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Rangers-Panthers in review

Posted By On December 31, 2011 @ 5:03 am In Hockey,New York Rangers,NHL | 89 Comments


This is what’s special about this team.

The most hyped game they have played in years, if not decades, coming up next, a bad loss in the game previous. I know some of you guys worried about this being a trap game during the live chat yesterday and we talked briefly about how this team doesn’t let stuff like that get in the way. They’re all business.

They might have a losing streak at some point. They probably will. They almost certainly will. But they sure have been great at not letting a loss turn into another one and another one. Or at letting a potential distraction become one.

Pretty special.

Thoughts: [2]

1) When they talk about moving your feet, using your legs, they should show video of Carl Hagelin. Because not just fast guys can do what he did on the first goal … which was to move the puck and drive up ice and directly to the net. Even slower guys can do that. And not enough do. Using one’s speed is a matter of skating hard when you don’t have the puck. Hagelin gets that. As I said last week or the week before, get that No. 62 off the kid’s back and give him a real number. Maybe the No. 12 he wore in college. Or 16?

2) You could see Brad Richards skating better even before the early goal … also, he’s got a great wrist shot and the reason he missed the net a lot is that he picks corners. He sure did on the goal. That 3-0 could have been more in the first period.

3) I like the way Henrik Lundqvist stared down the goal judge after the light went on on the shot that hit the crossbar. At least twice after video review, he glared back and shook his head. Actually, with every goal being reviewed in Toronto, goal judges are pretty much like pay phones. Obsolete.  And I’m not sure Lundqvist deserved the hat (I usually disagree with the choice) but even in a game the Rangers dominated, Lundqvist was extraordinary.

4) If Brandon Dubinsky is really finding his game — and I’ve been thinking he is for a while — that would be like getting a 20-goal scorer in a trade at this stage of the season.

[3]5) I’m really liking the de-pansification of the game lately. The referees seem to have made the adjustment from the ridiculous way they were calling games earlier in the season.

6) Michael Del Zotto did rake Tomas Kopecky’s hat off, and maybe even caught him in the mug with his stick, but that sucker punch is unacceptable and could bring a suspension. Though I don’t understand any more what is and isn’t a suspension in the new NHL HQ. Mike Rupp could also get spanked for jumping Kopecky, though, as John Tortorella said, he got what he deserved. Given that beat-down and the Bahama Bomba’s elbow earlier in the year, I expect Thursday’s rematch to be frisky.

7) Del Zaster was darn good again, wasn’t he?

8) Interesting play there, after the icing, with the Rangers already having burned their timeout. To buy a few extra seconds, Richards let Ruslan Fedotenko line up for the D-zone draw and purposely get thrown out, then Richards ambled over and took the draw. Clever. Must not have been drawn up by the coach.

9) I don’t even know what to say about Sean Avery anymore … except there was more to the Buffalo incident than has been reported — I don’t know why more wasn’t reported — and apparently that was the last straw. Because I thought he should have played in those divisional games, and he didn’t get a sniff. Though had he played and been a factor in those games, it would have been a lot more difficult to get rid of him, and the reaction to him being waived again would have been more loud and angry than it was.

10) To honor the Flyers hosting the Winter Classic, the Giants will be wearing Flyers jerseys against the Cowboys Sunday night. Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and Brandon Jacobs are going to wear the nameplates “GIROUX,” “JAGR” and “HARTNELL” on their backs. Rudy Giuliani and Spike Lee are going to wear Flyers hats. And MetLife Stadium is going to be called The Spectrum for one night.

11) Don’t forget, the Alumni game in Philly today has been changed to 3 p.m.



My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Carl Hagelin.
2) Henrik Lundqvist.
3) Ryan Callahan.


AP photos, above.






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[1] Image: http://dqmt5fo24ucpe.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/rupp-vs.-panthers.jpg

[2] Image: http://dqmt5fo24ucpe.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/hagelin-scores-vs.-panthers.jpg

[3] Image: http://dqmt5fo24ucpe.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/panthers-into-bench.jpg