First of all, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Even though I caught up on some games (like the Calgary/Coyotes game that had more former Rangers than I could count - Prucha, Korpikoski, Sjostrom, Lundmark, and Dawes (GWG) and the Canucks/Kings tilt), I apparently didn't find myself time to update the blog. ;)
* Does anyone else remember last year's Thanksgiving Eve? (Well, alcohol may or may not have played a factor in that...) The Rangers played Tampa, they led the game late, gave up the tying goal with less than a minute to go to St. Louis, and then won in a shootout. Thankfully. This Thanksgiving Eve, the Rangers played Florida, led the game late, gave up the tying goal to Moore, and then won in a shootout. Thankfully. Only difference was 3-2 SHW a year ago, and a 2-1 SHW this year. If the Rangers beat Tampa Bay tonight in a shootout (as they did Thanksgiving Friday against Florida last year) we'll really see history repeating itself.
* Who is not thankful for P.A. Parenteau. The guy said he wanted to come up and stay up this time around and he's doing everything to be considering for that. Two deciding goals in the Rangers only two shootout appearances this season. Can't ask for more than that. And did you see Tortorella's grin after he scored? It was like, damn, this kid. He was right.
* Gaborik scored a goal, on the powerplay, for the Rangers? You don't say. No, honestly here. It was smart movement on the PP all around. And a very smart tip by Gaborik. Not that we should be surprised anymore with his talent. But we're happy to continue to see it displayed. The goal was Gaborik's league leading 19th and currently has him in a tie for points, at 33, with Thornton and Kopitar.
* It's always nice to see a player defend his teammate. Even nicer when it's someone you may not have expected. Matt Gilroy, seeing Prospal hit by the same player whose hit took out Redden early in the game, jumped in for his first career fight. He took 17 minutes in penalties, but the message was clear - don't mess with our guys. Great to see from the young guy. But why can't everybody be so willing to defend their own?
* Because it's Thanksgiving time and there isn't much else to talk about here, why not give a quick rundown of what or who I am most thankful for on the Rangers 2 months into the season:
- Gaborik, Gaborik, Gaborik. If there's a Rangers fan that is not thankful for this guy, I'd love to know it. He scores, sometimes the Rangers only goals. He PKs, even though we sometimes wish he wouldn't. He playmakes. He does it all and in a way that makes you think it's effortless. A priceless talent. Very thankful for him.
- Del Zotto and Gilroy. Again, I can not express to you, after years and years and years where the Rangers had no youth or no defensive anything, besides stopgaps, how wonderful it is to have two (really four) players that are OURS. Two players that are young, are ours, and are good. This isn't discounting Girardi and Staal (my favorite player how has struggled this year but has looked better as of late) but Del Zotto and Gilroy have hardly seemed to struggle to settle in. It's remarkable really. Just do the job and do it well. Del Zotto's offense is just icing on the cake. It's been a long time for something like that.
- Hank. I can't go through a thankful list without mentioning the goalie. No, he's not perfect. At some moments he's very pedestrian. But on a scale, overall, he's been able to do things other goalies have not. Play with as much consistency in his first years in the league as to be recognized as one of the best. Play with as much talent as necessary to keep what has been a very low scoring (after the Jagr years) and defensively challenged team in playoff contention. He may not be perfect. But take Hank out of the equation, this team has not been a playoff team for all four years. No way.
Enjoy the games this weekend!! Again, I think we can all agree to be thankful for the greatest game of all - hockey! I know I am.