Happy Festivus, everyone!
Tonight, with the Flyers in town, we will air grievances and have feats of strength. Get the pole.
Kruger, you couldn’t smooth a silk sheet if you had a date with a hot babe …
“I lost my train of thought.”
1) I know that Brandon Dubinsky has been really up and down, mostly down, and that he hasn’t been able to stay with the second line for more than a few shifts here and there, and that even with that very Dubinsky-like goal, John Tortorella noted that he made one of those gasp-inducing plays afterward. But just imagine how much better this team could be if he actually steps up the offense a little bit.
2) After the goal, somebody cracked that Dubinsky can only play on a line with Stu Bickel and Martin Biron (who had the assists). I think it might have been a Festivus Miracle! How about Biron at 7-1? Great guy, great teammate. Good for him.
3) Stu Bickel. Assists in each of his first two NHL games, a fight against a really good fighter (and he sure did eat a few punches), then maybe a bit over-aggressive in taking the penalty. But the kid sure earned some points, didn’t he? Tortorella said he had no problem with the extra minor he got. Let’s see how long it lasts, but if he plays as he has, and as tough, it’s going to be difficult to get him out. The Rangers sure could use that edge on defense. As for the two-game point streak, 49 to go for the record.
4) Yeah, it wasn’t perfect. I thought the Rangers over-passed at times early—and that usually leads to trouble, almost as if it’s a sign of overlooking an opponent—and they sure got into a track meet at times. But when they played their game, down low, they dominated for stretches.
5) That there was some snarl in this game should make the Boxing Day rematch interesting Monday.
6) This wasn’t one for the highlight package for the Carl Hagelin-Brad Richards-Ryan Callahan line. Did Richards forget to take off his skate guards?
8) Michael Del Zotto=Beast. Not Bust. How many times did we hear this about Del Zotto: Trade him? Or Del Zaster? (we heard the second one enough where we now use it as a term of endearment).
9) Just like the first half of last year, the Rangers are scoring enough goals most nights. And their record when scoring three or more is 17-0-1. They’ll hit patches where they have to win 2-1 and 1-0, or lose. There will be times when they can’t buy one. But the way they score now, and the way they defend, makes a pretty complete package.
10) I’ve really lost interest in this Winter Classic thing. Play the damn game, already.
11) Meant to say this yesterday about “24/7” Come on, are we really supposed to believe that Brandon Prust and Brian Boyle took a nap with the HBO cameras and camera men in their hotel room, and that Boyle, knowing that the camera men and cameras were in the room, slept naked? I thought the whole second episode strayed far too far away from the behind-the-scenes hockey stuff. Especially because the lockerroom-bench-ice mics and cameras have given us unbelievable stuff.
12) News: NHL cracking down on hits to head during concussion epidemic. News: Pittsburgh’s goon Deryk Engelland gets three games for hit to the head of Marcus Kruger (Festivus name!). Views: Give me a break. Three games? What a joke.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Martin Biron.
2) Michael Del Zotto.
3) Ryan McDonagh.
AP photos, above.