Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. After five long months, the time is finally here – the first GONZO blog of this 2023-24 season!
Furthermore, I wish that I didn’t have an early AM flight on Friday morning, as I’m heading out to Columbus, Ohio for Game 2 of the Rangers’ 2023-24 campaign.
Why’s that the case, besides waking up in the middle of the night, if I sleep at all?
Simple, this game deserves a ton of attention – where let’s face it – I’m not going to sleep.
After all, when you see your beloved Blueshirts play a game as they did on Thursday night, the season opener in Buffalo, then they deserve the same drive, dedication and passion from yours truly!
(NOTE: KEEP HITTING REFRESH, AS I’M POSTING THIS BLOG WITHOUT PROOF-READING IT FIRST. TIME IS AN ISSUE TONIGHT!)
As usual, your daily disclaimer for this 2023-24 season:
“WHATEVER THE RANGERS DO IN THE REGULAR SEASON DOESN’T MATTER. THEY CAN ONLY BE JUDGED BY WHATEVER THEY DO IN THE 2024 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS!”
There are several ways to go about following the Rangers’ 5-1 win in Wing Land.
Obviously, the most positive path to go down is the fact that following a dreadful preseason, the Rangers played a near-perfect game – and where the Sabres looked absolutely clueless when trying to stop this proverbial Blueshirt locomotive.
No joke – “Lavy’s Lot” did it all – and then some.
Between Alexis Lafreniere scoring the first goal of the season (and trust me – this was huge news – and not just in Rangerstown, USA, but in all of the league too, including in Canada), Panarin making picture-perfect passes all game, Kreider’s two special team goals (one shorthanded, one on on the power-play), 23 blocked shots, a rare (for them) 63.3% winning percentage at the circles, closing the game and removing all doubt with an empty netter, big hits, etc – you name it and it was all there.
And oh yeah, that CZAR IGOR guy (24 saves on 25 shots, .960 save percentage), was dominant too – and where the lone Sabre goal scored was nowhere close to his fault, as a blocked shot from his captain, Jacob Trouba, then took a fortunate bounce to the stick of JJ Peterka for the “gimmie goal.”
That bad puck-luck play, the only “black mark” from this contest?
That’s the only thing that marred an otherwise CZAR IGOR shutout tonight – where yes – it does seem like it’s always one little thing that prevents the 2022 Vezina Trophy winner from posting more goose eggs.
The negative path that one could explore?
The fact that it won’t be until the start of April when the Rangers can finally exorcise the Devil(s) from last year – and yes – this is what my daily disclaimer is all about.
However, you can only live in the now, and what’s done is done too – so for one night, you just have to be ecstatic about the victory.
At the same time, I’d also advise looking at this game in a vacuum, a realistic perspective – and don’t start planning the parade just yet.
After all (and while it’s true that every season is independent of another), the 2022-23 Blueshirts began that campaign with a 3-1 win over Tampa Bay, and then backed up that victory with a 7-3 smashing over Minnesota.
I think you all know what happened at the end of that season.
As I wrap up this intro, I go back to what I’ve said about 52425257892578925789257899 times before on this site, the following:
“I can only work with the material that I’m given.”
The Rangers gave me plenty of strong material to work with tonight – and where I hope to cover it all – as there was not one weak link on this roster on October 12th, 2023.
I hope to say the same in June of 2024.
On Wednesday, the penultimate day prior to the start of the Rangers’ 2023-24 season, the team held a practice at their training facility in Tarrytown, NY prior to boarding their flight to Buffalo.
Following the skate, Laviolette held his final “LAVY’S LOUNGE” of training camp:
Aside from audibly farting at the 1:57 mark; not much was said by the boisterous bench boss during this final run through. Instead, it was the same old stuff, including nothing but Lafreniere-centric questions, “SYSTEMS,” and how everyone is 100% healthy and looking forward to the season.
Come Thursday morning, and now in Buffalo; new Rangers’ beat reporter, Johnny Lazarus (The Hockey News), presented the best practice coverage possible and imaginable.
We all know how much I’m not a fan of this current crop of beat reporters – and I don’t think that I have to rehash all of this again here!
What I like about Lazarus, or “Lazzy” as he’s called; is the fact that he’s a former collegiate hockey player – which means that unlike the current idiots on the beat, the Mollie’s and the Wince’s of the world – he does understand the game.
And Lazzy isn’t lazily copying-and-pasting stats from NaturalStatTrick.com either.
For that matter, he hasn’t posted any pictures of his meals – nor laughs like a diseased hyena during press conferences too.
What am I getting at?
Whenever I continue my gripes with the worst crop of beat reporters in franchise history; leave Lazzy’s name out of it. I am a fan of his work – and in a way – I think that more former fringe NHL players, whether college graduates or guys still trying to hold onto their ECHL careers – should transition to reporting.
Not only do they know what’s going on, but the players respect them more too, which in theory, means better access, better interviews, etc.
What else am I getting at?
It was Lazzy (where of note – he didn’t sit with the usual bunch of jackals, who at the time, were too busy filming themselves – and where Larry Brooks was uncomfortably sitting way too close next to Ms. Don’t Give a Shit while inside of an empty arena – ever hear of a buffer seat?) who first spotted head coach Peter Laviolette having one-on-one conversations with his lines and players – where maybe it’s prophecy, maybe it’s Maybelline – but whatever Lavy said to Lafreniere on Thursday morning sure put a hot flame under his French-Canadian behind.
Give Lazzy a follow on Elon’s Musk app by visiting: https://twitter.com/JLazzy23
(I wish I could write more here, and maybe I will later on this season, but again, I have that flight on Friday morning! However, for now, just look at his Tweeter X feed from Thursday – it was perfect coverage – and since he was a former high-level player – he was able to tell us what actually was going on – something that Ranger fans haven’t experienced in years from his fellow young peers.)
For the sake of posterity, here was the Thursday morning edition of “LAVY’S LOUNGE” – where really – I had enough of the talking (it’s been weeks of it) – and because it was time for some action:
As you’re all probably too aware of by now, here was the line-up that Laviolette dressed for the season-opener – and a line-up that I have to imagine will remain in-tact come Saturday night in Columbus:
FIRST LINE: Kreider/Zibanejad/Kakko
SECOND LINE: Panarin/Chytil/Lafreniere
THIRD LINE: Cuylle/Trocheck/Wheeler
FOURTH LINE: Goodrow/Bonino/Pitlick
FIRST PAIR: Lindgren/Fox
SECOND PAIR: Miller/Trouba
THIRD PAIR: Gustafsson/Schneider
STARTER: CZAR IGOR
HEALTHY SCRATCHES: Jones and Vesey
Of note: If tonight’s game was “bad” for anyone, then it was “bad” for Jones and Vesey – only because there’s just no way that you mess with this good ju-ju from Thursday night in Columbus.
BOX SCORE time.
The following graphics and information come from ESPN.com:
D. Levi G
Everyone from last year is back on the M$GN this season – and where the body of Al Trautwig has yet to been discovered too.
Maybe he’s hanging out with Jimmy Hoffa?
Once again, I have a flight in a few hours, which for that seven-foot mook with the bad CVS hair dye, Henrik Lundqvist’s former coffee boy, Sieve Vagistat – he’s lucky that I don’t have enough time to devote to another one of his obnoxious and wretched on-air “performances.”
You got one of the greatest Rangers of all-time, Lundqvist himself, a face of a generation to boot – and where shockingly – he’s actually amazing in his new career.
(In other words, TV ain’t easy – just ask Brian Leetch.)
Hell, “THE KING” is arguably the best analyst on national television too – and that’s how I’d argue!
However, unlike TNT, where Lundqvist is featured better than on his home network; “The King of Commentary” doesn’t have a skater, nor an accomplished NHLer either, to work with. Instead, he’s saddled by the worst back-up goalie in all of Rangers’ history – and that’s a fact – and not an opinion.
(However, Jonathan Quick may soon challenge Vagistat for that crown!)
And while I’m not a fan of the smug jackass, can anyone argue otherwise about the following:
You don’t need a back-up goalie to be paired up with a starting goalie on a hockey broadcast.
Simply put: YOU NEED A SKATER TO GIVE VIEWERS A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE.
And the less said about Vagistat’s made-up stats, the better.
Last season on this site, I told you that I’d no longer be watching (nor recapping) these pregame shows whenever Vagistat was flying solo.
Tonight, and just ten-minutes into it – I had to turn it off – despite my fandom of Lundqvist as an in-studio contributor.
Vagistat is just that bad – and in a new wrinkle – he tends to lie and forget what he’s previously said.
You can see that Vagistat has some sort of gripe with “THE TURK,” Gerard Gallant – you know, the man who possesses both one of the best winning and points percentage in all of franchise history – and also the first bench boss to finish with two consecutive seasons of 100+ points (albeit, a stat exclusive to his generation – but you can only do what you can in your own era), as the man who once gave up ten goals in a game took potshots at Gallant’s expense all broadcast.
Whether you’re TEAM TURK or not (and in the effort of full disclosure, I am), but it doesn’t matter.
The Rangers steamrolled the Sabres tonight, yet Vagistat had to keep going back to Gallant – and how the Blueshirts failed in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
And don’t get me wrong either – I still have a severe case of 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs PTSD too – and I also wondered what happens this season when the Rangers are matched-up with the more accomplished Devils (let’s face it – the Sabres, like the horrible NY Jets, have missed the playoffs in twelve straight seasons); but to keep going back to this topic, and incessantly at that, was simply not needed.
Also not needed? Vagistat himself!
Aside from the useless ANALytical bozo, and prior to yours truly flipping to the NHL network; Lundqvist said that he was a huge fan of Laviolette and brought up his one-time signing with the Washington Capitals – where if it wasn’t for his heart condition, #30, and very much like #1 before him – would have spent part of his Hall of Fame career elsewhere.
Lundqvist said that Lavy has a way of speaking to people and also mentioned how motivating the head coach can be. And based on what Lazzy was sharing with us – I now believe it – and with this “Royal Proclamation” only confirming such things.
The moment I turned off this broadcast is when Vagistat did his usual bullshit spiel, where he pretends that he had a career like Jacques Plante and then called out CZAR IGOR for his sixteen bad goals allowed last season.
Of course, “bad goals,” especially for a moron who relies on his own made-up data to present such information, is all in the eye of the beholder.
And if you can believe it, Vagistat, where that cheap hair dye must be seeping into his birdbrain, actually had the gall to suggest that the Rangers were hampered by CZAR IGOR.
You know, the best player on the team – and the best player during the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs too.
(Of note: I don’t know how much more Vagistat that I can endure and because it’s the season-opener, I had to mention it tonight. Moving forward, expect less on this loser, as I will just turn off my TV whenever I see him – because like a cell phone in Guatemala – he provides no service whatsoever.)
As brought up on this site all summer, my once daily prop bets of a Rangers’ 4-0 shutout have been retired.
Then again, I might bring it back on Saturday – considering that CZAR IGOR has posted that 4-0 shutout against CBJ before! Play the history!
And if you’re new here, a quick recap: No one was more “glass half-full” than me during the past two seasons. However, that brimming optimism hasn’t worked – and we’re now approaching thirty-years without a Stanley Cup.
This season, and call it a gimmick, call it ridiculous, but just don’t call me “BIG SHIRLEY” (Hi Mike and Linda); I am now embracing the POWER OF NEGATIVITY.
And yes – this is all stupid!
Put it this way: After going on-and-on about how bad the Rangers’ special teams were during the preseason, how bad Lafreniere was and how I thought that Sam Rosen & Joe Micheletti would pump their peckers to Devon Levi all game; the same couldn’t be said about this game.
Hell, I don’t think that Rosen & the FABULOUS one mentioned Levi once all game – outside of the rare times where he made a save.
The Rangers’ 1-21 preseason power-play, where the one goal scored (Fox) was the end result of a 5 x 3 man-advantage, and a fluke goal scored at that? (Puck bounced in off of a Devils’ d-man skate.)
1-4 (25%) tonight – and where that stat doesn’t tell the whole story either – and as we’ll get into during the GAME REVIEW.
In my opinion, he had his best game as a Ranger on 10/12/23.
As said during my preseason criticisms of the first-overall pick of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft – I’m rooting for him – but won’t shy away from the truth either.
The truth tonight?
This is all the evidence that we need – HE CAN DO IT – but we just need to see him do it on a consistent basis.
And yep – I’m rooting for it.
As I continue to waste time and not get to the game; the final M$GN pregame segment.
As I was wondering if Owen Power’s new deal in Western, NY would rile-up Lafreniere (and maybe it did – but no one on the Rangers’ beat asked him about it – the norm); Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti, now in their eighteenth season together (that’s two seasons away from Rosen’s time with John Davidson – and holy shit – does time fly), greeted us to the broadcast.
Another thing I was wondering at this time?
I wonder if Panarin’s fluffy locks that were cut off were used in Rosen’s new toupee?
The two affable announcers used the words “system” and “structure” no less than 56785678567856785678567856785 times (as does everyone else these days), while it was also mentioned that Rosen, who doesn’t look a day over 154-years-old these days, was celebrating his 40th anniversary on the network.
Congrats Sam – a bonafide Rangers’ institution – and where all of my bad jokes is just of the ribbing nature.
“OH JOE, RIBBED CONDOMS JOE! FIVE HOLES JOE!”
After the anniversary announcement, Micheletti used the word “FABULOUS” for the first time this season, where apparently, turning 38-years-old is a FABULOUS thing for Blake Wheeler.
Following a lengthy Buffalo roll-call – finally, the time was here.
The first puck drop of the Rangers’ 2023-24 season.
GAME REVIEW time.
It wasn’t all bad (for Buffalo).
Sabre fans, desperate for a playoff appearance and for anything good to talk about these days, were loud and proud at puck drop – but it didn’t take long for the Rangers to silence them as if they were attending a funeral mass.
No joke, the crowd was as loud as gun shots on a Saturday night in Chicago – but by the end of the game – it sounded as dead as MetLife Stadium in the fourth quarter whenever the Giants are playing.
Another no joke?
Micheletti said the word “SYSTEMS” five times in just the opening minute of play.
Artemi History X Panarin, Aturnover Panarin, but on this night ARTEMI “THE BREADMAN” PANARIN, and to quote Micheletti himself, was “FABULOUS.”
During this game, and I counted, Panarin made six perfect cross-ice passes.
Better than that?
Not one freshly baked turnover either.
With the locks now long removed, Stone Cold Panarin gave us a preview of what was in store, as during his first shift, and at the one-minute mark – he made a fantastic cross-ice pass from one side of the boards to the other to Ryan Lindgren.
Devon Levi Jeans zipped up this shot – but for Panarin, the greatest free agent acquisition in franchise history, but who can also be so maddening too (especially during the playoffs) – this was a step in the right direction.
And heck – he even played defense too!
On his next shift, Panarin continued his precision-point passing – and it almost led to a tic-tac-toe goal for his new center, Filip Chytil.
While Chytil was stunted here, this new line, with Lafreniere on the right-wing, continued to play, and just 3:47 into the contest, this happened:
Alexis Lafrenière nets the first goal of the season! 🚨 pic.twitter.com/fIzfSCYV0v
— Rangers Videos (@SNYRangers) October 12, 2023
1-0, GOOD GUYS – and really, especially following his horrific preseason (and the talk of his off-season too) – I guess we should have expected Lafreniere to score the first goal of this campaign!
Granted, while I think that my fat beer-bellied ass could have scored this goal too, as Lafreniere was all alone and Panarin put it right on his tape; what shouldn’t be lost was that he was in the right spot to score.
Better than that? The early chemistry between the first-overall pick and the best free agent in franchise history.
I know this all sounds like rainbow-colored tape – but I was proud of this goal!
And not even four-minutes in – all of my reverse jinxes saw the light of day – as the Levi shutout was broken up while Lafreniere ended all talk about Othmann – at least for one night!
But of course, and because it’s always the case – right after the Lafreniere strike, CZAR IGOR was forced to come up with a big save – aka the usual.
As the game progressed, the Sabres couldn’t do anything. Hell, they looked like the Rangers during their final three losses to the Devils last year – and where I also wondered what would’ve happened had this version of the guy in the #10 jersey had been on the ice during that series.
For whatever reason, and I guess it was because Levi had already given up a goal – Micheletti couldn’t resist himself – and had to find a young player on the other team to jerk off about.
On this night, Zach Benson was the apple of JUMPIN’ JOE’S eye – and where Micheletti spent a minute talking about his acne that looked like one of those globes from high school with the topography included.
Emmy worthy, I’m sure!
In a rare occurrence, and with 11:46 remaining in this first frame – the officials actually gave the Rangers a break.
Kreider badly boarded Henri Jokiharju (say that name three times fast) and in a response, Jordan Greenway went after the longest-tenured Blueshirt.
In my opinion, Kreider should have received a double-minor (and the fans in Buffalo thought so too), while Greenway should have received two-minutes for roughing.
The officials didn’t see it this way, and as a result, bagged both Kreider and Greenway with off-setting penalties.
Both teams had scoring chances on this FOREPLAY (4 x 4), as CZAR IGOR stopped Jeff Skinner as the Sabre used Braden Schneider as a screen, while on the other end, Levi was able to stop Kaapo Kakko on a puck that he juggled all over the place like one of those old M$G circus performers that once ran the team out of town during the playoffs.
Down to eight-minutes remaining, one thing became as clear as this glass of Tito’s vodka that I’m currently drinking – the Rangers had flipped the compass around, as they were going north-south rather than the love of their lives, east-west.
The Sabres had no answers for any of it. Worse for them, Fox drew Benson Pimples for a hooking penalty with 7:56 remaining.
Sixteen seconds later, Fox assisted on the Rangers’ first power-play goal of the season:
IT’S A POWER PLAY GOAL 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/IFUTHLEhgC
— Rangers Videos (@SNYRangers) October 12, 2023
2-0, GOOD GUYS, as who other than CHRISTOPHER JAMES (FREAKIN’) KREIDER to score the first Rangers’ PPG of the season?
This was a goal that we’ve seen many times before – 76 times at that – as Kreider, the league-leader in tip-in/deflection goals over a time-span of the past ten-years, tipped in a Fox blast from the point.
And save me the “power-play merchant” stuff too.
It takes a whole lot of skill to be able to get wood on a piece of rubber flying around at 90 miles-per-hour.
Another daily reminder, much like the playoff disclaimer?
One day, CK20 will break Rod Gilbert’s record for most goals in franchise history.
I’m looking forward to his jersey retirement ceremony one day too!
Down to 5:50 remaining, Will Cuylle, with his new center, Vincent Trocheck, set up some offense.
Speaking of the youngest player in New York City – Cuylle, while not getting on the scoreboard tonight – was, and what’s that word again – oh yeah – FABULOUS!
Similar to his exhibition matches, you noticed #50, CUYLLE HAND LUKE, on every shift.
Heck, he even led the team in hits too (4) – a total that doubled-up several Rangers that finished second-best overall in this department (2 – MATH!).
As the Rangers were just dominating their 2018 WINTER CLASSIC RIVAL; the Sabres got feisty – and so did this game.
Both Nick Bonino and Tyler Pitlick were crushed by big hits. Down to 4:07 remaining, Greenway got away with a cheap shot on Miller, while Trouba pounded away on Mittlestadt.
Following all of that, and as creepy Joe Micheletti told us that Henrik Lundqvist smells nice (he really said this) – this happened with 2:40 remaining:
Just an A+ textbook hip check from Rasmus Dahlin on Filip Chytil pic.twitter.com/idUFN0urFn
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) October 12, 2023
This was a clean and legal hit – and I’m glad that an unnecessary fight didn’t ensue afterwards either – but hockey god damn pal – did Filip (Brittle) Chytil avert a crisis here.
Dahlin hit Chytil so bad (HOW BAD WAS IT?), that the Czech center went flying ass-over-tea-kettle.
Fortunately for #72, he was able to get his hands (gloves) down in time after rotating – thus preventing himself from hitting the ice head-first.
Just imagine if that wasn’t the case.
Scratch that – perish that thought.
But yeah – this hit, or should I say landing, had C-O-N-C-U-S-S-I-O-N written all over it – and for a player who we all think that just overcame one.
As the period came to an end, Micheletti, and to his credit, pointed out that Bonino was taking draws from his off-hand and by reverting his stick.
Of all players that took more than one draw tonight, it was the former Penguin who finished best (9-3), as Bonino led the game in the face-off department with a 75% success rate – unheard of in the Big Apple!
2-0, GOOD GUYS, after twenty.
Here’s what I said at the time:
2-0, GOOD GUYS, after 20. 1P Thoughts:
— Playoff disclaimer applies all season
— Lafreniere & Rangers’ PP were horrible in the preseason, both already on the board.
— Couldn’t have asked for a better start – pretty much flawless hockey.
— Glad my Rosen Reverse Jinx worked…
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) October 12, 2023
Of note: Vagistat, who spent the end of the season repeatedly burying Lafreniere on Arthur Staple’s old podcast (the podcast has since been canceled – and we can only hope that M$GN does the same to the horrible goalie too), and let’s not also forget that Vagistat said on M$GN airwaves last season that Lafreniere should be a healthy scratch too; said the following during intermission:
“THAT GOAL WILL SHUT THE HATERS UP!”
In a way, I guess Vagistat is a Mike Francesa disciple – as he never admits when he was wrong.
“I NEVER SAID DAT!”
Thirty-two seconds into the second period, and after Zibanejad lost his second draw to open a period; Kakko drew perennial Ranger agitator, Jeff Skinner, for tripping.
The Blueshirts’ power-play didn’t score here – but this was as good of an effort as any – as Trocheck, following a homerun pass from CZAR IGOR to Panarin – had a shot deflected at the last nanosecond. Without the deflection, it would’ve been 3-0 – a score that we eventually saw following the two-minutes of a man-advantage when “THE BREADMAN” baked:
ARTEMI PANARIN’S FIRST OF THE YEAR! pic.twitter.com/JlilbiAxYl
— Rangers Videos (@SNYRangers) October 13, 2023
This goal was scored with 7:11 remaining – where previous to acquiring “the dreaded three-goal lead” – the Sabres only had two shots on goal during this middle period.
By this point, the Buffalo crowd was doing their best Terry Schiavo impersonation.
Also of note?
Since Filip Chytil hasn’t won a face-off since first coming to America seven-years ago; SAVVY LAVY employed Lafreniere to take all face-offs for this new second line.
The end result?
Lafreniere, who also did take draws under Gallant (this isn’t mentioned anywhere else), finished 4-1 (80%).
Lavy was wise to not allow him enter a faceoff circle all game.
Even prior to the Panarin 3-0 goal, one thing was abundantly apparent – Lafreniere was exuding confidence.
Between his excellent play, where #13 was scoring goals, winning draws, creating turnovers (his turnover led to this Panarin goal – and where he should’ve received an assist on the strike too – but since a Sabre deflected the puck, it went down as unassisted), his defense and everything else – you could see it – he was feeling it.
Sometimes, body language speaks louder than words. This was all over Lafreniere, as his head was held high (and not slung down as we’ve seen in the past), he was smiling, he was engaged, he was joking with his teammates on the bench – and for the first time in a long time – he looked like a first-overall pick.
Again – I just hope we see this out of him on a consistent basis – but facts are facts – and the fact is that he was amazing tonight.
The best tweet I saw on the Tweeter X machine at the time?
I will not get my hopes up. I will not get my hopes up. I will not get my hopes up. I will not get my hopes up.
— melissa1994 (@mel19944) October 13, 2023
I think as a collective group, residents of Rangerstown, USA – we all felt like Melissa.
I know that I did – and still do!
Furthermore, the best thing about having no expectations for this team this season?
A game like this – where my fandom bled the blue-est of Blue tonight!
As Kakko, Schneider, Cuylle and Pitlick continued to play well, including a play with 2:19 remaining where Cuylle screened Levi for a Pitlick chance (a great one at that) that was buttoned up by Levi Jeans; the lone negative on the Rangers’ ledger – and one of the fluky bad puck-luck variety.
With 90 ticks left to be ticked; Trouba, and let me bold and capitalize the following because it’s extremely important, BLOCKED EIGHT FATHER FINKIN’ SHOTS TONIGHT; the captain blocked a shot at this moment, a shot from the new mega-millionaire in Buffalo, Owen Power, where following the meeting of rubber and flesh – the puck took a fortunate bounce to JJ Peterka, who then scored an easy goal into CZAR IGOR’S net.
3-1, good guys.
Like Jimmy Conway was told in “Goodfellas” – “nothing could be done here.”
Shit happens, but without this luck reminiscent of a Powerball winner – then #31 would have had his first shutout of the season.
And here’s a prop bet for you:
What happens first – CZAR IGOR records two shutouts or CZAR IGOR scores his first goal?
To close the second stanza; with 36-seconds remaining, Gustafsson was boxed for interfering with Noxema Benson.
This was not a penalty at all – nor would you ever see such a call made during the playoffs either.
However, it’s my opinion that this was a MAKE-UP CALL, to off-set the officials’ incompetence on the Kreider penalty from the first period.
We remained at 3-1, GOOD GUYS, after forty-minutes of play.
Here’s what I said at the time:
3-1, GOOD GUYS, after 40. 2P Thoughts:
— All of my reverse jinxes have hit tonight – although I felt this game would end 4-0 since I have retired that bet!
— That one fluke/bad puck luck goal always mars Igor’s shutout chances.
— Lafreniere’s best game as a Ranger.
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) October 13, 2023
It’s getting late as I write this, so let me try to speed things up here.
The Rangers killed the remaining time on the Sabres’ PP – but weren’t able to change.
However, the Blueshirts received a break two minutes into this final frame when a Sabre knocked Igor’s net off the pegs, which as a result, led to a whistle, and more important than all else – a change.
As the Rangers continued to pummel Levi with shots; with 12:42 remaining, and following another excellent pass from Panarin, this time to Schneider; Dahlin was boxed for cross-checking Chytil.
Trocheck and Lafreniere, two players who Lavy relied on all game to win draws, continued their wizardry at the dots.
During this power-play, DJ MIKA missed Kreider by a c-hair for his second PPG of the contest.
Speaking of Zibanejad, he was also strong tonight, and it’s only one game too – but I want to see him score some goals in the near future.
After all, and as previously written in this space – he’s prone to slow starts – and with a new baby in tow – I don’t want to see a similar start for him this season as CZAR IGOR had last year with his new sire living at his palatial estate.
Following the failed Rangers’ power-play, the Sabres received two man-advantages themselves, including a fourteen-second 5 x 3 power-play, as two Blueshirt centers, Trocheck and Chytil, found themselves in the sin bin.
After killing off the 5 x 3 power-play, Trouba blocked what felt like 7896786789678968 shots, while CZAR IGOR received a break when Skinner hit the crossbar.
With 8:26 remaining, and still short-handed; CHRISTOPHER JAMES KREIDER, who scored the first Rangers’ PPG of the season, then scored the first Blueshirts’ SHG of the season too:
Kreider adds on a shorty! pic.twitter.com/mkhlIOUB8N
— Rangers Videos (@SNYRangers) October 13, 2023
4-1, GOOD GUYS, as Zibanejad, Kreider’s BFF, set the whole thing up – and with the newly married man banging home the three-goal lead score.
Talk about a demoralizing goal for the Sabres too.
Had they scored on their 5 x 3 power-play, then it’s 3-2 and a one-goal lead for our heroes – and with lots of time left to be played.
Instead, CK20, a true alternate captain, put this game away.
And in a way – this all felt like Ranger hockey from another era – “BLACK AND BLUESHIRT HOCKEY” – and when John Tortorella was behind the bench.
The new wrinkle and improvement?
These Rangers (at least for one night), and unlike Torts’ old crew – are scoring goals to go along with all of their blocked shots and defensive magic.
It’s a concoction that we’ll all drink – and drink to!
The Sabres pulled Levi with 2:33 remaining – and where of course, at the time, you were hoping for either a Kreider hat-trick goal or CZAR IGOR’S first.
Instead, and just six-seconds following a Don Granato timeout – BOOM – Jacob Trouba from DOWNTOWN JULIE BROWN to seal the deal with 1:29 remaining.
5-1, GOOD GUYS.
Sure, it would’ve been nice for either Kreider or CZAR IGOR to get a milestone goal – but this can’t be debated – CAPTAIN TROO TROO TRAIN deserved a goal next to his name in the box score.
Again – EIGHT BLOCKED SHOTS.
I’m sure that Rangers’ owner James Dolan has installed an ice bath on the Rangers’ plane right now!
To close the game, and with 66-seconds remaining, Kyle “Tony DeAngelo rocked my world” Okposo was boxed for getting too cute (roughing) with Cuylle.
Not that this matters – but I thought Lavy, up by four goals, would go with his bottom six and third-pair on the power-play, as a way to reward them.
Instead, the PP2 unit came on.
This is also why you can’t put much into the power-play “only” going 1-4 tonight – as the Rangers looked to close out the game, rather than going for the touchdown.
5-1, GOOD GUYS, your final – and you couldn’t have asked for a better start to this season.
Here’s the HC after his first win as bench boss of the Blueshirts:
I wouldn’t say that the Rangers had to win this game (much less use the mathematically incorrect term of “MUST WIN” either); but I’m glad that they are off to a great start.
But, and this is my motto, mantra and line-of-thinking for this season – I just don’t care about the 82 regular season games.
Let’s see what they do in the playoffs – as everything else is just white-noise during this six-month journey.
(And yep, this talking point will be redundant, yet mandatory too, all season on this site.)
However, you can only live in the moment and the Rangers ceased theirs on Thursday night.
It’s all you can ask for.
Keep it rollin’.
As mentioned approximately 40867967896896789 times tonight – I’m off to the Paris, France of America – Columbus, Ohio.
There will be no blog posted tomorrow.
I’ll see what I can do on Saturday night, but most likely, two blogs on Sunday afternoon when I return home – PICTORIAL and GAME REVIEW blogs.
But if you need my words of wisdom (yeah right!), then you can follow my real-time ramblings on Tweeter, @NYCTHEMIC.
(I’ll also post photos from the game too – but won’t be doing my normal style of live-tweeting the game – as I only post pics during TV timeouts whenever attending a game.)
Note to Peter Laviolette if he’s reading this: Please don’t start Quick against Columbus – I beg of ya!
Enjoy the win folks – games like this don’t come easy – and as you all know!
PLUGS TIME! (Buy a book and support my Rangers’ induced therapy bills. After all, I don’t run ads on this site!
On Wednesday night, October 11th, our pals over at “The Blueshirt Underground Show” returned with a new episode.
To check it out, click the play button below:
“The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History,” is now available for preorder.
For complete information, please visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/rangerkillers/
My second plug of tonight’s blog – the mandatory plug for my book, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden.”
As mentioned previously, the book is now available in hardcover, in paperback and in Kindle formats. To purchase a copy of the book, visit this link:
For those still looking for signed paperback versions of the book, I have re-ordered more copies. I now have a few signed copies for sale at $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:
My four-volume set of books, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is a game-by-game recount of the Rangers 2021-22 campaign.
My second title as an author, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is now available in eBook, paperback and hardcover formats.
To obtain signed copies, visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/onegamebook/
To purchase all four volumes on Amazon, visit: Amazon.com – “One Game at a Time.”
The greatest volume-set of books on Rangers’ history today!
“Tricks of the Trade – A Century-Long Journey Through Every Trade Made In New York Rangers’ History,” a four-volume set of books that meticulously covers every trade made in franchise history, is now on sale.
All four volumes of the title can be purchased on Amazon.com and are presented in three different formats – eBook, paperback and hardcover.
To purchase Volume I: Conn Smythe (1926) – Craig Patrick (1986), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume II: Phil Esposito (1986) – Neil Smith (2000), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume III: Glen Sather (2000-2015), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume IV: Jeff Gorton (2015) – Chris Drury (2022), visit Amazon.com
To purchase signed copies of all four volumes, visit https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/
Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:
The Top Ten Tuesday Takes in Rangerstown, USA: Blueshirts Announce “Participation Trophy” Alternate Captains; Ignore & Omit the Obvious, Lines Don’t Matter; Scratches Do, Lafreniere vs Systems, Cuylle Joins Luminaries, Topics That The Beat Reporters Won’t Touch & More
“CUYLLE HAND LUKE” Makes The Cut! Brodzinski, Harpur and Othmann Assigned to the Prison in Hartford; Wolf Pack’s Roster, Chytil Returns; Lafreniere Goes Away Day-To-Day, Lavy’s Line-Up, Gorton’s Greatest Trade, HBD To The Best NYR of All-Time & More
NYR/BOS 10/5 Review: Fear and Loathing in NY! Lavy’s Lot Finishes Preseason 1-5; Every Season is Independent of Another, Cullye Says “CASE CLOSED;” Jury Still Out on Lafreniere (And What’s Next), Special Ed Special Team Streak Continues, Terrible TNT & Darren Pang, Let The Excuses Begin & More
If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:
Don’t forget to order my recently released four-volume set of books, “Tricks of the Trade!”
If you don’t order through me, all four volumes are now available on Amazon.com
For more details, check out: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/
Thanks for reading.
LET’S GO RANGERS!
@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine