Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Have you finished watching all of the replays yet?
No joke – I’ve watched the final moments from Thursday’s game no less than fifty times now – and in every which way possible too – Kenny Albert’s call, a mock Jim Ross call, the video being put to the Celine Dion song from the “Titanic,” and so on & so forth.
You name it – I have watched it – and I have enjoyed every moment of it!
The only “bad thing” about all of it?
Moving forward, it’s going to be extremely tough to top that Disney finish – but I think a Rangers’ Stanley Cup victory will do!
The New York Rangers, fresh off of their most exciting 1:16 of hockey played during this 2022-23 campaign yet, took Friday off – and why not?
After all, not only had Gallant’s Gang been active everyday since the Christmas break, including several well-attended optional practices – but following that win from Thursday night – the Blueshirts, now back to enjoying their moniker of the “Comeback Kids,” had earned it.
Want more? How about this graphic that the Rangers shared with their fans on Friday:
It can be debated that for the Rangers, who are currently sporting a record of 24-12-7, that the team shouldn’t need to come from behind so much (you can make the Sieve Vagistat joke here – I’m too classy for such puerile nonsense – yeah right!); or at least not in half of their victories recorded from this season thus far.
For some people, they may look at this stat and then say that the Rangers have been trailing during 50% of their wins this season, and for a team with their eyes on the prize – these daily two-pointers in the standings should come much easier than that.
Conversely, these twelve wins also personify the “No Quit in New York” mantra – a quote that first left the lips of David Quinn – but in some revisionist history – have now been credited to “The Turk Era” of Ranger hockey.
While both conflicting statements can be true, and I have no problem with however you want to view it; the following is also true and can’t be denied:
— The NHL, and the 82-game regular season grind, ain’t easy. You’re not going to go 82-0, nor are you going to blow-out your opponents every night either.
— Simply stated, and as frequently repeated on this site – the other team is paid to play too.
— By winning all of these games via the comeback, the Rangers, and especially following their success from last season – are earning more “scars” – as they remain “battle-tested” – a great thing for the team once the postseason commences.
Bottom line, and the only thing that matters? It doesn’t matter how you win – as long as you win!
Following their off-day from Friday; on Saturday morning, the team reconvened for practice at their training facility in Tarrytown, NY.
While the practice itself wasn’t really “news-worthy,” at least not when compared to other practices from this season; there was a ton of news to come out of it from an injury/ailment perspective.
The two most recently injured Rangers, Chris Kreider and Julien Gauthier, skated by themselves, where following the team’s practice, Gallant announced that neither would play on Sunday against Montreal.
As mentioned a few times since returning from the break on this site; Filip Chytil was battling a stomach bug/flu during the team’s trip to Florida. Once Chytil made a full recovery; a few days later, it was Jaroslav Halak’s time to sit on the toilet, as he too was suffering from a stomach bug.
And just like Chytil, Halak soon made a full recovery – and afterwards – came within five minutes away of shutting out the Canadiens in Montreal during his last start.
Perhaps lost in all of the hoopla from Miller’s goal scored with just .1 seconds remaining, and the Fox overtime goal that followed; was that during his post-game “TURK TALK,” the head coach said that the entire team was battling the bubble-guts. (My words, and not what Gallant said verbatim!)
Come Saturday, not only were Gauthier and Kreider missing; but so were Artemi Panarin, Vitali Kravtsov and Ryan Lindgren, as this trio stayed home, and presumably, with DUDE WIPES by their side.
Just like anybody else at this time of year – hockey players get sick too.
While I’m just mentioning it to mention it, as I wouldn’t look deep into this at all – this is the second time that Kravtsov has missed a practice with an illness this season – as previously – and you may have heard about this once or a hundred times before – during the team’s time in Nashville, Kravtsov had that whole TOOTHGATE/DIARRHEA DEBACLE thing going on.
With five of his regulars unable to practice, Gallant put together the following three forward lines:
FIRST LINE: Lafreniere/Mika/Kakko (The line that Gallant reunited following Kreider’s injury. Also of note: Trocheck skated with this line, since his two regular flanks were pooping themselves silly.)
SECOND LINE: Goodrow/Chytil/Vesey
THIRD LINE: Blais/Brodzinski/Leschyshyn (The latter’s first full practice as a New York Ranger.)
Defensively, everything stayed the same, except where the freshly dusted-off Libor Hajek subbed in for Lindgren.
Once the practice concluded, Gallant held his daily “TURK TALK.” Here’s Saturday’s edition:
Here’s what you only really need to know:
— Gallant confirmed that his newest player, Jake Leschyshyn, would make his Rangers’ debut on Sunday, where the head coach also said that he has to prevent himself from calling him “Curtis;” as Gallant had played and knew his father.
— While Kreider and Gauthier were both ruled out; Gallant said that he felt that Panarin, Kravtsov and Lindgren would be all systems go – as he thought that these three just needed a day to flush out their systems – literally. (I think I’m trying to set a record for most bathroom jokes made during one blog.)
— Gallant felt that since Thanksgiving, the Rangers have turned it around, and where he’s now seeing a lot of similarities from this season when compared to last season.
— The MANDATORY Lafreniere-related question was asked, where YAWN – Gallant said that he likes the kid. On a daily basis, the media asks Gallant more questions about Lafreniere than I have made toilet-related jokes today.
Last but not least; Gallant used the “s-word” that I’ve been using all season (no – not “shit” – as I know I’ve hammered the poo-poo jokes all blog), “Selke,” when referring to his top-line center, Mika Zibanejad.
On Zibanejad’s season in general, Gallant remarked:
“His hockey sense, his hockey IQ, is real good. We talked about it last year about being one of those candidates for a Selke and that is the type of player that he is in my eyes. He’s very good offensively, plays great on the PP, but what coaches really like about him, is that he plays that 200 foot game and he does it every night for us.”
As far as anything else, as I really don’t care to rehash the Lafreniere/Montreal story-line for the 96768968696th time; the newest Ranger also spoke to the media. Here’s Jake Leschyshyn from Saturday:
Similar to his first interview as a Ranger; Leschyshyn sounded excited about his new digs.
Leschyshyn said that he talked to Gallant about what’s needed from him – where it was more of the same – play hard, work hard, play smart and kill penalties.
Leschyshyn, who will wear #15, also said, “I’m looking forward to throwing the jersey on, especially after that [the Rangers’ 2-1 overtime win against the Stars].”
As I write these words early Saturday evening; the Montreal Canadiens are set to play the Islanders at the IBS Arena.
In other words, whatever Montreal does, win-or-lose; not only will the Rangers catch the Habs on the second half of a back-to-back – but they will also catch their Original Six peers, who are rebuilding this season, playing their third game in four nights.
Despite the recent rash of Ranger injuries, and now the stomach bug too; the Blueshirts will host the Canadiens under fortunate circumstances.
And while there is never a “good time” for a team to battle injuries and illnesses; for the Rangers, who for the most part, have been relatively healthy all season – will play their next two games against two cellar-dwellers of the league.
Following Sunday’s home tilt against the Habs; 24 hours after that, on Monday – the Rangers travel to Columbus – as these two games are the only back-to-back contests of January.
Should the Rangers continue their winning ways, and beat both of these teams as they ought to do (and we know how that goes – games are played on the ice – and not on paper – and earlier this season, the Rangers did lose to these Blue Jackets); then Gallant’s Gang will put their potential four-game winning streak on the line on Thursday night, when they host the best team in the league, the Boston Bruins – another litmus test/gut-check game for our beloved Blueshirts.
If there’s any “good news” for the Canadiens, as they continue to slog through this season and eagerly await the 2023 NHL Draft?
At least they won’t have to see one of their biggest villains of their recent franchise history, Chris Kreider!
I’ll be back tomorrow with a Rangers/Canadiens review – where admittedly – I may be a bit distracted during the game – and just like many of you – I’ll also have one eye on the New York Football Giants playoff game.
And yes, it’s absolutely moronic that not only did the NHL schedule games against the NFL Playoffs in the first place (they do want as many eyeballs as possible to view their distracting ads on the boards, no?) – but of the six NFL playoff games played this week – of course, it’s only the Giants game that airs at the same time as when the Rangers play.
Furthermore, I’ll also include my latest for Stan Fischler for you tomorrow night – a look at the announcers around the league.
LET’S GO GIANTS
And more importantly than that…
LET’S GO RANGERS!
See ya Sunday night.
My first 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 $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:
My four-volume set of books, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is a game-by-game recount of the Rangers 2021-22 campaign.
My second title as an author, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is now available in eBook, paperback and hardcover formats.
To obtain signed copies, visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/onegamebook/
To purchase all four volumes on Amazon, visit: Amazon.com – “One Game at a Time.”
The greatest volume-set of books on Rangers’ history today!
“Tricks of the Trade – A Century-Long Journey Through Every Trade Made In New York Rangers’ History,” a four-volume set of books that meticulously covers every trade made in franchise history, is now on sale.
All four volumes of the title can be purchased on Amazon.com and are presented in three different formats – eBook, paperback and hardcover.
To purchase Volume I: Conn Smythe (1926) – Craig Patrick (1986), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume II: Phil Esposito (1986) – Neil Smith (2000), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume III: Glen Sather (2000-2015), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume IV: Jeff Gorton (2015) – Chris Drury (2022), visit Amazon.com
To purchase signed copies of all four volumes, visit https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/
Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:
NYR/DAL 1/12 Review: Blueshirts “Star” In Most Dramatic Win of the Season Yet! Miller’s Buzzer-Beater Earns Rangers One Point; Fox’s OT Game Winner Gets The Second, Finding Ways To Win, “Scratchy,” Gallant, Jake Leschyshyn’s Arrival Creates Doubt for Fringe Futures, Lundqvist, M$GN & More
NYR/MIN 1/10 Review: FOXY-CUTED! Rangers Win a “Wild” One (Har-Har-Har); D-Men Carry CZAR IGOR; Miller Time, No Reaves’ Revenge Game; Lundqvist Avenged, “Censored” Turk Presses Right Buttons; Kravtsov Shines But Lafreniere Pines, Tro-Ding-Check, NYR Lose Two to Injury, Powerless Play, M$GN & More
The New York Rangers Mid-Season Report Card: Grades & Reviews of Every Blueshirt, Thoughts at the 50% Mark of the Season, The Highs & Lows, 2022-23 Campaign Review; Thank You Binnington & Much More
If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:
Don’t forget to order my new 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