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Rangers-Capitals in review

Posted By Carp On April 8, 2012 @ 4:36 am In Hockey,New York Rangers,NHL | 110 Comments

[1]Happy Easter. In case you fell asleep, Vancouver won the Presidents’ Trophy by beating Edmonton. Big whoop.

These are the first-round matchups, with the schedules to be announced today at 1 p.m. Since it’s a holiday, I doubt I’ll be interested at that hour, so youse will have to rely on the widget over thereĀ ————>

East: Rangers-Senators; Bruins-Capitals; Panthers-Devils; Penguins-Flyers. West: Canucks-Kings; Blues-Sharks; Coyotes-Blackhawks; Predators-Red Wings.

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So, I’m getting my expired passport renewed a few weeks ago. They said it would take 4-6 weeks to get it back. But they offered to expedite it for, like, $60. I thought about it. Nah, the only Canadian team the Rangers could possibly play before the finals would be Ottawa, and that’s not going to happen. Aw, what the hell, maybe I should get it expedited just in case …

So $60 later, guess what.

[2]Thoughts:

1) I’m done talking about this stupid stuff with some of you about how these last two games are going to have any effect on the playoffs, or that they would have been better off playing this team or that team. Geez, they’re the best team in the East all freakin’ year. Through 81 games, they were the best in the whole league. Do you really think it matters who they play in the first round? I’m not saying they’re guaranteed to beat anybody. I’m just saying, wouldn’t you think they are going to ultimately play some pretty good teams if they’re going to do what they’re supposed to do starting when Game 83 rolls around?

2) That said, it’s kind of human nature to not be able to jack it up to the highest level in games that really don’t matter. The Rangers clinched everything that was important two games ago when they played a pretty darn good game against a pretty good team, on the road. I expected them to play better in Pittsburgh, and at home last night. But human nature is a factor. These two games meant zilch to them. And it I thought it showed.

3) John Tortorella didn’t think his team played all that badly in the last two games, and neither did I. But IMO it didn’t play the way it did most nights. I think there was a bit of a feel of an exhibition game, which it was. The Rangers rolled four lines and six D, even on the PK. There was some gliding away from the puck. There were a few turn-aways from hits. There were puck battles they lost that they didn’t lose most of the year. I don’t think if they were playing onions-out for the Presidents’ Trophy they put Derek Stepan, Artem Anisimov, Michael Del Zotto and Anton Stralman for a PK down 2-0. Do you? [3]

4) And quick look ahead to Ottawa: That’s a team with some obvious skill and speed, on the back-end too. But will the Senators really want to fight for every loose puck, for every inch of ice. Because I think the Rangers are going to make those battle grounds once they get started again for real, like they did in all the important games this season.

5) Two games in a row, the Boyle line was their best line, the Mitchell line their second best … and Stu Bickel among their best d-men. OK?

6) And the same syndrome was apparent through the league, St. Louis losing games down the stretch, Vancouver, Pittsburgh losing twice to the Islanders, etc.

7) That Philly-Pitt bloodbath everybody was expecting yesterday, didn’t really materialize, did it? The game was rather anticlimactic. But the first-round series should be good. I expect it will be mean and nasty, and games could get crazy if they’re one-sided. But mostly it’ll be straight-ahead, non-nonsense hockey.

[4]8) There were a ton of Capitals fans in the building last night. And when they started chanting, the Rangers fans booed them. And that’s a bad job by them. If you were loud enough, appropriately, for the final regular season game, you wouldn’t have had to boo them. Of course, not letting them get out to that pesky 4-0 lead would have helped, too.

9) That said, Rangers fans rose to their feet in the final seconds, and that I thought was pretty cool. I’ve said it before, in this Steinbrenner-ized world of pro sports, we tend to lose sight of what it means to have a good season. This Rangers team gave you six months of pretty amazing stuff. I know the playoffs are where you’re judged, and what’s important. But if you can’t appreciate what you just saw, starting in Europe all that time ago, why bother being a fan?

10) Rangers fans also chanted “Crosby sucks” briefly … and I’m sure the NHL will be fining each and every one of them.

11) Last year, I was calling the conferences “Bestern” and “Leastern,” because there was that much disparity. Then the Bruins won the Cup, and the Rangers rose to power, and I think it’s a lot more even this year. Still, though I think the Rangers, Penguins, Bruins and Flyers could all beat any of the Bestern teams in a series, I don’t think there’s a chance in hell that the Panthers, Capitals or Senators would make the playoffs in the Best.

12) Judging by the photos, the Rangers must have won this game handily, right?

13) Thank God, no more BCATHGEs (breakaway contests after the hockey game ends) or Bettman Bonus Points! It’s win or lose, during the game, from now on. Which means Florida is in trouble.

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My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Brian Boyle.
2) Carl Hagelin.
3) Brandon Prust.
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Manny’s Three Rangers Stars:
1) Brian Boyle.
2) Marian Gaborik.
3) Martin Biron.
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AP photos, above.

 

 


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[1] Image: http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/files/2012/04/Prust-runs-over-Holtby1.jpg

[2] Image: http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/files/2012/04/boyle-vs.-caps.jpg

[3] Image: http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/files/2012/04/boyle-vs.-caps-2.jpg

[4] Image: http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/files/2012/04/girardi-vs.-caps.jpg