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Archive for the ‘Game Preview’ Category

Happy Hour! – 11/6, @ Colorado Avalanche, 9 PM

“Come on and let’s do it/Blog it, my pony” – Ginuwine

Here’s a cool little musical performance! Chris Stapleton performing his song “Drink You Away” at the CMAs with Justin Timberlake!

  1. Chris Stapleton’s beard game, hat game, and bolo tie game are on a straight up different level. He can’t be stopped, you can only hope to contain him.
  2. Justin Timberlake is a good performer and I think he seems like a nice young man.
  3. Is your song being performed by a bearded man with gravelly voice? Are the lyrics about coping with heartbreak with whiskey? If you answered yes to these questions, I am interested in your music. Forward any and all suggestions to BillClinton @ aol dot com. (I have no reason for it, but I have a feeling Bill probably still uses AOL).
  4. Is Chris Stapleton an up and coming stud in the country world? Yes. Is Justin Timberlake a music icon? Of course. Is either of them the true star of this video? No. Ladies and gentlemen, I humbly submit to you (from about the 2:32 mark) THIS GUY:


    Look at this man

That is how you own your moment on camera. Embrace the Nic Cage-esque hairline, put on your creepiest looking face, and emphasize your neck fat. Also, massive shoutout to the other guy over first guy’s shoulder keeping Patrick Swayze’s hair from the 1980s alive and well. TO HOCKEY WE GO!



  • The Avalanche of Colorado. They are 4-8-1, they’re near the bottom of the league in almost every single advanced stat, and have been generally horrendous. No player on their team has provided better examples of things not going how you want than, poor, poor Matt Duchene getting robbed not once, but twice in spectacular fashion. Colorado has a talented forward group in Duchene, Landeskog, MacKinnon, and old man Jarome Iginla, and an excellent goaltender in Semyon Varlamov, but the blue line is…. lacking. Really, the Rangers have no excuse to come out of here without 2 points.
  • It looks as though Rick Nash might miss some time with a back issue, meaning Emerson Etem would fill in and guys would get moved around the line-up. Personally, I hope JT Miller gets some top-6 minutes if Nash does indeed sit. At his best, he’s played great north-south hockey with a physical edge, except he’s shown he has the ability to set teammates up for really solid chances. Also, he’s like 22 years old (I could easily look this up; I will not look this up), so giving him those minutes when possible could really serve his development well.
  • Hank is playing tonight, which means we probably get Raanta tomorrow. I think Hank’s long overdue to get his first shutout, and I think tonight’s the night.
  • Fear: Nash sits, the Rangers score a bunch of goals and win easily. I don’t fear this in terms of anything affecting the team or Nash himself. What I fear is the inevitably shitty and lazy onslaught of Nash coverage and hot takes that will follow. No part of me will ever understand why human beings universally blame the best player on their favorite teams for every single thing that goes wrong. The best answer anyone ever has for this is “that’s the scrutiny stars have to deal with,” which is essentially just saying “ummm because.” Nash needs to produce points, sure, but he plays less than a third of every game and has done everything well (look up the advanced stats if you care to, but he is driving possession and scoring chances really well). Most likely, he’s hit a stretch of bad luck and will regress back to the norm. Reading coverage about Nash and the Rangers this year would lead you to believe that he’s the worst player on the team and that the team has lost every game by 7 goals. It’s lazy as hell to blame the best player for things going wrong (see: Ovechkin, Alex), and being lazy is easy. But if you’re interested in learning about hockey and what drives successful teams vs. what drags bad teams down, don’t ever listen to anyone giving you a piping hot “Nash sucks” take. They’re being lazy and, worse, they don’t have a clue what they’re talking about.

Game’s at 9. Let’s go Rangers.


Happy Hour!

Nash scoring on a shootout move

Nash scoring on a shootout move

“For the life of me/I cannot believe we’d ever die/For these sins/We were merely bloggin’.” The Freshmen, by the Verve Pipe

Howdy, and happy game day! I’ve decided to start running a new feature (Segment? Bit? I really should’ve thought this out better) before games that I’ll be calling Happy Hour. 2 reasons for this: first, casual references to heavy drinking will make me seem fun and cool and I am desperate for approval. Second, I really love this team and I want to make sure I spend more words pointing out things that are fun and interesting instead of constantly pointing out negatives. Alcohol puns, deploy.


Ya know, because it sounds like drink specials? God please like me.

  • How the ever-present threat of ‘backhand shelf’ influences breakaway dynamics – written by Justin Bourne at The Score (One of the best hockey writers there is), this post examines how scorers use the threat of the forehand-to-backhand-to-top shelf deke to beat, trick, and generally just be impolite to goalies everywhere. Provides an interesting insight into how Rick Nash specifically uses the threat of this move on so many of his breakaway goals (see the header picture for reference).
  • 30 Thoughts, by Elliotte Friedman – this weekly column is a must read for any NHL fan, with tons of insider tidbits and observations that don’t show up anywhere else. One item stood out, re: Henrik Lundqvist:

22. The last four seasons saw Henrik Lundqvist’s numbers drop in October, with his save percentage going                                 .929, .925, .908, .891. This year he was a monstrous .943, leading the Rangers to a strong start as coach Alain                             Vigneault tried to get others going in front of him.”

  • Blueshirt Banter – Lineup changes tonight – Blueshirt Banter is the only other Rangers blog on the internet. This post takes a look at why Girardi is being moved back to the top pairing with McDonagh despite having spent the last few games on the 3rd pairing, the reason Stalberg is back in the lineup while Etem will go back to the pressbox, and a mention of Dan Boyle being scratched for Dylan McIlrath.


  • Who to watch for on the Caps: Brayden Holtby is a stud in net; Evgeny Kuznetsov is off to a start best described via use of the Fire Emoji; Nick Backstrom remains one of the best playmaking centers in the league; new additions TJ Oshie and Justin Williams are both offensive weapons; Alex Ovechkin is the greatest goal scorer on earth and is bad at buying Batman costumes.
  • Prediction: Nash scores for the Rangers tonight, largely due to increased efforts to get to the net-front more consistently with or without the puck. That’s right, my bold prediction is that a 40-goal scorer from last year scores. I live on the fucking edge.
  • The Rangers’ power play (and offense in general, to a lesser extent) is going to try to put pucks on net every chance they get. Last game saw multiple odd-man rushes end without the puck even getting on net, and multiple power plays expired without a single attempt on goal. When the Rangers have power play struggles, they usually attempt to cure it with more north-south play, shots through screens, and, frankly, hopes and prayers for lucky bounces. Expect that this evening.
  • Tonight will be the most physical game of the season. Not only are the Caps tough, but there’s legitimate bad blood between the 2 teams after playing each other in the playoffs for the last 57 years in a row (all #s approximate).

It’s going to be fun tonight. Let’s go Rangers.


1: Henrik is good. Evidence:

If the Rangers can clear out Devils players in front and prevent screens/deflections, it seems like Hank may very well not get scored on. He is back in the zone that allows him to really dominate games. This is tremendously encouraging.

2: The Rangers’ D is frustrating the Devils’ forwards. The PK is playing lights out, rebound chances are few and far between, and they’re playing intense, physical hockey. It’s how the Rangers were built to play, and they should win every time they impose their will on their opponent. Also: McDonagh and Girardi are fucking awesome.

3: We’re scoring goals, you guys. I know the stat about not scoring more than 3 goals since the 1st game of the Ottawa series keeps coming up. But if Hank and the D are playing like this, do the Rangers honestly need more than 3 goals? I say no, and that’s why I feel good about this series.

4: Congrats to proud new papa Ryan Callahan. Pretty great for him to become a dad while making his deepest playoff run of his career. Talk about a memorable Spring.

5: Kovalchuck still scares the ever-loving fuck out of me. Seriously, he gets the puck and my heart ends up in my throat. If the Rangers keep taking penalties, it’s going to bite them in the ass because Kovy is going to fill up the score sheet. God he’s horrifying. I’m pretty sure he has a 125 mph shot.

Let’s hope they can finally get a 2-game lead in a series tonight. I feel good, and I’m negative about EVERYTHING. Let’s go Rangers.


Expectations for Game 6 vs. the Caps

This is going to seem like a strange sentiment coming from a dude who started a blog about the Rangers and has season tickets, but I don’t usually get too emotionally involved with sports teams (I have exes who would say this quality is not limited to sports, but that’s neither here nor there). Typically, I approach teams with a sentiment that they don’t know who I am and most certainly don’t care about me, so getting too invested isn’t worth it and 99.999% of the time will end in disappointment. Also, because I’m dead inside.

For a number of reasons, I feel differently about this Rangers team. In part, it’s because I’ve never seen a team work this hard and put themselves repeatedly in harm’s way to win. It may have something to do with seeing how close the guys in the locker room are, and how close we fans were allowed to get during the 4 episodes of “24/7.” The fact that I, along with all the other fans, care so much about this team is why Game 5 was so unbelievable to be a part of. MSG had the most deliriously happy atmosphere I’ve ever been a part of at the end of Game 5, and I’ll never forget it.

After the triple-OT Game 3 win, the Rangers had a major let down in Game 4. They didn’t show up for the 1st period and couldn’t catch up with the Caps after the slow start. So after one of the 5 greatest moments in team history 2 nights ago, do the Rangers have another shitty start and further contribute to my developing ulcer in a Game 7?


Concerns vs. Montreal

For several reasons, tonight’s game against Montreal has me pretty concerned that the Rangers’ 7-game win-streak is about to end. Let’s get right into it, shall we?

1: What Goes Up Must Come Down

7 game win streaks are rare, especially if you’re a team like the Rangers who has good-not-great scoring ability. Eventually there will be a game where the defense is fine and Hank plays well, but the goals just dry up. It’s inevitable, especially if they keep playing games where only 1 of the lines is generating chances. There are 2 players on the Canadiens that have me thinking tonight could be the night the Rangers fall back to earth.

2: Carey Price

Price is the type of goalie that gives the Rangers absolute fits. He’s big and super athletic, and most games will make at least 1 save on a shot that would’ve been a goal against a lesser net-minder (other examples: Marc-Andre Fleury kills them; Cam Ward, last game aside, has a career save percentage of about .998% against the Rangers; Jon Quick, who seems to never give anything up against them). The Rangers only generate a few quality scoring chances per game, and if Price can make a stop on 1 or 2 of them it may decide the game, not to mention if the Rangers happen to just miss some of those chances on their own.

3: Max Pacioretty

Pacioretty is another type of player that kills the Rangers. He’s big, powerful, skilled, and a natural scorer. No Marc Staal makes Pacioretty especially dangerous in this game, since he’d normally be in charge of shutting down Pacioretty or maybe Camallerri. Right now, Pacioretty has 9 goals on the year and the Habs are on a bit of a hot streak of their own. Girardi’s been a stud this year, but if #67 gets rolling for Montreal he is a load to handle no matter how good of a d-man you are. I, for one, will be terrified whenever he gets the puck.

4. The Rangers are Miserable in Montreal

I don’t know the numbers because I’m lazy and frankly I didn’t start this for fun to do research, but I think the Rangers have like 2 or 3 wins in their last 10 games in Montreal. They don’t play well up there and it’s hard to pinpoint why (Theory: Montreal is a fucking awesome city. It is incredibly fun to go out up there, and if you’re a hockey player there’s no better place to meet a puck bunny than Montreal. Guys are a little less focused on the game when they’re up there, so they may come in a little less focused.). Hopefully the team is a little mentally stronger this year due to roster chemistry and Brad Richards’ leadership, and they can get past their problems at the Bell Centre. I hate that they spell it “Centre.”

5. Penalties and PK Subban

NHL players hate PK Subban. He gets on their nerves, and he’s really, really good on top of it. The Rangers have been taking a ton of penalties, less so lately but still an ugly total. Subban is the type of guy who could really get under the team’s skin. If he does and the Rangers spend too much time in the box, that spells loss even if the penalty kill is outstanding again. He’s another one to keep an eye on.

So that’s it. I don’t feel great about this game for those reasons, plus I’m a naturally negative person. I approach these things with a shitty attitude and expect the worst (which I suppose is the Mets’ and Jets’ fault) so why treat the Rangers differently? Also, God isn’t real, all that awaits us after death is rotting for eternity in the ground, and the Twilight movie made over $1 Billion this weekend.

Good Times! Everyone enjoy the game, and hopefully I’m wrong. Especially about the Twilight thing.

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