NYR/TBL 3/14 Review: The Ides of No Mika March Robs Ranger Fans of “JACK THE RIPPER” Headlines; Bolts’ Big Guns Go Off Late, GAG LINE 2.0 Scores Again – But the Powerless Play Still Remains, Defense Plays Well Enough – But The Trouba & Rempe Absences Are Noticeable, Not a Loss To Be Mad About, Lavy, M$GN, Rosenism’s & More

By the half-way point of the Thursday night “Tango in Tampa” – and the Rangers were still arguably enjoying their best stretch of hockey this season – a stretch that had now reached ten-and-a-half periods – which also included their three previous wins against St. Louis, New Jersey and Carolina. Up 2-0 at the time, a Jonny Brodzinski turnover eventually opened the floodgates in what ultimately became a Lightning 6-3 victory. While you can’t exclusively blame Mr. Hockey for tonight’s loss, what you can say is that this game felt a little bit like deja vu. After all, and as you may already be aware of too – this isn’t the first time when the Rangers have blown a two-goal lead to these Bolts – but at least on this date – this match wasn’t a playoff contest. Take solace in that. Need more of a pick-me-up? Then take a look at the standings too, the big picture, as the Rangers, and despite this loss, still maintain their status, one that could become wire-to-wire too come mid-April, as the top dog of the Metropolitan Division.

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Off puck drop – yes, I know – I’m probably overwriting about one loss.

And I know that’s exactly what my good friend, “THE MAVEN,” Mr. Stan Fischler, is saying as he sees the scroll bar ever-expanding to the right side of his computer!

But then again – these blogs, these daily manifestos, is my way of venting and emptying out my soul to a clean and pristine state following losses – and where let’s face it – outside of Stinka Zibanedud – I haven’t really had much to kvetch about during this 2023-24 campaign either!

Truth be told, and while they’d never admit it – I do think the horrendous scheduling factored into tonight’s Rangers’ 6-3 loss – and yes, I know this too – that’s an excuse.

However, it’s a valid one – and to be clear – I’m not taking anything away from the Bolts either – you know – a Tampa team who played their first game in five days following their 7-0 smackdown of the Flyers from this past Saturday night (3/9).

As mentioned during the past two weeks on this site; for whatever reason, the idiots who are paid to make-up each team’s 82-game schedule during the summer months – well they came up with the bright idea to have the Rangers play three games in a time-span of two-weeks.

Following the trio of such said matches, and the all-important trade deadline too, the NHL schedule makers then booked the Rangers to play six-games in nine-nights – and where on this night, if playing the Devils and Hurricanes on back-to-back nights wasn’t bad enough – then a third game in four nights followed too – and as was this game against the Bolts.

For good measure?

Following tonight, the Rangers will play their final two games of this six-of-nine stretch – and where of course – not only against fellow Metro rivals – but on back-to-back days too – and where in addition – there’s only a 22-hour turnaround between Saturday’s 3PM puck drop in Pittsburgh and Sunday’s 1PM puck drop at M$G against the nomadic Islanders.

So yeah, while of course, and just like you and any other fan, I’d like to see the Rangers go 82-0 too – but due to how they’ve been playing ever since the trade deadline, and if you can forget about that six-week stretch of mid-winter .500 hockey too – then I really can’t go up-in-arms about the Blueshirts being doubled-up by the Bolts, 6-3 – and as it was at the Amalie Arena on “Pi Day” – March 14th.

Another famous March date in history?

The Ides of March – and where sadly – now at the half-way point of the third calendar month of the year – there’s no annual “MIKA MARCH” to speak of – that is – unless you count the way he races into the arms of Chris Kreider for his never-ending hugs-and-handjobs.

Zibanejad has scored one goal in the month of March – and his first even-strength goal since the Eve of Christmas Eve too. In other words – NOT GOOD!

I know that I sound like a broken record this season – but at the same time – I can only work with the material that I’m given.

And when you’re giving Zibanejad an annual salary of $8.5M, and coupled-in with the fact that his last few post-seasons haven’t been that hot either – then yeah – I’m extremely concerned about him right now.

Maybe, and as it has been the case during the regular season – then perhaps the GAG LINE 2.0, the bottom-six, the defense and the goalies can carry the Rangers to the Stanley Cup.

But it isn’t likely.

And really, is it out of line to suggest that your $8.5M center needs to score goals – and can’t be praised as having an “amazing” season – and as both his BFF, Chris Kreider, and scribe, Arthur Staple, are both suggesting – and primarily due to #93’s defensive work – including his strong abilities showcased during Ranger penalty kills?

At $8.5M – and I’m not breaking any new ground here either – Zibanejad has to score.


Hell, and by the time a real and true elite center, Brayden Point, scored his hat trick tonight, which then put the Bolts up 5-3 – I thought Sam Rosen’s remarks said it all:

“All of Tampa’s big guys and big names have shown up tonight Joe!”

Joe Micheletti bit his tongue and didn’t respond with, “too bad Zibanejad didn’t do the same for the Rangers tonight Sam!”

The glass half-full perspective and silver lining from the loss? At least I don’t have to hear anymore junk about how the Rangers should bench captain Jacob Trouba once he’s ready to return! And to even waste my time telling you all about Trouba’s worth to this team is beneath me! By now, you should know what “THE GREAT EIGHT” brings to the Blueshirts!

Recently, I have had many readers write-in and say, “you’re being too harsh on Zibanejad.”

But if you’ve noticed anything from my writing style from over the past ten-years, and besides the over-usage of dashes, commas and semicolons, then you’ll be able to detect that I’ll harp on a point for future use.

This time around?

As noted many times before – and where one more time – that 2023 Stanley Cup Playoff loss not only broke me – but it forced me to write “The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History” as a way to self-heal too – I am extremely nervous about witnessing “The Ghost of Mika Zibanejad” come the playoffs – and where really – has he given me anything to suggest otherwise?

But I guess, and to be fair – I’m also nervous about Artemi Panarin too – and despite his career-best season – of him becoming a no-show when it matters most again too.

Such is the life of a Ranger fan – where as a reminder – four Stanley Cups in 98-years will leave you a tad jaded – and especially when you’ve been bestowed with the esteemed title of “RANGERS’ HISTORIAN” by the great Stan Fischler!

In other words, I’ve seen it before – and what I haven’t seen – I’m keenly aware of too!

As said, while I know that blaming the schedule for tonight’s loss is an excuse, what I’m about to say next is also an excuse – but much like the schedule – I think the following is valid too:

I think the Rangers missed their own pair of league “villains” tonight – captain Jacob Trouba and Monstrous Matt Rempe.

While who knows how this game would’ve went down with these two hard-hitters in the line-up; it’s just my opinion that had #8 and #73 both been available tonight – then Tampa has a hard time – and especially when down by two-goals.

In other words, without a true game-changing physical presence in the line-up, and for as much as both Ryan Lindgren and Will Cuylle tried to fill that role – the Bolts didn’t have to play too honest – nor without their heads on a swivel either.

And with the Rangers having both their three-game winning and ten consecutive excellent periods of hockey streaks snapped on Thursday night – at least that should end all of the “TROUBA MUST GO” bullshit too!

Or so I say.

While I’m not mad, or even upset about tonight’s loss (but all of my concerns about “Stinka Zibanedud” still remain – if not were heightened); I just feel bad for Jack Roslovic, who definitely deserved his flowers tonight – and had the Rangers’ won – then “The Broadway Hat” too. Photo Credit: Getty Images

At this time, and to put everything into perspective – and where the word “everything” can be substituted for “the main objective;” my season-long daily disclaimer – and where by now – you should be able to repeat these following 25-words verbatim – and just like reader Nick L. always does:


With that said, let’s talk about what happened in Tampa – and then get into everything else.

And yeah, I apologize in-advance if I’m all over the place too, akin to a disjointed Rangers’ power-play – as I’m running on no sleep – but I’m sure that by now, and like yours truly – you’re also sick of hearing me crying about my non-stop and busy work schedule that doesn’t return me home until the wee hours of the morning!

Despite tonight being a loss, and despite this being an old picture too – I thought that once again, the new-found pairing of K’Andre Miller and Braden Schneider had another good outing. Photo Credit: Getty Images

As they were during the past three games, the Rangers played a strong and disciplined game tonight – or at least for the first thirty-minutes.

And as it was three-times earlier this week – such attributes led to scoring.

At the 13:58 mark of the first frame, we had a pure GAG LINE 2.0 goal, as an Alexis Lafreniere pass from his own zone to his center, Vincent Trocheck, led to Artemi Panarin’s 36th goal of the season – a “Harlem Globetrotter” lookin’ goal at that – and where as a reminder – all three of these players are having the best seasons of their career.

No less than three-minutes later (2:58 to be exact), Schneider thwarted a Tampa Bay attack in his own end, raced up ice, and following some Jack Roslovic juggling skills, the new right-winger found the alleged first-line center, which then allowed B-Schneidz to bang home the 2-0, GOOD GUYS, goal.

Up 2-0 going into the second stanza – and it looked like the Rangers were well on their way into extending their winning streak to four-games.

Whether it was case of the grueling schedule, Tampa waking up a bit, or perhaps a combination of both events; a Johnny Hockey turnover led to a goal for tonight’s first star, Brayden Point.

While you can blame Brodzinski for this particular goal – keep in mind – the Rangers were still leading – and by this time – were also 0-2 on their power-play.

And as you’ll see during the GAME REVIEW segment – they also had plenty of other chances to extend their two-goal lead prior to Point’s first-of-three goals.

Similar to Tuesday night, as the Rangers approached the end of the second period – they just wanted to get out of it without any further damage.

But as is usually the case, a former Ranger, on this night Anthony Duclair, erased such an idea, following his demoralizing rebound goal scored with only 1:17 remaining the period.

Tied at two-a-piece entering the final frame – it looked like the Rangers would once again “Find-A-Way,” as just 1:48 in, JACK THE RIPPER, and similar to the goal that Panarin had scored, finished Tampa goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy following a hell of a one-timed pass sent his way from the 2021 Norris Trophy winner, Adam Fox.

Now up 3-2 – the Rangers would never score again.

Worse than that?

Tampa scored four unanswered.

As I’ll also note during the GAME REVIEW, one negative turning point took place at the 3:17 mark, as CZAR IGOR created a show with Matt Dumba.

Had CZAR IGOR kept his cool, then the Rangers would’ve received a power-play – but then again – it’s not like they do much with these man-advantages to begin with.

With Kreider playing the valiant hero for his goalie – both CK20 and Matt Dumba, with the latter successfully riling-up Mr. Shestyorkin, were boxed – which then allowed Tampa’s lethal foreplay to go to work – and with the extra room on the ice afforded.

24-seconds later?

Point’s second goal of the game – and where yeah – while this was a hell of a play for the truly elite center – Shestyorkin had to stop this one.

Even so – it was now 3-3 – and with plenty of time remaining for the Rangers to regain their lead.

But it wasn’t meant to be.

At the 12:08 mark, Cuylle slashed Kucherov. 37-seconds later, and Stamkos, following one of the best no-look passes that you’ll ever see, from who else, Point himself (3G, 3A, 6P tonight), easily beat CZAR IGOR for the Bolts’ go-ahead, 4-3, bad guys, goal.

Two minutes later?

Point, after initially hitting a crossbar, put the game out of reach with the 5-3, bad guys goal – a Blueshirts’ backbreaker scored at the 14:48 mark.

In other words, the Rangers, once leading 2-0 in this game, were now down two-goals – and as Laviolette has successfully done so many times before (and for the MORONS complaining about his decision to pull the goalie early – did you guys & gals forget what had transpired during the Stadium Series match against the Islanders too?) – he pulled the goalie.

This time, a rare time at that, it didn’t work out.

With 3:38 remaining, Nikita Kucherov, who should win the Hart Trophy this season, scored his 39th goal of this 2023-24 campaign with the empty-netter.

6-3 bad guys, 6-3 bad guys your final.

While I know that many think that the Rangers blew this game, and perhaps ran out of gas too; but when you factor-in everything, and look at the big picture too – then I don’t see why any fan would hang their heads right now.


He needs to get his head right – and hopefully he learnt something when watching the name brand Bolts show up in a game that mattered much more for them than it did for the Rangers. (Standings don’t lie.)

And yeah – I probably could end it here -but what’s the fun in that?

Plus, I like to give every game, win-or-lose, the same treatment – although that won’t be the case this Saturday, because as previously mentioned – I’m attending a watch party at my local watering hole for Rangers/Penguins.

But we can get to that match, the next on the schedule, once covering everything else from Thursday, which brings us to the PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES segment!

As you’d expect, prior to tonight’s tango in Tampa, the head coach was very happy with the way his team had played post-deadline (3-0), and as a result, didn’t see a reason to tinker with his line-up.

Following the back-to-back wins over the Devils and Hurricanes, where going into this season, these two tilts looked like they could’ve swung the standings; come Wednesday, the team had a well-deserved day off.

As the Rangers continue to endure the horrible NHL schedule maker’s plot against them, as their fourth game of a six-games in nine-nights (so much for player safety) laid ahead of them on Thursday night; interestingly enough, the Blueshirts didn’t recall anyone for the suspended Matt Rempe.

With a “no news Wednesday” behind them, around noon Thursday, seven-hours prior to puck drop, the team held a sponsored “RISE AND SHINE” morning skate at M$G $outh – aka Amalie Arena.

With “Lavy’s Lot” rolling, there wasn’t anything of note to come out of the practice which is good news, as the Blueshirts continued to hum.

Following the light sweat, the 37th head coach in franchise history conducted his pregame edition of “LAVY’S LOUNGE.”

Here it is for you below:

Similar to the practice, there wasn’t really much for the bench boss to address.

But as noted many times before, Lavy used his face time to talk up another one of his players, where on Thursday afternoon, it was Zac Jones.

When asked about going with Jones rather than the recently acquired Chad Ruhwedel for the past three games (and in light of the Trouba injury), Laviolette said that #6 deserved this opportunity.

As you may have been able to deduce on your own, the head coach said that Jones has been patient and a good soldier all season, as for the majority of the season, the defenseman has been sitting in the press box, rather than participating on the front lines.

Laviolette was also sure to make mention that Jones has responded to the call, and in turn, that’s why Ruhwedel has taken the press box seat formerly reserved for Jones.

While Lavy said that he wouldn’t change his line-up tonight, it’s my belief that Ruhwedel will get his first game as a Ranger this Saturday, when the team plays the Penguins – Ruhwedel’s former club.

But of course, that all remains to be seen.

As far as anything else, but you had to know this would be the case – Lavy confirmed that CZAR IGOR, who entered Thursday night not only on a winning streak, but having shut out his last two opponents too, would get a chance to make it three in a row against the Bolts.

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

FIRST LINE: Panarin/Trocheck/Lafreniere

SECOND LINE: Kreider/Zibanejad/Roslovic

THIRD LINE: Cuylle/Wenneberg/Kakko

FOURTH LINE: Vesey/Goodrow/Brodzinski

FIRST PAIR: Lindgren/Fox

SECOND PAIR: Miller/Schneider

THIRD PAIR: Gustafsson/Jones


BACK-UP: Quick

Healthy Scratches: Ruhwedel

Suspended: Rempe

Injured but not on the IR yet: Trouba


The following graphics and information come from ESPN.com:





28 3 25 .893 23 2 0 0 0 59:57 0


27 5 22 .815 21 1 0 0 0 59:50 0

No one sounded happier than Sam Rosen tonight when CZAR IGOR’s shutout streak was broken.

As I have been doing ever since having my work hours changed – I listened to this game live on the radio – and then watched it back on television once returned home – and it’s the latter that I used when writing the words that you’re reading right now.

In other words, if you want thoughts from both Dave Maloney and the radio broadcast, then check out my tweeter feed here: https://twitter.com/NYCTheMiC

However, I must admit – I didn’t take as many “live notes” when listening at work – as it was busier than usual tonight.

What you’re about to read below is from what I saw on the television broadcast – and where yes – there was no shot in hell that I was going to waste my precious time watching/listening to whatever the seven-foot shithead, Sieve Vagistat, had to say either – as I deleted and fast-forwarded through all of his junk.

To open, and in a rarity, while Sam always gives us the weather report whenever it’s raining outside of M$G/in NYC; in a first, he astutely informed viewers that it was hot and sunny in Tampa, Florida.

In other news, Rosen also reported that it’s cold in Antarctica.

After talking about CZAR IGOR’s shutout streak, where both of our affable announce duo pretty much applied the infamous “announcers’ jinx” on #31 (and to be fair – I’m not blaming this SAMMY WHAMMY and JUMPIN’ JOE JINX for this loss – as they SHOULD HAVE been talking about the red-hot play from the 2022 Vezina Trophy winner); Rosen and Micheletti then brought up how Fox has been filling the void for Trouba.

As Sam brought up the All-Russian challenge between the two goalies, and Panarin & Kucherov too; Micheletti then said that these two Rangers love playing against these two Bolts.

I don’t know why would that be the case, considering recent history (playoffs), but Sam soon swore on a bowl of matzoh ball soup that this was true.

To continue the jinxing, Micheletti said that Tampa isn’t the same team that they were from years ago and how they pretty much should be relegated to the AHL.

Well, we saw how that worked out tonight.

To double-down, Rosen told us that the Lightning aren’t a Stanley Cup contender anymore and that the very thought of them winning the championship this year should be sent straight to a Russian gulag.

Rosen, in his infinite wisdom, then let us know that the main job of the goaltender is to stop the puck. This comment really changed the way that I had previously viewed the position.

If there was anything else interesting from these meandering five-minutes, then it was when Rosen previewed the top two centers from either side – Brayden Point and Vincent Trocheck.

In other words, not a peep about the $8.5M alleged first-line center.

For good measure, Sam then told us again that it warm and sunny in Florida.

Hall of Fame stuff.


These two have played well together during the past four-games – and where I guess it’s a good thing that fans want to see these two full-time over Trouba/Miller too – as it just speaks to the work this new duo are doing. Photo Credit: NYR


Prior to puck drop, Micheletti said that Roslovic had given the BFF line some life.

Imagine if Zibanejad, paid nearly five-times as much as the newest Blueshirt, did the same thing?

Right after that, Kreider had a mini-breakaway just seconds-in – but of course – extended the new Rangers’ breakaway drought. In a response, and as Rosen was in awe of Anthony Duclair joining his 373737477347799th team – “The Duke” was stopped by CZAR IGOR at just the 50-second mark.

As Rosen informed us that 1+1=2 (and I’m surprised that he got this right – then again – maybe a producer fed him such information), and when using his fingers to count out how many games Matt Rempe has missed thus far; Lindgren broke up a Tampa attack with 18:25 remaining.

25-seconds later?

CZAR IGOR made a huge BESSIE save on “Stammer Time” – but that music would later blare at Amalie.

When breaking down the play, Rosen told us that it was Thursday night. The man is a marvel.

Bless Sam’s heart.

As we hit 17:32 remaining, Motte hit Miller. Rosen’s response?

“Former one-time Ranger Tyler Motte with a hit on K’Andre Miller.”

Bless Sam’s heart.

And for those, like Rosen, who don’t know – Motte had two stints with the Blueshirts during the past two years.

A few seconds later, and in another rarity, Sam and Joe actually gave us the history of a Ranger – and where for the 87678687676th time since leaving Tampa – the announce duo brought up how Barclay Goodrow won two Stanley Cups with the Bolts.

And you may have heard about this too – Adam Fox is from Jericho (no relation to Chris Jericho), New York.

Down to 16:13 remaining and Andrei Vasilevskiy (AV for the rest of this – and where no – AV and Alain Vigneault are not related) came up with a nice save on a screaming shot sent his way off of “The Breadstick.”

In a response, Sam gave us his Beavis laugh – his newly invented fake chuckle that kind of sounds like a nervous tic.

Come 16:04 remaining, AV made a good save on Jones – and where #6 continues to play well. In fact, along with his partner, Gustafsson, these two created about twenty-seconds worth of an attack.

As Sam and Joe made-up some fake praise for Kakko with 14:37 remaining, AV stopped Fox.

After that, Sam previewed the rest of the Rangers’ TV schedule for the remainder of the season – and of course – this all took place when the puck was in play – and as Miller thwarted a Tampa attack.

Down to 13:39 remaining and the horrible Blueshirts’ PP got their first crack at it, as Conor Sheary tripped Lafreniere. Following a whistle, Eyssimont tried to get cute with CZAR IGOR, which as a result, the GAG 2.0 Line and the third pair defended their goalie with an all-out scrum – and one that correctly didn’t draw any sort of penalties for either side.

While getting some shots off – and blocked too – once again, the Rangers, who have a knack for this, received the first power-play of the game – and even with the chances – couldn’t score.

Seriously, when’s the last time “Lavy’s Lot” had an early (or first) power-play in a game and then scored on it?

End result?

0-1 on the man-advantage – and again – why Lafreniere, who draws a ton of penalties, doesn’t get a chance to play with his linemates here, is beyond me.

As Schneider kept an attack alive with 11:05 remaining following his good keep, the Bolts were forced to chip the puck up to an awaiting JONNY HOCKEY.

A minute later and Fox fought off Kucherov, forcing the hopeful 2024 Hart Trophy winner into taking a tough-angle shot.

As we got under the ten-minute mark, the Bolts sent a trio of shots at CZAR IGOR, but none of them reached their destination. During this time, Gustafsson also denied an odd-man rush with a sliding block and swing of the stick.

Down to 8:44 remaining and both Wennberg and Cuylle teamed up to force Tampa to go offside – so once again – the former Krakhead continues to play strong defense.

With 7:50 left on the clock, the BFF line had a few chances to shoot the puck – but never did – and this shift ended following another turnover spun by D.J. Mika.

Ninety-seconds later and the fourth line won a grinding battle against their competition. This then led to a shift change where THE GAG LINE 2.0 came on, and as a result, with 6:02 remaining, the following:


What a pretty, pretty, pretty scoring play – and a pure GAG LINE 2.0 goal too, as Lafreniere found Trocheck who then made the excellent set-up-on-a-tee pass for Panarin’s 36th strike – and 88th point of the season.

One more time, and probably not the last time – just to think – this line was created out of necessity, following the Chytil injury.

Talk about a “happy accident.”

Following a CZAR IGOR save with 4:40 remaining, the heavy Blueshirts’ contingent in-attendance belted out huge chants when screaming the first name of their favorite goalie.

While we all know about the New York transplants residing in Florida, it always amazes me, even when Tampa had their two Stanley Cup runs, that whenever the Rangers roll into town, that these Blueshirt Backers always take over the arena known as “M$G $outh.”

Then, and with 3:04 remaining, Roslovic’s first point as a Ranger:


I was happy to see B-Schneidz get this goal, as it was his defense in the other end that set it up.

And hey, a rare Mika sighting too, as he fed the puck to his d-man following JACK THE RIPPER’S razzling-and-dazzling in the Tampa zone.

And I’ll duck as I write this too – had the roles been reversed – and had Schneider made this pass to Zibanejad – then I think that Mika would’ve hit the beaches in Clearwater with his shot.

Down to 90-seconds remaining, and in a harbinger of what was to come; Micheletti said that CZAR IGOR didn’t have to do anything in this period. Talk about a “MOTIVATIONAL MICHELETTI” speech for Jon Cooper’s bunch.

With just 11-seconds remaining, Brodzinski fed Fox for a blast – but AV made the huge save. Had this puck went in, then perhaps the end result of this game would’ve been different.

But I am not blaming Fox for not scoring here for this defeat – as that’s more on Mika and the 0-2 power-play – and while an excuse (again) – yes, the schedule too.

2-0, GOOD GUYS, through twenty – and where outside of a JACK THE RIPPER GOAL scored in the final frame – it was then all downhill from here.

While not the best goaltending duo that these two Russian netminders have ever had against each other tonight; I also thought that both of them made big stops when it mattered – but also allowed a bad goal each too. Photo Credit: NHL


As Sam and Joe opened this second stanza with the usual question and talking about how dominant the Rangers were, AV made a save on JACK THE RIPPER at the forty-second mark. A few seconds later, and following a shift change, AV recorded two more stops, on both Lindgren and Lafreniere respectively.

To make sure that his jinx would prove true, Micheletti then mentioned that Tampa’s top line didn’t even have a shot on goal tonight. That would soon change, and change drastically at that.

Down to 17:15 remaining, and to prove that he was TRUE BLUE too, Wennberg stepped in front of a hard shot fired by Hayden Fleury. Wennberg came up gimpy a bit, but it was just temporary pain.


As the Rangers continued to dominate possession time at the five-minute mark, at the time, it looked like the home team just had no answers for their guests, which in turn, just makes this loss frustrating – but again – not an “end of the world” loss either.

Then, and with 14:40 remaining, Panarin and Lafreniere had a two-vs-one odd-man rush – and where Panarin didn’t shoot the puck – as he forced a puck for a turnover instead.

This probably should’ve been 3-0 here – but it wasn’t – and while Panarin was unselfish – up 2-0, you can understand why he was trying to get his fellow winger going.

At the same time, and with the knowledge of the final score – this was yet another reminder, of many, that you can’t take leads against the Bolts for granted.

Haven’t we learnt anything from 2022?

Come 13:00 remaining, and with third-line racing into the zone, Kakko found himself nearing the slot, and rather than going straight to the net – he forced a puck to Wennberg – and then immediately skated right back to his usual spot on the boards.

In other words, another opportunity to shoot at AV, but instead, no SOG.

And with all of the board-humping that the Feckless Finn does, then I’m surprised that there isn’t a pile of wooden babies littered around the yellow paint.

With 11:21 remaining, Micheletti said, “The Rangers are disciplined and have not put Tampa on the power-play tonight.”

No less than a minute later, and with 10:30 to go, Hedman slashed Panarin – so a temporary “reverse jinx” – although two Tampa power-plays were soon to come.

Very early into this power-play, and Zibanejad got hit high with a puck when trying to defend against Cernak, which meant that he had to leave the ice for repairs. (Zibanejad would return in the third period – and with one of those now familiar fish bowl helmets over his head.)

In turn, Lafreniere finally got some PP1 time – but like it is with Mika – nothing doing.

End result, a now 0-2 power-play – which sadly – is commonplace these days.

As it often goes, a successful penalty kill is a momentum changer, and once killing off the Hedman penalty, Tampa struck within one.

Down to 7:20 remaining, we heard this:

“Dryden Hunt, Brayden Point, breaks up the Rangers’ shutout streak.” – Sam Rosen

Bless Sam’s heart.

2-1, good guys.

A Brodzinski turnover at the Rangers’ blue line led to a two-vs-one odd-man rush for the Bolts and that’s all it took.

Prior to this, the Rangers were responsible with the puck – but to get on JONNY HOCKEY for this loss, as many were doing, is ridiculous to me – especially when you consider that Zibanejad earns over ten-times as much in salary as Mr. Brodzinski.

In other words, compare Zibanejad to Point, someone in his salary “weight class.”

And yes – of course – Mr. Point was Sam’s KIA CARD PLAYER OF THE GAME.

On brand, on brand!

With 5:56 remaining, Lafreniere interfered with Hagel, who had stripped him of the puck in Tampa’s d-zone and was about to break out.

How many times have I said some version of the following this season? A trillion?

Anyway, here it is:

“For as bad as the power-play has been, equally and inversely as good has been the Rangers’ penalty kill.”

This is my way of saying that the Blueshirts’ PK was once again flawless here.

With the ice titled a bit, CZAR IGOR stopped Hagel with 3:20 remaining – and with the Rangers being unable to clear the puck out of the zone until thirty-seconds later.

With 2:19 to go, Cuylle laid a huge hit on Fleury – as CUYLLE HAND LUKE reminded everyone who was the first “big” rookie in-town this season – albeit in the B.C./Matt Rempe era.

As was the case in the wins against St. Louis, Carolina and New Jersey – this time, the Rangers were on the other end of it – as with 1:15 remaining, former Blueshirt, “THE DUKE,” scored a demoralizing rebound goal – and on a Point rebound that probably shouldn’t have been allowed, as it looked like CZAR IGOR had a clean save on the initial shot.


2-2 through two too.

(Say that two times fast too!)

Up next, and to sum up the final frame in one word?


Both Lindgren and Zibanejad sustained injuries tonight – but both also returned too. Hockey Players – and even if I’m not exactly thrilled with #93 these days – and one that’s now making me long for the days when Petr Nedved (who admittedly, was one of my favorite Blueshirts as a teenager) manned the center position in New York. Photo Credit: NYR


Let’s get through this as fast as humanly possible.

Things looked good to start, as just 1:48 into the period, JACK THE RIPPER scored his first as a Ranger, following one of the slickest passes you’ll ever see from Fox.

3-2, GOOD GUYS – and our final Ranger strike of the match.

This was somewhat a carbon copy of the Trocheck-to-Panarin goal too – so I guess there’s something to “EAST-WEST” passing – and no matter how much Sieve Vagistat speaks out against it.

Not even a minute following the go-ahead goal, 17:26 left on the clock to be specific, the Rangers took one of those lovely too many men on the ice penalties.

But in a rarity – the officials actually waived this penalty off – aka “RANGERS’ REPRIEVE!”

Hanging with Mr. Cooper wasn’t pleased with this call being overturned following the officials’ meeting of the minds.

Perhaps this no-call lit a fire under Tampa’s ass – or maybe the Rangers just ran out of gas; but either way – the Bolts, following this no-call, scored four unanswered.

Down to 16:43 remaining, and I thought that Micheletti was right on the money when he said this too – CZAR IGOR got furious with Matt Dumba following a freeze.

I’d have to look it up – but CZAR IGOR has taken many penalties, usually of the off-setting variety, following these sparring matches.

In this case, Kreider took a penalty for defending his goalie.

So rather than receiving a power-play, we had foreplay instead – which only created more space for Tampa’s elite shooters – and where unlike the Rangers – their alleged first-line center is just that.

Just 23-seconds into the foreplay and Point just deked out everyone – including CZAR IGOR.

3-3 – and on a shot that #31 probably should’ve stopped – but then again – elite players do elite things – which is why I always laugh whenever people still call Zibanejad “elite.”

And really, can any player be “elite” solely based on regular season success anyway?

If so, then I’d rather have a career like Patrick Maroon – and with the rings on my fingers too!

With 15:32 to go, Lindgren and Duclair had a monster collision – a legal one – but what was illegal, and more importantly, ignored too – was that “The Duke” kept pushing Lindgren down after it – and in front of a referee.

A minute later, and Duclair almost scored again following a Schneider turnover, but fortunately, he didn’t get all of his shot when inching in on CZAR IGOR.

With 13:00 to go, another Ranger went down, this time, the usual suspect, as following a blocked shot, Lindgren left for repairs. The man just keeps taking a lickin’ but always comes up tickin’.

35-seconds later and Duclair, perhaps like Buchnevich from last Saturday night, may have been pissed about not being traded back to New York as rumored, as he continued to press the issue – and where CZAR IGOR had to come up with a huge save too.

Down to 10:57 remaining, and Jones forced a turnover, beat out one Tampa skater and then, and as two Bolt defenders were closing in, forced AV to make a save on his off-angle shot.

It’s just a shame this didn’t go in – as this was one hell of an individual effort.

As approached the half-way mark of the period, the following:

“[Artem] Anismov, Michael Eyssimont, with the shot.” – Rosen – but to be fair, I can understand this mistake – but I just wish he’d let me know if these two were related or not!

Following Zibanejad shooting the puck out of the zone, on his next entry, and with 9:30 remaining, he turned over the puck which then set up a Kucherov breakaway – where somehow – Miller (who turned over the puck after Mika had done so) got back and broke it up.

But in the end, this was a temporary band-aid – but even so – hell of a play from the man who David Quinn once nicknamed “THE PRAYING MANTIS.”

Down to 7:52 remaining, Cuylle was boxed for slashing Kucherov.

The Rangers almost had a short-handed chance here too, but while on a two-vs-one with Trocheck flanking him, Miller turned over the puck.

After that?

Stamkos scored just seconds later.

4-3, bad guys, with 7:15 remaining.

Gotta tip your cap to Point too – as he made a no look backward pass for a gimmie goal for the captain of the Lightning.

Me or you (but not Mika or Kakko) could have scored after this feed.

With Lindgren back on the ice with 5:52 remaining, he got the puck to Panarin who then set-up Lafreniere for a one-timer – and where we were reminded that the first-overall has had battles with finishing this season.

On the ensuing o-zone faceoff, Zibanejad had one of his 9676697667 one-timers denied too – but at least this one actually hit the net.

And following these two failed one-timers, and in seconds, with 5:12 to go, Point hit the post, Kucherov got the rebound and bang – 5-3, bad guys – and a hat trick for #21 in Tampa blue too.

And for all of my Rosen jokes, he said it best, “all of Tampa’s big guys have really stepped it up.”

That quote pretty much sums up these sixty-minutes.

A Kucherov empty-netter soon sealed the deal.

6-3 bad guys, 6-3, bad guys your final.

Here’s Laviolette following the loss, and where I thought he was extremely nice and generous when excusing this defeat on Zibanejad (-1) missing game time:

The Rangers will look to hang the Penguins another loss this Saturday afternoon. Photo Credit: Some guy from the LIRR!

Up next: A Friday of rest prior to a back-to-back weekend set against the Penguins and Islanders.

As previously mentioned, I’m going out for the Saturday game – so that GAME REVIEW blog will be delayed – and in a rarity – short too.

Things will return to normal on Sunday – although I’m now leaning to going out – as who can resist a hearty corned beef sandwich – and especially when it’s free?

In other words, let me be the first to wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day – and where unlike others – I don’t need a holiday to guzzle down booze when watching the Rangers!

What I do need is bed-time, which brings us to…

PLUGS TIME! (Buy a book and support my Rangers’ induced therapy bills. After all, I don’t run ads on this site!)

My fourth title and tenth book is now available!

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

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

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

My second plug of tonight’s blog – the mandatory plug for my book, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden.”

As mentioned previously, the book is now available in hardcover, in paperback and in Kindle formats. To purchase a copy of the book, visit this link:


For those still looking for signed paperback versions of the book, I have re-ordered more copies. I now have a few signed copies for sale at $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:

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

My four-volume set of books, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is a game-by-game recount of the Rangers 2021-22 campaign.

My second title as an author, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is now available in eBook, paperback and hardcover formats.

To obtain signed copies, visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/onegamebook/

To purchase all four volumes on Amazon, visit: Amazon.com – “One Game at a Time.”

The greatest volume-set of books on Rangers’ history today!

“Tricks of the Trade – A Century-Long Journey Through Every Trade Made In New York Rangers’ History,” a four-volume set of books that meticulously covers every trade made in franchise history, is now on sale.

All four volumes of the title can be purchased on Amazon.com and are presented in three different formats – eBook, paperback and hardcover.

To purchase Volume I: Conn Smythe (1926) – Craig Patrick (1986), visit Amazon.com

To purchase Volume II: Phil Esposito (1986) – Neil Smith (2000), visit Amazon.com

To purchase Volume III: Glen Sather (2000-2015), visit Amazon.com

To purchase Volume IV: Jeff Gorton (2015) – Chris Drury (2022), visit Amazon.com

To purchase signed copies of all four volumes, visit https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/

Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:

NYR/CAR 3/12 Review: Blueshirts Bend But Never Break; CZAR IGOR Shuts Out Canes, Next Man Up Lavy’s Lot Go All Out; Young D-Men Improving Leaps-and-Bounds, Don’t Buy The Anti-Trouba Nonsense, The One “Concern” Against a Rangers’ Playoff Contender, Rempe’s Reputation “Earns” Him an Unwarranted Lengthy Suspension, New Faces Fitting Like a Glove, Maloney, M$GN & More

NYR/NJD 3/11 Review: Mika Zibanejad Finally Ends Ten-Week Drought – But Needs to Make It Rain From This Point Forward, Fans Pay To See Rempe For 40 Minutes; Jack Hughes No Goals In 60 Minutes, REMPESTEIN Talk of the League Again; What Did Siegenthaler Do To Him? Special Teams Swing Games, Lavy Relies On His New “R&R Boys” in Big Win, Quick Continues Epic Comeback Season, Sam “No Relations” Rosen Has a Night; M$GN & More

NYR/STL 3/9 Review: The New Look New York Rempes Dominate Buchnevich’s Blues; “Matt Square Garden,” CZAR IGOR Posts Second Nyet-Nyet of the Season, Perfect Game Aside from Stinka Zibanedud; Blueshirt Fans Await the Hopeful Return of Mika Zibanejad, Fourth Line Heroics, Super Special Teams, “R&R Boys,” GAG LINE 2.0 Strikes Again, Lavy, Excellent M$GN Broadcast; Give Us More Boyle & Maloney & More

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

Now on sale!

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.


Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine

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4 thoughts on “NYR/TBL 3/14 Review: The Ides of No Mika March Robs Ranger Fans of “JACK THE RIPPER” Headlines; Bolts’ Big Guns Go Off Late, GAG LINE 2.0 Scores Again – But the Powerless Play Still Remains, Defense Plays Well Enough – But The Trouba & Rempe Absences Are Noticeable, Not a Loss To Be Mad About, Lavy, M$GN, Rosenism’s & More

  1. Ty for taking the edge off the loss. Nicely done have a great time at your viewing party and St Pats!

  2. Yeah I know you don’t wanna use the schedule as an excuse but in what universe does a guy serve a four game suspension and is back in less than a week?

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