Welcome everyone to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. I have an early start time for work tomorrow, so let’s get right into it. Despite having to be up at 4AM Friday morning, I’ll still try to give you more effort than Lundqvist did for the Rangers on Thursday night, in the Rangers 4-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, in Buffalo.
Since time is an issue, let’s get right to the official box score from ESPN.com, then I’ll talk about the game:
1st Period Summary
|Johan Larsson (4)
Assists: Jake McCabe, Brian Gionta
|Ryan McDonagh (1) (Power Play)
Assist: Derek Stepan
|Marcus Foligno: 2 Minutes for Hooking
2nd Period Summary
|Rick Nash (11) (Power Play)
Assists: Jimmy Vesey, Adam Clendening
|Brian Gionta (5)
Assist: Marcus Foligno
|Marc Staal (2)
Assists: Jesper Fast, Chris Kreider
|Cody Franson: 2 Minutes for Cross checking
3rd Period Summary
|Jack Eichel (2) (Power Play)
Assists: Kyle Okposo, Rasmus Ristolainen
|Jack Eichel (3)
Assists: Sam Reinhart, Evander Kane
|Brandon Pirri: 2 Minutes for Hooking
|Adam Clendening: 2 Minutes for Holding
Once again, the highest paid goalie in the league lost to another last place team starting a back-up goalie, this time in Anders Nilsson. Once again, Lundqvist had a game where he proved that he’s overpaid, overrated, regressing and doesn’t provide you with anything extra than his back-ups of the last three seasons.
The game started off like a trainwreck. Kreider went crashing into the net and had to be evaluated off-ice. He would return to the game though. Only 18 seconds into the game, Johan Larsson went to clear the puck from nearly 100 feet away and it went right past Lundqvist. Just a disgrace. You don’t pay $8.5M for that shit.
The Rangers, who struggled on the powerplay for a stretch of games, have seemed to turn the corner. Ryan McDonagh got his first tally of the season, when he bombed one from the point, for a powerplay goal. It’s nice to see him in the mix. He’s been cold for a while offensively, so it’s good to see he’s not getting away from his game. Good things happen when you fire the puck at the net. Give a “fake assist” to Kreider too, who had Buffalo goalie, Anders Nilsson, 100% screened.
After a 1-1 first period, the Rangers took the lead, as Rick Nash poked a rebound for a goal. This was also a powerplay goal, making the Rangers 2-2 on the night in the PP department. After Nash scored, I saw people writing about how he’s the MVP, will lead us to the playoffs, will get a monument in front of MSG, etc. To quote Mike Francesa – “WILL YOUSE CAWM DOWN?”
Fact is, Nash had a hot period against a bottom of the barrel team in Carolina on Tuesday. He scored a goal here against last place Buffalo. Bottom line- you can’t judge Nash until the playoffs are over. Will he have another “A-Rod” postseason or will he have the 2009 A-Rod post season? Time will tell.
With a 2-1 lead, approaching the half-way mark of the game, Lundqvist did the usual – blow the lead a minute later, as Brian Gionta beat the faux King. You can’t make this up. I don’t know where I can find stats of this, but from watching the Rangers and stuff around the league, I have never seen a goalie give up so many goals in the first minute of a period, the last minute of a period or after his team scores, like Lundswiss does. He’s the ultimate cockblock when it comes to holding a lead.
However, Marc “I’M NOT AFRAID” Staal, the person 99% of the Rangers fanbase hates, came up big and bailed out the overpaid Swede. Staal easily beat Nilsson like he was Sidney Crosby. Staal has already been better offensively this season than he was last season. 3-2 Rangers, heading into the final 20 minutes.
The Rangers, trying to give their older defensemen some rest, decided to give Kevin Klein the night off, rather than Dan Girardi. Kind of odd move here, since AV was the one talking about resting Girardi, so Girardi can be 100% for the playoffs. AV has only rested Girardi once this season after saying that months ago. Maybe Klein is worse for the wear, who knows? The NHL doesn’t require teams to release injury reports like the NFL, so you never truly know who’s going through what. AV is around these guys all the time, so you just gotta believe he knows what he’s doing.
Adam Clendening got some rare ice time in Klein’s place & picked up an assist. In his last three games he’s averaging an assist per game. However, the wheels fell off for the Rangers when he was called for a dubious holding penalty, mid-way through the third period.
This was another head-scratcher of a game while watching these refs. There was a play where JT Miller was mugged in front of a ref and no call. Both teams got chippy and the refs were letting them play it out. Jack “I was drafted after McDavid” Eichel, in his second game back after an ankle injury, was all the difference. On that word “difference” – remember when AV called Lundqvist “the difference” in a 5-1 win? What was the difference in this game tonight – Eichel’s strong CLUTCH play in the final 10 minutes or Lundqvist falling part in the final ten minutes?
Eichel was making some sweet moves to the net and Clendening put a body on him and took him down. Clean play. Eichel continued playing the loose puck and Clendening shut him down again. The refs called holding, even if it looked like Eichel took a dive. I don’t know if it was because Eichel is going to start getting “superstar” calls, Clendening isn’t a regular or what, but it was a real foo-foo call in a one goal game with not much time remaining.
Of course, Eichel scored on the PP, 20 seconds into it, by just firing at good old Hanky. Another easy goal for the Sabres. Tie game 3-3, with under 10 to go.
Lundqvist, who was flopping like a fish out of water, out of position and looked completely lost all game, to the point where it looked like he was trying to shadow box pucks instead of catching them cleanly, gave up another soft goal to Eichel, with under 6 minutes to go. Just a heartbreaker. Another lead blown by the King and another 4 spot on the crown. Is anyone really truly shocked anymore? I wouldn’t be surprised if in his post game press conference, (which I haven’t seen as of this writing) that he wasn’t blaming his teammates for the loss too.
I was hoping Jimmy Vesey would tie the game and send it to OT, but it wasn’t meant to be. Vesey was booed all night, because he turned down Buffalo (who had his rights) to play for the Rangers. The Rangers went on to lose to a last place team starting their back-up goalie. Yuck. I wonder how many “Kings”, besides Henrik Lundqvist, lost wars to a third world country starting their second string army?
This was just a disgusting and unnecessary loss for the Rangers. We all know Raanta should’ve started tonight, but Lundqvist has made a career out of starting against shitty teams and their back-up goalies. He’s been doing it for a while now.
It’s amazing how many Ranger fans will say that Lundqvist never had a team around him. Are you nuts? What do you call the last 5 seasons? The fact is Lundqvist is just another average goalie in this league. If he’s getting hammered and struggling against crappy teams, just imagine what the Penguins will do to him again if they meet in the playoffs in the Spring? He will get raped like Marsellus Wallace by Zed in “Pulp Fiction” – again.
Some Ranger fans and the media will blow off this loss as an “off-night” for Hank. He’s had many of those. You don’t pay a goalie $8.5M to have off nights on a consistent basis. This wasn’t an “off-night” for Hank – it was more-or-less of the same that we’ve seen from him in recent seasons. Good game, followed by a mediocre game, followed by a bad game. He can’t string it together anymore, nor play consistent for 60 minutes, never mind for even a week.
I’m sure that the next game Hank has where he plays well, people will be saying “THE KING IS BACK!” How many fucking bad games is he allowed to have? He seems like he’s back a lot with some people. I’m sure the next save he makes, people will chant “HEN-RY”, ignoring that he’s paid the most in the world to make saves that every other goalie makes on a regular basis.
At the end of the day, as long as the Rangers make the playoffs, this season will mean nothing. The Rangers & guys like Nash and Hank, will be judged on what they do in the playoffs. If the season ends without a Cup, it just proves what I’ve been saying all along- you can’t win a Cup with a Top 5 paid goalie in the NHL. When the Rangers can finally admit this to themselves and break off this marriage to a guy who has let them down & down again (I only hit yooooouuuu because I looooove yoooooouuuu), then the Rangers can finally become Cup Champs again.
I will never understand the love affair for Hank. Is it because many people are young and grew up with him? This team traded or let go of guys like Leetch, Messier, Graves, Jagr, Howell, Bathgate, Giacomin, Brad Park, Jean Ratelle, etc. Unlike some of the guys on this list, Hank never won a Cup! Sports is a business and if you break it down, it’s INSANE to keep him.
Goalie A – .914 SV percentage, 44 goals allowed, 2.49 GAA for $8.5M a year. Will be 35 years old next year & has tons of wear and tear on him. No Cup to his name.
Goalie B – .931 SV percentage, 16 goals allowed, 2.20 GAA for $1.00M a year. 27 years old, is fresh and has a Stanley Cup to his name.
You’re telling me that Lundqvist is worth $7.5M more than Raanta? Move on from the fake King Rangers!
Oh and speaking about the highest paid goalie in the league, it’s time to talk about a game he hasn’t played in since signing his bloated contract – the All Star Game!
These are my votes for the NHL All Star Captains! The NHL All Star game, which the NHL is taking a firm control of this year (meaning no John Scott) will be played next month. You can now vote for team captains by division on the nearly impossible to use NHL.com. You can also vote ten times a day & with no electoral college, feel free to rig the vote!
It’s funny, the game this year will be broadcast on NBC, rather than NBCSN. Probably a year late here, as the John Scott story would’ve been great network TV & got him a TV movie to boot. I’m not a fan of taking the John Scott types out of the game, but I understand why. Plus, it wouldn’t be as good or as fun the second time around anyway. John Scott is a name that won’t be forgotten any time soon and with this new NHL ASG “John Scott” rule, he will be known to generations to come.
Tonight was the Garden of Dreams fundraising night on the MSG Network. I have been donating to this for several years now, mostly because of Adam Graves. Graves, who is one of the guys behind the charity, is just one of many who help to brighten up the lives of unfortunate kids. I hope others who had the means had the time to donate $100 to a great cause. You can find out more about the Garden of Dreams at http://www.gardenofdreamsfoundation.org
Plus – every donation enters you into a raffle for a ton of different prizes. It’s all on the up and up. How do I know? Because I won a Mats Zuccarello signed stick during the last charity drive! However, if Garden of Dreams tries to give me anything with Emerson Etem on it, they can keep it!
Seriously though, this is for a good cause and if you have the bucks, why not help out?
I gotta put a bow on this early. The Rangers return against another bottom of the barrel team on Saturday afternoon, against the Carolina Hurricanes. From there, they have a clash with the Islanders on Tuesday, who have been sucking until recently, picking up wins against the Pens & the Caps. Depending on my work schedule, I’ll try to have something up Saturday.
Win or lose, as always,
LET’S GO RANGERS
@NYCTHEMIC on the tweet tweet