What’s up everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. This will be a different blog than my normal blogs since I attended this game. I didn’t get the full M$G Networks experience, so my Micheletti material is light! I also want to apologize for any grammar errors, as I’m pressed for time here.
I’ll get into my experience at the Amalie Arena in a short while, but going into this game, I expected the result we got.
In fact, I fully believed Tampa would come out firing shots like a…. (Pick the joke that best suits you from the following:)
- Depressed teenager with an NRA card.
- Frat boy with a 2.0 GPA.
- George Zimmerman wannabe.
- Rodney Dangerfield night out with the wife.
- Minuteman shooting at a red coat at the Battle of Concord.
- 1980’s me playing “Duck Hunt” on Nintendo.
- Kobe Bryant with everyone on his team wide open.
- Clint Eastwood movie.
- Milo Yiannopolous review of a Leslie Jones “performance.”
- Redneck at a wedding.
A song from my formative years was “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. One lyric from that song is, “it’s fun to lose and to pretend.” The closing lyric of that song? “A denial”.
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” dominated the radio waves in 1991 and put Nirvana on the map. Now, nearly 27 years after the song’s release, many of the lyrics apply to these Rangers.
The Western Canada sweep? Those games are forgotten. Thinking this team has a shot at the playoffs? That’s “a denial” for sure.
Listen, I know I have been pulling for the playoffs the whole way. I still am. Is there a chance? Sure, but you got a better chance of me outracing Kenyans, while running backwards, at the NYC Marathon.
For many in RANGERSTOWN, whom are hoping for the tank, perhaps it “is fun to lose and to pretend.” These are the fans that are rooting for losses and pretending that the Rangers have a shot at the number 1 overall pick. Let me tell you something, nothing is guaranteed in the NHL and if you’re a Rangers fan, you hope for the best, but always expect the worst.
The pipe dream that the Rangers actually land the number one pick and then the number one pick actually pans out, which in turn, leads the team to a Cup, is a bird-brain theory. Do you know the history of this team?
Furthermore, with Glen “I’d win a Cup every year with the Rangers payroll” Sather, who is at the helm of this operation, I trust NYR management as much as I trust myself not to shart after eating Taco Bell taco’s with White Castle sliders inside. (Somewhere, a marketing/ad executive is reading this and now pitching the Taco Slider! I want residuals god damn it!)
For me, while losing is never fun, it is fun to pretend that this team has a shot. However, for one night, despite the 5-3 shellacking, (the score gives the Rangers too much credit) I had a fun time during a Rangers loss.
Before moving along and talking about my experience at Amalie, in case you’re new here or just took a few games off, here are my most recent blogs:
NYR/WPG 3/6 Review: Laine…Laine…Laine & The Jets Damper NYR Playoff Hopes After a “Pat-Trick”, Steve Mason Records The Softest Shutout of the NHL Season Due to The Scott Norwood Rangers, Zuccarello Goes From Monster to Mouse, M$G Networks Can’t Get Enough of Lundqvist (Neither Can Laine), Ronning, Shattenkirk, Tampa, Snow & Much More, From a “What Could’ve Been Win” from M$G
NYR/EDM 3/3 Review: The New York Strangers Sweep Western Canada; Move to 3-0 Since The Trade Deadline, NYR In The Playoff Hunt, Alexandar The Great’s First NHL Win, Talbot’s Terrible Season Explained, NYR Season Ticket Holders Getting Nervous, Alain Vigneault Gets Pissed, MSG Networks on Goalies & Much More
NYR/CGY 3/2 Review: The Rangers Make Things Interesting Behind One of Lundqvist’s Strongest Performances of the Season, NYR Wins The “Glass Cup”, Ryan “Rick Nash Who?” Spooner, Hayes Stays Hot, The Insufferable Joe Micheletti & “Slippin’” Sam Rosen, Vally on What Makes an NHL Goalie, Missing McDonagh, Fischler Retires, Isles Could Learn From Seattle, CZAR IGOR Update & Much More From a Huge Win
New York Rangers After The Deadline: NYR Finally Blows It Up, But Two Faces Remain; All NYR Moves Recapped, Mac Bolts to Tampa, Why Every NYR Fan Should Bandwagon The Lightning, My Experience at Jean Ratelle Night (w/Pics), Thoughts on Retired Numbers, Frank Boucher, Nash For NYR Captain & Being Inside His Head, My Dream IIHF Match-Up, 2013-2014 Rangers, The Loss to the Wings & Much More From Rangerstown, USA
NYR/MINN 2/23 Review: John Giannone’s Prepared Interview with Jeff Gorton Leads to Lundqvist Trade Speculation, Rangers Losing Streak Reaches An All-Time AV Era High of 6, Alexandar The Great Gets Back-to-Back Work, The Return of Kreider-Man, Eric Staal Strikes Again, Brassard Trade, Eddie Giacomin, M$G Network Personalities & More
Having friends in Tampa, I was interested in attending this game. Once McDonagh and Miller were traded, I booked my flight. After all, my friend works for JetBlue and I don’t have to pay for a hotel. Like the tagline on Mad Magazine, it’s “CHEAP”.
Even cheaper, are tickets to a game at Amalie. The experience at Amalie blows away anything you’ll ever experience at M$G. It’s more spacious, it’s cleaner, it’s friendlier and it’s more accommodating. By accommodating, I mean there are bathrooms all over, short lines and you don’t have to deal with that “Walking Dead” crowd of the M$G 200’s rotunda.
A cheap seat at M$G will run you nearly $100 these days. For just a few dollars more, you can live like a boss at Amalie. In fact, for $125, here was my ticket and the perks that came with it:
While I’ve covered this before, I think it’s hilarious that Tampa has a “no opposing team” apparel policy. Where’s Al Sharpton to fight this discrimination? I’m telling you, you’re being judged by the color of the jersey on your skin – it’s racist! Shit, everything in America is racist this day!
I somewhat understand trying to limit playoff tickets to just home fans, but for a regular season game, I think it’s silly for any team to curb tourism. After all, Ranger fans, myself included, travel well. When we go to a road game, we tend to spend more since it is a vacation for us. Why limit those potential dollars?
Knowing that my seats were apparel restricted, since we were right behind the bench, I threw on my Cam Connor “View from the Penalty Box” T-shirt on and kept my Ryan McDonagh Rangers jersey on over it. After all, I didn’t want to be strong armed into buying a Lightning shirt, although if I was, I probably would’ve bought a Girardi one.
Worth mentioning – I left this at home:
Talk about a weird and deranged dilemma. This psychotic behavior only derives from the mind of a true fanatic. The best part about this – my two other friends are in the same boat.
For my two friends, both NY transplants living in Tampa, it’s easy to support the Bolts. They are very fan friendly and do right by their fans. However, they can’t abandon their original allegiances, and will only root for the Bolts when it’s convenient. I’m with that, as here I am, with a Bolts jersey, but refuse to wear it, even if my ticket for this game said I’m supposed to!
Now that this game is over, I’ll root for the Bolts to win their games, as long as it’s not at the expense of the Rangers! Plus, how great will it be, when McDonagh, Girardi and Callahan (and to a lesser extent, Miller & Stralman) win the Stanley Cup, while Lundqvist runs around and tells anyone who will listen about what a King he is!
It really is funny how crazy we can get caught up in this shit and make up our own little rules on when it’s appropriate to wear clothing. Even worse, I’ll be 36 years old in June. To quote our President, “SAD!”
This game was an ugly one for the Rangers, but really, shouldn’t it have been? You’re looking at a team that’s going all in for the Cup, in the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Rangers are a team decimated, torn down and clinging to the hope, that their aging and overrated goalie, could one day deliver them a Cup.
And really – I’ve said this a million times. Look at the Bolts and their goaltending. Despite a SCF and a separate ECF appearance, they moved on from Ben Bishop. In his place, they went younger and cheaper with Andrei Vasilevskiy. They realized they needed to spend money on a center and beef up their defense. The focus of their roster construction would not be a goalie. The end result, because of the great team in front of him & because he’s good? Vasilevskiy is currently the front runner for the Vezina.
You know this by now – this is the stuff that drives me nuts. Nothing would please me more than the Rangers having their parade in June, but it’s just never going to happen with Lundqvist and this roster construction. You look at the successful GM’s in this league, and they all know you can’t build around a goalie. For some reason, to the Rangers, having a face to sell tickets is more important than winning a Cup, which you know, would sell more tickets & merchandise than anything else.
Let’s go to the official ESPN.com box score, followed by my thoughts on this shit-show:
1st Period Summary
||Cedric Paquette (3)
Assists: Chris Kunitz, Ryan Callahan
||Adam Erne (3)
Assist: Anthony Cirelli
||Chris Kreider: 2 Minutes for Delaying Game – Puck over Glass|
||Vladislav Namestnikov: 2 Minutes for Slashing|
||Mikhail Sergachev: 2 Minutes for Interference|
2nd Period Summary
||Anthony Cirelli (2)
Assists: Mikhail Sergachev, Alex Killorn
||Ryan Spooner (11)
Assists: Kevin Hayes, Jesper Fast
||Chris Kunitz (12)
Assist: Anthony Cirelli
||Tyler Johnson (19)
Assists: Nikita Kucherov, Mikhail Sergachev
||John Gilmour: 2 Minutes for Holding|
||Ryan Callahan: 2 Minutes for Tripping|
||Mats Zuccarello: 2 Minutes for Tripping|
||Steven Stamkos: 2 Minutes for Holding|
3rd Period Summary
||Mats Zuccarello (11)
Assist: Ryan Spooner
||Kevin Hayes (19)
Assists: Rob O’Gara, Ryan Spooner
|No penalties this period|
To me, this game was about me enjoying the experience and seeing my friends that I rarely get to see anymore. By sitting behind the bench, you miss a lot of the action. Instead, you’re focused on how the players are reacting on the bench and what the coaches are doing. To see plays in the opposite end, it’s like sitting front row at a movie theater – you’re craning your neck and watching the big board. That’s why we moved up a level and took in the rest of the game from the Cigar Lounge.
And let me tell you, if you’re a degenerate like me, nothing beats eating steak, puffing a cigar and downing copious amounts of free beer, all while the game takes place in front of you. Even better, I had a center ice view.
Yes, I know this all comes off hypocritical. After all, this blog is called BLUECOLLARBLUESHIRTS. However, for the same amount of money I would pay for a blue seat at M$G, I’m living that sushi, kale chips and a glass of wine, white collar corporate M$G life style. I can’t lie and say I hated it. Plus, as stated, I was with my long time friends, who I don’t get to see much of anymore, so it was a great time. Hey, if the Rangers are gonna suck, I might as well have a fun time at the game!
In fact, the biggest play that most people would expect me to comment on, I somewhat missed. While I saw Chris Kunitz run Lundqvist out of the game, I didn’t realize Lundqvist ran to the locker room to pout. Once again, he abandoned his team. I’ll get into that play in a bit.
To be fair, when I got back to my friend’s palatial one bedroom estate, I watched the game back on the M$G GO app. This is where I noticed a lot of things that irked me, such as the Lundqvist sulking, Zuccarello getting overly emotional and Brady Skjei continuing to be the poster boy for the consistently inconsistent New York Rangers.
That said, like I said once the trade deadline was over, while I was hoping this team could somehow pull a 2017 Yankees and make a go of it, the reality is that AV is trying out new things with new players. It’s hard to get bent out of shape analyzing these games, because right now, these stretch of games are a preview of next year’s preseason.
While players are playing for contracts and playing time for next season, we can’t lose sight that this team is like a sixth grade science project and they will implode & explode from time-to-time.
The first period was the worst period of Rangers hockey you’ll see all year. It was partly because of the talent disparity among the two teams. Sometimes you just gotta accept that you’re just not as good as the other team and Tampa illustrated that point to perfection.
Tampa just peppered the Rangers all period. In fact, an early scare, 30 seconds into the period, was a puck going by Lundqvist. However, it was punched in by the glove of a Bolt. But don’t despair Bolt fans, Lundqvist would give up a goal on the second shot of the game. Cedric Paquette, who lost his stick, then got a stick from the bench, would score at the 2:31 mark. Look at Lundqvist improving! This goal wasn’t in the first two minutes! Check it out:
— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) March 9, 2018
Tampa gets the 2 on 1, Lundqvist gives up a bad rebound and boom, 1-0 bad guys.
The rest of the period was no better, as Tampa dominated the puck. It was like Tampa was practicing their odd man rush attack all period.
Adam Erne would push the score to 2-0, at the 7:50 mark:
Nice stick lift and finish by Adam Erne. He gives Tampa Bay the 2-0 lead over the Rangers. pic.twitter.com/ZDeU8sowL0
— Mason Gallina (@mason_gallina13) March 9, 2018
The worst part about these goals? It wasn’t the name brand guys, like a Steven Stamkos beating you. It’s Paquette and Erne, each earning their third goal of the season. The Erne goal is a save you see made around the league on any given night.
The Lundqvist-bot defense is, “Lundqvist had to do this all by himself.” That’s a fine narrative to have if you omit the facts, such as, #1 this is what he asked for and #2 he’s the highest paid goalie in the league.
He could waive his NMC at any time. He knows what’s going on. He’s also paid to be the best and far too often, he is beat on routine shots. It’s why M$G has to ejaculate over a game like the Vancouver win, because you see too many games like this one with Tampa. It was like 2015 all over again.
In Hank’s defense, the team in front of him is probably the worst it’s ever been. That said, when ALEXANDAR THE GREAT, Alex Georgiev took over, he made the saves. Sure, Tampa already had their lead, but Georgiev, outside of a soft goal to arguably the best player in the game today, in McDavid of Edmonton, has been rock-solid in all of his work. Can you say the same about Lundqvist? Can you even say that about Lundqvist ever since he signed his new contract? Yes, there are good games in there, but he’s far too erratic & unstable.
Hopefully one day, in our lifetime, the Rangers will realize that Benoit Allaire is a bigger key to their success than Lundqvist.
For a game featuring an elite offense in Tampa, the Rangers were able to stave off the Bolts PP all game. In fact, the Rangers PK killed four different Tampa PP’s. However, the Rangers anemic PP, led by Scott Arniel, went 0-3. With the way this game went, who knows, one PP goal, in the latter stages of this game, could’ve made things interesting.
I didn’t see this live, but apparently Chris Kreider took a shot. As I write these words Friday morning, Alain Vigneault said that Kreider was held out for precautionary measures, which to me, says concussion protocol. Kreider left the game after the first period and did not return. AV did mention that this had nothing to do with his blood clot. Kreider’s status for Saturday is to be determined.
There’s nothing more to say about the first period other than it was all Tampa. 2-0 after one, bad guys
The second period was a similar script for the Rangers – Lundqvist allowing an early goal. This time, it was to Anthony Cirelli, who by the way, only had one goal all season, prior to this:
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) March 9, 2018
Cirelli gets the goal after a deflection and with Hayes screening Hank. Still, just look at who was beating Lundqvist tonight. These aren’t name brand guys, it’s third and fourth liners. 3-0 bad guys.
The Rangers, who did wake up a bit in the period (After being outshot 21-5 in the first, the SOG were 15 a piece in the second) would finally get on the board, courtesy of SPOONMAN:
Five minutes after Spooner broke up the Vasilevskiy shutout, Lundqvist showed off his elite puck handling skills:
After this goal, Lundqvist ran to the locker room and would not come back out for the period. Talk about a true teammate. Let’s look at this goal a little bit in-depth, shall we?
The M$G Networks crew was hilarious here. Steve Valiquette, in the post game show, said Lundqvist already faced a full load, as he saw 31 shots. That’s so laughable. So if the Rangers give up 30 shots in a playoff game, Lundqvist should just go cry in the locker room? His job is done for the night? I mean, are we putting a “pitch-count” on shots on goal now?
Oh, and it didn’t seem to bother the M$G Networks, who replayed the Vancouver game to death, when Lundqvist made 50 saves. I guess if you are losing, then the work load must be addressed!
How many times can I say this – HE’S PAID THE MOST IN THE LEAGUE. THE TEAM IS BUILT AROUND HIS CONTRACT. You don’t have that superstar forward or elite defenseman any more. Teams are going to tee off. If he can’t handle it, waive the NMC already.
The going-to-the-lockeroom-to-pout stuff really bothers me. This guy wants all the credit after every win, but wants to run to the locker room to finger point after a bad game. This is not the behavior of a leader, so for all these lunatics who say “I WYSH LUNDQUISS WUZ OUR KAPTIN”, get lost. Leaders stay on the bench through the good and the bad.
This Rangers team is going to be young. They are going to make mistakes. Go pout to your therapist and not during the game, by yourself, in the locker room.
I mean at least Zuccarello, who I wouldn’t make captain either, stays in the game and fights. The knock on that is that he gets too emotional. You see him taking bad penalties and perhaps has a little Napolean complex to him, because he will retaliate at any one who tries to take advantage of his diminutive size. Sure, you’d like to see more discipline, but he will scratch and claw. He’s not making faces and crying. I can respect that.
Damn, I gotta speed this up as I got things to do today!
Tyler Johnson would get the lone goal on Georgiev, at the 17:30 minute mark of the second. 5-1 bad guys and that was the score after two periods.
In the third period, the Rangers played their best hockey of the game. Was Tampa on their heels a bit? Perhaps. Did the Rangers play better without Lundqvist crying and screaming at them all game? Yes.
Mats Zuccarello, as stated, wouldn’t give up. He would score early into the third period, connecting on a one-timer from Spooner, making the score 5-2 bad guys.
A bulk of the third period saw the Rangers challenge Vasilevskiy, as the Rangers logged 10 shots. Vasilevskiy made some big saves. At this point, this was just about getting to the finish line.
Kevin Hayes would make things interesting with three minutes remaining, as he tipped in a shot from O’Gara. 5-3 bad guys. Oh, and Kevin Hayes has 19 goals. Feels like 19 silent goals to me.
The Rangers, for the second straight game in a row, would pull their goalie for an extended period of time. Even with the extra 6 vs 5 time, the Rangers remained without a 6 vs 5 goal for the season. Yes, Scott Arniel remains. SAD!
In other words, the Rangers got two goals in the period, when Tampa already ran Lundqvist out and were up 5-1. Even so, the Rangers had some “good looks” at the end. It would’ve been something if they scored on the PP this game, if Lundqvist could stop soft shots, if Lundqvist could stay in net and if the Rangers could score a goal with their goalie pulled. However, the Rangers are what they are and that’s why they will be watching Tampa in the playoffs, rather than being Tampa’s first round opponent.
5-3 bad guys, your final here in Tampa.
There’s not much else to say about this game. A good team beat a bad team.
I’m in Tampa for the rest of the weekend. My plan is to go see the Yankees/Mets on Saturday, here in Tampa, then go to HAT TRICKS to watch all the NHL games on Saturday night. Yes, that’s how I vacation, by going to bars to watch hockey!
Cheap plug time. If you’re looking to listen to a podcast that has a sense of humor and hits every subject imaginable, check out the Car Joemez podcast. My buddy Captain Joe is one half of this (non) dynamic duo. Give it a try at: https://carjoemez.podbean.com/
It was nice to run into some blog readers at the game, and by the time you read these words, I hope your travels to Sunrise were safe. I’m remaining here with my friends, so hopefully you guys get to see ALEXANDAR THE GREAT get the start.
I’ll be back either late Saturday or do the Panthers game review from the plane on the way home. There’s a few topics I want to hit, but time’s a wasting and the Hard Rock Casino isn’t going to gamble by itself!
Win or lose, as always…
LET’S GO RANGERS!
@NYCTHEMIC on the tweeter machine