Rangers-Capitals getting closer … sort of …

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I’m headed over to this mini-training camp the Rangers are forced to endure because the NHL scheduled their four days off between games.

Will have audio interviews (fingers crossed, new audio system which works on your phone), possibly some video, definitely some reports (Twitter: @RangersReport).

Later today I will put up a predictions contest thread, entries due before Game 1 of the series which begin tonight.

Meanwhile, here’s my story from today’s Journal News and LoHud.com.

****************************************
By Rick Carpiniello

GREENBURGH – They’ve done this dance before, the Rangers and Washington Capitals, back to the days when Mike Gartner was still a Cap in 1986, to the Rangers’ flameouts in 1990 and 1991 that ushered in the Mark Messier era, to 1994, when Esa Tikkanen kissed Keith Jones’ nose, and of course now for the fourth time in five years.

The Rangers and Caps – after a ridiculous four-day layoff – get together again starting in D.C. Thursday and Saturday, as two of the hotter teams in the NHL, almost a year since they tangoed through seven crazy games including a triple-overtime Game 3 Rangers victory.

“I think it definitely helps for the guys who were here last year and a few years before that,” said Dan Girardi, who will be seeing a whole lotta Alex Ovechkin, the NHL’s leading goal-scorer after a terribly slow start to the season. “But every year’s different.”

These teams are different than last year, the Rangers losing most of their rugged identity in the summer, then regaining some of it at the trade deadline; the Capitals, with new coach Adam Oates rekindling Ovechkin’s fire. They are different, even, than they were when they met three times during the season (the Rangers winning two).

“I don’t know how much (the history) matters because they’ve changed a lot over the years, the way they play,” Henrik Lundqvist said. “We changed our team a little bit. It’s the same team name, but it’s a different look, especially when I look at them the four or five years here. It’s all about offense, then all about defense and now it’s in the middle. But they’re a team where you have to respect a lot of things about their game, especially their offense, their top guys.”

Already there’s been some yapping from the Capitals side. Joel Ward, who committed the double-minor that turned a Capitals Game 5 win into a tying power-play goal by Brad Richards with eight seconds left in regulation and an overtime game-winner by Marc Staal, is vowing revenge. Nick Backstrom is saying that the Capitals were the better team in last year’s series.

“We’re not going to start a war of words,” Girardi responded. “There’s no use for that. It doesn’t matter what happened last year or a couple years before that. They’re playing really well now going into the playoffs and I think we had a really solid April as well, so two teams at the top of their games. It’s going to be quite the series, I think, and just like last year – hard fought, a lot of hitting, just pretty much a little bit of everything.”

Girardi was the victim of an unpunished Ovechkin elbow to the head during last spring’s series, as well. He and Ryan McDonagh might be split up, as they were late in the season, instead of together, so that one will always be on the ice with Ovechkin.

“We’ll have our hands full with him,” Girardi said. “He’s playing really well right now.”

The other Rangers defenseman with a history against Ovechkin, Marc Staal, hasn’t ruled himself out for later in the series as he recovers from an eye injury and blurred vision. The Rangers also hope that Ryane Clowe (probable concussion), Brian Boyle (knee) and Derek Dorsett (broken clavicle) might return during the series.

 

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226 Comments

  1. I stood upon the blue line
    And saw, nearby, many Devils
    Skating, shooting,
    And carousing in sin.
    Marty looked up grinning
    And said “Come here! Donuts!”

  2. Dustin Penner is awesome:

    @Dustinpenner25 Honestly I don’t care if you are gay or straight as my teammate. As long as you don’t listen to Nickelback. #courage

  3. Did you get carped, Manny? Gotta get your act together, bud. It’s the playoffs, remember? Get in shape!

  4. @Dustinpenner25 Honestly I don’t care if you are gay or straight as my teammate. As long as you don’t listen to Nickelback. #courage

    ^^ Tweet of the year. Sign Penner!

  5. I would already have signed Penner if possible. He’s awesome. He also had that hilarious tweet about Tim Thomas not going to the White House.

  6. @Dustinpenner25 After careful consideration I’ve decided not to visit the White House today for political reasons LOL JK I’m not an idiot!Free trip? I’m in!
    11:40 AM – 26 Mar 2013

  7. Sioux-per-man on

    http://playoffschallenge.nhl.com/playoff_challenge/leagues/5951

    Our league is named: Boneheads

    Free tickets to the winter classic if you win the NHL Network one.

    Winner of the Boneheads League Gets a “Sather” Cigar out of my humidor on my desk.

    Get your picks in Boys!!!

    Carp
    JamesG
    Eric
    CCCP
    ilb
    Latona

    Share it with other Boneheads that you know!!!

    We are a good group!!!

    May you have the best of Luck and may all your picks be right!!! You can join as many leagues as you want.

  8. Picks can be tough..All the work over…over so much time..if I think too hard I might lose myyy miiiiiiiind

  9. Grab, there were rumors that it was his knee but it’s 98% that it’s actually a head injury.

  10. Sioux-per-man on

    Manny I think right up until the puck drops on the first game tonight.

    Looks like we have 15 already :)

    Come one come all …. it’s free to enter. Plus NHL Network will give you tickets to the winter classic if you are a master genius at predicting the future winners this year.

  11. Sioux-per-man on

    Grabby – are you in????

    Gotta love that avitar, but it looks like you already lost :)

  12. Sioux-per-man on

    Who even thinks about these things before you have your first cup of coffee in the morning????

  13. Sioux-per-man on

    Make you picks. It’s an NHL network site.
    We have our own public league the : Boneheads

    Easy to follow.

    It’s so easy a Caveman can do it :)

  14. Remember, Grabby, people like to complain and with no hockey occurring for another two days after this one, there isn’t much to complain about.

  15. Dropped my picks there in just for that “Europansy” opinion.

    Tempted to say Rangers over Hawks in the final but went with Hawks over Bruins. My head says we can beat the caps in 6 or 7 but i’m not sure we have enough to take the Pens or Bruins in a 7 game series (mostly due to the current state of the PP/PK)

  16. rangers in 7.

    pens in 5.

    hawks in 5

    sens in 7.

    leafs in 7

    kings in 6.

    ducks in 7

    sharks in 7

  17. Add Your Condiment …unless you’re at Walter’s. Ketchup. Mustard. No Onion! No Kraut!

  18. Grab the new strategy within the organization is “upper” body is actually called lower and vice versa. Torts felt they were revealing too much by being so specific. lol

  19. Sioux-per-man on

    All work, no play today.

    Just dropping in to see how many Boneheads we can get inlisted.

    Share with as many as you know.

  20. I don’t think the Sharks are going to beat the Ducks. I also don’t think the Kings are going to beat the Blues, Stuart.

  21. Wanted to do playoff beard this year, but am dating a hot chick who’s not a fan of it! Hope it doesnt jinx things!

  22. You got any pictures of this so-called hot chick? (S)

    Another solution is to marry her. My wife just has to live with my idiocy.

  23. Stranger Nation on

    Yortuk Festrunk: We are.. two wild and crazy guys!
    Georg Festrunk: I’ll say!
    Yortuk Festrunk: Why.. just the other day, we were enjoying ourselves so much, I can’t tell you!
    Georg Festrunk: Say, you know, this is some swinging singles apartment building Rec Room! You could have here many good swinging times! Which you would enjoy a great deal!
    Yortuk Festrunk: It’s so thought out and together!
    Georg Festrunk: Look at you swinging girls, having such a good time, enjoying yourselves here and now!
    Yortuk Festrunk: Don’t mention it!
    Georg Festrunk: My brother and I are from Czechoslavakia, even though no one can tell. We escaped during the ’75 riots, by throwing many rocks at a Russian tank. We ran from it to come to America, but, boy, we gave up many things. Back there, we have a nice, groovy apartment, three cars and a summer house, which the government now owns! [ laughs ] Back there, we have medical degrees – but here in America we must be salesman for decorative bathroom fixtures. There, we are brain surgeons!
    Yortuk Festrunk: We are.. unique kinds of guys!
    Georg Festrunk: Two swinging guys who enjoy many things, and can do them all the time! Not to be polite, but what are your names?

  24. Sioux-per-man on

    LOL UK!

    UK it’s like having a dog. Better for them to know up front :)

    Don’t want to get 5 years down the road, and she says you got to give up watching Ranger games every night :(

  25. Sorry, been a bit MIA due to busy work week

    (which is probably a good thing to take my mind off hockey because these next two days are moving excruciatingly slowly pre-playoffs)

  26. A semi serious question.

    If you were from another planet and happened to pick this particular thread up on your space ship computer as you looked for a habitable environment.

    Would you tell the pilot to land here?

    Just asking! ;)

  27. Manny, I thought so too- I hope the fact that we’ve seen these guys the last few years in the playoffs + the long lay-off at least lends itself to a lot of good film work:

    “Every battle is won or lost before it’s even begun” – Sun Tzu’s Art of War

  28. Really good stuff over there. I like that they will rely heavily on mike green. Mr. Softy!!!

  29. I really think the layoff has to favor the Rangers. First they get time to heal (x4) and second, it is plenty of time to cool down Mr. Hot Head Ovechkin.

  30. semi serious event: Aliens land spaceship at Exxon station. One alien disembarks, approaches pumps, returns to ship, says to fellow alien: ‘Creatures on this planet cannot communicate, but are very well hung.’

  31. Lol. Thanks guys but just getting out of one marriage don’t want to dive into another!

  32. Louis CK said that being divorced is the *best* stage of life. He said, “if you’re in a great marriage that’s great stay there, I’m just saying that, if you got divorced, it would be _that_ much better”

  33. “All my friends are married Every Tom and Dick and Harry – You must be strong to go it alone.
    Here’s to the bachelors and the Bowery bums And those who feel that they’re the ones
    Who are better off without a wife
    I been sleepin’ until the crack of noon Midnight howlin’ at the moon, Goin’ out when I want to, and I’m comin’ home when I please;
    Don’t have to ask permission if I want to go out fishing
    And I never have to ask for the keys.” :))) Tom Waits

  34. Sioux-per-man on

    UK – I thought the same thing 6 years ago :)

    I bought a Dog – my little girl names it Sweetie. Sweetie stays.

    Hockey – well, it is what it is. Always a Sioux fan we go to games. My son plays 40-50 games a year. It’s always on one TV in the house. Rangers games well … get your homework done either before or after, and NO I don’t care to eat out on game day.

  35. “All my friends are married Every Tom and Joe and Harry, You must be strong if you’re to go it alone.
    Here’s to the bachelors and the Bowery bums,
    And those who feel that they’re the ones
    Who are better off without a wife.
    I been sleepin’ until the crack of noon,
    Midnight howlin’ at the moon,
    Goin’ out when I want to, and comin’ home when I please,
    I don’t have to ask permission
    If I want to go out fishin’,
    And I never have to ask for the keys.” :)) Tom Waits

  36. Its not a massive problem as long as she realises if i’m watching a Ranger game i’m up till 2am and will be tired by default the next day and grumpy if we lost and i stayed up to watch it!!

  37. McDonuts and Moore have the speed and agility to corral Ovechkin. Not so sure about the rest.

  38. I have been thinking about Moore vs. Ovechkin and I actually thought it might not be a bad idea to give him a shot, especially on the PK, against Ovechkin. We need a guy who can skate quickly and take away the space for Ovechkin since their entire offense is based on pass-pass-OvechkinShot.

  39. Sioux-per-man on

    UK – True Story.

    I wasn’t even looking …..until a friend hooks me up with his girlfriends friend. One of those things. Right? He needs a wing man.

    She likes to play poker. Really. Hmmmmm
    And she golfs? Get out.
    She like to go Bass fishing at the lake? I could be dreaming.
    Now when she mows the lawn right away when she gets home, before I even get a chance. Why? She likes the smell of FRESH cut grass.OK
    Then out of the blue, for Christmas.
    She wraps up a box and gives it to me….it’s a puzzle.

    2 tickets 2 N Y C for Rangers vs Devils. Merry Christmas

    I’m thinking self …. this might be a keeper :)

  40. Sioux-per-man on

    Her Daughter buys her a wall hanging….

    “This marriage on hold
    during Hockey Season.”

  41. Doodie Machetto on

    Is Sally hosting the 4th sometimes annual Paul Mara Beard Competition?

    My corporate masters won’t let me participate in such an endeavor, but it’s still fun to watch everyone else. Especially since it will be so short this year.

    Caps in 6.

  42. Sioux-per-man on

    Coos – I have to toasts. Depends on the crowd.

    Best to use your irish / pirate accent :)

    Here’s to the girl in the little (red) shoes.
    She spends all my money,
    and drinks all my booze.
    She may have lost her Cherry….
    But thats no SIN.
    She stil has the BOX the Cherry came in :)

    Always a hit.

  43. Sioux-per-man on

    Cross Check Charlie & Beefy have a horse in the race!

    No Doodie…. why?

    I wonder if Carp will put one in???????

  44. Coos, the “pump well hung” one was very good.

    BTW, are you employed in a Chinese Cookie factory? ;)

  45. Coos, not “berry” nice of you considering he was one of the earliest known fellows with a social conscience…..especially on racial issues…where he was wicking his dip!

  46. Sioux-per-man on

    Coos – so this is may favorite toast for 20+ years.

    I’m in St. Louis for the Frozen Four. The year we had Duncan-Toews-Oshie as our top line. Had to be there.

    We are downtown having a cocktail so I throw out who has the best toast. A great way to get to know strangers. Right?

    We all throw a $1 on the table. Nice – at least 15 horses in the race :)

    I get beat 8-7. With…..

    Here’s to IT.
    And IT again.
    If you don’t DO IT,
    when you get a CHANCE…
    to DO IT.
    You may NEVER
    get a chance
    to do it again.
    Here’s to your IT!!!

    It’s a great quote. I use it often.

    Everyone has a different IT.

    What’s yours?

  47. Sioux-per-man on

    Cross Check – your names at the top of the Bonehead list:)

    Who’s in for the winning Cigar :)

  48. Sioux-per-man on

    Boneheads sitting at 20 horses.

    My work one has 2, $10. Got off to a late start. Only about 5 hockey fans here. Let me know if you want in on a winner take all :)

  49. Get in the mix, Doodie.

    Sioux – can we disqualify anyone that doesn’t pick the Rangers to win the cup?

  50. Doodie Machetto on

    I’m in. My picks:

    Pens in 4
    Sens in 7
    Caps in 6
    Bruins in 5

    Hawks in 5
    Wings in 7
    Sharks in 7
    Kings in 6

    Pens
    Bruins
    Hawks
    Sharks

    Pens
    Hawks

    Pens

  51. We differ mightily, Doodie. Also, I *had* to pick the Rangers to win it all. But I ended up having them face the St. Louis Blues. Elliott has been very good lately.

  52. Doodie Machetto on

    Well then, Manny, I’m sorry to inform you that you’re about to come in last place.

  53. It’s possible. But all I really care about is the Rangers winning something. Anything really.

  54. Sioux-per-man on

    Manny – no. Must play to win!!!

    But if the Rangers go all the way, with a 6th seed you get bonus points for picking the underdog :)

  55. Sioux-per-man on

    Manny Rangers first!!!

    Fighting Sioux Players Second :)

    Nothing like eating ice cream out of the Stanley Cup :)

  56. NYI wins the cup in 20 games. John Tavares quits the sport after raising the cup to one-up Tim Thomas and keep social and political sensibilities of the antebellum South alive and well!

  57. Sioux-per-man on

    I have a story about the Stanley Cup that isn’t even published? Only the keeper of the Cup and a handfull of friends where there :)

  58. I think it was something like this:

    Pens in 5
    Habs in 6
    Rangers in 6
    Leafs in 7

    Hawks in 5
    Ducks in 6
    Canucks in 7
    Blues in 7

    *************************

    Rangers
    Habs

    Ducks
    Blues

    *************************

    Rangers
    Blues

    *************************

    Rangers

  59. Doodie Machetto on

    Damn it, I was hoping you would come back with “oh yeah? well you’re about to be in…dead place!”

    Also, sorry to disappoint you, but the Rangers ain’t winning this series.

  60. I have blackhawks winning it all but I have the rangers losing to the pens in the conference finals.

  61. That’s what I think will happen. Don’t underestimate the randomness of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

  62. If the Rangers have Staal back their D is pretty top-notch. If they get Clowe, Dorsett and Boyle back (If there are Prust like players in the line-up he tends to play bigger and tougher, no?) they have an intimidating line-up. I like their odds with this post trade deadline team all healthy.

  63. My picks:

    Chicago in 5
    Detroit in 7
    Canucks in 5
    Kings in 7

    Penguins in 4
    Senators in 7
    Rangers in 5
    Bruins in 6

    Chicago over Detroit
    Kings over Canucks
    Penguins over Senators
    Rangers over Bruins

    Chicago over Kings
    Rangers over Penguins

    Rangers over Chicago

  64. Doodie Machetto on

    Oh, Sioux, I thought there was a specific NHL Network group, like you have for Boneheads. I’m signed up to the Boneheads group.

  65. Sioux-per-man,
    good thing you mentioned about joining the league, 1 step I forgot to do.

  66. Doodie Machetto on

    Manny, I get you wanted the Rangers to win the Cup, but winning a series against Montreal where Montreal has home ice? Have you seen them play against Montreal, especially in Montreal?

  67. I’m with you, West. I really think this team, if it gets people back, can really make some noise. Never underestimate the power of Hank. Watching that Sens game 7 from last season (which was on MSG last night) really made me think. Because that team was playing really poorly and Hank really saved the day. Built up my confidence since I think this team might be a bit more offensively talented and balanced than that team.

    I have really taken a negative turn in this upcoming playoffs but I am trying my hardest to get over that and be positive.

  68. Yea. It’s terrible, Doodie. So effing bad. I just think that the Rangers might have a chance since the Habs are not really playing well. But who knows!

  69. Also, isn’t Emelin out for the playoffs with that knee injury? That guy is a huge presence on their blue line and they Habs will really miss him.

  70. Anyone catch the 1994 ECF game 6 last night?

    I was shocked by the amount of unpenalized muggings and face wipes. Plus I forgot the insane amount of scoring chances that our forecheck created. We were a good team…you watch that game and wonder how Kovalev is not in the HoF. Plus, Scott Stevens before the Cup wins had an unsure look on his face…like even he was mesmerized by Messier and his minions..

  71. Sioux-per-man on

    Yeah don’t forget to join the Thehockeynetwork.com league.

    You could win a pair of tickets to the Winter Classic :)

    Our Bonehead league – wins a cigar out of my humidor :)

    ….of course if I should win you all have to send me one LOL !!!!

  72. What were your guesses on total goals scored in the Stanley Cup Final? I think I put 29.

  73. fat guy, never mind the muggings, what about the obvious hooking to the point where guys were being hook down to the ice with no calls but than again Frazier was the ref in that game. I couldn’t stand Kerry Fraser, terrible ref.

  74. Sioux-per-man on

    I kid I kid…..But I’m serious I will send a “Sather” Cigar to the Bonehead that makes makes the most picks.

    Carp doesn’t smoke…. so I will probably have to pay him in hot dogs :)

    But he hasn’t entered a horse.

    Can’t win if you don’t have a horse in the derby!!!

  75. The key to winning the NHL network one is to make all insane picks. So many people are going to do it that only by some crazy, incredible series of upsets in sweeps would any of us have a chance to win.

  76. Sioux-per-man on

    Nonkahuna Romeo & Chazthetaz are in :)

    No Fat Guy ….. what’s up with that??????

  77. Doodie Machetto on

    32, I think. I figured 6 games with 5 goals, plus a couple of extra in case it goes 7.

  78. Hags-Stepan-Cally
    Clowe-Richards-Zucc
    Kreider-Brassard-Pyatt
    Dorsett-Boyle-Asham

    Girardi-McDonagh
    Staal-Stralman
    DelZotto-Moore

    I like this line-up. If Kreider struggles, Powe is defensively responsible, good on the PK and physical. Move Dorsett to the third line and put Powe on the 4th.

  79. Sioux-per-man on

    Doodie’s In :)

    Sweet.

    Hey Manny now I see your picture in the LoHud Box down below :)

  80. wait – what exact site should I go to in order to get rich off my ridiculous predictions?

  81. That’s Me, Sioux! Don’t tell anybody. I have to keep my family safe from the freaks around here.

  82. You can all laugh at my predictions but Last season only *one* person around here picked the Rangers to win the East. ME

  83. Re: 1:15 I like it. Don’t dress Nash, totally confuse them, negate all the Cap’s defensive preparations. Only a genius would think of that.

  84. I meant the Division. I probably also picked them to win the East. Which I was VERY close to being correct about!

  85. Maybe we can have Nash get into a fistfight before the 1st game during warmups. Why not? Maybe get him suspended.

  86. Sioux-per-man on

    I understand.

    That’s one thing we don’t have to worry about living in God’s country :)

  87. Carp,

    Considering Torts rarely talks about anything but the playoffs, why all of a sudden does he talk about his relationship with Gaborik?

  88. I’m gonna sing a song for you
    And this is gonna show you a thing or two
    You’ll have some fun now with me and the gang
    Learning from each other
    While we do our thang
    na, na, na
    Gonna have a good time
    na, na, na
    Gonna have a good time hey, hey, hey!

  89. Sioux – Re: IT. I’m sitting at a bar. Natalie Portman approaches, says, ‘I’m going to do something for you that you’ll never forget,’ and I say, ‘You’re gonna paint my house?’

  90. Enjoyed that article Carp. Brought back some memories. I remember it was so loud that I worrying about the structural integrity of the building after they eliminated the Caps in ’86. I was Bob Brooke.

    We learned to hate those Caps teams (even before Dale Hunter got there) almost as much as we hated the Islanders and Flyers. The Devils, at that point, weren’t even worthy of hatred. Young Scott Stevens and Lou Franceschetti were the targets of the Blue seats’ vitriol.

  91. Because Tort is going to do his best to take the focus off his team and put all the focus on himself. That’s his strategy to protect his players.

  92. One reason he might not repeat is named Sergei Brobrovsky. Also, Craig Anderson, although he missed a lot of games, could get a look. But Hank is up there.

  93. If Craig Anderson is going to be considered for Vezina for starting about 2 times less games than Hank there is a problem.

  94. Just the way Torts talks about Nash and his ‘low maintenance’ tells you that he has had his share of prima donnas.

  95. If Tort makes the media focus on him running Gaborik out of town then Nash and Richards will be protected (especially Richards) from criticism.

  96. This is literally from a ballot:

    GOALTENDER — Three selections

    1) Sergei Bobrovsky – Columbus Blue Jackets

    2) Craig Anderson – Ottawa Senators

    3) Tuukka Rask – Boston Bruins

  97. Coos @1:27, at least give my favorite comedian some attribution, Mr.Henny Youngman!

    Plagiarism from the blog poet laureate! ;)

  98. He realistically has no chance of winning when guys like Rask, Bobrovsky (who doesnt deserve it either YET), and Hank have played way more.

  99. If Bobrovsky has a similar year next year then I give it to him. This year I think it should be between Rask and Hank.

  100. I’m in the Bonehead league and I’m ready to dominate. Just hand me my muthaeffin check right now

  101. Doodie Machetto on

    Lyova, why would Bob have to play two good years to win the award? It’s a yearly award, not a lifetime recognition one.

    I think it’s him, Rask, or Lundqvist. If Anderson had played more games, it would be his in a landslide.

  102. Look, if Crosby can miss a ton of time and be favored for the Hart, then Anderson can miss a lot and be a candidate for the Vezina.

  103. Sioux-per-man on

    Saddle up Fat Guy’s got a horse in the race!!!

    Chips are free, Cigars are extra :)

  104. I love that Bobrovosky had such a great year. The Lindros curse lives on. The Flyers have not had a true #1 since Hextall. They are still on the wrong side of karma for that shady Larry Bertuzzi arbitration bit of dirty pool that Snider orchestrated so they could land Carl and Bonnie’s boy, trading Hextall, Forsberg and others to Quebec.

    I also liked how Paul Holmgren announced that Laviolette gets to keep his job. Which begs the question: How does Holmgren get to keep his job?

  105. Rangers in 5.

    Unless they take the advice of sctratching a healthy Nash.

    I wouldn’t expect Clowe back for this series. He already had a head problem, as evidenced by seeking 8 years and $36 million…

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