NYR/BUF 12/23 Review: Miracle On 34th Street! Mika’s Two (Assists) Avoids a Meeting of Mr. Hanky The Christmas Poo; Kreider Kringle Wins It, Santa Shesty’s Three (OT) Gifts to Ranger Fans, Cuylle’s Coal For Not-So-Jolly Johnson, “Tinsel Town” Trouba’s Terrific Night, Jeff “The Red-Nosed Clown” Skinner, Breadman Bakes Xmas Cookies, More Bad Puns, Lafreniere’s Adult Films & Hallmark Movie Status, Laviolette, Lazarus Rises, M$GN & More

On a night where the Rangers blew two separate leads, including a two-goal edge, “LAVY’S LOT,” largely due to the overtime heroics from CZAR IGOR, found a miracle in overtime, as Mika Zibanejad found his BFF, Chris Kreider, for the no-doubt-about-it walk-off winner. As a result of the Blueshirts’ 4-3 victory, rather than the streets of Rangerstown, USA being steaming pissed during the holiday break, instead, it’s nothing but joy and cheer. Praise the hockey gods.

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Bust out the adult beverages!

For a person who uses many cliches on this site, here’s another: “Not every win is a Picasso.”

That six-word cliche (admit it – you just counted them), and without a shadow of a doubt, accurately puts a bow on the Rangers’ 4-3 overtime victory against their WINTER CLASSIC RIVALS, the Buffalo Sabres, from Saturday night at M$G.

A Picasso?


Instead, this win was like a child’s finger-painting artwork (or one of my bad photoshops) – but at the end of the day – two points is two points.

And really, it’s not like anyone is going to remember this game come the Spring – when the real games begin – and when the Sabres enjoy their annual sabbatical from active competition.

And yep, and you know it, this is my transition to my season-long daily disclaimer on this site, the following:


That all said, ugly, pretty, imperfect, perfection, whatever; a win is a win and that’s all that matters.

A heck of a Christmas stocking stuffer these days?

The current NHL standings following the Rangers’ “Miracle on 34th Street” win:


On the eve of Christmas Eve, the Rangers, following their blah loss to the Edmonton Oilers some 24-hours prior, began this game in front of a raucous crowd, an 18,006-person gathering that was so loud, (HOW LOUD WAS IT?) – that Sam Rosen brought up these festive folks no less than 1,000 times in the first five-minutes of the M$GN broadcast.

Whether it was the abundance of pregame egg nog consumed, or some other Christmas Cheer type of spirit enjoyed – the Garden Faithful was loud-and-proud all game – that is, until the 1:42 mark of the second period.

But previous to that time-marker, the Rangers had raced out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, following a goal from Ryan Lindgren (7:19 mark) and a power-play snipe from Artemi Panarin (15:35).

But as you all know by now – “THE RANGERS’ WAY” (trademark still pending) is undefeated.

Just 62-seconds following Panarin’s much-needed insurance goal – BOOM – there was Rasmus Dahlin, the first-overall pick of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, firing a rocket of a one-timer at CZAR IGOR – and a shot that was slapped so hard that you would’ve thought it came off of the stick from one of the two most famous Al’s of NHL All-Star Skill competitions, Iafrate or MacInnis.

Still, come the first intermission, the hometown heroes were the better team – and their 2-1 lead was deserved.

But then the Ghosts of Rangers’ Past haunted the hallowed halls of M$G.

Just as was the case against the Oilers – BOOM – there was the returning Jack Quinn, who only had one goal to his name all season, to fool the 2022 Vezina Trophy winner with a crafty wrist shot at just the 1:42 mark of the second period.

The once jolly tones that rang around M$G soon became the Sounds of Silence.

Heck, M$G got so quiet, (HOW QUIET WAS IT?) – that the World’s Most Expensive Arena sounded like a bunch of kids receiving nothing but tube-socks from Santa.

But that tube-sock reaction soon reverted back to deafening roars, like a kid getting a new bike on December 25th, as Mika Zibanejad was able to play the role of the clean-up hitter, as he deposited some loose change past Sabres’ goalie UPL at the 7:13 mark.

(I’m not even going to attempt to spell his name, as I had a few adult beverages myself – but not for nothing – to write all of this under the influence of copious amounts of Buffalo Trace? Not too shabby if I say so myself!)

The Rangers, now up 3-2, protected their one-goal lead for the remainder of the frame.

(There was also a brawl too, between Will Cuylle and Erik Johnson – but we’ll get into that during the GAME REVIEW segment.)

But alas, the scent of South Park’s Mr. Hanky, The Christmas Poo, permeated throughout the air.

Following another slow start to open a period, where you now have to wonder if Rangers’ head coach Peter Laviolette should just call his timeout before the puck even drops – BOOM – there was Casey Mittelstadt (or Casey Middleton as Rosen was calling him for most of the game) to cash in some loose change himself.

3-3 at the 6:50 mark – and the final goal scored in regulation too.

On a night where it was blatantly obvious that Alexis Lafreniere wasn’t going to have a Hallmark Movie Moment, nor has any immediate future starring in adult films either (he can’t finish – and outside of a lone fluke goal scored off a d-man’s skate, he’s now without a goal in his last fifteen games played), the Blueshirts, who did out-shoot their opponents to a tune of 33-30, also saw the Swordsmen knife away 26 shots to their 13 blocks.

And similar to some games played in the league from this past week – the NHL statisticians may have been hitting the Christmas bottle themselves – as it both looked and felt like the Sabres had forty or more blocked shots.

In another contest where playing sixty-minutes was optional, an overtime would decide if this was going to be a “BAH HUMBUG” or a “MERRY X-MAS” result.

(By the end of the game? It was “MERRY CHRIS-MAS” – a game winner for Chris Kreider – har-har-har!)

And similar to the start of the first three periods – there were the Sabres, once again, who had every advantage in the world – despite the Blueshirts opening the bonus period on a 46-second power-play.

If it weren’t for CZAR IGOR, then this blog, and the vibe in Rangerstown, USA too, would feel like if you were hit over the head with the biggest lump of coal. (There’s a Filip Chytil joke to be made here somewhere – but I’m too mature for that!)

Following the failed 4 x 3 man-advantage, CZAR IGOR racked up three robbery saves, which then allowed the little elves in front of him to craft one more toy before the Christmas break.

For a holiday that promotes joy to the world, loving your fellow man and eternal peace – it was the strongest bond in hockey, the BFF connection, Kreider and Zibanejad, that gave the team, the fans and everyone else associated with this club, some peace of mind.

As CZAR IGOR’s back was writhing in agony, as if he was carrying Santa’s sack of toys for every child in the world – and due to his own carry job in net; Zibanejad deked not only UPL out of his shorts – but all three Sabre skaters on the ice too.

And hell, as a viewer sitting on his own couch – even I was deked out of my “Ho, Ho, Ho” boxers!

With UPL now closer to the North Pole rather than to his own net, Kreider scored one of the easiest tap-in goals of his life – and a goal that Kaapo Kakko, even in his current condition, could’ve (or perhaps the better contraction is “should’ve”) scored.

4-3, GOOD GUYS, 4-3, GOOD GUYS, your overtime final.

One less CZAR IGOR save, then it would’ve been nothing but GLOOM AND DOOM in the tear-soaked NYC streets.

And while Kreider’s goal did induce some tears too – as in tears of joy – this goal also allowed Ranger fans to rest easy for the next three (off) nights.

For those looking for the long-story-short version of this Rangers’ Christmas Carol?

Easy, as one word is suffice:


Ebeneezer Dolan looking as lively as ever. Photo Credit: ESPN

As I write these words at the wee hours of Christmas Eve – I have to get a move on.

After all, I haven’t even done my Christmas shopping yet – and there will be three little nieces upset at Uncle Sean should I visit their house empty-handed come Monday!

Do you know what would make these three little girls even more upset?

If I gave them Islander tickets, like this poor boy:

Poor schmuck!

In other words, let’s roll.

Up first, the brief pregame news & notes, followed by the GAME REVIEW.

While he didn’t say it on Saturday, in the past, Rangers’ head coach Peter Laviolette has stated that he likes playing the next day following a loss, just to get the bad taste out of his mouth. After tonight, the Blueshirts are now 5-0 under these conditions. Impressive.

Since the Rangers played last night, and since the New York Knicks were making sure that the Blueshirts would have a terrible ice surface to play on during their 130-111 matinee loss to the Milwaukee Bucks (how fitting – a team of reindeer smashed the Knicks at M$G); the Blueshirts didn’t have their sponsored “RISE AND SHINE” morning skate on Saturday morning.

Come 5:30PM, Laviolette conducted his mandatory pregame “LAVY’S LOUNGE” – and where you could see how he was just chomping at the bit to get back on the ice.

And for a guy who can speak for thirty-minutes at a clip, it was telling that he only spoke for a minute prior to this match against the Sabres:

Outside of confirming the obvious, CZAR IGOR in net, nothing of value was said here.

Here was Laviolette’s line-up for the thirty-second game of this 2023-24 season:

FIRST LINE: Panarin/Trocheck/Lafreniere

SECOND LINE: Kreider/Zibanejad/Wheeler

THIRD LINE: Cuylle/Bonino/Brodzinski

FOURTH LINE: Vesey/Goodrow/Pitlick

FIRST PAIR: Lindgren/Fox

SECOND PAIR: Miller/Trouba

THIRD PAIR: Gustafsson/Schneider


BACK-UP: Quick




The following graphics and information come from ESPN.com:





33 4 29 .879 21 8 0 0 0 62:05 0


30 3 27 .900 26 0 1 0 0 62:24 0

As predicted many years ago when I first made this stupid picture, the advertising on these broadcasts is absolutely bonkers. I feel bad for any parent who doesn’t want their kids gambling every cent that they can get their grubby paws on.

With an unorthodox puck drop time of 7:37PM, which meant that Ranger revelers had an extra thirty-minutes to guzzle down the suds and spirits; come 7:00:00PM, I tuned into the M$GN.

Since “THE KING OF COMMENTARY,” Henrik Lundqvist, doesn’t do Saturday night games, and since there wasn’t a shot in hell that he was going to be around the seven-foot stooge Sieve Vagistat chasing him around at midnight Christmas Eve with a mistletoe in his hands; once it was revealed that tonight’s pregame show was going to be another Vagistat solo-masturbatory act, I flipped to the NHLN at 7:00:01PM.

Once returned to the M$GN at 7:30:00PM, we were greeted by Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti, where Sam wished us a “HAPPY RAMADAN!”

(Okay, I’m joking. Instead, Rosen said, “MERRY EASTER JOE!”)

As Rosen told us all about the new and ICONIC John Ferguson 2.0 jerseys (but not for nothing, the Rangers are now 3-0 in these threads, which feels like three more wins than those Ferguson/Jean-Guy Talbot teams), we were then told that tonight was going to be a Vincent Trocheck M$GN $potlight broadcast.

As talked about in the past on this site, I believe that the Rangers’ record during these $potlight broadcasts is 1-7 – and now after tonight – 2-7.

I don’t know why M$GN feels the need to do these $potlight broadcasts, as really, it adds nothing to the game.

A better idea would be to have a half-hour segment dedicated to Trocheck – or another Ranger – and then air it before the pregame show.

(I also believe that Michelle Gingras is at her best when doing these produced type of features, rather than having to force it during the game.)

After all, I’d much rather watch a $potlight on a Blueshirt instead of seeing that methed-up freak, Alex Monaco, and his stupid gambling show.

Just sayin’.

After telling us all about Trocheck and the seven fishes that he will be eating on Sunday night; Sam, and now for the thirteenth consecutive year, told us how the Sabres were an up-and-coming young team with a ton of potential.

I’m surprised that Rosen, who already has a big schnozz as is, didn’t have his nose extend through the roof of M$G after that comment.

(That’s a Pinocchio joke!)

Despite the great John Brancy handling the National Anthem duties tonight, M$GN didn’t feel that was worth showing to us, as instead, I’m led to believe that Vagistat playing with his charts and John Monotone telling us to bet every game in the league is more important than the Star Spangled Banner.

Bah humbug.


It was a rough outing at the office for the Rangers’ third pair, as they were on the ice, and somewhat directly responsible, for all three goals that the Sabres scored on Saturday night. And while I know that Braden Schneider and THE GUS BUS are two of the lesser-paid players on the team – even so – they perhaps should have picked up the bar tab after this game! But let’s not forget – these two have had more hits, many more hits, than misses this season. This was just one of the bad games – and like they have previously done for their teammates – their teammates picked them up tonight. Photo Credit: NYR


After going with his second line to open Friday night’s game; tonight, Laviolette went back to his fourth line to start this game played at the World’s Most Expensive Arena featuring the World’s Most Shittiest Ice – and a surface that this time was negatively affected by the Knicks’ game that was played earlier in the day.

Following Goodrow’s opening win, we were once again reminded that tonight was Trocheck Night – and where PRAISE THE HOCKEY GODS – M$GN cameras caught the first-line center pulling a K’Andre Miller – as he was spitting all over the place.

That’s the footage that we desired!

Speaking of Trocheck, on his first shift, and with 18:15 remaining, he just missed Lafreniere for the “Vagistat Special” – a backdoor finish.

A few seconds later, CZAR IGOR made his first save of the match – a tough one – as he denied Zach Benson from one-foot out. Sam’s response? “OH JOE, LOOK AT TROCHECK SITTING ON THE BENCH JOE,” as the affable announcer was forced to sell the M$G $potlight nonsense.

Rosen, who may have had a few drinks himself, then started waxing poetically about the Knicks playing earlier in the day. This was bizarre.

I should also mention, that even though I don’t care what the Rangers wear (all I care about is winning), I thought that CZAR IGOR’s new set-up looked fresh – and intimidating too:

Photo Credit: NYR

And as previously mentioned – the Rangers are now 3-0 in these new threads – but this was the first time that CZAR IGOR donned the shield on his chest in a game, as Quick started the other two.

Down to 16:15 remaining, K’Andre Miller, who can be frustrating at times, coughed up the puck in the o-zone. In a response, his mentor, his captain and his partner, Jacob Trouba, bailed him out in the d-zone.

I think that because of both the final score and the finish, that Trouba’s performance tonight will get lost in all of the hoopla and jubilation.

But make no bones about it – “THE GREAT EIGHT” was an absolute stud.

I really don’t know how the NHL statisticians track stats anymore, because Trouba was only credited with four blocked shots.

From my count, he had at least six – and then later got a seventh – albeit a phantom one – as his stick had broke and his broken stick then stifled the Sabres.

Not only was Trouba blocking shots, but he was also making smart plays, forcing turnovers and bailing out Miller.

We all know the deal:

Trouba’s first two years as a Ranger, in a word, “sucked.”

(He’s even admitted this himself, so I’m not talking out of my five-hole here!)

Furthermore, he was grossly overpaid during a time where both Tony DeAngelo and Adam Fox were making 1/10th of his salary – and when producing ten-times the results as the $8M former Jet.

But man, time changes everything, as today – I don’t know where the Rangers would be without Trouba.

No joke – and no exaggeration either?

Trouba is already on track as becoming the best captain this team has ever had since Mark Messier – and let’s face it – he’s never going to surpass “The Messiah” – so to even be compared to #11 is high praise for #8.

(I guess this would be a great future blog or book idea – ranking the captains! Note to self, note to self!)

During a TV timeout, M$GN showed us a video package of the charity work that Trouba (and his wife, Dr. Kelly Trouba too) do around NYC. Sadly, I’m sure that the nitwit dunce, Dominick the Dolce, is still (erroneously) calling our captain a “sexist.” What a maroon! My comments about that dimwitted liar aside – Trouba is starting to remind me of Adam Graves – a leader both on and off the ice. And for all of the talk about Kreider’s #20 going to the rafters one day – and as it should? If Trouba can lead this team to a Stanley Cup, then he may be the last Ranger to ever wear #8 for the franchise.

As we hit 14:30 remaining, the first line had a hell of a shift where they did everything but score.

No joke, Panarin had three excellent opportunities himself, while Lafreniere had another.

And the Garden patrons loved every second of it – and while who knows if booze was involved or not – but this merry bunch were cheering as if a goal was scored during a Game 7 of a Stanley Cup Final.

A minute later, CZAR IGOR stopped a “RANGER KILLER” for my future second volume in this series, Jeff “Seymour” Skinner.

Man, I wish that Mike Francesa was still around, as I would’ve liked to call up WFAN 660AM radio and then ask him, “Hey Mike, the Oilers were in-town on Friday and the Sabres were in-town tonight. Do you think that Stuart Skinner (EDM) and Jeff Skinner (BUF) hung out together?”

(And his producer, Brian Monzo, is a friend – so maybe he’ll let me slide this question in on one of Mike’s BETRIVAHS podcasts!)

(And yep – this joke will land with only 30% of you – but it was worth it for me!)

As Sam brought up for the 98567567867855th time how loud M$G was, Jumpin’ Joe suggested that some hops, barley and maybe some grapes too, were flowing thru the veins of Blueshirt backers.

And after tonight?

They should give out free booze at the door.

Shit, for the insane prices that Dolan and Company charge for tickets these days (starting at $250 for standing-room tickets – which is why you haven’t seen me there this season), the Rangers should give every adult a free drink – especially since a loud M$G is better than Morgue $quare Garden – and where fans are upset about their wallets dying.

(And yep – I miss the days of “THE STUBHUB TRICK ERA” too. Man, me and my good pal, Eddie S., sat in the best seats for a ton of games (about 75 or so in total) – and for $100 or less. But those days are now with the dodo bird – extinct.)

Down to 12:41 remaining, one of the hardest-working players on the team was rewarded:

1-0, GOOD GUYS – and a hell of a rip from Lindgren too!

On this goal, both Cuylle (solar) and Bonino (lunar) eclipsed UPL while double-nickel fired a shot from the point, and about one-foot away from the blue line.

UPL never had a chance.

And hey, and this should be mentioned too:

Lindgren, during these past two games, hasn’t taken any big hits after being involved in collision-after-collision all-season.

In other words?

It was nice to see him crush someone tonight – the opposing goaltender!

As Sam pulled down his pants, pumped out some Jergens and then started to touch himself, he once again belted out (he also did this the last time when the Rangers played the Sabres), “OH JOE, CONNOR CLIFTON JOE, THE PRIDE AND JOY, A LEGEND, OF MATAWAN, NEW JERSEY JOE! MATAWAN JOE!”

Why is Rosen deeply fascinated with Matawan, NJ? Sadly, I’ll never know.

As the game progressed, Trocheck fired a shot at UPL’s mask, but unlike Skinner from 24-hours prior – UPL didn’t pull a Holtby. Instead, he pulled a Lundqvist – a clean save off of the mask – and a save that as mentioned during last night’s blog – a style of stop that the men in GOALIE HEAVEN must be envious about.

(Kudos to Sam too, as he said what I said last night: He wondered how Gump Worsley would feel when watching these saves!)

Our next Trocheck $potlight was a shot of #16 being engrossed with the iPad on the bench. I guess he was mimicking most Garden fans on any given night besides this one.

Down to 10:30 remaining, CZAR IGOR stopped DeAngelo’s former whippin’ boy, Kyle Okposo, from the goalmouth.

Come 9:45 remaining, CZAR IGOR then made a hell of a stop on Tage Thompson – and a save that Rosen called as “IT HIT THE POST JOE,” despite no such thing taking place.

As it was later revealed that Tim “The Toolman” Taylor was there (the actor Tim Allen, and not the former Ranger that Mollie, nor Wince either, would know), Cuylle and Power got into it a bit following a UPL save on Trouba with 8:15 remaining.

With the Rangers having control of the game, this is when Sam and Joe gave us their dissertation on the state of the Sabres – and with how melancholy and sad that they were about their non-stop failures.

As we hit 5:43 remaining, we had our first power-play of the game, as Trocheck, when flying into the Sabres’ zone, was hooked by Jordan Greenway.

For the next eighty-seconds – the Rangers never left the Buffalo zone.

As a result, the following with 4:25 remaining:

2-0, GOOD GUYS – and just a hell of a snipe for Panarin – and a #10 who needed this goal too.

But of course, up next, and as mentioned in the intro – “The Rangers’ Way” – a quick goal afforded after scoring themselves:

2-1, good guys.

Sometimes, you just have to tip your cap to the other team.

This was a hell of a goal for Dahlin – and where I’m surprised that we didn’t need a stoppage to install new netting in Igor’s goal. That’s how hard this puck flew into the net.

Now under ninety-seconds remaining – once again – El Capitán – as numero ocho bailed out his first line after a brutal turnover.

Feliz Navidad indeed.

After Trouba regained possession of the puck – Lafreniere was denied by UPL – again.

Maybe Michael Del Zotto, now officially part of the alumni (he’s playing in the annual Rangers v. Islanders alumni game this January), can have one of his porn-star friends (but we know it won’t be Lisa Ann) give Lafreniere some finishing and scoring tips.

And should Lafreniere be able to put it all together – then watch out – he’ll be dangerous.

This much is true about #13:

While it’s been a slow struggle for him during the majority of his career – at least you can now see his potential today – a statement that wasn’t really true during his first three seasons.

With twenty-seconds remaining – the Mika Special – as the DJ, when wide-open and in front of UPL – spun a puck to the blue line, rather than shooting, for the far-out trailer, Blake Wheeler. Owen Power blocked the shot and that was the end of that.

2-1, GOOD GUYS, through twenty-minutes.

Here’s what I said at the time:

Merry Mika is heating up – or at least in the box score these days. While there is still plenty of room for improvement (5 x 5 scoring, one-timers that hit the net more times than not, etc), I think we’re now out of his usual slump whenever he’s starting an NHL campaign. Photo Credit: Aaron Davis (RIP)


During the usual M$GN150 segment, we were told that Patrick Kane had scored again for the Wings.

Despite only returning to the league two-weeks ago – Kane now has more goals, assists and points than Kakko and Chytil combined.

Just sayin’!

I still don’t understand why some fans thought that he’d be crippled and derailed by a hip-surgery.

After all, didn’t you guys and gals learn anything from Jack Eichel?

Also – I don’t know how any single one of you can sit through these Vagistat segments, as once again, this smarmy and slimy scumbag compared his career to CZAR IGOR.

The positive?

We should all be so lucky to have the self-confidence (or perhaps “delusion”) in ourselves that Vagistat has about his own “legendary” career.

To open the period, Sam Rosen promoted the Bud Light appropriately named “GLASS PASS UP YOUR ASS” deal, where a fan will receive tickets on the glass to a future game.

Better than that?

Tonight’s KIA CARD PLAYER OF THE GAME was actually a Ranger – and not a Blueshirts’ opponent – as Trocheck was featured due to this being his night.

You knew the collapse was coming – even if Trouba did his best to prevent it.

On one shift, Trouba stripped Thompson of the puck, blocked a Tuch shot, had his stick broken and then his shattered twig then prevented Skinner from scoring.

And this was just during the first thirty-seconds of this second stanza.

But alas, Trouba doesn’t play every second of every game.

At just the 1:42 mark, Jack Quinn somehow beat all five Rangers on the ice, the third pair and the third line – and then beat the goalie too with a wrister from the slot.

2-2 – and Jingle Bells were heard no more.

M$G then caught Laviolette barking at his bench – but he never used his timeout.

Down to 17:20 remaining, Dahlin fired another rocket at CZAR IGOR – but one that the goalie could see – and more importantly – a save for #31.

As we got under 15:00 to play, Trouba blocked another shot (JJ Peterka) and then CZAR IGOR stopped Dahlin again.

With 13:23 remaining, yours truly went into my Santa sack of tricks and looked for an anti- SAMMY WHAMMY!

It worked:

3-2, GOOD GUYS – and a rare 5 x 5 goal for #93 this season – and hopefully – the start of something big as we approach the New Year.

And how about Wheeler these days?

For the first time this season, and you had to figure it would take a while – he’s now finding his groove and comfort zone with his new team.

This news will light up the faces of Ranger fans like the tree at Rockefeller Center.

Following the goal, I thought that Laviolette should have taken his timeout, because you knew what would happen next – another all-out Sabres’ attack – but thankfully – the Blueshirts survived this one.

With 11:15 remaining, Power broke up a potential Trocheck breakaway, while Vesey just missed the net.

As we hit the half-way mark of the game/period, the Mika line had two great chances, but the Sabres were able to stunt them.

Up next, a bevy of Blueshirt chances that turned into a lump of coal:

— With 9:30 remaining, a Lindgren howitzer went wide.

— With 8:30 remaining, Lafreniere hit the crossbar from point blank range.

— With 7:20 remaining, JONNY HOCKEY missed the net on a breakaway.

But what was the turning-point of the game – although the Rangers never capitalized on it in the way that they should have – the following with 7:12 remaining:

As you can see from the videos/clips above, Cuylle laid a clean hit on Erik Johnson.

But since this is now a league where 99% of fights take place after a clean hit – Johnson challenged the Rangers’ rookie – and then got embarrassed by BIG WILLIE STYLE!

While we all hate that a Ranger (usually Trouba) gets boxed for defending himself, at least the officials did the right thing and tacked an extra two-minutes onto Johnson for instigating the fight.

Johnson was irate, as this toothless derelict then went bat-shit.

Not only did he leave the penalty box (which should have earned him another two-minute minor), but he also made physical contact with one of the officials, while dropping every four-letter word known to man too.

Due to losing his cool and looking like a fool – this dumbass was kicked out of the game.

Seriously, Johnson’s reaction was completely unnecessary, but I guess that he was enraged after CUYLLE HAND LUKE had embarrassed him.

And I wonder if he’ll get a suspension for this, as he did put his hands on an official.

As this Grinch was being sent to the showers, Skinner started crying like a feckless twunt (or a Vagistat) to the officials.

In a response, the officials gave him a misconduct too – but only of the ten-minute variety – which meant that he was later allowed to return to the game – and unlike Johnson the Dick.

So to recap, the Rangers had a two-minute power-play, while the Sabres were now down to a line-up of 11F/5D.

Despite all of these advantages, the Blueshirts would never score in regulation time again.

The Sabres did – but during the final frame.

You couldn’t really hate on this Rangers’ power-play as they pretty much did everything but score here. Similar to the Dahlin goal, you just had to tip your cap to the opponent, as UPL was the team’s best PKer, with major saves made on Mika, Panarin, Vesey and Lafreniere.

Now under four-minutes remaining, UPL stopped Pitlick, a Wheeler breakaway was blocked and then CZAR IGOR came up with a big stop on Olofsson.

We remained at 3-2, GOOD GUYS, after forty-minutes of play.

Here’s what I said at the time:

I don’t know if I’d say that CZAR IGOR was back to his normal self tonight – and I’d still like to see him post a NYET-NYET this season too – but he most certainly was at his Vezina level when it mattered most – during the 3 vs 3 overtime.


This was twenty-minutes of frustration.

Right away, Tuch got in front of CZAR IGOR, but Trouba ended the attack.

Following a CZAR IGOR save on Peterka, Trocheck then hit the post with 17:53 remaining.

A minute later, during a hairy-and-scary Sabres’ attack, CZAR IGOR’s stick went flying to the rafters and almost took off Rosen’s toupee on the way up there. However, he made a big stop, thus ending another potential equalizer for the visitors.

With 14:40 remaining, the jinxed Lafreniere was stopped from a foot away.

Again, my Saved By the Bell finale reference works best:

“I hope to be alive one day to see you reach all of your potential.” – Mr. Belding to Zack Morris during Bayside High’s 1993 graduation.

And should Lafreniere reach that potential?

Then he’ll be a 35+ goals and 80+ points player.

With 13:31 to go, the Sabres had another long attack against the Rangers’ third pair of defense.

Twenty-seconds later, the Sabres finally struck for the third time against D-pair three.

On this equalizer, the 3-3 goal, Mittelstadt banged home a puck that Schneider should have cleared.

And deep-down – I don’t think that anyone was more happy about this win tonight than Schneider.

Don’t take any of these comments as a knock – as I’m just saying what it is – but at the end of the day – I’m also reminded that B-Schneids is only 22-years old – and in his third season.

He’s more than exceeded expectations thus far – and there will be future games like the one that he had tonight.

Thankfully, he’s not the GOAT of this Christmas Story – and you can thank the FAT CATS for that!

To fast-forward a bit, with 8:28 remaining, Skinner, just returned to the game after his penalty, tripped JONNY HOCKEY.

The best save during these two-minutes is when CZAR IGOR stopped a short-handed try from Tuch – where I can’t lie – at the time, I thought that this puck was going in.

Once returned to full-strength, the master of black magic, the ju ju jinx, Rosen himself, said:


I wanted to kick Rosen in his chestnuts – then roast them on an open-fire – after hearing this.


With 3:40 remaining and following another Lafreniere miss, Rosen then started talking about the Knicks again while M$GN showed us a fan dipping/chewing/spitting tobacco.

What a broadcast.

Now down to 2:51 left in regulation, Goodrow high-sticked Tuch.

While the penalty was legit, Tuch sold it as if he was shot by one of the criminals who hang outside of Penn Station these days.

The Rangers’ PK, now on the ice for the first time and with the game on the line too, drew a penalty themselves, as Dahlin held Zibanejad.

Now with some brief foreplay, followed by a Rangers’ power-play in the final seconds – the Sabres were more than happy to play for the Islander (LOSER) point.

3-3 after three – and with 46-seconds of power-play time to start the overtime.

Here’s what I said at the time:

Is there any bond stronger in sports than the one that Zibanejad and Kreider share? Photo Credit: NYR


At this time, it’s best if the video clips do the talking.

Following the failed Rangers’ power-play, the following:

Of note: I don’t know how Jonny Lazarus, the best reporter on the beat today (sans Larry Brooks), is able to cover these games in the press box – and then instantly post video clips of every major play too.

Heck, I can’t even make a decent looking photoshop picture – and this guy is covering the game – and also posting every highlight video clip too!

As the video evidence above tells you – CZAR IGOR, CZAR IGOR, CZAR IGOR – who traded his Santa hat for a ski mask on all three of his robbery saves.

The overtime game-winner?

Off the top of my head (and of course – there is a recency bias here), I can’t think of a time when a Ranger fooled every single player on the ice in the fashion that Zibanejad did, which then set-up CHRISTOPHER JAMES KREIDER for one of the easiest goals of his career.


4-3, GOOD GUYS, your final.

And while this game was as ugly as both the hairlines of both Sam and Joe – the Rangers found a way – and praise the hockey gods that they did – as I really didn’t want to hear three days of crying from “THE SKY IS FALLING” sect of the fan base!

For those wondering, the official three stars of the game were Mittelstadt (3), Mika (2) and Kreider (1).

In my eyes?

I would’ve went CZAR IGOR (3), Trouba (2) and Mika & Kreider for number one.

And yes, I’m cheating – but hell – Mika and Kreider are attached at the the hip anyway!

Here’s a happy Laviolette – and where again – kudos to Lazzy – as I really enjoy hearing “THE FAMILY GUY” Lavy speak about his personal life (maybe I’m now a sap in my old age, but hearing him speak about the adoration of his children just warms the cackles of my cold heart):

Up Next: Merry X-Mas you filthy animals! (Yes, a “Home Alone” reference!)

I won’t be back until Wednesday night, when the Rangers host the Capitals in what’s now a revenge game.

Of note: The Rangers, after losing to an opponent, have beaten all of them in the return game.

Also worth mentioning, because I forgot to do so earlier this week?

The NHL is now in its annual roster-freeze period, so nothing will take place between today and Wednesday.

I’m also being told that Amazon.com is still offering one-day shipping in time for Christmas, which brings us to…

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!

“The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History,” is now available for sale!

For complete information, please visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/rangerkillers/

The hardcover version of my first book, available now at Amazon.com

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:

Order “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden” Book Today

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/EDM 12/22 Review: “LAVY’S LOT” Dominates First Two Periods; Forgets About The Final Twenty Minutes in Blah Loss to Oil Cans, Quick’s First Blemish Marred By Many Cliches Including “Bad Ice,” “One of Those Nights” & “On To The Next One,” Panarin Streak Snapped, Kakko & Chytil Updates, ESPN+, MVP Emily Kaplan & Marble-Mouth Ray Ferraro, Stan Fischler, “Beasts of the East” & More

NYR/TOR 12/19 Review: SUPERSHESTYMAN RETURNS IN RANGERS’ SPECTACULAR FIRST-PLACE TEAM-WIDE WIN! All Droughts, Slumps & “Schneids” Snapped, Lafreniere & Panarin Back on the Board; Three-Pointers for THE GUS BUS & Wheeler Too, Fantastic Fourth Line Continues to Roll, Quick Impact, Cuylle Disrespected By His Hometown; Expensive Tix, M$GN; Rosen in History & More

NYR/BOS 12/16 Review: HOLY MOLY VINCENZO CANNOLI! Blueshirts Best B’s For “Beast of the East” Status in Front of Boston Legends, The Return of CZAR “Give Me One Goal And I Got This” IGOR, Trocheck’s Two Goals Takes Care of the Rest, Real Italian > Pasta; Lindgren “Macked” Again, HARD WORKING WIN and NOT a “Stolen Win,” M$GN; Sexual Sam and Jerkin’ Joe & More

If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:

Now on sale!

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.


Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine

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4 thoughts on “NYR/BUF 12/23 Review: Miracle On 34th Street! Mika’s Two (Assists) Avoids a Meeting of Mr. Hanky The Christmas Poo; Kreider Kringle Wins It, Santa Shesty’s Three (OT) Gifts to Ranger Fans, Cuylle’s Coal For Not-So-Jolly Johnson, “Tinsel Town” Trouba’s Terrific Night, Jeff “The Red-Nosed Clown” Skinner, Breadman Bakes Xmas Cookies, More Bad Puns, Lafreniere’s Adult Films & Hallmark Movie Status, Laviolette, Lazarus Rises, M$GN & More

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