NYR/BUF 2/15 Review: The Russian Rangers Dine on Buffalo Wings; Whoop The Sabres 6-2, “By George, I Think He’s Got It!”, Tony DeMAGAngelo’s One Hitter Quitter, A New Boston Boy, The Mind of David Quinn, Secondary Scoring, Lundqvist vs Pitt Stats, MSGN, THE CAM TALBOT TRADE & More

Led by the Russians, the Rangers embarrassed Buffalo in their own barn on Friday night. (And yes, I know Georgiev is technically Bulgarian, but he spent his formative years in Russia. Go with it.)

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com!

Note: For Oiler fans who saw this headline, you can either read my Rangers stuff or skip straight to the end for my stuff on Cam Talbot. And yes, this is going to be a super-long blog! As I always say here, I rather give you everything in one click, rather than making you click through 37478963673 links for content!

I’ve been doing this blog for nearly five full seasons now and I’ll tell you what, as anyone who does anything for a regular period of time, after a while, you lose your fire and passion. This blog is a free endeavor that I do. I don’t profit off of this. I don’t accept ads. I don’t accept spyware offers. I don’t accept Google text link ads. During this site’s run, it’s always been “10,000 words, no ads, one click.” While not every blog is 10,000 words, without a shadow of a doubt, you won’t find any blog or hockey site that gives you entries as long as this one. In fact, you can’t find many sites out there today, without being bombarded with ads or spyware either!

While other Ranger blogs may break up 1000 word articles into 10 different pages, pages that are full of ads and spyware, on this site, it’s one click and you get a freaking Rangers “novela” after every game! Sometimes, doing these long manifestos can get tedious, as if the team is in a rut, I find myself getting redundant and hammering the same points over & over.

However, after tonight’s 6-2 thrashing of the Buffalo Sabres, I feel like I’m walking on air. A win like tonight is why I do these blogs. As much as people give me the “YOO H8 HANK!” reputation, (As noted before, I rather be known as the Frank Boucher guy) I don’t root for Lundqvist to lose or do bad. It just so happens that Lundqvist loses a lot and looks bad on his own!

A win like tonight is why I do these blogs. I don’t want to be negative all the time while venting on this site, but when I have to, I do it. I much rather boast and praise this team, and that’s what type of blog you’re getting tonight! Seriously, after the Rangers won this game tonight, I was fist-pumping and happy with this team.

If you think this blog is rah-rah and happy, just imagine the blog I’ll write the day Lundqvist is deported and/or leaves this team for good!

I would put tonight’s 6-2 road win over the Sabres up there, as perhaps the third best win of the season. I would put the Georgiev 55 saves against Toronto game as the best win of the season and the Georgiev 5-0 shutout of the Islanders as the second best win of the season. In the games with Toronto and the Islanders, Georgiev had monstrous performances. What makes this game differ from the other two, is that yes, while NYR scored five goals against the Islanders, in tonight’s win, I felt this was more of a team-wide victory.

For the first time in a while, the Rangers scored a touchdown. Making things even better, after hearing non-stop how the Rangers can’t win without their top line of Kreider/Zuccarello/Zibanejad scoring, the Rangers got six goals tonight, with none of them coming from the top line.

Listen, the top line isn’t going to score a billion goals every night. There are going to be nights when they don’t score. It happens. Shit, who knows if this top line will even be in-tact, come next game? What made this victory so sweet to me, is that the Rangers got secondary scoring and they got it from the other three lines.

It was a good game for the men in their third season. Photo Credit: Getty Images

When you look up and down the line-up tonight, the Rangers got goals from their second, third and makeshift fourth line. For as much talk as there has been about “VESEY vs BUCHNEVICH”, both of these players had a great game. And again, as mentioned in the past, I think the only reason you hear fans talk about 89 vs 26 is because they both broke in during the same time. Why not celebrate both?

Granted, while Buchnevich seems to have one good game for every 5 bad games he has, he’s been playing better since getting out of the “Quinn Bin”. (Oh, and I must credit “Quinn Binn” to BSU Radio, as they were the first ones in this fan base or elsewhere, to come up with that term.) Jimmy Vesey, a recent guest of the Quinn Bin, has also stepped up since checking out of the Quinn Bin.

When the Rangers first brought Vesey & Buchnevich to the show, there was a lot written and said about both men. Ranger fans dreamt of seeing these two growing together and being the future of the Rangers. During this season, it looked like Vesey & Buchnevich would be more like Brendl & Lundmark, rather than being the future pillars of the next Ranger Cup contending team. A game like this instills hope and confidence that these two can put it all together one day.

While I’m aware that one game doesn’t change a season and you’re only as good as your next game, after a victory like tonight, you have to be happy for and proud of Vesey and Buchnevich. For these two, they just have to do it on a more consistent basis.

Namestnikov’s name has been thrown into the trade rumor mill. Photo Credit: Getty Images

During this past off-season, Vladislav Namestnikov and Ryan Spooner both received two year deals, with each man making $4M per season. We all know how the Spooner deal worked out. In fact, the Rangers brought up someone new today for this game, and he was wearing the #23 jersey that Spooner used to wear. More on that to come.

In the case of Namestnikov, he’s been having a Jesper Fast like season, meaning that he’s doing the little things well, but the scoring isn’t there. A $4M player, on the third line, needs to provide some sort of secondary scoring. In tonight’s game, Namestnikov did just that.

I don’t know if Namestnikov makes it past the deadline, and quite frankly, I think he’s easily replaceable for a team during a rebuild, but for Namestnikov, tonight had to feel good. He couldn’t stop smiling all game and during his post-game interview. Getting a few goals tonight had to take some pressure off of him.

When you beat a team that’s looking for a playoff spot, while on the road, and you put up a touchdown, you had a great game. The Rangers had a great game tonight. When you score 6 goals, and not one of them came from your top line, you’re really doing something special. With Alexandar Georgiev backstopping the Rangers and the team uniting around their goaltender, the Rangers not only dined on Buffalo Wings tonight, they repeatedly dipped them, licked their fingers and then tossed the Sabres to the trash. Tony DeAngelo knocking out Kyle Okposo was just the ice-cold glass of beer, after the great dining experience!

After having a few tough games, Tony DeMAGAngelo redeemed himself tonight and picked up a KO over KO!

I’m telling you, this win was just a pure joy to watch. Yes, it gives me momentum for my “Lundqvist has got to go” stuff, but a game like tonight is a glimpse into the Rangers future. Just wait until they flesh out the roster, Kravtsov & Igor get here, and the Rangers do something in free agency.

I know this goes against what other people think, especially my buddy Al Demauro and others, but I don’t believe in this five year rebuild nonsense. There is just too much turnover, year-to-year, when it comes to playoff teams. Look at the Islanders. They’ve sucked forever and lost their star in Tavares. Now, they might be the second seed come playoff time. While I’m not trying to suck on the Isles teet here, they are just an example that any team has a chance during any given season.

While a Stanley Cup might not come for the Rangers, I rather see them compete than lose. And as I’ve said before in my anti-tanking blog, players don’t tank or look to suck. This is a business. Every NHL player is playing for their livelihood and for a paycheck. Every NHL draft is just another reminder of how fast you can be replaced in this league. With this league getting younger and quicker, veterans want to be at their very best. In other words, every player says “FUCK YOU” to your “Lose For Hughes” bullshit!

Despite Georgiev now on a three game win streak, Steve Valiquette made sure to tell us that “Ranger fans have been spoiled by Lundqvist for the last 14 seasons.” The Rangers haven’t won shit. How are we spoiled? I would say Chicago or Pittsburgh fans have been spoiled! Furthermore, this was another game where Georgiev was fantastic in, but Valiquette had to keep saying nice things about Henrik, as if the two were children and he had to compliment both kids, just so one kid wouldn’t get jealous.

Without further ado, plug time! As always, here are my last few blogs in case you missed them:

NYR/WPG 2/12 Review: Lundqvist Chokes Another Game; Gives Away Two Points, More Ammo For the “Georgiev Should’ve Started This One” Fans, 30 vs 40 Stats, Dave Maloney & Integrity Vs The Rest of the Fake News MSG Networks Crew, Zibanejad Continues To Stun & Awe, Rangers Trade the Wrong Goalie, Halverson, Dirty Byfuglien & More


NYR/TOR 2/10 Review: On His 23rd Birthday, “The King of Kings” Alexandar Georgiev Has The Best Game of His Career; Makes 55 Saves Against a Tough Toronto Team, Lundqvist Eagerly Awaits The Next Non-Playoff Team on The Schedule, 11F/7D Finally Produces a Win, Potential Last NYR Home Game For 13 and 36 & Much More On The NYR & Georgiev’s Highlight Reel Victory


NYR/CAR 2/8 Review: The “I Should’ve Left M$G After the 1994 Celebration” Blog! The M$G Experience, Re-Living 1994 for the 1994th Time, Masks vs Merit, The Latest Rangers Fiasco & Much More


NYR/BOS 2/6 Review: The Baby-Faced Rangers Overcome Major Adversity; Shock The Bruins In a Thriller, The King of Kings Comes Up Huge Again, Tony DeMAGAngelo FU’s His Critics, All of the Young Guns Stun, The End of the McLeod Era, The Return of Vinni Lettieri & Much More From M$G


NYR/LA 2/4 Review: Like Clockwork, Lundqvist Gets Embarrassed Late by Last Place LA Again, The Ticking Time Bomb Rangers Await The Inevitable, Carl Hagelin’s Success Against NYR, TDA Returns (And Why He Was Benched), NYR Media & More From Another Lundswiss Fiasco


Georgiev had another great game tonight, but he had much more help from his team in this game against Buffalo, than he did in his 55 save performance over Toronto.

Since I last left you, the Rangers made two roster transactions. Here they are, with both of these images coming from the Rangers twitter page:

I know you’re probably sick of me and my Michelettish fan boy crush on Vinni Lettieri, but as I’ve been saying all along, Lettieri never had a chance. Just refer to my last few blogs, as I won’t bore you by saying the same shit over again. Simply put though, five minutes a game, on the worst line on the Rangers. How are you supposed to judge this guy?

Oh, and what did Lettieri immediately do in Hartford after being sent down? Here you go:

I’m telling you, just give me one game with Lettieiri playing on the second line. Moving along.

On January 13th of this year, the Rangers made a questionable trade, as they traded the captain of the Hartford Wolfpack, in Cole Schneider, to Nashville, for journeyman Connor Brickley. I say questionable, as it was an AHL player for AHL player deal and the Wolfpack seemingly traded their captain out of nowhere.

With Lettieri buried again in Hartford, the Rangers made the puzzling decision to bring up Brickley for this game against Buffalo. What this tells me more than anything, is that Lias Andersson, you know, the guy that Jeff Gorton said was “the most NHL ready player of the 2017 draft”, is still not ready. It also tells me that Timothy Gettinger is still on ice too.

I’m not going to bullshit you here and tell you that I’m overly familiar with Brickley. The only stuff I know about him is the same stuff you can find out by googling him. I don’t know what the Rangers saw in Brickley, in regards to trading for him, or for even calling him up for this game.

What I can tell you, that in his first game as a Ranger, I thought Brickley played well. Granted, he made one brutal turnover in this game, but he also helped set up the first goal of this game and I thought in his 8:23 of game time, he played pretty well. I have readers that get on my case for going overboard on Lettieri. To them, I say this – Brickley played better in this game than Lettieri did in any of his games with the Rangers this season.

Again, tonight’s only one game, but in game one as a Ranger, Brickley was alright. I don’t know what this means moving forward, but I can only talk about tonight and Brickley did his job.

I have defended Quinn for most of this season, but in recent times, some of his line-up decisions have baffled me.

With Brickley being called up, I figured the Rangers would go back to the traditional 12F/6D system. Instead, Quinn remained with 11F/7D, as Filip Chytil was the healthy scratch tonight.

Here’s what Quinn said on Chytil, courtesy of Colin Stephenson of Newsday:

“I think Fil’s play has slipped a little bit. One of the things all young players have to learn is how to consistently compete and be hard on pucks, and give an effort in all three zones.

Fil was doing a real good job of that, I think that slipped a little bit – you know, again, it’s all part of development; learning lessons.

The last time it happened, he responded very well. And I think Fil wants to be the player he’s capable of being; he’s 19 years old, again, it’s the second game he’s sat; it’s really not that big of a deal, in a lot of ways, and he’ll get right back at it.”

I will say this – when it comes to the SCRATCH LIST OF QUINN or the easier to say “Quinn Bin”, more times than not, Quinn has been right on the money with his scratches. Usually his players come out of the press box with a little more fire in their belly. While you want to see Chytil play, one must not forget that Quinn is around this team 24/7 and knows his team better than anyone. You just gotta trust in the coach.

No word on if Chytil went coast-to-coast from the popcorn vendor to the press box tonight.

When it comes to Quinn, what I don’t agree on, is the whole 11F/7D system. After all, prior to tonight’s win, the Rangers were 1-4 this season when employing this system. In their one victory with this system, Georgiev had to have the game of his life, making 55 saves to help the Rangers beat the Leafs.

In tonight’s game, while the Rangers did win 6-2, this was a 3-2 game with just a shade under five minutes left in regulation. Georgiev had another beast of a game. I know it’s me and some people hate to hear it, but I really think that with Lundqvist, the Rangers lose this game. Lundqvist always gives up one bad goal a game, if not two. In tonight’s game, Georgiev was a rock again and the two goals allowed couldn’t be pinned on him, unlike the goals Lundqvist was giving up against Winnipeg.

If there is something we can all agree on – unlike the MSG Networks, I will always hold the $8.5M man accountable!

I guess it’s worth mentioning, the Rangers are now 2-4 under the 11F/7D line-up. In both wins, Georgiev was stellar and that was the difference.

With 11F/7D and with Chytil in the press box, here’s what Quinn rolled out:

FIRST LINE: Kreider/Zibanejad/Zuccarello (If it wasn’t for a Zucc assist on an empty netter, the first line would’ve been held out of the box score.)

SECOND LINE: Vesey/Hayes/Buchnevich (The best Rangers line of the night, in my opinion.)

THIRD LINE: Namestnikov/Strome/Fast (The second best Rangers line of the night, and they were nose-and-nose with the second line all game.)

FOURTH LINE: Brickley/Nieves. Brendan Smith played a little forward here too. For the first 14 minutes of this game, these three produced the most offense for the Rangers.

Defensively, Quinn went with this:

FIRST PAIR: Skjei/McQuaid (Skjei would get injured in the second period and DeAngelo would be rotated in here.)

SECOND PAIR: Staal/Pionk (Pionk replaced DeAngelo, as Pionk was the rotating seventh defenseman of late.)

THIRD PAIR: Smith/Shattenkirk (Shattenkirk is playing his best hockey of the season, no matter how much social media hatred you read about him.)

As mentioned, DeAngelo was the seventh D-man, but with Smith playing forward and Skjei getting hurt, DeAngelo wound up logging 16+ minutes on D. He also logged a fucking meat hook to the face of Kyle Okposo! I can’t wait to get to that part of the blog!

Gambling wise, here was my prediction before the game:

I had the Rangers and the under. It was a wash for me tonight. My record goes to 25-9-1. I will say, it was 3-2 with four minutes and change to go. The Rangers then exploded like a virgin on prom night, scoring three goals in three minutes and three seconds. 3-3-3, isn’t that amazing Suzyn?

As mentioned, Skjei was injured in this game. I don’t have an update as of this writing. I will say this – why be so vague? Did Skjei twist an ankle, tweek a knee or pull a right testicle?

ESPN.com box score time:

SCORING SUMMARY:

1st Period
4:09 Boo Nieves (3)

Assists: Brendan Smith
1 0
14:03 Jesper Fast (8)

Assists: Vladislav Namestnikov, Tony DeAngelo
2 0
2nd Period
0:53 Jeff Skinner (35)

Assists: Jason Pominville
2 1
1:51 Jimmy Vesey (13)

Assists: Pavel Buchnevich, Kevin Hayes
3 1
16:56 Jeff Skinner (36) (Power Play)

Assists: Sam Reinhart, Rasmus Dahlin
3 2
3rd Period
15:59 Pavel Buchnevich (11)

Assists: Kevin Hayes, Kevin Shattenkirk
4 2
16:07 Vladislav Namestnikov (5)

Unassisted
5 2
19:02 Vladislav Namestnikov (6)

Assists: Ryan Strome, Mats Zuccarello

PENALTY SUMMARY:

1st Period
0:55 Adam McQuaid:

2 minutes for Interference
2nd Period
15:11 Boo Nieves:

2 minutes for Delaying Game-Puck over glass
19:09 Kevin Shattenkirk:

2 minutes for High-sticking
3rd Period
7:51 Anthony DeAngelo:

5 minutes for Fighting (Major)
7:51 Kyle Okposo:

5 minutes for Fighting (Major)
16:35 Jack Eichel:

2 minutes for Cross checking
16:35 Ryan Strome:

2 minutes for Slashing

GOALIES:

BUF
SA
GA
SV
SV%
ESSV
PPSV
SHSV
SOSA
SOS
TOI
PIM
28 5 23 .821 23 0 0 0 0 57:53 0
NYR
SA
GA
SV
SV%
ESSV
PPSV
SHSV
SOSA
SOS
TOI
PIM
33 2 31 .939 29 0 2 0 0 60:00 0
While it wasn’t 55 saves, Georgiev made 31 saves on 33 shots tonight, good for a .939 save percentage. Photo Credit: NYR

I can’t stress this enough – this was a TEAM win. In a night where the red-hot first line had a down night, the secondary scoring and Alexandar Georgiev boosted the team to victory. On many nights, we’ve seen Kreider, Zucc and Zibanejad carry the bulk of the scoring. It was nice to see everyone else step up tonight. And if you’re one of these tank momos, how can you mad after a game like this?

I’m gonna rub it in here a bit, but as I’ve been saying – just imagine if you flip-flopped the number of starts Lundqvist has had this season with the number of starts Georgiev has had this season? Without question, Lundqvist has given up more bad and soft goals this season than Georgiev and against weaker competition to boot. Now just imagine if Georgiev had more starts? This team would be a playoff team, at least in my opinion.

And again, save me the crap about picks. Carolina finished 13th last year and got the second overall pick. Plus, do you really want another six months of no hockey?

I hope that one day in the near future, I can hold another Rangers Stanley Cup victory puck!

As far as the MSG Networks tonight, they were okay. Dave Maloney’s new thing is to compare Jack Eichel to Wayne Gretzky. Please stop. Also, what’s with all the “Hockey in Harlem” stuff? I know it’s a PC and a “WOKE” thing, but how many NHL players has this program produced? Shit, the only players that I can think of, that came out of Manhattan, were the Hell’s Kitchen Mullen boys, and that was 40 years ago! (As mentioned on prior blogs, I was very familiar with Brian Mullen’s career growing up, as his uncle was my next door neighbor.)

Oh and Georgiev was mentioned by the MSG Networks crew tonight! Color me impressed!

And lastly, before getting into the game itself, two things about Buffalo:

— The Sabres have an official rehab center sponsor. That tells you all you need to know about Buffalo.

— For a Friday night game, a game during a three day weekend no less, the building wasn’t even close to full and the crowd was dead. I was shocked about this because when you look at the Stanley Cup playoff ratings every year, Buffalo is always one of the top three American television markets. And it’s not like the Sabres suck as they usually do. They are still in the playoff hunt, albeit outside looking in. I just thought there would’ve been a bigger and a more energetic crowd tonight.

Did I mention that TDA knocked out Kyle Okposo tonight? Photo Credit: MSG Networks

Overall, the Rangers had their best first period in some time. However, it didn’t come easy initially, as not even a minute into the period, Adam McQuaid took an interference penalty. Immediately, I thought of the Toronto game, as Georgiev and the Rangers were on the PK to start this match. However, the Rangers did a good job and killed the PK. That said, just like the game with Toronto, Georgiev was stopping name brand players early, such as Jack Eichel and Rasmus Dahlin.

After killing the penalty, Connor Brickley made a move to the net but was stopped by Sabres goalie, Linus Ullmark. However, with grit and hustle, at 4:09, the Rangers struck first, courtesy of BOONIEVES. (Someone needs to tell Sam Rosen that “Boo Nieves” is two words.)

Here’s Boo “They aren’t saying BOO Joe, oh wait!” Nieves:

 

1-0, good guys. Not that it means anything, but I thought Brickley should’ve got an assist here.

After the goal, the Sabres mounted their attack, but Georgiev was such a wall, that Donald Trump wanted to grab him and put him on the US/Mexican border. And yes, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Georgiev got some breaks here, as a post and his defense bailed him out early. But hey, when you’re hot, you’re hot.

One of Georgiev’s biggest saves of the game saw him stop Girgensons on a breakaway. Keep in mind, in the game against Toronto, the lone goal came off of a breakaway. Improvement!

14 minutes into this game, the fourth line of Nieves/Brickley/Smith were the most offensive oriented. Then, at 14:03, Fast deflected a Namestnikov shot into the net. I don’t know if Namestnikov would’ve scored if Fast didn’t touch the puck, but in hindsight, this may have cost Namestnikov a hat trick. I doubt Namestnikov gives a fuck though! Here’s Fast’s deflection:

 

2-0, good guys. Of note, another assist for Tony DeMAGAngelo. (Credit, as always, to @NYRKELSMADS)

As this game went on, Ullmark looked as lost as Lundqvist with a lead in the final minute of a game. He kept looking behind himself and just was shaky all game. (I’ll spare you my usual bad Michael J. Fox joke tonight.)

With the period winding down, Georgiev erred when leaving the net and a loose puck almost went in the net. However, McQuaid was there to prevent a potential goal.

At the end of one period, Rangers 2, Sabres 0. Each team logged ten shots in the period.

Here’s what I said on twitter after the period:

 

I’m telling you, for whatever reason, whenever Georgiev starts, it seems he’s tested the most in the second period. While Georgiev’s biggest test would come in the third period, once again, it was the second period where the Rangers struggled the most, which is becoming a trend during Georgiev starts. I don’t have any fancy charts or stupid pie graphs to show you, this is just coming from watching every game this season.

Since breaking out of the shackles of David Quinn, Pavel Buchnevich has been playing well. I still don’t think he’s intoxicating though. However, this Proper 12 whisky I’m drinking while writing this blog, well that’s intoxicating!

As I feared, the Rangers had their usual sloppy start to a second period. It cost them, as at the 53 second mark of the second period, Jeff Skinner put Buffalo on the board:

 

This was one of those plays where the goalie has a 50-50 chance and you just hope the shooter goes wide. While Buffalo would go wide later on, they didn’t here. 2-1, good guys. And of course, while speaking about Buffalo going wide, how about that Scott Norwood?

A minute later, the Rangers would regain their two goal lead. This would eventually become the game winning goal:

 

3-1, good guys.

On the goal, Buchnevich makes one hell of a pass and Vesey catches Ullmark in an impossible spot. Sometimes everything works out perfectly.

Buffalo would start to rev up the pressure a bit, and it would be Georgiev time, as he would flash major cow against Eichel and Dahlin.  Georgiev just kept making save-after-save. On the other end, the Rangers had chances but they couldn’t finish.

Of note, in this period, MSG Networks ran the following graphic:

This is just teasing Ranger fans, because that fucking asshole Henrik Lundqvist won’t leave. What good is it to have Shestyorkin here (Which means Georgiev is a goner) so Henrik Lundqvist can start 50-60 games next season? I’m still waiting for the rebuild fans to tell me how it makes sense to have Lundqvist and his bottom of the barrel of the league stats, all for the high price tag of $8.5M here.

There are two penalties that are infuriating in hockey. The too many men on the ice penalty and the delay of game penalty. For some reason, it just feels like the offending team always gives up a goal in these situations. Well, with under five minutes to go in the period, Nieves tossed a puck over the glass. That put Buffalo on the PP. With seconds remaining on the PP, Skinner got his second goal of the game at 16:56:

 

3-2, bad guys.

On the goal, if you’re gonna get beat, I guess get beat by the best player on the opposing team. For Skinner, this was his 36th goal of the season. It’s hard to gripe about either of these goals allowed.

What I like about Georgiev’s game, after giving up a goal, there is no stick smashing, crying at his teammates or throwing a hissy fit. Just like his post-game interviews, he remains stoic. There’s just an aura of calmness around him. That’s why I believed that Georgiev would be fine. In fact, this was his last goal allowed of the game.

Buffalo would get a second wind after this goal. Shattenkirk would get penalized for hitting Skinner in the head, but on replay, it was shown that Skinner was selling like Ric Flair & was never touched. Remember when embellishment used to be called? Furthermore, if Skinner is feigning a head injury, where’s the NHL concussion protocol?

The Sabres would get a wraparound penalty here. The Rangers would kill the first half of it, leaving us at 3-2 at the end of the second period.

Stat-wise, Namestnikov had his best game of the season. Photo Credit: MSGN

Of note, during the intermission, the MSG Networks zoomed in on Steve Valiquette’s fancy watch. I’m surprised he doesn’t have one of those $2000 Lundswiss watches!

The third period was wild. Both goalies did a good job of keeping the score to a one goal game. The Rangers would also kill the back end of the Sabres PP.

However, to me, despite six Ranger goals and a great game from Georgiev, the highlight of the game occurred at 7:51. Here’s Tony D and in multiple angles!

Angle 1:

 

Angle 2:

 

This reference may be dated to some, but hey, it’s my blog and I’ll blog if I want to! That said, all I got to say about that one hitter quitter is “GOOD NIGHT IRENE!”

For Okposo, he immediately was deported to the locker room. For a guy with a history of concussions, this was not a good showing for him. It also wasn’t a good day for millennial Ranger fans, as those babies hate fighting and they hate TDA because TDA is a Trump supporter. Tough shit motherfuckers! I’m sure these people had to turn on their night-light after this drop from TDA.

For the first 15 minutes of this period, the score remained 3-2.  Then, at 15:59, Buchnevich gave the Rangers the insurance goal:

 

4-2, good guys. 8 seconds later, Namestnikov caught Ullmark sleeping. Bam, 5-2 good guys.

Then, for whatever reason, despite being down three goals and with the game in the bag, Buffalo pulled Ullmark. Namestnikov would add the empty netter. 6-2, good guys and that was your final.

HUGE TEAM WIN!

Up next, Rangers vs Penguins. Let’s hope Susan Sarandon isn’t there. Photo Credit: NBCSN

In wrapping up on this game, I was mightily impressed and happy with the Rangers tonight. It’s funny listening to the MSG Networks crew having to work in “LUNDQUISS IS DUH BEST EVA OMG!” every time Georgiev has a great game. Maybe one day, they too, will realize that it’s time to move on.

Looking ahead, we go from one biased network to another biased network, as the Rangers and Penguins will play an afternoon 12:30 matinee game on Sunday. This game airs on PenBC. I did a long diatribe about Hank vs Pittsburgh in my last Rangers/Penguins blog, so just refer back to that blog for more. However, I share with you, this graphic, of Henrik Lundqvist and his most recent games against the Penguins:

KING! Photo Credit: Hockey-Reference.com

Keep in mind, omitted from these stats are Lundqvist’s games against the Penguins in the 2016 playoffs, where the Penguins just stole Hank’s dignity.

The reason I bring this up? ALEXANDAR GEORGIEV NEEDS TO START ON SUNDAY!

With Georgiev being the hot hand and with Lundqvist sucking the most epic of dicks against the Penguins, if Quinn wants to win like he says he does, why would you start Lundqvist in this game?

If you truly want to see what you have with Georgiev, and I’ve already talked about this in-depth in my most recent blogs, this is a start you MUST give Georgiev. The Penguins are a desperate team, holding onto a playoff spot and want to compete for the Cup. Let’s see how much steel is in the nut sack of our 23 year old goalie. We already know Lundqvist can’t do shit against Pittsburgh and most of his starts against Pittsburgh winds up with Lundqvist sporting a Gatorade towel on his neck from his throne on the bench.

Georgiev has also won his last three starts and against some good teams too. Like a gambler, let it ride!

In either event, I’ll be back Sunday afternoon.


BREAKING NEWS: As I was proof reading this blog, a major trade was announced. Instead of artificially boosting site traffic with two blogs, let me talk about this trade here.

This hangs in my house to this day!

Around midnight, the Oilers announced the following:

 

At the same time, the Flyers made their announcement:

 

I always considered myself the biggest non-relative Cam Talbot fan until I met Rob Stuchiner. Rob even had a Talbot tattoo. Unfortunately and sadly, Rob passed away last year after a long battle with cancer. RIP.

I’m not going to recount my whole history of my fandom of Cam Talbot. Just Google search “DOINOW.com Cam Talbot” or search “Cam Talbot” on the search bar of this site.

I will say, my fandom of Cam Talbot started when he was part of the Connecticut Whale, which then turned into the Hartford Wolfpack. I followed and was able to stream those games. I would later go on to find two other huge Talbot fans during this time, in @Rstuch316 and @whalepack. All three of us thought Cam Talbot could be the future of the Rangers.

Rob got this tattoo in 2015. He then publicly shamed me on Twitter and made me admit that he was a bigger fan of Talbot than me!

Like anyone finding out about a band or musical act before they hit it big or “sold out”, I was like that with Cam Talbot. While I didn’t watch his Alabama college days, I did get in on the ground floor with his career in Hartford.

I’ve always been a fan of the goalies, which is probably why most of my blogs focus on the goaltenders. Despite all the stuff I say about Lundqvist, post-contract, I’ve always been fascinated by the position. It’s weird, as a kid and in high school, I never played goalie, as I was always a stay at home defensemen. And if you saw me play, you probably wish I stayed home, because I sucked.

To this day, twenty plus years after the fact, even my dad laughs about how bad I was and how bad my high school team was. He’s not wrong! Both my team and I were fucking brutal and set back the sport of hockey. However, when watching hockey live, my eye always went to the goalies. I guess part of that is growing up with Mike Richter, who to me, at that time in my life, was one of the best ever.

And before continuing, I realize Mike Richter isn’t the greatest goalie of all time. He’s far from it. However, as a kid, no one was better to me than Mike Richter and I just loved watching him.

When Marty Biron retired from the Rangers, the Rangers finally brought up Cam Talbot. I remember telling my friend, JEFFREY, who has been mentioned and featured on these blogs before, that Cam Talbot was for real. I would later tell my other friends at the time that Talbot had potential, only to get laughed at.

The Rangers would make a run to the Cup during the 2014 playoffs. We know how that ended.

To this day, I will go to my grave thinking that if Talbot was the starter during the 2015 playoffs, the Rangers would’ve won the Cup. Tampa just owned Lundqvist that year.

Heading into the 2014-2015 season, “NYCTHEMIC”, my twitter handle, would become one of the most controversial handles in Rangers fandom. I would start this blog and would rave about Talbot. At that time, and just go back if you don’t believe me, I said that the Rangers would NEVER win a Cup with Lundqvist. I also started posting my thoughts about the contracts, Top 5 goalie salaries, and all that. Everyone thought I was nuts, except for a select few. Four years later, the Rangers are worse off with Lundqvist now, than they were years ago. I predicted all this, but of course, no one wanted to hear it. YOU CAN NOT WIN A CUP WITH A TOP 5 PAID GOALIE IN THIS NEW ERA OF THE NHL. YOU MUST BUILD AROUND A FORWARD, NOT A GOALIE! I’ve only been saying this for five years now.

On 1/31/2015, Henrik Lundqvist would take a puck to the neck and would miss several weeks of the season. At this point in time, my buddy JEFFREY and I were attending nearly every home game together. I told him that the Rangers would be better off and Talbot would carry the team to the Presidents’ Trophy. I think JEFFREY’s response was, “go fuck yourself you idiot.”

I was the first Rangers fan to sport a Talbot jersey in MSG! What an accomplishment, ha!

With Lundqvist down, Talbot would play lights out hockey and would go on a fantastic run. In one of my most favorite games that I’ve ever attended, behind Talbot, the Rangers would clinch the Presidents’ Trophy at the Rock in Newark, after defeating the Devils. VINDICATION!

However, Lundqvist would come back and that was the end of that. Two touchdowns allowed against Tampa and that was that. The Rangers and Lundqvist choked. To this day, I wish I had a Delorean and an alternate timeline, a timeline where Talbot started in the 2015 playoffs. I fully believe the Rangers would’ve won the Cup if AV didn’t kow-tow to Lundqvist. I mean, just look at Pittsburgh, who would go on to win two Cups behind Matt Murray, who pushed Marc Andre Fleury out of the starter job.

In one of Senile Sather’s last moves as GM, Sather traded Talbot to Edmonton. Just like that, the Rangers decided to continue to overpay the overrated Lundqvist and moved on from a potential young starter. The Rangers wouldn’t learn from this mistake and would later do the same with Antti Raanta. It’s probably the same mistake they will do with Georgiev too. (And yes, I know Talbot struggled in Edmonton a bit, but if he stayed here with NYR, I think he would’ve only gotten better with Allaire, as opposed to the nonsense in Edmonton.)

Cam Talbot had a rough start in Edmonton, but would set single season records for the Oilers with a gigantic 2016-2017 season. When you’re breaking Grant Fuhr records, you know you did something special.  Photo Credit: Edmonton Oilers

When the Rangers traded Talbot to Edmonton, I adopted the Oilers as my “second” team. I’ve talked about this all before, but the Rangers and Oilers have a rich history together. In fact, Senile Sather’s greatest contributions to the Rangers were the trades he made prior to the 1994 Ranger Cup win, a Cup win that Oiler fans consider to be their sixth Stanley Cup!

Through social media, I would meet a ton of great Oiler fans and would watch every Talbot start. Even with Talbot now gone, I will still wish for the best for Oiler fans, as those fans are extremely passionate and know their hockey. I also found debates among Oiler fans to be more civil than the nonsense you get from the kids in Rangerstown.

During the 2015-2016 season, I would go to Edmonton to see a NYR/EDM game. Ironically, it was Glen Sather night there and I wouldn’t stand up and applaud a guy who was just horrible as GM of the Rangers! Obviously, Sather is a bigger hero in Edmonton than he is in NY!

While Talbot’s 2015-2016 got off to a rocky start, by the time the 2017 playoffs ended, Talbot was the man in Edmonton and the Oilers were screwed out of their playoff bid by shitty officiating and Ryan Getzlaf getting away with goalie interference.

Keep this in mind – It was CAM TALBOT, not Connor McDavid, that carried the Oilers to and through the playoffs that season.  Don’t get it twisted – McDavid was crucial and important for the Oil. However, in that season, it was Talbot that stole and won a bunch of games for the Oilers that season. Talbot was the MVP of the Oilers in 2016-2017.

Sadly, the 2017 playoff run was the best run Talbot would have with Edmonton.

Cam Talbot leaves Edmonton, which is probably the best for both parties. Photo Credit: Unknown

Cam Talbot would have the best days of his personal life in Edmonton, as that is where his twins were born. While using Talbot’s new found fatherhood would be an excuse, Talbot struggled as his kids grew up. However, the team in Edmonton, a team the Rangers should be aware of when doing their own rebuild, has just sucked ever since the 2017 playoff run.

In this season alone, the Oilers fired both their GM in Peter Chiarelli and their head coach in Todd McLellan. Defensively, the Oilers have been crippled by injuries. Roster wise, the team has been destroyed by bad contracts and trades. Playing in Edmonton is a lose-lose situation. Even with arguably the best player in the world on the team, in Connor McDavid, it looks like for the second season in a row, McDavid will not only be robbed of the Hart Trophy, but his Oilers won’t make the playoffs either.

Granted, while I sometimes have rose-colored glasses when talking about Talbot, he’s struggled immensely since the 2017 playoffs. I don’t make any excuses for this 2017-2018 season, where Talbot had a huge dropoff. That season was the worst of his career. However, in this 2018-2019 season, the environment in Edmonton is more toxic than the gas you get after eating White Castle mixed in with Taco Bell.

The Goalbuster is going to Philly and I’m not happy about it! Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Oilers are just an absolute mess in 2018-2019. Talbot, like the rest of the organization, has been inconsistent. However, the defense is atrocious and the Oilers look to have given up on this season, no matter who is in net. Getting out of Edmonton is the best thing for both parties, as Talbot gets new scenery and a chance to reboot his career. For Edmonton, they get to start rebuild version 37478634737896378946789637894679. You just got to wonder – how much more of this can McDavid take, as his prime years are being wasted in Edmonton because of bad management.

Much has been written about Cam Talbot and his relationship with the new young stud goalie in Philly, in Carter Hart. This trade has been rumored for about two weeks. What sucks the most about this trade being made today, is that I was planning on going to see the Isles/Oilers game on Saturday, 2/16. With Koskinen starting in net for the Oilers on Friday, Talbot was going to get the start against the Islanders on Saturday. I figured with all this trade noise, this would be the last time I could see Talbot live and root for him to win!

As a Rangers fan, I hate the Flyers. To be honest, I hate the Flyers more than the Islanders. After all, being born in 1982, the Islanders have been so irrelevant in my lifetime. The Flyers have given the Rangers more playoff headaches than the Islanders during my lifetime. (Keep in mind I was in diapers and very young during the Isles run in the 80’s.)

How can Ranger fans forget the Legion of Doom during the 1997 playoffs? Photo Credit: too tiny for me to read! It’s on the bottom right hand side though!

For the Oilers, this is a trade that frees up some cap room. That said, Talbot was going to be a UFA at the end of the season. Are the Oilers going to spend the money that they just saved on Talbot. by making a trade for someone, in an attempt to make a potential 2019 playoff run? I guess that’s the plan but the Oilers have sucked so much ass recently, that it’s hard to see them making the playoffs. Even if they do, they are probably a one and done team.

For the Flyers, this is a test run with Talbot. Talbot is there for a veteran presence and to be a mentor for his buddy Carter Hart. If things work out, then maybe the Flyers bring back Talbot next season.

For Cam Talbot, these next few weeks are very important. I can’t say it’s the most important time of his career, because due to his Rangers run, he’s already set for life financially. However, for Talbot to extend his career and earnings in the NHL, these next few weeks are crucial.

It’s debatable if Cam Talbot can still be a starting goalie in the NHL. With the Flyers, he won’t be, as the plan is to groom Carter Hart.

Cam Talbot is Carter Hart’s mentor. Look how far Talbot has come – from backing up Lundqvist to being the mentor to one of the hottest young goalies in the league. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Here’s Carter Hart on Cam Talbot:

“We really got along and last summer we partnered up and took the ice for goalie sessions throughout the summer,” Hart said. “He’s a great mentor. He’s a great goalie. He’s a great guy. He’s the guy I called before my first start just to ask him about pregame jitters and what to expect and everything. He actually told me a story, his first NHL game was in Philly and his first NHL win was two days later against Detroit 3-2 (the same score in which the Flyers best the Red Wings in Hart’s debut). Pretty crazy.”

In the best case scenario for the soon-to-be 32 year old Cam Talbot, he can extend his career by splitting starts with Hart and backing him up. A starting job in Philly won’t happen. If Talbot wants to be a starter, this period of time with Philly will be temporary. However, if Talbot is looking to extend his days and doesn’t mind being a back-up, Talbot could last with Philly for some time. As a Rangers fan and as Talbot fan, that sucks for me personally!

Like any player, this is a cross road for Talbot and his family. Can’t be easy. Photo Credit: Cam Talbot

For Talbot, he will have to earn his keep either backing up or splitting starts with Hart for the next few weeks, as the Flyers try to make a playoff run. Obviously, for the Flyers, Talbot’s value comes as a mentor for Hart. It’s hard to see Talbot getting a contract, during the upcoming off-season, that would be bigger than the one he previously got with the Oilers. That said, he’s set for life money-wise and can be a great role player for the Flyers. For Talbot, he will have to choose between career stability/a home vs being a starter in the NHL.

For Oiler fans, Edmonton loses a class act and a great teammate. But hey, this is business, not personal. Players come and go. For the Oilers, they got a lot more to worry about than Cam Talbot, especially since the whole organization is currently a mess.

For the Flyers, they get a veteran and a great teammate. The Flyers haven’t had great goaltending since the days of Ron Hextall. That said, goaltending wise, they now have a solid veteran presence and a young stud, who just may be the future. Again, as a Rangers fan, this sucks!

In closing on Cam Talbot, I wish him the best of luck. As someone who owns a bunch of his jerseys, I’m happy with what I have. The “P” on the chest won’t be in my arsenal of apparel! That said, I wish Talbot continued success. However, I hope the Rangers light up the Flyers every time they play!

I also want to make mention, I think Oiler fans took this news with class. Those fans aren’t dumb. They know the deal. When the trade was announced, Oiler fans wished Talbot the best and knew the struggles Talbot had with the Oilers team in front of him.

If there is any bright side to this, at least Talbot wasn’t traded to the Islanders, as once rumored. I would’ve never heard the end of it!

Travis and I will always have the Talbot NYR memories, but we look forward to CZAR IGOR!

I think 9000 words is enough for one blog!

See you Sunday after NYR/PITT. Until then, as always, thanks for reading and…

“LET’S GO RANGERS!”

IN CAM WE TRUST!

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

@NYCTHEMIC on twitter

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  1. I just wanted to say I love reading your blogs and look forward to them. I agree with what you say especially Lundqvist. I grew up in NY but now live in NC and go everytime they play Carolina. I just wanted to let you know I appreciate what you do and always Let’s Go Rangers.

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