NYR/BUF 4/10 Review: Ryan Lindgren Wins the 2023 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award; Survives Late Injury Scare, Rangers “Zipped-Up” by Levi (Again), A Miserable Night for Miller (And For the Islanders Too!), Panarin Media Clickbait, 91 vs 88, Complete Standings Watch, M$GN, “TURK TALKS” & More

It was only the Rangers’ 3-2 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night that marred an otherwise perfect evening. Then again, Gallant’s Gang did gain a point in the standings, and with the Blueshirts’ “WINTER CLASSIC RIVALS” picking up two points – this loss, combined with the Islanders’ loss to the AHL Washington Capitals – hurt the Rangers’ biggest rivals more than anyone else. Always look for the silver linings I say! Photo Credits: This collage was made by me, but all original photos came from NYR.

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. 81 games down, 1 to go – and then the real fun begins.

Off puck drop, and in case you missed it; earlier on Monday, I announced that CZAR IGOR is this year’s Frank Boucher Trophy winner.

For the full report, including the final voting results, check out: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/fbt23/

Following CZAR IGOR’s 2023 Frank Boucher Trophy win; several hours later, just seconds prior to puck drop tonight, Ryan Lindgren was announced as this year’s Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award winner – the most prestigious and exclusive honor that any Ranger can receive. Photo Credit: NYR

Monday, April 10th, 2023, had all of the makings of a big evening in Rangerstown, USA.

By the end of the night, and despite the Rangers losing this game at M$G via the shootout, 3-2 – it was still an eventful evening.

Following Jacob Trouba winning the Rod Gilbert “Mr. Ranger” award last week; both CZAR IGOR and Ryan Lindgren were honored on Monday.

Up next: Naming the 2022-23 “Players’ Player Award” (my pick is Jimmy Vesey) and announcing the Team MVP (I’m going with Mika Zibanejad).

And while no Blueshirt backer wants to see their favorite team lose; what’s also true is that tonight’s loss hurt the Islanders, big-time at that – and where “little brother” no longer has any control of their playoff fate.

The power of positive thinking!

Between the Islanders being completely embarrassed, 5-2, by a Washington team that fielded a line-up full of AHLers (sans Tom Wilson, all of the Caps’ big guns, including Alex Ovechkin, were out) and other scores from around the league on Monday night; the updated Eastern Conference playoff standings now look like this:

Photo Credit: ESPN

When you look at these standings, there are a few things that stand out and are true.

In an order of no importance, the following:

— The Rangers, who are two-points out from first-place (but Carolina does have one game in-hand), could have won the Metropolitan Division by a landslide, had they not suffered all of those bad losses to the dregs from the league earlier this season. (Chicago, Anaheim, Columbus, Ottawa, San Jose, Montreal, etc.)

— (And none of this is a 20/20 hindsight remark either – as I said exactly the same thing following each of these losses on this very website, as after every single one of them, I said, “this loss will most likely bite the Rangers in the ass come April.”)

— While you can say that the Rangers also received their fair share of comeback victories and “stolen points” too; at the same time – the majority of these wins and points took place against teams the Rangers should have beat anyway.

— Yes, there’s nothing you can do about any of this, and you just have to move forward; but for a Blueshirts’ squad that’s now posted back-to-back seasons of 100+ points under Gerard Gallant – it’s amazing to think that they could’ve finished this regular season much better than they did.

— Despite what M$GN’s resident moron, Sieve Vagistat, said during tonight’s post-game show, when he said that any playoff game played at The Rock/Prudential Center would be a home game for the Rangers – that’s not the case.

— As talked about a few weeks back – listen to the recent crowds in Raleigh, NC when compared to Newark, NJ. Front-running Devil fans are coming out of the woodwork, thus negating the Rangers’ assumed “home ice” close-proximity road-advantage; while over in the deep & dirty south – blue jerseys have taken over the familiar red sweaters of the Canes.

— I believe that the majority of Ranger fans are rooting for a NYR/CAR first-round series, rather than a “Battle of the Hudson” pairing. The Canes feel like a team on a down-swing, and a club who may have already peaked with their core, while the Devils are sort of like the Rangers from last year – primed to make a run – and upset perennial Cup contenders in the process.

— The wild card race took a new twist-and-a-turn on Monday night – and one that had to bring a smile to all fans of the Rangers – fans who also double-up as Islander haters.

— The Isles, who seemed like a lock for one of the two wild-card spots just one day ago, no longer control their playoff destiny. They are no longer contending with only two other teams (Penguins and Panthers) for the final two spots either; as the Sabres, should they win-out, could snap their eleven-year playoff drought.

— The Sabres, with three games remaining, don’t have the easiest schedule in the world, as they will play three games in four nights, first starting in New Jersey (a team that wants to win first-place in the division) on Tuesday, followed by back-to-back set against the Senators and Blue Jackets.

— More likelier than the Sabres and Islanders qualifying for the post-season? The Panthers and the Penguins handling their own business.

— Depending what happens come Thursday night, when the Panthers finish their season by hosting the Hurricanes; by then, there’s a possibility that the Canes would have already clinched first-place in the division – meaning that they could be taking it easy – a scenario that the Cats are rooting for.

— The Penguins have the most-advantageous schedule remaining, as they will be playing two teams tanking for Connor Bedard, the Blackhawks and the Blue Jackets. Plus, even if you hate him – would you bet against Sidney Crosby to not pull this off?

— The Islanders final game of the season, which takes place this Wednesday night, sees them hosting another team with thoughts of Bedard on their mind, the Canadiens. However, after being totally embarrassed on Monday night – that game, once thought to be a lock – isn’t a given anymore.

— For the NHL, all of this is great for the league – as it keeps everyone invested until the 82nd-and-final game of the season.

— Last but not least, the Rangers will host the Leafs on Thursday night, in their own Game 82, and a game where I wouldn’t expect much hitting in either!

The Leafs’ first-round series is already locked-in, as they’ll be hosting the Lightning. A Blueshirts’ win would be a nice way to close the season, but while it isn’t set in stone yet – it does feel like they’ll finish in third-place – thus starting the 2023 postseason on the road.

Let the games begin!

However, before getting into tonight’s game between the Rangers & Sabres (and Lindgren’s big win too) – the pregame news & notes!

CZAR IGOR, and like many in Rangerstown, USA, had off on Easter Sunday.

The Rangers, following their 4-0 win (the best score imaginable!) in Columbus on Saturday; a day later, Easter Sunday, the team had off.

Come Monday morning, eight hours prior to puck drop, the team held a light skate, where I’m to assume some Easter ham calories were burnt off!

Despite the flimsy Rangers’ beat reporters suggesting otherwise (Wince Mercogliano tried to push some silly narrative about Fox being withheld from tonight’s line-up); everything remained the same.

Following the morning skate, head coach Gerard Gallant held his daily pregame “TURK TALK.”

Here it is:

I found this “TURK TALK” to be rather amusing when compared to some of the ones from late – as you could see that the head coach is getting tired of dealing with some of these clueless beat reporters.

Despite being previously told that he won’t be revealing his goaltender or line-up decisions anymore, as he wants to prepare for the playoffs; Gallant had to reiterate that point to the birdbrain beat no less than three times.

Then, when Wince Mercogliano was trying to push his “FOX MIGHT BE OUT, OMG THE SKY IS FALLING” narrative – Gallant finally had enough, and I guess to Wince’s credit – got the head coach to admit that Fox would be playing on Monday night – but where it should also be said that Fox sitting out was most likely never a thought in Gallant’s mind either.

I don’t want to rehash this entire story for the 8976786697th time on this site, but do you remember when Arthur Staple wrote the following after the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs:

Photo Credit: “The Athletic”

Long story short (and you can check the archives of this site for more), when Staple first put this junk out there, that’s what I said it was – junk.

After all, Chris Drury is one of the most tight-lipped general managers in all of the league – so it was hard to believe that the g.m. was burying his highest-paid star, the highest-paid winger in the NHL, to anyone – much less to two different “sources.”

As you may recall, Panarin later refuted the entire story and referred to Staple as a “scoundrel.”

I bring this up, because during this episode of “TURK TALK,” Staple asked Gallant about Panarin and the playoffs, and said that maybe Panarin could’ve had a better playoffs last year.

As of 4/10/23 – Staple has yet to follow-up on his initial report from last year – much less write one word on Panarin refuting his nonsense.

Ah! Journalistic integrity – a trait from a bygone era!

Furthermore, despite Staple being a part of multiple interviews featuring Drury, Panarin and Gallant – the former Islander journo, turned Big Apple fake news spreader, never asked one question in regards to what his “sources” (perhaps apparitions or the same sources that Adam Herman has) had told him.

Of course, Staple writes for a pay-wall website – where generating scandalous (or should I say “scoundrel?“) headlines is best for business – and where you have to question his credibility since he dropped his story stone cold – and with nary an explanation, nor an apology, offered.

That’s your media in 2023 in a nutshell – write whatever you want – don’t take any accountability later!

And who could’ve predicted how this would all play out?


Gallant, who was swatting off these reporters as if they were fleas on a maggot; the head coach also reiterated that last year wasn’t this year.

“THE TURK” also said that he doesn’t think that playoff experience is that much of a factor, and pointed out that last season, everyone said that the Rangers would be doomed against Pittsburgh and Carolina – two teams that featured much more playoff experience than his own team.

Not asked by the media?

“But isn’t that why you guys targeted both Tarasenko and Kane, for their playoff experience?”

While I understand what Gallant meant by his words, and it’s true, each year is different; at the same time, I don’t think that “THE TURK” is fooling anyone.

The Rangers, and ever since Drury took over (his first moves were landing Stanley Cup winners or finalists, such as Barclay Goodrow, Sammy Blais, Ryan Reaves, etc), have went out of their way to bring in playoff-accomplished players into the mix – and I’m fine with that!

However, I also believe that possessing playoff experience is a good thing, not a throwaway, too!

As far as anything else, Gallant wouldn’t budge on his stance, nor reveal if back-up goaltender, Jaroslav Halak, would receive another start this season.

In other news, earlier in the day, Jimmy Vesey was named as the Rangers Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy nominee.

The Rangers’ beat reporters never asked Gallant about this either.


(And to be fair, Larry Brooks, the only one with a clue, wasn’t at this press conference – and it showed.)

One of these days, I’d like to see Gallant interview the beat reporters, where his first question could be, “do you care about your job?” The second question? “Why are you so bad at it?”

Here was the Rangers’ line-up from Monday night, the penultimate game of the season:

FIRST LINE: Kreider/Mika/Kane

SECOND LINE: Panarin/Trocheck/Tarasenko

THIRD LINE: Lafreniere/Chytil/Kakko

FOURTH LINE: Vesey/Goodrow/Motte

FIRST PAIR: Lindgren/Fox

SECOND PAIR: Miller/Trouba

THIRD PAIR: Mikkola/Schneider



DAY-TO-DAY: Nobody! Praise the Hockey Gods!

PRESS BOX: Ben Harpur


The following graphics and information come from ESPN.com:






28 2 26 .929 25 1 0 0 0 65:00 0


39 2 37 .949 35 2 0 0 0 65:00 0

The worst thing about Monday night was that Sieve Vagistat was by himself and left to his own devices. Henrik Lundqvist (Easter) remains day-to-day!

Come 6:30:00PM, I tuned into the M$GN. Once I saw that feckless and useless ANALytical jackal, Sieve Vagistat, all there by himself – at 6:30:01PM – I returned my clicker back to the NHLN.

I will say, since I knew that tonight was going to be the date where the Rangers would announce the 2023 Steven McDonald Extra Award winner, I did return to M$GN ten-minutes earlier than I usually do whenever the seven-foot bozo, with the bad CVS hair dye, is doing his horrible solo routine – but with my television muted.

I have no clue where Lundqvist was tonight, but I am to assume that he was with his family during the Easter holiday.

However, the legendary Adam Graves was in the building tonight, a man who has pretty much embodied and personified the McDonald award – as the former #9 in Rangers’ blue has won the award more times than anyone else (5), ever since the award’s inception in 1988.

Rather than hearing what Graves had to say about the award (a “Saint Adam” who also delivered the eulogy at McDonald’s funeral); instead, Ranger fans were subjected to the offensive and cringe Vagistat – a former Islander goalie whose career highlight with the Rangers was carrying around the bags of Lundqvist – a former two-time winner of the prestigious award himself.

Also of note: Brandon Dubinsky, another former winner of the award, was in the building tonight too – but again – fans had to listen to the worst Rangers’ goalie of this century, rather than hearing from “DUBY” himself.

Come 7PM, and with inspirational (yet cheap) stock music in the background; Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti entered our homes – and just like last Saturday night – I thought these two had another stellar outing in the booth.

Right away, Rosen talked about the McDonald award, where Micheletti then picked Zibanejad as his winner.

As previously stated on this site (and multiple times at that) – I would’ve had no problem with Zibanejad winning – as long as Lindgren was named as a co-winner with him.

Better than that scenario?

Following an emotional and excellent speech from Connor McDonald, Steve’s son, where the current NYPD officer passionately described the 2023 winner as “the heart and soul of the team” – Lindgren had the spotlight all to himself – the way it should’ve been!

Here’s McDonald announcing double-nickel as your 2023 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award winner:

While this means nothing at all, but I’m just bringing it up just to mention it; during the first intermission – Lindgren told Michelle Gingras that he had no clue that he was going to win – and he only found that he won once Connor McDonald made his announcement.

Of course, someone on behalf of the Rangers knew about Lindgren’s big night beforehand, because no less than one second following the announcement, the team posted the following on their website, courtesy of https://www.nhl.com/rangers/news/ryan-lindgren-named-winner-of-2022-23-steven-mcdonald-extra-effort-award/c-343342098?icmp=int_web_nyr_news_rightrail  :

The New York Rangers announced today that defenseman Ryan Lindgren has been named the winner of the 2022-23 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, presented by Northwell.

The Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award is presented annually to the Ranger who, as chosen by the fans, “goes above and beyond the call of duty.” The award, which has been given annually since the 1987-88 season, bears the name of devoted Blueshirt fan and New York City Police Detective Steven McDonald, who was shot and injured in the line of duty on July 12, 1986 and passed away on January 10, 2017.

Lindgren is the third defenseman who has won the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award since it was first presented in 1987-88 (Adam Fox – 2019-20, Brian Leetch – 1996-97). Lindgren has skated in 61 games for the Rangers this season, recording a career-high in assists (17) and points (18) while tallying a team-high plus-29 rating. In addition, Lindgren has blocked 91 shots, the fifth most on the Blueshirts and averages 2:06 minutes of shorthanded time on ice per game, the second most on the club. On November 30 at Ottawa, Lindgren recorded a career-high three-assist/point game and at the time became the fifth different Rangers defensemen since 2015-16 to record a three-assist game (Fox, McDonagh, Pionk, Skjei). In the October 23 contest against Columbus, Lindgren skated in his 200th career game.

Across parts of five seasons in the NHL, the Burnsville, Minnesota native has tallied seven goals and 56 assists for 63 points and a plus-77 rating in 255 games. Since his first full season in 2019-20, Lindgren ranks second among New York defensemen in plus/minus (+83), third in hits (386) and blocked shots (352). In that time frame, his 559:35 minutes of shorthanded time on ice are the second most among defensemen behind Jacob Trouba.

The Rangers, their fans and the McDonald family all found the perfect recipient for this year’s award. And should one ever make a “flip-book” of Connor McDonald over the years during these presentations – that would be something else. While Steve McDonald is no longer with us; his grandchild is. Generational. Photo Credit: NYR

I don’t want to turn this award into anything political (because it isn’t, nor is that the spirit of this honor either), but I must say the following just to get it out of my system:

I don’t know how any Ranger fan can actively speak-out, even posting hateful things on social media, about the NYPD – especially after listening to McDonald’s speech tonight.

To those assholes, all I can say is you try doing their job for one day – especially the night-shift in high crime/gang-activity areas.

I’m not saying that I’m above talking nonsense on social media either (but not about the NYPD – I keep it to hockey) – but needless to say – it’s a lot easier to talk shit online, as opposed to putting your life on the line every day – and where you never know when a psychopath will strike.

In my final commentary prior to getting into tonight’s GAME REVIEW; you could tell that Sam Rosen was choked up during all of this – as he’s been around for every single one of these award presentations and also knew McDonald on a personal basis.

And whether this was Steven McDonald’s own doing from the skies above, or just the hockey gods smiling upon the Blueshirts – and I’m not making any of this up either – right after Lindgren posed for his picture with the McDonald family – the AHL Capitals scored two quick goals in the opening 1:07 during their game against the Islanders.

Positive Karma!

Congratulations to Ryan Lindgren on winning the 2023 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award.

No one deserved it more, and following several years where the voting became a popularity contest – it was nice to see a player that is a textbook example of what the award is all about win it – and for #55 – finally receive his just due.


Arguably one of the worst photoshops that I’ve ever made – and that says a lot!


Prior to both puck drop and getting into the meat & potatoes here; I do want to bring up my pregame prediction:

I batted .333 tonight – not bad for a baseball player – but not good overall for my daily prognostications!

I only bring this up to say the following – the one thing that wound up happening was that Sam & Joe laid off the “Levi Love” tonight – as this broadcast was night-and-day from the game between these two teams that had preceded this affair.

And I know I say this a lot, but at the sake of redundancy – if I’m ever going to “bury” something, then in the same manner – I want to go out of my way to praise that same thing too if I deem it to be positive.

Sam and Joe were great again.

It may have taken eighty-games, but our favorite pair are currently at their best as the playoffs approach.

Can you count Lindgren as an active participant if he doesn’t bleed? Go figure: On the night that he won the McDonald Award, #55 was nicked-up twice – both at the start and at the end of tonight’s tilt. Photo Credit: M$GN (And this is an old photo – and not from Monday’s game.)

With CZAR IGOR and Devon Levi in nets; Zibanejad won the opening draw from the World’s Most Expensive Arena.

In a harbinger of what was to come; at the fifty-second mark, Panarin set-up Miller – a shot that the defenseman violently sent at the boards – rather than at the net.

We’ll get more into Miller in just a bit – but if you believe in the adage, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all;” then the best way to sum up #79’s game is by saying, “he’s had better nights.”

Micheletti wouldn’t be as nice – as we’ll soon get into.

In something else we saw a lot of, but in a positive way, was Alexis Lafreniere, who had a nose for the puck all game. Just 1:40 in, he set-up Chytil, but a Sabre defender soon broke up the shot.

Chytil finished tonight’s match with a game-high six shots on goal – and off the top of my head – I think only one of them was set-up by Panarin. The rest were all set-up by Lafreniere – where just like the game in Columbus from Saturday – it’s a shame that he didn’t get an assist tonight – as he deserved a few of them.

And in a way, I think that Lafreniere’s efforts will be swept under the rug a bit, due to everything else – and where I also believe that “MILLER’S MISFORTUNES” will grab more headlines too.

Following CZAR IGOR’s first save (of thirty-seven) with 18:12 remaining; M$GN cameras showed us this replay:

Death, taxes and Lindgren getting beat-up – the three guarantees in life!

CZAR IGOR, who was very busy tonight, as he didn’t receive too many favors from his defense (but silver lining – at least it keeps him sharp for the playoffs – as he didn’t have to do anything on Saturday); bailed out the team by making a save on Tuch, following a Blueshirt turnover.

Fifty seconds later, and with 16:00 remaining; Panarin finally got the puck out of the Rangers’ zone by winning a puck battle and then raced up ice, where he led a 3 x 2 odd-man rush.

Trocheck, who scored the 4-0 goal on Saturday – went wide here – and the first of many chances that the Rangers didn’t capitalize on tonight.

Eight seconds following the miss, Panarin, while trying to get back since the Sabres took possession, slashed Okposo.

The Rangers’ penalty kill was a mixed bag here – but they did achieve the desired result – and killed off this power-play.

Kreider made two consecutive d-plays to thwart the Sabres, while Sam & Joe, and to their credit, brought up how Jeff Skinner was a Rangers’ killer.

Perhaps this “REVERSE CURSE” actually benefited the home team – because right after saying that – CZAR IGOR stopped a perfect rip from Skinner while the Sabre was all alone in the left circle.

Skinner, unlike most games against the Rangers, was held off the board tonight. Baby steps!

By the end of the kill, CZAR IGOR had recorded three saves. Following it, Panarin, playing the role as “jack-in-the-box,” tried to find Chytil, and once doing so – the Czech went wide.

Of note: The Rangers logged five SOG this period – but also sent seven pucks wide – where all seven of these pucks were shot when wide-open.

Levi, who wasn’t tested much, made his second save of the game with 12:19 remaining, when he stopped a Buffalo native himself, Patrick Kane.

Down to 11:40 remaining, CZAR IGOR picked up his ninth save – while unbalanced – but he quickly recovered.

Twelve seconds later, and following this big save – the Rangers received their first power-play, as Ilya Lyubushkin was boxed for holding Adam Fox.

Zibanejad, still in search for goal #40 – couldn’t find twine – but it wasn’t for a lack of trying, as on the “LONE RANGER” shot of this power-play – Levi came up with a monster stop.

By the end of this power-play, I said the following, words that have appeared on this site before:

Keep that in mind for later.

Once returned to full-strength, Levi stopped Chytil with 8:20 remaining.

Out of a TV timeout, it was also mentioned that John Giannone was celebrating his 60th birthday today.

Wow, I didn’t realize that “JOHN GIANNONE, FROM THE PROJECTS IN BOONTON,” was that old.

Then again, I’m no spring chicken myself!

“Tempus Fugit!” (There’s my 8th grade Latin for ya!)

Happy Birthday to J.G.

Come 7:30 remaining, CZAR IGOR made his tenth save, while his team remained stuck on three SOG.

After that, the Sabres had an all-out attack, and where the Rangers couldn’t get the puck out.

As a result, with 5:36 remaining, JJ Peterka, following a feed from Jack Quinn, got behind the third pair and scored the first goal of the game.

1-0, bad guys – and a goal that you couldn’t pin on Igor. The Rangers’ defense, and second line, were just out there too long.

Sam & Joe, who were in scoreboard watch mode all game (and that’s fine – because it was relevant and everyone cares), then had a riveting debate about what 2+2 adds up to – as they were trying to figure out how many points the Sabres would get in the standings had they won this game and their next game.

I’m not making this up – they really did 2+2 math on-air – and where it was Sam, and not Joe, who had the right answer!

Sam must be on brain steroids these days! He’s never been more lucid and on the money!

With 2:30 remaining, CZAR IGOR came up with another monstrous save, and where the Rangers hadn’t logged a SOG in what felt like ages.

Now under a minute (52.8 seconds); Panarin was high-sticked by Tage Thompson while attacking. This gave the Rangers a much-needed power-play – and one that they’d soon score on – during the second period.

Kane would eventually end the SOG drought, but Levi, who is impressing everyone these days, made the stop.

Come the end of the period, we remained at 1-0, bad guys, and with the Rangers still with 1:08 left on their man-advantage.

Here’s what I said at the time:

Can anyone argue otherwise? As of this date, 4/10/23, Panarin has more chemistry with his fellow countryman, Vladimir Tarasenko, than he does with his former teammate, Patrick Kane. In short, the plays between #10 & #91 come off as organic, while a lot of what we see from #10 and #88 often feels forced. It’s like watching a soon-to-be divorced couple trying to save their marriage. Photo Credit: Artemi Panarin


Whether the Rangers were a bit gassy following their Easter meal or not remains unknown; but what we do know is that the Blueshirts, and once again, followed another slow start with a big middle period.

As the power-play was set to expire, Zibanejad won a d-zone faceoff. This then created a 3 x 2 odd-man rush – and the first Rangers’ strike of the game:

1-1, as Panarin scored this power-play goal with only seven seconds remaining on the man-advantage.

OF NOTE PART I: Kane, who did a give-and-go deal with Mika, received a secondary assist here. He now has a secondary assist in both of his games since his return.

OF NOTE PART II: For the first time in over thirty years (1991-92 season, Messier & Leetch), the Rangers now feature a pair of players with ninety-point seasons, as Zibanejad’s primary assist on Panarin’s goal gave each Ranger this benchmark. Not too shabby!

OF NOTE PART III: Following the game, when asked about this, Gallant, often criticized by these morons who compromise the fools known as “FLAT EARTH TURKERS;” said, “it must be good coaching!” Another “W” for “THE TURK!”

But of course, following this equalizer – “THE RANGERS’ WAY.” (Trademark still pending!)

Eighteen seconds after the goal, CZAR IGOR had to come up with another tough save – aka – the usual!

Sam & Joe, who always love NHL blood-relations, then brought up Sabres’ rearguard Mattias Samuelsson – son of former Ranger, Kjell (and what a terrible trade to the Flyers that was – and I heard there is a book out there all about it – check the PLUGS segment for more).

Sam’s response to Joe bringing up Kjell’s son?


If he followed that poignant commentary by saying, “I CAN STILL TASTE IT JOE,” then I would’ve been six-feet under after laughing myself to death.

As the period progressed, it felt like the Sabres were averaging two shot attempts during every possession, but much like the Rangers during the first frame – a lot of their shots went wide or missed the net.

The Rangers were able to string a bunch of successful shifts together, but much like their third period – didn’t capitalize much.

A Schneider slapshot was stopped by a shot block, by Cozens, with 15:37 remaining. Following that, the Sabres’ top pair, Jokiharju and Power, were stuck on the ice for over 2:30, while Cozens was writhing in agony on the ice.

Despite all of that, Levi was able to freeze the puck, which then allowed his team to reset and regroup.

As Sam and Joe talked about one of their favorite teams, the Minnesota Gophers; with 11:30 remaining, there was Lafreniere, once again, generating offense – but none of his many excellent passes wound up in the back of Levi’s net.

Following another CZAR IGOR freeze; the goalie loaded up his stick for the first of two times, where he was looking for a homerun pass. However, no one was open and he was forced to leave the puck for Lindgren instead.

Lindgren handled this puck – Miller, on his chance, would not.

At the half-way mark of the game/period, Micheletti told us that Dahlin was “FABULOUS.” Not mentioned? The fact that the former #1 overall draft pick has seemingly won his war against acne.

Out of a TV timeout, the out of town scoreboard was presented to us by one of the 9864589484884 sponsors that the M$GN has, “HUB INTERNATIONAL.”

Of note: I have no clue what Hub International does – so what a waste of advertising dollars!

Sam later plugged the new t-shirt that the Rangers now have on sale too:

Photo Credit: M$GN

James Dolan and company, which already has a 2023 Playoff shirt on sale for the low, low, low price of $68; now has a new t-shirt out, one that will crack and fall apart after two washes, for the affordable cost of only $45!

I bought my 1994 Stanley Cup Champions T-Shirt for $5 (ah, how I miss Modells) – and while I understand inflation – C’MON MAN – these shirts cost less than a dollar to make!

For as much as I love this team, it’s just sickening how the franchise treats their hardcore fans as their own personal ATMs – but since it all comes down to supply-and-demand – much like the insane cost for playoff tickets – as long as people pony up the bucks, then the Rangers will continue to mark-up their pricing to outrageous levels.

And yep – there’s no way to fight this – as there will never be a time where 100% of the fan-base echos the Reagans’ and proudly states, “JUST SAY NO!”

Down to 8:48 remaining – Panarin baked again:

2-1, GOOD GUYS – following Panarin’s one-time snipe following a perfection of a pass from Tarasenko.

For whatever reason (and this may be changed on Tuesday when the league reviews this) – Trocheck wasn’t credited with a secondary assist here – but make no bones about it – this play doesn’t happen without the second line center.

While battling for a loose puck in the corner boards to Levi’s left; Trocheck, from his ass, was able to get some wood on a puck and sent it towards Tarasenko. Tarasenko then found Panarin in the far circle for the bang-bang go-ahead goal.

Sadly, this was the last Rangers’ goal of the game – but it wasn’t for a lack of trying either.

And to go back to what I said earlier – a play like this is why I feel that Tarasenko would be better off on the Rangers’ first PP unit.

While maybe Gallant does want Tarasenko to be the star of his own unit; at the same time, what good is that if the PP2 unit receives minimal time, if any?

And I’m not criticizing anyone here – Gallant knows his team better than me – and the game of hockey too!

I’m just making an observation.

Of course, up next, “THE RANGERS’ WAY,” where once again, CZAR IGOR was able to survive Thompson.

Following a save on Ranger nemesis, Jeff Skinner, with 6:00 to go; ninety seconds later, Fox was half-a-step shy from scoring an insurance goal.

Up next saw Levi survive three amazing scoring chances, as a Trocheck shot while on a 2 x 1 odd-man rush was denied. Another try from Chytil was stopped too. And for good measure, with 3:30 remaining, Levi made an all-out robbery save on Mikkola, thus preventing the Finn from scoring in two consecutive contests.

A minute later, CZAR IGOR looked to fire off another home-run pass, but thought better of it. Instead, he dropped the puck for Miller – and #79 misplayed it and turned it over. This is when Micheletti first got on Miller for having a bad game, but since the Rangers were up 2-1 – you didn’t really mind Miller that much.

That wouldn’t be true as the game entered the final frame.

Down to 1:37 remaining, I present to you the 2023 Frank Boucher Trophy winner:

What more can you say about CZAR IGOR?

As the period inched closer to its conclusion; with eight seconds remaining, Panarin, in search of a hat trick, rather than shooting the puck – returned the favor and perfectly set-up Tarasenko. Levi responded with a perfect save himself.

We remained at 2-1, GOOD GUYS, after forty minutes.

Here’s what I said at the time:

While Zibanejad still has three more periods to score his 40th goal; his BFF, CK20, is going to need to have the best game of his career to hit that total this season. Photo Credit: NYR


This period was largely dominated by the Rangers – but by the end of it – the Sabres won this frame.

Just 59-seconds in, Trocheck almost scored a fluke goal, following a deflection.

Thirty seconds later, Tarasenko found Panarin all alone in the slot, but “The Breadman” whiffed on his one-timer, one that could’ve netted him the hat-trick.

Down to 17:20 remaining, Levi got a piece of his right shoulder on a Schneider shot that was destined for the net.

A minute later, Lindgren made a pair of plays to maintain possession.

At exactly the 5:00 mark, Peterka, who previously had scored – hit the post. The Rangers didn’t do much with this break either.

Right after this <DING>, Lafreniere set-up Chytil two more times – two more saves from Levi.

Following the stops, Lafreniere, again, a madman tonight, absolutely demolished Okposo near the penalty box boards.

Now down to 12:20 remaining, it was Mika’s turn to miss on a one-timer.

Seventeen seconds later, a controversial no-call, albeit not one that you could really make a stink about.

Following a Lindgren big-time hit on Tuch while in the Rangers’ d-zone; the Sabre ripped Lindgren’s helmet off – which meant Lindgren had to leave play. This should’ve been a penalty on Tuch – but again – no call.

On the next faceoff, and with 11:47 left to play – the inevitable – as the Sabres scored on their first shot of the period – and as Casey Mittelstadt did following a pass from Tuch – a #89 who should’ve been in the penalty box at the time.

This is when Micheletti really unloaded on Miller, as the defenseman turned over the puck and was then caught watching.

Of note: I saw a lot of hatred for Miller’s play tonight, most of it warranted, but I do wonder how much of it was generated because of Micheletti’s comments?

While it was obvious that Miller had a bad game; Micheletti, who usually doesn’t say anything too bad to begin with, really zoned-in on #79.

But to be fair – we’ve seen Micheletti get on Panarin several times this season too – but up to this point in the game – Miller’s mistakes weren’t as glaring as Panarin’s turnovers usually are.

I just bring this up because when Micheletti said all of this (and he was accurate) – that’s when I really saw fans lash out on social media.

Not mentioned by Micheletti?

The fact that the Rangers had at least a dozen chances to score the insurance goal – but never did.

But to give you the other side – two goals could be all you get during a playoff game.

Simply stated – Miller has to be better.

Following all of these Ranger chances and the Sabres’ equalizer; the visitors buckled down and pretty much stifled the playoff-bound home team.

Whether the Sabres were more desperate or not due to their own situation – well I can’t answer that – but it sure looked like it.

Under seven minutes remaining – Miller – again – as he checked/hit Girgensons twice. The left-winger didn’t budge once.

With 5:45 to go, Chytil tried to feed Lafreniere on an odd-man rush, but the puck never connected.

As we hit 3:07 remaining, Miller arguably made his worst turnover yet, right to Okposo – but once again, CZAR IGOR bailed out his struggling d-man.

With 1:53 left in regulation, we almost had a Disney finish, as Zibanejad found a streaking Lindgren for a slap shot. Levi must not like Asian massages, because he didn’t give #55 the happy ending on his big night.

Following the save, the Sabres took their timeout here, where in real-time, and with a d-zone draw coming up, made sense. It also prevented them from taking a timeout during the overtime – but with them winning this game – I guess it doesn’t matter.

During the final seconds, there was Lindgren again, leading the team into the Sabres’ zone – a rush that was met with huge roars from the Garden Faithful.

Everyone wanted that Lindgren game-winner, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Levi then stopped Mika and Fox as the final horn went off.

2-2, through sixty minutes, overtime would be needed.

Here’s what I said at the time:

Lindgren gave fans a late scare tonight after taking another puck to the right cheek – but by the end of the game, and as he put it, “I’m fine.” Photo Credit: NYR


This was another “check your underwear and make sure it’s clean 3 x 3 overtime.”

The Rangers had a chance to score the game-winner early; but Mika and Panarin over-passed themselves out of a quality GOOD LOOK.

With 3:42 remaining, and during a long Sabres’ attack – CZAR IGOR robbed Thompson – but the Rangers were bagged for that lovely “too many men on the ice” penalty.

The Rangers’ 4 x 3 PK was hairy, but scarier than that, was with 2:24 remaining and 43 seconds left on the kill, Lindgren went down like a sack of potatoes after blocking a shot with his face – and then jetted to the locker room faster than a Kenyan during a fifty-yard dash:

Once the Rangers successfully killed the PK (and the only reason why Lindgren was on the ice to begin with) – there was Lindgren – with a major bruise and blood dripping from the right side of the face – back on the bench – and as if nothing had ever happened.



The last thing the Rangers need right now is an injury – especially to Lindgren – and especially after watching Miller tonight.

Once the PK was over, we had some 4 x 4 foreplay, where Miller took his first shift – and immediately turned over the puck – another robbery for CZAR IGOR with forty seconds remaining.

The Rangers would get out of this overtime unscathed, and with a shootout left to determine the victor.

The Rangers will be in big-time trouble should Lindgren miss a playoff game which would mean Miller as the team’s top LD. At least there is no 3 x 3 OT during the playoffs – one of Miller’s biggest weaknesses. Photo Credit: NYR

This shoot-out was a mixed bag, but obviously not a good bag either – due to the final result.

CZAR IGOR came out the gate hot, with three strong saves made on Quinn, Thompson and Tuch.

Conversely, the three Ranger skaters treated this as an All-Star game, and went for flash over substance.

Put it this way: Kane made 86786786969 moves, only to find himself without much space. To be fair, that is his move, and that has worked out for him over the years. Following that, Mika put on the moves and also found himself with no space – and didn’t challenge Levi. Not to be outdone, Panarin did the same, which meant that Levi only made one save on the first three shooters that he faced.

Now in bonus innings, in the top of the fourth, Owen Power was empowered when he went top shelf.

With the game on his stick – Tarasenko just sniped a rifle of a shot past Levi.

In other words – after all of the Harlem Globetrotter stuff – Tarasenko just skated towards Levi and unleashed a bomb to keep the shootout going.

It wouldn’t last long.

In the top of the fifth, Middlestadt beat CZAR IGOR with a backhanded shot.

On his last licks try, Kakko also got too fancy – but it looked like he was tripped by Levi as he got to the net. The officials disagreed, and as a result, 2-1 in the shootout, 3-2, bad guys, your final.

And while I don’t care about the final score (as mentioned ever since the win over Tampa – big picture – stay healthy); leave it to the Rangers to give the Sabres five of six points during these past three games played – where on this night – it were the Sabres who pushed the game into overtime – and then won it.

Here’s your favorite coach and mine, “THE TURK,” following the loss:

As you’d expect – Gallant was extremely elated and relieved that Lindgren is 100%.

And really, outside of hurting the Islanders in the standings (and yes, I know – fans care about this shit – players and coaches do not – they aren’t invested in the rivalry as we are) – that’s what this game was all about anyway – getting out of it injury-free.

On Lindgren winning the McDonald award, the bench boss said:

“100%, he well deserved that award. He’s done it since I’ve known him, for the two years here and that is what the kid does, every night he puts his heart and soul out there and plays hard.”

The Rangers have one more practice and one more game remaining prior to the playoffs.

That also means that I have to start working on my 2023 Final Report card blog!

I should be back prior to Thursday night, but if not, see ya then with a Rangers/Leafs Game 82 review.

Until then, LGR and you know what time it is…

PLUGS TIME! (Buy a book and support my playoff ticket and beer funds! After all, I don’t run ads on this site!)

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

My first 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:

Igor Shesterkin Wins The 2023 Frank Boucher Trophy; Full Voting Results, List of Every Winner Since The 1951-52 Season & More

NYR/CBJ 4/8 Review: Unselfish (And Playoff Line-Up) Rangers Win By The Best Possible Score Imaginable; Easily Dispose Themselves of the Blue Jackets, Sam & Joe Call Their Greatest Game Too, Kane Returns, MILLER MANTIS, BFF’s Flirting with Forty, Standings, “TURK TALKS” & More

NYR/STL 4/6 Review: Road-Weary Rangers Steal a Point; Tarasenko’s Homecoming a Major Success; Class Act Blues, Special Teams Swing Games; Blueshirts Bat 3-3, Trouba A-Okay; Laughs at Joke Schedule, Standings, Fox Fined, “TURK TALKS” & More

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

Now on sale!

Don’t forget to order my recently released four-volume set of books, “Tricks of the Trade!”

If you don’t order through me, all four volumes are now available on Amazon.com

For more details, check out: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/

Thanks for reading.


Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *