1) Well, the ending and the post-game sure saved me, because I had no idea how I was going to fill out an entire review on this game.
2) This is why some people hate John Tortorella, and this is also why his players love him. That was an awesome post-game press conference when he said what most of the NHL and most non-Pittsburgh fans believe, but most won’t say (and Mike Milbury and Peter Laviolette were probably applauding). The audio is at the top of the previous thread. The Brooks Orpik knee on Derek Stepan wasn’t the dirtiest hit ever, but it was dirty, and it seems to happen all the time with that team that does nothing but whine and complain and cry to the referees when it happens to them. Remember the outcry whenever Mario got hit (including the ridiculous Adam Graves incident in ‘92), and the promise to get this stuff out of the game when Skid got hurt. What a pile of garbage they spew down there in the Steel City.
3) I’m sure Brendan Shanahan will muster all his power and hit Orpik with one of those signature $2,500 couch-change fines. Will jump through hoops explaining that it was not so bad. But I’ve said all along, and with some admiration, that Pittsburgh plays as nasty a game as any team in the league—even Letang, the born-again piece of carcillo Cooke, Skid, Malkin of course, Kennedy, Dick Vitale, Engelland. That makes them doubly dangerous because of all that skill. And triple dangerous if the refs let them get away with it.
4) If you understand human nature, it’s easy to figure out how the Rangers played a luke-warm game. It really wasn’t a big game for them. And I don’t think this had anything to do with effort. Instead it has everything to do with the Rangers not having enough anger, enough push-back (except for Ryan Callahan on Chris Letang). And until their second joust, I don’t think the Rangers matched the Penguins physical game. I thought the Rangers were out-hit, and out-battled for pucks, most of the game.
6) That said, Biron wasn’t great. His turnover led to one goal, and two of them could/maybe should have been stopped.
7) I didn’t like the Artem Anisimov-Derek Stepan-Callahan line at all. Not one bit, except for Callahan’s run-ins with Letang. I also didn’t like the Carl Hagelin-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik line at all. Not one bit. They were the line pinned, during that woeful shift on which Biron coughed up the puck and Marc Staal got into one of his run-around modes. And even when they were decent, I thought that line over-passed the puck. Lately most Rangers goals have come off the PP, or off dirty plays (or both). They looked a bit too fancy.
8) And I thought all six defensemen were bad. I know, the Penguins can make you look bad. But if you let guys behind you, and start chasing pucks, so can Columbus.
9) I hate to play doctor, I really do. But judging by Stepan skating off on his own, not leaving the bench for the remainder of the game, and only slightly limping after the game ended, I’m going to guess it’s a knee tweak, or more likely a charley horse. I just don’t think you react to a blown-out knee that way, having blown out both of mine.
10) Gotta also say, I didn’t think Pittsburgh looked so unbeatable in this game.
11) So the Baby Buffaloes are out (along with my Baby Buffalo chicken sangwich). This is a classic second-guess, but I wonder if it was a good idea to do all that buying last July 1, then selling off at the trade deadline. Wonder if Paul Gaustad could have made a difference; could have helped them win one more game.
12) So it’s Washington, Ottawa or Florida now. And we wait.
13) I am going out on a limb here, but it’s a very short limb based on what these Rangers have shown us for the first 81 games … I’d expect them to get it all fixed and play a really, really good Game 82 tomorrow against the Capitals (don’t forget it’s a 6:30 start). That’s just how they bounce back from games like this one … and there haven’t been many of them. If they win, they get the Presidents’ Trophy … for what that’s worth (almost nothing).
14) One more thought about the Orpik-Stepan thing. What do you suppose Pittsburgh’s reaction might have been if that had been, say, Brandon Prust vs. Sidney Crosby? What do you suppose the suspension might be if that were the case?
15) No Chris Kreider until after Saturday.
16) Happy Passover and Good Friday.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Brandon Dubinsky.
2) Brian Boyle.
3) Ruslan Fedotenko.
ZzZz NYR ZzZz … says Greg L’s Three Rangers Stars:
1) Brandon Dubinsky.
2) Dan Girardi.
3) Brian Boyle/Ruslan Fedotenko (Boyle gets the nod cuz he scored).
Honorable mention to Hank, Hair looked great on the bench!!