Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. I guess the Rangers aren’t going 78-3-1 this season!
Leave it to yours truly to be the voice of reason right now, but did you really think that the Rangers would never lose another game during this long-and-windy road known as the 2023-24 NHL campaign?
Maybe Blueshirt backers, riding a historic wave of euphoria following the team’s impressive 15-3-1 start, “forgot how to lose.”
If that’s not the case, then I have no explanation on why I saw so many residents of Rangerstown, USA doing the gloom-and-doom, the sky is falling and race to the ledges & tops of buildings stuff following tonight’s 5-1 loss.
Perhaps these people, who may be looking for the Ghost of Dr. Jack Kevorkian right now, need a reminder, you know, my season-long daily disclaimer:
“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!”
Another reminder that these people definitely need?
A look at the current standings:
Following the Rangers’ loss to the bottom-of-the-barrel Sabres, I saw rational fans use the “trap game” “excuse,” or should I say “explanation,” to describe the team’s defeat.
In my eyes, that does not apply.
After all, who were the Rangers looking forward to playing next? The Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night?
Had the Bruins, Devils, Penguins or even the scumbag Islanders been next on the docket, then yeah, I guess that excuse/explanation would have some merit.
But the Red Wings, who the Rangers handily defeated earlier this season? (5-3 on 11/7 – and where the Blueshirts took their feet off of the gas in the third period, as the Rangers were up 5-0 after forty minutes played.)
I don’t think so.
I think another cliche, excuse and explanation applies, as in “scheduled loss.”
While no head coach, general manager or player would ever allow such a thing to be uttered from their lips; there’s also a reason why “scheduled loss” is an often repeated phrase in sports – because it’s true!
As mentioned on Saturday on this site, and as I’ll allude to again below; tonight’s game marked the Rangers fourth game in six nights, and where prior to this game with the Sabres – the Rangers had played three games in three-and-a-half days, due to the back-to-back matinee set over the holiday weekend.
And when it comes to the teams that the Blueshirts took down a peg prior to Monday night, the Penguins, Flyers and Bruins – if you had to lose one game, then wouldn’t you rather have a “scheduled loss” against the Sabres, rather than losing “four-point” games to the other teams of the division and conference?
While I never really counted out the Rangers until Alex Tuch put the Sabres up 3-1 with 4:29 remaining in regulation; you could see that the schedule got to “LAVY’S LOT” a bit – and immediately from the get-go.
(And as also mentioned on Saturday – I love how the NHL powers-to-be gave the Blueshirts a five-day break, followed by this hectic schedule that they are currently experiencing.)
Outside of the Game 4 loss to the Predators, we’ve never seen the Rangers look this sloppy, erratic and chaotic before during this season.
They looked as crisp as a plate of warm piss tonight.
Furthermore, the Sabres, who were embarrassed by the Devils on Saturday, had something to play for, as they wanted to erase the taste of that bad loss from their mouths.
It was just a perfect storm of Ranger anti-matter in the air.
They couldn’t overcome it on this one night, but as we’ve seen this season – they usually overcome it more times than not.
I know this all sounds like excuses, but c’mon, three road games (Dallas, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia) followed by matinee home game against Boston.
The levee was bound to break and it just happened to be tonight.
Some positive food for thought?
The Rangers have yet to drop two games in a row this season.
No other team in the league can boast and proclaim the same.
Similar to the other few losses suffered this season, win the next one and you’ll forget about this one.
Then again, you should already be forgetting about this loss (and the season-long disclaimer applies again here too) – but a loss that you can’t forget about is Kaapo Kakko.
Kakko, the one-time “Finnish Flash,” but who has been nothing but a “Finnish Flash in the Pan” this season, left Monday night’s game late into the second period, following a collision with the Sabres’ Erik Johnson by #24’s favorite place on the ice – the boards.
While I’ll have the video of the play for you during the GAME REVIEW; unlike what others are currently claiming – this wasn’t a slew-foot or a dirty play. Instead, it was just a freakish accident, and one of those things that happen when you play a game as physical as professional hockey.
Put it this way: This wasn’t P.K. Slewban taking out Sammy Blais.
I really don’t want to rag on Kakko tonight, because I truly hope this is nothing serious and that he can resume his season (and I shouldn’t even have to say this) – but I do wonder how much of this injury had to do with his permanent residence at the boards.
I’m not going to say that I predicted this or anything as severe as that; but if you’ve been reading these GAME REVIEW blogs on this site all-season, then you already know that I’ve said that Kakko had been setting himself up for something bad.
As stated numerous times before, Kakko who bangs these boards like Corey Perry (ALLEGEDLY) humping Connor Bedard’s mother (a report that went viral on Monday and hasn’t been refuted yet – and with Perry gone for “personal reasons” with nary an explanation – this story now has picked up a ton of steam in Chicago and throughout the league too), has left himself prone and vulnerable to taking some big and gnarly hits.
Heck, we just saw Kakko get smashed to smithereens on Saturday against Boston.
Tonight, rather than a brutal body blow taking him down, it was a freaky collision where many are assuming the worst – a torn MCL, a torn ACL or both.
But in a way, Kakko, who hasn’t done anything positive this season – his now assumed absence could be a blessing in disguise – and as it was when Filip Chytil went down.
Again, I don’t want it to sound like I’m rooting for injuries and/or the worst for Kakko – because I’m not – I’m just saying what it is.
On Saturday (https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/112523/ ) I brought up how Laviolette said that Chytil was now skating on his own and “ramping up” (his words verbatim) for a return.
As pondered then, and perhaps moot now, I thought that Kakko should be the odd-man out in the event of a Chytil comeback (more on this topic below too).
Should Kakko miss time (again – I’m not a doctor, but this injury didn’t look good), and should Chytil be able to return – then boom – Lavy won’t have to make a tough decision. Chytil returns to the third line and that’s that.
That said, Chytil isn’t even practicing with the team yet, so should he eventually return, it’s definitely not going to happen on Wednesday when the Rangers play next.
In other words, the Rangers will have to recall a forward for Wednesday night’s national tilt with the Red Wings, where come 10AM Tuesday, I’d expect the Rangers to tweet (or “X”) out:
“Forward Jonny Brodzinski has been recalled from Hartford.”
But should Kakko be out long-term, then is Brodzinski the long-term answer?
And yep, you know where I’m going for the 98678686778678696th time – Patrick Kane, who is a better option than both Chytil and Kakko anyway, could be that hypothetical long-term answer.
I know, I know, I know – you’re sick of Patrick Kane, but as stated 78966785676785685 times in the past – his name won’t leave the Rangers’ rumor mill until he signs his name on an NHL contract somewhere – including in New York!
Another thing that I know, I know, I know?
How many fans believe that Brennan Othmann should receive a call-up.
(And where I also suspect that about .000001% of them have actually seen Othmann play this season too!)
While I understand the excitement over Othmann – I just don’t see it happening this season – and for the reasons that I’ve previously explained on this site.
In short, those reasons, including a new one (Cuylle), are:
— Look at how slow Lafreniere and Kakko began their NHL careers. Perhaps they would’ve been better off served starting in Hartford. (To be fair, due to the pandemic, that option wasn’t available to Lafreniere in his rookie season.)
— Look at how good Will Cuylle has been this season – who did begin his professional career in Hartford.
— This is a WIN-NOW team, and while every Cup contender needs a young rookie or low cap-hit veteran to exceed expectations – the Rangers already have all of that – and in bunches (Cuylle, Erik Gustafsson, Nick Bonino, etc).
— No matter what the situation is with the varsity team, it’s probably best for Othmann to get a full year of AHL experience under his belt – and then make his NHL rookie debut during the 2024-25 campaign.
I just don’t see the benefit of throwing Othmann out there – especially since he isn’t exactly tearing it up for the Wolfpack right now.
If Othmann was heads-and-shoulders better than everyone else in the AHL (and as CZAR IGOR was during his limited tenure in Hartford), then yeah – I guess I’d give this idea some thought. But since he’s not, again, I just think it’s better off if he stays howlin’ for the remainder of this season.
In the interim, and again, we don’t know what’s up with Kakko’s injury yet, Brodzinski is most likely to be the NEXT MAN UP.
But seriously, who’d you rather long-term – a healthy low-risk Patrick Kane or a 4A player?
Kane, like the other six-figure signings Drury made this summer, screams low-risk and high-reward.
If he stinks, then ya cut him. At least you tried.
If he excels, then oh baby – watch out.
And come on, you don’t think that team owner James Dolan doesn’t want his big-name toy back in his toy chest?
Furthermore, the Blueshirts, under the American Dolan, also have an American general manager and head coach.
You don’t think that they want the greatest American player back into the fold too?
I won’t go on-and-on about Kane, because one, I’ve said it all before, and two, it’s all redundant at this point – but if the idea of Kane was ever 100% ruled out (I never bought Brooks’ report – as I thought the Rangers were doing their usual act of using him as a conduit during another contract negotiation), then I’d have to think that it’s back in play now.
And while what happened to Kakko sucks – admit it – he’s been Crappo this season.
At this time, let’s breeze through the pregame news & notes and then get into the GAME REVIEW.
Following three games played in three-and-a-half days (and all wins too!), come National Felony League Sunday, the Rangers had the day off.
However, there was some news made when Jacob Trouba was fined $5,000 by the league for this infraction committed against the “boy scout,” Boston’s Trent Frederic:
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 26, 2023
I am not going to go on-and-on about this, because after all, and just like how Trouba reacted on Monday, it is what it is and you move on.
However, and with that said – I thought it was comical when you had beat reporters and fans (including Blueshirt backers), suggesting that the Rangers’ captain should have been suspended for this play – and where the ultra-liberal (most of his articles are about Pride Night, and where I don’t think he’ll ever be happy until there’s a massive gay orgy at center ice prior to puck drop), Ken Campbell, from The Hockey News, wanted “THE GREAT EIGHT” to receive a 25-game timeout.
Even the Hall of Fame scribe, Larry Brooks, of the New York Post, told Campbell to “calm down.”
While I have already given my thoughts about this play on Elon Musk’s app, in short, Frederic is no saint and was constantly goading Rangers into fights on Saturday.
When it comes to this particular “infraction,” Frederic was trying to sneak in a cheap shot of a punch at Trouba while the Rangers’ captain’s stick was being held.
Does the slo-mo replay look bad, especially if presented from a different angle?
Sure, but to suggest that Trouba was pulling a Marty McSorley here is just ridiculous.
Furthermore, and this should be said, especially with Trouba becoming one of the most hated players in the league by rival fan bases – he doesn’t have a dirty reputation.
Why is he hated by non-Ranger fans?
For the reason you’d suspect – he absolutely crushes the competition with his clean and car-crash style of hitting.
But even if you hate him (and/or will continue to falsely accuse him of being “sexist” just because he won’t go on your stupid podcast that only two people listen to – and where you’re one of the two listeners to boot); to suggest that Trouba has some sort of nefarious track record is out of line – and completely wrong.
To me, this was just part of the game.
And as Trouba also said, he’s aware that he has to control his stick, but to mention what he omitted once more – Frederic was tugging at it.
Last, but not least?
It couldn’t have been that bad, because one, Frederic and the Bruins barely reacted to this during the game, and two, this play didn’t earn Trouba a two-minute break in the penalty box either.
On Monday morning, GAME DAY, the Rangers reconvened for practice, where yep, and you know it – Adam Fox was aside his teammates.
That was the only real news from the morning “RISE AND SHINE SKATE.”
Here’s the Monday morning edition of “LAVY’S LOUNGE” and where the Blueshirts’ bench boss gave an update on Fox’s present day status:
While Laviolette remained consistent in regards to not predicting injury time-tables; the head coach also said that Fox has been cleared for action, which is why the Norris Trophy winner wasn’t wearing a non-contact jersey.
In other words, while Laviolette wouldn’t say verbatim that Adam Fox would be playing against Detroit on Wednesday, he pretty much told us that would be the case, as he used the phrases “full go” and “no restrictions” instead.
In a way, Fox’s eventual return to the red-hot Rangers is like a Stanley Cup contending team trading for the biggest fish at an NHL Trade Deadline.
Better than that?
Unlike a Cup contender trading for a rental – Fox is a Ranger – meaning that he knows all of Laviolette’s systems, the players, has chemistry with everyone, etc.
What a time to be alive!
In other injury news, where in hindsight, it should have been Fox on the IR (he then could’ve returned earlier than his targeted date of 11/29) and Filip Chytil on the LTIR; the concussed Czech center is continuing to skate on his own.
In theory, and due to his IR status, Chytil can now return whenever he wants – but of course, he’s not ready yet.
And unlike Fox, it’s not like the Rangers need Chytil back either – and for the reasons discussed on Saturday night on this site.
Here was Laviolette’s line-up for the twentieth game of this 2023-24 season – and the ninth, and perhaps final, consecutive game that he will use these lines and pairings too:
FIRST LINE: Kreider/Zibanejad/Wheeler
SECOND LINE: Panarin/Trocheck/Lafreniere
THIRD LINE: Cuylle/Bonino/Kakko
FOURTH LINE: Vesey/Goodrow/Pitlick
FIRST PAIR: Miller/Trouba
SECOND PAIR: Lindgren/Gustafsson
THIRD PAIR: Jones/Schneider
STARTER: CZAR IGOR
HEALTHY SCRATCH: Mackey
INJURED RESERVE: Chytil
LONG TERM INJURED RESERVE: Fox
BOX SCORE time.
The following graphics and information come from ESPN.com:
Tonight’s broadcast/game was “HOCKEY FIGHTS CANCER” night, where after saying many flowery things about cancer survivors, John Giannone then immediately told us to bet not only on this game – but on every game in the league.
PROMO CODE: CANCER
Seriously, they couldn’t chill with the gambling shit for one night?
At 6:30PM, Henrik Lundqvist and John “STEAL YOUR PARENTS CREDIT CARDS KIDS!” Giannone greeted us from the M$G bridges.
At the time I thought to myself, “Self – what a treat – no Sieve Vagistat for the third game in a row!”
Sadly, that smug seven-foot jackass was there, where during his two horrible segments, he plugged his shitty little analytical company that no other broadcast in the league – regional, national or otherwise – uses.
(If you don’t know, then here you go: 99% of NHL broadcasts use SportsLogiq as their analytical company of choice.)
Like anyone else with a brain, these TV producers (ones that Vagistat doesn’t have pictures of) also know that Vagistat is full of shit. (That’s also why most M$GN employees have gigs with national networks too – and why Vagistat does not.)
Lundqvist said that he’s enjoyed himself when watching this team this season and how he’s impressed with all of the different ways that they find to win. I’d concur with the “KING OF COMMENTARY.”
As Vagistat was rambling on about nothing, aka his made-up arts & crafts, charts & graphs; it was never revealed on the broadcast who would be starting in net.
(And if you don’t know by now, then it were CZAR IGOR and Ukko-Pekka Luukonnen on either end of the ice – and UPL for the rest of this GAME REVIEW too!)
Following a segment where Dave Maloney, a cancer survivor himself, revealed that his brother is currently battling against this sickness; Giannone then told us to bet the puck line on tonight’s game.
Gambling has destroyed sports.
Come 7:00PM, we went to Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti in the booth, where both men then ranted-and-raved about the Rangers’ fourth line.
Rosen also brought up a name for my second volume of “RANGER KILLER” books – Jeff Skinner – and how he’s had success against the Blueshirts in the past.
(The reason why I didn’t include Skinner in “The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History,” besides the obvious fact that I had over 1,000 candidates to choose from and as a result, I couldn’t include them all? He doesn’t have one playoff moment against the Rangers – and during his regular season success against the Blueshirts – while he was good, his team was not. In other words, the Rangers have won most of their games against Skinner teams – but just not tonight – ugh!)
Prior to puck drop, I tweeted out the following:
Rangers vs Sabres – imagine if Patrick Kane was in the building? I’d love Sam Rosen to have his Suzyn Waldman moment – “OH JOE, KANE IS IN THE OWNER”S BOX JOE! HE’S IN THE BOX JOE!” #NYR
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) November 28, 2023
How prophetic – maybe?
GAME REVIEW time, where I’m going to breeze through a lot of tonight’s game.
After all, it wasn’t that exciting.
Furthermore, my computer is battling AIDS right now (and I’m talking about 1980s deep dark African Jungle AIDS – and not the seemingly curable AIDS of today) and I’m expecting it to crap out at any minute.
(If you want the full play-by-play of tonight’s loss, then check out my Twitter/X feed over at: https://twitter.com/NYCTheMiC )
Let me preface what I’m about to say next with the following, especially if you are just a “scroller” who skips right to this section:
I am giving everyone a pass tonight – and for whatever that’s worth!
After all, I’m sure that these guys, and much like birdbrain Mollie Walker’s devotion to her profession – “doesn’t give a shit” about what I think!
One last time – I really feel the schedule had more to do with this loss than anything else.
The fatigue factor looked apparent early in this game, as within the first five-minutes, the Rangers had racked up about 9567567856785765 turnovers – and where CZAR IGOR was able to keep this game tied at nil-nil – or nyet-nyet!
The Rangers’ struggle was real tonight, as this was completely out of character for them. Plus, and as mentioned earlier – the Sabres were flat-out embarrassed in their last game, and as a result, had something to play for.
Conversely, the Blueshirts were coming off a bunch of big wins.
As the Blueshirts were turning over every puck imaginable, Sam and Joe spent the first ten-minutes of the broadcast by talking about every Sabre imaginable, including the injured Tage Thompson, Jeff Skinner, and of course, the eighteen-year-old Zach Benson – as not many love an opposing young player like our affable announcing duo do.
It got so bad, and as the Rangers were trying to find their legs (they didn’t do much offensively in this period until later on), Sam told us that the Sabres’ Connor Clifton (“NO RELATION TO TONY CLIFTON JOE!”) was “the pride-and-joy of Matawan, NJ.”
Most parents want their kids to grow up as a world leader, the President of the United States, or in another noble and prestigious profession.
Nothing in this world is better than being the pride-and-joy of Father Finkin’ Matawan, NJ!
(And yes, my snark remarks about Sam and Joe are always worse after a loss! After all, I need something to have a chuckle about, as “LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE” is another one of my 87576857656785 cliches!)
UPL, who like so many back-up goalies before him (“back up goalies” is one of the “RANGER KILLERS” featured in my new book – and to buy it – all of the information is located for you below in the PLUGS section), channeled his inner Patrick Roy, Dominik Hasek, Marty Brodeur, Terry Sawchuk, Glenn Hall, Tony Esposito, Johnny Bower, Billy Smith, Ken Dryden, Jacques Plante, Gump Worsley, and now Henrik Lundqvist too, against the Rangers – as he looked like a Hall of Famer enjoying the best game of his life tonight.
That became clear-as-day in the third period – but we’ll talk about the ROBBERY OF ALL ROBBERIES committed against Jimmy Vesey once we get there.
UPL’s first save of a total of twenty-six took place with 16:30 remaining, when he stopped a good shot from Zac Jones.
Real quick on Jones: This is probably it for him this season – assuming that no more injuries are sustained by Ranger rearguards – and yes – that’s one hell of an assumption!
With Fox coming back, and with this defense pretty much concrete – I just don’t see where Jones fits in.
And come the playoffs, my gut-feeling is that Laviolette and company would prefer a big brute veteran as an insurance policy, rather than a diminutive defenseman in over his head – and a big brute veteran that I’m to assume will be acquired by the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline.
That said, I thought that Jones started off well tonight – and it’s also my opinion that he “deserved” a goal too – but like everyone else, he kind of wilted as the game progressed – but unlike everyone else – he can’t afford that, as his job is not locked in.
Again, it was just a shame that Jones didn’t score, as he had two chances stoned by UPL and many others blocked by the Sabres.
And I know what contrarians may say – Braden Schneider hasn’t exactly been that hot either.
I think that Lavy will reunite Schneider with THE GUS BUS and then hope to create chemistry between these two.
In addition, Lavy has already shown us that he’ll stick with his players, so even if Schneider has a few hiccups along the way, then I just don’t envision the head coach breaking up this pair.
CZAR IGOR, as stated earlier, continued to bail out the Blueshirts.
He somehow denied Alex Tuch from one-foot out with 14:31 remaining and then made a big save on Benson a minute later.
As the Sabres continued to dominate, but not yet score; the Rangers got a temporary reprieve when Tuch hooked Lindgren with 11:34 remaining.
At the time, I thought this Rangers’ power-play would awaken the Blueshirts’ Beast, but a Panarin one-timer went wide, two GUS BUS tries were blocked and then Kakko came on and attempted to procreate with the boards.
Again – if Lavy is going to always double-shift Panarin anyway – then why not give his best player, HARTEMI himself, the full two-minutes?
(And that’s almost what happened later – but again – we’ll get to the third period once there!)
Following the Sabres’ kill, and with 9:30 remaining, Will Cuylle, from behind UPL’s net, had an errant puck hit off his elbow and then bounce to Blake Wheeler. As a result, Wheeler immediately scored – or so we thought.
Within a nanosecond, the refs waived this goal off for a “hand-pass.”
Again, and for the 95675756757685678578th time this season; despite both my present age (41-years-old), and watching hockey for most of my life (I ignored those early 1980s Islanders – my “Diaper Years”) – I don’t know what’s a goal anymore.
Here you have a puck THAT DID NOT HIT CUYLLE’S HAND, yet it’s ruled as a hand-pass?
I get that the officials were trying to enforce the spirit of the rule – but this was a DEFLECTION off an elbow and NOT a hand-pass.
For whatever reason, everyone just seemed to go along with it – including Sam and Joe.
And while Laviolette expressed frustration with this ruling during his post-game interview (he made it clear that he didn’t agree) – it’s not like he argued against it, nor tried to earn a sympathy review, in real-time either.
To me, this was a good goal – and I’m not saying this with a Blueshirts’ bias either.
At the very least? It wasn’t a hand-pass.
However, I guess since the score was still 0-0 at the time (had this play happened in the third period when trailing by one – then I think that you would’ve seen more outrage from Laviolette, his players and the M$GN announcers) – everyone just accepted this baffling ruling.
And of course, what happened just a shy over a minute later?
The Sabres scored.
1-0, bad guys, with 8:19 remaining, as JJ Peterka finally scored after one of the Rangers’ 6567857856785765 turnovers (this time Trouba).
At the time, this just felt like one of those BLUESHIRTS BRAIN FARTS – and why CZAR IGOR, ever since his 2019-20 NHL debut, leads the league in one-goal games allowed – and not shutouts like his buddy Ilya Sorokin.
Down to 5:50 remaining, the Rangers were lucky (and assuming that you got over the Wheeler no goal) that the score wasn’t 2-0, 3-0 or even 4-0, bad guys, as CZAR IGOR continued to amass the saves.
As we hit five-minutes left in the period, the Rangers finally woke up a bit, but there was UPL who made saves on Panarin, Lafreniere, Kreider and Miller.
With 2:46 left to play, Panarin had seemingly set-up a two-vs-one odd-man rush for his linemates, but Trocheck fell down at center ice and Lafreniere, expecting to make a pass, then forced a shot wide instead.
A minute later, Panarin did the same thing, where this time, Trocheck stayed upright, and as a result as he was charging to the net – was tackled by Mattias Samuelsson. This was a good penalty for the Sabres to take, as without it, perhaps #16 in Rangers’ blue would have scored.
This Rangers’ power-play was disjointed, as Mika whiffed on a shot, the Sabres had a 3 x 2 odd-man rush and UPL stopped a Trocheck one-timer.
With 20-seconds remaining on the power-play, the first frame concluded.
1-0, bad guys.
Here’s what I said at the time:
1-0, bad guys, after 20. 1P Thoughts:
— Lucky to only be down by one – but #NYR did have scoring chances too.
— Feels like a fatigue period, 4 games in 6 nights is rough.
— CZAR IGOR looks strong.
— Not concerned at all, find a way!
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) November 28, 2023
This was a better period for the Rangers, but by the end of it, they still remained without a goal – and also gave up a back-breaker too.
Following the successful Sabres’ PK; UPL then stopped Panarin at the 43-second mark.
As the Rangers tried to pull a Stella, and “FIND THEIR GROOVE”; with 15:45 remaining, LAVY’S LOT took their 756675676785856785765685th too many men on the ice penalty of the season.
This was a hairy, but successful, kill for the Rangers’ PK and where CZAR IGOR made two humongous stops during it.
Once returned to full-strength, this is when the Blueshirts pumped-up the pace – but this is also when UPL made Hall of Fame save after Hall of Fame save.
In a quick moving period devoid of much whistling from the black-and-white bozos; Schneider broke up a Buffalo tic-tac-toe scoring play with 9:30 remaining. A minute later, CZAR IGOR stopped Jost, and a minute or so after that, with 7:21 to go – UPL stopped Panarin for the second time.
It was also at this moment Part I when we had our first TV timeout, due to all of the clean hockey.
It was also at this moment Part II when I said this:
This game feels like a classic doubleheader baseball game, where you win 15-1 in the first game, then lose 2-1 in the second game. #NYR
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) November 28, 2023
Out of the TV timeout and with the Rangers maintaining their momentum – UPL continued his momentum too.
UPL fought off a pressing Rangers’ second line and then with 6:24 remaining, he made a heck of a blocker save on Jones.
Following more saves on GUS BUS and the TROUBA TRAIN, and as UPL stalled both of these vehicles, this is when the Kakko injury took place:
— David 🏒 (@DaveyUpper) November 28, 2023
One last time – that didn’t look good.
Best of luck to Kakko, and where for a shocker, he was listed as having sustaining a “LOWER BODY INJURY” both during and following the game.
We’ll get more of an update on his status on Tuesday once he’s evaluated and as per Laviolette.
But I still can’t get it out of my head – his love-affair with the boards was this inevitable and undesirable result.
With 3:30 remaining, Lafreniere, following a Trouba deflection, seemingly had a goal – and as the Rangers’ goal song and flashing lights at the time suggested.
However, and unlike the Wheeler no goal – this was actually a no goal – as Lafreniere’s shot had hit the outside of the net – and didn’t go into the net.
In real-time, it was easy to see why there was so much confusion, but upon replay, it was also clear-as-day that the officials were correct.
Following a puck drop, where at the time the Rangers were now 20 of 25 at the circles (Trocheck, the best faceoff center in the league, finished with an insane 16-1 record (94.1%) tonight, while the team eventually won 34 of their 47 battles at the dots); Panarin seemingly had Bonino set-up, but at the last second, a Sabre defender snuffed out this one-on-one opportunity.
Down to a minute remaining, it looked like the Rangers would get out of this second stanza with their one-goal deficit in-tact, especially after a CZAR IGOR save made on Peterka.
However, and now down to 26.2 seconds on the clock – Tuch beat CZAR IGOR.
2-0, bad guys, the end result of the Rangers’ fourth line and Miller/Trouba pairing chasing the Sabres around like chickens with their heads lopped off.
Still, and despite everything, I thought the Blueshirts would make the comeback.
And they almost did – and despite what the final score may suggest.
2-0, bad guys, through forty-minutes.
Here’s what I said at the time:
2-0, bad guys, after 40. 2P Thoughts:
— That Kakko injury, even without knowing the severity of it, will only fuel the Patrick Kane talk (and I’d rather 88 over 24 anyway).
— At least Fox comes back Wednesday.
— Just sloppy, but UPL Ken Dryden has made his fair share of…
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) November 28, 2023
Let’s blow through this final frame as fast as humanly possible – or at least for me!
As the Patrick Kane chatter was spread throughout social media; Rosen told us that Kakko was out for the game with his “lower body injury.”
You don’t say.
On back-to-back shifts, and where Panarin and Lafreniere rotated double-dipping duties; UPL robbed Lafreniere and then #13 missed #93 in the slot.
Down to 16:40 remaining, Panarin lost the handle on an odd-man rush. Just one of those nights.
Also one of those nights? A back-up goalie having the game of his life at M$G:
— Jonny Lazarus (@JLazzy23) November 28, 2023
As you can see in the clip, with 16:00 remaining – UPL posterized Vesey with a last second stick save while #26 had nothing but net to shoot at.
Down to 14:17 remaining – REFREE BULLSHIT – as Pitlick was falsely alleged of interference against Peterka.
The M$G crowd let the assholes in zebra stripes hear it, where chants such as “ASSHOLE” and “THESE REFS SUCK” ricocheted throughout the arena.
But give some (not all) credit to these morons in the Foot Locker gear too.
Following a huge Rangers’ PK, and just eighteen-seconds after both teams returned to full-strength; the refs gave the Blueshirts a make-up call, when Benson was falsely alleged of cross-checking Pitlick.
Neither of these infractions were penalties – but at least the officials made up for their boneheaded mistake.
Better than that?
Just seven-seconds into the Rangers’ third power-play of the match, the following:
A Mika blast gets the Garden crowd on their feet. pic.twitter.com/ZcYHMKcsf4
— Jonny Lazarus (@JLazzy23) November 28, 2023
2-1, bad guys – AND IS THIS REAL – MIKA ZIBANEJAD ACTUALLY SCORED HIS FIRST ONE-TIMER PPG OF THE SEASON FOLLOWING HIS PREVIOUS ZERO FOR 675756758555 MILLION ATTEMPTS!
As I was thinking that Panarin would play the entire two-minutes due to the Kakko injury – we never saw what Lavy’s plan was, as Zibanejad deaded all of that early.
While Trocheck didn’t get an assist here – he should have.
As he did all game, Trocheck won another faceoff, Panarin got the puck to the GUS BUS and boom – there it was – Zibanejad’s patented one-timer from the circle.
For you stat geeks (and I do care about these stats), Panarin (11-19-30) now has thirty points this season in just twenty games played, while Gustafsson (3-12-15) has half of that in the same amount of time.
This goal, which was scored with 11:52 remaining, revitalized M$G.
I really thought the equalizer would come – but despite so many chances – it never did.
UPL and back-up goalies at M$G – something that no Ranger club is able to overcome.
As UPL made stops on Mika, Wheeler, Vesey and Jones; with 8:34 to go, we had our scheduled TV timeout.
This couldn’t have come at a worse time as the Rangers had all of the momentum and the tide in their favor.
Now past the FOXWOODS FINAL FIVE mark, and officially with only 4:29 remaining – game over – as Tuch regained the two-goal lead for his hometown Sabres.
3-1, bad guys.
This goal was all on Miller, as he allowed Casey Mittelstadt to dance all around him and make this pass.
It was a play like this from #79 that will continue the Willie Huber (look him up Mollie) comparisons.
Unlike the last time when this scenario occurred – a two-goal deficit late, and when Laviolette pulled CZAR IGOR with 4:06 remaining (against Dallas) – this time, the head coach waited a bit longer.
With 2:14 left to be played, CZAR IGOR finally went to the bench.
The Rangers, perhaps paying homage to the David Quinn and Gerard Gallant eras, just fancy-passed themselves from shooting the puck.
I know “SHOOT THE PUCK” is somewhat elementary, and perhaps archaic too – but really – down by two – passing isn’t going to give you a last-second hope.
As a result, Mittelstadt picked up another point, this time with an empty net goal, and as scored with only 91-seconds remaining.
4-1, bad guys.
It gets worse.
With just seven-seconds remaining, Okposo beat CZAR IGOR.
5-1, bad guys.
5-1, bad guys, your final, which then led to this:
Igor Shesterkin storms off the ice after a loss to the Sabres 😬 pic.twitter.com/IYrZbnx5wx
— Gino Hard (@GinoHard_) November 28, 2023
I know that I’ve talked about this in the past, but it’s been a while since the Rangers have lost in this type of a manner, so I’ll say it one more time as we head home tonight.
I have no problem with the goalie going nuts after a loss – or at least when it comes to smashing his stick.
And for Kakko – I guess he was lucky that he was injured – because if not – then CZAR IGOR would’ve destroyed him when he smashed his stick on the boards!
But I will say one more time, that for all of the 96786669686896 times when Lundqvist smashed his stick to kingdom come, do you know what he also did?
I’ll tell ya.
He spoke to the media.
For as much as I hated Lundqvist’s final contract, and for as much as CZAR IGOR is my favorite player in the game today – I still think it’s poor that #31, and unlike #30, never speaks to the media after a bad night out at the office.
Maybe I’m making too much about this, especially since not many watch all of these post-game interviews like I do – but I do think it would be nice if CZAR IGOR talked after losses – and not only after wins.
Speaking about post-game interviews, here’s Laviolette following the loss:
What Lavy said here is what you’d expect him to say – this game wasn’t an indication of who the Rangers are, a good practice will take place on Tuesday, you move on and yadda, yadda, yadda.
And as mentioned earlier – nothing on Kakko until Tuesday.
I might return with a short blog tomorrow, pending on whatever news is announced in regards to #24.
I’m not concerned about this game at all.
Bring on the Wings.
PLUGS TIME! (Buy a book and support my Rangers’ induced therapy bills. After all, I don’t run ads on this site!)
My fourth title and tenth book is now available for preorder!
“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 $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:
My four-volume set of books, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is a game-by-game recount of the Rangers 2021-22 campaign.
My second title as an author, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is now available in eBook, paperback and hardcover formats.
To obtain signed copies, visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/onegamebook/
To purchase all four volumes on Amazon, visit: Amazon.com – “One Game at a Time.”
The greatest volume-set of books on Rangers’ history today!
“Tricks of the Trade – A Century-Long Journey Through Every Trade Made In New York Rangers’ History,” a four-volume set of books that meticulously covers every trade made in franchise history, is now on sale.
All four volumes of the title can be purchased on Amazon.com and are presented in three different formats – eBook, paperback and hardcover.
To purchase Volume I: Conn Smythe (1926) – Craig Patrick (1986), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume II: Phil Esposito (1986) – Neil Smith (2000), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume III: Glen Sather (2000-2015), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume IV: Jeff Gorton (2015) – Chris Drury (2022), visit Amazon.com
To purchase signed copies of all four volumes, visit https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/
Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:
NYR/BOS 11/25 Review: DEMOLITION! First-Place Blueshirts Demolish The Bruins; Enjoy a Boston Teabag Touchdown Party, Matinee Magic, Fourth-Line Motorin’; Special Teams Too, Giving “The Pizza Man” Chris Drury His Pepperoni For His Summer of Success, Chytil Nearing Return But Where Does He Fit? Kakko Stinko, Belated NYR/PHI (Mika “The Flyer Killer” Found) Thoughts, M$GN & More
NYR/PIT 11/22 Review: 2024 Vezina Trophy Candidate Jonathan Quick Stuffs Crosby – And Shuts Out The Penguins Too! Lafreniere’s Lone Signature Goal Holds Up As Game-Winner in an All-Out Thriller, Perfect 5-5 Penalty Kill, A VIDEO REPLAY REVIEW VICTORY (Buy a Lotto Ticket!), Lavy, Birdbrain Beat, Poor Predictions, M$GN & More
NYR/DAL 11/20 Review: Can’t Win ‘Em All, But Mika Zibanejad Gets Paid for 82 Games – And Not 55 Games! “One of Those Types of Nights,” Eye Test Trumps All, Panarin Streak Snapped; Video Review Streak Extended, Kakko Puckko Luckko, Fox Nearing Return, Defending Lavy, The Rusty Russian, Not a Loss to Worry About, M$GN & 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