Interesting hockey week … but not tonight


This is really the homestretch, but if your interest is in the Leastern Conference, you have to wait for tomorrow. Tonight there are only two Bestern Conference games — one of them should be pretty good — Chicago-Detroit.

Then tomorrow the fun begins. Your boys are off, but a good scoreboard-watching night:

Buffalo-Toronto (great rivalry anyway), Philly-Pitt (for first in the Patrick Division and possibly in the East overall), Carolina-Washington, Atlanta-Montreal.

The Magic Number (8 … any combination of points gained by the Rangers or not gained by the Hurricanes clinches a sport for the Blueshirts) is in play, of course. So is the whole 7-8 race, and 6-7 race. And the 1-2 race. Buffalo and Carolina play their game-in-hand.

The next night, Wednesday, the Rangers play a really big game in the race, at Buffalo. A win there would be enormous, for obvious reasons. A loss would be enormous, for obvious reasons. At the same time, Montreal is playing Carolina.

Then your heroes (and me) go to Nassau Coliseum Thursday, and better yet, to the arena that changes names every five minutes in Philadelphia Sunday. The Rangers close with three in a row at home.

By the way, this reminds me of when I was on the beat. Reporters have to write early stories, called bulldogs, for the early editions of the paper. You never wanted to use your good stuff for those stories, because they wouldn’t be in very many editions, and they’d be replaced with game stories. So a lot of times, you’d “write the schedule” for your bulldog story. John Dellapina and I would always say, “when in doubt, write the schedule.”

I’m writing the schedule today. But today, and this week, it really is all about the schedule. That’s no bull(dog).

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  1. Good morning, boneheads!

    Nice to see Carp back to hockey. Even if he “writes the schedule” :-)

  2. Good morning all!

    Does it really matter where we finish this year? While getting in is the most important thing, we’re not earning home ice advantage in the first round regardless and a virtual lock to not get it in the second round either. It’s much more important to be playing well, with confidence and something of a swagger as the season ends and the PO’s begin. I’d also like us to lock a berth up as early as possible to have the option to rest and get healthy those players that really need it.

  3. Maybe Torts stopped beating him up at the bus stop.

    He’s definitely taken a gentler tone with Torts this season as opposed to last and it came fairly early in the season. Of course Torts has taken a gentler approach with the press, but I think Larry was one of the earliest to recognize the different make up of the team than a lot of writers.

    When you hear the VS/NBC crew signing the praises of the Rangers then you know their efforts this season have gotten recognized in larger spheres.

  4. All this stuff about the playoffs…it’s impelling us into the post season atmosphere, and it’s now up to them whether they take advantage of it. No more of those messy giveaway games like they underwent this past few weeks. They’ve proven that they CAn do it, now they MUST do it. Girardi has always been a guy who can play this game as well as anyone in the game…his problem has always been that he goes on holiday as the Brits like to call it, and for games on end he simply doesn’t play the way he should. It’s maddening to see games like this from him. I know that he is as capable as any D man in the league, but I’d just as soon have him on our side.

    And I can’t believe that hardly anyone was there when Carcillo
    was taken to the wood shed – And it happened so fast. The ref didn’t even time to drop the first puck of the game and off they went. How humbling that must have been….now everyone will free to take him on, and they’ve been given the technique for doing it. Don’t be ashamed to watch the Isles games…you can pick up some good insights from them, and they’re not a bad team at won’t endanger your Ranger fan status ( I won’t tell anyone)

  5. fran,

    As their record in their last 9 or 10 games reflects, I think they’ve played pretty good hockey the past few weeks. The Anaheim game was ugly, but it was also dominated by 3 world class power forwards in Getzlaf/Perry/Ryan. The Sens have been playing the role of spoilers the past few weeks, first with the Devils and then with the Rangers and Caps, plus Craig Anderson was revitalized after moving form Colorado. Otherwise they’ve won the rest of the games and responded to the challenge of fading from the playoff race.

    And I disagree about Girardi. He’s a serviceable defenseman, realistically a 4th or 5th D rather than a 2nd as he’s being used. His penchant for leaving his feet to block passes and shots has been getting exploited more and more as the season has worn on. He also has a bit of the Rozsival syndrome of aimlessly banging the puck up the boards without aiming to a receiver. Thus causing an unforced turnover or handcuffing his teammate that usually leads to a turnover. Sauer and/or McDonagh should soon replace him on the depth chart for the shutdown role and hopefully an improved Del Zotto would assume his role on the PP.

  6. Doodie Machetto on

    My worst fear for the first round: Pittsburgh overtakes Philly and matches against us, then get Crosby back for the first round.

    My second worst fear for the first round: We get Philly.

    The Rangers will obviously be underdogs against whichever first round opponent they face, but Pittsburgh and Philly really make me doubt our chances of an upset. Although, I will say that I like our chances against Philly a lot more with Pronger out, but that doesn’t mean I really like them.

  7. Stranger Nation on

    Ctb – agree on your damn girardi spin. Though my favorite play last week was his hit on lucic for many reasons. First, it knocked their bully on his arse, feet up into the air, body crashing into the boards. Second it riled up lucic who went on to take a dumb penalty that shift and another stupid one later. Third, it showed the bruins we can dish it out as well. Our guys were getting drilled and we needed to start doing some of the drilling.

    If girardi can be more physical and play the body first, it would take him out of the floater, cage hanger role. Let’s face it, he is going to log lots of ice time. he can get nastier and get some of the opps top forwards off their game this would be huge. He should watch Em hold the blue line on rushes, always playing the body which allows D partner to gather puck down low. Girardi tends to keep backing up and give teams the zone.

  8. Girardi is like the Dumbo ride at Disney World in Orlando. Up and Down. Up and Down. I think we have all noticed that when he is paired with Staal he is UP and when he is paired with anyone else he is DOWN.

    My theory is that Staal usually takes the puck and hammers the guy who is carrying the puck. This leaves Girardi in an in between role of cutting off a pass or shot and diving into the corner to help Staal get the puck loose and throw it up ice to a forward. When he is paired with someone else who doesn’t play on Staal’s elite level Girardi is confused and left in an in between role without anyone to support him.

    Don’t get me wrong – I like the guy. Remember when he took a puck off the face earlier this year and got stitched up and came right back out? Bleeding through the stitches nonetheless. Guys got Jam. He just needs to learn how to be the leader of his pair or at least make decisions.

  9. Without Crosby, I’m more concerned with Pens defense than their offense.

    In the 35 games since he went out, they’ve only scored 3 or less regulation goals 29 times as opposed, they’ve scored 2 or less 21 times and they’ve been shut out 6 times. Yet they’ve gone 19-11-5.

    The Rangers have done very well without getting shutout this year. It’s only happened 4 times the entire season.

  10. It should surprise very few that the Rangers have been incredibly good at winning far more games by healthy amounts than being on the short end of blowouts. The Rangers have won 15 games by at least 3 goals (3 times by 7, 2 times by 6, once by 5) and have only lost 6 games by 3 or more goals (5 times by 3, 1 time by 4).

  11. This is a weird year for me some of the higher seeds scare me less than the lower ones. The worst match-ups to the best are imo: 1. TB 2.MTL 3.Buff 4.Boston 5.Philly 6.Caps 7.Pens debateable

  12. (Mitch) Hedberg: I pretty much agree with your assessment. I would most like to face the Caps then the Pens and then I guess the Phlyers. I think buffalo might scare me less than Boston but the Lightning are definitely the team I LEAST want to face. I know the Habs are depleted but they always seem to rally in the playoffs. Year after year. I never want to face them in the playoffs. I think they will have a tough go of it if they get Boston.

  13. The games vs Tampa have been pretty tight except the first one. They’ve been on a bit of an extended skid their last 15 games. Stamkos has 2 goals in his last 15 games.

  14. CT: Are you saying that you think we can take them? They really scare me. Give me some confidence here…

    It looks like we will either get the Phlyers/Caps (#2Seed) or Bruins *provided we make the playoffs* and stay relatively where we are.

    I am not nearly as afraid of those teams as I am afraid of the Lightning.

  15. Yeah Manny, I think the Bolts are far from invincible especially when their biggest threat is firing blanks. Teams like the Flyers, Pens (when Crosby was healthy) and the Caps think they can run and gun with them. The Rangers should probably realize that isn’t a game they can play with them and stick to a grind them down approach.

  16. Agreed. I hate watching the Rangers get into a run and gun, quick offense. It always, always leads to giveaways which turn into breakaways which turn into goals. Gotta grind those teams and slow them down and keep the puck in their zone.

  17. Boston handled the Flyers pretty well last night, despite the low score. And they have Thomas. In fact, I’d be much more concerned if we play the teams with solid goaltenders in the PO. Playoffs is a totally different type of hockey.

  18. You’re right ilb. The Bruins are scary because the Playoffs is about goaltending and Thomas is sensational. Everyday in my elevator I have to see the news screen flash his GAA and it makes me cringe. I do think that the Rangers can get the Bruins off their game. You can annoy them into playing Rangers style hockey and I think we do a good job of keeping Chara out of the mix.

    That said – the Phlyers goaltending is shaky at best. All that talent and almost nothing stable in goal. I think we could handle an extended and tough series with them.

    This is of course, *if we make the playoffs.*

  19. Noah-rury-(if Devils make the playoffs)-Noah, 28 on

    Let’s make the playoffs first before discussing matchups. Please.

    Superstitious Guy Who May Have Caused the 2004 ALCS Collapse Against Boston

  20. Noah – See above my *bold* statements.

    I remember the exact conversation that ruined the 2004 ALCS. A friend of mine (not a big baseball guy) said there is “no way the REd Sox can come into OUR house on MICKEY MANTLE’S birthday and take this away from us.” I was sitting there wearing a gift (a yankees jacket that Sweet Lou Piniella wore during the ’77 season) crying into my beer after they lost game 6. His words only solidified the inevitable. I knew in game 5 when A-Rod struck out in the 5th and failed to get Matsui in from third with one out that it was over. I have the scars to prove it (as I punched through a lot of stuff after that play).

  21. Well, Noah, 3 points lost by the Devils or gained by Buffalo and you can safely remove the last part of your name :-)

  22. We are a LOCK oooops! sorry about that. I had a buddy of mine betting the A’s every game against Sweet Lou’s red’s in ’91 with the saying it’s a LOCK and doubled up each game. Anybody know how that turned out for the bash Bros.?

  23. CT – do you have a photographic memory? You always know these things. Must be the water in Connecticut. I should have stayed longer.

  24. Noah-rury-(if Devils make the playoffs)-Noah, 28 on

    Haha yes, ilb, we are making progress on that front. Like I said though, not until I see the “e” next to their name in the standings will it be removed.

    As for 2004, when Rivera was coming on to try to save Game 4, I inexplicably said “I can’t believe the Yanks are going to sweep them.” (banging head on desk)

    Another (not so) funny story about mushing:

    My brother and I were watching Game 5 of the Sabres-Rangers series at a friend’s place. My brother, who was intoxicated and had tickets to Game 6, was incredulous after Straka scored to go up 1-0 and kept saying: “MSG is going to be nuts! I can’t believe we’re going to have a chance to win the series! Unreal!” Then 7.7 happened. Then OT happened. Then the series was over. Then Drury signed a cap-killing deal.

    Needless to say, when said brother asked me to be his best man at his wedding a couple years later, I had to hesitate. :-)

    But he actually just welcomed a bouncing baby boy yesterday and there’s already talk of bringing him to the blue seats in a couple years.

    Sorry for the stream of consciousness. It’s tired in here.

  25. Bite your tongue (fingers?), Hedberg. Nothing is a lock….But it will require a colossal collapse on Rangers part and an amazing run by Carolina not to get in….

  26. Hockey and baseball I can probably name the last 25-30 years of champs and runners up off the top of my head. Those are the only sports I can do it for though.

  27. Is anyone looking for tickets to either of next week’s games (4/4 – Bruins or 4/7 – Thrashers)? Section 304 Row H – 2 tickets available for sale. Email me if interested –

    I’m a HUGE Kentucky Wildcats fan and I’m hoping they beat UConn Saturday and are playing for the title Monday. Living in CT, I feel surrounded by UConn fans. It’s gross.

  28. Noah – those are great stories.

    I remember MO on the mound and thinking…wow…this is close. We are going to sweep the Sawx. I cannot WAIT to rip on my friends! My friend and I have a rule to NEVER count outs. Living in Southeastern Connecticut (at the time) you learn by watching Red Sawx fans not to make the same mistakes. But the thought was in my head and I guess that was enough. I was mentally composing the TXT I was going to send all of those Red Sawx fans (who are some seriously great people in this case).

    I think you knew pretty early there that it was another, Mo versus the Red Sawx batters. Those old, creaky-kneed, hard-knosed players like Mueller and Trot Nixon and Mark Bellhorn (ex yank!). OH man. Speaking of Mark Bellhorn – probably the reason for the video review on the Home Run. Never have I seen TWO calls overturned in a baseball game, both in favor of the same team. That was BRUTAL.

    I hang my head in shame right now. I need some Blue Shirt Redemption.

  29. I was in college for the 2004 meltdown and dating this girl. She wasn’t a true Red Sox fan at all. She was definitely a bandwagon fan – in fact, she may have only been a fan to irk me. Within a week of the Yanks losing, that relationship was over. I could only take so many dumb comments. She wasn’t worth it.

    For years after that, my buddy’s would laugh, because if I was talking to a girl at a bar and somehow found out she was a Red Sox fan, the conversation would stop dead and I’d turn and walk away.

  30. Gold – Great story. And good for you! My buddy was dating a girl (when he was living in Boston) who, after a few dates and sleepovers, told him she used to date Keith Foulke – he dumped her within 24 hours.

    The point is…that stuff is critical. I have an aunt and uncle (maybe they are just OLD cousins) who are the dreaded Yankee and Red Sox fan combo. They actually make it work. It’s odd though.

    Re: Keith Foulke – can you guys believe how poorly that guy is treated by Boston? He practically ruined his career by pitching on a bad knee so that the Red Sox could win. Then when his knee damage was exacerbated by his pitching on it they quickly sold him out. What a bunch of idiots.

  31. Question and apols if someone already asked this… habe are 40-29-7 with 76 games played. rangers are 41-30-5 with 76 games played. both have 87 points. so why r habs in 6th and gers in 7th? isn’t first tie breaker straight up wins? or is it regulation wins? and if its regulation wins then why doesn’t espn or tsn post those numbers too?

    The top eight teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs. The division winners in each conference are seeded Nos. 1 – 3, and the remaining five teams are seeded Nos. 4 – 8, according to point total.

    In the event teams are tied in the standings, the following tiebreakers are applied to determine which team receives the higher seeding.

    1. The fewer number of games played (i.e., superior points percentage).
    2. The greater number of games won (not including games won in a shootout).
    3. The greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs. If two clubs are tied, and have not played an equal number of home games against each other, points earned in the first game played in the city that had the extra game shall not be included. If more than two clubs are tied, the higher percentage of available points earned in games among those clubs, and not including any “odd” games, shall be used to determine the standing.
    4. Goal differential.

  33. I didn’t realize the Pens had so many SO wins. They surged ahead of the Rangers with their last few games.

  34. Doodie Machetto on

    Pens have been very good lately. All this without Crosby, who looks like he will be returning for the playoffs. I think they are quickly becoming the team to beat in the Least.

  35. Looking at the standings with regard to the Pens – what a switch. If the Pens overtake the Phlyers….the entire standings are mixed up.

  36. >>Ha, everytime I hear Depeche Mode now I think of the Goth Kids on South Park.

    Help me out here, Doodie; I do not watch South Park [or Seinfeld].

  37. Haha. You’re probably right Doodie. If Crosby is available to play by next season then the NHL might have to protect him from the KGB. I must say, this internationalization of spots is weird for me. It’s so hard for a team to travel all that way, play well and travel back.

    I only remember travel like that being simple in Street Fighter II.

  38. JBytes: Take a month off. Invent a disease. Say you have it. Go “recooperate” somewhere with a dvd player (or you can go straight to and watch these freakin’ shows! Both are well worth your time.

    While I am advising you on television – Arrested Development. Watch it all. Over and over again.

  39. Noah-rury-(if Devils make the playoffs)-Noah, 28 on

    Seinfeld and Arrested Development are 1 and 1a. I’ve watched all three seasons of AD multiple times and still find myself finding new jokes and references. Incredibly written and acted show.

  40. love the optimism but PLEASE LETS MAKE THE PLAYOFF FIRST.


    that being said i would rather play the caps then the bruins if we stay 7th. the bruins are too physical over a 7 game series and would wear our young d down. the caps are better now then when we played them 2 yrs ago. either way we are big underdogs.


  41. Yes Noah. I am completely with you. It’s like fine wine – better with age.

    I watched a season a day when I was on some extended “sick” leave. Over and Over and Over and Over. It never got old. Laughter is the best medicine.

  42. ilb, thanks for the Brooks link. Have to agree that this is Brooks of Sunnybrook farm newly relocated from windswept Siberia. The qualities of this team that he writes of are what make this team dangerous. They’ve been playing with the attitude and focus of a playoff team for quite a while now. I’m most curious to see if this team with all its youth gets spooked and derails itself. If they continue to respond to the heightened importance and intensity of the coming games who knows how far they can go. I’ll also add that despite Philadelphia’s load of depth and talent, this passion and focus is something I think is missing from Philly’s game. I won’t be surprised if they’re gone after one or two rounds.

  43. 2 people on here wanted UK to win. Congratulations.

    Anybody have any experience with an OTC medicine Cobroxin?

    On a personal note, Ive voluntarily joined an anger management class!

    After a long talk with Tiki Jay, Ive decided I want the bruins in the first round for a few reasons, the most important one being Im going to be sick over the Rangers and bruins anyway, so they might as well play each other.

  44. Yo Manny! Just had a busy morning, having lunch now and catching up on today’s bloggings….

    How aboot you, bud?

  45. Things have been great here. I am just working out a hangover at work. Stewing about how little I get paid and scheming to get paid more. Regular day for moi.

  46. Re: Arrested Development

    Whenever I see the name of ex-Rangers minor league goalie Chris Holt, in my mind I can’t help but read it as “CHRIS HOLT!”

    Just me then…


    One of the best characters ever. I love how G.O.B. roofies himself so he can forget that he is his father.

  48. Mao Starks, 2-for-18, 1994 Game 7 vs Rockets on

    ilb, that L. Brooks piece showed a katy perry pic…NOM NOM NOM. ty!

  49. Good afternoon, Carp!

    Still no tickets for the game on Weds, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Lets go Rangers!

  50. Here’s to hoping Zuccarello get’s back into game action on Wednesday. It would surprise me if he misses another game as a healthy scratch. Maybe he needed to sit a game to get his head where it needs to be? Do you think Torts was punishing him for missing his last shootout attempt?

    …The kids need to play…these are big games and Zuke has been known in his short career to be a big game player…

    We need his creativity and skill in the lineup…EC, not so much…

  51. I’m sat in a restaurant in London near three Americans talking about business while eating. It’s suddenly causing flashbacks to watching games at MSG…

  52. want to take a shot at defining Thomas goal tending style?

    That’s almost a prescription for frustration. He’s amazing to be
    sure. Sometimes he reminds you of a sky diver whoj ust jumped out, and then is frantically trying to find the handle for the rip cord.

  53. I’m a MZA fan, but he hasn’t exactly shooting the lights out lately. 3 goals in his last 25 or so games, all 3 coming in back to back games? EC has won just as many shootouts as MZA has. I’m not saying EC is the better player, but MZA isn’t exactly the clearcut better option at this point.

  54. That picture is definitely Awesome. Definitely taking over my lock screen on my iPhone. Liz Taylor young and in a bra is a good lock screen but Prusty and Staal beat her twins.

  55. I sometimes wonder at the number of challengers for the job of goal tending for his team against Kiprusoff. Seems like he’s been embedded there as long as I can remember.

  56. Regarding Mats Zuccarello Aasen…..

    Look. Things can be said about him. For example, he isn’t lighting it up right now. Second, he is small and easily knocked off the puck. There are more but I like him so I won’t continue.

    I think those things (and more) can be said about a lot of guys on this team. Zuccarello has a LOT of upside and is crucial in a skills competition and should theoretically be great in 4-on-4 and other open ice situations. The kid is learning and getting better and he can pass with his eyes closed. I think for those reasons he gets to play. We know the ceiling of too many other players. He has potential right now. Also, he is a spark for these guys. You can tell that everybody loves his attitude.

  57. Post lockout Kippur’s seasons have gone

    Very good
    Below Average
    Below Average

    He currently sports a 2.68 GAA with a 90.2% save %. Outside the top 20 in both categories. He’s another player that has gotten by on a good post-season run rather than his whole body of work.

  58. CT, I could care less if EC or Avery plays, it doesn’t matter to me. But I do care about MZA playing! As a rookie, he has proven that he belongs with his vision and playmaking ability.

    For the Rangers, this year should not only be about winning, it should be primarily about developing prospects…

    I am still not sure where EC fits in on this team, because it sure ain’t first line center…

  59. Manny,

    As much as you can credit the coaching staff with showing patience in the younger and unproven players, at this point of the season I think they are rightfully going with whomever gives them the best chance to win games and make the playoffs.

    Having a playoff berth in sight but not clinched, I can agree with sitting guys like MZA if they’re not producing.

    Given that scenario you have to look at who’s going to get the heavy minutes on the team, Gaborik’s line and the Pack line. MZA hasn’t proven to be enough of a consistent threat to really unseat anyone on those 2 lines and he doesn’t have the defensive prowess to play on the Boyle-Prust-Feds line. Maybe when they clinch a playoff berth he can go back to getting more meaningful minutes, but at this point he probably isn’t going to get meaningful minutes.

  60. Noah, thanks for the pic. I love the father & son interaction behind the net in addition to the on ice emotion.

  61. Noah: Love that picture. Love that emotion. These guys are tight and it shows in their play. Great to see.

  62. CTBlueshirt/Manny

    Not sure if you guys are looking at the stats or not…but in 40 games, MZA has 22 points…which is four less than worthless Christensen had in 57 games and two less than Avery had in 71 games. It’s not like he’s not producing. Benching him is just stupid, but Torts has a big boner for Christensen…so it comes to putting in Avery’s snarl or MZA’s skill.

    Also…just because he’s small doesn’t mean he’s easily knocked off the puck. In fact, I can’t really remember too many times he has been stripped due to his size. He’s got elite hands, and that something Avery and Christensen don’t have even when they are producing. If he is benched again, they should just send him back to Hartford, where he can get serious minutes. Him in the press box is just a waste all around.

  63. Regarding MZA, I think it’s simply a matter of learning and adjusting. There’s definitely NHL skill in that guy and despite being small, he rarely gets hit hard, yet he goes into the corners and isn’t afraid of the high-traffic areas.

    He simply needs time.

  64. phil,

    Yes, I was looking at the stats when I saw that MZA has 3 goals in his last 26 games. I don’t think EC is necessarily a better player, but he’s a center and not really in direct competition with MZA for a spot in the lineup.

    Looking at the Rangers wingers, Gaborik and Prospal will form one pair with either EC or Stepan in the middle, Dubinsky and Cally with Anisimov in the middle and then Feds and Prust centered by Boyle. The first 2 pairs provide a more consistent threat and the Feds/Prust combo is out there for D. Unless he’s really producing MZA doesn’t necessarily deserve consistent minutes over any of those 3 pairings. Does he deserved to be scratched? I prefer him to play, but at this time of the year the coaching staff is trying to put the most productive players on the ice.

  65. NYR + Manny = Vibin’

    CT: I understand what you’re saying. Heck, I even completely agree with it. I am just saying…Christiansen doesn’t seem (to me) to give you the best chance to win. Wolski is borderline. I don’t know why I think Zuccarello (The Hobbit Wizard) does give us a great chance but I think his play is overall more inspired than Christiansen or Wolski. We have said that Wolski was cruising at 75% or less many times since he got here. You don’t know what you’re going to get. While Zuccarello might get out skilled or out matched once in a while he is always going to give you 100%. So for that reason I keep him in and bench Christiansen or some similar player.

    As I have said before – get Newbury the hell up here to win some faceoffs.

    Any word on Prospal’s leg? He took a pretty hard hit on Saturday.

  66. I think MZA is still growing as an NHLer and will be very productive next year. Speaking of MZA, where is TR-808? Im sure we’d all love to see him around more often.

  67. Phil – Awesome post. Thanks man.

    You’re right. He might not get knocked off the puck that easily. I guess I was just pointing out his size. A guy like Artie-Partie get’s knocked off the puck when he tries to plow through people. I guess Zuccarello is aware of his size and his hands (which certainly are elite) help him make moves to avoid it.

    Let’s remember – he had to adjust to using a smaller stick on smaller ice. I can only imagine what is to come.

  68. Also, I think EC is given lots of slack because Tortorella is hoping he clicks more regularly with Gaborik. It’s clear Tortorella doesn’t believe either Stepan or AA are a fit with Gabbie.

    IMO, EC’s been given way too much slack – at his age, he is what he is: A chronic underachiever who will be anything more than that.

    His presence serves to emphasize the single biggest organizational gap: True number 1 center.

  69. Manny,

    I’m fine if MZA is taking Wolski or Avery’s spot in the line up.

    As for EC, it’s not really a direct competition. Even if you put Stepan between Gaborik and Prospal (a good move IMO because EC-Gaborik-Prospal was just awful on D) and slot EC to the 4th line he’s nearly guaranteed that spot because Wolski isn’t a true center and neither are MZA or Avery.

    Let me be clear, I am not an EC fan. He’s got a world class shot and some good moves, but he doesn’t bring a whole lot else to the table and whatever he does bring, he doesn’t bring it consistently enough. Still, with only 3 other pure centers (I think it’s time we designate Dubi as a winger that can play center), right or wrongly EC will have a spot somewhere in the lineup.

  70. CT – Great point. You’re right about Christiansen being a natural Center. I love the Stepan with Gaborik and Prospal line. Steps has really shown some flare for the dramatic and with Prospals hustle and emotion and Gaboriks shot, that could be a dangerous combo.

    The other arguments are hard for me. I have not been a rabid Avery fan or Hater. I think he adds what he adds and while he’s tough and scrappy he doesn’t really bring that much to the table. I think Wolski clearly has the highest upside right now. He just doesn’t reach that level enough.

    I would let Captain Callahan decide.

  71. It seems to me that MZA is just a victim of the numbers right now: one extra healthy forward on the roster so someone has to sit. I expect he’ll be back before long and EC, WW or Avery will sit again for a while. Not a bad problem to have considering all the injuries earlier in the year.

  72. Mao Starks, 2-for-18, 1994 Game 7 vs Rockets on

    Love that pic of Prust…we should all leave comments there, so they know where the best Rangers’ blog resides! Let them be envious of all the internet traffic that flows thru!! MWHAHAHA! :)

    oh yeah! 4th PERIOD tonight!! BWHAHAHAHAHA!! GO get em, little buddy, orr!!

  73. Mao, you would have liked the Arcade Fire concert at MSG last summer. During a break between songs the lead singer said something like “I’ve always dreamed of playing here on the main floor at MSG. This place holds a lot of special memories for me (he then points to a spot on the floor) especially game 6 in 1994 where Hakeem blocked John Starks right there”.

    This was actually proven to be false, but he said it to get a rouse out of the crowd.

  74. CT – My Fiancee will love that you just referenced one of her favorite bands. I on the other hand cringe at their mention. That is cool that he said that though.

    Mao – I did it. I can be talked into just about anything.

  75. Here’s my take on the teams we will more than likely see in the first round. Philly, though they have some excellent and skilled guys throughout their lineup, both on d and o, they r currently slumping and while they continue downward and without pronger, i just bad timing. But I wouldn’t give up on them just yet there is a reason that they still in first. That said, their is an emotional advantage to a series against this specific flyers team. Pittsburgh, a team severely depleted but still finding ways to win and use their strength at d and in net to steal games and points (does that sound similar to the rangers? During gabbys absence). That said, I think our current roster versus theirs is still in our advantage. Caps, currently the hottest of the top four, and Damn they come on strong. With the caps, we have had their number all yr, but that downstairs mean we can underestimate theory abilities because even with ovie sitting they have more skill. But our style of play works so well against a team that has just adopted the defensively minded team play philosophy. Plus, in the playoffs you need an elite goalie and both the caps and flyers both lack in that aspect of the game. Slight advantage to us. Last possible match up is Boston. Probably the most complete team in the east currently. They have an elite goalie and a helluva backup, a blast from the point that is dangerous, forwards that know how to score and a very strong defense. We might have sqeeked through in our last game and I remember someone writing about a perfect storm, you my friend couldnt be more correct. We caught this team off guard after they blew away mtl, and I have to agree about the matinee games for home teams, it throws these guys rituals and I don’t have to mention or success on the road. Boston gets the edge on us in a series but hank hives us a shot every night so no matter who we face, if we make the playoffs, it will be great not only for us viewera and fans,.but for the growth of this team..disagree? Let me know what you think?

  76. Noah-rury-(if Devils make the playoffs)-Noah, 28 on

    My favorite “concert intertwined with sports” moment happened at a couple Pearl Jam shows at MSG. The first was in 2008 when, during “Daughter,” Eddie Vedder started a “Let’s Go Rangers!” chant, which got a lot of cheers and also a lot of boos (jackwagons). Also, I wasn’t at the second show that year, but apparently Vedder made mention of Messier and Leetch’s numbers hanging in the rafters.

    Pretty cool. Apparently, Vedder was also going to appear at Leetch Retirement Night but something happened and he was unable to attend. I guess they’re buddies?

  77. Noah – is that true? That could be the moment of my life. Even though I wasn’t there. Pearl Jam is like the best. Vedder is the coolest “guys guy” on the planet. That is really rad.

  78. Oh – well all my friends think I am insane. I don’t like Arcade Fire and I don’t like The National. I really don’t have good reasons…so be prepared.

    Arcade Fire annoys me. I think too much is going on in their music. Their keyboard playing is frustrating to me because she just plays one chord over and over and over. I know “The Funeral” is supposed to be the album of the decade and I understand why people like it. It just grates on me.

    CT – I probably dislike them because none of my bands ever got famous and barely ever got recognized for anything. I am probably just jealous and thus being a “hater.”

  79. Manny,

    Understood. Truth be told I think they take themselves a little too seriously sometimes. But the WhoIsArcadeFire website was pretty funny after they won for album of the year. Still they put on an awesome live show.

    But for your last line:

  80. for anybody….. keep manny malhotra in your thoughts and prayers.. has you know hes undergoing surgery to try and save his eye.. he was a ranger once and i met him as a young kid and he couldnt have been nicer.. heres to hoping everything goes well for him in surgery

  81. That’s a great link. Thanks. That guy looks a lot like me actually. (not really).

    I guess they do take themselves too seriously. That might be what irks me so much about them. Probably the jealousy thing though. Mostly that one ;)

  82. Ive been watching Nurse Jackie on the recommendation of Blogmama. In the 3rd or 4th episode, there’s a scene:

    dying elderly man: I had a quintuple bypass, the same year the Rangers won the Stanley Cup.

    Jackie: That’s 1994. I’m still having dreams about Mark Messier.

    dying elderly man: Canada’s finest import since bacon.

  83. CTBlueshirt – see, I was thinking that too at first…but then I was looking at the faceoff numbers…Christensen isn’t even that good in the circle. Granted none of them take the draw as much as EC, but Dubinsky, Prospal and Avery all have better percentages. Avery, if I’m not mistaken, was once a center too. I know Prospal played there as well. I just see MZA giving 100 percent every game, which I don’t see from EC.

    AyVeerE – See, the teams I don’t think I’d want to draw would be the B’s and Pittsburgh, cause both have real solid goaltenders. I have an itching feeling that Philly would be a good team to take, since they’ve really been in a tailspin lately. Washington is dangerous, because you know the heat is on them right now after three consecutive years of nadda. Who knows? Anything can happen in April.

  84. Band talk!! Band talk!!

    Please check out one of my favorite bands right now! “Younger Brother”

    They used to be an electronic / downtempo music duo but now they transformed into full band! Electronic music influenced, of course! IMHO, modern day Pink Floyd :)

    please please please check them out!

  85. Younger Brother is excellent. I downloaded an album on the recommendation of CCCP and it was really good.

  86. Yeah, thanks, I found it too. He is going for surgery tomorrow. Let’s all hope for the best.

  87. Seems like Manny Malhotra could use some music right about now. That is a scary event. All the best to a good man.

  88. Prospal is more than capable of playing center.

    Personally, I would sit Christensen and have the 4th line be Avery-Stepan-Zuccarello

  89. Speaking of surgery, one of our very own boneheads is going in for surgery tomorrow. Let’s remember to keep her in our thoughts and prayers.

  90. Mao Starks, 2-for-18, 1994 Game 7 vs Rockets on

    CTB, CCCP, TIki and manny…… BEach House…i may be a little late to the game, but that newer album is insane. Swedish Mafia with the girl dancing with the sheer outfit …NOM NOMONOM

    ctb, i hate the rockets…i just don’t like Jon Starks as a player, and the Knicks deserved to lose that game with his horrible performance.

  91. Sincerely,
    Superstitious Guy Who May Have Caused the 2004 ALCS Collapse Against Boston

    NOAH lmao! No worries man. That was my fault. When they were winning game 3 after putting up like 19 runs I was at a pool hall standing on a pool table with my arms up in victory leading a small crowd in a “you can’t beat us” chant.

  92. phil,

    Avery has taken a handful of face-offs this year. Not sure why he was switched to wing but he hasn’t been a center for a few years. Dubi get used in important draws at even strength and on the PK but he’s firmly planted as a winger in open play which better suits his game. You can move Prospal to C but I don’t think that means they move MZA up to 1st line LW. Plus with the amount of ice that a center is typically responsible for I don’t know if that’s the best position for him.

    As for “giving a 100%”, it’s not that I don’t believe that some players try harder than others, because I think plenty of players loaf it, but that’s pretty tough to prove either way. Again, at this point I honestly don’t care which one of EC, MZA, Wolski or Avery plays or sits. They’ve all been inconsistent with their games of late. There’s eqaul justification for playing one over the other.

  93. Mao Starks, 2-for-18, 1994 Game 7 vs Rockets on

    if there was any doubt why many of us love the NHL and its culture go find cam janssen’s interview about St louis blues’ player who missed practice…justice will be meted from within the locker room. Unlike that idiot i think was for the marlins who had that whole run in with his coach over not hustling.

  94. I agree that MZA had a few tough games in a row before he was benched…I wish I could say he is the only player that has been inconsistent in point production (as a rookie).

    If the scratch on Saturday was just a way to teach a lesson by Torts and get him motivated to play better, fine. Maybe Torts expects a lot more from him. Even better. But, I think it would be deterimental to MZA’s development and to the team’s success for him to miss an extended period of game-action. It also seems odd that he hasn’t had many minutes with Gaborik… I think it would be worth a try for him to play on the LW opposite Gabby…they are clearly the two most creative players on the team (save Stepan, who would be their center).

  95. Torts has done a great job with this group! I wouldn’t want anyone else to coach this team. I think a Jack Adams nomination for him this year is certainly possible.

    That said, I still do question his overall preference to play Eminger over Gilroy and now, EC/Wolski/Avery over MZA. Maybe it’s Slats’ call?

    “Does Glen coach the team?” Bwahaha! Remember that quote from Torts?

  96. Noah-rury-(if the Devils make the playoffs)-Noah, 28 on

    James, sounds like it was a collective effort to cause the biggest collpase in sports history.

  97. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    well, good luck to malhotra!!

    I don’t mind wolski as much as some here. I probably wouldn’t sit him at all and I think I would sit EC over anyone and just move prospal to centre. Just an opinion though!

  98. Olga Folkyerself on

    Bertuzzi ejected for hit to the head on Johnson.

    5 min major and a game for that piece of Carcillo… I hope a suspension will follow for a repeat offender.

  99. Biggest collapse in sports history? I hardly think so. Though never been done before 2004, it’s really not that difficult to lose 4 straight baseball games, especially given the pitching staff the 2004 Yankees threw out there.

    Bigger collapse is an undefeated patriots team losing the biggest game of their collective lives to the 14 point underdog Giants. A team that averaged 35+ points a game during the season shut down to the tune of 14 points, and a Hall of Fame quarterback being made to look like a chump.

    Bigger collapse is the bruins blowing a 3-0 lead in a series, and also a 3-0 lead in Game 7.

    Bigger collapse is the red sox losing a 14.5 game mid-July division lead, going on to lose a one-game playoff at home after leading in the game.

  100. I get why Torts will go with Emminger over Gilroy every now and then. He proved more “jam” than Gilly.

    The question is, will Gilroy see playoff time? He didn’t last season. So, who knows.

    And I get why he’ll scratch MZA for a game or two. That’s just the way it goes. We’re not looking for MZA to throw big hits, and be a defensive 4th liner. He needs to be an offensive threat, which he hasn’t been lately. Hopefully he gets the message.

  101. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    biggest collapse in sports has to be the oilers versus the bills!

  102. Although, it is kind of fitting that New York and boston own some of the biggest collapses in sports history, and often times, at the hands of the other.

    A couple football collapses:

    Arsenal led Barcelona in the Champions League Final in the 82nd minute or thereabouts several years ago by the score of 1-0 iirc. An Arsenal player received a red card, Barca went on to score 2 times in the final minutes to win 2-1.

    The new england revolution scored a goal in the MLS Cup in added time after the 90th minute iirc to lead Houston 1-0. Houston answered right back and won the game in extra time 2-1 iirc.

  103. Wow, Bertuzzi? I thought he cleaned up his act…

    Good points, Orr. I hope he gets the message to!

    Tiki, I agree…also throw in the 2007 NY Mets…

  104. And for the hat trick, it was 35-3 Oilers iirc, and among the biggest collapses in sports is the Bills losing 4 straight Super Bowls. Wish they had won 3 of those Super Bowls, just not XXV

  105. Apparently, he was ejected for elbowing Ryan Johnson (misconduct). Olga made it sound like it was a headshot…

  106. Olga Folkyerself on

    He went into the corner to check Johnson, got his elbow up into the head and knocked his helmet off. Johnson went down for a short time, then he went straight to the locker room. Probably to be checked out for concussion before he’s allowed to return. Bertuzzi was ejected right away.

  107. Mao Starks, 2-for-18, 1994 Game 7 vs Rockets on

    biggest collapse ever…knicks vs rockets…Starks 2-for-18, shooting the ball like an idiot.

    also, I remember the baltimore orioles collapse against the pirates…think Balt was up 3-1…back when there wasn’t parity and a 3-1 lead was like steel to overcome.

    I got those 4th period blues!!

  108. What would have been the biggest collapse in history would have been the Rangers holding a 3-1 series lead and blowing it, failing to halt 54 years of hurt and suffering. But we all know how that turned out, with Messier, the greatest leader the sports world has ever known, scoring the SC winner!

  109. I thank you kindly, Tiki. It meant a great deal to me. I never won anything as an athlete, but now that I got to see my team’s pride and their reactions, it felt worth it to me.

  110. Worth it as in me not personally winning anything as a member of a team. Seeing my team’s reaction made me question whether or not I would have wanted to experience my first championship in some way, shape, or form in a different situation.

  111. I coached a girls’ indoor soccer team. 7th and 8th graders. It’s a pretty nifty sport, it’s soccer in a high school gymnasium with a giant tennis ball. You play off the walls and stuff. My girls are awesome kids, it was a privilege to get to know them and to teach them. I feel that I learned just as much from them, however, if not more.

  112. Phil, I think ur spot on about the two that we would have aka easier time with, but I think pitt is too weak up the middle for a series. I would rather pitt than Boston. And even tho we’ve had the upper hand on washington, I would rather take philly cuz u know the guys will be out for blood in that series.. I’m pumped for the final stretch and hopefully the playoffs.

  113. Have to a agree on the 1980 Olympics between Russia and the ussr as the biggest collaps

  114. Haha Russia killed the ussr… gota love auto correct, weird tho that usa got changed to ussr. (natural hatty)

  115. Cccp, lidstrom is a future hockey god, we gained one this yr when Rick Martin passed. Heros get remembered, legends never die. Name that movie!

  116. Imagine if we had cheraponov on this team! I still can’t fathom why such a young kid died during a khl game.

  117. Olga Folkyerself on

    Who is this McDonald in net for Detroit? I thought Hawks would get a break with Howard out, but he’s a freaking brick wall out there.

  118. k i didnt refresh!!! since like early afternoon! what a game huh guys? i cannot wait for the playoffs. man if only gabby was playing like last year. its always something. last year we needed depth scoring, now we need primary. as i type this i think emrick just cooked himself!!! holy nails on chalkboard peggy!!!! im gonna cry if he doesnt shut up! this might be the best goaltending duel this season. about as good as hank- fatty last year

  119. olga- hes a career backup. like 29 years old. former isle and few other teams.. idk but i havent seen a backup journeyman goalie play this well against anybody other than us in awhile!

  120. kopecky looked liek duby there. what a hard fought game. i cant believe that the nhl doesnt have this on a real channel. and i dont understand how more people arent hockey fans?

  121. Olga Folkyerself on

    Go Wings????

    I don’t want to hear that unless you are ordering them with hot sauce…

  122. Olga Folkyerself on

    He was a dope for ever leaving NY. He never played a playoff game again. Even when he came back…

  123. Olga Folkyerself on

    Old MacDonald lets one it


    Looks like Black Hawks get the win


    With a point point here
    And a point point there

  124. Oh hai gang! Long time no see. Youse (borrowing from Carp, will return in excellent shape, I promise) all been behaving?

    Nashville is a grea time. Despite all the rain.

    Great, heart-stopping win on Saturday. I’m glad I knew the score before I watched the game, othewise I would have never made it through that third period.

  125. Slatsko Folkyerself on

    Now if they just suspend Bertuzzi, we can get another POS out of the game for awhile.

  126. I saw the replay Olga…what a piece of carcillo Bertuzzi is…I hope they give him a few games…

  127. Heya Slatsko!

    Gotta say I thought Bertuzzi’s hit wasn’t as bad as Cooke’s, but oh man, when will the players ever learn?

  128. Slatsko Folkyerself on

    They’ll learn when they see enough of them suitably suspended, I guess. Or get to experience a suspension or two themselves..

  129. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    I watched the bertuzzi hit and honestly did not think it was that malicious at all. Looked like a pretty decent hit that was from a guy that was taller than the guy he hit leading to a shot to the head. Probably warranted a penalty, not sure a major was warranted, but not a suspension IMHO!!!

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