Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Be Impressed But Don't Be THAT Impressed. . .

Honestly, I have nothing much different to say than what I have been saying all along here. It wasn't like the Rangers went down 2-0 and came back - again. Being down 1-0 is a lot less of a comeback to mount at any point, although yes a comeback it still is. And I was slightly surprised, but yet not entirely, that the game ended up going into OT and ending with a shootout, the Rangers second in a row, the third in their last four games.

Let me say though, that the shootout, now in its fourth year of existence has been veryyyy kind to the Rangers. They've hardly ever been embarrassed in it, and most of the time, they come away with the extra point. And Hank Lundqvist has a lot to do with it, yes.

So, I wasn't disappointed with the game. Actually I thought the first two periods showed a little more energy from the Rangers than their last few starts. Mind you, I said a little. But they still couldn't mount anything with that extra energy though. It's getting a little old, no? The coming from behind. The lack of goal scoring. The same old song and dance.

But it must be stated that while there were different players on these teams that played together twice in the pre-season that both of those games ended 2-1 as well (and both teams won on home ice). Alex Auld played well against the Rangers back then as well. So while I hesitate to say it was a solid game, but it wasn't as boring as they have been recently. (Sorry, I'm being blunt).

None of this stopped Coach Renney from doing some third period benching however. Nik Zherdev and Aaron Voros, both pretty invisible on the scoresheet as of late, sat most of the 3rd. (It is noted that Zherdev, who scored the lone goal in the shootout, did not take his skate as a star of the game, presumably upset about his benching. He did stay out for the stick raise, but I noticed he waited a long, long time before doing so himself). And that's fine, I guess. I mean it's just funny how it's so easy to bench Zherdev and Voros, but not the multitude of other players who have had periods of inconsistency and/or invisibility. But Dubinsky, Prucha, Zherdev, and Voros, that's . . . clear as mud.

And speaking of invisibility, Ottawa's big boys were very invisible. The splash and sparkle is gone from them. It can only be a matter of time before a big shakeup, one would assume. But what can I say about that that hasn't already been said.

Instead, the real highlight of the game, the Rangers segment on Garden Vision where the players act out movie clips. I love this segment. Let it be said, it is not shown often enough. (And for those that haven't seen it, they have done this infrequently throughout the last few seasons and with different movies and players of course). Last night they had Dubinsky doing Super Bad, Gomez doing some movie with Will Ferrell (Ron Burgundy?), Hank and I believe Voros doing "help me, help you" from Jerry Maguire, and lastly Hank and Valiquette doing "I feel the need, the need for speed" from Top Gun. True, they didn't get the volleyball celebratory high five just right, but it still made me laugh. Great stuff. They should really post these on newyorkrangers.com. Do they? I can't find anything on these new nhl sites, I'll be honest.

And while I'm on it, it's not as easy to get radio feeds as it once was. Which is crap. I tried to get the Rangers feed the other day when they were in NJ, and you click, "listen now," and get whatever is being aired on 1050 ESPN. Alright? Seriously?

Back on topic. Credit the Rangers team for winning. Because winning they are. 14-5-2. There is nothing not impressive about that. No matter how they do it. But as I've said and the Rangers players have alluded to - what happens when they can't score enough to come back? What happens when they don't score at all? Oh what I wouldn't give for a nice 6-4 game. With the Rangers winning, of course.

Tomorrow, Vancouver comes into the Garden after dropping a 2-1 game on the Island last night in a shootout. I'm sure I'll have something more to say on that tomorrow.

Around the League:

Shanny update from http://www.courierpostonline.com/article/20081117/SPORTS04/811170361/1002

"Shanahan update
The Flyers are still awaiting word from free-agent LW Brendan Shanahan after offering him what is believed to be a one-year deal worth $1 million. "We're still waiting to hear from him," assistant general manager Barry Hanrahan said Sunday night. "We haven't heard anything." General manager Paul Holmgren returned Sunday from a college scouting trip to Minnesota. Shanahan's agent, Rick Curran, was also out of town Sunday and did not return a message. Shanahan is also believed to be negotiating with the New Jersey Devils. He was expected to come to a decision by the end of last week but apparently did not receive a contract offer that met his demands, presumably in the $1.5 million range."

Can't say I'm surprised there. No way Shanahan was going to go from close to $6 mill with incentives to $1 million. Even if he does want to play. I'm curious. Very curious. What other offers, if any, are there out there?

And now a random thought here.

A lot of people are surprised Boston is doing so well this year. Well, I'm not. I thought they'd be better last year. They were. I thought they'd be even better this year. And now they are looking great. A great mix of guys. Two good goalies. Toughness. Goal scoring. They really are suprising a lot of people. Not me, though. I picked them to finish above the Rangers, if I'm not mistaken. Good for them.

Now this prompted me to look up just how the other lesser successful Original 6 teams have fared over their history. And it was very educational. I didn't look up Montreal, Toronto, or Detroit. I'll do that another day. Tomorrow? Sure, why not.

But I looked up Boston, Chicago, and New York. Boston has won 5 Cups (1929, 1939, 1941, 1970, 1972) and has 21 Division championships. Chicago has won 3 Cups (1934, 1938, 1961) and has 13 Division Championships.

New York has won 4 Cups (1928, 1933, 1940, 1994) and has 5 division championships. Five! Five!! In 80 years! That shocked me. Really, really shocked me. I mean, if I think back, I haven't seen more than the division win in the year they most recently won the Stanley Cup. The other four were in 1927, 1932, 1990, 1992. That's a massive break of - what almost 60 years. Baffling. Now I'm sure it would behoove me to do some research on what exactly a division meant in 1933, and I will, but that is still a lot of well...NOT a lot of success.

And don't confuse me. It's not as if I thought my team was massively successful. 54 years between championships alone would say that.

[Random side bar. I used to get so annoyed when the Devils fans after they won the Cup in 1995, I saw them with bumper stickers saying "It didn't take the Devils 54 years." Which is ignorant and silly. It took the Rangers 2 years, count em, 2, to win their first Cup. It took the Devils 20 years from the time they were in Kansas City and 13 years from their inception in NJ, to win their first. Chew on that. Now of course, I can't justify the 1/2 century and change they took off between 1940 and 1994. No one really can. But they won a Cup in year 2 and had won their second Cup 5 years later, their third 7 years after that. So the Devils won their 3rd Cup quicker than the Rangers. (1995, 2000, 2003). Yes. Yes, they really got us there. The future, my friends, is all TBD. ]

But back the relative lack of success in NY. And this is why, above all else, despite how much some Rangers fans annoy me when they boo or say stupid things or get on their players for the wrong reason and not on others for the reasons they should be, how I still love them because they are loyal. Come on, you have GOT TO BE loyal to like a team that since 1926-27 has won 4 championships and 5 division titles. Sure Boston should have won more Cups, presumably, and Chicago has been in depression from the 1960s until just recently, but the Rangers - they do have tradition. Quite obviously a tradition more centered around class, attitude, loyalty, character, and pride, than centered around actual success.

But, you know, I'll be honest. I hope they are more successful over the next 80 years, but I signed on for pride, passion, and tradition. And I remain loyal to that.

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