1) Marc Staal. Boy, that sure as hell doesn’t look good for him, getting hit on the button like that by Reid Boucher’s shoulder or upper arm to the chin and reacting as if he knew right away that something was wrong, and then slamming his helmet on his way to the lockerroom, not to return. For a guy like him—a really good guy; not that it matters—to have been through what he’s been through the last few years, well, he deserves a better break this time. But a better break might not be happening for him. Plus, and I’m not alone in this, it sure looks as if he’d been having some trouble with his vision lately. He just looked lost defensively and with the puck. Had a chance early last night and just whiffed.
2) The kicked-in goal. I’m not saying that Cam Janssen used a distinct kicking motion, though his skate did appear to be going forward. I just don’t understand any longer what is and what isn’t a kicking motion. I do know that the Rangers have been on the wrong end of pretty much every one of those kick-ins this season. Seriously. I haven’t a clue anymore what is or isn’t allowed or why. Much, much worse, the people in charge don’t seem to know.
3) Shortly after that goal they showed Stephane Matteau in the house, on the big video board, to the usual cheering. Then Toronto called down and disallowed the Matteau goal. As some pointed out last night, how remarkable is it that here’s Matteau, this long-retired semi-legend in street clothes, and yet there’s Martin Brodeur still guarding the same net?
4) As a friend said in the pressbox, “It’s Cam Janssen. There’s no way he could have done it on purpose.” Having said that, Janssen has three goals, which is more than nine of the players in Rangers lineup have (not including goalies) and any of the three Rangers scratches.
5) And finally on that topic, Alain Vigneault cleverly answered the question about the kick-in ruling without getting himself in trouble, when he said he has “a friend” who says “they make it up as they go along.”
6) It looked as if the Rangers were going to be in control of this game when Brad Richards scored on a really good shot, and Mats Zuccarello (who started the Richards goal by forcing a turnover) scored on Ryan Callahan’s rebound as Jaromir Jagr did his Robinson Cano coming back to the defensive zone.
7) And then … the Janssen goal, and some sloppiness. Dan Girardi made a brutal play on Jagr, after Dainius Zubrus picked Ryan McDonagh behind the net, on the Travis Zajac goal. Henrik Lundqvist needs to stop the Michael Ryder goal, even if he did school John Moore at the blue line—and Moore was playing in Staal’s spot, by the way.
8) Ryan Callahan had an interesting night. He had the assist, legit, on the Zuccarello goal. He had a quite uncomfortable assist off his, ahem, onions on the Chris Kreider tying goal, was slashed on right hand and in pain earlier, and took that careless, though certainly not intentional, penalty in overtime.
9) Chris (The) Kreider looked pretty darn good to me. J.T. Miller, too. Kreider is really blooming as a force physically and offensively, isn’t he? And, though it probably stinks either way, losing on a PPG in OT and getting a point because of a late tying goal like the one Kreider scored is a lot better than just blowing a 2-0 lead and losing 3-2 in regulation. FWIW.
11) What’s worse? The NFC East, the NBA’s Atlantic Division or the NHL’s Lesstropolitan Division. And with the seasons in 2013 by the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Knicks, Nets, Islanders, Devils, Rangers, was last night’s game for temporary supremacy of mediocrity in the metropolitan area?
12) Such a proud day and night for Gary Bettman’s NHL, first with Philly cheap-shot artist Zac Rinaldo’s performance (:04 of ice time, 27 minutes worth of penalties) and then with the garbage that went on in Boston, with Pittsburgh’s James Neal and the B’s Shawn Thornton. You reap what you sow. Keep doling out three-game suspensions to these knuckleheads. Yeah, that’ll stop it. My friend Ken Campbell (@THNKenCampbell) tweeted: “Once again, good thing the game has guys like Shawn Thornton around to protect everyone from guys like Shawn Thornton.” I wonder, too, what Mr. Shanahan will think of Boucher’s hit on Staal. I didn’t see a decent replay, so I don’t know, but I do know that—like with kicked-in goals—you never know with these reviews and disciplinary decisions.
13) And numbskulls weren’t limited to on the ice. Some jackass shouted “Marty sucks!” during the moment of silence for Nelson Mandela. Not the worst I’ve heard at MSG. The night President Reagan was shot in the 1980s they had a moment of silent prayer before a game against the Flyers and a classless clown in the old blue seats hollered “They shoulda shot you Clarke!”
My Three Rangers Stars:
1. Mats Zuccarello.
2. Chris Kreider.
3. Brad Richards.
Your poll vote for Three Rangers Stars:
1. Chris Kreider.
2. Mats Zuccarello.
3. tie, Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller.
Photos by Getty Images.