1) Happy Thanksgiving. There’s plenty for which to be thankful and far more important than a stupid hockey game. So I hope you enjoy the holiday with family. Please be careful on the roads and don’t even dream about drinking and driving, or using the phone while driving. And as far as hockey goes, be thankful — the way the standings look right now — that it’s not March.
2) Mostly I’m thankful for you guys, because this place is absolutely priceless during and after a loss (or even when trailing at any point in a win). But Twitter is a whole new home to mindless pessimism and hatred of pretty much every player on the roster. Holy shishkebab.
3) Martin St. Louis was teary-eyed during and after that nice video tribute, which he surely deserved. I didn’t think this was one of his better games. Not terrible. Just not great.
4) The man for whom he was traded, on the other hand, kinda likes spanking his former boss and pals, doesn’t he. If Ryan Callahan played every game against the Rangers he’d be on pace for 164 goals. His buddy, Dan Girardi, wiped him out once. But Callahan was treated like royalty most of the night, same as nine days earlier at MSG, virtually escorted to the net, and left comfortably alone once there.
5) That all said, this certainly wasn’t among the Rangers’ worst losses of the season — think Tampa Bay at MSG the week before, or Toronto (twice) or Edmonton or the November Cup Champions. Those were much, much worse. They had a post and a crossbar, and had numberous chances to tie the game. They only made a few glaring defensive errors, though most of those ended up in the net. They lost by a goal to perhaps the best team in the league (at the moment) on the road. And, no, it wasn’t one of their best games either.
6) Because, as so often in losses this season, they did not establish a forecheck when they desperately needed one to have some possession time. At times it was there, at times it wasn’t. And when it wasn’t, Tampa Bay was on the Rangers like stink on a monkey.
7) You guys know I never complain about the officiating, or the NHL’s pansification rules. I had a big problem with the Mats Zuccarello penalty. You know. In an ice hockey game. The puck and Tyler Johnson arrive at the same time. Zuccarello plays the body. Johnson decides to let the puck go, Zuccarello follows through. That’s not interference. The puck was there. How is Zuccarello supposed to not make that hit? If he doesn’t, he’s in trouble with his coach; any player would be with any coach. Of course, Tampa Bay scored.
8) I thought the double minor on Rick Nash was the correct call. The first was a high stick, no question. (could have been a headshot if anybody knows exactly what the NHL deems to be a headshot). Then a player confronts Nash and Nash gives him a shot to the back of the head as they wrestle. That’s also a penalty. Of course, Tampa Bay scored. In the final minute, teams battling along the wall. Chris Kreider, who has a history of taking needless penalties, pushes Anton Stralman. Kreider is stronger than Stralman, so Stralman goes down. That is not a penalty, especially in that situation. Not a penalty.
9) Kreider, BTW, played one of his better away-from-the-puck games, I thought. Had only a few chances.
10) Henrik Lundqvist. I don’t like the running around in the D-zone on the PK, and I know Steven Stamkos has a rocket. But short-side goals should almost always be stopped. Maybe anybody but Stamkos? The first Callahan goal he had no shot. The second Callahan goal, after Lundqvist lost his stick, went off his glove. The fourth goal was a deflection off a leg in front.
11) I don’t give a rat’s butt what the stats say, the PP has been remarkably better with Dan Boyle and Derek Stepan back.
12) Daily Nash-O-Meter. Rick Nash stole the cough-up and set up Zuccarello’s breakaway goal. He deserved both of the penalties he took, one of which led to the Callahan PPG, but you all want him involved and aggressive, right? Won key battles on both the Zuccarello goal and his own goal, No. 15. BTW, Stamkos and Captain Cally looked foolish on the Nash goal.
13) Marc Staal is having a Jekyl and Hyde season. Whatever one’s the bad one, he was that one last night. Guess Staal doesn’t know that Callahan likes to play in front of the net on the PP. Too bad, because Staal was fabulous in the consecutive shutouts.
14) On the 3-2 goal, it was Tanner Glass — who wasn’t even a teammate — who escorted Callahan to the front of the net. That was after Dan Girardi got caught up ice, Staal got taken to the cleaners by Stamkos, and the Rangers got caught with their fourth line against the TB first line. None of that could be good. Also, Girardi stopped skating coming back, when he could have gotten to Callahan if he busted it.
15) Kevin Klein=Monster. Been the most consistent D-man all season.
16) Glass also lost the puck on the 4-2 goal in the third, and then Stepan failed to tie up Kucherov, and the puck went in off his leg. It’s a quarter of the way into the season. It’s time for Glass to put up. I know, he’s an Alain Vigneault favorite and he has a three-year contract. I think Lee Stempniak should go into his spot, though Glass might be a necessary evil in the home-and-home matinees with Mr. Snider’s Flyers. That would mean Jesper Fast comes out and Glass stays in. Unless Anthony Duclair gets the short stick. I imagine Cam Talbot gets one of those games.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1. Rick Nash.
2. Mats Zuccarello.
3. Dan Boyle.
Your poll vote for Three Rangers Stars:
1. Rick Nash.
2. Dan Boyle.
2. Mats Zuccarello.
Photos by Getty Images.