Let the games begin

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A few things first:

As you saw last night, not only is it possible for lower seeds to steal Game 1 … it’s very common. Normally, the winner of Game 2 is the better barometer for who wins the series. But I’m not going to be your therapist tonight or tomorrow if that happens. I’ve learned my lesson to let you go nutso no matter what happens or how ridiculous the level of panic. Plus it’s good for traffic. I may not even read the comments if that happens.

There is no real home-ice advantage. See my story below.

And there is no such thing as momentum between games of from game to game. None. I know a bunch of youse disagreed with me last year (when I was proven correct on this). Trust me. Momentum swings wildly during playoff games all the time. Wildly enough to make you toss your lunch. Like no other momentum swings in sports or life. But once the game is over, whatever happened in Game 1 has zippo, zero, nada, zilch, squat to do with what happens in Game 2. And whatever happens in Game 2 has no bearing whatsoever on Game 3. None.

Please believe me on this.

Finally, what an absolute travesty the NHL has become. You can grab a guy by the back of the head and slam that head into the glass from behind, an act which cannot possibly be defined as anything but intentional, and get fined couch-cushion change. But don’t dare swear during a press conference.

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Here’s my series preview from The Journal News and LoHud.com today:

By Rick Carpiniello
rcarpini@lohud.com
GREENBURGH — John Tortorella’s been right a lot more than he’s been wrong when has said, almost daily, that his team will be ready for the next game, the next challenge.
So the Rangers coach was asked, on the day before the first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against Ottawa begins at the Garden, if he needs to see something in his top-seeded team — in its eyes, in its practice, in the lockerroom — to reinforce that belief that it will be ready.
“I saw it,” Tortorella said. “I’m not telling you what it is, but I saw it. I’ve seen it the past few days.”
What we have all seen over 82 games is that the Rangers tend to play best in the biggest games, when the most is at stake.
What we have seen, too, is that the Rangers are a team that plays playoff hockey all year long — that grinding, banging style that makes it a long uncomfortable night for an opponent, that makes every foot of ice a battleground, that lives with the idea that how much you give up is as important as how much you get. That it will block your shots and take your hits, will drop the gloves and kill its penalties, and it will do this in front of a world-class goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, who can and has won games by himself.
This is going to be a tall task for the Ottawa Senators, who come into the series an underdog with some very legit skill and some under-appreciated ruggedness, a very good power play, and an unproven goalie in Craig Anderson.


“I think the style of game that we play, led by (captain Ryan Callahan) … we’re not changing,” Tortorella said. “We feel this is the right way to play, and right into playoffs. I think it suits very well for us because there’s not going to be a whole lot of adjustments from us here as far as what our attitude is and what style of play we’re going to have.”
The Rangers are rested, pretty healthy, and ready to go. They have home-ice advantage for the first time since 1996 … for what that’s worth, and it isn’t worth much.
Last year, home teams were 48-41, and the two teams that reached the finals were a combined 20-7. In other words, the other 14 teams were 28-34 at home. The year before, home teams were 46-43.
Most series start 1-1.
Last year, half of the eight first-round series went the full seven games.
This series sure won’t bring two conference rivals together. The Rangers last played the Ottawa Senators in a playoff series in 1930. Those Senators became defunct in 1934, and were re-estbalished in 1992.
But there’s feelings. The Senators won three of the four meetings this year, albeit one of those when the Rangers were out of the gate slowly after starting the season in Europe and Western Canada, and one which was stolen by Ottawa’s backup goalie. Brandon Prust, the league’s leading fighter, has fought the Senators’ (and ex-Islander) Zenon Konopka, it seems, a hundred times. Ottawa’s Chris Neil is a bigger, stronger Sean Avery.
By the way, each of the past three Stanley Cup champions — Pittsburgh (‘09), Chicago (‘10) and Boston (‘11) opened their season in Europe, and each played in the Winter Classic, but the year before.
These Rangers have been established by Bovada.lv as an 11-2 shot to win the Cup, same as Presidents’ Trophy winner Vancouver, behind only the favorite, Pittsburgh at 4-1.
But that’s a bit premature. Tortorella said that all players are judged, ultimately, on what they do in the playoffs.
These Rangers are ready to begin being judged tonight.

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70 Comments

  1. Ria(the silent bonehead) on

    LETS GO RANGERS !!!!!!!!!!!! Drop the puck already thats all i’m outta here

  2. LET’S GO RANGERS!!!!!!

    gotta work tonight but i have jpg’s sister on the case with
    tweeting action

    serenity now!
    serenity now!!!

  3. Sioux-per-man on

    Ding Ding Ding

    Ladies and Gentlemen

    Coming to you live in : “The most famous Arenaaaaaaaaaaa in the World”

    Let’s Go RANGERS!!!!

    “WE are going to skate, WE are going to play the body, and WE are going to skate” . . . . I love that clip anyone remember who’s speach this is?

    Let’s Go Boneheads!!!

  4. Carp could not agree more on your whole post. momentum changes from shift to shift, period to period let alone game to game.

    the league is a joke. Torts $20k fine, Weber $2500. Weber should be suspended 1 game , if the guy gets injured it should not reduce the penalty for a maliscous play.

    Bettman can say with a straight face the Torts fine for cursing was reasonable? No friggin way…

    Rangers have been a great team all season, they deserve us to be confident in them and I think they will win this series some how some way. They may win in 4, or 5, 6, or 7, but I think they will win. This team is at the start of a great run, young, tough, hard working, with good skill………

  5. if the guys does not get injured, you get my drift….

    kreider watch tonight and take notes big boy……..

  6. Nice story, Carp. This is their year to prove they are for real. They will. They are healthy, they have all important players ready, and they have been mentally resting for the last few weeks. They will play their game. And Hank now knows he doesn’t have to steal every game, he can rely on much better defense too. I do not do predictions, but I don’t think Ottawa has a chance. They just won’t give it to them. Let’s just watch the games. LGR!!!!!

  7. Man, what a difference Michael Sauer could be on this team. Torts was just talking about Bickel on Behind the Bench and mentioned how Sauer going down opened the door for Bickel.

  8. Guess what will be the first welcome to Kreider on this blog by Carp? He’ll mention the Go Time post:”Kreider is prucha’d” Welcome to RR, Chris….LOL

  9. LETS GO RANGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I’ve been so excited and anxious all day. I think the boys will come out the right way.

  10. Ria(the silent bonehead) on

    What can I say Carp my tummy has been in knots since I woke up this morning! LETS GO RANGERS! LETS GO RANGERS! LETS GO RANGERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok i’m really outta here for now! Great story Carp.

  11. iWicky "Rupp yours" on

    I’m hoping for at least three fights if not more at the opening faceoff!!

  12. Rhode Island Ranger on

    It will be fascinating to see how the two coaches have prepared their teams.

    Will the Ranger PP look any different? Will Ottawa play it straight in the first two games given their regular season success against NY or will they bank on NY’s anemic PP allowing them to play extra physically against the Rangers’ finesse guys? A penalty fest series might favor the Sens.

    Both teams will be motivated and finishing checks. So, the skills guys who can fight through the extra hooking, holding and challenges after the whistle may be the deciding factor.

    Gabby, Hags and Stepan will all have to show that they are willing and able to stand up to a beating while producing offense. Stepan, in particular, looked overmatched against the Caps last year and has something to prove.

    And I’m with Torts, Gretzky, Messier and 99% of NHL playoff veterans who attest to the reality and importance of developing momentum (ie. confidence from success) in a series. Robots forget the last performance and its lessons… people don’t.

    LGR.

  13. Wont be able to watch the game live since Im slaving in a genetics lab in college until NINE PM!! HATE IT!

    I just want them to pound the sens hard all night! So important to get a win tonight! I believe this team will make us all very proud! Positive vibes!

    *LET’S GO RANGERS!*

  14. There's always one on

    Latona: Re: MS. Thinkin’ as I watched the Flyers last night,
    how much better they are with Nicklas Grossman.
    Nobody on Rangers does what he does consistently for them.
    He’s not anywhere near perfect, but he’s a very useful piece.
    I’ve never bought the load that a “clean hit” that may destroy
    a kid’s career is a clean hit (in spite of how thrilled Phaneuf’s
    Dad was at the Garden when he caught Sauer unaware).
    Culture has gotta change.
    Will it? See NHL network “expert commentators” fall apart
    giggling when discussing how serious Weber’s antics were
    last night.

  15. “Robots forget the last performance and its lessons… people don’t.”

    So teams that win a game learn lessons, but teams that lose don’t?

  16. HageLinCalPruBoylahan on

    HEY KIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I LOVE THE SMELL OF PLAYOFFS IN THE MORNING, THE AFTERNOON, AND THE EVENING!!!!!!!!!!

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  17. Johnny LaRue on

    Overture, curtain lights, this is it, tonight’s the night. And oh what heights we’ll hit, on with the show this is it.

  18. Excellent story, Carp. Im honored to call you a friend, BFF. You’re a good guy, and I love ya!

  19. C3….you want phone updates?

    You know what I hate…..celebs showing up and taking free tix from fans for the playoffs….blech

  20. Rhode Island Ranger on

    LW:

    Every player that’s ever lived has preferred going into a crucial game off a strong performance (with momentum) over going in after a confidence shaking loss. They all believe in momentum ’cause they’ve experienced it and want to recapture it.

  21. RIR, shocker. But the fact is, Messier, Gretzky and Torts do not believe in momentum carry over from game to game.

  22. Carp,

    Seriously, how does Shanny look at himself in the mirror? That Weber move was assault.

  23. Carp,

    I think there’s a typo in the first sentence of your story. Fire your editor.

  24. RIR, go back and look at Messier’s quotes between Games 6 and 7 of the ECF in ’94. If ever there should have been a momentum-turner, that was it. Right? Guess what. He was right. Game 6 meant nothing heading into Game 7. It just didn’t.

  25. iWicky "Rupp yours" on

    I just can not believe no suspension to weber! The lack of punishment for weber and clowe really make me question what the league views as on ice integrity!!!!

  26. Chris, also, I don’t totally blame Shanahan. This is what his bosses (the Board of Governors and GMs who tie his hands) want. You do what your boss tells you to do, right?

    And these celebs? only the DMC guy was here most nights.

  27. I think Shanny and Bettman should “role play” the Weber hit, (I mean wrestling move) on Zetterberg during the first period intermission of the Wings-Preds next game.
    Maybe they would feel differently about it if they had to experience it.

  28. Thanks Carp, great read. I’ve no doubt, as anyone who follows this team also believes, that every player is as well prepared as he can be. Money in the bank having a coach who knows what it takes to drink from the Cup!

  29. Rhode Island Ranger on

    Carp:

    Gretzky has testified countless times to teams gaining or losing momentum during series, so has Mess and Torts and almost the entire hockey fraternity. And those of us that have played have all experienced it ourselves. It’s real.

    The ’94 Game 7 test against the Devs is actually the perfect illustration. No momentum from the Game 6 win means no Game 7!

    Momentum from recent success is no guarantee of a win in the next game, but it beats the doubt that losing feeds.

  30. Sure, Carp, it comes down from above. But he’s a future Hall of Famer known for his leadership and integrity; at some point isn’t he going to have the cajones to speak up? He’s not me — if I had his money and reputation I’d be a lot more critical of my bosses.

  31. Why did Sam look like he was going to kiss Richards??
    Taking a page from Joe M perhaps

  32. Rhode Island Ranger on

    If the Ranger skills guys show signs of fading to the safe perimeter like they did in the Caps series last year, Torts shouldn’t hesitate to throw Kreider in. They have enough schlubs to block shots. Offense is the precious commodity now.

  33. I think we’ll see the Puddycats hoisting the Cup before we see Kreider on the ice.

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