Some homestretch thoughts


1) As much as youse probably, ahem, dislike the filthy cooke-riddled Penguins, you have to be impressed that here they are battling not only for the Patrick Division crown but also for the conference title and home-ice (for what that’s worth, which isn’t much) in the final weeks of the season with all they’ve endured. And now there’s hope being held out that Sid the Skid and his Slewfoot expertise could be back to slewfoot opponents in the playoffs. And that piece of cooke Cooke will be back in the second round. By the way, haven’t heard much from Mario lately, have we?

2) Speaking of teams you don’t, ahem, really like, the Islanders and their flock of talented young forwards — and minus Village People Gillies — are sure in a position they’d embrace: That of the spoiler. Because after tonight’s meaningless tilt against the Devils, the Islanders have remaining: Rangers tomorrow, Carolina Whalers Saturday, at Boston next Wednesday, Pitt next Friday and at Philly next Saturday. And how much fun was it seeing the Isles’ mini-goon Haley beat the cooke out of Carcillo the other day?

3) How is it that Ryan Miller (five shutouts) is considered an elite, top-5 (if not higher) goalie in this league, and yet Henrik Lundqvist (11 shutouts) is outside that top-5 (if not much lower)?

4) How much panic do you think there will be right here if the Buffalo Baby Buffaloes beat your heroes tomorrow night?

5) There’s been a lot of discussion here lately over the decision on the 12th and 13th forward on a given night. I kind of like what John Tortorella has done there, substituting based on opponent, and giving guys a night off if he’s not thrilled with their game, and also making it clear that there’s not really much difference between No. 12 (or, for that matter, No. 10 and No. 11) and No. 13. Competition down there is good, especially since some of those guys, 10-13, have had some doggish games and done some stupid things within games.

6) It would be a much bigger problem if he had to sit out any forwards 1-9. Though he sure has nailed a few of those to the bench within games.

7) One more time: The first tiebreaker for a playoff spot is regulation and overtime wins. Skills competition wins do not count in the tiebreaker. So the Rangers will lose any tiebreaker against Montreal, Buffalo or Carolina. (*-Correction below).

8) I can’t for the life of me figure if the Rangers would be better served finishing sixth, seventh or eighth. I mean, the higher better in terms of having a better season and the appearance of greater improvement this season. But I don’t think it matters where they finish, even if they are ninth at the end (they won’t be). We know what this year has been about. That said, I can’t figure, also, which opponent would be best for them to face. And of course, with all that turmoil at the top of the Leastern standings, there’s no guarantee whom they will face no matter where they end up.

9) Watched Chicago-Detroit last night. Wow. Again, reinforcement of how good the Bestern Conference is. But also reinforcement how dangerous it is to sign a big-name, big-ticket free agent. Marian Hossa, who scored the winner in OT, has 23 goals. Twenty-three. He’s missed something like 17 games with injuries, but that’s the peril of putting so much cap space in one basket.

10) Todd Bertuzzi, another guy known for cheap shots, is also another guy who doesn’t get it. His elbow-to-the-head of Chicago’s Ryan Johnson will again test NHL HQ’s resolve about head shots. If the NHL has any onions, Bertuzzi — especially given his rap sheet — will be sitting for a while. But I doubt it.


Gratuitous Brandon Prust fight photo, by AP.


*-Correction: Thanks to reader 5988 for pointing out the mistake in my calculation. I based it on the teams having the same record. Right now the first tiebreaker among the teams in sixth through ninth goes like this: Montreal 37 regulation/OT wins; Rangers 33, Buffalo 33, Carolina 31. (And given my math skills, that could be wrong, too).

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  1. Carp – is Malkin really supposed to be back this season? I thought he was shut down for the year, regardless of how far the Pens go.

  2. Marian Hossa is to the Blackhawks what Chuck Knoblauch was to the Yankees: if they didn’t win a championship when they were on their respective teams, they would have been crucified for their performance compared to the money they got.

  3. Good morning, boneheads!

    One of the best games I’ve seen all year. The speed, tge skills are amazing. And to think that Chicago is battling for tge playoff spot. Wow!

    I, too, hope Bertuzzi gets a few games off without pay. The hit was nothing like Cooke’s, but it showed his total disrespect for other player’s well being. He purposely turned around and hit him with his back. His stick was up and, hence, his arm and elbow hit the player on the head. Suspendable, considering his past.

  4. Stranger Nation on

    Det-Chi last night was a great hockey game to watch – right up there with the Rangers/Panthers game last week.

    Hate the guy, but Bertuzzi’s hit did not really get full elbow to head or the guy would have been on a stretcher. Much bigger issue is these charging penalties not being called. He was 10 strides down the boards before he unloaded. Refs have to call that and maybe call them major 5 min penalties or double minors. It will stop soon after.

    Go back to Gretz comment about players having respect for one another. There are enough opportunities for clean hits during game without having to try and injure someone with a charge or a boarding penalty.

  5. LinCalPrustBoylahan on

    Happy Day before Game Day ‘Heads!

    nice write up Carpy. Nice #3.

    AND…for female fans everywhere… THANK YOU FOR THE GRATUITOUS PHOTO!!

    Just our luck, we’ll get the slewguins, and be subjected to all crosby all the time,whether he plays or not.

    Bertuzzi….ends someone’s career, is welcomed back to the NHL with open arms, and continues his goonish behavior. Avery, says bad words and is blackballed. Makes the brain hurt if you really think about it.

  6. Stranger Nation on

    Carp – ya know when the chatter is about 4th line ice time, things are going well. Agree with your comments. Frankly it doesn’t matter about now. Mix and match works and keeps them pushing.

    If we could only take MZA’s hustle and smarts, EZ’s hands, Wontski’s size and Avery’s grit to create the fourth line franken-monster we need. Save for EZ, these guys do not get much ice, so not a huge deal.

    I would keep Step between Vinny and Gabby. Better 2 way player than EZ and crashes the net. It’s about the kids right? In fact, another EZ benching may be in order to rile him up for the last couple of games. He seems to produce for first 2 or 3 after a benching and then returns to floater form. Put Wontski between MZA and Aves for a game – can’t hurt…

  7. Hi, everyone. I’ve been up to my helmet in a carcillo load of work and not even getting the chance to read, much less post.

    Does anybody know the status of Manny Malholtra? Other than having a severe eye injury, I haven’t heard much.

  8. HockeymanRangers on

    I suppose we have to give the Pens a little credit, they have done well with out their little sister Cindy.
    The Islanders seem to always do well once they come to terms that they can not make the playoffs?????
    Miller is playing well let’s hope, he has a off night tomorrow night.
    Yea I don’t think it really matters where we end up 5, 6, 7 at that point it is just make it a good series and WIN.
    Can’t blame Torts or players for wanting to take a night off here and there, if, NO WHEN we go deep into the playoffs no one playing well will be sitting.
    We don’t need the tie breakers, well unless we sl (not going there)
    Ok that is my 2 cents, looks like a good night to keep track of other games tonight as Carp has mentioned.

    Carp I was thinking about you Sunday, I grilled up my own batch of beef Speidi’s. Oh they wer so good.

  9. watched that chicago-redwing game last night on versus. All I have to say is watching those two teams play last night is night and day watching the rangers play. The skating, passing, shooting is miles above the rangers play.

  10. I’ll take some pancakes!

    Good morning, Sally!

    gi, ilb. i tgink your h button is now a g.

    Hockeyman, I am officially jealous.

    You’re welcome Linda, and ladies.

    Stranger, yeah, exactly like Rangers-Panthers.

    Marji, I think he had surgery yesterday. Haven’t heard.

    phil, also haven’t heard anything about Malkin coming back.

    Just got back from a pleasure trip. Took my mother-in-law to the airport. Seriously.

  11. carp- hank is def. top ten and top 5 this season. i think the fact that hes swedish and not american dont mean jack. his stats havent been in the top few categorys besides shutouts the past few years in a row. millers usually is. i think. not exact. and people who dont see hank play dont realize that he is more the reason for success of this team than alot of other goalies. but the stats over the last few years, while great, werent in the top 5 categories. he always does good in wins and shutouts. but alot of these “experts” love the gaa and save pct.

  12. I love me some Flapjacks.

    Hola amigos.

    Carp – I had a talk with someone recently about early morning trips to the airport for relatives. I still hold my ground that I would rather front the money for the cab/car service than get up at 3AM. No good.

  13. Carp,

    Rangers could easily win the tiebreaker against Buffalo and Carolina but not Montreal according to’s standings (ROW) as far as I can see.

  14. Carp

    Onions – hilarious.

    Bertuzzi should be gone. Elbow to the head, repeat (felony) offender, also left his feet. Compared to Cooke hit, should be same suspension – balance of season games and first round of playoffs.

    Pleasure trip – hilarious

    Marji – Malhotra has Surgery today

  15. Carp, if you do hear anything on Manny, could you let us know? I cannot stop thinking about him. Thanks.

  16. True Blue Mike on

    At this point i think our best bet would be playing the Capitals in the first round? Rookie goalie in net. We are 3-1-0 against them this season. We have beat them by the score of 7-0 and 6-0 this season and i just feel like Lundqvist loves playing against Ovechkin. Ill take that matchup over any other for the first round.

  17. Marji- Manny is having his surgery today, let’s hope for the best.

    Carp- I know, freaking iPhone, I keep hitting “g” instead of “H”
    In terms of Miller being top 5, and not Hank- I don’t know how official these rankings really are…

  18. A bonehead of ours went in for throat surgery at 6 am today. Let’s all keep her in our thoughts…

    I think Henrik has played his way into Vezina contention yet again. When compared to the other Vezina candidates, considering the young team that plays in front of Henrik, Id think that Henrik is the best goalie of all of them, and he’d thrive even moreso on the teams of the other Vezina candidates.

  19. True Blue Mike on

    Even though Lundqvist should still be considered for the Vezina, at this point it should still go to Tim Thomas or Pekka Rinne. Thomas’s numbers are almost unbelievable.

  20. Carp, I know you enjoy playing golf…do you also enjoy watching golf? Are you getting ready for the Masters, and if so, who’s your favorite current golfer?

  21. I adore the days when Henny Youngman makes an appearance here.

    “A Jewish woman had two chickens. One got sick, so the woman made chicken soup out of the other one to help the sick one get well.”

  22. I forgot last night when talking of most devastating collapses in sports history, and Im not sure how I forgot.

    the 1999 Champions League Final: Manchester United and Bayern Munich. Bonehead Matthias might remember that, hehe. :)

    Trailing 1-0 after the 90th minute, Man U scored twice in 3 minutes of added time to win 2-1. IIRC, Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer (sp?) scored the winner, and bonehead Krisy actually is friends with him in Norway!!

    I spent forever and a day trying to get that game on DVD, and finally found someone in England a year ago that had it and acquired it from him!

  23. My doctor told me I had pneumonia.

    I said I wanted a second opinion.

    He said, “OK, you’re ugly, too.”

  24. Tiki, I would watch one of golf’s majors before I’d watch the Super Bowl, the Final Four, the NBA championship, the BCS. It might be a tough call with the Stanley Cup final or the World Series. But I still might choose golf.

    Don’t have a favorite player, really.

  25. Good one, Carp. They don’t make comedians like that anymore….

    “I’ve been in love with the same woman for forty-one years. If my wife finds out, she’ll kill me.”

  26. 5988, you’re right. I miscalculated with the assumption that they’d have the same record but different numbers of skills competition wins. The tiebreaker (regulation and OT wins), right now, goes: Montreal 37, Rangers 33, Buffalo 33, Carolina 31.

  27. Stranger Nation on

    Manny – great Pineapple reference – Where is Red when you need him?

    Carp – tee times are almost here – if only Spring would show up. March went in like a lamb and is leaving like a lion – a very cold, angry lion.

    For all the skiiers out there – check out Mammoth Mtns stat year – over 500 inches this year.

  28. I love watching golf but the problem with watching is that I want to be playing. Immediately. Since I live in the city now and not 1 mile from a country club anymore it isn’t really an option.

    Favorite golfers still playing:
    1. Fred “Boom Boom” Couples
    2. Ernie Els (gotta love the big easy)
    3. Ryan Moore (hey – he’s a hipster!)

  29. Red = the best. Pineapple Express was unbelievably funny.

    Red: We got a lot of time to hang out, I’m making a f——- cake.
    Dale: No s—. (to Saul) Just ask him, man.
    Saul: Can I have a piece of that?
    Dale: What are you doing? Don’t ask for a piece.
    Saul: (to Red) I can’t have a piece of that?
    Red: (is almost done frosting the cake) No, you cannot have a piece, this is private. You know what today is?
    Saul: Tuesday.
    Red: This is my cat’s birthday today.
    Dale: I don’t see a cat in here. I’m sorry. Did you let it out by accident?
    Red: No, because he died three months ago, okay? So now who’s the funny guy, huh? All right? Today is his birthday, and it is a tradition that on his birthday, I get up extra early and make him his favorite kind of, uh, dessert.

  30. Stranger Nation on

    Maple loafs better not lay a stinker on us tonight. Love to see a hard hitting game to tire em out before tomorrow.

  31. “I got a physical exam from my doctor and he told me that I had 6 months to live. Then I told him that I couldn’t pay his bill. He gave me another 6 months.”

  32. “My dad was the town drunk. Most of the time that’s not so bad; but New York City?”

  33. I’d like to credit the whole matchup ordeal to the fact that the Rangers are playing great hockey right now. I really could not care who they get matched up with in the first round because i think they have a really good shot at beating all of the potential matchups

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

    To reiterate yesterday’s mantra, let’s make the playoffs first before debating matchups pleeeeeease.

    Apparently One of Several That Caused the 2004 ALCS Collapse

  35. Carp, that’s really cool. Same here…if none of the teams I like or dislike are involved, Id much rather watch a golf major – or tennis grand slam – than any of those events you listed, World Series and Stanley Cup Finals included.

  36. No discipline for Bertuzzi according to LeBrun. I think he still gets a fine based on the game misconduct, but they figure he already missed most of that game. Like Puck Daddy said, it was more of a sloppy hit than intent to injure.

  37. 2007 Mets – I tried to convince my friend to go to that game (the last of the season that Glavine started). I offered to buy him tickets and drive him. He told me “Why Believe.” I never got him tickets or supported him. He was right. I believe what, 12 minutes into the game Glavine had given up a 6-Spot?

  38. Points are still the name of the game, so it’s important to grab as many of them as possible, even if in the shootout, so there is no tiebreaker. Montreal would probably have the tiebreaker over the Rangers, but not Buffalo. If Buffalo has the same number of regulation/OT wins as the Rangers, then the next tie breaker is head-to-head, which the Rangers presently lead 2-1. Even if they drop this upcoming game to Buffalo and the season series is split and they end the season with the same number of points, and they have to go to another tie breaker, the Rangers have a much higher goal differential. See, there is not such thing as running up the score! Carolina not only needs to make up 7 points, they need to get more of them in regulation. Lets not even think about that.

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

    I was at the Giants-Patriots Super Bowl and wore the same sweatpants I wore at home for every other playoff game under my jeans that day. My legs were dripping sweat by the end of the game but I am convinced I won the Giants the Super Bowl.

    (I may have delusions of grandeur.)

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