Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. MOTHER CANUCKER!
I know, I know, I know:
About 99% of Rangerstown, USA is presently ready to throw in the towel on the team following the Blueshirts’ 6-3 loss to the Canucks from Monday night – but not yours truly – as I am in the 1% – but not in the 1% of rich people who can afford to attend these games at M$G!
(And that’s why this site is named “BLUE COLLAR BLUESHIRTS” – and not “WHITE COLLAR RANGERS!”)
That said, I will address some of the team’s concerns tonight – but unlike others – I refuse to do the entire team-wide negative referendum stuff solely because of one game played/loss out of eighty-two.
After all, I will be writing my annual Mid-Season Report Card blog later this week – so I can purge and vent out all of my negative vibes and feelings about this club (still FIRST-PLACE in the Metro division if you need such a reminder) whenever I get to it!
But seriously speaking?
Following this embarrassing loss, and where the Rangers were exposed and shown up on both American and Canadian television airwaves – some silver linings before getting into the real matters at hand – and perhaps some of the negativity that many crave too:
— Two-games shy from the 50% mark of this 2023-24 campaign – and tonight’s loss marks only the second time this season where the Rangers have gone on a two-game losing “streak” – and where I prefer the word “slide” instead.
— Once again, the Rangers totaled over forty shots on goal – but admittedly, and just like their last game played against Montreal some 48-hours ago – they got “GOALIED.” And while Thatcher Demko is a much better net-minder than the Habs’ Sam Montembeault – I’ll stop you before you say it because I do agree with you – this is no excuse.
(After all, how many times can you get “GOALIED” a season – especially when you have a Vezina Trophy winner in your own net?)
— As the Blueshirts’ 42 SOG would indicate – effort was never an issue tonight – execution, especially defensively, was the crux of the matter.
— The Rangers’ red-hot “Goal A Game 2.0 Line” continues to pump in goals. Not only did Trocheck score both on the power-play and at even-strength – but so did Artemi Panarin (a 5 x 5 goal).
Furthermore, Alexis Lafreniere, who can’t score a goal to save his life these days, did pick up the primary assists on both of the full-strength goals – and assists following his own strong work in the Rangers’ d-zone too.
But as you’re long probably aware of already – it can’t just be this line that has a pulse during times of stress and in critical moments.
Something else that you have tattooed on your brain?
The Blueshirts’ uncanny ability to keep all of their negative streaks alive – and where once again – many of them reared in their ugly heads tonight.
It wasn’t all bad – or at least it wasn’t for the first four-minutes or so.
At just the 2:16 mark of the game, ‘Nucks’ center Nils Aman committed a dumb penalty, an o-zone penalty, when he tripped Ryan Lindgren while behind his own net.
A minute and twenty-two-seconds later, and following a chaotic scramble at Demko’s net – Trocheck struck first and put the Rangers up 1-0.
But of course, and since we can’t have nice things – just 53-seconds later – this is when J.T. Miller scored his “Anti-Ranger Hat Trick” goal (patent pending).
In other words, all of the early good vibes had been erased – and at just the 4:31 mark of the first period.
Heck, Sam couldn’t even slip out an “OH JOE” between the time that Trocheck and Miller had scored.
It got worse.
On a night where arguably the Rangers’ six rearguards, and as a collective group, had their worst game of the season – bang – just 2:14 later, there was Nils Hoglander for the visitor’s go-ahead 2-1 goal.
But hey – at least it took Vancouver over two-minutes to erase the lead – and rather than the usual time-span of two-minutes or less!
As Bill Murray once said to Dr. Leo Marvin in “What About Bob?” – “BABY STEPS!”
But of course – Vancouver would later score two goals within two-minutes or less during the final frame – so perhaps a return trip to the couch of Dr. Marvin, if not Dr. Frasier Crane and Dr. Jennifer Melfi too, is required.
As the game progressed, we entered the final minute of the first frame – and as we’ve seen so many times before throughout Rangers’ history – bang – an opponent goal scored during the final sixty-seconds of a period.
A give-and-go goal scored by Brock Boeser put the Canucks up 3-1 – and with just sixteen-seconds remaining.
The end result?
Down 3-1 and now skating to their locker room – and for the first time this season too – Ranger fans actually booed the team off of the ice.
See ya honeymoon period!
While I understand the frustration; may I remind you again that this team is in first-place – and also has more than exceeded expectations thus far during this 2023-24 campaign?
But then again, and to give you the other side of it – with Dolan and Company having set a $250 “get-in price” to enter M$G this season (and for obstructed standing room only tickets no less) – then fans have every right to voice their displeasure – and especially the ones who were suckered into betting on tonight’s tilt too – as M$G as a venue, and much like their own network, is littered with gambling advertisements.
At the 8:19 mark of the second stanza – some life – as Demko, who looked largely impregnable all game, gave up his second goal of the contest, following a Lafreniere to Panarin strike.
3-2, bad guys – and where for a moment in time – you thought that the comeback was inevitable. (At least I did.)
Instead, it became impossible.
Two more Vancouver goals, scored within a time-span of 1:14, sealed the deal for the blue-and-green.
Worse than that (for Ranger fans)?
Both Canuck goals were pretty much carbon-copy replicas of one another, as both were the end result of a Blueshirts’ d-man getting burnt – and then the visitor making a highlight reel move at CZAR IGOR – and then promptly beating him afterwards – and for the kicker – without much difficulty either.
(Holy dashes Batman!)
Elias Pettersson scored the first, having made CZAR IGOR look like his own personal puppet at the 15:33 mark.
Now down 4-2, “LAVY’S LOT” then watched Nils Hoglander make it 5-2, bad guys, at the 16:47 mark.
Once again, and as both teams headed towards the locker room at intermission – Ranger fans booed their beloved Blueshirts.
Trocheck’s second tally of the match, scored at the 3:36 mark of the final frame, brought the Rangers within two.
Now down 5-3, the Rangers never scored again – and despite Filip Hronek slashing Lafreniere with over ten-minutes remaining.
An empty net goal, scored by Pettersson with 1:31 left to be ticked, sent the (non-Canuck) fans still remaining in the building to the exits.
6-3, bad guys, 6-3 bad guys, final – and where not even a post-game slice of Roses’ pizza could remove the bad taste from your mouth.
And while Demko (39 saves on 42 shots) was fantastic – and a large reason why the Rangers lost tonight – the complete opposite has to be said about the 2022 Vezina Trophy winner, CZAR IGOR.
While you can’t solely hang CZAR IGOR for the five goals allowed – at some point – he does have to make the extra save when needed.
After all – that’s what Demko did – and where the Vancouver backstop had to do it more frequently and more often tonight than his peer to boot.
Serious question as we close out this intro and prior to getting into the GAME REVIEW?
By now, and because I have only repeated this fact/stat on this site about 986785575768 times in the past, you should already know that ever since his NHL debut, now four-years ago (1/7/2020) – CZAR IGOR leads all NHL goaltenders in that time with the most games with only one-goal allowed.
I wonder what NHL goalie leads the league in most games with five or more goals surrendered this season.
I’ll let you look up that one.
Final thought before tackling every other topic tonight?
The usual thought – and the one that I share with you every night on this site – and no matter if the Rangers win-or-lose – you know, my season-long daily disclaimer, a mantra that reads as such:
“WHATEVER THE RANGERS DO IN THE REGULAR SEASON DOESN’T MATTER. THEY CAN ONLY BE JUDGED BY WHATEVER THEY DO IN THE 2024 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS!”
Let this mantra save your sanity – or else you’ll be like Frank Costanza belting out “SERENITY NOW!”
And to quote Lloyd Braun too, “insanity later!”
After being “GOALIED” by the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night, once returned to New York early Sunday morning, the team had the day off.
On Monday morning, about eight-hours prior tonight’s puck drop, the Blueshirts had one of their team-sponsored “RISE AND SHINE” skates.
Once the light-sweat was through, the head coach conducted his pregame “LAVY’S LOUNGE.”
Here it is:
In another case of “no news is good news,” that was the impact of this pregame press conference, that is, unless you were clamoring for the bench boss to inform you, that yes, and indeed, Kaapo Kakko is inching closer-and-closer to his return.
And of course – whatever Kakko’s specific injury is/was remains hush-hush.
Here was Laviolette’s line-up for the thirty-ninth game of this 2023-24 season:
FIRST LINE: Panarin/Trocheck/Lafreniere
SECOND LINE: Kreider/Zibanejad/Wheeler
THIRD LINE: Othmann/Bonino/Brodzinski
FOURTH LINE: Cuylle/Goodrow/Vesey
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:
T. Demko G
While Henrik Lundqvist is back from his Christmas/New Years’ holiday in Sweden, and as was evident since he was in-attendance tonight; sadly, Ranger fans had to sit through Shithead Sieve Vagistat during tonight’s pregame show.
Why M$GN continues to rely on the worst back-up goalie in franchise history I do not know – especially with Brian Boyle both local and available.
Before I could even flip my remote back to the NHL Network, the seven-foot stooge promoted his shitty analytical company no less than three times, and where that lunatic, Frank Fleming, summed up my thoughts on Vagistat’s never-ending bullshit:
Anytime you see Vagistat on your TV #nyr
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) January 8, 2024
When I returned to the M$GN at around 6:55PM, there was Vagistat, at the fitting “BUD LIGHT BAR,” who said, “JOHNNY, NO ONE PREDICTED THAT VANCOUVER WOULD BE GOOD THIS SEASON!”
In other words, Vagistat admitted that his reactionary arts & crafts and charts & graphs were completely useless – and just like he was during his tenure as the worst back-up goalie in franchise history.
And this too – and this goes for every sports’ broadcast – and the following isn’t just exclusive to the Rangers/M$GN either:
The first politician (and whether they be Republican, Democrat, a Whig, Independent or whatever other party that they may be affiliated with) who presents a bill to outlaw sports gambling advertisements on television – then that politician will always get my vote until the end of my lifetime.
Come 7PM, we went to Sam and Joe – and where yep – I was expecting a three-hour splooge-fest in honor of Quinn Hughes.
While our two affable announcers did rant and rave about Hughes (and every ‘Nucks’ star too, such as Pettersson, Miller, Boeser and Demko) – not once tonight did they ever go overboard – nor did you ever ask yourself, “am I watching the Rangers or the Canucks broadcast?”
And after listening to this duo make love with every other Blueshirts’ opponent this season – this newfound approach was welcomed – and especially since they had every right tonight to go over-the-top with their odes and tributes to these aforementioned players – as all of them shined in Vancouver’s 6-3 win.
GAME REVIEW time – and I do have a ton to say below!
As mentioned many times over the past month – whenever the Goodrow line starts – then the Rangers win 95% of the time.
Whenever Lavy employs another line to open a game?
Then it feels like the Rangers win 20% of the time. (And feel free to fact check me!)
This game was the other eighty-percent – and with Zibanejad losing the first draw of tonight’s tilt too.
As Sam and Joe doled out the 2024 Jack Adams’ Award to Vancouver’s Rick Tocchet (where admittedly, Tocchet, along with both John Tortorella and Peter Laviolette, is shaping up to be one of the three finalists for Coach of the Year), Demko made his first save of the game at just the 20-second mark, having stopped the captain, Jacob Trouba.
As a general thought, and I did mention this all game during my “live blog notes” on Tweeter too (https://twitter.com/NYCTheMiC) – while Trouba didn’t score tonight – it wasn’t for a lack of trying either.
The one-man wrecking crew was possessed tonight, where by the end of the match, he led all shooters in shots on goal (7).
And these were just the shots that Demko stopped – as there were about a dozen-or-so other times where Trouba’s shot attempts were either blocked or went wide.
In other words, the captain was always looking for a goal on every shift – but as you already know – that hopeful thought never came to be.
And oh – in a harbinger of what was to come – Demko’s first save on Trouba was fantastic – as the Vancouver backstop was completely screened by Wheeler, yet he made the save anyway.
As Sam and Joe were worried about the Canucks’ salary cap issues for whatever reason (and they have done this in the past with other Ranger opponents – and why they felt they had to open with this is beyond me), these two then missed the Aman tripping penalty committed against Lindgren.
However, and following two huge short-handed saves by Demko (Panarin from the slot and Trocheck from an angle); Sam and Joe didn’t miss the first goal of the game:
A chaotic sequence leads to a Vincent Trocheck power play goal. pic.twitter.com/I4yMEQXpJt
— Jonny Lazarus (@JLazzy23) January 9, 2024
1-0, GOOD GUYS – and where even with the benefit of replay – I’m still not so sure how this puck went in!
But I’ll take it!
This goal was the end result of a chaotic and frenetic play in front of Demko’s net and where the goalie, in a state of panic, even lost his stick.
For Trocheck, and without a shadow of a doubt, he remains as the team’s top center, it was his eleventh goal of the season.
And as numerously said on this site ever since the news broke – how Shestyorkin, and not Trocheck, is the team’s first ballot All-Star, is beyond me.
Perhaps the league’s voters all have the same hockey IQ as Mollie Walker and Wince Mercogliano.
But alas, and as mentioned up top – this Trocheck goal was pretty much the equivalent of winning a new car on a game show – and then crashing it on your way home.
Up next was the J.T. Miller “Anti Ranger Hat Trick” goal – the end result of a Lafreniere miscue and the other Miller, the Blueshirts’ Miller, just watching, as Pettersson, while behind the goal line, made the simple pass to the Canucks’ Miller.
Lafreniere would later redeem himself, and where outside of his linemates who out-performed him (and as they should, especially when you consider both salaries and experience), was the third-best Ranger tonight.
K’Andre The Giant?
Small as a mouse on this night.
And this too:
What happens first – CZAR IGOR posting his next shut out or the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup?
Following the equalizer, up next was the MANDATORY MIKA play – you know – when he gets right in front of a goalie, and then, and for whatever reason – forces a pass – a turnover for the other team.
Kudos to Jumpin’ Joe, who with 14:15 remaining, called out the Swedish-Iranian deejay for routinely doing this – and where on this occasion – not only prevented the Rangers from taking the lead – but perhaps cost Adam Fox an assist too.
As Sam and Joe then expressed their devout fandom for J.T. Miller (but as noted earlier – this was the rare exception, as otherwise, they pumped the brakes on both the love-fest and googly eyes for the opponent), the two Nils, Hoglander and Aman, connected on a two-vs-one odd-man rush goal against CZAR IGOR.
2-1, bad guys and with 13:15 remaining.
This time, it was the third-pair that got caught here.
During tonight’s game, I saw that friend of the site, Jim Schmeideberg, one of the co-hosts from “The Blueshirt Underground Show” (they will be recording a new episode on Tuesday night at 7PM on YouTube), opined that perhaps the bloom has been taken off of “THE GUS BUS” rose.
Many agreed with him.
THE GUS BUS went from playing first-pair minutes and on the PP1 unit (during Fox’s injury) to going back to playing with Schneider.
Furthermore, the Rangers got a lot of breaks early this season, as they caught a lot of teams, both good and bad, during their worst moments, and whether it be due to injuries or otherwise.
This recent slip?
I think it has more to do with the season-long grind than anything else – as it’s nearly impossible (last year’s Bruins and the 2018-19 Lightning are the exceptions) to stay red-hot at an 82-game clip in this salary-cap era.
How did the Bruins and Lightning finish after their historic regular seasons?
(If you’re Mollie and you don’t know, then both teams lost in the first-round – and where these two postseason exits are considered to be the worst playoff choke jobs in NHL history.)
Perhaps this Monday night kick in the pants, another reminder that you can’t rest on your laurels, is what’s best for the future playoff run.
And really, and as mentioned all-season on this site – come the playoffs, you won’t remember any regular season game either – and no matter if the Rangers had won or lost it.
Right after Hoglander’s go-ahead goal – Connor Garland came close to making this 3-1, bad guys – but he went wide when all alone in the slot.
Down to 10:51 remaining, and during a play/hit at the boards, Goodrow’s stick caught the chin of Steve Barton – one of tonight’s two linesmen.
Barton was bleeding all over the place and needed stitches – and come the second period – he was right back out there.
I only bring this up because Rosen never let us forget about Barton’s predicament!
With 9:05 to go, Zibanejad, because it was a big game, whiffed at the puck for the second time. On the retrieval, Kreider went wide.
I know that everyone wants to kick around the $800,000 Blake Wheelchair – but c’mon – the BFF’s need to show up during these litmus test games – and it can’t just be the first line doing everything.
But yeah – Wheelchair was slow again – and heck, this is what I tweeted at the time too:
Might as well start double-shifting Panarin now – they got two off days after this #NYR
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) January 9, 2024
And yep – the double shifting of Panarin, and the non-stop line blender too, went into full effect come the second period.
With 8:30 remaining, M$GN got a good shot of both assistant coaches, Dan Muse and Michael Peca, coaching up Brennan Othmann. Keep this in mind for later.
Ninety-seconds after that, and this is when Blueshirt backers really got on Wheelchair – #17, with a soccer net to shoot at, as Demko was out of position at this particular moment – shot the puck into the Hudson River.
So even when Demko was beat dead-to-rights – the Rangers, and 39 times more than not – let him off of the hook.
A play like this was a reminder that the Rangers have yet to address their missing $7M in salary cap hits.
While Kakko is due to return soon (and unlike others – I don’t think that he makes that much of a difference to begin with); Chytil’s $4.5M is still lingering.
And after a game like tonight?
I think it’s time for Chris Drury to finally address and make a decision on this wait-and-see issue – and shutdown the Czech for the season – and for the betterment of both the team, and more importantly, Chytil’s health too.
As we also saw on Monday night, the Ducks traded Jamie Drysdale to the Flyers in exchange for Cutter Gauthier – who like anyone else with a brain made it known – he had no desire to play in Philadelphia.
While the Ducks/Flyers trade is really just coincidental to what I’m saying here; I do think it would be prudent for “THE PIZZA MAN” to get a jump ahead of the trade deadline – and get any right-winger that he can find for the BFF line – and whether it be a former Ranger or someone else.
And yep, you know who I want – Vladimir Tarasenko.
And before you tell me how you think that Kakko deserves this spot – and the Selke Trophy this season too – and as two people actually said to me on Tweeter on Monday – I want WIN-NOW players – not first-round busts.
Outside of the top line – there’s no scoring consistency with Lavy’s Lot.
And it speaks volumes when Jimmy Vesey is a bigger 5 x 5 scoring threat than Mika Zibanejad too.
What doomed the Rangers in the playoffs last year?
So yeah – get me as many scoring options as possible – or else be doomed to repeat history – and without learning from it either.
But one more time, and to be serious:
It’s time for the elephant in the room, Chytil’s concussion, to be finally addressed.
Michael Sauer 2.0, we don’t know yet, but we just know that it’s the best thing for Chytil to be shutdown – and where let’s face it – his absence is addition by subtraction.
Then look at how his “replacement,” Vincent Trocheck, is doing these days.
Speaking of Trocheck, with 3:10 remaining, Demko robbed “The Breadman” on a Trocheck-to-Panarin deflection.
After that, Sam Rosen did his usual speech whenever Tyler Myers (tonight’s KIA CARD PLAYER OF THE GAME too) is playing at M$G:
“OH JOE, HE IS BROTHERS WITH THE KNICKS’ FRANK, I MEAN QUENTIN, GRIMES JOE! DIFFERENT FATHERS JOE! MULATTOES JOE!”
Okay, Sam didn’t exactly say that verbatim – but you get the point!
And yep, both Mother Myers and Brother Quentin were in-attendance tonight too – and as they usually are.
(And how many of you guys and gals understood “The Simpsons” Frank Grimes reference!?!?!)
Down to 2:20 remaining and Demko had robbed another Ranger, this time Jimmy Vesey, following #26’s backhander.
A minute later and Demko put on his ski mask again, this time when robbing a Lafreniere-to-Trocheck tip from the goalmouth.
At the time, the Rangers were out-shooting the Canucks to a tune of 13-5 – and where as you can tell – Demko deserved the first star of the game.
Just as you thought that the Rangers would try to comeback from a one-goal deficit come the start of the second period – bang – there was Boeser for the 3-1, bad guys, goal.
This may have been – hell I’m saying it – this was Miller’s worst defensive play of the season – if not his career.
Seriously, all that he was missing was the popcorn and soda, as he just watched Boeser skate towards Igor – and then backhand the puck behind him.
And yep – Trocheck seemingly gave up here too – but when you score two goals and have been consistent in every game this season – then I really can’t make a stink about one bad play.
3-1, bad guys, through twenty – and where a lot of booing was heard too.
Here’s what I said at the time:
3-1, bad guys, after 20. 1P Thoughts:
— Rangers are becoming a one-line team lately – and because of that – I’d double-shift Panarin now.
— Demko looks much better than Igor.
— Sam and Joe haven’t been bad at all.
— Blueshirts are used to be down by two goals after first…
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) January 9, 2024
If that feckless freak, Sieve Vagistat, wasn’t bad enough, then try this on for size:
During the intermission, he actually compared World War II, you know, a sad and tragic period in world history, and where tens of millions of lives were lost, to the Rangers losing this game.
He then gave us his advice – and dictated to both Peter Laviolette and Igor Shestyorkin on what he’d do.
FIRE THIS ASSHOLE!
Following another Zibanejad faceoff loss, come the 25-second mark of the period – and CZAR IGOR was forced to stop Myers from point-blank range.
A minute later, Lafreniere, who at least picks up the assists and is noticeable on the ice – but can’t score any goals either (one “real” goal in his last 21-games played, and with another off of a defenseman’s skate), was stopped by Demko as he shot from the slot.
But I’ve done this rant (numerous times at that) on Lafreniere’s inability to finish – so there’s no reason to go down this redundant road again.
Last thought on this topic? The following:
Akin to hoping to see CZAR IGOR record a shutout again in his career (and sometime soon) – I hope to see Lafreniere find his finishing touch too.
On one shift, Trouba threw four shots at Demko. The goalie stopped two of them, while a Canuck defenseman blocked another and with another being sent wide.
But this was just proof of Trouba’s “SHOOT EVERYTHING” mentality – and a hockey philosophy that I most certainly enjoy.
Following Trouba’s foursome, and with 16:20 to go – this is when Laviolette started double-shifting the GAG Line 2.0, while also putting his lines in a blender.
Gee – I was told by the morons, mainly people who live in their parents’ basements (like Derek Felix) that only Gerard Gallant employed this practice! The horror! OH THE HUMANITY!
From this point on in the game, it was impossible to keep up with “LAVY’S LINE BLENDER,” but the person who lost the most ice time was the likeliest suspect, the man with the least amount of NHL experience on the team, Othmann:
While this isn’t the best picture to illustrate my point – during a TV stoppage – we saw a shot of Othmann with a blank and vacant stare on his face – and this time – with no assistant coaches near him.
And let me be clear – what I’m saying about Othmann tonight isn’t meant to be negative, nor is it indicative of how he’s playing either – but this much is true:
I do feel that I was right when I said last week that had Adam Edstrom been healthy, then Othmann would have never been called up.
While it’s nice that he’s getting a twirl now, it doesn’t really better his development by having him placed on the fourth line and continuing to place as the skater with the least amount of both shifts and ice time.
He’s just in the wrong spot – and yep – if Gerard Gallant had done this, then you’d need both rubber galoshes and water pumps when navigating the streets of Rangerstown, USA.
And yep – when Kakko comes back – then I think that Othmann will be returned to Hartford too – if he hasn’t already been sent back to the ‘Pack by the time that you read this.
Simply stated: He’s better off continuing to play top line and power-play minutes in the AHL than sitting with the varsity club.
And yes, this is true too: Winning changes everything.
After all, look at Othmann’s debut game – and where Lavy was even double-shifting him!
During the past two Ranger losses/games?
Othmann has sat in favor of either Lafreniere or Panarin – but really – can you blame the head coach for doing so?
As I was wondering if Laviolette should have just double-shifted the entire 10/16/13 line, Demko continued to make every save imaginable – that is – until there was 11:41 remaining:
Outstanding effort by Alexis Lafreniere and a perfect shot by Artemi Panarin.
The buzz is back in the building. pic.twitter.com/O6psU3tbjX
— Jonny Lazarus (@JLazzy23) January 9, 2024
This was another play from this season, where Lafreniere, like a quarterback, always trusts his wide receiver to make the catch – and where in this instance – Panarin is Jerry Rice to Lafreniere’s Joe Montana.
And while this was an excellent pass – even when Lafreniere plays “hero ball” when trying to find Panarin – the trust is there – and Panarin is usually there too.
A top-shelf baked goal for “The Breadman” following Lafreniere’s d-zone turnover and assist.
3-2, bad guys – and where at the moment – the double-shifting of Panarin and Lafreniere had paid off – and with no disrespect meant for Othmann.
After all, Othmann was not the reason why the Rangers lost tonight.
Following the goal, and with M$G buzzing, Lavy continued to roll-out Lafreniere, Trocheck and Panarin as much as possible. It was apparent that this line would score again – as they were on fire.
Sadly, everyone else on the team was as cold as Santa’s ass on a December 25th night.
It should also be mentioned that much like his line juggling, Lavy tinkered with his pairs too.
While Miller/Trouba remained in-tact, Lindgren and THE GUS BUS exchanged partners as if they were partying at Studio 54.
To fast-forward a bit, as this goal was the last glimmer of hope for the Rangers in the game (again, if you want the full play-by-play, then just check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/NYCTheMiC ), up next was the SAMMY WHAMMY – and the two highlight reel goals scored by the ‘Nucks too.
Prior to the Canucks going up 5-2, Rosen said, “OH JOE, IGOR HAS BEEN GREAT, HE JUST MADE THREE SAVES JOE. HE’S IN THE ZONE JOE!”
No less than two-seconds after saying that, this is when Pettersson embarrassed K. Miller – and where I think that the M$G crew are still trying to remove his pants from the Mark Messier #11 banner.
And of course, Pettersson then fooled CZAR IGOR out of his shorts too – almost knocking down the Mike Richter #35 banner in the process.
4-2, bad guys.
Seventy-four-seconds later and this is when Hoglander did the same – and where the only difference was that Fox’s shorts now joined both Miller and Shestyorkin’s in the rafters (they almost took down the Phish banner – and that would have been worth it had that happened).
5-2, bad guys.
This is when a lot of the anti CZAR IGOR stuff started flying around on the social media pages of Ranger fans – and where some of these people even called out yours truly for my undying support of Mr. S.
For now, I will say this – both of these back-to-back ‘Nuck goals were highlight reel goals – but at the same time, you have to stop at least one of them – and especially when Demko is out-playing you.
I’m not going to do all of this again, but I will just give you the bullet points, as many want me to trash CZAR IGOR as I once did with Henrik Lundqvist’s contract:
(And if you want my full and detailed explanations on this matter, then check out the archives of this site – as I have done all of this before!)
— By the time that Lundqvist had already peaked in his career, he was the highest-paid player on the team – and where he ate up 13.22% of the team’s salary cap.
— CZAR IGOR, who I am hoping is still in his peak and didn’t peak in 2022, takes up 6.8% of the cap – or 50% of what Lundqvist’s team cap percentage once was.
— Furthermore, CZAR IGOR isn’t even one of the Rangers’ top-five highest paid players, as Panarin, Trouba, Zibanejad, Fox and Kreider make significantly more money than their goaltender.
— CZAR IGOR is the sixth highest-paid player on the team and where the seventh highest-paid player, Vincent Trocheck (6.7% of the cap), makes just a few dollars less.
— Plus: Filip Chytil makes $4,437,500 – 5.3% of the team’s cap.
Long story short?
With the information presented to you above – I can’t really go on a CZAR IGOR contract rant – and as some of you want me to. (Hello Gideon D.!)
(In fact: I think that many want to see me execute a “heel-turn” on CZAR IGOR – but it isn’t going to happen – NYET NYET – or is that a contraction for “NOT YET?!?!?!?!!”)
But as alluded to at the top of this (the five-goal allowed games) – yeah – he wasn’t that good tonight.
(And as @PuckerUp13 said on Elon Musk’s app – more times than not – whenever CZAR IGOR allows two, then he also allows four, five and six.)
Sure, some of these Vancouver goals scored tonight were the end result of both poor and porous defense – but Demko, as also said earlier, was in the same spot – and much more often than CZAR IGOR ever was.
Final thought on this topic?
My season-long daily disclaimer – and this reminder too:
Who was the best Ranger during last year’s playoffs?
This as well:
I rather CZAR IGOR have these struggles now – and instead of having them during the Spring of ’24.
End of story.
Now down 5-2, you knew it was bad when even Rosen realized how many times the Rangers have surrendered back-to-back goals within two-minutes or less – and I believe which was for the 11th time this season.
Demko’s last save of this period?
A stop on Jimmy Vesey – who was in the paint.
So yeah – Demko was great tonight.
5-2, bad guys, after forty-minutes – and with even more boos raining down from the Garden patrons who sacrificed their mortgage payments when attending this fiasco.
Here’s what I said at the time:
5-2, bad guys, after 40, 2P Thoughts:
— It’s still all about the playoffs to me – but it may be worth getting a jump ahead of the deadline
— It can’t just be the Panarin line every night.
— Vancouver has scored some pretty goals – but at the same time – Demko has prevented…
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) January 9, 2024
We can fast-forward through this final frame.
Among the highlights – and “lowlights” too:
— It was obvious that the Rangers’ 10-1 record following losses was going to worsen to 10-2.
— The Canucks, now with the “dreaded three-goal” lead, never relented. In other words, they weren’t like the Rangers hosting the San Jose Sharks.
— M$G sounded like morgue.
— With 16:24 to go, Lafreniere replicated his earlier play, where this time, Trocheck benefited at the end of it.
— 5-3, bad guys – and where it was kind of humorous that this was a goal that Demko had allowed – as he had made stops on shots much tougher than this one. But then again, that’s how it normally goes.
— GAG LINE 2.0 final results: Trocheck scored two goals, Panarin scored a goal and picked up an assist and Lafreniere finished with two primary assists. In other words, six points in total.
— Outside of this line, only Zibanejad picked up a point tonight – a fluky assist credited during Trocheck’s PPG.
— Once down by two again, Lavy deployed his usual lines, but as time evaporated from the clock, and with this deficit still in-tact, he went right back to double-shifting the GAG LINE 2.0 as much as possible.
— With 13:30 remaining, Kreider almost scored, but in a break for Demko – the puck, stopped by the heel of his glove, then took a goalie bounce and above the goalie’s netting rather than inside of it.
— Also reported at this time? The Rangers had committed thirteen turnovers, while Vancouver committed none. That speaks volumes.
— With 10:42 to go, the first line was at it again, where this time, Lafreniere drew Hronek for a slash.
— The biggest miscue on this power-play, one that didn’t score, was a repeat of what happened in Montreal – as Mika sent a puck towards an all-day Trocheck – but at the last second, the puck took a bad bounce and #16 wasn’t able to handle it – nor shoot it either.
— With the first line still playing as much as possible – Lafreniere’s issues with finishing were on display again, as this time, with 4:15 remaining and while a foot out – his backhander missed the net. An inch or two lower, then it would have snapped his goal drought.
— I guess that at the end of the day it didn’t really matter (and maybe the top line was tired), but for whatever reason, down by two goals and with 3:00 remaining – CZAR IGOR stayed in net, while the slow-as-shit Wheeler was out there.
— Many times this season during this situation, if not during all of them – Lavy will pull CZAR IGOR with four or more minutes remaining. He didn’t do so tonight – and since the Blueshirts’ beat reporters aren’t that savvy either – this question was never brought up during the post-game interview.
— It wasn’t until there was 2:19 remaining when CZAR IGOR left for the extra attacker – and where despite a whistle that soon followed – Panarin never returned.
— Of course, to expect these Rangers to score two 6 x 5 goals, especially with the way that Demko was playing, was pretty much 100% impossible.
— After a Vancouver icing with 1:46 to go, fifteen-seconds later, and following some more Mika tom-foolery, Pettersson said “GAME OVER” to a contest that was largely already decided.
6-3, bad guys, 6-3 bad guys, your final.
Here’s the post-game edition of “LAVY’S LOUNGE” for you here:
And yep, and for those who want the natural Lundqvist v. Shestyorkin comparisons too; once again, and for the 9863478963789469387th time on this site – YES, LUNDQVIST ALWAYS SPOKE TO THE MEDIA WIN OR LOSE. SHESTYORKIN DOES NOT.
But as noted earlier – CZAR IGOR, despite his fame, isn’t the biggest face or name on this team.
Trouba is – and like Lundqvist, somewhat the defacto captain especially during a period of time when the Rangers went without one – he always speaks to the media – so that’s the comparison you SHOULD make!
As opposed to some of the other bad losses from this season – I think this one was a true wake-up call – and not just for both the head coach and the team – but for the general manager too.
The Rangers have yet to drop three straight this season – and they will try to keep that fact in-tact this Thursday night against the Blues – and where yep – go ahead – place your Pavel Buchnevich and Kevin Hayes anytime goal scorer prop bets now!
Barring anything major breaking (as noted earlier, I could see Othmann being sent down), I’ll be back on Thursday night.
Keep the faith!
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 $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:
My four-volume set of books, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is a game-by-game recount of the Rangers 2021-22 campaign.
My second title as an author, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is now available in eBook, paperback and hardcover formats.
To obtain signed copies, visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/onegamebook/
To purchase all four volumes on Amazon, visit: Amazon.com – “One Game at a Time.”
The greatest volume-set of books on Rangers’ history today!
“Tricks of the Trade – A Century-Long Journey Through Every Trade Made In New York Rangers’ History,” a four-volume set of books that meticulously covers every trade made in franchise history, is now on sale.
All four volumes of the title can be purchased on Amazon.com and are presented in three different formats – eBook, paperback and hardcover.
To purchase Volume I: Conn Smythe (1926) – Craig Patrick (1986), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume II: Phil Esposito (1986) – Neil Smith (2000), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume III: Glen Sather (2000-2015), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume IV: Jeff Gorton (2015) – Chris Drury (2022), visit Amazon.com
To purchase signed copies of all four volumes, visit https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/
Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:
NYR/MTL 1/6 Review: Sam “Dikembe Mutombo” Montembeault Channels Every Canadiens’ Goaltending Legend in Franchise History; Blueshirts Get “GOALIED” in a Wild & Entertaining Loss, Alarming Trends, A “Stolen Point,” Alexis “Julien Gauthier” Lafreniere’s Woes with Finishing Continue; GAG LINE 2.0 Scores Again, The Persona Non Grata Jim Ramsay, Will “Brennan Othmann Who?” Cuylle Shines, Lavy Set To Make NHL History, Rangers’ Alum Brendan Smith Top Talk of the NHL, M$GN & More
NYR/CHI 1/4 Review: BEST IN THE WORLD BLUESHIRTS Scalp Worst in the World Blackhawks; Busy Rangers’ News Day Too, Recap of Messier & Lundqvist’s One-on-One Chat, Panarin Snubbed for All-Star Game But The Valid Explanation on Why; Vote For Trocheck, The Othmann One-Game Evaluations Are In (Outstanding!); Don’t Forget About Cuylle, Kakko Nearing Return, GAG Line 2.0, Miserable M$GN aka NBC Chicago & More
Shot In The Arm: Brennan Othmann To Make Rangers’ Debut Against Bedard’s Blackhawks; The Pros & Cons of the Call-Up & What to Expect, Lavy’s Line-Up, Pitlick Joins NYR ER, Rangerstown Podcasts; Lundqvist Interviews Messier, Blueshirts’ Beat Reporter Shake-Up & 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