“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.
ON TAP TONIGHT
- 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.