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

Posts tagged ‘commentary’

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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Rangers vs. Red Wings, 3/21

Abandon all hope, ye who like strong research and sensible analogies. Time for some game thoughts.

Period 1:

  • Another softie given up by Hank. Analogy: I have a cough right now. For a couple days I figured it’d take care of itself, but it’s been about a week and now I think I need a doctor to take care of it. For a bit, I knew Hank was going to get back to being goalie Jesus sometime soon. Now I’m becoming concerned his issues are mental and that he might not return to dominant form. I know a doctor can fix me, but I’m not sure there’s anything to fix Hank’s sub-par play. (Note: I wrote this after the semi-soft 1st goal, and Hank promptly made a nasty breakaway save on Filppula. My counter-argument: Yeah, but still.)
  • Pierre McGuire to Torts: “COACH DO YOU THINK YOUR TEAM MAY NOT HAVE THE SAME LEVEL OF EMOTION TONIGHT AGAINST A TEAM YOU PLAY ONCE EVERY 2 YEARS AS THEY DID AGAINST ONE OF YOUR 3 BIGGEST RIVALS WHEN THE GAME STARTED WITH A 6-MAN BRAWL AND A 1ST MINUTE GOAL????” Great question. He’s the worst.
  • Tim Erixon looks really, really bad. By my count, 2 shifts total and a disastrous play on each. For a dude who people praise for high hockey IQ, this is surprising in a bad way. I’m going to blame it on nerves. He needs to calm down and play smart or he’ll be sitting for the rest of the night.
  • I’m going insane with the Rangers making these god-awful neutral zone and d-zone passes. Torts must be having 3-4 aneurysms per game at this point.
  • Brad Richards: not bad.

Period 2:

  • Awesome pass from Zuccarello on a rush; he’s had a really good game so far and has been pretty impressive since his call-up. I hope his NHL career works out.
  • Detroit’s PP: 1 for its last 32. Turns out losing Datsyuk and Lidstrom for a long time isn’t good for a team’s PP.
  • Just realized: there’s at least 5 Swedish Olympians between these 2 teams, probably 7 all in all (Hank, Hagelin, Lidstrom, Kronwall, Zetterberg, maybe Hagelin, and Holmstrom if he doesn’t retire by then).
  • Del Zotto’s wrist shot blows. He needs to stop, and I don’t know how he can argue that he should continue taking it. “Coach, I can’t stop taking my wrister! It may be weak, but it’s also wildly inaccurate! You gotta let me play my game!”

Period 3:

  • Pierre: “GUYS, SMART POSITIONING AND NOT GIVING UP TERRIBLE REBOUNDS ARE IMPORTANT TO SOLID GOALTENDING.” No kidding. Pierre McGuire talking during a hockey game is equivalent to randomly cutting to the dude’s face in a porno. Just ruins everything.
  • Brian Boyle, by the looks of it, will not be scoring 20 goals in a season ever again. Good player, but that was such an aberration of a season.
  • Pierre: “GUYS DO YOU THINK THE GOLD MEDAL WINNING COACH OF TEAM CANADA WILL BE BACK COACHING TEAM CANADA IN LESS THAN 2 YEARS AT THE OLYMPICS???? ALSO I THINK 2 OF THE 3 BEST AMERICAN DEFENSEMEN WILL BE ON TEAM USA!!!!” Is there someone out there just dying for Pierre’s take on things? I bet there is, and I bet he’s the same person that thinks NFL pregame studio shows are really insightful and “Two and a Half Men” is priceless comedy.
  • Main issue with the Rangers PP: less about lack of puck movement, much more about lack of player movement. Guys almost exclusively move when they have the puck, and no movement off the puck means less quality scoring chances. It’s simple, I’m sure they know it, and they need to get it fixed.
  • Beautiful play by Marc Staal to break up a 2 on 1. He’s almost all the way back, which is great news.
  • Del Zotto is playing really, really poorly right now. Not much else to say.
  • The Rangers coaches tell their players to never make blind passes to the slot. How about they say something about blindly shooting it around the boards in the offensive zone as well? Similar possibility of a giveaway with less possibility of a strong result. Just eat the puck in the corner if you have to.
  • Callahan nearly just scored his best goal of the year, and Conklin’s save on the next shot was most certainly his best of the year.
  • What a block by Girardi. Ballsy, and deflected it enough to tip it off the crossbar.
  • Datsyuk is hurt and all, but he’s so scary. He had like 3 ridiculous keep-ins along the blue line, and now whenever he gets the puck I’m convinced the Wings are going to score.

Overtime:

  • Hank has looked phenomenal since that 1st goal. I hope he keeps this going.
  • Stepan didn’t even pretend he was going to shoot on that odd man rush. He’s got a good wrist shot, he needs to use it or make goalies worry that he might.
  • CALLAHAN FUCK YEAH WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BIRTHDAY BOY IS GONNA GET DRUNK
  • HAHA NET CAM YOU SUCK
  • Sweet, sweet victory.

Nice to see Hank play great after I criticized him immediately, and Del Zotto get the game winning assist after I said he was playing a brutal game. The moral of the story is I’m always right.

2-1 OT win. Great game, and, once again, the Rangers are on a win streak.

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