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Archive for the ‘Game Review’ Category

WEEKEND RECAP; PLAYER UPDATES

“Blog so hard motherf*ckers wanna fine me” – Jay-Z

2 very different games ended in 2 wins this weekend. I could research the numbers (I won’t due to crippling laziness and mild disdain for my readers!) but between the end of the 3rd period on Friday night and the beginning of the 1st on Saturday, the Rangers scored 6 goals in just under 9 minutes against Columbus. I’m no math guy, but THAT’S SOME GOOD SCORIN’.

Friday was a game the Rangers probably shouldn’t have won. Columbus came flying out of the gates; they were fast, consistently dangerous offensively, and physical as hell. Their forward group is big, mean, and super skilled, and the Rangers were on their heels all night. An advantage to being an awesome team, however, is that even if you aren’t playing your best you still have a chance to win if you can keep the game close. The Rangers did just that. Also, Bobrovsky let in one of the worst goals I’ve ever seen an NHL goalie let in on Hayes’ winner. That is also helpful.

Saturday was the photo negative of Friday’s game. The Rangers went up 3-0 before the first commercial and the game seemed to be over about as soon as it started. Also, the crowd at this game was brutally unenthusiastic. There were maybe 2 “Let’s go Rangers” chants that caught on, which was insane considering, you know, the team scored 3 times within the first 6 minutes. That said, I sat next to a couple that decided to skip checking out wedding venues to get drunk and come to the home opener. I don’t like using the word hero, unless it’s for someone who deserves it like Marcus Luttrell or the dude who invented Tinder. But that drunk couple? Heroes.

Starting like this has been a welcome change, considering both the team and Lundqvist started off each of the last 2 seasons horribly. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the beginning of the season.

1. OSCAR “WAYNE GRETZKY” LINDBERG

It’s great getting contributions from players from whom very little was expected. Is he going to continue scoring like this? Of course not. Am I excited to make a tasteless “Lindberg Baby” joke the second he goes quiet for a few games? Absolutely. Have I considered an exit strategy for this ridiculous device in which I ask myself dumb rhetorical questions? Not once.

2 of Lindberg’s goals have been products of pure luck that won’t be replicated. Both goals last night were completely the result of exceedingly fortunate bounces, but it’s encouraging that he puts himself in a position to take advantage of those opportunities when they arise. His other 2 goals, however, have been excellent. On opening night he buried a one-timer, which was the prototypical goalscorer’s goal. The tying goal on Friday, however, was a GREAT play. As a left-handed shot, he releases the puck on the same side as the goalie’s blocker. One of the worst things to deal with as a goalie (that wears a right-handed blocker) is a lefty shooter with a quick release who can accurately shoot the puck about 18 inches off the ice, under the blocker and over the pad. Lindberg did just that, and it gives me hope for the rest of his season.

2. MATS ZUCCARELLO

Welcome back. He looks sneaky, quick, and is making crafty plays with the puck. 2 goals on Friday was awesome, but Saturday was when he looked all the way back. Great passing, quick choices, and generally looking dangerous. The fact that he’s playing hockey again is enough; playing well again already is a miracle.

3. HENRIK LUNDQVIST IS MORE HANDSOME THAN YOU

He is handsome. Also, he is playing out of his goddamn mind right now. Saturday’s game saw him make 2 or 3 of the best saves of his career. I’m still not fully over how ridiculous he was. Normally, he’s so far ahead of the play that it doesn’t look very difficult for him to make stops that are completely insane for any other goalie. Last night he didn’t have that luxury, and it was a pleasure to watch. Everyone, for the love of God, please respect and understand that he is the best goalie the Rangers have ever had and, barring a miracle, will ever have. Hank is a living legend and I love him and if you don’t I will fight you to the death.

Next game is on Tuesday! Prediction: JETS ARE STILL FROM WINNIPEG, THEY LOSE ON AN EXISTENTIAL LEVEL REGARDLESS OF THE FINAL SCORE

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THE BOYS ARE BACK

HOCKEY BACK HOCKEY BACK. I, for one, am excited. The title of this post references both me arbitrarily ending my blogging hiatus AND far and away my favorite dumb internet story of the past year. I’ll try to not flake out on you this year (/cuts to shot of all my exes nodding sarcastically)!

As you’re well aware, our boys started the 2015-2016 regular season with a quality 3-2 win over the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks. The game was fast, players showed off a TON of skill, Corey Crawford’s pads looked stupid as shit, and god hockey I missed you so don’t ever leave me again. Also, it’s just awesome seeing Zuccarello out there playing again after that horrifying injury last spring. A lot of guys had rough injuries last spring, but only Zucc fractured his skull and, I can’t stress this enough, WAS PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO SPEAK UNTIL UNDERGOING REHAB. Welcome back, you crafty Norwegian hobbit.

ANWAY – Drawing conclusions from a single game is dumb, and because this is my blog that’s exactly what’s about to happen. Buckle up.

1. SPEED SPEED SPEED

While Carl Hagelin and his glorious, glorious hair may have gone west, the Rangers seemed to be much faster as a team. Marty St. Louis, God love him, had lost more than a few steps by the end of last season. Nash-Brassard-Zuccarello didn’t generate much but skated incredibly well. Kreider is the only burner on his line with Stepan and Hayes, but on more than a few occasions his straight-line speed created scoring chances single-handedly. The 3rd and 4th lines were buzzing around the puck in every zone all night long. Take in to account that Emerson Etem, a major burner in his own right, didn’t even dress last night and it’s hard not to feel encouraged by what the team displayed. Speed is probably the hardest thing in hockey to counter when it’s utilized properly, and if the Rangers stay healthy it looks like they’ll have that advantage against most teams all season.

2. BREAKING THE GLASS CEILING (I MAY INJURE MY BACK ATTEMPTING TO BLOW MYSELF FOR THIS ONE)

When the Rangers made the Stanley Cup 2 seasons ago (I don’t remember what happened and no I don’t want to talk about it), their biggest strength was the ability to roll 4 effective lines every night. Brian Boyle made Dominic Moore a luxury, and having a roster where any line is capable of stepping up and scoring brought the team within a few hit posts of raising the Cup (I SAID I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT). Last year, not so much.

Tanner Glass can play NHL hockey on a team that’s top-heavy in terms of talent (think this year’s Penguins) because he can usually take a shift without any disasters occurring. If you have a roster like the Rangers do, depth matters even more because the team doesn’t have the same kind of high-end scorers that a lot of other contending teams have. The season finished last year with Dominic Moore taking shifts as a third line center (bad) and Tanner Glass playing over 10 minutes a night (BAD).

Moore is an overqualified 4th liner, which makes him perfect in the role he played last night. Same goes for Jarrett Stoll. JT Miller was on the 2nd line during last year’s playoffs, and last night he was wreaking havoc all over the ice as a 3rd liner. Victor Stalberg looks like a bigger, faster, meaner version of 2013’s Benny Pouliot. Oscar Lindberg scored as the 3rd line center, and the 4th line generated at least 2 high-quality scoring chances I can remember offhand while playing physically every shift sure the Hawks’ defensemen didn’t get a chance to catch their breath.

If Glass does crack the line-up anytime soon, it will only be due to injuries. The team lost some quality players last off-season, but the front office managed to re-tool so well (and on the cheap!) that it’s much stronger top-to-bottom than it ever was last season.

3. HENRIK IS GOOD

pretty good

pretty good

He is #good at #hockey. #Content over.

God damn, I am excited to have this team back. Let’s enjoy the season, y’all. LGR.

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