Apparently there is a chance the Rangers can recoup those two points from last night. The NHL is investigating whether the Islanders used an illegal lineup in the game, and it could result in a forfeit of the two points … though I’m not sure if the two points would be just removed from the Islanders’ ledger of if they’d also be added to the Rangers’ standings.
What happened was that Jack Capuano, the Islanders coach, submitted a lineup that included Michael Grabner, who missed the game for the birth of his child, and did not include Trevor “Village People” Gillies.
And the Isles played the entire game without Grabner and with Gillies. So we’ll see. It’s in the hands of NHL HQ today.
Aside from that, thoughts:
1) I have chided the Negative Nancys all along, fully confident that this Rangers team was going to make the playoffs—and have felt that way since training camp broke—and mocked the Sky Is Falling crowd and the Trade Everybody group. And I maintain that there are a few of youse who have been in those camps to a ridiculous degree throughout the year. But right now, as of today and last night, I have doubts for the first time. I really don’t know if they will have enough mental toughness to get through these last four games.
2) What might save them is that Carolina still has to make up three points. And I don’t know if the former Whalers can do that. And I wonder if the Islanders will play the same way against the Canes Saturday as they did last night, or if they lie down like dogs.
3) I also find it ironic that last season, the biggest game of the year was the Rangers’ matinee in Philly. This year, now, it is the Rangers’ matinee in Philly Sunday. Last year, in Game 82, very few Rangers showed up. It will be interesting to see how many show up Sunday, because, let’s face it, if they win that game, they’re going to be in very good shape, regardless of the two stinkers in 27 hours they just played (or didn’t play).
4) To fuel the Negative Nancy-ism, and Sky-is-Falling-ism, this is what is most disturbing: You can complain about Marian Gaborik, who I thought was good in Buffalo and lousy in the Island. You can put blame on the invisible Erik Christensens and the confidence-less Mats Zuccarellos and even the broad-side-of-a-barn Sean Averys. But you know who let the Rangers down the most these last two nights? Their young core guys, that’s who. The entire Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan line, the shutdown defense pair of Staal and Girardi. That’s who. All is lost if those guys go south, and they have. Can they make it right for the next four games?
5) The Rangers weren’t too happy with Village People and that Haley kid and that clown Konopka and all the rough stuff at the end of the game. Tortorella was having words with the Islanders’ bench, and Dubinsky was yapping at Village People Gillies from the bench. Yeah, well, you know what? Too bad. Don’t let it get to 6-1 and that stuff doesn’t happen. You know the Islanders play it rough and tumble when they’re ahead by a lot or behind by a lot. Don’t let them get ahead by a lot. I’ll say this about Haley: That kid’s going to be a legend on the Island for his mayhem against the Penguins, for beating the crap out of that piece of cooke Carcillo, and for bloodying Avery, even if Haley kind of jumped him. Also, I think this game last night and the one against the Penguins that got Mario all weepy, that will be the Islanders’ entire highlight film for 2010-11.
6) With all these passengers now, I wonder if the Rangers would be better off bringing up Kris Newbury and Dale Weise. It won’t happen, I don’t think, but they’re really getting zilch from Christensen, Wolski and now Zuccarello.
7) It’s a stretch to try to find a positive in a game like that. But I found one. I thought Bryan McCabe played his best defensive game as a Ranger.
8) That 5-on-3? Ooof. I understand that Gaborik was off the ice—the call was correct, it was a minor boarding penalty and nothing more—and McCabe was in the box, somehow, for trying to stop Konopka from skating halfway across the rink with his gloves off to get at Gaborik. So that’s two key PP guys unavailable. But Zuccarello was awful on the point, the Rangers lost a draw, the puck came out of the zone twice, and Christensen missed the net by half a county. None of that stuff can happen during a 5-on-3.
9) I asked this question last season, was asked it in the middle of this season, and I’ll ask it again now. Which group of young forwards would you rather have, the Islanders’ or the Rangers’?
10) This is in honor of our negative friend, Miami: That game was bush league. Or amateur hour. Take your pick.
11) I told Sam Rosen before Tortorella’s press conference, “I don’t think you’ll even have to ask a question tonight.” And I was right. I don’t blame Tortorella for the way that went. He was surely as angry as ever underneath, but he knew that this was not a time to run down his team publicly, in the media, on TV. That’s why he referenced the incident with Larry Brooks during Tampa Bay’s playoffs that became infamous on YouTube. It was the same situation. His team stunk it up, and it was not the right time to say what he really thought, so he decided to say nothing. And I think that was the absolute correct way to go on this night.
AP photo, above.