1) How the byfuglien are the Byfuglien-less Blackhawks where they are? … and how did they lose nine in a row? … Not that they were great in this game. They sure weren’t. They got a bunch of gifts in the first period, the benefit of some calls, a quick whistle, a ridiculous new rule that allows an offending team to choose whether it will face a four-minute 5-on-4 or a two-minute 5-on-3 Still, they sure have a bunch of talent and some grinders. Kind of like the Philly predicament, I guess.
2) How the bryzgalov do you give the offending team that choice when it takes two minors on the same play? The team that was fouled should make the call—5-on-3 for two minutes, or 5-on-4 for four, right? I think the Rangers would have taken the 5-on-3, and would have had a chance to get one and maybe get back into the game. This new rule makes absolutely zero sense to me, that the team that committed the penalties can choose the situation that most benefits that team. But a lot of stuff the NHL comes up with makes zero sense to me. I should be used to it. It’s ludicrous and I don’t mean the rapper. The Rangers sure made the Blackhawks pay on the power play, didn’t they? Probably the easiest four minutes Chicago has faced this season.
3) I agree with John Tortorella (again) that this isn’t solely on Martin Biron. He wasn’t good, and his five-hole has been big enough for Brad Marchand’s nose lately. But, come on. Penalty shot, breakaway, screen shot, breakaway. Hard to say it’s all on the goalie. And though Tortorella said he never considered pulling him because he deserved to fight it out, it also would have made no sense for Henrik Lundqvist to come cold into a game in which the Rangers were playing defensively as they were.
4) I didn’t get a good look at the Brandon Dubinsky elbow, so I have no idea if he made contact with the head, and thus no idea if it will be reviewed? Oh, right, Brendan Shanahan and the alleged Department of Player Safety have already legalized elbows to the head. Or maybe Dubinsky elbowed the guy’s stick and his stick hit his head.
5) You talk about the Rangers being entitled to have one of these once in a while after, remarkably, losing just 13 times in the first 55 games, and they sure are. But even more so, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh, for all the hard minutes they play against all the top players, have to be forgiven for one like this. Boy, were they bad. At least they got a night where their minutes didn’t pile up, for what that’s worth.
6) I imagine all those scouts in the building went away thinking, um, geez, do we really want to trade a good player for some of these guys?
7) That John Scott, 6-8, 270-pound enforcer=Godzilla.
8) Now about some of the calls … first, the penalty shot. I am not sure Girardi ever actually covered the puck in the crease. It looked to me that he put his hand on it and swept it just outside the crease. He might have covered it, and it might have been in the crease. But I can’t say he did for certain.
9) Second, the waved-off, quick whistle goal. I didn’t have a problem at all with that call. Corey Crawford’s skate had the puck pinned on the goal line for quite some time. At what point do you blow it dead when a goalie has control of the puck? I thought he had it long enough for a whistle to blow, and the whistle absolutely did blow before Ryan Callahan’s sixth-effort knocked it in. If you want to complain, complain that the ref who blew the whistle was coming around from the other side and probably couldn’t have seen what we saw on the replay and maybe shouldn’t have blown the whistle. And complain if he really said he lost sight of it, or if he said he saw it under the goalie’s pad.
10) What would the score have been with Rick Nash and Pavel Kubina? I don’t think Kubina’s coming here. The Rangers really don’t want to give up assets to get a fifth or sixth defenseman who might not be as good as Bryan McCabe on the power play. Plus is sounds like Kubina is being dealt soon, and I don’t think the Rangers have anything imminent. I could be wrong (again).
11) There was a lot of red in the building. To be expected with Chicago and an Original Six. And I didn’t mind it, because that red classic Blackhawks jersey (0r Black Hawks) is awesome. I was talking to a guy with an old-school Bobby Hull No. 9 jersey, and was on the train with a Chelios No. 7, complete with the “C.” I think Bobby Hull’s mother used to take Bobby and Dennis by the hand to see Chelios play.
12) I thought we might have a Bickel vs. Bickell fight. Dammit.
13) Really, really nice standing ovation for Gary Carter when they announced his passing during a TV timeout. I got to know the Kid a little bit, actually had the opportunity to have lunch with him a few years ago. I know, people say he had an ego and liked the attention. But he played the game the right way, the way all pro athletes should play—all-0ut, 100 percent, and with joy. And another thing. He started the Game 6 rally in ‘86, when some of his teammates were in the clubhouse getting undressed.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Carl Hagelin.
2) Marc Staal.
3) Steve Eminger.
AP photos, above.