Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Does anyone know if Alex Ovechkin (6 goals, 14 assists, -8 in 32 games played) is struggling this season?
And if you don’t already know the answer to that question, then all you have to do is watch a replay of the M$GN broadcast from Wednesday night – and where Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti will tell you all about it for three non-stop hours!
But we’ll talk all about our two “lovable” bozos in tonight’s GAME REVIEW, so at this moment – back to the task at hand – the Rangers’ 5-1 country-style ass-kicking of the Washington Capitals!
Going into tonight’s match at the World’s Most Expensive Arena, where the family-friendly “get-in” price (a standing-room-only ticket no less) ran Garden patrons over $260 – I expected a slow start, followed by a wake-up call during the first intermission and after that – some Ranger hockey.
And that’s what happened.
As both teams (allegedly) sweat out all of the toxins, alcohol and perhaps some trans fat too (but what about straight fat?) following their respective three-day holiday breaks during the first period – come the intermission, we had no score – and not that much excitement either.
But after a breather in the locker room, following a first period that was pretty much the equivalent of a preseason game or practice?
But alas, and prior to the eventual “Blueshirts’ Blowout” (patent pending!), the inevitable – the lone flaw, a goal allowed, and say it with me – another reason why CZAR IGOR, ever since making his NHL debut nearly three-years ago, leads all NHL goaltenders in one-goal games allowed – and not shutouts – and as his BFF, the Isles’ Ilya Sorokin, presently does.
(Holy run-on sentence Batman!)
That said, what I’ve been saying for some time now on this site:
In today’s NHL, it’s harder to post a shutout than ever before (whenever the league amends their rules, then it’s always with the intent of increasing scoring), so to lead the NHL from day one of your career in one-goal games isn’t that shabby either.
Following what many NHL experts would define as a “shit goal allowed” (Anthony Mantha), the Rangers responded with a goal themselves – and a total of five unanswered goals come the final horn.
And that’s not shabby either!
No less than three-minutes following Mantha’s opening strike at the 4:12 mark of the second stanza, D.J. MIKA, who is really spinning the points these days, received the primary assist on one of the most prettiest and skilled “give-and-go” goals that you’ll ever see – and Miller’s first of the contest.
Now tied at 1-1 – that was the end of the Capitals’ chances from winning this return game.
A roof-job goal, baked by Artemi Panarin on the Rangers’ third power-play of the match, and equally as skilled as the one that Miller had previously scored, put the Blueshirts up 2-1 at the 12:08 mark.
BIZARRO WORLD, as for the first time in what feels like forever, the Rangers, who have given up eight back-to-back goals this season within a time-span of a minute or less, turned the tables.
Following Panarin’s 19th goal of the season, just forty-seconds later – BOOM – there was Braden Schneider to give the Blueshirts a “comfortable” two-goal lead.
And as was the case when #4 scored against Toronto – this was another beaut for B-SCHNEIDS!
“LAVY’S LOT” took their 3-1 lead into the third period – but they weren’t done yet – nor were there any “foot off of the gas issues” either – but of course – that only depends on how you viewed the final three-minutes of sixty.
(But hey – at least it wasn’t a case of Sharks’ deja vu either!)
At the 6:54 mark of the final frame, Miller, who could do no wrong on this night, cracked open another can of “MILLER TIME” to put the Rangers up by a score of 4-1.
For a cherry on top, and with 8:45 remaining, Alexis Lafreniere, who without a puck-luck goal scored off an opposing d-man’s skate, had been without a goal during his past fifteen games played, scored on one hell of a one-timer, following a perfection pass from who else – the 2021 Norris Trophy winner, Adam Fox.
5-1, GOOD GUYS.
Perhaps the Rangers wanted to show CZAR IGOR some love too.
After all, with the Blueshirts now cruising to victory with their four-goal lead, that’s when the 2022 Vezina Trophy winner made all of his highlight reel denials, including a SPECTACULAR SWOOPING BESSIE SAVE on the Caps’ Connor “Mongo” McMichael – and as the game just went under the two-minute warning.
Aside from the fluky Mantha goal allowed – the only black mark on tonight’s game was the injury that Jacob Trouba received – but I’ll save all of that for the GAME REVIEW segment.
But if you’re presently looking for an update on the real “GREAT EIGHT,” then it’s what you’d expect – and you can say this with me too – “day-to-day, upper-body.”
Let’s not close this intro on a low note.
Instead, let’s take a look at the NHL standings following this win – and where your BEST IN THE WORLD Rangers presently (or is it “still?”) sit atop of the entire league:
At this time, let’s get it all rolling, with a look at X-Mas, the brief pregame news & notes, and then the (anticipated!) GAME REVIEW segment.
And if you have any leftover egg nog, then now would be a good time to pour a glass!
(After all, that’s what I’m doing right now as I write these words!)
Of course, I hope that everyone’s Christmas went well.
The best gift that I received, outside of the jersey (which actually looks better in person than on TV) pictured above?
The one that my sister got me:
The best present that I saw a Ranger fan receive? This one:
When it comes to the Rangers, or at least their bench boss Peter Laviolette – their favorite gift over the three-day holiday break was family – and that was the first thing that the head coach talked about during Wednesday’s pregame “LAVY’S LOUNGE.”
The Rangers, and just like the other 31-teams in the league, had Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day off – a nice 72-hour time period devoid of practices, games and worrying about anything else on-ice related.
Kudos to the NHL for always giving their players these days off.
For me, it humanizes them – and especially when you see both the NFL and NBA competing and having their athletes away from home during these major holidays in our lifetime.
As someone wise once told me – you don’t get these days (and memories created) back.
(It’s also why everyone should respect and honor all military members – they don’t get these days off – and often – aren’t close to home either.)
And as someone who covers this team on this site – I enjoyed the three-days off too! (I love hanging out with “my buddies” – aka my nieces!)
Similar to Laviolette, who has preached the importance of family all-season, I also enjoyed seeing mine over the break.
Laviolette, who concluded his last “LAVY’S LOUNGE” prior to X-Mas by speaking about his own family, opened his first post-Christmas “LAVY’S LOUNGE” by talking about his family again.
Since the team hadn’t practiced during the past three days, the Rangers had a brief and sponsored “RISE AND SHINE” morning skate on Wednesday morning, followed by the mandatory “LAVY’S LOUNGE.”
Here it is:
Really, not much was said, especially with the team buzzing.
And really, outside of asking about what happened last time when the Rangers played the Capitals (it never came up), there wasn’t much that needed to be said anyway – outside of the head coach confirming, that yes indeed, CZAR IGOR would be starting in net.
Here was Laviolette’s line-up for the thirty-third game of this 2023-24 season – and the 40% mark of the campaign too:
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
STARTER: CZAR IGOR
HEALTHY SCRATCHES: Jones
LONG TERM INJURED RESERVE: Chytil and Kakko
BOX SCORE time.
The following graphics and information come from ESPN.com:
I thought that tonight’s M$GN broadcast, while still having their usual faults (the gambling shit needs to go the way of the dodo bird – the real extinct dodo bird – and not birdbrain Mollie who should go away too!), was the best one of the season – and that’s even with the absence of “THE KING OF COMMENTARY,” Henrik Lundqvist.
What made this M$GN broadcast so tremendous was the other absence – the seven-foot smarmy and smug jackass, Sieve Vagistat!
I don’t know if Vagistat consumed too much milky and creamy egg nog at “The Ramrod” over the break or what, but either way, I was delighted when I saw that the M$GN replaced a seven-foot jackass with a seven-foot former NHLer – a real one to boot – former Ranger Brian Boyle.
I’ve done this rant in the past, and as about as many times as Rosen worried about Ovechkin tonight, so I won’t bore you any further, outside of saying the following:
YOU DON’T NEED TWO GOALIES (especially the worst back-up in Rangers’ history) ON YOUR STUDIO PANEL. ALL YOU NEED IS LUNDQVIST AND A SKATER – AND BOYLE IS PERFECTLY FINE BY ME!
I know that some fans love the analytical shit – but you can find podcasts for that.
And really – ANALytics is far too niche for a mainstream hockey broadcast to begin with – and that’s exactly why you don’t see this junk as the main focus anywhere else.
In my eyes, and these are the only pair of peepers that matter to me, give me the stories, the real stuff, the feel of the game, the human element, the eye-test – and not whatever bullshit you conjured up in the mens’ room – and as Vagistat always does with his made-up arts & crafts, charts & graphs!
Tonight’s broadcast began with John “From the Projects in Boonton” Giannone and Brian Boyle in the M$G $ponsored CHA$E BRIDGE$.
Once finishing my celebration of not having Vagistat on my TV (where I was left to assume that this was M$GN’s belated X-Mas present to yours truly), Boyle, blunt and brutally honest all night (a good thing), echoed what I had said prior to the game:
It was going to be a slow start, but as the game went on, both teams would get their legs back.
Boyle drew from his NHL career experience (Vagistat has none of this) and said how tough it was to return following a three-day break away from the ice.
And while the NHL now has bye-weeks installed for every team – these teams are also practicing before returning – and unlike tonight’s tilt.
Up next was a segment where we saw Braden Schneider give out THE BROADWAY HAT after the win against Buffalo.
What I really liked about this, and I think that I’ve mentioned this before on this site, is that whenever you see this tradition taking place season – then you also always see Peter Laviolette hanging around in the background and cheering along – and where above all else – he looks more like a fan than the team’s head coach.
And no, and before you go there – this statement is not an indictment or a knock against any other former Blueshirt bench boss.
This is just me saying that I appreciate Laviolette being there – and as a fan – it makes me fist pump like a “Jersey Shore” reject!
After this clip, Boyle brought up how tonight was Mika’s 800th game (hell of a milestone – and I wonder what did Chris Kreider get him as a present?), and how the former #22 of the Blueshirts didn’t really know if the current #93 of today really had any staying power in New York when he was first acquired in one of Jeff Gorton’s best trades (if not the best – some would argue the Nash/Lindgren Boston deal) when the former GM swapped Derick Brassard for DJ Zibanejad.
(Sorry – another run-on sentence – but you get the gist!)
And while we all know now that Mika has had such said “staying power” – Boyle was right – no one knew what the Swedish-Iranian dee-jay would turn out to be – especially following his multiple bouts with concussions – where knock on wood – haven’t been an issue at all after these early (and unfortunate) head injuries sustained.
(If there is any hope for Chytil, then it’s Zibanejad – but of course – no two concussions are alike, nor does everyone recover from concussions in the same fashion either.)
After Michelle Gingras erroneously referred to the Mika line as the Rangers’ first line (and everyone else does it so this isn’t about her – but really, and as stated about 985667556778 times before on this site – it’s the Panarin line that’s the top line – and the line that averages the most ice time too), we went back to John Monotone who pretty much said that Ovechkin has sucked a big pile of dongs this season.
(Okay, Giannone didn’t really say that – but that’s what he implied – and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)
When asked for his thoughts on Ovechkin’s worst season yet, Boyle said:
“He’s off the charts bad. What used to work isn’t working. Losing Oshie, Backstrom and Kuznetsov struggling doesn’t help. He just looks different. He doesn’t look like he’s having fun.”
Needless to say – the future Hall of Famer doesn’t look as happy as he once was back in June of 2018!
And when it comes to “THE GREAT EIGHT” chasing “THE GREAT ONE?”
That chase may fall short.
As the broadcast moved back towards the Rangers (something that Sam and Joe would later forget about – the usual), Boyle said that once the CZAR IGOR critics got loud, that’s when #31 turned it all around.
I’d concur – even if I wasn’t one of those critics – as I never gave up on THE CZAR! (Blogs don’t lie!)
Boyle read my mind once again when he said (and I’m paraphrasing him here), “I’m surprised that Charlie Lindgren isn’t starting in net for the Caps. After all, he just shut them out three-weeks ago and I’m very surprised that Darcy Kuemper is playing.”
I felt exactly the same – and I thought that the Caps would allow this sibling rivalry to take place on M$G ice – while also allowing Ryan’s big brother a shot to play at the World’s Most Expensive Arena too.
As the pregame show continued (who else recaps this junk like me – but I’ve been told by many readers that you guys & gals enjoy it), we got a nice shot of Panarin finding a young fan in the crowd – and where he gave away his “bread stick” to this now new fan-for-life.
(How do I know that Panarin made a new fan-for-life here? Because I had a similar experience with Petr Nedved – although, and I’m proud to admit this – I was always going to be a diehard Ranger fan anyway because of my dad and grandfather. You can read my books for more on this.)
It’s stuff like this that makes this game so great – and it’s also why I hate these grown-up mongoloids, like STALK BOY STEVEN, who hound the glass and push little kids away, just so they can get some free shit.
Losers – and I’m glad that the players ignore these sweat-thirsty savages too.
The glass during pregame warm-ups, and the potential free swag, is exclusive for the kids – and not for adults.
If you want game-used stuff or anything else of the sort, then go buy it.
And if you’re over eighteen-years-old and not female – then you’re a friggin freak if you make homemade cardboard signs and display them at the game, especially signs that STALK BOY STEVEN makes* such as:
— “I’LL SUCK YOUR KAKKO FOR A PUKKO!”
— “GIVE ME SOME OF YOUR HAIR PANARIN FOR MY HAIR DOLL!”
— “SPANK ME SIDEWAYS SHESTY!”
(* = These may not be the real words on these signs, but that’s what they read like – and worse than that – from someone over forty-years old who calls himself a “boy.” Holy Chris Hansen Batman!)
I know that I’m wasting too much time on this pregame show, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the best segment – the Gingras produced Laviolette practice footage.
If you remember a few years back, then you’ll remember that in the B.G. days (before gambling), M$GN used to weekly produce a half-hour segment entitled “THE AV SHOW.”
(This show would first-run air from 6PM-6:30PM – and then be repeated in multiple time slots.)
As you will recall, for thirty-minutes, Bill “KIDS, KILL GRANDMA FOR THE INHERITANCE MONEY AND GAMBLE EVERY CENT POSSIBLE ON TONIGHT’S GAME” Pidto would chat with former Rangers’ head coach, Alain Vigneault.
Not only did we get an inside look into both AV’s “GOOD LOOKS” and hockey brain, there was also some trivia at the end where the head coach would then try to guess his players likes and dislikes – and a trivia segment that I’m sure that Laviolette would ace today.
What am I getting at?
While this Gingras segment was only about 2-3 minutes or so – it was also very enjoyable.
I’d like to see “LAVY’S LOUNGE” for thirty-minutes before these games – and really – anything else besides Alex “Meth” Monaco and his non-stop gambling hawking.
Heck, Monaco (and this isn’t a personal thing – he’s just the face behind all of M$GN’s self-serving gambling promotion – and if it wasn’t him then it would be somebody else), and all of these gambling shows, makes me miss JB SMOOVE!
And yep – and I’m not making this up:
After this excellent Gingras/Lavy practice segment, Giannone then demanded and threatened death on any fan who dared not to bet on every game being played in the league on Wednesday night.
Come 7PM, we went to Sam and Joe, where right away, I was left wondering the following:
“With all of the money that the M$GN is making on gambling, can’t they hire a hair-stylist?”
While I’m not one to talk about follicles (I shave my head) – I’m also not on television either.
Whoever supervised Sam Rosen’s comb-over should have been fired – as his streaks of rotting scalp were woefully apparent – and somewhat unsettling.
And perhaps if Rosen shaved his head like Panarin, then he’d regain his A-game too?
As you’d imagine, Sam and Joe spent the bulk of their pregame face-time by lamenting about Ovechkin’s troubles – and that’s what we’d hear all about for the next three-hours or so too.
I mean I get it – Ovi’s struggles are a story – but when the Rangers are blasting a rival – then, and especially with 3:00 remaining in regulation – I don’t need to hear how #8 is struggling for the 9876875587th time.
One day, I just hope that Sam and Joe, and before they retire, remember who signs their paychecks – and more importantly – WHO WATCHES THESE GAMES ON THE RANGERS’ HOME NETWORK!
GAME REVIEW time!
As brought up earlier, these first twenty-minutes was all about sweating out the booze and finding their legs – and this opinion applies to both teams.
Laviolette, and as he usually does, began the game with his fourth line – and where this trio was once again matched-up against the opponent’s top line.
And once again, and by the end of the night – the Vesey/Goodrow/Pitlick line shutdown another one of the league’s best lines.
The first Rangers’ SOG took place with 18:40 remaining, as Kuemper (DK for the rest of this) stopped a Fox-to-Mika try. Rosen then informed us that Zibanejad has a lot of chemistry with that Kreider guy.
Nothing gets past Slammin’ Sammy!
As Laviolette rolled out his lines in an order of 4, 2, 3, 1 (first time this season), DK stopped JONNY HOCKEY with 18:03 remaining – and where Micheletti talked all about his favorite topic once again – THREESOMES!
As Sam and Joe presented to us “John Carlson, This Is Your Life,” CZAR IGOR made his first stop with 17:20 remaining – a save on Mantha – who not only later scored – but led all skaters in SOG too tonight (7).
With 15:45 remaining, Miller blocked an Ovi centering pass with his skate – and the puck took a Rangers’ bounce. In a response, Sam and Joe once again brought up how Ovi was struggling this season.
In other words, Sam and Joe were more concerned about Ovi not getting a puck-luck goal off of a d-man’s skate, rather than praising Miller for kicking the puck out of town.
And I’m not making this up – right after this Miller “kick-save,” Micheletti then explained to us that being tied is better than trailing.
That’s why he gets the big bucks!
Down to 14:44 remaining, and to show us that he was dialed in – CZAR IGOR made a heck of a save on a seeing-eye shot from Sandin – and tougher than that – while screened.
Rosen’s response – and again – I’m not making this up – the following:
“OH JOE, I CAN’T BELIEVE THE RANGERS ARE IN FIRST-PLACE JOE! BUT THEN I LOOK AT THE STANDINGS AND THERE THEY ARE JOE!”
Apparently, Sam is just as bewildered as us that all of his never-ending black magic, ju-ju, reverse curses, etc, haven’t been working!
Down to 13:36 remaining, our first real Rangers’ scoring threat, as Zibanejad blazed into the Caps’ zone and while on a breakaway – was hooked by Carlson.
I thought that this should’ve been a penalty shot awarded, as Mika had nothing but clean ice in front of him and DK.
But since we don’t know what’s a penalty, interference, a kicking motion or even a goal anymore these days – this infraction ultimately earned Carlson a two-minute timeout in the sin bin.
This wasn’t much of a power-play, as the Rangers were still trying to find their way after the break.
It should be noted that DK made two saves here, including one on Gustafsson at the end of the Blueshirts’ man-advantage.
And why should this be noted?
Because after this save, which took place with about 11:40 remaining, this was also recorded as the Rangers’ fifth shot on goal.
It would take them over eleven-minutes to register their sixth – which only speaks to the rust – and not anything else.
But of course, and as usual – many Blueshirt Backers did the GLOOM AND DOOM junk, as apparently, 100% perfection and at 100% of the time is the only thing that’s suffice!
As this slow-as-molasses first period dragged on, Rosen, with 10:00 remaining – yep, you know it – brought up how Ovechkin was struggling.
But I guess to be fair to the Hall of Fame senile old coot – there wasn’t that much to talk about either.
Following the longest Caps’ attack yet, with 8:33 to go, CZAR IGOR froze the puck and that was the end of that. In a response, Sam and Joe pulled their pants down, busted out the Jergens’ lotion and celebrated the fact that Max Pacioretty would be making his Washington debut very soon.
Really – what Ranger fan cares about Pacioretty – and especially a player that hasn’t been healthy ever since the Eisenhower administration?
Down to 6:10 remaining, Trocheck made a nice intercept in the d-zone, as the Caps were passing the puck like Brock Purdy from Monday night. This set-up a chance for Lafreniere, but nothing came of it as a result.
This play, and with over forty-five minutes remaining, was named as Sam’s “DEFENSIVE PLAY OF THE GAME.”
After giving us the Jimmy Vesey RHINOPLASTY REPORT (#26 is no longer wearing a fishbowl over his dome), with 3:15 to go, CZAR IGOR snuffed out another Caps’ threat.
Down to 2:05 to go, and in hindsight, this is when the Rangers first regained their form; Lafreniere missed from the top of goalmouth. Thirty-seconds later, THE GUS BUS hit the post.
In other words, the Rangers still only had five SOG.
The Rangers, who eventually got SOG #6 with thirty-seconds remaining, then took a penalty five-seconds later, as Beck (Feed My) Malenstyn drove to the net – and in an attempt to nix the breakaway – Lindgren slid/dove/blocked/tripped the Cap.
This was a good penalty to take, as it prevented a late goal allowed.
We remained scoreless after twenty-minutes and with the Caps to open the middle period on a 1:36 power-play.
Here’s what I said at the time:
Scoreless after 20. 1P Thoughts:
— Kind of what you expected – a preseason vibe as both teams sweat out the eggnog.
— Lindgren bleeding from the side of his right eye – the usual.
— Trocheck best Ranger thus far.
— They’ll find their legs as the game continues.#NYR
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) December 28, 2023
The Capitals came close to scoring on their power-play – but no cigar.
(And no smoking in M$G either – unless you do it under a camera in the staircases!)
Towards the end of the penalty kill (and I missed this live as I was more focused about the team kill rather than the four individuals), Mika and Trouba tag-teamed for a huge clear.
As a result, I missed the following when it happened – and so did Sam and Joe (and really – everyone else too):
— David 🏒 (@DaveyUpper) December 28, 2023
Let’s just run through this Trouba injury in a bullet-point style:
— As much as we’d all like to slam Tom Wilson here – this contact was purely accidental.
— This unfortunate event was just a consequence of playing a dangerous sport and nothing malicious took place here – and despite what’s being currently suggested by many.
— This clip and injury was originally found by Mr. D. Upper (M$GN never showed it to us once) – but only during the second intermission.
(In other words, for the rest of the period, we had no clue what happened – and if you didn’t see Upper’s clip on Tweeter X – then you had no clue what happened either.)
— Prior to the early stages of the third period, both Sam and Joe said that they had no clue on why Trouba went to the locker room – and where both announcers originally thought that the captain had left the ice for an equipment issue.
— Prior to Sam and Joe telling us what the Rangers had officially reported (upper-body injury), there was a lot of speculation that Dr. Kelly Trouba was in labor.
— I don’t know about anyone else, but I didn’t even know that Trouba was an expecting father.
(But if he is, then I’m sure that Stalk Boy Steven has already purchased Mrs. Trouba’s sonogram.)
— When I first saw people tweeting this out, I thought that they were joking, but then people were saying that it was true. While I didn’t buy it because I didn’t see anyone who would know saying it – I was hoping that it was true – because as the game went on and with Trouba MIA – you just had to assume an injury had taken place – even if you didn’t know what it was.
— And as I write these words – I still don’t know if the Trouba’s are expecting their first child! But if they are, then congratulations!
— Furthermore, and to put a bow on the Trouba child rumors – if Trouba’s wife was about to give birth, then I doubt that he’d even be dressed for this game. I only say this because a precedent was already set earlier this season, when Goodrow missed time for the birth of his first son.
— Most important above all else, especially since many are suggesting a concussion for the captain – I just hope that this was a spotter/precautionary thing – and nothing as serious as whatever is going on with Filip Chytil.
— The Rangers don’t miss Chytil. They would miss Trouba.
— As far as an update, refer back to the intro – as we won’t know anything at the earliest until tomorrow – when the Rangers practice.
One last time – this wasn’t Wilson being dirty at all. Hockey, and sometimes shit, happens.
However, the most sickening thing about this play?
That defect, “Diary of a Social Media Gal That No One Reads,” aka Dominick The Dolce (she puts her last name out there so I’m not “doxxing” her) – and also most (in)famously known as the demented woman who keeps telling anyone who will listen that Trouba is a sexist – who tweeted out the following:
(For the full story on why this bat-shit broad is (wrongly) calling Trouba a sexist, then check out: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/111623/ )
I really don’t want to give this insane woman any more attention than I already have, especially since this is what she wants – but I’m happy to report that thousands of Ranger fans let her hear it – and let her hear it big-time, following her disgusting tweet.
Apparently, she was rolling around like a pig in shit (fitting) with all of the attention that she received. She was also doubling-down on what she had said when responding to fans taking issue with her.
And if you need me to say this, then here you go:
It’s one thing for a jerk-off like me, or maybe like you too, to have opinions on players, teams, contracts, rules, plays, refs, whatever.
(And let’s face it – I have a lot of them – and have had millions more during the past ten-years on this site too!)
But to sit and actively root for injuries – including ones sustained by your own team?
And I know what you might say – “But Sean, you say that the Rangers are better off without Kakko and Chytil!”
And that’s true – and I’ll still say it too!
But at no point was I ever rooting for either player to get hurt – nor was I ever doing back-flips (just pretend that I can do one for the point that I’m trying to make!) either when they got hurt.
Plus, I was saying that the Blueshirts were better off without them PRIOR to their injuries too!
I guess the real #KARMA here is having a hair-cut that looks like the backside of a dog’s ass – and the face to match.
“OH JOE, WOOF WOOF JOE!”
Jeez – I’m up to word 6,000 – and I haven’t even got into the six goals that were scored tonight.
Let me get my head out of my Dolce – and get a move on!
Following the kill, and without knowing what was up with Trouba outside of the fact that he was in the locker room – CZAR IGOR was making saves with both his mask and his glove.
However, with 15:48 to go, Mantha, from the penalty box side, skated towards the Rangers’ goalie. In a response, CZAR IGOR squared himself up and really – was perfectly positioned.
At the time, you thought that this was just going to be another routine save for CZAR IGOR – but it wasn’t.
Instead, Mantha beat CZAR IGOR over the glove.
1-0, bad guys – and a goal allowed that had many jaws drop to the floor in Rangerstown, USA – as this was a shot that CZAR IGOR easily stops 100/100 times – but now – 99/100 times.
Right after the goal, as in 25-seconds later, the Rangers had a chance to tie, as Vesey, and similar to the penalty that Mika had drawn earlier, was hooked by Dylan Strome during his attempted one-timer.
The Rangers, now looking for the equalizer, didn’t get it on this power-play, as the Caps’ PK was good – and DK was even better – and especially when he stopped Wheeler on a 4 x 3 odd-man rush.
To prove to you that I’m the ultimate ANTI ROSEN – and that my pro-Ranger thoughts do play out – here’s what I tweeted right after the Blueshirts’ power-play had gone 0-2:
YOU’RE WELCOME! MY ANTI SAMMY WHAMMY STREAK EXTENDS!
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) December 28, 2023
1-1 – and take a look at a goal that not even the most perfect words can accurately describe:
Gorgeous passing play by 10-93 and 79 finishes it off for #NYR
Great offensive instincts by K’Andre Miller pic.twitter.com/xyHVadPxIG
— Jonny Lazarus (@JLazzy23) December 28, 2023
This was the beginning of the end for the Caps – but they’d get one last chance.
With 11:15 to go, Schneider and Wilson exchanged big (but clean) hits with one another. As the Rangers were attacking, Goodrow took an o-zone penalty when he blatantly tripped Wilson.
The visitors, who didn’t look so hot on this power-play to begin with, ended their man-advantage, when with 28-seconds remaining on the home team’s kill – Ivan Miroshnichenko, who Micheletti wanted to have sex with tonight (or at least that’s what it sounded like), tripped Zibanejad.
Long-story short? 28-seconds of foreplay followed by a 1:32 Rangers’ power-play.
Once the power-play began, DK hooked Kreider around his neck. Despite a referee looking at this, no call, and where Micheletti was left to assume that this was “just a hockey play” – and not a penalty.
I don’t know how many other lines of work where you can take an object the size of a tree trunk and just hook someone in the neck without punishment.
In other words, the Rangers deserved a 5 x 3 power-play here – but that’s not what happened.
What did happen, was right at the end of the power-play, THE BREADMAN BAKED A TOP SHELF COOKIE:
This catch-and-release by Panarin is SILLY. pic.twitter.com/L1Xl9n51Tc
— Jonny Lazarus (@JLazzy23) December 28, 2023
2-1, GOOD GUYS, following the two centers, Mika and Trocheck, getting the rubber to Panarin.
And really – there wasn’t much that DK could do here either – and just like how he couldn’t do much just forty-seconds later when this happened:
Braden Schneider picks his corner. pic.twitter.com/Z8FWv0wPO4
— Jonny Lazarus (@JLazzy23) December 28, 2023
3-1, GOOD GUYS – and despite Goodrow being tripped by Sandin on this attack – Schneider scored another one anyway!
And while all goals count the same – this was the third “sexy” goal scored by the Blueshirts tonight – and two more were still yet to “cum.”
And just to think – some fans were worried after the first period – and where these people did their usual team-wide negative referendums!
Due to all of the scoring and penalties, we didn’t have our first TV timeout of the period until there was only 4:25 remaining.
Better than that?
Because of all of the rapid-fire scoring, Rosen didn’t get a chance to tell us that Ovi was struggling during these five-or-so minutes!
The Schneider goal was the final nail in the Caps’ coffin – because after this strike – the Rangers were completely energized – and akin to Super Mario feeling the invincibility of an electric golden star racing throughout his veins.
From this point on, the Rangers forced the Caps to the perimeter for most of the game – that is – until the final minutes.
Down to 1:45 remaining, Wilson tried to get cute with CZAR IGOR after a save. I was hoping that CZAR IGOR would go all ELVIS MERZLIKINS on the agitator – and beat the crap out of him – but the refs quickly prevented such an outcome.
In the final minute, Fox and Kreider almost scored. DK then made a glove save on Schneider too.
For good measure, CZAR IGOR, with twelve-ticks remaining, retained the Rangers’ two-goal lead with a big stop on Aube-Kubel.
3-1, GOOD GUYS, after forty-minutes.
Here’s what I said at the time:
3-1, GOOD GUYS, after 40. 2P Thoughts:
— And some of you were nervous after the first period.
— Mika is racking up the points now, maybe safe to say that his usual season-opening slump, lengthier than normal, is snapped.
— Hope Trouba is okay – no updates yet.
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) December 28, 2023
As the Trouba’s wife was going into labor rumors were running rampant; about ninety-seconds into this final frame, this is when Rosen told us about Trouba’s upper-body injury designation – but again – M$GN had no video to show us.
So thank you Davey Upper – and assuming that’s your real name!
Bust out your best Jan Brady voice and say it with me:
“THE FOURTH LINE, THE FOURTH LINE, THE FOURTH LINE!”
This trio, after stunting Alex “OH JOE, I THINK HE’S STRUGGLING JOE” Ovechkin and company, then saw Goodrow get two GOOD LOOKS at DK – but couldn’t put the biscuit in the basket.
But really, the only takeaway here is how the fourth line continued to shutdown another top line – and while also creating a ton of offense for themselves at the same time.
The Caps, who only had one shot on goal during the first ten-minutes of this period, had no answer for the never-ending waves of Ranger attacks.
Heck, here was one of my tweets from this time:
#NYR third line with a heck of a shift – you can feel it coming, 13:40 to go
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) December 28, 2023
My ANTI SAMMY WHAMMY MAGIC is undeniable, as just 34-seconds later, the following:
Multi-goal game for….K’Andre Miller??? pic.twitter.com/fVqgYzQ3kL
— Jonny Lazarus (@JLazzy23) December 28, 2023
4-1, GOOD GUYS – a MILLER TIME beer in each hand for K’ANDRE THE GIANT!
While this wasn’t as bad as the goal that Mantha had scored (due to the Wheeler mini-screen) – this is probably something that DK should have stopped.
As we got under ten-minutes remaining, and with the victor of this game long-decided and the Caps looking like day-old dog shit too (or a Dolce); Rosen, in a grave tone, said, “OH JOE, ALEX OVECHKIN IS STRUGGLING JOE.”
This is what he was worried about.
Down to 8:45 remaining, Miller and Fox set-up Lafreniere for his first real goal in fifteen games:
— Jonny Lazarus (@JLazzy23) December 28, 2023
5-1, GOOD GUYS!
While of course, this goal was all about Lafreniere finally burying a puck (finishing); had #13 been on a heater, then all the talk about this score would have been in praise for the pass that Fox made.
And with the way that the Rangers were breaking their holes out there – that ice had to reek of whisky, vodka and beer – as every toxin was now eliminated through the pores.
Once past the FOXWOODS FINAL FIVE MARK, and a few saves for CZAR IGOR too; Sam Rosen expertly proclaimed:
“OH JOE, ALEX OVECHKIN IS STRUGGLING JOE.”
And no – I am not making this up.
There’s only one last thing to talk about – the CZAR IGOR save on McMichael:
— Jonny Lazarus (@JLazzy23) December 28, 2023
When you look at this save in slo-motion – then sure – there was a little bit of showmanship, theatrics if you will, involved.
But don’t lose sight of this either:
The fact that CZAR IGOR even has the confidence to ham it up a bit tells you that he’s back.
And that’s all I care about!
5-1, GOOD GUYS, your final – and as a result – the Rangers are batting a perfect 1.000 in REVENGE GAMES this season.
Here’s a happy head coach after the two-points netted:
While I did enjoy Lavy’s post-game presser, I thought that Miller’s was more telling:
As you all know, Miller missed a few games earlier this month, where the two words of “personal issue” were used to address the matter.
Miller himself, when briefly talking about his absence (and the only time when he talked about it), said, “I’m now in a better headspace.”
We all know this:
No one is more critical about the Ranger beat reporters than yours truly.
However, don’t take what I’m about to say next as a criticism of them at all – as there is no possible way that they can ask him about it, nor can they pry into his personal life either.
That disclaimer now out of the way – I wonder if Miller’s comments from tonight was his way of talking about his “personal issues” and “better headspace” – as he said that he wasn’t happy with his game for some time now – but obviously – he was feeling much better about it after this win.
Since we can rule out a death in the family (we would’ve heard about it by now), then, and without 100% confirmation, we are only left to assume that Miller had a mental-health break earlier this month.
And after tonight?
That break paid dividends – and you can hear it in his voice.
Maybe I’m looking too deep into this – but that was my impression – and where again – I don’t blame the beat reporters for not asking him this obvious follow-up.
(Much like the beat’s approach – I believe that you can only talk about this when Miller is ready and talks about it – and even with this follow-up question served on a silver platter. I get the celebrity angle, it’s part of the job stuff, etc – but this is a case where you have to respect the human element – or so I say. And oh yeah – mental health doesn’t appear on any analytical chart either.)
Up next: The now annual year-end games in Florida.
In the past, the Rangers have had their annual Dad’s Trip during these sunny days – but nothing was mentioned tonight about it.
(I’m to assume that perhaps the Dads will join the team when the team goes to California – or maybe Vegas. Either way, I think that this annual tradition will remain – and especially since Lavy is a true-blue family man – and yes – I have a stupid “Family Guy” photoshop racing around my mind right now!)
The Rangers close 2023 Friday night in Sunrise against the Panthers and then a New Years’ Eve Eve contest set for Saturday night in Tampa.
Expect an overwhelming sea of blue jerseys in both of these Floridian markets.
Looking ahead to 2024, the Rangers will host the Hurricanes on 1/2 and will then get their first look at Connor Bedard’s Blackhawks on 1/4.
And oh, should you have some extra X-Mas money burning a hole in your pocket – rather than gambling on these games as M$GN demands you to do – then why don’t you buy a book and educate yourself instead?
Of course, this is my transition 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/
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 $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:
My four-volume set of books, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is a game-by-game recount of the Rangers 2021-22 campaign.
My second title as an author, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is now available in eBook, paperback and hardcover formats.
To obtain signed copies, visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/onegamebook/
To purchase all four volumes on Amazon, visit: Amazon.com – “One Game at a Time.”
The greatest volume-set of books on Rangers’ history today!
“Tricks of the Trade – A Century-Long Journey Through Every Trade Made In New York Rangers’ History,” a four-volume set of books that meticulously covers every trade made in franchise history, is now on sale.
All four volumes of the title can be purchased on Amazon.com and are presented in three different formats – eBook, paperback and hardcover.
To purchase Volume I: Conn Smythe (1926) – Craig Patrick (1986), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume II: Phil Esposito (1986) – Neil Smith (2000), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume III: Glen Sather (2000-2015), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume IV: Jeff Gorton (2015) – Chris Drury (2022), visit Amazon.com
To purchase signed copies of all four volumes, visit https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/
Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:
NYR/BUF 12/23 Review: Miracle On 34th Street! Mika’s Two (Assists) Avoids a Meeting of Mr. Hanky The Christmas Poo; Kreider Kringle Wins It, Santa Shesty’s Three (OT) Gifts to Ranger Fans, Cuylle’s Coal For Not-So-Jolly Johnson, “Tinsel Town” Trouba’s Terrific Night, Jeff “The Red-Nosed Clown” Skinner, Breadman Bakes Xmas Cookies, More Bad Puns, Lafreniere’s Adult Films & Hallmark Movie Status, Laviolette, Lazarus Rises, M$GN & More
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
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