Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Meh.
(OF NOTE: As you all know by now, I’m currently working wacky hours (3PM-11:30PM) which in turn, means that I’m dead-tired as I write these words at 4AM. In other words, I apologize in advance for any typos or bad grammar – but should they “apeer” – then I think that you’ll know what I’m trying to say anyway!)
Following the Rangers’ Friday night 4-3 overtime victory in Chicago, the first thing that popped into my head, outside of the routine “Jekyll & Hyde” and/or “consistently inconsistent” stuff, was Led Zeppelin’s biggest hit, “Stairway to Heaven.”
While I could parody the entire song, and change all of the lyrics around to solely fit the Rangers; for now, it are these words from that song that are presently ringing around my head:
“Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run – and there’s still time to change the road you’re on.”
I think these lyrics encompasses nearly everything in Rangerstown, USA today, including, but not limited to, the following:
— CZAR IGOR vs Jonathan Quick. What path do you choose, where once you choose that path – is that backstop exclusively your #1 netminder for the playoffs too?
— General Manager Chris Drury, where “The Pizzaman” desperately needs to make a delivery – as in making some trades – as there’s still time to get off this bumpy road and onto smooth pavement.
— Peter Laviolette, who must accept the inevitable and shake up the Rangers’ first power-play unit, who once again, had another 0-fer night – and this time – against the league’s worst penalty kill – and a Chicago PK that looks more like an AHL team than an NHL varsity club.
— Line changes – and where perhaps the head coach is now more willing to do so than ever. After all, and I really can’t remember this ever taking place in Rangers’ history before (sans injury) – a Blueshirts’ bench boss hitting the line blender with his team up by two goals in the third period.
— The M$GN – where they need to get their heads out of their royal road and take the path that every other hockey broadcast takes – and finally replace the seven-foot splooge stooge, Sieve Vagistat, with a true analyst – and one with real-life (and practical) NHL experience.
By now, you should all know about the 25-words that I reprint after every game played this season – you know my season-long daily disclaimer – and one that reads as such:
“WHATEVER THE RANGERS DO IN THE REGULAR SEASON DOESN’T MATTER. THEY CAN ONLY BE JUDGED BY WHATEVER THEY DO IN THE 2024 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS!”
This refresher is my way of saying that while I thought that every problem with this team still remains following the result of Friday’s fiasco; at the same time – come the playoffs – no one will be talking about the time when the Rangers almost blew a game to the Blackhawks back in February.
If anything, then tonight’s tilt was more a sum of its parts – and rather than as an “isolated incident.”
Put it this way: Win-or-lose, everything negative that we’ve seen during the past seven-weeks continued tonight, including Mika Zibanejad being unable to score a 5 x 5 goal, the power-play falling to the depths of despair, questionable defensemen, Alexis Lafreniere’s frustrating shooting percentage, other teams focusing the bulk of their energies on Artemi Panarin & Vincent Trocheck and CZAR IGOR continuing the “has he already peaked?” conversation.
And if you’re one of the few that believe that the Rangers need to stay put at the trade deadline – then after tonight – you should get a lobotomy from Nurse Ratched – as you’re now beyond the point of saving.
To jump ahead a bit, I thought that the post-game reactions from everyone, the head coach, the players, the M$GN crew and even the fans too, said it all – this was not a pretty win – nor a victory to “King Kong” your chest about either.
And had the Rangers blown it, where in turn, the Hawks scored three unanswered goals to win?
I shudder to think of what such a reaction would be – so instead of talking about a hypothetical – let’s stick to just the facts.
As I’ve been saying all season, I can’t get too high or too low after these games, because as mentioned – my daily disclaimer is the only thing that’s on my mind.
As long as the Rangers qualify for the playoffs, and whether they win the Presidents’ Trophy or finish with the second wild-card – I don’t care.
I also don’t care about individual trophies either – as all I care about is the best team trophy in sports – the Stanley Cup.
But of course, individual accolades and achievements are appreciated along the way – but in the long haul – it doesn’t make a difference to me either way.
The fact that Kreider and Zibanejad didn’t have a party that rivaled Times Square on New Years Eve once hooking up on the game-winning overtime goal spoke volumes.
And their post-game interviews?
If you didn’t know any better, then you would’ve thought that the Rangers had lost by ten – rather than winning by one goal.
Laviolette? He was equally as frustrated – and I’ll have his full reaction for you below.
Jonny Brodzinski, Alexis Lafreniere and captain Jacob Trouba echoed similar thoughts and vibes.
But let me give you the positive spin, as someone who tries (but admittedly – sometimes fails at this too!) to be a perpetual cockeyed optimist – and even if that May ’23 playoff loss to the Devils still haunts me 24/7.
I thought it was EXCELLENT that the Rangers were pissed off about winning in this fashion.
In my opinion, it tells me that playing like this, despite this being both a road-game victory and their fourth straight win, is unacceptable to them.
While of course, you don’t want to be put into this position to begin with – I do believe that it speaks volumes that the Rangers were able to win three straight games out of their nine-day break.
Sure, while all of their issues, where they may have as many issues as Time magazine has ever sent to the printers, remain; at the same time – they are now back to “finding a way.”
And yep – I know that I’m all over the place – but isn’t that the best way to cover this two-faced “Jekyll and Hyde” hockey team?
I’m just trying to give you all of the angles – and where one of these days – I’d like to see the Rangers angle in a power-play shot every now-and-again too!
That said, I’ve been very hard on the BFF duo, where I have even stated in this space that it irks me to no end whenever these two are trading handjobs and fellatios with each other after wins where they contributed nothing.
Tonight, Kreider had a goal and an assist, while Mika put the game to bed – yet both lovers reacted as if they were told that their beloved dog had just died.
While I would never question the passion from these two, meaning that I know that they want to win even if they haven’t lived up to it yet – this was the first time in a while where they sounded furious – and that’s a good emotion to channel for both the playoff push and beyond.
Resting on your laurels and backslapping after a win like this would’ve been ridiculous – and it’s something that we’ve seen before – which is why I’m spending so much time on this.
Let’s switch gears to the top story in Rangerstown, USA today – <cue the eerie music> – THE GOALIE CONTROVERSY!
As I have been saying all week, and most recently on Wednesday night following the win over Tampa (https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/2724/ ) – I thought that Jonathan Quick deserved tonight’s start.
This opinion shouldn’t be new to regular readers either – as I have taken this stance ever since 2014:
If a goalie is tasked and then knocks off the top teams of the league, then this goalie should also be rewarded – and get a chance to bolster his stats too – and by starting against the dregs of the league as well.
While I’ve talked about the “Lundqvist Era” of goaltending more than any other human being on this planet; when it comes to the Rangers of right now – I also thought that CZAR IGOR was in a lose-lose situation – and where after tonight – those two words, “goalie controversy,” are more intensified.
Tonight, CZAR IGOR started against the worst team of a league thirty-two – and to add to the pressure – they were also missing their best player (Connor Bedard).
Furthermore (and I’ll have the stats for you in the GAME REVIEW), Chicago is at absolute rock-bottom these days – and where they haven’t scored three goals in a game this year.
Anything other than a shutout, which would’ve been his first of the season – then nothing really could be gained for #31 tonight.
Compounding matters is that any puck that goes past CZAR IGOR these days, and whether it’s on a 5 x 0 rush, a double deflection, a goal after being hit by a Tonya Harding supporter or what – it’s meticulously broken down – and as if it were a life-or-death situation.
But black-and-white stats do matter – and where once again, CZAR IGOR finished another game by allowing three or more goals – and while his save percentage, .899 entering this game, didn’t improve that much following this win either (.903%).
Another thing that didn’t help CZAR IGOR’s cause?
The fact that once again, he gave up another goal within the first three-minutes following puck drop, and as he did in Chicago when Alex Vlasic scored his second goal of the season at the 2:39 mark of the first period.
While it was obvious that the Rangers just started coasting once going up 3-1, as to their credit, they quickly responded with goals scored by Lafreniere, Kreider and JONNY HOCKEY; once Brodzinski put the Rangers up by two at the 9:02 mark of the second stanza – it was pretty much all Chicago from there – and where even after the fact – all of the saves that CZAR IGOR made prior to the Blueshirts’ implosion fell to the wayside.
I’ll get into all of this during the GAME REVIEW, but while the Rangers gave up and just stopped playing (and again – all of the players and the head coach said this in their post-game pow-wows), it wasn’t a good look when CZAR IGOR allowed the Hawks off of the hook with two late scores during the third period – and where the majority of fans, writers and whoever else, will ignore the fact that these two goals weren’t 100% on him.
But of course, two other words outside of “goalie controversy” are also important, as in “extra saves.”
The Rangers, who were long thinking of their deep dish Chicago dinner pizza, didn’t get these extra saves from their #1 goalie when it mattered the most – and just like how CZAR IGOR didn’t see his team score on their three power-plays either – and where he had to make more saves than his peer who was shorthanded, the Hawks’ Petr Mrazek.
But for a franchise that’s historically been known for their goaltending, both the starters and the back-ups (for more on this, then check out any one of my books in the PLUGS segment or visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/2524/ ), it’s the goalie’s performance, and not the inept power-play, that will always be remembered the most.
To close on this topic for now, for a CZAR IGOR who needed a shutout tonight – following this game, and even if he wasn’t the biggest “culprit” for the bad vibes after the win – he was put into a lose-lose situation – and after one glance at my Tweeter/X feed – I’m already seeing a ton of comments saying the following:
“The Rangers would’ve cruised to victory had Quick started tonight.”
And for the people saying as such?
How can you argue against them?
Not only has Quick been the hot hand (and you have to hope that he’s not cooled off now after sitting this game out), but in a story as old as time – or at least since the start of the salary cap era – the Rangers usually play up for their back-up goalie more so than they do for their starter.
This is already getting long and it’s now 4:30AM as I write these words.
In other words, let’s quickly hit all of the pregame news & notes and then fly right into tonight’s GAME REVIEW.
The Rangers, who won on both Monday and Wednesday night, and also sandwiched-in a practice on Tuesday morning, continued to motor on Thursday morning with another practice – and this time – prior to boarding a flight to the Second City.
Nothing of note took place at the practice – and for that matter – Laviolette didn’t really say much during his Thursday edition of “LAVY’S LOUNGE” either.
As mentioned already, and as you are well aware of too, the only thing that people are talking about these days is the goaltending position – and not the putrid power-play – and where it’s long overdue for that Zibanejad/Lafreniere swap.
While CZAR IGOR left the ice first on Thursday, Laviolette wouldn’t confirm who his starting goaltender on Friday night would be.
In other news from Thursday, and to follow-up my own blog from that day too (one that you can read here: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/2624/ ), Larry Brooks basically called TSN’s Darren Dreger a boldfaced liar in his New York Post space:
As I said on Thursday Part I: When it comes to Dreger reporting Rangers’ news – well you have to take it with a grain of salt.
As I said on Thursday Part II: When the Rangers want something leaked – then they run right to Brooks.
As I said on Thursday Part III: This is a quid-pro-quo deal between the Rangers and their messenger pigeon.
Then look at Larry’s articles on the firing of Jim Ramsay and the James Dolan sexual assault allegations.
Can’t find them?
On Friday, and now in Chicago, Laviolette finally confirmed that CZAR IGOR would be returning to the net, and where he also alluded to his “tentative plans” that he talked about earlier in the week:
Here was Laviolette’s line-up for the fifty-second game of this 2023-24 season:
FIRST LINE: Panarin/Trocheck/Lafreniere
SECOND LINE: Kreider/Zibanejad/Wheeler
THIRD LINE: Cuylle/Brodzinski/Kakko
FOURTH LINE: Vesey/Goodrow/Pitlick
FIRST PAIR: Lindgren/Fox
SECOND PAIR: Miller/Trouba
THIRD PAIR: Gustafsson/Schneider
STARTER: CZAR IGOR
Healthy Scratches: Leschyshyn and Jones
BOX SCORE time.
The following graphics and information come from ESPN.com:
Since I had a busy night at work (for the final time until something changes – I have been moved over to the 3PM-11:30PM shift) – I didn’t get a chance to have dinner during my shift.
Once released, my stomach was growling.
As you may know, my nickname in these parts is the “Jack Lalanne of Long Island.”
I lived up to that nickname at around midnight – and to my Irish ancestry too.
Needing some fuel prior to hitting my DVR, I decided to try out this new Irish-American restaurant called “McDonalds,” where once returned home, I devoured something called a “Big Mac” and “Chicken McNuggets.”
Since I need two hands to live-tweet my “blog notes” (I know that I said that I wouldn’t do this – but it seems like people are enjoying them – and getting a kick out of however wrong or right I may be after the fact), and while needing something to watch while eating – I actually watched the Sieve Vagistat solo performance during the M$GN pregame show.
Holy shit, does this moron get worse-and-worse by the minute.
Just a quick summary – as I could only sit through this mental retard (and I’m not even trying to be funny or slander him here – because I do believe that his IQ is similar to his career save percentage – .0004) for ten-minutes prior to moving on to the game:
— Vagistat opened up by ripping CZAR IGOR a new five-hole. Listening to all of this, I was thinking – just imagine if CZAR IGOR actually knew who this asshole was? Then imagine if CZAR IGOR was told all about Vagistat’s career? I can only imagine the belly laughter that would ensue.
— Vagistat, while promoting his shitty ANALytic company that no one else uses or promotes, pushed some stat – and I’m not making this up – “The Top Five Pantless Goalies.”
— I’m convinced – Vagistat must have the “Truman Capote Suite” at various men’s bathhouses around the west village of NYC.
— Vagistat then tried to sell Kaapo Kakko as an elite scorer – while saying that he only has 28 goals scored in his last three seasons. Many of these goal clips that Vagistat used when trying to illustrate whatever moronic point that he was trying to make featured Kakko scoring his “A-Rod” goals, including the two goals prior to the break, the two blowouts with Vegas and Ottawa.
After that, it was <CLICK> time for me.
Come 8:30PM EST, or 12:30AM EST for me, we then went to Sam and Joe.
With Sam Rosen’s toupee looking like it was put on by a two-year old, I was expecting the Hall of Fame announcer to say, “OH JOE, THE WINDY CITY JOE! MY TOUPEE BLEW ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP OF THE SEARS TOWER JOE! FERRIS BUELLER HAD TO GET IT FOR ME JOE!”
Instead, Rosen said, “OH JOE, THE ORIGINAL SIX JOE! A TRAP GAME JOE! WHERE ARE THE AMERKS JOE?”
(Okay – he didn’t say the part about the Amerks!)
After telling us how much the Blackhawks suck and how CZAR IGOR better freakin’ win tonight; Sam’s streaky scalp and Jumpin’ Joe then extolled high praise for the Rangers’ bottom six.
And of course, right after this, Rosen then had to express all of his deep sympathies for the Blackhawks’ injured players. To follow that up, Rosen then listed every player on Chicago’s roster and sounded like a squaw when talking about these players with his ungodly goo-goo ga-ga eyes.
To inform us that the “Blackhawks work hard.”
Again, I’m still waiting to hear Joe tell us what team DOESN’T work hard.
To close, and after everyone on this broadcast told us how much Chicago was crappy, should be banished and how they were the worst team in the league – Sam & Joe then told us that the Blackhawks are pretty good on home ice.
You can’t make this up.
GAME REVIEW time.
Following Zibanejad losing the first draw of the game, Micheletti then told us how this BFF line should have a great game tonight. Not that I needed a JUMPIN’ JOE JINX to make me think otherwise – but right away – I knew that the complete opposite would happen – or at least at both 5 x 5 and on the power-play.
As Sam and Joe were back to telling us how much the Blackhawks suck, how they can’t score and how they get shutout all the time; Mika lost another draw, this time of the o-zone variety.
At just the 50-second mark, and with the top line on, Panarin set-up Fox, dead-to-rights in the slot, but the 2021 Norris Trophy winner went wide.
For whatever reason, and right after Fox made a nice hit in the d-zone, Sam had to inform us that Tyler Johnson once played for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Why this was pertinent to bring up, I do not know.
And if you’re a Ranger fan who needs 2015 memories – then please send your fan mail to Mr. Rosen.
With 18:54 to go, CZAR IGOR made his first save, and a tough one at that, on a backhanded shot from two-feet away.
But of course, and like clockwork – another early goal allowed, this time just 2:39 in – as after another nowhere shot from Kakko (high and wide), the Hawks got the rubber disc, went right into the Rangers’ zone and then Vlasic just ripped a puck past CZAR IGOR over his glove.
CZAR IGOR may have been screened here by Entwhistle, but even so, another early goal allowed was no bueno – and for what it’s worth – this was the worst looking of the three that #31 ultimately gave up tonight.
Right after Chicago’s 1-0, bad guys goal, Senile Sam then had to desperately tell us that the Hawks’ Rem Pitlick and the Rangers’ Tyler Pitlick were cousins. However, Rosen didn’t let us know if REM Pitlick and Michael Stipe had any relations.
“OH JOE, EVERYBODY HURTS JOE!”
Yep – this was extremely informative commentary following a goal scored.
And since they had to keep their streaks alive in these departments too – Sam and Joe then spent the rest of the game talking about the ages, heights, weights and cock sizes (while using the metric system) of the Blackhawks too.
Maddening at the old Madhouse.
Rosen also reported that Vlasic’s blood type is A-negative and that he likes the crust cut off of his sandwiches.
In a response, Micheletti called Vlasic, “a good looking young man.”
Seriously, what are these two doing anymore? Get Lundqvist on this broadcast.
To the Rangers’ credit, they quickly responded, and with a goal of their own, as with 15:13 remaining, Lafreniere actually buried a one-timed pass from K’Andre Miller:
LAFFY ANSWERS! pic.twitter.com/riMj6tTIho
— Rangers Videos (@SNYRangers) February 10, 2024
1-1 – and about time.
WOW – Lafreniere actually scores when shooting at a wide-open net?
And this wasn’t even a Haley’s Comet goal either – but it was another goal from the GAG 2.0 line – and where I already knew at the time that Zibanejad wasn’t going to score at even-strength/5×5.
And heck – even Sam and Joe were shocked about this goal too.
Rosen’s other take on Lafreniere’s goal, outside of being surprised that this puck actually hit the net and then went inside of it?
Playing Luke Richard’s public relations director – as he tongue-bathed the Hawks’ head coach as if he was a mother cat nursing her kittens.
Down to 14:00 to go and Wheeler fired a shot which Boris Tkachouk blocked – and this led to the next goal of the game.
Following the shot block, Tkachouk lost his skate blade. As his teammates (mainly Isaac Phillips) were trying to push him towards the bench, this happened:
The start to the goal from Chris Kreider 😂 pic.twitter.com/8g8dSsMfbS
— Rangers Videos (@SNYRangers) February 10, 2024
2-1, GOOD GUYS.
As the Hawks were trying to help their teammate, Fox received a loose puck and found Chris Kreider for the gimmie goal.
Excellent awareness from #23 – and it was about time that the Rangers got a puck-luck/good-bounce goal themselves.
No joke, this was pretty much a power-play goal with Tkachouk down and Phillips assisting him – which was ironic – since the Blueshirts finished 0-3 on the man-advantage tonight.
And for the Rangers – this was a great response (or two of them) after the early goal allowed.
It’s just a shame that Wheeler didn’t get an assist for this (Lindgren received the secondary apple) – as it was his initial shot that set the whole thing up.
Following the goal, the Blueshirts immediately drew a penalty as Johnson was banged for hooking Lafreniere.
After touching up, the Rangers started their power-play with 11:45 remaining.
The Rangers’ power-play against crappy Chicago – and the league’s worst penalty kill to boot?
They went 0-1 here – and where both Mika and CZAR IGOR made brutal turnovers during these two-minutes.
You could kind of see how pissed Laviolette was about this power-play failure – at least if you believe in the art of body language – as he had his arms firmly crossed while chewing his gum like it owed him money.
As we hit 8:48 remaining – Chicago finally registered their third SOG – as their second one, Vlasic’s goal, had taken place some eight-minutes earlier.
Come 8:11 to go, and as Goodrow was attacking, Seth Jones high-sticked the fourth-line center in the mush, which meant that the Rangers would get a chance to avenge their previous power-play miss.
Avenge they would not.
An 0-2 power-play against the worst team in the league.
$50M for this PP1 folks.
And this is always the case whenever a power-play is doing bad – these two-minutes just flew by – and as if someone (not me on my DVR tonight) was pressing the fast-forward button.
Mrazek only had to make one save here too – a save on Wheeler.
Once returned to full-strength and Mrazek came up with a save on Trouba. The SOG count with 5:30 remaining? 11-3, visitors.
As Sam was giving us an update on THE GUS BUS, Rosen said that the d-man, who was still wearing the fishbowl, was “okay,” but how “Gustafsson now needs to eat soft food.”
I wonder if #56 and Rosen can share some of Sam’s tapioca pudding – or maybe some Gerbers’ baby food too – something that the Rangers have a aplenty these days, considering all of the new dads on the team.
With 4:51 to go, CZAR IGOR made a glove save on Phillips – but not a true save – as the puck looked like it had been shot by Mika – as it was heading towards the the boards – and not to the net.
After Rosen told us no less than fifty times that Jarred Tinordi was out for the Hawks, we then had a huge scrum at CZAR IGOR’s net, as Folingo crashed the net following a save. Both Cuylle and Trouba took exception. CZAR IGOR got into it too, as he took several swipes at Foligno’s head.
No joke, I was hoping for a goalie fight here, as CZAR IGOR got in some cheap shots at Foligno – yet Mrazek remained a statue in his own net.
With 3:14 to go, we then had two-minutes of foreplay, as Cuylle and Foligno each took a timeout – but with Cuylle serving CZAR IGOR’s two-minute roughing penalty – and rather than being hit with an off-setting retaliation minor of his own.
(In other words – I thought this should have been a Chicago power-play – and the Old Style beer drinkers agreed – and based on their vociferous booing.)
Down to 2:46 to go and Mrazek made a good save on last game’s hero, Jimmy Vesey.
Following another o-zone turnover from Zibanejad with 1:36 remaining, Gustafsson bailed out his fellow Swede in the other end.
Once returned to full-strength, CZAR IGOR stopped Philipp Kurashev.
On Chicago’s next possession and with Kurashev still on the ice; at the 19:40 mark (there’s that number again) Miller hooked the Hawk- but no call – and another break for the Rangers.
Then, and with just three-seconds to go, the Hawks crashed CZAR IGOR’s net – but the 2022 Vezina Trophy winner was able to maintain the Rangers’ razor-thin lead.
2-1, GOOD GUYS, after twenty – and where despite the lead – you felt like the Rangers should’ve been up 4-1 or 5-1.
It was also at the point where the team’s power-play futility must be addressed – and it somewhat was in the next twenty-minutes.
To open this middle frame, Rosen asked his usual question, “SECOND PERIOD, WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR HERE JOE?”
I was hoping that Micheletti would reply with, “anyone but the useless Sieve Vagistat at the M$G desk Sam” – but alas – that didn’t take place.
In a new development, M$GN, which already has about 896738463786379468969346 different advertisers, featured a new one tonight.
In a new ad-read (that Rosen fumbled all over), M$GN is now promoting a “KICKSTART MOMENT” from the booger pickers over at Mucinex.
“OH JOE, PANARIN CAN PICK HIS SPOTS AND MUCINEX CAN HELP YOU PICK SNOT OUT OF YOUR NOSE JOE! JUST DON’T EAT IT JOE, THAT’S HOW YOU BECOME RETARDED LIKE VAGISTAT JOE!”
Following another opening faceoff loss from the overpaid second line center; CZAR IGOR then made his first save of the period at just the 25-second mark.
Panarin almost increased the lead to two goals, but with 18:49 remaining, Mrazek came up with a big save as “The Breadman” was looking for a through-the-wickets goal.
Following a first line center o-zone faceoff win, Megna tripped Kakko with 18:37 remaining.
Laviolette started this power-play with his second unit – but this was mainly because the first two lines were just on the ice – or so I thought.
That said, following an offside just 29-seconds in – Lavy kept his PP2 out there – and for nearly the full two-minutes.
But similar to PP1, PP2 almost allowed a short-handed goal, but CZAR IGOR was able to say NYET NYET.
The best Rangers’ chance during these two-minutes is when Lafreniere was stopped from the slot – but following the save – Chicago had another two-vs-one odd-man rush – and thankfully, CZAR IGOR came up with the save on Tkachouk.
Then, and with ten-seconds remaining on the man-advantage and 16:47 left in the period – the Rangers were busted for too many men on the ice.
(And for Laviolette – I wouldn’t just put my PP2 out there – I would just swap #93 for #13.)
At least the Rangers’ penalty kill has been as good as their power-play has been bad, and in turn, the Blueshirts’ man-down units were able to “stunt” the worst (12.7%) power-play in the league.
Sam and Joe?
All they did during these two-minutes was talk about all of the injuries in Chicago – AGAIN.
Come 14:32 to go, and now at full-strength, Donato went to hit Schneider – and like earlier with Tkachouk – his skate blade fell off too.
However, this time, rather than capitalizing on this opportunity as they did in the first period – instead, the Rangers iced the puck.
As Joe reminded us for the billionth time that Chicago was young, he also said that this game was lulling him to sleep. I couldn’t say that I disagreed – but of course – I turned on my DVR at around 12:30AM!
After that, Trouba hit former Blueshirt Colin Blackwell, and then sat on him by the backboards. This was another display, of many, with the captain just imposing his will on an opponent.
As Sam read off the media guide and then let us know about every Hawk that had ever played for the Devils; Mrazek stopped Kakko – but gave up a rebound. On the rebound, and with 10:58 remaining, the following:
JONNY HOCKEY 🚨 pic.twitter.com/TN8Q6BJWGL
— Rangers Videos (@SNYRangers) February 10, 2024
3-1, GOOD GUYS, JONNY HOCKEY AGAIN – and with Cuylle clearing the crease for his linemate.
And yep – I need to start trademarking my stupid bits and nicknames – because as you can see here – even SNYRangers is stealing “JONNY HOCKEY” from me!
At the time, I thought that this would hold up as the game-winning goal – where had it – then this would’ve been Brodzinski’s second straight game with a game winner.
But alas, you already know that wasn’t meant to be.
Now past the half-way mark of the game/period, Wheeler turned over the puck – but Lindgren was able to recover and get the puck deep.
Mrazek was able to prevent the bleeding a bit, as with 8:41 to go, he made two huge saves on both Panarin and Kreider.
Out of a TV timeout, we then had another SAMMY WHAMMY:
“OH JOE, CHICAGO NEVER GIVES UP JOE.”
If you don’t already know, then keep this in mind for later.
Down to 7:16 to go and for whatever reason, Laviolette flip-flopped his top two centers, Mika and Vinny.
I have no clue why Mika and Trocheck were flip-flopped.
After all, I wouldn’t touch that 10/16/13 line at all.
Instead, I’d just bench Mika and then double shift Trocheck.
Furthermore, the $8.5M center should be sparking his teammates – and not vice-versa.
Come 6:02 remaining and Rosen was ecstatic when talking about Bill Pidto and the Bud Light GLASS PASS UP YOUR ASS promotion.
It was also around this time where it was noticeable that Chicago was picking up some steam – where again – which is why I don’t know why Trocheck and Mika traded lines – as you can point to this moment in the game for the Rangers’ collapse.
Down to 4:30 remaining, and Chicago had now controlled the puck during three consecutive possessions (and line changes).
And you know it’s bad when even both Sam and Joe were talking about this – as they stopped telling us who was young, what team sucked, who was related to who, etc, in order to inform us that the Hawks were turning the tables.
Two-minutes later, and down to 2:30 to go – nothing had changed, as the Rangers looked like a different team from what they had looked like in the first period.
Thankfully, CZAR IGOR was able to prevent a (late) crucial tomahawk goal allowed.
Come 2:01 remaining and we saw some life, as Mrazek was forced to make a fantastic save on Trocheck.
In other words, Trocheck adjusted to his new linemates first, while who knows what the hell Mika was doing.
Mrazek came up with another strong save, this time on Schneider, with thirty-seconds remaining – but it was evident – following the JONNY HOCKEY goal – this period was all Chicago – but CZAR IGOR was able to send them on a trail of tears (18 saves in total) – or at least once this period ended.
3-1, GOOD GUYS, after forty minutes – and where perhaps you thought that the Rangers had survived Chicago’s final all-out attack too.
To open, Laviolette hit the line blender again and reunited his “super line” – Panarin/Mika/Kreider.
One more time – I can’t remember a Rangers’ head coach ever hitting the line blender with a two goal lead before – so I am to assume that this must be Gallant’s fault – am I right, TURK TRUTHERS?
Down to 18:19 to go and Schneider made a horrible turnover in his own zone; but fortunately, the Finn, not exactly feckless tonight, Kakko, was able to thwart the threat.
Following Chicago’s third icing of the period with 17:00 to go, the Hawks blocked two Trocheck shots – as once again – #16 was much more active than #93.
In what was also apparent at this time is something that I’ve been saying for some time now – and which still remains true:
Vesey is too valuable on his own line, and in a way, is punished for it.
With 15:50 remaining, Rosen said, “in the Rangers’ last nine wins, they have given up two goals or less.”
A nanosecond later – my heart had sunk into my asshole – as I knew that this SAMMY WHAMMY would hit.
And that’s what would happen.
A minute later, Rosen said, “there’s not much happening this period,” which led Micheletti into replying with, “and that’s okay.”
However, the Blueshirts had squandered so many chances, that you had to know that the other shoe (or skate) would drop.
It’s just “The Rangers’ Way.”
You also knew this would be the case when right after, Micheletti said “Chicago doesn’t have one SOG this period.”
A nanosecond later, and with 14:32 to go go?
Lindgren was boxed for interference.
Now on the penalty kill for the second time tonight – the Rangers kept their two-goal lead in-tact.
Better than that?
They didn’t even allow a SOG either.
With 12:00 to go, CZAR IGOR made his first save of the period when he stopped Megna. Fifteen-seconds later, CZAR IGOR made his second save of this final frame.
Come 10:04 remaining and CZAR IGOR made arguably his best save yet of the game, when he stopped Johnson right from his doorstep.
Now under ten-minutes to go and it was noticeable that Laviolette was relying much more on his bottom-six, rather than his top-six, to close out.
With 7:17 remaining, Rosen said, “Shestyorkin has had a great game tonight.”
A nanosecond later? Trocheck rung one off of the iron.
Fifty-four seconds after that?
Following the fourth-line and third pair being unable to clear the puck on three different tries, Foligno, from the goal mouth, banged home a rebound with 6:23 to go.
This goal allowed was tough to solely pin on CZAR IGOR – but obviously, anything that goes in these days is being both scrutinized and criticized to the max.
3-2, good guys.
Now under the FOXWOODS FINAL FIVE mark, and Chicago had registered the last ten SOG against these reeling and “No Quit in New York – JK LOL” Rangers.
With 3:45 to go, a Schneider-to-Kreider tip-try finally snapped the Rangers’ SOG drought – but Mrazek, who had to wake up from his nap, came up with the stop.
As the Hawks were out-shooting the Rangers in this period, 12-3, and with 1:48 to go; Mrazek took a seat for the extra skater.
Laviolette responded by immediately putting his fourth line out there.
With 1:15 to go, Rosen said, “The Rangers are in a good place.”
Tie game, as Jason Dickinson, following a shot from downtown Julie Brown, scored the equalizer.
This was a redirection goal, as Dickinson had deflected a point shot from Seth Jones.
Another two-goal lead blown.
Following the goal, Chicago called their timeout, as Richardson wanted to rest his best players in order to ensure the point netted in the standings.
Overtime would be needed.
Lavy went with Mika, Kreider and Miller to start. I still don’t know why the head coach doesn’t go with his best three players instead – Panarin, Trocheck and Fox – and where this latter trio came on just 22-seconds later.
With 3:22 to go – Lafreniere reminded us of his poor shooting percentage, as during a one-on-one chance with Mrazek, he was stoned by the goaltender.
Thirty-seconds later, and with the Rangers attacking, Zibanejad took a simple pass from Fox and brought the puck offside.
Then, and with 2:23 to go, Mika redeemed himself, as following Dickinson colliding with Fox – Kreider brought the puck into the zone, found his BFF and bang – that’s all she wrote – as Zibanejad scored his second goal of 2024 five-weeks into the year:
MIKA. OT WINNER. 🚨 pic.twitter.com/9LZVdf1cnf
— Rangers Videos (@SNYRangers) February 10, 2024
4-3, GOOD GUYS.
4-3, GOOD GUYS, your final
I hope this kicks off Mika – but similar to his success against Philadelphia when they were at their lowest point – this is not a goal to do backflips over – and as noted earlier – which is why no Ranger really celebrated this goal, nor this win either for that matter.
But, a win’s a win and it’s four straight – so I do believe that fans should be happy about that.
Here’s a still angry head coach after the win:
End of the day?
I can understand all of the reactions – but you move on.
And yes – I am wiping my brow – because had the Rangers lost…. well, perish the thought!
Up Next: Laviolette is giving the team off on Saturday and will then make them practice on Superbowl Sunday.
My Superbowl prediction?
My cousin, Christian McCaffrey, is named the SB MVP – in a San Fran 31-28 win!
I may be back over the weekend should anything big develop – but for right now – my pillow is calling!
But while I’m sleeping, you can do yourself more reading, which brings us to…
PLUGS TIME! (Buy a book and support my Rangers’ induced therapy bills. After all, I don’t run ads on this site!)
My fourth title and tenth book is now available!
“The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History,” is now available for sale!
For complete information, please visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/rangerkillers/
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/TBL 2/7 Review: TRUE GRIT! Rangers’ Bottom Six (And Six-Figure Salaries) Carry Blueshirts’ FAT CATS To An Impressive Victory Over Bolts; Send Out an APB For Mika Zibanejad, Goalie Controversy Intensifies; Quick Shines & Should Go Four in a Row, Sickening Sergachev Injury Sustained, Laviolette, Lundqvist Stars on TNT; Boucher Channels Rosen & More
Darren Dreger Reports a Dubious James Dolan Rumor Concerning Chris Drury & The 2024 NHL Draft; Why Fans Shouldn’t Buy It, Dolan’s “Legacy,” Nick Bonino’s Blueshirts’ Tenure Officially Kaput – And Why the Devils Could Be a Fit For Him, Laviolette Teases Riding Quick’s Hot Hand & More
NYR/COL 2/5 Review: Jonathan Quick Puts The Rangers On His Back; All Previous Problems Remain the Same, Blueshirts Blessed by Backstops; A Historical Retrospective, Gilles Villemure, Kakko/Ducks Trade Rumors Heating Up; One-Line Blueshirts Need Help ASAP, Bless Sam Rosen’s Heart; Micheletti Massacres Mika, Lundqvist v. Vagistat, M$GN+ & More
If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:
Don’t forget to order my 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