Talking about the Rangers, unless I decide to talk about something else

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.

Game 4 Summary

The opposite of this, really:

Probably closer to this:

Let’s just pretend this didn’t happen and move on.

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.

MAGIC NUMBER: 6 WINS TO GO

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?

Read the rest of this entry »

HOLY FUCKING FUCK

Jesus Christ, you guys. MSG almost fell over.

Every dollar the Rangers have spent and will spend on paying Brad Richards is worth it. Unbelievable. He looked happier than anyone I’ve ever seen after he put that in. The guy has made so many unbelievable plays his whole career, he has a cup, he has a Conn Smythe, and he was elated. Worth every penny, unless he gives Lundqvist AIDS and clips McDonagh’s Achilles heels with scissors sometime this week.

This was one of the most legendary games in franchise history. I’m not one to be earnest about anything, but I’m honestly really happy I got to be there. It was unbelievable. I’m going to watch these clips on YouTube for another 2 hours.

Good for Marc Staal. He’s one of the poster boys for this new era of the Rangers, and you know he was in heaven after that.

Game 6 in Washington on Wednesday night.

MAGIC NUMBER: 9 wins to go.

I am a weird combination of unbelievably nervous while simultaneously feeling quietly confident. In all likelihood, it’s because I just watched the final sequence from “24/7” to pump myself up:

Pretty sure I could run through a brick wall after watching that. Hopefully tonight, the Rangers can get a lead big enough for me to not have to drink my stress away and consequently feel horrible at work tomorrow. But judging by the playoffs so far, I doubt this.

Let’s go Rangers.

MAGIC NUMBER: 10 wins to go

Watch: Carl Hagelin and the Team’s On-Ice Reaction To Marian Gaborik Scoring This Morning.

This video is too fucking awesome. Also, my reaction was basically identical.

What a win. So many great things from that game: Hank was incredible, Richards played big, Gabby came up when he needed to, Staal was a monster, and McDonagh played 54 MINUTES OF HOCKEY. That is an absurd amount of ice time, and he probably feels like dog shit today. I know I did, and I was just drunk on my couch watching TV.

Thank God game 4 is on Saturday. These guys are going to need the rest.

Tag Cloud