Rangers-Panthers in review


For all the complaining we (I) did about the outdoor game, it was a downer going back indoors, especially at the World’s Quietest Arena. What a shame. Could you imagine a first-place team in the middle of a season in the 1970s or ’80s and the kind of intimidation MSG would throw at an opponent?

Granted, you can never expect the Sunrise Panthers to bring out the same kind of emotion as the Philthy Flys, and the Garden was of pretty good voice when the Flys and the Penguins last visited. So that had something to do with it. Obviously.

But ya boys just keep on truckin’. They don’t care how it gets done, from ahead, from behind, in regulation, in OT — I imagine they’d do it in one of those breakaway contests they sometimes hold after hockey games end. Whatever it takes. They keep on winning. Three in a row now. Eight of nine. First in the Patrick Division. First in the Least. First overall. Maybe that’s why Bill Clinton was there. Presidents’ Trophy?

Just don’t mention this stuff to John Tortorella. Because he’s too smart to get caught up in all of that hype. He’s too worried about Pittsburgh tonight. And what lies ahead for a team still getting near full strength, but a young team that has never been in this atmosphere before. So we’ll see.


1) President Clinton got a nice hand, and why shouldn’t he? I don’t think it was necessarily that things were a lot better in this country when he was in office than they are now, and I’m not getting all political … just, it was a better economic time in the U.S. of A. But remember he won his nomination at MSG in ’92 and kind of adopted it as a special place. And then he had the honor of hosting the 1994 Stanley Cup champions at the White House, which was pretty cool.

2) John Tortorella might have to deal with NBC again, LOL. If the Rangers are still first in the East on Monday, he’ll be one of the co-coaches of one of the all-star teams in Ottawa. The coaches from the defending champs (Boston) get one team, and the coaches of the top teams in each conference on Monday are co-coaches of the other.

3) Ruslan Fedotenko was sure strong all night long, and it was interesting to hear Tortorella say that he didn’t like the way Fedotenko played previously on that fourth line, where John Mitchell has taken over at center; and that Fedotenko sure better play that way because Wojtek Wolski’s waiting to take his spot.

4) That boarding penalty against Fedotenko, though? Really? That’s boarding? Pansification returns.

5) The two goals Martin Biron gave up weren’t so great, but you have to give him the benefit on the first, a clean 2-on-1 pass that got by Marc Staal for an open wrister under the crossbar. The second one, he admitted he was cheating for the pass. Otherwise he was pretty solid again.

6) That said, he’s now started four of the last nine games. I don’t think the plan has changed — which means Henrik Lundqvist getting somewhere around 62, and Biron the other 20 or so. After Lundqvist plays tonight, we’ll be two games from the halfway point of the season, and Biron will have 10 starts, or right on pace. I wonder, though, if Biron will continue to start more frequently so that Lundqvist is ready to play almost all the games in the homestretch … that’s what I would do.

7) After Mike Rupp whiffed on that open net, I thought, maybe he can’t score indoors. Seriously, he got  a lot done.

8) The polite applause for Marc Staal’s first shift at the Garden this season was underwhelming. I mean, it’s not like he’s as important as a guy like Sean Avery, who got a much bigger ovation when he made his Garden debut. Makes no sense whatsoever … other than a lot more tickets now go to non-diehards who can afford them. And that you can’t understand the Avery-worshippers unless you are one.

9) Staal did look out of sorts a bit, and he will for a while, and he’s going to have to earn his minutes. But he’s sure happy to be back on the ice.

 10) Is everybody in the East playing to be the runnerup to Boston? Will the Bruins go undefeated the rest of the way? Holy shishkebob.

11) IMO, Artem Anisimov really needs to start putting more pucks on goal, because he sure seems to have it on his stick in position to fire an awful lot, and doesn’t pull the trigger (pun intended). I know he’s played well in other areas, and all of that. But in the end, 14-16  goals from the first-line left wing isn’t going to cut it.

12) The first power play chance was awful. More standing around. It’s been happening all season, whenever the PP struggled. The guys without the puck are standing still. And I thought it got a bit better as it went on last night, though at times the puck stayed up high and forwards drifted toward the points, and so the puck never got to the front. But it did get better, even if marginally.

13) OK, maybe Marian Gaborik wasn’t great start to finish, and his line sure wasn’t fabulous. But the GAS line got it done when it matters, and  Gaborik was dangerous all night. He’s got 23 now. One more than last season.

14) Much, much better game by Brad Richards, and his linemates were very strong again. We may have not imagined Richards would not play with Gaborik, and we sure didn’t imagine Brandon Dubinsky not playing with Ryan Callahan. The latter two are back together, with Richards in the middle, and it’s working.


My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Marian Gaborik.
2) Dan Girardi.
3) Ryan Callahan.


Photo credits: Gaborik, Rupp (Getty Images); Callahan/Richards (AP).


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  1. Hartnell represents Philly well. Kinda like how Ahmadinejad represents Iran. One wears ugly khaki, the other wears hideous orange. But both represent s***hole places, so good on Hartnell.

  2. Hartnell is one of those players who everyone hates because he’s good and he plays close to (or over) the line but his teammates and Philthy fans love.
    I managed to find 24/7 online and watched all of ep1 and 40 mins of ep3 – that Sestito guy managed to come across as a real a$$ didnt he? good comeback by Richie, shame it wasnt followed by Pruster beating him to a pulp.

  3. bull dog line on

    its my job to criticize AA, not yours. AA has gone back to being invisible for long stretches. he is the weak link on the GAS line.

  4. Good morning Cool aide drinkers..
    For someone who wants Avery gone, you sure bring him up a lot Carp. Speaking of which, not sure why HBO thought he should get one last face. shot.

  5. I agree that AA disappears a lot – is it his age or is it just him?

    Also, I think Mr Dubinsky needs shooting practice, maybe get some tips from Brad Richards – does he ever shoot anywhere but the center of the net (ie the goalie’s mid-section)? There’s more than 1 reason he’s on pace for a 6 goal season…

  6. And speaking of stone hands, OMG, BB’s right up there with the best/worse in the league, IMO.

  7. Stepan had been pretty quiet too for a while until last night. 0 points in the previous 4 games, 1 goal in the last 10 and much of his production is highly linked to Gaborik. He’s got 1 more goal on the season than Anisimov, despite getting at least 1.5 mins of PP time per game and nearly twice as much cumulative time on the PP so far this year.

  8. CTB: True – gotta say there are some worrisome offensive trends happening right now.

    Hopefully, it’s nothing that these guys won’t work through but sometimes (maybe it’s because I’ve been a Ranger fan for 45+ years) I cannot help but wonder when it’s all gonna come crashing down…

  9. “I keep tabs so I know who is making it and who is faking it, or just not capable of contributing at this level, but my numbers really don?t tell me WHY a player is under-achieving. Might be physical problems he is playing through; might be he?s a lazy-ass; might be his wife beats him up at home all the time, or a divorce is on the table, etc. Might be he is homesick for Europe, Sweden, Russia, or wherever?”

    I’m sorry I didn’t stay awake long enough for this pearl of wisdom last night. Good job we have such objective analysis of Eurostinko’s faking and quitting from RR contributors from North America, Mexico, Cuba or wherever.

    Mentioned this last night, but the Penguins will have been off for *six* days going into tonights game. Seems fair…

  10. Let’s be charitable, Dubi might hit double digit in goals with his mini-surge from the last couple of weeks.

    His shots/game average is a bit off from his career average and his shooting percentage is nearly half of his career average (and down substantially from his back to back 20 goal seasons).

  11. Jim,

    The Rangers have benefitted from a couple of things being in their favor throughout most of the season, high even strength save percentage from Lundqvist and Biron and high shooting percentage from their shooters (Richards benefitting hugely from a decent spike above his career shooting %). A lot of stat geeks were claiming they were a smoke and mirrors team because of that, along with consistently negative shot generation/shot suppression differentials. The most obvious case of regression hitting a team in these areas is Minnesota.

    The Rangers have improved this over the course of the season and particularly in a game such as last night where it looked like they could be headed to a loss in a game where they did fairly well in dominating puck possession.

  12. True Blue Mike on


    Just saying. From the get go I was saying i dont think Rich ends up playing with Gabby. I also said that Gaborik doesnt need a Brad Richards centermen to score 40 goals. He did it with Erik Christensen. He just had an injury plagued season last year. Im glad it has gone this way to. Rich is so dam clutch though. Much more than Captain, urr i mean Chris Drury.

  13. Carp, MSG is actually “The World’s Most Quiet Arena”…let’s get these things straight. Unfortunately, you may be right about the tickets. If you can afford the big bucks for the honor to sit near our most esteemed former President, you may not be screaming your lungs out after every solid penalty kill or a bad call & that’s a shame.

  14. Nice win for our boys. That second goal they gave up was garbage. Shouldn’t have happened. Good job to come back and win it in OT. How weird is it to not see this team in a skillz contest night after night after night?

    As far as 24/7 is concerned: I thought that Torts came across GREAT in the final episode. As did the entire Ranger team. HBO really made a story line out of Rupper doing the Jagr salute. Seems like, according to HBO it really took the Phlyers off their game. How about Rupper showing some locker room leadership, eh?

    Peter Lavi-eau-de-toilette really coaches from a place of panic, eh? Telling his team to change the way they play halfway through the third period? That was a weird strategy. Also he said to get traffic in front of Lundqvist. Is that how you beat Hank? I don’t really think so.

    Hartnell is a really fun player who looks kind of like Sammy Hagar and is really easy to hate/love at the same time. How cool was Simmonds getting his finger lanced and ducking his head into his jersey? Ewwwwwww blood!

  15. Oh and…yea…that boarding call was absolute pansification. Come on! Now Fedotenko has like 8PIM all season!

  16. Good morning, boneheads!

    Great review, Carp!

    This team is something. Florida came to MSG after two embarrassing losses to the Rangers, including the physical beat down last time. They knew they couldn’t achieve what they promised to- “take care of Rupp”. So their only motivation was to come out strong and win decisively. And they did come out strong against the team that appeared flat and disengaged after WC. But after around 13 min into first period Boyle won two physical battles to the puck at near boards, and Dubinsky/Richards/Callahan line followed immediately with similar physical effort, I turned to my son and said: “That’s it, they woke up”. Right behind us was sitting a young couple of Florida fans, wearing their jerseys. From then on, all they could say, most of the time, was disappointing “Oh, c’mon!” As in, clear the puck, get something going etc. I thought the Rangers dominated most of the game, at times it looked like men against boys. They should’ve won in regulation, but no complaints here.

    Gaborik’s GW shot happened right in front of us. He was just to the right from our view, and the net was to the left. It appeared like his stick was still fully bent and you could already see the net bulging from puck hitting it. Clemmensen had as much chances of stopping it seeing all the way or having his eyes closed. Long live healthy shoulder.

    It’ll be awfully tough to get Stralman to sit, won’t it?

  17. CTB: I hope you’re right. And I hear you about Minny, but Minny doesn’t have anyone with the skillset of Gabbie or Richards so they were indeed playing over their heads.

    What we (I) need to remember is that the bulk of this team is young and that includes at one point 3 of the top 6 forwards (AA, Stepan and Hagelin) and as we all know, the ups and downs tend to more pronounced with them vs veterans.

    I stand by my belief that Sather should be working the phone lines for another offensive winger to place alongside Richards. Dubi on the 3rd line doesn’t hurt this team.

    And for the record, I’m not an advocate of trading Dubi – his physical play along the boards and ability to move the puck is the best on the team. He’s frustrating at times tho because those attributes hints at true power forward abilities, but those hands of his are killers. Time and time again (lately anyways) he creates wonderful opportunities only to either fire the puck into the goalie’s chest or blow altogether a pass attempt.

    Last night he did both on a single shift (might have been the 2nd period). He worked the boards magnificently to the point where he was able to bull his way to the slot, only to fire the puck into Clemmeson’s gut. I cannot recall if a FO subsequently occurred but 30 seconds later, after the puck came out of Florida’s zone, a Panther turn-over suddenly created what looked like a 3 on 1 (hard to tell for sure because of the camera angle). He grabbed the puck outside the blueline alongside the boards and he carried it over with Richards to his right and Cally was on the far side, starting to go wider (which of course, is the right thing to do).

    The Florida d-man scrambled to get inbetween Dubi and Richards and what did Dubi do? Passed the puck right into the d-man’s feet. That was the end of that.

    I’ve seen this too much and he’s been around too long for me to wonder if it’s simply a confidence thing. IMO, it isn’t. It’s skill (limitation thing).

    All that said, I’ve been wrong before!

  18. Amen, ilb – I was having that conversation with my *wife* last night about what you do when/if Sauer is back. Bickel and Strahlman really bring good stuff to the game. You know what I say, Dress *7* D-Men!

    How cool was Torts’ speech to Strahlman in 24/7?

  19. LW3H- since you seemingly ran out of crayons, go watch some cartoons instead…Unless someone else directs you to an even less intellectual endeavor. And I’m sure it’s coming, lol….

    Haven’t watched 24/7 yet, can’t say much…

    We are complaining about AA and Stepan too now?

  20. Also – When Peter Lavi-eau-de-toilette was saying “you have to win the one-on-one battles against this team” before the winter classic I laughed. And ilb pointed it out above. Man this team wins those battles and gets motivated and then wins. Boyle is a big part of it.

    Remember when Torts yelled at Boyle in every single episode of 24/7 during video review?

  21. Let me tell you what I feel about “working the phones”. Sather should. But very, very carefully. I still do not think this is our year. Is it possible? Sure. But they need to mature more, and, perhaps, lose one more tough (CF?) match up. The goal should be to preserve the core. Having said that, I believe they can afford to lose 1st rounder (probably mid/upper 20th spot) next June. And that itself can bring some reasonable help.

  22. Another solid win last night. The old Rangers would have lost that game after dominating play and outshooting their opponent all night yet being tied late. This team is different! They find ways to win no matter the scenario and most importantly get contributions from all 19 guys dressed. And by contribution, it doesn’t have to appear on the scoresheet to contribute. Even though, they didn’t cash one in, the Rupp-Prust-Mitchell line was their best line in the 1st period generating chances, forechecking, creating momentum. BB, who is frustrated for not scoring, plays a really solid physical game all the time and should focus on that and the puck will eventually go in. For those worrying about the offense, they are still top 10 in the NHL in Goals For.

  23. As for 24/7 last night, I watched it when I came home from MSG last night and it was one of the best of the 8 they’ve done so far. If you are willing to understand they are trying to cover everything about 2 teams (that includes game days, practices, team bonding on road, family life, locker room bonding throughout the season, coaches, organizational stuff) then I think they did a great job trying to get all that into the episode. Without getting into specifics because I don’t know who saw and didn’t it yet, but HBO really does a great job with this stuff. As for those that want more, it’s only 4 hours of TV with 2 teams to cover (Hard Knocks for example is just one team)

  24. I know from those clips it looks like Boyle’s being ragged on by Torts but i think its just good man management. Boyler strikes me as a bit of a goofball, fun locker room guy, who sometimes needs the coach to drop an f-bomb on him and call him out to remind him to get on with the dirty work – unlike maybe Captain Cally who is naturally self-critical and doesnt need the same motivation.
    Either that or Torts knows Boyle can take it and uses him to scare the youngsters?

    Torts has gone up in my estimations from what i’ve seen so far and i’m looking forward to finding the complete ep2 and ep4 on the web somewhere.

  25. Agreed, UK. You won’t find a person around here who loves Torts and his style of coaching and “everything, that whole thing” more than me!

  26. I’m not complaining about Stepan per se, but if we’re going to take Anisimov to task for slumping (and he can play better), Stepan shouldn’t be immune to criticism as well. Stepan has tended to be placed in more favorable situations and his production reflects that, he has 7 PP points to Artie’s 2.

    I’m on the record as saying they’re both solid young players that have good careers ahead of them and I’m more than glad they’re both playing for the Rangers right now.

  27. I know, CTB, I was kidding, I know exactly what you meant. They should both be in team’s future plans…

    So Calgary lost 9-0 to Boston last night? And not a single fight? Interesting. Is Iginla sitting in Feaster’s office as we speak asking for a trade?

  28. Thanks, NYR – Vibin’!

    I was really proud of that one. I actually worked on a nickname for 30 minutes. With pad and pen. Definitely not my finest moment.

    Definitely *DO NOT* Fire Torts!

  29. Iginla or Selanne? Hmmm….I bet you both of them are thinking about moving out of town for a chance at the Cup…

  30. While the team continues to find different ways to win and is the BE(A)ST in the east, the complaints just sound like “I dont like Marisa Miller when she wears anything other than swimwear”….

    “Peter Lavi-eau-de-toilette” – f**kin love it!! Any other funny Flyer names?
    James van Rimjob?

  31. Carp,

    I too had, long wondered about Rupp. But these last few games, I think I’ve seen enough to change my tune.

    Ready to carpitulate?

  32. How about instead of “Danny Briere” we call him “Danny who’s wife left him alone to raise three kids and despite how lovable that story should be we still hate him”?


  33. stranger nation on

    Not as sold on Stralman as others. Weak in the 1on1 battles and has trouble positioning with a man near the cage. For a supposedly offensive defense man, it was his first goal in almost a year? I would give that goal to Jovanowski on the deflection. Smart to shoot on net, but physical play of boyle and feds was more impressive on that play than his shot.

    Take away the points on secondary assists and you have a good clearing defense man who has trouble in the corners. I would give MDZ a classic stay at home D man (Sauer or Bickel). both of those guys have proved they can move the puck out of the zone as well as bang.

    Who do you want playing against the Bruins with MDZ? Prust saying…

  34. stranger nation on

    Selanne is a even +/- player (even though that stat doesn’t mean anything) on a team that is -40 on goal differential with their starting center, Getzlaf at -19. Problem is he plays right wing where we have Gabby and Cally on first two lines. Same issue for Iginla.

    Can Gabby move to LW? His production is more impressive when considering his line mates – who are emerging, but definitely still learning.

    Need LW for line 1 (sorry Artie or maybe sorry Dubi), how about Erik Cole from Habs? Looking top 30 LWs in production he may be most ‘gettable’

  35. Just finished 24/7 episode 4 this morning. it was great. Scott hartnell is an enormous douche! Best part of the episode was a glimpse of Stepan’s girlfriend Stephanie. She is a goddess..

    Oh, another great win for the boys last night.

    flyers hanging their heads in shame after the winter classic? PRICELESS!!


  36. I’m still a fan of the nickname “Fartsmell” but since he’s actually embraced it it’s just not quite as much fun.

  37. I don’t really know how you can dislike Hartnell as a person. He looks like Sammy Hagar mated with a Pirate/Viking.

  38. Manny, I dislike Hartnell very, very much. He’s a clown and thinks he’s good at hockey. The worst!

  39. Well, NYR I was being sarcastic. He’s a punk on the ice and hearing him try to organize a line brawl during the Winter Classic was kind of ridiculous.

  40. Did you hear what Rupper said to the media when asked about the Jagr salute, NYR? It was absolutely HILARIOUS. He said:

    “Oh is that his thing? Yea, I don’t know. I have just been doing that since I was a little kid.”

  41. stranger nation on

    Don’t want Cole, but he is most gettable. Put name out for consideration.

    Best possible alternative is Kreider coming out and playing gangbusters.

    Dubi will forever be the big tease. Very low hockey IQ IMO, but very hot girlfriend.

    24/7 showed the difference playing in NY and Philly – the talent on and off the ice!

  42. Biron has a bad habit. It’s one that Lundqvist finally broke himself of some time ago. He likes to stand out away from the corner goal post and dropping to his knees loooong before the shooter comes in view. If he’d only stood up straight and covered that corner post he’d have had a shut out. There was at least a foot of open space on both those goals against him. Somebody had best get him to work on this.

  43. kreider coming out and playing gang busters would absolutely be the best. then DUbi and or kreider can be on the “3rd line” and then you have a legit stable of about 10 forwards who have the skill/ability to score 20+ goals.

    this team is 2 good not great forwards away from the cup… Not 40 goal scorers but legit 20 + goal scorers. too bad Boyle is not 1……….last year for Boyle was lucky.. he is a 10 goal plumber…..

  44. I, for one, was somewhat let down by the final 24/7 episode. For one thing, it was true to it’s name “The ROAD to the Winter Classic”. As much as I was interested in the fianl days to the actual game, I kept looking at the clock wondering how much time they would give to reflecting on what the whole build up is all about THE GAME (considering the game itself has so many vivid story lines itself to cover). I was hoping for half the show and what we got was less than 20 minutes. In the first 40 minutes – Too much of Talbot’s return to Pittsburgh (although I would have liked more stuff on Jagr’s from a human interest perspective), No mention of the Alumni game, which is interesting since that was a wonderful addition to this year’s event. I just wonder if they even considered including some aspect at all considering the great hockey history that was all around that weekend.
    So now we get to the game that lived upo to the hype in all ways possible. First off, Laviolette has sounded in his locker room speeches like Kevin Nealon in Happy Gilmore. Torts backs up his sticking to the game plan mantra by being consistent and forceful in all areas of his communication with the team be it film session, pre-game, between period and post-game speeches. I thought they did a good job with the game through the first 55 minutes but kept thinking throughout how are they going to deal with the craziness of the last 5. I thought they blew it. They had a chance to really bring to light the aspects of hickey that were revealed in that time frame – the role of the referees in a lightning fast game considering the controversial calls, the explanation and place of the penalty shot in the game) but NOTHING. You don’t think that the NHL had any influence in what got aired? (trying to stay away from a fine here). Not taking anything away from the intense inside view If HBO really did have free rein they missed a great chance to really show the game (guess that’s not part of the strategy) for what it is which would have made this an exceptional documentary instead of the great reality show it wound up being.

  45. I hate totake all the credit but I think its me. I go to a game & then we win.
    maybe youse guys should chip in & buy me & tiny tony season tickets – just sayin’

  46. “Laviolette has sounded in his locker room speeches like Kevin Nealon in Happy Gilmore.”

    “You’re giving Lavy too much credit ;)

  47. billybleedsblue on

    Lav-toilet-water-let — very funny (i’m not typing French today, sorry)
    The long Briere nickname — Mean, but funny, because (obviously) you’re taking the piss with how verbose it (the nickname) is.

    So, thanks for the laughs; keep them coming and I will continue to remind myself that drinking coffee and reading RR are two completely separate activities.

    Rupper for President. And, Kathryn Tappen.

  48. Yea that Briere name was mean. He is kind of a quiet little dirty player though. He also looks like he is maybe 14.

  49. Hey Carp,
    Maybe you can whisper to the MSG folks to show some of those now classic highlights (tons of options) from 24/7. Beats seeing the guy from Network or Coach Hackman from Hooisers.

    How great to see a clip of Torts or even Cally firing up the team. How about watching Hank stop Briere in slo-mo again.

    That will surely get the crowd going.

    All that being said, and as you have mentioned before with the new alignment…we could be in store for many more nights like this next year and beyond as it relates to the crowd. Way too many dud games playing some of those weak western conf teams.

    Things could also flip the other way though, as these dud games are more affordable for diehards. I have seasons in the 300s and obviously can not make it to every game. I gladly eat a few bucks to unload a game like last night…so maybe the diehards looking for reasonable seats should hit Stubhub (can’t sell below face on TicketExchange) and get some juice back in the building when we play the BlueJackets, Jets, and Preds.

  50. Doodie Machetto on

    For some reason, Rangers have this huge home/road PP % disparity. At home, they are in a three way tie for seventh in the league at 20.6. On the road, they are second to last at 10.1. I don’t understand it, at all.

  51. Kidding! He’s actually a great goal scorer…but he doesn’t back up his cheap shots!!

    “….typical of most French guys in our league with a visor on, running around and playing tough and not back anything up.” Sean Avery

  52. That second goal was a combination of a great shot and a terrible screen from MDZ on Biron. I thought the first goal was the weaker of the two and should have been stopped.

  53. I’m not sold on this team just yet. Definitely making the playoffs, but in regards to winning a round or two I’m just not sure they are ready yet. Are they playing well and finding ways to win? Yes. They are exciting to watch and play a very physical game. Torts is doing an amazing job coaching and should win the Jack Adams. I just think they’ll cool off. And when they get into the postseason, I’m not sure they have what it takes to go deep into the playoffs.

    This could also be because being a Rangers fan, I’m always used to them underachieving, and if anything this team is overachieving so by default I don’t think it can last. But when I look at the lineup and see who we have out there (Mitchell, Bickel, Stralman, etc.), I don’t see how we have the experience or skill to go that deep into the playoffs.

    I hope I’m wrong, but we’ll see.

  54. Speaking of Mitchell – who taught this kid how to dress? Is he doing all that styling on purpose or is he just a bumpkin?

  55. The Empire State Building is lit blue and red for the Giants… they forgot the orange half for the Flyers…

  56. I’d imagine one of Bickel and Stralman get Whaled when/if Sauer returns. Despite having a good first few games in the NHL, Bickel looked very much like a career AHL player last night. I understand he adds some grit to the blueline, but he’s pretty slow and I’ve been less than impressed with his decisions with the puck in his own end. A top 4 consisting mostly of Girardi, McDonagh, Del Zotto and Staal (as he returns to form) isn’t half bad. This isn’t necessarily a ringing endorsemnt of Stralman, but he’s at least an NHL caliber skater whereas I have my doubts as to whether Bickel actually is.

    I think tonight is another good test to see how the team measures up. Even without Crosby the Pens still have a strong team. The ultimate test will be in how they match up against Boston. Otherwise, based on what we’ve seen against the other supposed contenders in the East, the Rangers have shown they can play with anyone thus far.

  57. Regarding the 24/7, I can’t believe that no one even mentioned the fact that the Flys didn’t want to shake hands with the Rangers. It’s tradition. At first I thought NBC did a great broadcasting job, if you know what I mean, but then I saw 24/7 and it was clear what happened. That piece of carcillo Hartnel said, “f this let’s get out of here. That was really something. Man up, you lost a game, but don’t be a complete loser, and Flys showed me what a “class” team should be. Then again their coach showed “class” in Dallas.

  58. Once again, you guys are completely out of your mind.

    But, it’s ok … I’ll keep coming back here to remind you of how completely and utterly inadequate this team will prove to be, beginning tonight.

    These clowns are just hiding underneath a veil of weakness and amateur-hour talent. They’ll soon show their true colors and start losing games by 4 or 5 goals … while going on 9-10 game winless streaks.

    Mark my words. Bush-league is near and it’s arriving soon.

  59. that game had all the markings of a boring, dull, lethargic loss. but somehow our blueshirts pulled through again, and Mr. Gaborik continues to be a pleasure to watch.

  60. Mike, I think it was Callahan who didn’t want to shake hands because Hartnell was being a jackwagon and swinging his stick after time ran out…also, I think Torts agreed….

    The Flyers were waiting to shake hands and Hartnell said what he said when he noticed the Rangers weren’t going to shake hands….am I wrong?

  61. NYR_FAN, I could be wrong, but I thought it was Hartnells voice. Girardi said, “Let’s go shake their hands”, and then the camera showed the Flys and Hartnell.

  62. Also, my friends brought up an interesting point. Is the hand shaking mandated by the NHL or do the players decide? If it’s mandated the teams could be fined?

  63. back home, watched the game last night as soon as arrived from the airport. flying back overseas tonight…..LGR.

  64. Lousy news on trade front. Prices are thru the roof!

    That indicates rental rather than blockbuster, at least as of now.

    Rangers are +32 in goal differential. Sounds good, but….

    considering they’re played 38 games and won 25 of them, not so much really.

    Boston? +69.

  65. Rod, Boston has had 2 games which theyve won 9-0 and 8-0…..that’ll help the goal differential.

  66. The Caps and Penguins didn’t shake hands last year. It’s a regular season game so I have no problem with it. Shake hands in the playoffs, unless you are Fatso that is.

  67. Rod – 25 wins in 38 games is 54 in 82. That’s pretty damn good. 108 points not including OTL/SOL.

  68. True Lev. They had another 8+ goal game a while back too. Scary.

    Though I remember completely shutting down the same team in their building last year, 1-0.

    Then storming back from 0-3 to win @ the Garden.

    Guess we’ll see how it goes head-to-head the 21st.

  69. The Bruins are the team to beat, in my opinion. A team built for post season success that has figured out how to succeed in the regular season. They could easily three-peat.

  70. Unless you mean the fact that the goal differential is only +32, but that’s pretty damn good and well above average. Puts them 4th in the league.

    Also the Rangers had some bad losses to Montreal and other teams. When Boston had their losing streak early on, they weren’t losing games by much either. Differential also doesn’t take into account strength of schedule. They scored 9 on an AHL goalie who was playing in his 4th NHL game and a team that lost four straight and probably isn’t making the playoffs.

    Boston is definitely a better team, but the Rangers aren’t that far behind.

  71. how about the flyers planning out what kind of celebration they were gonna do “when” they scored…

  72. That was hilarious, Hank. Those guys are so weird. Planning line brawls… ” who’s got Boyle?”

  73. Manny – If and when Lavy sees that, he should be really annoyed with his team. I think it showed a complete lack of focus on the ice. It’s one thing to chirp with your opponent and another to be worrying about goal celebrations during play. They showed a total overconfidence there and it came back to haunt them.

  74. Oh absolutely, HWirth. Rupper totally got them off their game, became a focus and must have made them NUTS when he scored again. How’s that for veteran leadership and showing up in a big spot. As Peter Lavi-eau-de-toilette said to his team, “it’s only a good memory if you win.” They were so distracted and so ridiculously cocky for no reason. I also enjoyed the panicked coaching style of changing your team strategy with 1 period to go because you’re now down a goal.

  75. I’m not comparing their goals differential and their +32 to wins and overall points.

    32 extra goals in 25 wins, when you need 25 extra goals just to attain those wins,
    is only 7 goals over the minimum, is it not?

    That’s what I see in that number, offensive weakness.

  76. i think the flyers more so then the rangers were a little more worried about being mic’d up and having the camera’s around.. Almost like they were trying to show off for the camera’s.. i.e bryzgolov and i’ll go on record and say giroux(sp.) got a little caught up in it as well.. I just think that when your a team from NYC and ur around the media as much as these guys are, you can handle these types of situations a little more professionally.

  77. It sort of bugs me that Prust said he “didn’t beat the fugg out of him [Kopecky] because he didn’t want to be suspended and miss the WC. I sort of get it, but it still bugs me a little. Ruppelstiltskin didn’t even consider that when he grabbed him from the refs.

    “Hartnell is what people wish Avery could be”


    He might be playing with two great players, but he has 18 goals. You have to have some talent to put the puck in the back of the net.

    And shouldn’t the Empire State Building be lit red & black??

  78. Manny – I think Lavy’s biggest problem is the one guy that’s always playing to win for his team is Hartnell and that Lavy had to keep pointing it out during the game, in fact for most of 24/7 says something about that team’s bench and heart. I think they are talented but I don’t think they have the same heart as we do.

  79. >>…I can’t believe that no one even mentioned the fact that the Flys didn’t want to shake
    >>hands with the Rangers.

    I don’t believe Pittsburgh shook hands last year either. Teams from Pennsylvania must be germaphobes or something. Frankly, I don’t see why they should shake hands. When all is said and done, it’s just another regular season match.

  80. That’s right HWirth – As Lavi-eau-de-toilette said, “you beat this team by winning the on-on-one battles.” That made me chuckle because those guys will never win the on-on-one battles against a team with balls a big as the building like the Rangers.

  81. I don’t think they were planning brawl pairings, just who would cover whom on the face-off.

  82. LOL! Yeah, Lav’s idea of coaching is tell his players to more like “Hartsie”. He came across as a big dope the entire series….

    Worst coach on 24/7 in the last 2 years, easily!

  83. And I agree with Orr about Hartnell. You hate him when he’s your opponent and would love him if he was in your locker room. Guy plays hard and backs it up unlike someone who was more interested in free OJ and Wifi for his Ipad.

  84. NYR_FAN – I disagree with you about that. They should be more like Hartnell. Guy was credited with what 13 hits in the game. He plays hard, hits and has offensive ability. As for the talking and such, again you’d love it if he’s on your team and contributing. Plus, Hartnell is not just some big mouth instigator. He’s 2 goals away from his 6th 20 goal season.

  85. I hate Hartnell, hate his stupid hair and especially the team that he plays on. But he’s exactly what you want from a player in his role.

  86. HW – Telling your players to play like someone is bad coaching.

    Lav has no motivation techniques, unlike Torts. I noticed how Torts handles himself and everyone respects and closely listens to what he is saying….

    Hartnell is a piece of carcillo. He’s a good player but he would not fit on the Rangers…no way…

    He plays with a legend of the game and, arguably, the best player in the League…I think Dubinsky would have better numbers on that line….

  87. I don’t know, NYR – it is pretty hard to look worse, or less respectable than Brucey B.

  88. >>“Is the OJ unlimited? I mean, are there free refills on the Orange Juice?”

    I thought that was hilarious. I also laughed when Prust told him he had wonderful eyes.

  89. Yea that was hilarious. “What are you trying to hide?”

    Man…Pruster is hilarious and Avery looked like a complete Weirdo in that scene.

  90. Notice how after Torts talks with the team, they all sound enthusiastic, but every time Laviolette talks with them, they sound like they have something better to do.

    Fire Torts!

    I said it last night, and I’ll say it again, I thought Torts looked great on 24/7. I like Tortles!

  91. I don’t know how I felt about Lavoillette from what we saw.
    Seems like a pretty honest if unspectacular coach.

    Thing that struck me is they’re a team in some turmoil.

    Their low-life players aside, their best player is concussed, they have a mercurial all-time great who’s fragile, and a lunatic for a goalie.

    So PL has his hands full. Tough nuggies! LOL.

  92. For the record- I think being weird is funny. Not down on Avery for his awesome awkward persona there.

  93. Torts definitely has better motivation techniques, but the real question is: Does he do @SRATEGY@ ?

  94. Another major difference was Lavi-eau-de-toilette talking to his players *individually* whereas Torts was talking to his players in public. Boyle looked genuinely upset every single time he was chewed out. He felt like he let his team down and I like how people are supportive of Boyle getting a talking to but at the same time are helping him improve. This is a TEAM.

  95. My point is that Torts makes it one big unit- When Strahlman or Boyle makes a silly play (or Del Zaster) the whole team is there to see it and support or critique the player. It’s not a mystery. Thus this team is a unit and one person’s failures is the team’s failues.

  96. Man, I can’t wait to go home and watch the last episode tonight. Kinda wish it could keep going!

  97. Dammit, me too, Sally….I haven’t seen it yet. Which reminds me, I’m going upstate tonight. Will be watching DVR’d game. So no texts, email etc…Yeah, you know who you are out there :-)

  98. The worst thing about 24/7 is seeing Jagr in that crud colored jersey, if he would have gone to any other team (except the Devils) it would’ve been easier on the eyes.
    Best Torts’ line: “No one gives you playoff bids on Dec 23rd” Talking about motivation and the right way of doing things.

  99. If you ask me who I’d like to play for NYR from Flyers, I’d say Simmonds and Coburn. In that order.

  100. Anybody see last night’s Under-20 Sweden-Russia game? Most one-sided performance I have seen in a final. SOG were something like 57-20. Besides the Russian goaltender they were a step or two behind the puck and really looked beat from the start.
    Sweden, to a man, was faster and way more confident with the puck. Incredibly mature. I guess if you haven’t won one of these things before you don’t lose your focus.
    Unfortunately no Ranger selections among them.

  101. I heard that the guy behind 24/7 (Hockey Versions) has left HBO and is now working for the NHL. I am wondering if that means we can expect some sort of Stanley Cup 24/7 produced by the NHL (which can’t be as good because they will want to spin it).

  102. Ulfie,

    Someone said last night at one point the shots were something like 38-4!

    Hard to envision how that’s even possible.

  103. Aw shucks! I’m quite fond of the Tonys, both big and Tiny. Then again, I’m quite fond of all the ‘heads I’ve ever had the fortune of meeting, and some that I haven’t even met yet!

  104. Laviolette seems like he coaches by cliche and tag phrase…his speeches don’t seem to have much substance. I was also a little surprised to hear him remind his players not to drink too much the night before the WC. Does that say a lot about the team?
    Why did he need a notebook to remember the three talking points he gives the team beiges each game?
    Torts knows his players, trusts his team, and speaks from the heart to them. It seems that he has the players and the team he wants rather than being stuck with some various, talented pieces and trying to make them a team.

  105. Rod, you are assuming differential means goals scored. They could’ve won every game 6-5 and be an offensive powerhouse but only have a differential of +25. Differential just shows how much you win by, not how many goals you score. They are 4th in differential (the Bruins number is ridiculously high for this time in the season).

    However what shows they aren’t an offensive powerhouse is that they are 10th in the league in scoring. Nothing really to complain about, but nothing too impressive. They are however 2nd in the league in Goals Against (Boston is 1st with a pretty ridiculous 69 GAs so far this year, another impressive number). So being 10th in GF and 2nd in GA is a pretty good position to be in.

  106. billybleedsblue on

    In the spirit of Sally’s beerability article link,
    Which RR Readers have the most ‘beerability?’

    I’m gonna go with…

    10. Manny — Manny’s a decent fella and I’m willing to bet it’d be fun to share a laugh with him over a pint, once he un-stuffs that lawyer shirt of his (kidding). Not to mention the fact that he will sooner or later be looking for an excuse to get out of the house (or delay going home) now that he’s tied the knot. That of course may make 1 pint turn into 3, but there’s nothing wrong with that if it means we wind up grabbing a Sabrett out on the street at the end of our “late meeting with a client.”

    9. CCCP — Once we get past the fact that we’re drinking beer and not Vodka, I think this would be fun. I like a good Russian point of view and I’m sure I’d learn something from this guy… although, I might forget what by the end of our Pivo session :D

    8. Tiki — I admit that I am at times drawn to controversy, and this guy… man. We could have a couple of pints together, but I’m coming prepared with a tin-foil hat in case the conspiracy stuff gets out of hand. Seriously though, a bit of a wild-card here, but I’m sure he’s really fun to have a drink with.

    7. Miami-Pimp — Miami-Pimp is a wild-card in all of this for-sure. When it’s all said and-done, I’m envisioning lots of Pale-Ale and great-potential for needing to go-to that stash of bail-money I have squirreled-away somewhere.

    6. Ria (The Silent Bonehead) — It’s been my experience that when people gives themselves monikers like this one, it’s usually a misnomer. Personally, I’m fond of telling people I’m shy and quiet and I’m guessing Ria is actually providing us with some similar misinformation. A few brown ales later, and all of a sudden somebody isn’t really so silent now, is she? :D

    5. Blogmama — Busy with the new job, we haven’t seen too much of Blogmama around, do it would be fun to have a pint with this RR Reader. I’m sure she’s got plenty of stories from the field and it might be nice to sit down with somebody sane for once (have you seen my other choices? geez…).

    4. Eddie Eddie Eddie — Something tells me that while we won’t actually drink any beer, we will talk about beer for at least an hour and without realizing how much time has gone by. Then, for some (totally unknown) reason, we get really hungry and eat everything in the fridge before passing-out on the floor of my garage.

    3. LW3H — Now, I’m sure there’s some ‘proper’ way to have a pint where this guy is from, and I’m game for it. Nothing like a good black and tan (note: the Guinness always rises to the top ;) and I’m sure I’d be rolling in laughter if only I could understand this guy through his strange accent. No way is that English?! Maybe we could just sit at the bar drinking together but use texting and/or a live chat for communicating because I read “English” just fine, thanks. And, get out of Ireland. :P

    2. Fran — One can only wonder what kind of yarns this guy can spin, not to mention how much better things could get after a few pints of some brew. Perhaps something seasonal would be appropriate, like Celebrator.

    1. Sally — Need I say more? Me thinks not!

  107. Bwahahahahahah

    Billy – that is easily the best post in a looooooooooooooooooong time. I like how you nail almost everyone. Fran…oh man. I can only imagine. I have only had a drink with 1 person on that list. My favorites were calling Tiki a “bit of a wild card” and when you said that @CCCP@ would drink vodka instead of beer. Good one.

    Also – you should see what I wear to work. I look more like a logger than a lawyer. I promise. I am a mess…

  108. 4. Eddie Eddie Eddie—Something tells me that while we won’t actually drink any beer, we will talk about beer for at least an hour and without realizing how much time has gone by. Then, for some (totally unknown) reason, we get really hungry and eat everything in the fridge before passing-out on the floor of my garage.

    Can I come?

  109. Not to bring up “The Chosen One-Six”, but didn’t last night’s 24/7 show Rupp being just as effective both on the scoresheet and in the minds of the other players? Guy played 7 minutes, had 2 goals, and had the Flyers thinking about his celebration instead of the game. Isn’t that what we thought we were missing when 1-6 got sent down?

  110. Just read on ESPN that the Leafs have demoted Colton Orr due to the lack of fighting in the league. Can’t dress Orr if there is no one to dance!


    Interesting though, because we let Orr walk to sign Brashidiot, and then demoted /traded him and signed Booger.

    I do wish the players would police themselves… but on the same token, get rid of the staged fights that have no emotion behind them.

  111. OMG billy, that’s byfuglien hilarious! I wouldn’t even know where to start, besides the obvious (a few pints of orange juice with Carp). Also, I can verify that Mama is tons of fun and she’s just as crazy as the rest of us.

  112. Surprised no one’s mentioned it, but I thought one of the best one liners was Jagr’s upon meeting Talbot’s mom and seeing her almost eat it on the ice – “You skate like your son!”. No matter what uni he wears, I’ll never be able to hate Jags.

  113. I get what you’re saying Jonny.

    Thing is, I look at it and know how many of their games are low scoring.

    Seems like all of them are 1-goal games. I hear ya though.

    Wow, I didn’t make the Top 10 even?

    Well, that’s what they said about George Bush, kinda guy you’d wanna have a beer with.

    Guess Ill live.

  114. billy, awesome post … once upon a time, I’d have been on that list … and God only knows there’d be a chance neither of us got home that night.

    Where is eddie3? he left among the Avery Wars, and never came back. Somebody go find him.

    And the moral of the story is that Sally always wins.

  115. I think it was trash his own teammates.

    Guess he didn’t want to fully allude to the rumors out of the Flyers dressing room involving Carter and Hartnell.

  116. I didn’t notice it last night, but the Flyers were planning on doing the “Anisimov”, and shooting at Hank if they scored the next goal. Then they were debating on who they would fight. Way to keep your head in the game. No wonder they blew that game.

  117. billybleedsblue on

    Sorry if I left anyone out of my list… There are too many honorable mentions to be listed o:)

    I’m glad youse all liked it :D

    I’d like a Rangers Win tonight even more! :D

    Rupper for President!

  118. Well they were planning on scoring a goal. I mean if they just randomly started doing the sniper celebration that would have been awkward.

    I did like when Giroux was parked in front of Lundqvist and he was asking him if he could score a goal.

  119. Hmm….

    “It also should be noted that in three of the last four seasons, a team that has played in the Winter Classic has reached the Stanley Cup Final.

    Also, the last three NHL Premieres have yielded a team that has reached the Cup Final. That all bodes very well for the this season’s Rangers.”

  120. Yea, CT. That was hilarious. “Come on…please? Just one? Please” Then Hank slashed him.

  121. It at least came off that the Flyers have a lot of respect for Lundqvist. I know they taunted him a bit from the bench at the game at MSG, but they seem to acknowledge that beating him cleanly is pretty hard to do.

  122. Ya know, for a “star” player, Giroux really gets in on the chirping on the ice. I loved the stuff with Steve Ott. “Check NHL.COM. Fifth”

  123. stranger nation on

    MDZ said ‘rip your teammates’, not ‘rape your team mates’ which is whole different level… then hartnell, walked off without saying anything – aha aha – loser!

    Thought Giroux and Jags were the only likable flyers. La toilette classy holiday party with entire family saying ‘Rangers Suck’ – stay classy Philly, what a bunch of trash that town is.

  124. Oh god, yea. I forgot about Lavi-eau-de-toilette’s ridiculous family yelling that.

    My best man at my wedding is a Phlyers fan and he closed his speech by saying “Rangers Suck, Go Phlyers.” I will say this – there is something horrendously offensive about putting down another team rather than boasting your own team.

  125. He’s a fake hockey fan. He thought hockey was the worst sport ever invented until he went to UPenn and got wrapped up in the whole Phlyers thing of screaming at other teams instead of rooting for your own team.

  126. All I remember is by the time I learned how to spell Laviolette it was over. Or did I just mis-spell that?

    He was a pretty quiet kid.

    Just carp’d myself. Face-palm.

  127. Boom Boom Bathgate / "Sloppy Firsts" on

    Poor Eddie, he sided with me re “The Avery Wars” and it discouraged the hell out of him to be so besieged. Not me, I am one intrepid Avery Fan, and believe it or not, his spirit of feistyness and paying whatever the price has to be paid for success is rooted in this team and spurring it to the heights, so that Aves is still here, and the driving force behind the team’s recent impressive successes.

    Thanks Aves, some deserted you, but you will never desert us. And your spirit lives on in the hearts of Ranger fans, everywhere, particularly in Los Angeles and Cancun. lol.

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