therapy. That said, here we go….
1) One definition of “irony” is the words of Mario LaPuke contrasted with the actions of his team, the Dirtyburgh Penguins. How can anyone with half-a-brain cry into a microphone about violence in the game and at the same time put an owner’s signature on checks issued to one Matt Cooke???? To say that it doesn’t defy logic, defies logic. Mario, can you say “hypocrite”?
2) If Chris Drury were indeed the consummate team player, he would strip the “C” off of his sweater and demand that it be sewn on the jersey of Ryan Callahan, effective immediately. No. 24 has the heart of two lions.
3) Hank = warrior. Sore neck and all, he was the best Rangers player thru two periods as the Rangers were out-shot 29-14. The King was on his game and showed a glove hand that could play shortstop for the Yankees. I thought that Ocho-cinco should have started but, hindsight being 20-20, I don’t know if Chad Johnson wins this game.
4) More on Hank — is there a goalie in the league that receives as little support from the refs? Set up like a bowling pin – knocked down …..AGAIN and AGAIN. How in heck does Cally get two for defending his goalie and yet no Dirtyburgh player a penalty for interference? Especially given what happened last game.
5) Dubi is a man-beast. He is so strong on the puck. He reminds me more and more of a young John Leclair. He positions his body and shields the puck down low as well as anyone in the game today. On the first Rangers goal, Dubi was the primary factor keeping the puck in several times with some tremendous grinding.
6) Cally-Artie-Dubi best line on the ice today. Great chemistry. Perfect play on Artie’s goal. Get to the net and park your body.
7) The Talking Heads (take me to the river), Edzo and Pierrezo, thought that it was the lack of communication between Girardi and Eminger that led to the first Dirtyburgh goal…but it seemed more like a horrible line change to me. A nice high wide NBC shot seemed to confirm this.
8) Fedtank-Boyle-Prust played well. Feds plays such a subtle, smart, good game. He quietly goes about his business and plays with an edge and a lot of physicality. I understand why Torts wanted him. Boyle was also physical. He delivered some big hits – particularly in the third. Prust – a man’s man’s man deserves the Officer McDonald award in my opinion but didn’t have to be “Superman” against the Pens. On the PK No. 8 and No. 22, are a real force and a threat to score every game. A nice missed chance by Prust as he unselfishly didn’t shoot but passed behind Boyle during one kill. Brandon, put that puck on net, because it can sometimes lead to a dangerous odd man rush coming back, especially while down a man.
9) Nice to see Pete Stemkowski, No. 21, errrrr Derek the Step, score to ice the game. While he and MZA have slowed down a tad offensively, they continue to play great defense.
10) On MZA – is it me? Or does he seem to be off balance a lot? Given how low he is to the ice to begin with, it’s surprising to see how often he flails about. That said, I love the kid. He had one great blocked shot in the second period.
11) Sauer and McD = monsters. What a blueline. What a future these two have. So young and nasty. Both play with so much snarl, they need to work on a curled-lip photoshoot with some of Avery’s supermodels. Incredibly mature, I am blown away by their high level energy and commitment to D. I desperately wanted McD to score on that breakaway.
12) Why was Sauer called for tripping? He played the puck, inadvertently, and the other guy tripped over him. Bad call.
13) Eminger played a great game. He cleared the puck from crease countless times. He was physical and had much Jam. He needs to play. As much as I like Gilroy, No. 44 needs to be on the ice.
14) EC sure did a lot with his 7 + minutes of ice time didn’t he? Looked more like 7 + seconds. His line sure runs hot and cold. I see the obvious chemistry EC has with Gabby and Vinny some games…but this game, not so much.
15) Four in a row for the first time this season. The drive for five starts now. Tuesday cannot happen soon enough.
16) This team has you-know-whats.
17) Mario, TAP TAP, the microphone is on…..do you have anything you want to say?….Go Byfugelin yourself and your team!!….I hate the Pens. LETS GO RANGERS.
18) Matt Cooke? You are a giant piece of Carcillo. In fact, Carcillo is a a giant piece of Cooke!!. Have a nice 10-12 game rest. You are stupid and don’t deserve to play in this league. YOU JUST DON’T GET IT.
AP photo, above.